The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Thursday, June 25, 1998, from Berkeley, California, USA

New: Documents on the Withdrawal of US Nuclear Weapons from the ROK
Policy Forum Online 18: Political/Economic Transition on the Korean Peninsula

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I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. Captured DPRK Submarine

Reuters (Yun Suk-bong, "REPORTS SAY BODIES FOUND IN N. KOREAN SUB," Donghae, 06/25/98) and the Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "SUNKEN N. KOREAN SUBMARINE RAISED," Donghae, 06/25/98) reported that the ROK's state-run Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) television said on Thursday that ROK salvage workers found dead bodies in the captured DPRK submarine after it was hauled ashore. The report said that the bodies were found on the floor lying in some 12 inches of water. ROK defense ministry officials said they had not yet received confirmation that bodies were found in the submarine. ROK navy officials said that they found two ROK- made plastic beverage containers during their search of the submarine, which they pointed to as indication that the vessel was returning after dropping off or picking up spies. ROK President Kim Dae-jung, in a speech to war veterans on the 48th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, stated, "As the intrusion into our territorial waters by a North Korean submarine shows, military tensions are continuing." He added, "However, while maintaining a firm posture, the newly established government of the people will protect peace and cooperation with the North according to a flexible North Korea policy."

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2. Alleged Transfer of Missile Technology to PRC

State Department Spokesman James Rubin ("STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 24, 1998," USIA Transcript, Washington, 06/24/98) said that, when an Intelsat satellite crashed atop a PRC rocket in February 1996, the command process or boxes as a whole were recovered, but not all of the circuit boards which contained the encryption information. Rubin stated, "In this case, the encryption involved embedded single-chip devices that are unique for this particular satellite. Moreover, this encryption system used older algorithms that are no longer used in newer satellites. Therefore any loss of the chips and associated encryption algorithms would have had only minimum impact because the Intelsat satellite used these old keys which are not unique. There is some chance that a third party could examine recovered devices to gain some knowledge, but we believe the impact on national security would not be significant." He added, "We do not know, as I understand it, what happened and where this is; but certainly in the course of the technical discussions that are ongoing between us and the Chinese in the satellite launch area that are pursuant to the various licensing, we will want to find out what happened to this chip."

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3. US-PRC-Taiwan

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article (Lynn T. White III, "BROKER A CROSS-STRAIT TRUCE," 06/25/98) which said that US interests will become difficult to serve without a truce across the Taiwan Strait. The author argued, "During a specified long time (perhaps 50 years), Beijing could forswear the use of military force against Taiwan, and Taipei could forswear the pursuit of independence from China." However, the article stated, "no such truce is likely to be negotiated--because America unintentionally supports politicians in both Taipei and Beijing who benefit from reiterated cross-strait military crises." It argued that US policy breeds separatism in Taiwan and anger in the PRC. It warned that the chance of a truce is declining, stating, "Repeated violence portends war after a decade or so." It added, "A temporary truce, however, would allow time for China's institutions of revolutionary dictatorship to change further and conceivably to liberalize. In Taiwan, it would allow time to mellow the bitterness that remains after Chiang Kai-shek's repression of Taiwanese leaders." The author argued, "Taiwan's governing autonomists do not have a credible medium-term security policy, and a truce would give them one." He added, "Beijing's leaders can realize that China's future power will prejudge the unification issue in their favor so their only real question is whether they want a war option as such." He argued, "Until our president publicizes America's concerns for Taiwan's democracy as consistent with America's concerns for China's unification, the implicit war factions in Taipei and Beijing will continue to trump U.S. policy.". The author concluded, "Washington cannot directly mediate the cross-strait dispute, but the president can pressure both sides to reach an interim truce before their symbolic violence becomes real."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Captured DPRK Submarine

A spokesman for the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MOND) announced Wednesday that salvage work on the sunken DPRK submarine commenced in the early morning and is expected to be completed early Thursday at the latest. Once afloat, the submarine will be towed into the port of Donghae, where experts will try to open it and determine the fate of its crew. Military analysts feel that there is little chance of there being anyone left alive in the submarine, figuring that the crew either committed suicide or used an escape hatch earlier, which may have been the cause of the sinking. (Chosun Ilbo, "SUNKEN SUBMARINE BEING RE- FLOATED," 06/25/98)

ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) operations chief Major General Lim Chong- chon said in a press conference Tuesday that there were no signs of ground infiltration by DPRK submarine crew members or agents whom they might have dropped off. Regarding the hood of a wet suit found on the Sokcho beach following the discovery of the submarine, Defense Ministry sources said that it was concluded that the hood had nothing to do with the ongoing episode. An internal ministry memo showed that a possible sighting of unidentified persons was reported near the eastern section of the Demilitarized Zone that includes Sokcho, but it proved to be a false alarm. Naval officers of the JCS also speculated that the submarine was likely on its way to the coast to either drop off or retrieve agents, citing the time at which the sub was stranded and subsequently sighted. JCS officers said that military units enhanced their alert status in the area, stepping up search efforts for possible DPRK agents. In addition, a higher alert is in place along the coastal area, according to ministry officials. Ministry sources said that the lack of evidence does not necessarily guarantee that there were no infiltrators. One ministry official said, "The sub is capable of up to 10 men, who are composed of 5 to 6 crew members, one guide who knows the ropes around the area of infiltration, and a couple of spies, when on a routine mission. In this case, their mission is strictly spying on important facilities." He added, "If the North wanted to stage an act of terrorism ... it would require a larger sub at least the size of the Sango class that was used in the Kangnung sub incident two years ago." Another ministry official stated, "In the private capacity of one who knows the situation, I can't say with absolute assurance that there has been only two cases of infiltration by DPRK subs along the eastern coast in the past two years." Naval officers believed that in light of missions typical to this type of submarine, it is most likely that the crew destroyed all evidence before escaping or committing suicide in order to prevent being captured alive. (Korea Times, "QUESTIONS ABOUND ABOUT AGENTS FROM NK SUB," 06/25/98)

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2. ROK'S DPRK Policy

The ROK presidential office announced Tuesday that the government's "sunshine policy" toward the DPRK would continue. The DPRK did confirm that one of its submarines had gone missing last Saturday, but emphasized that it was on a training mission. In related news, the Ministry of National Defense (MOND) has postponed the usual warning it issues to the DPRK after such incidents. A formal announcement will be delivered following a complete investigation. (Chosun Ilbo, "GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS 'SUNSHINE POLICY'", 06/25/98)

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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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