The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, June 5, 1998, from Berkeley, California, USA

Policy Forum Online 17: Implications of South Asian Nuclear Tests

Photos: Nautilus Wind Energy Team Visits the DPRK.

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I. United States

II. Republic of Korea II. Japan

I. United States

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1. ROK Policy toward DPRK

Reuters ("S.KOREA KIM SAYS BUSINESS REFORMS UNSATISFACTORY," Seoul, 06/04/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Friday repeated previous pledges that the ROK would tolerate no armed provocation from the DPRK, would not try to undermine or absorb the DPRK, and would seek to promote exchanges and cooperation. He stated, "Our North Korea policies are supported by the three neighboring powers of Japan, China and Russia, as well as the United States and many other countries. I am not pessimistic at all about our relations with North Korea." He added that, during his upcoming visit to the US, "I will discuss the problems of building a closer cooperative system between the Republic of Korea and the United States and joint efforts to induce North Korea to openness."

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2. Kim Dae-jung's US Visit

The Associated Press ("S KOREAN PRES SEEKS AID, N KOREAN ENGAGEMENT FROM U.S. VISIT," Seoul, 06/05/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Friday that he will seek more economic assistance and propose a new policy of engagement toward the DPRK when he meets US President Bill Clinton next week. Kim leaves for the US on Saturday for a nine-day visit. Kim stated, "I will stress that Korea-U.S. relations should be developed beyond the partnership in security and trade to a new partnership on a higher level based on a shared belief in the principles of democracy and a free market economy." He added that he would not oppose a move by the US to ease or lift economic sanctions on the DPRK. He said that there were signs that the DPRK would change its hard-line policy toward the ROK, but he declined to elaborate.

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3. Alleged DPRK Kidnappings of Japanese

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA SAYS NO MISSING JAPANESE IN ITS TERRITORY," Seoul, 06/05/98) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said Friday that a lengthy investigation by DPRK Red Cross and government officials found no evidence that missing Japanese citizens are in its territory. A DPRK Red Cross spokesman stated, "The results of the search finally proved that the persons wanted by Japan do not exist in the DPRK territory and that they never entered nor temporarily stayed here."

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4. ROK Financial Crisis

Reuters ("S.KOREA KIM SAYS BUSINESS REFORMS UNSATISFACTORY," Seoul, 06/04/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Friday said that he was not satisfied with the reforms undertaken so far by the corporate sector. He stated, "The level of business reform has not been quite satisfactory so far, but I am confident that it will be carried out without major problems." However, he promised that, if all sectors of the country work together, "our economy will improve, and we will have overcome the foreign exchange crisis completely in the second half of next year. And from 2000, we will be able to make another leap forward to join the ranks of advanced nations." He also accused the majority opposition Grand National Party of refusing to cooperate for the sake of economic reform.

Dow Jones Newswires ("TWO FORMER SOUTH KOREAN ADVISERS FACE CHARGES OVER ROLE IN CRISIS," Seoul, 06/05/98) reported that ROK prosecutors indicted former Finance Minister Kang Kyong-shik and former presidential economic secretary Kim In-ho for allegedly lying to cover up their mishandling of the ROK economy. Their indictment was expected to be followed later this year by a separate National Assembly probe into the origins of the ROK financial crisis.

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5. ROK Labor Unrest

Dow Jones Newswires ("LABOR GROUP CALLS OFF STRIKE, AGREES TO TAKE PART IN TALKS," Seoul, 06/05/98) reported that the ROK's Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, reversing its earlier stance, called off a nationwide strike that had been set for next week and said it would take part in a new round of talks with government and business. Lee Kap-yong, head of the confederation, stated, "The confederation has decided to take part in the consultative body because the government promised to make efforts to reduce layoffs and punish employers committing illegal acts."

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6. ROK Elections

The Washington Post (Hyewook Cheong, "S. KOREAN VOTE INDICATES STRONG BACKING FOR KIM," Seoul, 06/05/98, A36) reported that the ROK's ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) captured at least 60 percent of the nationwide vote in regional elections held Thursday. NCNP candidates easily won the race for mayor of Seoul and the governorship of Kyonggi Province. Park Jai-chang, a professor at Sookmyung Women's University, stated, "The success in the regional elections will become the cornerstone in endorsing Mr. Kim's economic policies. Because the [ruling camp] picked up a majority of the seats, the defection process of opposition lawmakers is expected to accelerate."

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7. Five-Power Meeting on South Asian Tests

The Washington Post (Thomas W. Lippman, "NUCLEAR POWERS CONDEMN TESTS, URGE RESTRAINT ON INDIA, PAKISTAN," Geneva, 06/05/98, A35) the New York Times (Craig R. Whitney, "TOP U.N. MEMBERS URGE INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO END ARMS RACE," Geneva, 06/05/98), the Associated Press (Geir Moulson, "INDIA, PAKISTAN NOT IN NUCLEAR CLUB," Geneva, 06/05/98), and the Wall Street Journal (Robert S. Greenberger, "U.N. URGES INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO CEASE THEIR NUCLEAR TESTS," Geneva, 06/05/98) reported that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on Thursday issued a joint communique condemning the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. The communique called on India and Pakistan not to repeat the tests and offered to "provide assistance, at the request of both parties, in the development and implementation of confidence- and security-building measures." An unnamed senior official said that security-building measures could include the sharing of US monitoring and surveillance capability to lessen the danger of miscalculation between the two countries. The communique also said, "Notwithstanding their recent nuclear tests, India and Pakistan do not have the status of nuclear weapons states in accordance with the NPT [Non- Proliferation Treaty." US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said after the meeting, "There is no point worth making, no message worth sending, no interest worth securing that can possibly justify the risk" of nuclear war in South Asia. Meanwhile, an anonymous French official stated, "We are struck by the centrality of the Chinese problem for India." He added, "India is ready to stop testing and making fissionable materials and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but only if it is then treated by the other nuclear powers the same way as China. They say they have never transferred any nuclear technology to anybody else, unlike China, and yet they are being punished for developing nuclear weapons and China isn't."

The Associated Press ("INDIA SAYS IT WOULD REJECT OUTSIDE MEDIATION ON KASHMIR," New Delhi, 06/05/98) reported that an Indian government statement on Friday rejected any offer to help negotiate its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir as suggested by the foreign ministers of the five permanent UN Security Council members. The statement said, "There is no room for any outside involvement of any nature whatsoever in this process." It also accused the official nuclear powers of not observing their obligation under the Non Proliferation Treaty to curb clandestine transfer of technology that had resulted in threats to India's security. It also denied local newspaper reports that India had struck secret deals with Israel to promote its nuclear program, saying that the two nations do not have any nuclear or missile technology cooperation.

The Associated Press ("PAKISTAN VOWS TO ACT RESPONSIBLY BUT KEEP UP WITH INDIA," Islamabad, 06/05/98) reported that a Pakistani government statement on Friday responded to the joint communique of the five nuclear powers by saying that Pakistan would act responsibly, but would respond to any Indian provocation or escalation. The statement also said that the Geneva initiative should be the beginning of international involvement in the Indian subcontinent. It said, "it is evident now that the bilateral dialogue needs to be supplemented by a broader multilateral process to promote durable peace and security in South Asia."

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8. Pakistani Missile Development

The Associated Press ("US OFFICIALS SEE EVIDENCE PAKISTAN PREPARING NEW MISSILE TEST," Washington, 06/04/98) reported that an anonymous senior Clinton administration official said Thursday that the Pakistani military appears to be preparing to test fire a short-range missiles called Tarmuk, which has a range of 400 to 600 kilometers. He said that the move "would be a further escalation" of tensions between India and Pakistan.

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9. Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

The Washington Post carried an opinion article (Stephen S. Rosenfeld, "NEW NUCLEAR ARRANGEMENTS," 06/05/98, A31) which argued that the pursuit of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear states is driven not only by security worries, but also by the desire for enhancing the country's international status. The author stated, "The nonproliferation treaty, sacred text of the movement to ban new bombs, is one-sided and discriminatory, exactly as the Indians charge." He added, "The imbalance compels the nuclear powers to make their arsenals safer and less redundant. Britain and France maintain bombs of no discernible strategic purpose and should close them down. The United States and Russia should follow China's sizing example and hugely diminish their stocks of weapons -- and take those they retain off alert. The crisis of proliferation cannot be solved on India's and Pakistan's backs alone."

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10. Russian Nuclear Safety

Reuters (Jim Wolf, "U.S. FEARS 2000 BUG COULD SPOOK RUSSIAN FORCES," Washington, 06/04/98) reported that US Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre said that the US is drawing up plans to help Russia and others prevent "nightmare" military scenarios resulting from computers crashes caused by the change to the year 2000. Hamre told the Senate Armed Services Committee that even while Russian forces were relying more and more on nuclear weapons, "their early warning system is fragile." He said that the US plans to share early warning information so "we don't enter into a nightmare condition where everybody is all of a sudden uncertain, and their screens go blank." He added that the idea was to share data not only with Russia but also with other, unspecified nations. Tom Collina, arms control director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, questioned whether Russian commanders would take at face value word from the US that no attack was imminent. However, he added, "if they were concerned about a Chinese attack then they might be reassured that Washington saw no such evidence."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Allegations DPRK Nuclear Bomb

The DPRK, possibly possessing at least one nuclear bomb, may be encouraged by the recent India and Pakistan nuclear tests to develop a nuclear arsenal, a Japanese report said Wednesday. The Japanese Defense Agency said in an internal document that if the DPRK arms itself with nuclear weapons, then the ROK may possibly counter with a similar action, the economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported. "An atmosphere conducive to nuclear development by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is being created," the document was quoted as saying, adding that there is "the possibility of (the DPRK) possessing at least one nuclear bomb." The document was analyzing the effects of the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, which are locked in a dispute over Kashmir, the newspaper said. It pointed to increasing risks of a nuclear war in the near future in three regions -- the Korean peninsula, the Middle East, and between the PRC and India -- with countries moving to hold nuclear weapons as a justifiable form of self- defense. The internal document also urged Japan to promote cooperation with the US in development of a defense system against ballistic missiles, in a bid to increase the scope of US nuclear deterrence. (Korea Times, "NK POSSIBLY POSSESSES 1 NUCLEAR BOMB," 06/05/98)

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2. US Sanctions against DPRK

ROK President Kim Dae-jung, commenting on the New York Times report that he will request the early lifting of DPRK sanctions during his upcoming US visit, said that "I told the New York Times that if the US goes in the direction of easing economic sanctions, I would not oppose." After voting in the local election, he reminded reporters in a meeting that the US Government had already promised to ease DPRK sanctions at the 1994 Geneva negotiations. He added that US "engagement policy" and his own sunshine policy are effective in opening the DPRK. He also said that in dealing with the communist block, opening countries is far better than practicing containment. On the report that Pakistan's nuclear test was connected to the DPRK, he said that the lack of detailed proof prevents further comment, but it is important to be prepared for any possibility. (Chosun Ilbo, "KIM DJ CONFIRMS NYT REPORT ON EASING NK SANCTIONS," 06/05/98)

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3. ROK President Visit to US

ROK President Kim Dae-jung is to leave Saturday for a nine-day state visit to the US, during which he will travel to Washington, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Kim is scheduled to meet US President Bill Clinton on Tuesday morning at the White House and will make speeches at a joint session of Congress, the New York stock exchange, the American chamber of commerce, and Stanford University. He will also receive a human rights award from the Human Rights Committee and an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University. (Chosun Ilbo, "KIM LEAVES ON US TRIP," 06/05/98)

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4. Compensation for Comfort Women

Asian "comfort women" made the case at the US Congress Thursday for an apology and reparations from Japan as legislators considered a resolution in support of their demands. The measure, introduced by Democratic Representative William Lipinski from Illinois, has thus far gained the backing of 67 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives. "We cannot sit by as the last comfort woman passes from life without rectifying an evil crime. We need your help," said Dongwoo Lee Hahm, president of the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, a non-profit organization formed in 1992. At a news conference, lawmakers joined Kim Bok-dong from Korea and Losita Nacino from the Philippines, two wartime sex slaves, to call on Japan to apologize and pay reparations to the women. They also unveiled a two-week exhibit on Capitol Hill that documents the plight of the "comfort women," the most extensive display ever assembled on the issue. Kim and Nacino met with lawmakers Wednesday to discuss their demands and were to continue holding informal talks Thursday with various members of Congress. Japan has so far refused to offer an official apology or state compensation to the women, offering only privately- raised funds. The non-binding resolution in Congress would call on the Japanese government to issue a "clear and unambiguous apology" for war crimes committed during World War II and to pay reparations to the victims. (Korea Times, "COMFORT WOMEN SEEK US SUPPORT FOR REPARATIONS," 06/05/98)

II. Japan

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1. Light Water Reactor Project

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPAN, US, AND ROK HASTEN TO SOLVE COST PROBLEM OF LIGHT WATER REACTOR PROJECT (LWR)," Seoul, Washington, 06/04/98) reported that the two-day talks on cost-sharing for the LWR project among Japan, the US, the ROK, and the EU got nowhere on June 4, but the parties involved are still striving for a solution to the problem. The participants reportedly fear that the nuclear tests by Pakistan, to which the DPRK has allegedly been providing missile technologies, may influence the DPRK's resumption of its own nuclear development. According to the report, while the ROK proposed to shrink the original cost estimates from US$5.2 billion to US$4.65 billion, Japan proposed a lower amount, but no agreement was reached on the total amount of the cost of the LWR project. The report said, however, that Japan pledged to shoulder US$1 billion even if the estimation is reduced. On the other hand, the ROK is having a hard time reducing its burden because of its ongoing economic problems. Japan and ROK asked the US to provide some portion, but the US is able to pay only US$0.5 billion at most for security-related matters. The report also pointed out that the DPRK is refusing to allow the US Department of Energy staff to clean the water tanks in the DPRK's existing reactors, because of the delay of the supply of heavy fuel oil by the US. The report added that although there is a concern that Pakistan may leak its nuclear weapons technology to the DPRK or that the DPRK may resume its nuclear development program, most analysts think it would be difficult for the DPRK to resume its nuclear program because of the food aid that it has been receiving from the international community and because of the difficulty of extracting fuel rods for nuclear weapons development.

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2. DPRK Participation in ARF

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("ASEAN ASKS DPRK TO JOIN ARF," Manila, 06/05/68) reported that a high- ranking official of Philippine's foreign ministry sent the DPRK a letter on June 4 asking it to join the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). According to the report, the official said, "A recognition among the ARF member states is growing that the DPRK's participation in the forum is necessary for regional security." Although the DPRK applied for its membership in the forum in 1996, it did not do so in the ARF high- level talks in last May. The report added that Mongolia will also be admitted to the forum in the next conference in July.

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3. Japan's TMD Policy

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPAN TO COOPERATE WITH US IN DEVELOPMENT OF SENSOR AS PART OF THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE (TMD) INITIATIVE," 06/05/98) reported that Japan's Defense Agency decided on June 4 to start joint research with the US for the TMD initiative next year. The reasons for this decision included the nuclear development programs by the PRC and the DPRK, and the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. However, because the PRC is opposed to TMD, because such a co- development project may go against the Japanese government's policy forbidding weapons exports, and because actual deployment of the TMD system may have excessive costs, the government will have to be careful about promoting the project.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
The Center for International Studies,
Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
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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