The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, September 26, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China IV. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Test

The Associated Press ("U.S. WATCHES N. KOREA EXERCISES," Washington, 9/26/97) and Reuters ("U.S. WATCHING NORTH KOREA MISSILE MOVES," Washington, 9/26/97) reported that Navy Admiral Joseph Prueher, the head of the US Pacific Command, said Friday that the DPRK has conducted exercises with units that appear to support the No Dong missile, but has not yet deployed the weapon itself. "We have seen the troop deployments. We have not seen the deployment of the No Dong missile," Prueher told reporters in an interview. "If they were deployed, they would be a potential threat to our forces in South Korea as well as to other nations adjacent to the area" because of their 620-mile range, Prueher said. The DPRK military conducted exercises with trucks and several units of troops that would be necessary to maintain and fire such a weapon, he said, but since no missile was seen, it wasn't clear whether the exercise actually used real equipment, or whether "dummy" mockups were used. Prueher would not say where in the DPRK or exactly when the movements were conducted, but one US defense official, who asked not to be identified, said the maneuvers came over the summer. The official added that the US had contingency plans to deal with any deployment of the No Dong, but refused to say whether they might involve a military reaction such as a pre-emptive strike against launch facilities. The DPRK tested the No Dong once in 1993 but apparently has not tested it since. "We stay concerned about it and we watch it closely," Prueher said of the DPRK program, while noting that the lack of aggressive testing allows him to be "not as concerned as I might be" about the missile's potential use.

2. Huang Comments on DPRK Army Size

The Associated Press ("REPORT: N KOREA HAS LARGER ARMY," Tokyo, 9/25/97) reported that Japan's Kyodo News agency, quoting unidentified Japanese officials, said that top-level DPRK defector Huang Jang-yop told Japanese Foreign Ministry officials and investigators from Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's Cabinet in secret briefings in Seoul in July and August that the DPRK has more troops than outside estimates indicate. According to Kyodo, Huang told the officials that the Pyongyang government has 1.7 million regular troops ready to fight, considerably higher than the earlier estimates of 1.05 million. Japan's Foreign Ministry denied any knowledge of such a meeting. Huang also reportedly told the Japanese that DPRK leaders are seeking US$10 billion from Japan as reparations for the state's suffering under Japanese colonial rule and during World War II, and that, although DPRK leaders expect that any remuneration will require them first to enter peace talks, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il believes he can get more money out of Japan if the DPRK appears to be threatening war.

3. Four-Party Peace Talks

US Deputy State Department Spokesman James Foley ("STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22," USIA Transcript, 9/22/97) last Monday explained the US view of the previous week's second preliminary four-party Korean peace talks meeting. Foley stated that the two days of talks, including the US, the PRC, the ROK and the DPRK, ended September 19 without an agenda or plans for another round any time soon. "We remain committed to the principle of the talks," Foley said, but US officials will not "waste their time" on more talks if the DPRK does not show more flexibility. Foley said the talks stalled because DPRK officials "insisted on a direct linkage between food assistance and negotiations," while the US maintains that food aid is strictly a humanitarian issue. Foley said a second stumbling block was that DPRK officials "remained inflexible in the effort to achieve a mutually agreeable agenda." Specifically, the DPRK demanded "a specific and concrete agenda" for the plenary talks, while the other participants pushed for a more general agenda "allowing each participant to raise any relevant issue" as a more practical approach, Foley said. Acceptance of the DPRK's agenda items, such as the withdrawal of US troops from Korea, "would prejudge the results of the plenary talks before the negotiations began," Foley said.

4. US Executive-Military Relations on Land Mine Ban

The Washington Post (Dana Priest, "MINE DECISION BOOSTS CLINTON-MILITARY RELATIONS," 9/24/97, A22) reported that US President Bill Clinton's decision last week not to sign onto the treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines reached at a conference in Oslo, Norway, has greatly bolstered his relationship with US military leaders. According to Clinton's national security advisers and military officials, even as his administration sought a compromise in Oslo that would enable the US to support the treaty, Clinton never wavered in his commitment to the policy established by top Pentagon generals. "Obviously it would have been far more comfortable to be part of this," national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said in an interview, "but he became convinced, after looking at it, that there are legitimate national security needs." "The Joint Chiefs of Staff feel very, very happy about the president's decision," said Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, the vice chairman, who handled the land mine issue. "It was courageous. We know there were pressures on him. He made the right decision for the right reason. All the chiefs are grateful." Critics of Clinton's decision, including former President Jimmy Carter, who called the decision "embarrassing," fault the president for not standing up to the military. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the US Congress's foremost advocate of a ban, said Clinton lacked leadership and the White House decided to join negotiations too late to shape a treaty they could sign. "The Pentagon controlled what happened," he scoffed. Other critics argue that, as a result, the treaty is weakened by the US absence. "Even though countries can go off and do things on their own since the Cold War ended and get agreements without the United States," said Michael Leaveck, assistant director of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, US "participation still matters a lot in terms of China, Russia and the more recalcitrant countries."

5. US-Russia Nuclear Accords

The Associated Press ("U.S. AND RUSSIA FORMALIZE COMMITMENTS REDUCING NUCLEAR FORCES," United Nations, 9/26/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Friday signed two sets of disarmament accords that should clear the way for Russia's ratification of the Start II treaty on strategic nuclear weapons. The first set extends the time period for concluding sharp cuts in US and Russian stockpiles of long-range nuclear missiles under the START II treaty until the end of 2007, aiming to ease Russia's concerns over the cost of dismantling their weapons, while the second set includes a commitment to deactivate banned missiles by the end of 2003. Once the treaty is ratified, the two sides will begin work on another treaty to make even deeper reductions, which could further ease Russia's financial problems by easing pressures to manufacture missiles still allowed under START II but intended to be banned. In addition, the US, Russia and three former Soviet nuclear-armed republics -- Belarus, Kazahkstan and Ukraine -- signed a memorandum of understanding to limit testing of anti-ballistic missile systems. Also on Friday, NATO and Russian foreign ministers held the first meeting of the NATO-Russia permanent joint council formed in May.

Reuters ("GORE PRAISES CHERNOMYRDIN, PENS NUCLEAR PACT," Moscow, 9/23/97) reported that US Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin Tuesday signed an agreement to halt the production of weapons-grade plutonium. In the latest talks, Russia agreed to convert its three plutonium production reactors to civilian use by the year 2000, with US assistance, and promised not to restart another 10 such reactors already shut. Disarmament negotiators and experts see halting production of such material as the next priority in the nuclear field, now that Russia and the United States are edging towards cuts in strategic arsenals. "After much hard work we took an important, perhaps even historic step this week when we reached an agreement to halt the production of weapons-grade plutonium in both the United States and Russia," Gore told reporters. After the signing, Gore hailed the relationship between the two potential future presidents of their countries. "I've come to greatly value your friendship, Viktor Stepanovich," Gore told the Russian leader. "It's a good chemistry, we work well together." The two have held regular meetings since 1993 on business, technology and space cooperation.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Presidential Elections

A sullen mood runs deep inside Chong Wa Dae as chances for a ruling party victory look darker as the election date approaches. According to an internal New Korea Party (NKP) opinion poll conducted on Sept. 21-22 of 1,600 adults, Kim Dae-jung, president of the National Congress for New Politics, scored 30.8 percent, ahead of former Kyonggi-do governor Rhee In-je. NKP candidate Lee Hoi-chang got 13.8 percent, a drop of about 4-5 percentage points. Former Seoul mayor Cho Soon was ranked fourth at 8.6 percent, while Kim Jong-pil's approval rating was quite negligible. As the internal approval rating confirms Lee's plunging popularity, speculation is that President Kim Young-sam, averse to the idea of his arch rival Kim Dae-jung becoming the next president, may act boldly to change the course of the presidential election, perhaps by joining with Kim Jong-pil and lending his support to Constitutional revisions aimed at introducing a Cabinet form of government. Others said President Kim could also mobilize the intelligence agency to deal a fatal blow to Kim Dae-jung, or compel Lee to resign from candidacy. However, Chong Wa Dae secretaries said President Kim will not use tricky tools to distort the presidential election, as it would be quite anachronistic for the nation's first non-military government to mobilize the intelligence agency. Observers differed as to whether forcing Lee's resignation would help or hinder unifying the fractured party. There is speculation that Kim Young-sam followers, known as the "Minju" faction, will bolt out of the party next month and side with Rhee In-je. (Korea Times, "DOES PRES. KIM HAVE A WILD CARD TO CHANGE COURSE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?" Lee Chang-sup, 09/24/97) Regards, Shin, Dong-bom

2. ROK Colonel Joins UN Chemical Weapons Organization

Col. Kim Il-hyon, 46, who holds a post at the Ministry of Defense, Thursday became the first person in the ROK appointed to the managing staff for the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Kim is to represent the ROK as a technical support manager, following the appointment of Maj. Kim In-sik, who is now working as an inspector with the organization. Kim's position entails overseeing the analysis and evaluation of chemical samples taken from suspected weapons-violation sites. (Korea Times, "ARMY COL. JOINS UN CHEMICAL WEAPONS PREVENTION ORGANIZATION," 09/26/97)

3. ROK-DPRK Negotiate on Ferry Launch

The ROK and the DPRK have been negotiating with a PRC company over the launching of a ferry service that will connect Sokcho on the ROK's east coast, the DPRK's Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone, and the PRC border city of Hunchun. A ROK official yesterday confirmed the negotiations, saying that representatives of the three sides will meet in Pyongyang next month. The proposal would save ROK ships from the very time consuming route now taken to the upper region of the DPRK via the PRC. (Korea Times, "SOUTH, NORTH KOREA EYE LAUNCHING FERRY BOAT," 09/26/97)

4. Repatriation of ROK Pastor

ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha has asked for UN help in repatriating a ROK pastor kidnapped to the DPRK during his stay in the PRC in 1995. Yoo explained details of the abduction of the pastor, Ahn Seung-un, and asked that the UN human rights mechanism extend support to aid the return of Ahn to the South. Ahn was last seen July 9, 1995, in the northeastern PRC city of Yanji, where he was engaged in missionary activities, before he was abducted by a DPRK agent and his three ethnic DPRK accomplices. (Korea Herald, "YOO ASKS FOR U.N. HELP ON AHN CASE; HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO REVIEW SITUATION," 09/26/97) Regards, Shin, Dong-bom

III. People's Republic of China

1. ROK-US Relations

A normalization of DPRK-US relations may have negative influences on ROK-US relations. US policy toward the DPRK has changed from containment to inducing it to open up and reform, and the ROK worries that if the DPRK-US relationship is improved too fast, the ROK itself will be ignored by the US. However, the ROK-US relationship is based on common strategic interests, close economic exchanges, and common needs that supersede occasional disputes. The ROK will continuously depend on US protection for its security and national survival, while the US needs the bilateral alliance to keep its leading role on Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. (Cui Zhiying, "REVIEW AND PROSPECT OF ROK-US RELATIONS," International Survey (bimonthly), No. 3, 1997, pp. 13-17.)

2. PRC-Russia-US Relations

Two factors affecting evolving relationships among the PRC, Russia and the US are how to define the current international situation and how to evaluate developing prospects. The countries have both similar and different viewpoints on the world situation & changes in relations since the Cold War. Sino-Russian relations currently are most stable, as neither Sino-US relations nor US-Russian relations are trouble-free. Without prompt resolutions, these problems will cause conflicts. However, the PRC, Russia and the US have many common interests and they share a similar desire for an enhanced relationship, and interactions among the three countries are much more cooperative in nature than they were during the Cold War era. (Song Yimin, "SINO-RUSSIAN, RUSSIAN-US, SINO-US RELATIONS AND INTERACTION AMONG THE THREE," International Studies (Quarterly), No. 1997, pp. 12-18.)

3. Northeast Asia Security Prospects

The reduction of US military presence in Northeast Asia is inevitable, and countries in the area have done some preparations for the change. The modernization level of Japanese Self-Defense Force is world-class. The ROK's defense direction is becoming more independent. Considering the DPRK's troop strength and its missile technology, the DPRK has defense capability. Russia may not be as strong as before, but it still is a nuclear country with strategic force. The PRC is also improving the modernization level of its armed forces. Thus, Northeast Asia will not really be a "power vacuum," even if the US withdraws from the area. The end of the Cold War provides a chance for the establishment of security regime in Northeast Asia. However, there are some obstacles. Besides the usual limits, including historical problems, territorial disputes, difference of political systems and unbalanced economic development, two other elements include the current absence of an overriding threat in Northeast Asia and the prospect of resorting to the UN Security Council in the event of crises. Hence, countries in the region perceive a lack of necessity and urgency in the establishment of a security regime in Northeast Asia. (Tan Zaiwen, "SECURITY ISSUES OF NORTHEAST ASIA," International Survey (bimonthly), No. 3, 1997, pp. 28-31.)

4. Asia-Pacific Security

Since the Cold War, the security situation in the Asia-Pacific area has changed continuously. Generally speaking, consensus is prevailing on solving security disputes without resorting to force, and cooperative security is being regarded as the main mode of multi-lateral security cooperation. On the whole, the trends in the Asia-Pacific area are conducive to regional security. Stable strategic relations, the reduction of uncertainty among big powers and the forming of consensus on solving disputes without resorting to force are all the important conditions to prevent massive international wars from breaking out in Asia-Pacific area. (Yan Xuetong, "TREND OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC SECURITY," Contemporary International Relations, No. 7, 1997, pp. 2-7.)

5. PRC-ROK Economic Relations

PRC-ROK trade offers many exceptional benefits to the two countries. The PRC is the third largest trade partner and the largest investment target of the ROK. At present, 80 per cent of the ROK's investments in the PRC are mainly concentrated in areas around Bohai and in the northeast. From the view of development, Shanghai and the south will become new centers of the ROK's investment. Up to now, trade and investment cooperation between the PRC and the ROK have progressed, but there still are problems. For example, the unitary structure of the ROK's trade to the PRC will limit the further expansion of ROK investment. (Wu Delie, "CURRENT SITUATION OF ECONOMIC AND TRADE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND ROK," Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies (bimonthly), No. 4, 1997, pp. 21-22.)

6. Russian Military Reform

The large shortage in the military budget is puzzling the Russian armed forces. Reform seems the only way to solve the predicament, but there are serious differences in Russia on how to carry out reform. An argument now prevailing calls for simplifying the structure of Russian armed forces through measures such as stressing build-up of nuclear forces, enhancing the construction and training of mobile forces, selectively developing high-tech projects, and expanding weapons export to make up for the budget shortage. (Chen Youyi, "RUSSIAN MILITARY REFORM," World Affairs (semimonthly), No. 17, 1997, pp. 34-35.)

IV. Russian Federation

1. RF Military's Political Role

Segodnya's Pavel Felgengauer("THE MILITARY REFORM TURNS INTO A REVOLUTION," Moscow, 1, 9/22/97) reported that the Movement in Support of the Army, Defense Industries and Military Science created this summer by the present RF State Duma Defense Committee Chairman and a former member of the pro-governmental Our Home Russia party Gen. Lev Rokhlin held its congress on 9/19/97. Segodnya's author ventured an opinion that from now on the long-debated RF military reform has ceased to be a professionals' concern only and became "a banner of a future revolution (or a counter-revolution), that is a real reason for unification of Communist and non-Communist opposition and wide masses of servicemen in order to oust Boris Yeltsin from the Kremlin before his term expires." His impeachment, though, is "just an empty sound," because a majority of the officers are materially far too much dependent on their commanders. Rather "the Kremlin more and more becomes a hostage to its own 'loyal' generals." But the very same rigid military hierarchy beyond any civilian control "tomorrow can turn the Armed Forces in the opposite direction without asking the officer if they wish it or not." Segodnya's author criticized "liberal reformers" who have turned "their faces to the Kremlin and their back to the country obviously in a belief that it's in the Kremlin that their destiny will be determined."

2. US Scientist on RF Nuclear Weapons Safety

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("AN AMERICAN SCIENTIST REBUKES LEBED'S SENSATION," Moscow, 2, 9/11/97) reported that Richard Garwin, a US scientist, speaking at a press conference of the leaders of the Pugwash Movement in Moscow, criticized a recent statement by the former Secretary of RF Security Council Aleksandr Lebed in which the latter claimed that the RF has lost control over a significant share of the former Soviet nuclear weapons. "Nobody has got any grounds for such statements, especially Lebed," Garwin said. In his opinion, the real danger is posed by a possibility of fissionable materials falling into the wrong hands. Garwin came to Moscow together with other foreign colleagues to prepare for the Pugwash Conference that was opened in Moscow on 9/8/97, to continue until closed in Snezhynsk on 9/13/97.

3. RF Far Eastern Region Current Crisis

Segodnya's Yelizaveta Osetinskaya ("PRIMORIYE IS IN NEED OF AN 'IRON ROD RULE'," Moscow, 7, 9/16/97) reported that on 9/15/97 coal miners of Primorskiy Area in RF Far East completely stopped any shipment of coal to all power plants of the area. As a result the electricity production at solid fuel power plants is almost paralyzed. Electricity supplies to the residential quarters in the area were again switched off from for 2-4 hours per day. The coal miners claim the energy producers do not pay for the coal and as a result they have not been paid their wages for 5 months. Segodnya's author pointed out that short term financial arrangement measures won't solve the problems, that the local administration tends to ignore RF Governmental advise, and that the RF Presidential representative there lacks authority to deal with the situation in its complexity.

4. RF Position on Land Mines Convention

Segodnya's Andrey Smirnov ("THE DISARMAMENT PROCESS HAS SUFFERED FROM A MINE," Moscow, 4, 9/19/97) and Kommersant-Daily's Andrey Ivanov ("THE USA REMAINED WITH THEIR MINES," Moscow, 4, 9/18/97) reported that the Convention on a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines was approved on 9/18/97 by over 90 countries at the Oslo Conference, Norway, but without the support of the major mine producing and using nations. The RF, the PRC and India were represented by observers only and made no commitments, while a US delegate argued in favor of postponing the decision for a few years and making some reservation for countries facing aggression. Finally US President Bill Clinton on 9/17/97 said the US will not support the approved text scheduled to be signed in early December in Ottawa. The need to protect 37 thousand strong US troops stationed in the ROK against a DPRK invasion is the main US concern. The RF, Segodnya's author stressed, won't search for alternatives to land mines at all, nor does the RF have funds to eliminate mine-fields in its own territory, most notably in Chechnya, where people still are killed by them. Segodnya's author speculated that RF is not against the ban in principle, but favors a step-by-step approach, in view of the economic impossibility of protecting lengthy RF borders without land-mines. Also the RF would rather discuss the matter at the UN Geneva Conference on Disarmament, while the Oslo Convention initiators are precisely against using a UN framework where the RF, the US and the PRC could easily veto an undesirable resolution.

Segodnya ("MOSCOW STANDS FOR A STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH TO THE LAND MINES BAN ISSUE," Moscow, 4, 9/20/97) reported that Gennadiy Tarasov, RF Foreign Ministry Information and Media Department Director, commented on the 9/18/97 approval of the text of the Convention on a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines, saying the RF shared other state's "concern over the problems made by irresponsible use of anti-personnel mines." Tarasov spoke in favor of a gradual approach to the issue, with the first step being "to concentrate efforts to enact and make universal the augmented Protocol-II on mines to the 1980 Convention on 'inhuman weapons'." Differences in geostrategic location, border length, and the specific security requirements of various states also should be taken into account, he said, also pointing out that the PRC, India and some other states hold positions close to that of the RF.

5. PRC Position on Chechnya

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("BEIJING REJECTED GROZNIY'S PROPOSAL," Moscow, 2, 9/19/97) reported that, according to RF Foreign Ministry Information and Media Department Director Gennadiy Tarasov, the PRC rejected a proposal by Chechnyan leaders for an exchange of "official representatives," and the PRC Foreign Ministry informed the RF via its embassy in Beijing that the PRC's position on the matter is that "China has always considered Chechnya an integral part and a subject of the Russian Federation, .... [and] has always supported the state sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Russia." Gennadiy Tarasov highly appreciated this PRC position.

6. PRC Denies Missile Threat to RF

Segodnya ("CHINESE MISSILES ARE NOT TARGETED AGAINST RUSSIA," Moscow, 1, 9/12/97) reported that the PRC Embassy in Moscow rebuked as "completely empty" and "totally groundless" the reports made by the Japanese "Sankei Shimbun" and some other Japanese newspapers that alleged, with references to satellite data obtained by the US Defense Department, that some new medium range missiles stationed in the northern PRC are targeted against facilities in the RF.

7. RF-Japan Informal Summit Set

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("YELSIN WILL MEET WITH HASHIMOTO," Moscow, 4, 9/10/97) reported that, according to Japanese governmental officials, RF President Boris Yeltsin and Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto will meet on 11/1/97 in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Rytaro Hashimoto's unofficial visit is to last for two days. The two leaders are to discuss the Kuril isles issue, as well as RF-Japanese joint economic projects involving particularly Japan's assistance to energy sector in Siberia and RF Far East.

8. RF Position on Kurils

Segodnya's Aleksandr Koretskiy ("GENERAL LEBED PROMISED THE KURIL ISLES TO THE JAPANESE," Moscow, 3, 9/18/97) reported that Gen. (Ret.) Aleksandr Lebed, former Secretary of RF Security Council, on an unofficial visit to Japan, "won the hearts of the Japanese with a single statement: the disputed Kuril Isles sooner or later should be returned to the Country of the Rising Sun." Segodnya's author pointed out that, being now a private person, Lebed can say anything he likes. However, the statement creates a problem for the RF Foreign Ministry. An official rebuke of Lebed would antagonize Japan, while a diplomatic no comment would not suffice because Lebed thoroughly elaborated his main thesis with many proposals. Recalling Lebed's recent sensational allegation about "hundreds" of commando-style portable nuclear devices lost or stolen in the RF, Segodnya's author concluded that Lebed's activities have "obviously become a burden to the Kremlin."

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("BABOURIN CRITICIZED LEBED'S WORDS," Moscow, 2, 9/19/97) reported that RF State Duma Vice Speaker Sergey Babourin yesterday sharply criticized former Secretary of RF Security Council Aleksandr Lebed's ideas about a South Kurils dispute settlement voiced while on a visit to Japan. Babourin called Lebed "yet another contender for the Great Princedom" of Russia and claimed Lebed went to Japan to obtain support for his claims. Babourin said any RF politician making such plans, tantamount to a "crime," is "a political corpse," and put forward his own plan, giving a priority to "political measures" that must neutralize any attempts to doubt RF sovereignty over the isles. "Russia's position must be extremely tough," he added.

9. Japan Relations to US and PRC

Nezavisimaia gazeta's Stanislav Petrov ("HASHIMOTO BETWEEN BEIJING AND WASHINGTON," Moscow, 2, 9/10/97) reported on Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's official visit to the PRC. The visit was marred from the start by allegations made by Japanese "Suykan Bunson" magazine wherein Ryutaro Hashimoto was portrayed as an immoral person and "an agent of Chinese special services." The major task of the visit was to assure the PRC there's no threat posed to it by extension of the US-Japan security treaty of 1978. As admitted by Japanese Premier himself, the task remained incomplete. The PRC still believes that were it to use force against Taiwan, Japan will assist the US Armed Forces with supplies and transportation services.

10. RF-DPRK Agricultural Links

Segodnya's ("RUSSIAN AGRARIANS WILL PROVIDE SEEDS AID TO KOREANS," Moscow, 3, 9/20/97) reported that a delegation of the Agrarian Party of Russia will visit the DPRK on an invitation from the Korean Workers' Party. Valeriy Tkanov, APR Deputy Chairman responsible for international links, said the visit is to facilitate RF-DPRK cooperation in view of the DPRK's bad agricultural situation. "A humanitarian assistance, with seeds in particular, is possible," he added.

11. DPRK Harvest Prospects

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("A PHOTOGRAPH FOR A LUNCH," Moscow, 4, 9/20/97) reported that Song Sung-p'hir, DPRK Ambassador to Moscow, told a RF ITAR-TASS correspondent that the 1997 DPRK harvest will be "significantly lower than expected" due to a severe drought aggravated by storms. Song Sung-p'hir stressed, though, that a difficult agricultural situation in no way will affect the domestic social and political climate. In the DPRK "no social instability is possible. The more numerous the difficulties, the more monolithically the people consolidate around the leader," he said. Segodnya's author recalled the late Kim Il-sung's methods of encouraging the DPRK population, and observed that his son Kim Jong-il is less successful, as testified by "the total famine" and "North Koreans eating not only grass .... but leaves and bark as well." The present leader seemingly intends to continue using "magic incantations, illusions and hocus-pocus from his father's stockpile," Segodnya's author concluded.

12. Kim Jong-il Ascension

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("'GREAT LEADER' STILL REMAINED 'GREAT LEADER'," Moscow, 4, 9/12/97) reported that there are rumors DPRK "Great Leader" Kim Jong-il might at last be proclaimed the ruling Korean Workers' Party (KWP) General Secretary at the 10/10/97 celebrations of the founding of the KWP, and then will formally assume the position of the head of state on the 50th anniversary of DPRK in September next year. It should be recalled that initially Kim Jong-il's "strange" reluctance to assume the formal positions inherited from the late Kim Il-sung was explained by the traditional need for a son first to mourn his father for between 100 days and three years. With three years expired, some expected the inauguration were to take place on 9/9/97 at the 49th DPRK anniversary celebration. Lately, DPRK Foreign Minister Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-il's half-brother Chung Sung-t'haek have hinted to the outside world that now there are no obstacles between Kim Jong-il and the formal titles of power, but many doubt this assertion, speculating that Kim Jong-il lacks control over the Party and the Army or is in bad health. Segodnya's author argued that each day of "vacillation" might spell a tragedy, as the country's present economic crisis may quickly evolve into a political chaos.

13. RF Media on PRC Communist Party Congress

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("'I AM NEITHER A CONSERVATIVE, NOR A REFORMER'," Moscow, 4, 9/13/97) reported on the opening of the 15th CCP Congress. Although the first Congress without Deng Xiaoping, the name of "the architect of reforms" was mentioned 60 times in PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin's more than two hour long speech at the Congress. By contrast, Mao Zedong was mentioned only 18 times. That was a perfect demonstration of "the golden median" adhered to by Deng Xiaoping, a self-admitted "neither a conservative, nor a reformer." Jiang Zemin seemly follows that rule. The PRC Chairman promised the PRC will never strive for a hegemony and plans to reduce its armed forces by half a million in three years, but warned it "cannot make a commitment" not to use force against Taiwan. The fight against corruption actually was the sole field where Jiang Zemin made no use of the "golden median" rule. No reservations and exclusions are admissible here, otherwise "the CCP would lose the people's support and trust," he said.

Izvestia's Aleksandr Platkovskiy ("PARTY MEMBERS ARE URGED TO CONSOLIDATE THEMSELVES AROUND THE CC," Moscow, 3, 9/19/97) reported that on the final day of the 15th CCP Congress in Beijing the speakers stressed that protection of stability remains the main condition of successful continuation of reforms in the PRC. At the same time it was reported that PRC censors removed some pages containing foreign reaction to the Congress from the "South China Morning Post" and "International Herald Tribune" sold in Beijing. It is believed that a major propaganda campaign of explanation of the decisions taken is sure to be started soon and it will be carried out according to specifics of the audiences, be it workers, directors or the military.

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("POLITBURO SUFFERS LOSSES IN THE FIGHT FOR CHINA'S DEMOCRATIZATION," Moscow, 4, 9/19/97) reported that Jiang Zemin, 71, newly elected to the position of the CCP CC General Secretary, at the closing ceremony of the 15th CCP Congress, called it "the Congress of Consolidation and Victories." Segodnya's author commented that the most important fact is that Jiang Zemin's political rivals lost to him on a "democratic procedure" basis. The removal from the Central Committee by vote of Ziao Shi, speaker of the parliament, Politburo Permanent Committee member and generally considered until now the PRC's third-ranking official, is the biggest sensation in this respect. On the whole the CC elections have consolidated a domination of Jiang Zemin's so-called "Shanghai clan." The rivals have lost, the "golden median" rule taught by Confucius is broken, and such an imbalance has always been considered dangerous.

Nezavisimaia gazeta's Stanislav Petrov ("JIANG ZEMIN BEYOND COMPETITION," Moscow, 1, 9/20/97) reported that the 15th CCP Congress elections to the Central Committee resulted in a land- slide victory of Jiang Zemin, PRC Chairman and CCP CC General Secretary, over his opponents, primarily the parliament's speaker Ziao Shi who was not elected even to the CC. "Jiang Zemin not just consolidated his power, he became the most powerful Chinese leader" and it is expected he will forge an alliance with PRC State Council Premier Li Peng, who is set to become the parliament's speaker. However, although Li Peng has been considered the "most pro-Moscow specialist among the Chinese" who studied in the former USSR, "Moscow should not delude itself," because the main task as formulated by Jiang Zemin is to create "strong socialist China."

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Wade Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Choi Chung-moon:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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