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Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Wednesday, March 11, 1998, from Berkeley, California, USA

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I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. ROK-DPRK Red Cross Talks

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("NORTH, SOUTH KOREAN RED CROSS TO DISCUSS FOOD AID," Seoul, 03/11/98) reported that ROK officials said Wednesday that the DPRK Red Cross has agreed to meet with its ROK counterpart later this month to discuss food aid to the DPRK. The ROK Red Cross said that a site and exact date for the meeting have not been determined.

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2. ROK Comfort Women

The Associated Press ("S. KOREA TO AID FORMER SEX SLAVES," Seoul, 03/11/98) reported that ROK officials said Wednesday that the ROK plans to compensate women who were enslaved in Japanese army brothels in World War II, then seek to recover the money from Japan. Yang Mi-kang, a spokeswoman for 155 former sex slaves registered in the ROK, stated, "The aging women will be paid first before they die, and then the government will try to recover the money later from the Japanese government." The national news agency Yonhap quoted government sources as saying that the women each will receive about US$39,380 by mid-April. In December, Taiwan gave similar aid to its former "comfort women."

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3. ROK Cabinet

Reuters ("KOREA OPPOSITION ASKS COURT TO STOP PM APPOINTMENT," Seoul, 03/09/98) reported that Cho Hang-bok, deputy spokesman for the ROK's main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), said that the party on Tuesday asked the Constitutional Court to suspend President Kim Dae-jung's appointment of Kim Jong-pil as acting prime minister. The GNP asked the court to suspend Kim from carrying out the duties of prime minister and rule on the constitutionality of the appointment. The petition stated, "President Kim Dae-jung has invaded our rights as lawmakers to ratify the appointment of Kim Jong-pil as acting premier. Therefore, we are seeking the court's judgment nullifying the appointment." Cho said that the GN "will, by all means, yield to the court's decision."

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4. ROK Financial Crisis

The Associated Press ("S. KOREA FREES UP FOREIGN INVESTORS," Seoul, 03/11/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Wednesday that the ROK will immediately allow foreign investors to buy up to one-third of ROK companies' shares without getting the company's approval. Kim said that such reform will facilitate takeovers of ROK companies by foreigners and attract foreign investment.

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA SEEKS TO SWAP EXPORTS FOR IMPORTS WITH INDONESIA," Seoul, 03/11/98) reported that the ROK Ministry of Finance and Economy said Wednesday that it is considering a plan to swap its exports to Indonesia for imports of raw materials, as many exports and construction fees have not been paid.

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5. Taiwanese Missile Development

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("TAIWAN DEVELOPS NEW AIR-TO-SURFACE MISSILE - REPORT," Taipei, 03/11/98) reported that Taiwan's China Times said Wednesday that the Taiwanese military has completed development of an advanced air-to-surface missile, similar to the US Harpoon, with a range of at least 170 kilometers. The Hsiungfeng (Brave Wind) II missile uses the satellite Global Positioning System to acquire targets, and then turns to active radar guidance in the final stage before reaching its target. The missile is an advanced version of the Hsiungfeng II anti-ship missile developed by the military's Chungshan Institute and deployed aboard Taiwanese naval vessels and in coastal defense batteries.

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6. Nuclear Waste Shipment to Japan

The Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama, "JAPAN BARS SHIP CARRYING NUKE WASTE," Rokkasho, 03/11/98) reported that a British-flagged ship carrying 30 tons of nuclear waste remained anchored off the shore of the northern Japanese village of Rokkasho as Governor Morio Kimura refused it permission to dock. The ship had been scheduled to arrive early Tuesday with waste to be stored in Rokkasho. Kimura has demanded assurances from Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto that a permanent storage site for the waste will be built elsewhere. Anti-nuclear activists have argued that Rokkasho is a dangerous place for storage because it sits on at least two active earthquake faults.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-Russia Relations

Russia and the DPRK will begin bilateral talks in Pyongyang on March 10, the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Representatives of the two governments will discuss Russian aid to the DPRK, new intergovernmental treaties, and other issues. Russian officials said the question of Russian humanitarian aid, which may consist of petrol and diesel fuel as well as food, would not be the foremost issue at the talks. The director of the Russian foreign ministry's Asian department, Leonid Moiseyev, has said that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov may visit the DPRK capital later this year. Moiseyev told ITAR-Tass Saturday that the talks would be "very wide-ranging," although political issues would dominate. Russia and the DPRK are working on a new treaty to replace a pact on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance signed by the Soviet Union in 1961. Russia has said it does not plan to renew a clause promising Russian military aid in case of an attack on the DPRK. (Korea Times, "RUSSIA, DPRK TO HOLD TALKS," 03/11/98)

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2. ROK-Russian Relations

Russian military goods, including ten BMP-3 armored vehicles and ammunition, will arrive in the ROK March 11-13. The shipment, worth US$31 million, was arranged between the ROK and Russian governments as a means to settle ROK loans to Russia. Additional shipments of T-80U tanks and BMP-3 armored vehicles will be made in 1998 to settle US$210 million of Russian debt to the ROK. (Joongang Ilbo, "RUSSIA RESSTLES LOANS WITH ARMORED VEHICLES," 03/10/98)

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3. ROK-Japan Fisheries Talks

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto is to send an envoy to the ROK to discuss thorny issues regarding a fisheries pact with ROK officials, the foreign ministry said on March 9. The premier will send Seiichiro Noboru, head of the cabinet councilor's office on external affairs, to Seoul for a three-day visit starting March 11, a ministry official said. (Korea Times, "JAPANESE PREMIER SENDS ENVOY TO S. KOREA," 03/10/98)

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4. ROK Armed Forces

Admiral Yu Sam-nam, chief of ROK Naval Operations, in a rare public show of displeasure by a top military commander, made clear on March 10 his opposition to the planned military restructuring being spearheaded by the Army. "I am opposed to the restructuring of the Armed Forces into the general staff format, often dubbed as 'integrated forces,' because it will eliminate the unique characteristics of each branch and counters the ultimate aim of strengthening our war-waging capabilities," the top Navy man said in a luncheon meeting with defense correspondents. (Korea Times, Oh Young-jin, "NAVY CHIEF OPPOSES MILITARY REORGANIZATION," 03/11/98)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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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