The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Wednesday, September 10, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("U.S. ENVOY STILL CAN'T SAY IF N. KOREA TO JOIN PEACE TALKS," Beijing, 9/10/97) reported that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charles Kartman, following his meeting Wednesday with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, could not confirm that the DPRK would attend the second four-party peace talks preliminary meeting set to take place in New York next week, but did say that progress was made in the discussions and that the two envoys would meet again Thursday morning. Asked whether the DPRK would attend next week's talks, Kartman said, "I'm afraid I can't give you an answer." "We're still engaged and we'll be able to make an announcement as soon as we know something," he said in a telephone interview. Kartman added that Wednesday's meeting "was lengthy but I think we made progress," and then declined further questions.

US Deputy State Department Spokesman James Foley ("STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10," USIA Transcript, 9/10/97), commenting on the meeting between US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charles Kartman and DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan Wednesday in Beijing, stated, "The meeting was useful and productive. It was conducted in a professional manner. They will meet again tomorrow to continue their discussions." Foley later added, "We are pleased that there is going to be a second meeting tomorrow." On whether the DPRK will still attend the second four-party peace talks preliminary meeting set to take place in New York next week, Foley said, "we have no concrete news yet on that issue, but I will repeat again what I've been saying every day from this podium, which is that we've received no indication from the North Koreans that they are not going to be attending the talks." Foley refused requests to elaborate on these statements. In replies to numerous questions, Foley provided few other details of the discussions, and had no comment on how many more meetings Kartman and Kim might have in Beijing, whether the DPRK had raised the issue of food aid at the Beijing meeting, whether the subject of rescheduling the postponed missile talks had come up, or whether the two sides discussed the defection of DPRK Ambassador Chang Song-kil.

2. DPRK Soldier Killed in DMZ

The Washington Post (Mary Jordan, "N. KOREAN KILLED AFTER CROSSING BORDER," Tokyo, 9/10/97, A18) reported that ROK government officials said the killing of a DPRK soldier in the DMZ Tuesday took place after an unknown number of DPRK soldiers crossed the border. The soldier killed was armed with a rifle and had come within yards of a ROK guard post, the officials said. The shooting was the first fatality from DPRK-ROK conflict since the ROK manhunt for the DPRK crewmen and commandos that fled the DPRK submarine that ran aground on the ROK coast last September.

US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Kenneth Bacon ("DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REGULAR BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 9," USIA Transcript, 9/10/97) stated that the killing of a DPRK soldier in the DMZ appears to be "an isolated incident involving a North Korean soldier who appeared to be confused," and denied that any other DPRK soldiers were in the DMZ at the time. Bacon explained: "This is what happened. At about 9:30 in the morning today, Korean time, a North Korean soldier was spotted in the demilitarized zone and ... was apprehended by two South Korean soldiers. One South Korean soldier then left to get reinforcements and so the North Korean was under the guard of one South Korean soldier and, at that point, he made what was interpreted to be a move for a weapon or a threatening move toward the South Korean soldier and the South Korean soldier shot him in self-defense, as he was allowed to do by his rules of engagement. The North Korean soldier is confirmed dead. This incident is now under investigation by the United Nations command because it took place in the demilitarized zone which is United Nations territory. There was a brief mobilization at a machine gun post or gun post on the North Korean side of the DMZ, but there was no further aggressive action from the North Korean side."

3. DPRK to Return Korean War Remains

United Press International ("N.KOREA TO TURN OVER WAR REMAINS," Seoul, 9/10/97) reported that the UN Command said that later this week the DPRK will turn over remains from UN forces that defended South Korea during the 1950-53 war. A UNC spokesman said one set of remains, and possibly a second, will be returned following a joint US-DPRK search now under way. At least one set of remains is to be sent to the ROK through the DMZ border crossing at Panmunjom. A US team of investigators is now in the DPRK on the second of three searches scheduled for this year. A search in August recovered the remains of four US servicemen from the Army's Eighth Cavalry, First Battalion, believed to have been killed in action in October, 1950.

4. Iranian Missiles Use DPRK Design

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "RUSSIA, CHINA AID IRAN'S MISSILE PROGRAM," Washington, 9/10/97) reported that Russia and the PRC are assisting Iran's construction of long-range nuclear-capable missiles based on the DPRK's "Nodong" missile. The report said that, according to US Defense Department officials, a detailed Israeli intelligence report confirms that Iran is building two systems with ranges up to 1,200 miles that could be fielded within three years. The new details about the Iranian missile program have alarmed both the US and Israeli governments because the systems could hit targets throughout the region with chemical or biological weapons, and possibly with a future nuclear warhead, should Tehran succeed in building one. US intelligence agencies reportedly have confirmed much of the Israeli intelligence report, although US Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency officials familiar with information about the Iranian program declined to comment further when asked yesterday about the effort.

US Deputy State Department Spokesman James Foley ("STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10," USIA Transcript, 9/10/97) stated that the US is "very concerned by reports indicating that Russian entities may have provided ballistic missile related assistance to Iran." Foley said US officials have been in constant contact with high-level Russian authorities about the issue and that "the Russian government continues to assure us that it is committed to the highest nonproliferation standards." However, Foley added that, "while we appreciate such assurances, we remain disturbed by the discrepancy between these assurances and reports of Russian firms cooperating with Iran." Regarding the PRC, Foley said, "any missile-related cooperation with Iran is of serious concern to the United States ... and we continue to monitor and evaluate reports of any transfer that could contribute to missile programs of concern." Foley noted the PRC's 1994 commitment to the export terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and said that the US has "no evidence that China has conducted activities inconsistent with this commitment."

II. Republic of Korea

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

US Assistant Secretary of State Charles Kartman was set to meet with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan on Wednesday in Beijing to discuss the preliminary four-party peace negotiations scheduled for next week, following talks Tuesday with the PRC officials on the same topic, US spokesman State Department James Foley said Monday. US officials have said they have not received any indication from Pyongyang that it will pull out of the talks, scheduled to be held in New York on September 15, to protest Washington's decision to grant asylum to the DPRK's defecting diplomats. The DPRK had abruptly canceled missile proliferation talks last month and warned that it would reconsider its participation in the four-party peace talks. Since the defections of the two DPRK diplomats, US officials have held a series of working-level meetings with the DPRK in New York. Kartman held talks in Seoul on Monday ahead of the talks in Beijing. (Korea Times, "US, NK, PRC TO DISCUSS PEACE TALKS," 09/10/97)

2. DPRK Soldier Killed in DMZ

The ROK Minister of Defense announced that a DPRK soldier who had crossed the military division line between the DPRK and the ROK was shot to death at around 9:30 am Tuesday. The site of the incident was an unidentified mine field within the DMZ (De-militarized Zone), 50 meters from a ROK watch post and along the eastern front of Kangwon province. The Minister reported that the soldier, armed with a rifle, approached the post but did not comply to the demands for identification by the two ROK soldiers on duty. When the DPRK soldier aimed to shoot at the post the ROK soldiers responded with approximately 10 rounds. Officials of the Ministry said that at the time there was a visibility range of about 200 meters. (Chosun Ilbo, "DPRKN SOLDIER KILLED IN DMZ," 09/10/97)

3. ROK-Japanese Fishery Talks

The ROK and Japanese officials yesterday held their second meeting on the alleged beating of a ROK fisherman by Japanese maritime security officers, which has been an issue of contention between the two countries since June this year. The first round of talks was held in Tokyo last month. The meeting on the alleged beating of a ROK fisherman preceded the two-day working-level talks between the two sides to work out a revision to a 1965 fisheries agreement, which begin today. During the talks in Seoul, the two sides are expected to try to produce a compromise provisional settlement. The ROK is considering a Japanese proposal for a provisional solution aimed at circumventing territorial disputes over rocky islets in the sea between them, but does not want any solution to affect the ROK's sovereign claims to the Tokto islets and existing rights for ROK fishermen. Japan expects that a recent agreement with the PRC on a bilateral fishery agreement will pressure the ROK to move faster in their negotiations. Japanese news media reported yesterday the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will urge the Tokyo government to suspend or scrap a fishery agreement with the ROK, if the upcoming talks fail to produce concrete results. (Korea Herald, "KOREA, JAPAN CONTINUE TALKS ON FISHERY DISPUTES," 09/10/97)

4. DPRK-Japan Relations

After three days of talks and no sign of progress, the DPRK and Japanese negotiators met again Tuesday to discuss letting Japanese wives of DPRK men visit their homeland. There was no indication why the talks this week, intended to resolve the details of the visits, were taking so long. A Japanese official who said the latest round of talks started Tuesday morning said he could not give any details. The two sides agreed last month, in principle, to let groups of Japanese women living in the DPRK begin visits to their homeland as early as late September. The visits are to be supervised by Red Cross officials from the two sides, who are taking part in the talks this week. About 1,800 Japanese women are believed to have moved to the DPRK from the 1950s to the 1980s after marrying DPRK men. Japan has made the visits a condition of normalizing diplomatic relations. A successful conclusion to talks on diplomatic ties could lead to desperately needed Japanese aid for the economically struggling DPRK. (Korea Times, "NK, JAPAN HOLD 4TH DAY OF TALKS ON JAPANESE WOMEN," 09/10/97)

5. Private US Aid to DPRK

An US civilian aircraft loaded with medical aid was scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang Wednesday for the first time since the ROK war. Four-hundred-fifty tones in medical supplies provided by AmeriCares, an international humanitarian aid organization based in Connecticut, left John F. Kennedy airport Monday. AmeriCares is planning to ship various medicines worth a total of US$23 million in five installments. Thirteen to fourteen people, including the organization's own officials, doctors and nurses as well as CBS and Newsweek media reporters, also boarded the plane. (Chosun Ilbo, "US AID PLANE ARRIVES IN DPRK TODAY," 09/10/97)

6. Transparency in Delivery of DPRK Aid

Full transparency in the distribution of aid intended for the impoverished people of the DPRK, especially aid from the ROK, continues to elude relief workers, a visiting official of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies said yesterday. Simon Missri, deputy director of the Asia-Pacific section of the IFRC Secretariat, said IFRC relief workers are facing obstacles in ensuring that the aid goods donated by the ROK Red Cross are distributed in their target areas. Missri, who visited Pyongyang September 2-6, said in a news conference held yesterday at the ROK National Red Cross (KNRC) office in Seoul that DPRK officials seem to be intentionally blocking the monitoring work on ROK relief goods. He said that the IFRC faces no such problems in delivering aid from other sources. The ROK has been delivering about 100 thousand tons of grain to the DPRK since clinching an inter-Korean Red Cross agreement in March, which stipulated transparency in aid goods distribution. At the moment, the KNRC is the only channel for the ROK's food aid to the famine-stricken DPRK. The DPRK has long been suspected of diverting aid to military stockpiles. Missri said that the IFRC has proposed to the DPRK three-way talks with the ROK either in Malaysia or Thailand to attempt to tackle the transparency issue, but has not heard from them yet. Meanwhile, KNRC officials said that they will also raise the issue at the third inter-Korean Red Cross talks slated for late this month. (Korea Herald, "IFRC CALLS FOR TALKS ON AID DISTRIBUTION," 09/10/97)

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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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