The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Wednesday, October 8, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Kim Jong-il's Ascension

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA NAMES KIM JONG-IL AS PARTY CHIEF," Tokyo, 10/8/97) and the Associated Press (Reid G. Miller, "KIM JONG IL NEW N. KOREA LEADER," Seoul, 10/8/97) reported that the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency issued a special communique announcing that Kim Jong-il has been elected general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. Kim Jong-il "has strengthened and developed our party to be an invincible, veteran revolutionary party which enjoys full support and trust from all the people, has trained our people as an independent people with indomitable faith and will and has opened a new era of the Kim Il-sung nation's prosperity, with tireless revolutionary activities over the past 30 odd years," the communique said, adding that "the whole country raised cheers," at the news. ROK President Kim Young-sam said he expected no immediate major changes in the DPRK, and his government called on Pyongyang to "open up ... and build peace with the South." Ryoo Kihl-jae, a political science professor at Kyung-nam University's Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said, "The economy is [Kim Jong-il's] primary concern," adding that "North Korea will open more ... roughly following the trail of China." Ryoo said, "But I doubt North Korea will go as far as China has." Park June-young, a political scientist at Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, predicted, "Kim will try more aggressively to establish diplomatic ties with the United States and persuade Washington to remove the economic embargo against his country." Park added, "In short, North Korea under Kim Jong Il will be more confident in leading its society to openness in a tightly controlled manner." [Ed. note: See related item in ROK section below.]

Reuters ("CHINA CONGRATULATES N.KOREA'S KIM JONG-IL, Beijing, 10/8/97) said that PRC state radio reported that on Wednesday PRC Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin, in a message of congratulations to Kim Jong-il on his formal election to Secretary-General of the Workers Party of Korea, lauded the "historical and traditional friendship" between the PRC and the DPRK. The PRC's official news agency quoted Jiang's message as saying that Kim's formal accession would help carry on the ideas of his father Kim Il-sung. "The North Korean people, tightly uniting around the North Korean Workers' Party headed by you... will use firm will and determination to overcome all kinds of difficulties," Jiang said. He added, "Strengthening friendly cooperative relations [between the PRC and DPRK] has great significance for realizing peace, stability and development on the Korean Peninsula."

2. ROK-DPRK Aviation Pact

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("KOREAS SIGN OPEN-SKIES PACT, SHORTENING AIRLINES' ROUTES," Seoul, 10/8/97) reported that ROK officials said that on Wednesday the ROK and DPRK signed a treaty in Bangkok, Thailand, to open their skies to each other's commercial flights for the first time in half a century. The pact, which takes effect in February, also enables international airlines to fly shorter routes and save the fuel needed to detour around the skies over the border between the two Koreas. The DPRK reportedly wants to open a route that would link it to China and Japan, to rival the current route used by the ROK. It can also collect overflight fees worth up to US$5 million a year, officials said. [Ed. note: See related item in ROK section, below.]

3. Japan-DPRK Relations

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, "JAPAN MULLS FOOD AID, PARTY VISIT TO NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 10/7/97) reported that Japanese government sources said on Tuesday Japan may announce this week that it will send about US$27 million in food aid to the DPRK. The government sources said the decision on food aid had been delayed because of opposition from some Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members citing alleged abductions of Japanese citizens by DPRK agents. The LDP politicians, however, dropped their opposition to the food aid scheme after Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi promised to ask the United Nations to set up a panel to investigate the alleged abductions, a source said. The Socialist Democrats and the small Sakigake party have urged the government to send food. Also, the three parties in Japan's ruling alliance -- the (LDP), the Social Democratic Party and the Sakigake party -- announced they will soon send a joint delegation to Pyongyang, mainly to discuss the pending visit to Japan of a group of Japanese wives of DPRK citizens.

4. ROK Presidential Candidate Admits to Slush Fund

United Press International ("S.KOREA CANDIDATE ADMITS HIDING FUNDS," Seoul, 10/8/97) reported that Kim Dae-jung, presidential candidate of the ROK's leading opposition National Congress for New Politics, told party officials on Wednesday that he had his nephew, an executive at Dong-hwa Bank, manage secret funds for him. Kim was acknowledging claims made by the ruling New Korea Party one day earlier. Prosecutors said Tuesday Kim will not face charges for simply hiding money under other peoples names, but may be investigated for possibly accepting bribes or violating political funding laws. [Ed. note: See "ROK Presidential Elections" in the ROK section below.]

5. Search for Remains of US MIA's

The US Department of Defense (US Information Agency "DOD TEAM IN NORTH KOREA TO SEARCH FOR KOREAN WAR MIA'S" Washington, USIA Text, 10/7/97) on October 6 released the following statement regarding the search for the remains of American servicemen missing in action from the Korean War. [Ed. note: See related item in US Section of October 7 Daily Report.] "A Department of Defense team has arrived in North Korea to begin the fourth joint field operation to recover the remains of Americans missing in action from the Korean War. The American group is comprised of specialists from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii and from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office in Washington, D.C. They will conduct interviews with military officials and local residents to determine burial sites for American soldiers. In the three previous joint operations, remains believed to be those of six servicemen were repatriated in formal military ceremonies across the demilitarized zone at Panmunjom. The remains of one of these soldiers were identified and returned to his family for burial in 1996 with full military honors. At the urging of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office officials, the North Koreans have invited a small group of family and veteran's organization officials to visit the site of the joint operation. One representative each of the Korean/Cold War Family Association; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; the American Legion and the Chosin Few will depart the United States on Friday, Oct. 10, 1997. North Korean officials plan to host the group for about four days. A repatriation ceremony will be conducted at Panmunjom on Oct. 24, 1997 for any remains excavated during this operation."

6. PRC Weapons Sales

The Associated Press (Laura Myers, "CHINA-IRAN WEAPONS SALES TARGETED, Washington, 10/7/97) reported that Representative Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, called on the Clinton administration to press the PRC to stop selling any weapons to Iran before declaring that the PRC is cooperating on preventing the spread of nuclear arms. "Our members [of Congress] need to know that China is engaging in responsible nonproliferation behavior across the board, including all weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons," he said. Gilman suggested the US government use the promise of certification on the nuclear issue as leverage to obtain pledges from the PRC to stop exporting missile components and other weapons to Iran. But former US diplomat Robert Gallucci told Gilman's committee it would be unfair to put extra conditions on nuclear certification. Instead, he suggested US certification could be a step toward gaining future agreements with China to halt all its weapons sales to Iran and other nations considered rogue states. The US also could deny export licenses for US nuclear technology to the PRC if evidence surfaces the nation has violated its nonproliferation pledge. Gilman cautioned that the decision on certification "should not be driven by a desire of an administration to have a successful summit" with PRC President Jiang Zemin.

Reuters ("TOP U.S. NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR IN CHINA FOR TALKS," Beijing, 10/7/97) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang told reporters that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn was in Beijing for talks with PRC officials. The US embassy declined to give details of Einhorn's visit, but he is the key negotiator in talks with the PRC to put into effect a 1985 accord to allow American firms to export peaceful nuclear technology to the PRC.

7. Clinton-Jiang Summit

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("U.S.'S DALEY MEETS CHINA'S JIANG, SAYS CLINTON AWAITS VISIT," Beijing, 10/8/97) and Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, "U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY IN CHINA FOR TRADE TALKS," Beijing, 10/7/97) reported that on Wednesday US Commerce Secretary William Daley met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin to discuss the latter's upcoming visit to the US, as well as trade issues. Daley told Jiang, "President Clinton is very much looking forward to your visit to Washington," and added, "One of President Clinton's goals is to encourage China's full and responsible integration into the global economic and political system. We intend to engage the Chinese, not withdraw from the challenge these goals offer." Daley said, "The United States has a huge stake in the continued and successful emergence of China as an economically open and politically stable power." The PRC's Xinhua News Agency reported that PRC Trade Minister Wu Yi praised the general improvement in Sino-US relations, saying Daley's visit would "inject new impetus."

8. Taiwanese Diplomacy

Reuters ("CHINA WARNS EUROPE OVER TAIWAN OFFICIAL'S TRIP," Beijing, 10/7/97) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang warned European nations on Tuesday "not to let [Taiwanese Vice President] Lien Chan visit or it will bring very grave consequences to bilateral ties." Shen told reporters, "The Chinese government has no choice but to react strongly" since Lien's scheduled visit to Europe "is interference in China's internal affairs." Shen said Lien's trip was aimed at creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan." He said "I see the goal... is to damage the good relations between China and countries concerned. We are resolutely opposed to this." Shen stressed that Beijing was the sole, legitimate government of all China and that Taiwan was an inseparable part of China, urging Taiwan to abandon any dreams of independence. Shen called on Taiwan authorities to "react positively" to the PRC's offer to hold political talks. [Ed. note: See related item in ROK section, below.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. Kim Jong-il's Ascension

Munwha Broadcasting Corporation (MBC Evening News, 10/08/97) reported that the Korean Central News Agency said that the central committee of the DPRK Workers Party and the Central Military Committee recommended the appointment of "Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong-il" to the position of General Secretary of the DPRK Workers Party. The party began this procedure on September 24 at the party representative meeting in Pyongnam Province, and the campaign subsequently expanded to 12 city and provincial committees as well as other government organizations. However, Kim has yet to assume the State presidency. Experts in the ROK predicted no great changes in the DPRK's policies for the time being. ROK President Kim Young-sam warned ROK citizens not to expect great changes in the DPRK and to remain alert to its unchanging antagonism. Japanese media reported on the possibilities of a faster realization of diplomatic relations, while Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was reported as sending a congratulatory message to Kim Jong-il.

2. Nuclear Inspection of DPRK

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the closing of its annual convention held in Vienna, Austria, on Friday adopted a resolution to inspect DPRK nuclear facilities. The resolution expressed concern that Pyongyang does not carry out safety precautions for its facilities and urged it to do so. It also called on the DPRK to preserve information related to nuclear activities in the past. The IAEA passed a similar resolution last year. (Chosun Ilbo, "IAEA DECIDES TO INSPECT NK NUCLEAR FACILITIES," 10/04/97)

3. KEDO Construction Resumes

Construction work on the DPRK light water reactor project resumed Monday, after its suspension by the DPRK September 30 following the discovery of a discarded DPRK newspaper carrying a picture of Kim Jong-il. Chang Son-sop, chief of the planning group confirmed that work had restarted with the return of 46 DPRK workers to the site. (Chosun Ilbo, "KEDO CONSTRUCTION RESUMES IN THE DPRK," 10/07/97) [Ed. note: See "Light Water Reactor Construction Project" in the US Section of the October 6 Daily Report.]

4. Unification Cost

The Korea Research Institute for Social Health today released a report which estimated the cost of maintaining basic welfare after a possible unification as 8.9 trillion won (US$10 billion) per year. The cost would amount to 2.3 percent of the ROK's ordinary Gross Domestic Product and 15.2 percent of its total national budget for 1996, should the ROK bear the costs alone. The cost was estimated based on essential needs that DPRK people would require. The actual cost of unification is expected to be much higher since the costs of education, training, medical assistance, etc. were not included in the estimate. (Chosun Ilbo, "DPRK ASSISTANCE TO COST 8.9 TRILLION PER YEAR," 10/07/97)

5. ROK-DPRK Aviation Talks

The DPRK agreed to open its air space to all international civilian airlines including ROK national carriers at negotiations held at the regional office of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Bangkok Tuesday. According to an ROK Foreign Ministry official, an agreement on the construction of a communications network between control towers in Taegu and Pyongyang, which had been the main point of disagreement between the two Koreas, was successfully concluded. With the agreement, Seoul-US flights are expected to be shortened by 30 minutes. The new air route will be opened within the year, the official said. (Chosun Ilbo, "DPRK AGREES TO OPEN ITS AIR ROUTE," 10/08/97)

6. ROK Presidential Elections

Kang Sam-jae, Secretary General of the ROK's ruling New Korea Party (NKP), claimed Tuesday that Kim Dae-jung, leader of the major opposition National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), is in possession of a slush fund worth a total of 67 billion won. Kang demanded Kim's resignation from the presidential candidacy, immediate investigations into the slush fund, and the return of the funds to the national budget. Kim Dae-jung leads current presidential polls, followed by independent Rhee In-je and the NKP's Lee Hoi-chang. (Chosun Ilbo, "NKP EXPOSES KIM DAE-JUNG'S 67 BILLION WON SLUSH FUND," 10/08/97)

7. Taiwanese Diplomacy

Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan left for an unofficial visit to Europe Sunday night that is expected to draw protests from the PRC. Lien will first visit Iceland for five days, then France, Spain, Belgium and Holland. The plan also calls for him to stop over in Singapore on his way back to Taiwan. Lien will hold discussions on trade and politics with Iceland's Prime Minister David Oddson, Taiwan's Independence Evening News reported. Iceland is the only country in western Europe in which Taiwan doesn't operate a de-facto embassy. (Korea Times, "TAIWANESE VICE PRESIDENT VISITS 5 EUROPEAN NATIONS," 10/07/97)

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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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