The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, October 3, 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 Nuclear Program

The Associated Press-Dow Jones News Service ("IRAQ, N KOREA COME UNDER FIRE FROM U.N.'S ATOMIC AGENCY" Vienna, 10/3/97) reported that the ROK delegate to the 41st annual conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Sook Il-Kwun, called on the conference to take a firm stance against the DPRK for withholding information on its nuclear program. Delegates were reportedly particularly concerned that the DPRK might be destroying documents about its program, without which an initial report on the country's nuclear materials cannot be verified.

2. DPRK Missile Sales to Iran

The New York Times carried an opinion article (Thomas L. Friedman, "MISSILE MYOPIA," 10/2/97) regarding Iran's attempt to acquire long-range missiles. The article said that in 1993 the DPRK provided Iran with blueprints, and possibly a single copy, of the No-dong class of Scud missile. However DPRK aid to Iran has since tailed off.

3. Kim Jong-il's Accession

The Associated Press (Robert H. Reid, "N. KOREA: KIM JONG [sic] WILL HEAD PARTY," United Nations, 10/3/97) reported that DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su-hon told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that "the nomination process is going on in my country to elect the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea." Choe said that Kim's elevation would demonstrate "the firm will and conviction of our people" to carry on the policies of his late father, Kim Il-sung. The vice foreign minister said the DPRK people were able to overcome their grief over the founder's death "because they hold in high esteem another great leader, General Kim Jong Il, an iron-willed brilliant commander."

4. DPRK Warns of Possible War

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA SAYS WAR POSSIBLE 'AT ANY MOMENT'," United Nations, 10/2/97) reported that DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su-hon told the UN General Assembly Thursday the situation on the Korean peninsula was tense, and "a war could break out at any moment due to the attempts of the U.S., Japan and South Korean authorities against our socialist republic." He said that "In recent years alone, the United States introduced over $3 billion worth of war equipment into South Korea," The US has also been conducting joint military exercises more frequently than ever before and "even directing the gunpoints of the U.S. forces in Japan and the Pacific Fleet" towards the DPRK, he added. To ease the tension and avert the danger of war, the US should "abandon its hostile policy against our republic and sign a peace agreement" with the DPRK, he said.

5. Land Mines on Korean Peninsula

The Washington Times (Willis Witter, "KOREA PREFERS LAND MINES TO INVASION BY NORTH," Yonchon, ROK, 10/3/97) carried an article which said that US and ROK military commanders in the ROK consider the danger of civilian casualties from land-mine explosions minimal, and that the devices are necessary to protect against a possible DPRK invasion. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Sweeney, who commands the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, argued, "Land mines buy you time. Right now, we don't have anything to replace them." The mines used today in the ROK are placed well away from civilians and in marked areas, and include "smart bombs" which deactivate after a certain period, he said. In the early 1980s, ROK troops cleared some fields as they turned areas over to farmers for the first time since the Korean war, and numerous casualties were caused by buried mines that were missed. However Jim Coles, a spokesman for the UN Command in Seoul, said that the only civilian casualty this decade occurred four years ago when a woman wandered into an area of Korean War-era mines outside Taesongdong.

6. US Navy Head to Visit PRC

Associated Press ("NAVY CHIEF TO VISIT CHINA FOR MILITARY TALKS," Washington 10/3/97) reported that Admiral Jay L. Johnson, the chief of US naval operations, left Thursday for a five-day visit to the PRC, where he will meet with top PRC military leaders and observe naval training at sea. Johnson plans to meet with General Chi Haotian, minister of defense; General Fu Quanyou, the chief of the general staff; and top People's Liberation Army naval commanders.

7. US Sales of Nuclear Material to the PRC

The Associated Press (Martin Crutsinger, "US MAY SELL CHINA NUKE TECHNOLOGY," Washington, 10/3/97) quoted US Commerce Secretary William Daley as saying that the possible sale of US nuclear power technology is on the agenda for upcoming meetings with PRC officials. "Our companies are at the cutting edge of technology in nuclear energy," he said. "We fully understand the need to check the proliferation of (nuclear) material, but at the same time, we would like to be in a position of advocating on behalf of U.S. businesses." Daley will be the third top administration official to visit the PRC in preparation for the visit of PRC President Jiang Zemin to Washington later this month. Daley said the administration has made no final decision on the sale of nuclear technology to the PRC. But congressional sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was a growing likelihood that Clinton will make a favorable announcement during Jiang's visit. Daley said one of the issues he would raise in his meetings was what further assurances the PRC government might be willing to provide that it is implementing proper safeguards against nuclear proliferation. [Ed. Note: See also Los Angeles Times, Jim Mann, "U.S. LIKELY TO OK NUCLEAR POWER DEALS WITH CHINA TRADE," Washington, 10/3/97]

The New York Times carried an editorial ("TOO SOON TO SELL REACTORS TO CHINA," 10/3/97) arguing that "Despite recent promises to exercise restraint, China remains the only nuclear- weapons state selling material and technology to countries that close some of their nuclear installations to international inspectors." Therefore the Times said that "President Clinton should resist the pleas of diplomats eager to improve relations with Beijing and of exporters . . . looking to tap the $2 billion Chinese nuclear market" and "should keep current restrictions in place until China shows responsibility on its own nuclear exports." The Times argued that the PRC's desire to expand its nuclear power program provides the US with leverage to induce the PRC to tighten its export restraints. "That leverage can be deftly used by promising an early lifting of the American export restrictions once tighter Chinese controls are established and verifiably in place," the editorial said.

8. US Plans Laser Test on Satellite

The New York Times (William J. Broad, "LASER TO BE TEST FIRED AT WORKING U.S. SATELLITE," Washington, 10/3/97) reported that the US Defense Department said Thursday that Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has approved firing the nation's most powerful military laser at a US$60 million Air Force satellite to test the laser's destructive power. The test is expected to take place in New Mexico in the next few days, weather permitting. Military officials say it will be the first time that a laser beam has been fired through space to test its potential for destruction. The officials said the experiment's aim was to learn the extent to which enemy lasers on the ground could blind or destroy US satellites in orbit, in hope that the knowledge thus gained can then be used to reduce their vulnerability. Lieutenant Col. Bob Potter of the Air Force, a Pentagon spokesman, said, "There's absolutely no intention to use the laser for offensive purposes. . . . The purpose of this experiment is to collect data that will help improve computer models used for planning the protection of U.S. satellites." However, Senator Tom Harkin said, "This laser test is both unnecessary and provocative," arguing that the demonstration of advances in anti-satellite capabilities "would seriously harm our nation's international arms-control interests and could well encourage such developments by other countries." [See also "US Plans Laser Test on Satellite" in the US Section of the September 1 Daily Report]

II. Republic of Korea

1. Funding for DPRK Reactors

ROK Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O-kie told the ROK National Assembly Wednesday that the ROK will not bear alone the estimated US$5 billion burden of building nuclear reactors in the DPRK. In an inspection of the Ministry of National Unification, lawmakers on the National Assembly's Reunification and Foreign Affairs Committee took issue with the ongoing reactor construction by the US-led Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Opposition party lawmakers argued that the US should share the burden, pointing to the fact that the provision of nuclear reactors is in exchange for the freezing of DPRK nuclear arsenal developments. (Korea Herald, Nam In-soo, "KOREA THREATENS TO ABANDON REACTOR PROJECT," 10/02/97)

2. ROK President Warns against DPRK "Crisis"

President Kim Young-sam, in a speech at a ceremony marking the 49th Armed Forces Day on Wednesday, called the current DPRK situation a "crisis" and warned against possible armed provocation by the DPRK. Kim said that the serious DPRK food shortage and continuing defections by DPRK citizens show that the contradictions in the DPRK regime are extreme. "There is no way of knowing when and what kind of provocation the DPRK will perpetrate in order to escape from such a crisis," the President said. (Korea Herald, "KIM BLASTS NORTH KOREA FOR CONTINUED MILITARY BUILDUP," 10/02/97) [Ed. note: See also "ROK PRESIDENT CALLS FOR STRONG DEFENSE" in the US Section of the October 2 Daily Report]

3. No Amnesty for Ex-Presidents

ROK President Kim Young-sam is not considering granting amnesty to former senior officials and politicians who have been convicted since the inauguration of the his government in early 1993, a top Chong Wa Dae official said yesterday. The official made the comments in response to news reports speculating that President Kim, who is expected to pardon 23 businessmen on National Foundation Day (Friday), may grant another amnesty to convicted former government officials and politicians, including the former Presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo. Lee Hoi- chang, presidential candidate of the New Korea Party (NKP), had suggested last month that President Kim pardon Chun and Roh at an early date, a move aimed at wooing votes from supporters of the two former Presidents. However, President Kim, while offering veiled agreement on the need to free the ex-Presidents, rejected the suggestion, saying that the time still is not right. (Korea Herald, "CHONG WA DAE DENIES SPECULATION ON SWEEPING AMNESTIES," 10/02/97)

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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
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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