The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, September 5, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Korean Landmines

United Press International ("N.KOREA HITS U.S. LAND MINE POLICY," Seoul, 9/5/97) reported that the DPRK's official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary Friday that US support for the use of anti-personnel land mines on the Korean peninsula casts doubt on whether the US can take a "realistic stand" in Korean peace talks. The US has called for a Korean exception to the landmine ban being advocated at a conference under way in Oslo, Norway. The report said, "This makes the world people doubt whether the U.S. would take a realistic stand to establish a new peace-keeping mechanism in the Korean Peninsula at such a negotiation as the four-way talks." The second preliminary round of the four-party talks is due to convene in New York September 15. The KCNA report criticized the suggestion that if the US removed mines from the Korean peninsula, it would have to deploy 20,000 more troops, saying, "This fact shows that the U.S. is not interested in peace and peaceful reunification of Korea." [Ed. note: See also "US Defends Korean Landmines" in the US section of the September 3 Daily Report.]

2. Japanese Food Aid to DPRK

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("JAPAN TO GIVE N. KOREA $20M IN FOOD AID THROUGH U.N.-KYODO," Tokyo, 9/5/97) reported that Japan's Kyodo News on Friday cited Japanese Foreign Ministry sources as saying that Japan plans to give the DPRK US$20 million worth of food aid through the United Nations, in response to an appeal by the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program. The report said the government will give the money to the UN, which will in turn buy 70,000 tons of rice from Japan. However, a Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Japanese officials were still debating whether to respond to the appeal and no such decision had yet been made. Japan provided 500,000 tons of rice to the DPRK in 1995 and extended US$6 million worth of aid in 1996, but has been hesitant to give following news reports that DPRK agents abducted a Japanese teen-age girl from Niigata in 1977. The US has provided US$52 million and the ROK US$26 million for food assistance this year.

3. DPRK Defectors May Reveal DPRK Spies

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, "NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR'S 'SPY LIST' PROVES A HOT TOPIC IN SEOUL," Seoul, 9/5/97, A3) reported that the high-level DPRK officials who have defected this year are widely thought to have taken with them some tips about the large number of DPRK agents, informants, and sympathizers presumably burrowed into ROK government and politics. In particular, many speculate as to the contents of "Hwang's List," the account of DPRK agents reportedly supplied by Hwang Jang-yop, the DPRK ideological leader who arrived in the ROK in April, becoming the highest-level DPRK official ever to defect. At a news conference, Hwang said he had not directly supervised intelligence-gathering, but also said, "From talking with those in the North in charge of subversive operations, ... I have picked up a number of stories." Hwang was accompanied in his defection by Kim Dok-hong, an aide who had worked as deputy head of documents for the party's Central Committee, and who is now thought also to have been very helpful in providing information about ROK collaborators. In addition, Chang Sung-kil, the DPRK ambassador to Egypt who defected to the US late last month, may also have brought with him information about intelligence-gathering in the ROK. Many opposition politicians in the ROK are alarmed by these prospects, especially because the ROK Agency for National Security Planning's support of the governing New Korea Party raises the prospect that the agency might pursue genuine or imagined spies in the opposition as a way of helping the party's prospects in the December presidential election. However, senior government officials say they are in a delicate position. "This is a real burden for the government," said one. "We can easily be accused of playing politics, so we will have to act very cautiously. Hwang Jang-yop is actually becoming kind of a problem for us."

4. US View of DPRK Famine

US Deputy State Department Spokesman Jim Foley ("STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 4, 1997," USIA Transcript, 9/5/97) stated that he was unaware of reports that experts from the aid agency World Vision said recently that 120,000 people have died in the DPRK due to starvation, and that the number could reach several times that by the end of the year. "Well, as you know, we don't have an embassy, we don't have people on the ground in North Korea able to assess the situation on behalf, directly, of the United States Government," Foley said. "Obviously, the situation is critical. We remain open to further appeals from humanitarian, from international relief organizations, as they are made," he said.

5. US View of US-Japan Defense Guidelines

US Defense Department Deputy Spokesman Mike Doubleday ("PENTAGON SPOKESMAN'S REGULAR THURSDAY BRIEFING," USIA Transcript, 9/5/97) confirmed that the US and Japan are set to release revised guidelines on US-Japan defense cooperation later this month. Asked how the guidelines would address the issue of a potential conflict between the PRC and Taiwan, Doubleday said, "I don't want to predict what the language is going to be -- mainly because I haven't seen it. I think we've got to wait until the announcement actually is made." Doubleday also would not comment on how the guidelines would address Korean security issues. "On all of the issues associated with this, I think we've got to wait until we actually see what the final language looks like," Doubleday said.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Chang Defection and Four-Party Peace Talks

US State Department spokesman James Foley said Tuesday that the US hoped talks toward a Korean peace treaty would go ahead this month despite the DPRK's angry protest at US acceptance of the defections of its ambassador to Egypt, Chang Sung-kil, and his elder brother, Chang Sung-ho, a former trade official in France. Earlier, the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying, "The unreasonable act of the US is laying big stumbling blocks in the way of four-way talks and other pending issues in the DPRK-US relations." A spokesman for the DPRK UN mission in New York called the US granting of provisional political asylum to the defectors a "grave insult," and also suggested it could derail the preliminary four-party peace talks, whose second round is scheduled to begin on September 15. On August 27, the DPRK pulled out of bilateral missile control talks with the US, though it continued working-level contacts. (Korea Times, "US HOPES KOREAN PEACE TALKS GO AHEAD DESPITE DEFECTIONS," 09/05/97) [Ed. note: See "Chang Defection" in the US sections of the September 2 and September 4 Daily Reports.]

2. Korean Landmines

There is no alternative to the use of land mines along the dangerous demilitarized zone between the DPRK and the ROK, US General John Tilelli, commander in charge of the US and ROK troops in Korea, argued Wednesday. The Clinton administration recently switched its position and is backing broad efforts to ban anti-personnel landmines worldwide, but still wants an exception for the Korean peninsula. Tilelli, a four-star Army general, said he is pleased with the US stand of pushing for a Korean exemption at an international conference on banning land mines currently underway in Norway. The US delegation is also seeking exemptions for some so-called smart land mines that eventually self-destruct. The land mines used by US forces are not indiscriminately placed, but are marked and maintained, Tilelli said. "Those mines are integral to the defensive structure that we have placed in our support of the ROK and the US alliance," he said. "As the commander on the ground, I think protecting the lives of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- and the civilians ... is a humanitarian issue," Tilelli said. Queried about technical options to replace land mines, the general replied, "There is not right now a replacement for land mines." But he said that the US must be open to the replacement of land mines as substitutes are developed, which could occur within the next decade. Activists for the land mine ban have argued that the US demand for exemptions is a threat to the overall aim of the treaty talks. Delegates from more than 100 nations are attending the Oslo talks, which last through September 19. (Korea Times, "DMZ LAND MINES ARE INTEGRAL TO DEFENCE STRUCTURE: GEN. TILELLI," 09/05/97) [Ed. note: See also "US Defends Korean Landmines" in the US section of the September 3 Daily Report.]

3. ROK Military Spending

The ROK Ministry of Defense Thursday denied a US Defense Department announcement that the ROK has requested purchase of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets and Stinger missiles from the US. "We have never asked to purchase such US-made military equipment and no decision has yet been made on our purchase," a ministry spokesman said. "In February, we sent letters to the US and two other countries requesting basic data such as price and capability for our possible acquisition," said the spokesman, who did not elaborate on the identity of the two other countries. "It will take more time because we have to compare all the related data from various sources," the spokesman said. The Pentagon notified to the US Congress Wednesday that the ROK had requested the sales of four Boeing E-767 AWACS worth US$3 billion, and 200 Stinger shoulder-fired air defense missiles. A ROK ministry official said the Pentagon "was translating our letter in their favor into an established fact." In June, the Pentagon announced that the ROK had agreed to purchase Stinger missiles. The ROK Ministry of Defense responded by saying the announcement was premature because the French-made Mistral and British Starburst missiles were also being considered. The US dominated the ROK's multi-billion-dollar arms procurement for years, but with the end of the Cold War, the ROK has been purchasing arms from Russia and European countries, trying to diversify its sources of imported weapons. (Korea Herald, "DEFENSE MINISTRY DENIES REPORT ON BUYING US AWACS, STINGERS," 09/05/97) [Ed. note: See "ROK Military Spending" in the US and ROK sections of the September 4 Daily Report.]

4. DPRK UN Ambassador's Illness

The New York Times, citing a Korean-language newspaper published in New York, reported Wednesday that the DPRK ambassador to the UN, Kim Hyung-woo, is rumored to be trying to defect. The New York Times said the 62-year-old ambassador has been at the NYU Hospital in Manhattan since August 12, and is being assisted by Koreans in the US as he has no medical insurance or financial support from the DPRK government. The Associated Press on Thursday also reported rumors that ambassador Kim, who is hospitalized, will seek asylum in the US if recalled back to the DPRK. DPRK officials denied the possibility of Kim's defection. (Chosun Ilbo, "NORTH UN AMBASSADOR'S DEFECTION RUMORED," 09/05/97) [Ed. note: See "DPRK UN Ambassador's Illness" in the US section of the September 3 Daily Report.]

5. PRC Leadership

The PRC's ruling Communist Party is to introduce younger cadres in the powerful central committee to prepare them to lead the country into the next century, the government-funded daily Wen Wei Po reported Thursday. The younger cadres "with both ability and political integrity" will be elected into the party's central committee in next week's 15th party congress, the paper said. The newspaper said the report prepared for the congress calls for new members of the politburo to include Beijing mayor Jia Qinglin, Shanghai mayor Xu Kuangdi, Tianjin party secretary Gao Dezhan, and Foreign Trade and Economic Minister Wu Yi. Jiang Enzhu, the newly appointed head of the Xinhua news agency in Hong Kong, and Liu Zhenwu, head of People's Liberation Army garrison in the former British territory, will be appointed to the central committee, as will be Deng Nan, the deputy head of the state science and technology commission and a daughter of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. The newspaper said the party congress agenda will also include reform of debt-ridden state-owned enterprises; although it did not elaborate on what kind of reform state enterprises would undergo, there have been wide-ranging calls to turn them into share-holding bodies. (Korea Times, "PRC TO INTRODUCE YOUNGER CADRES IN CENTRAL COMMITTEE," 09/05/97)

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Wade Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

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