The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Tuesday, October 14, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Trade Relations

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA AUTHORIZES FIVE COMPANIES TO INVEST IN N. KOREA," Seoul, 10/14/97) reported that the ROK government on Tuesday authorized the state-run Korea Land Corporation to build an industrial park in the DPRK's Rajin-Sonbong free trade zone. The government also approved plans by four private companies to do business or invest in the free trade zone for general trading, building fishing and logistical facilities, and manufacturing bicycles. The action brought to 26 the total number of ROK firms that have been authorized to do business or invest in the DPRK.

2. DPRK-PRC Relations

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("CHINA SENDS HIGH-LEVEL MILITARY MISSION TO N. KOREA - REPORT," Beijing, 10/14/97) reported that the PRC's state-run Xinhua News Agency said that a delegation of the People's Liberation Army left Tuesday for the DPRK on the first high-level visit by PRC officials since Kim Jong-il's appointment as Secretary General of the Workers Party.

3. US Position on ROK Presidential Elections

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("U.S. DECLARES NEUTRALITY IN S. KOREA ELECTIONS," Seoul, 10/14/97) reported that the US Embassy in Seoul issued a statement at the request of the ROK's Foreign Ministry which said, "We do not favor any candidate over any other" in the upcoming ROK presidential election. "U.S. government policy on the (South Korean) election has been clear, firm and consistent: it is entirely up to the people of Korea to select their president," the statement said. [Ed. note: See "Four Party Peace Talks," in the US Section of the October 13 Daily Report.]

4. ROK President's Son Convicted

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof , "SEOUL'S MIGHTY, ONCE IMMUNE, NOW FEEL THE ARM OF THE LAW," Tokyo, 10/14/97) carried an analysis which argued that the conviction of ROK President Kim Young-sam's son for bribery and tax evasion "at one level ... underscored the corruption of Korean politics and the trades of favors and money among politicians and tycoons. But at a broader level, what was most astonishing was not that graft occurred, ... but rather that anyone so close to a president should actually be sentenced to prison for it." The article quoted chief judge Sohn Ji-yeol as saying "Some members of the Korean public view this as a political trial or a trial of public opinion. But we have adhered strictly to the law in carrying out this trial."

The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, " S. KOREA SPLIT ON SENTENCING OF PRESIDENT'S SON," Seoul, 10/14/97) carried an analysis which said that, while to some ROK citizens, the conviction of President Kim Young-sam's son is proof that the ROK is finally learning the rule of law, to others he is "a scapegoat for a changing Korean political culture that is retroactively applying new standards of accountability." The report quoted Han Sang Jin, a professor at Seoul National University, as saying that the conviction "is unprecedented in our history. It has enormous and threatening repercussions, I think, to both the ruling party and opposition politicians." [Ed. note: See related item in ROK section below.]

5. Land Mines in ROK

The Los Angeles Times carried an editorial ("THE CASE FOR A KOREA EXCEPTION: U.S. STANCE ON LAND MIND TREATY IS BASED ON VALID CONCERNS," 10/14/97) which argued that the US refusal to sign the global treaty banning the use of land mines "is by no means as uncaring as some critics would have it." The editorial said that, in the case of the ROK, "an exception [to the ban] is warranted, since virtually no unintended threat to Korean civilians would have been involved. Indeed, mining along the narrow north-south invasion routes would work to slow down and break up a North Korean attack and so help save lives, civilian as well as military."

6. US-PRC Nuclear Cooperation

The Wall Street Journal (Eduardo Lachica, "U.S., CHINA WORK TO REVIVE LONG-DORMANT NUCLEAR PACT," Washington, 10/14/97) reported that US officials and nuclear-industry executives said that the PRC already has met three of US President Bill Clinton's conditions for certifying its eligibility to buy US-made nuclear reactors. The US State Department believes that the PRC has honored its May 1996 promise not to assist any Pakistani nuclear facilities that are not covered by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency's guidelines, the report said. In addition, the PRC appeared to have satisfied another of the US conditions when it recently indicated its intention to join the Zanger Committee, an international forum for monitoring nuclear trade. Also, the PRC last month issued a set of regulations for controlling the export of nuclear equipment and materials, according to Westinghouse executives. Two issues remain unsettled, however. First of all, the US insists that the PRC cut off all its support for Iran's nuclear activities. Secondly, the US wants the PRC to regulate its shipments of so-called "dual-use" technology, which could have both civilian and military applications.

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "U.S. OFFERS DEAL TO STOP CHINA'S IRAN NUKE SALES," 10/14/97) reported that the US hopes to conclude an agreement with the PRC to halt missile cooperation with Iran and to restrict sales of nuclear equipment to facilities not subject to international inspection, according to US administration officials. The PRC has refused to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which restricts such sales, but is expected to announce its adherence to the Group's pact at the upcoming US-PRC summit, the officials said. An unnamed senior White House official involved in nonproliferation issues said, "Obviously both sides would like to be in a position to announce that we're proceeding with the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement at the summit, but we've not yet finished." The PRC has said it suspended some nuclear projects with Iran, and reports indicate that PRC involvement in a nuclear "conversion" facility has been halted, the official said. "We would view those as extremely positive steps," he said. "We have been concerned about Chinese assistance to Iran's missile program," the official said, but added "We're not as concerned about the Chinese role as we are about the Russian role."

7. PRC President's Visit to US

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA CALLS FOR CLOSER TIES WITH U.S. ," Beijing, 10/14/97) and the AP-Dow Jones News Service ("CHINA: U.S. VISIT FOR PRESIDENT JIANG OCT 26 TO NOV 2," Beijing, 10/14/97) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement Tuesday which announced that the dates of PRC President Jiang Zemin's visit to the US will be from October 26 to November 2. Jiang is scheduled to be in Washington on October 29 for a summit with President Clinton. "The most important aim of this trip is for the leaders to jointly establish guidelines for a relationship orientated to the 21st century," Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said. "China and the U.S. have different views on many issues ... but these should not be obstacles to a strong and healthy relationship," he added. "We want to convey the message that China and the United States, as the biggest developing and developed nations, and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, should work together," Shen said. The official China Daily said that the PRC indicated Tuesday that it may also team up with the US to fight global warming.

8. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Washington Times (Gus Constantine, "TAIWAN OFFICIAL CALLS BEIJING 'UNSTABLE'," Washington, 10/14/97) reported that Jason Hu, Taiwan's chief representative in the US, said that in spite of moves by PRC President Jiang Zemin to consolidate his rule in the past eight months, "radicals and pragmatists [still] struggle to have their views prevail," particularly on the speed at which economic reforms should go forward. "The next three to five years will be critical for continued peace and prosperity in Asia," said Hu, who returns to Taiwan this week to take up a new post as Taiwan's foreign minister. Hu added, "China's leadership represents perhaps the most unstable element in the Asia-Pacific region and the struggle could affect Taiwan." Hu said that the PRC "has never relinquished its effort to suffocate us. Therefore our effort to expand our international activities is a question of our survival." Asked whether Taiwan is seeking to assert its sovereignty, Hu declared that the Republic of China "has exercised sovereignty since ... 1912." Regarding the new Guidelines on US-Japan Security Cooperation, Hu denied that they referred specifically to Taiwan, saying, "The guidelines are not geographically specific."

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-Japan Relations

Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi said that he felt there have been some favorable signs from the DPRK that it is easing its position towards Japan. The minister especially noted that the DPRK media referred to the Japanese Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto using his full name and official title, unlike in the past. Also, the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency reported that Japan decided to provide the DPRK with US$27 million of food aid via the UN World Food Program. Japan also plans to donate 1.1 million Swiss francs (US$770,000) to the DPRK through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for medicine and medical equipment. (Korea Times, "JAPAN SEES FAVORABLE SIGNS FROM NORTH KOREA," 10/12/97)

2. DPRK-Taiwan Trade Offices

The Hong Kong Times on the Monday reported that the DPRK and Taiwan agreed to establish a trading office in late December. Chairman Lee Deung-ryang of the Public Export-Import Center in Taipei said, "Both sides agreed to sign an investment protection agreement and a double-tax prevention agreement through this office." The office will officially open starting next year. (Joong Ang Ilbo, "NORTH KOREA AND TAIWAN AGREE TO OPEN TRADE OFFICE," 10/14/97)

3. ROK Missile Purchases

The ROK Defense Ministry yesterday announced it had decided to purchase French-made Mistral portable missiles instead of US Stinger and British Starburst missiles. The ministry said it will buy slightly more than 1,000 of the French missiles worth 250 billion won (US$275 million) by 1999 in a program to procure short-range anti-aircraft missiles. (Korea Herald, "SOUTH KOREA SELECTS FRENCH MISTRAL MISSILES OVER US STINGER," 10/14/97) [Ed. note: See also "ROK Military Spending" in the ROK Section of the September 5 Daily Report.]

4. ROK President's Son Convicted

A Seoul court found Kim Hyun-chul, son of ROK President Kim Young-sam, guilty of bribery and tax evasion for receiving 6.6 billion won from 6 businessmen. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was fined 1.44 billion won, plus an additional 520 million won of supplementary charges. The prosecution had sought 7 years imprisonment, 1.5 billion won of fines and an additional charge of 3.27 billion won. (Joong Ang Ilbo, "KIM HYUN CHUL SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON," 10/14/97)

5. ROK Airforce Crash

Samsung Aerospace said that the September 18 crash of two ROK Air Force KF-16 fighter jets was the result of a ruptured fuel supply duct. A design error or defective part is to blame. The engine parts were provided by Pratt & Whitney, which means, if proved true, Pratt & Whitney will be held accountable for the loss of the two fighters, each priced at 32 billion won. (Korea Times, "DEFECTIVE PARTS CAUSE OF KF-16 CRASHES:SAMSUNG," 10/14/97) [Ed. note: See "ROK Air Force" in the ROK Section of the October 1 Daily Report.]

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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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