The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Monday, September 29, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Named Threat to US

United Press International ("IRAN, IRAQ, N.KOREA TOP U.S. THREATS," Washington, 9/29/97) reported that the US Department of Defense 1997 National Military Strategy assessment named the DPRK, along with Iran and Iraq, as the countries with "both the desire and means to challenge the United States militarily." The document, the result of a year-long examination of the global strategic environment, warned that "numerous other regional powers" are emerging threats, but did not elaborate.

2. DPRK Nuclear Threat

The Associated Press ("IRAQ MAY STILL BE HIDING NUKES," Vienna, Austria, 9/29/97) reported that Hans Blix, the outgoing head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, told the agency's 41st annual conference Monday that it has been impossible to verify whether the DPRK has provided a complete inventory on its plutonium supplies. The plutonium inventories are monitored to try to determine whether nuclear material is being diverted from peaceful to military use. Delegates from the ROK, Japan and the European Union expressed concern over the DPRK's refusal to comply with the agency. Only the US delegation, led by Secretary of Energy Federico Pena, spoke of any cooperation with DPRK. Blix also warned that Iraq may still be hiding nuclear weapons despite years of intensive inspections and monitoring.

3. Effects of DPRK Famine Conditions

Reuters ("U.S. AMBASSADOR CONCERNED ON NORTH KOREA," Washington, 9/29/97) reported that US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson said Sunday that massive starvation in the DPRK means its military forces are aggressive, and so the US must remain vigilant. "The situation is serious there. We have to watch it," Richardson said on NBC television's "Meet the Press" program. International relief organizations have documented "very, very massive starvation," he said, adding that the food situation now was "desperate." "We are concerned about aggressiveness on the part of the North Korean military," Richardson said in response to questions. "But this is why we have four-party peace talks with us, the Chinese, South Korea, North Korea that would change the strategic outline in the Korean peninsula." He added that despite the breakdown in the official four-party talks process, discussions continue "at a more junior level with the North Koreans" in New York.

4. ROK Position on Landmines

The Associated Press ("SKOREA TO EXTEND MINE MORATORIUM," United Nations, 9/29/97) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha, in a speech to the UN General Assembly Monday, announced that the ROK will extend indefinitely its moratorium on exporting anti-personnel mines, but added that the ROK cannot accept the international treaty banning those weapons because of tensions with the DPRK. Yoo said the ROK "has decided to extend for an indefinite period its moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines, which was to expire at the end of the year." Yoo acknowledged the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines, but said the ROK would continue to join the US in refusing to accept the recently negotiated treaty banning those mines because it does not exempt the Korean peninsula.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK View of US-Japan Military Guidelines

The DPRK official news agency, KCNA, quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry official as saying that the new guidelines for US-Japanese military cooperation are aimed at "attaining their wild design to gain supremacy over Asia by means of military solution," and that the DPRK would take "self-defensive measures." "It is no secret that the guidelines are, in essence, a scenario of aggressive war jointly invented by the United States ... and Japan," the statement said. The official, who was not identified, said the DPRK was a major target of the military plans, but did not spell out what "self-defensive measures" would be undertaken. (Korea Times, "NK ATTACKS US-JAPAN MILITARY GUIDELINE," 09/29/97)

2. DPRK Defection

A DPRK man defected to the ROK Saturday via a third country, the ROK Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) announced. The agency identified the man as Kim Chong-chol, 27, and said he escaped from the DPRK to an unidentified third country in February. Kim was quoted as saying that he worked as a laborer and driver after being discharged from the DPRK Army as a sergeant. (Korea Times, "NORTH KOREAN MAN DEFECTS TO SOUTH VIA THIRD COUNTRY," 09/29/97)

3. Japanese Aid to DPRK

Japan plans to provide the DPRK with 70, 000 tons of rice, a change from its previous reluctance due to a host of unresolved bilateral issues, the Daily Yomirui reported Sunday. The rice will be sent as part of a UN humanitarian relief package rather than as bilateral aid. A possible breakthrough was made earlier this month when the DPRK and Japan signed an accord on allowing the first-ever home visits by Japanese spouses of DPRK men. Under the agreement, a first group of between 10 and 15 Japanese women will arrive in Japan some time in early October for a one-week visit. Some officials of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had suggested that Japan provide about US$27 million worth of rice to the DPRK, surpassing the US$26 million worth already offered by the ROK. (Korea Times, "JAPAN PLANS TO GIVE NK 70,000 TONS OF RICE:REPORT," 09/29/97)

4. ROK-PRC Fishing Jurisdiction Discussions

Working-level officials from the ROK and the PRC discussed a temporary fisheries agreement between the two countries in Seoul Sunday, focusing on the waters to be covered by their fisheries accord and a joint management sea area envisaged in a recent Japan-PRC agreement. The ROK delegation reiterated its assertion that the proposed PRC-Japan joint management area in the East China Sea should not affect existing ROK fishermen's rights. The PRC's proposal of a temporary agreement to draw up the boundaries between their respective 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs) marked a departure from its earlier reluctance to concluding a fisheries accord with the ROK, which has complained that PRC fishing boats are depleting maritime resources in its waters. (Korea Herald, "KOREAN, CHINESE OFFICIALS DISCUSS TEMPORARY FISHING AGREEMENT," 09/28/97)

5. ROK-USFK Agreement on US Bases

The ROK and US Forces Korea (USFK) have neared an agreement on the return to the ROK of almost 1,570 acres of land ceded to US troops here for use as bases or training grounds. The ROK Defense Ministry and the USFK last week signed an agreement to conduct cost estimates to relocate Camp Hialeah, a US military logistics base, to the suburbs of the port city. "Both Korean and US negotiators are doing their best to reach an agreement on the proposed return or relocation of US military bases and training sites by mid-November, when the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) is slated for Seoul," the ROK Defense Ministry official said. (Korea Herald, "KOREA, USFK NEAR AGREEMENT ONRETURN, RELOCATION OF U.S. BASES," 09/28/97)

6. ROK Students Join DPRK Party

Spy charges have been levied against several ROK students, already accused of radical student activism, as investigators belatedly discovered they were covert members of the DPRK Workers' Party, ROK security authorities said. Pae Yun-ju and Chi Un-ju, both 28-year-old graduates of Donga University, stand accused of engaging in student militant activity and joining the Communist party. Security officials said Pae and Chi received 8 million won and 2.3 million won respectively as "spying funds" after an initiation ceremony during their visit to Japan in 1994. (Korea Herald, "STUDENTS ACCUSED OF JOINING NORTH KOREAN PARTY," 09/28/97)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

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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