I. United States
1. Four Party Talks
The Associated Press (Geir Moulson, "LATEST KOREAN TALKS WIND DOWN," Geneva, 08/09/99) reported that the DPRK's chief negotiator at the four party-talks, Kim Gye-gwan, on Monday insisted that the talks discuss the DPRK's demand for the US to withdraw its 37,000 troops from the ROK. Kim said that negotiations also should address a peace treaty between the DPRK and the US. Kim stated, "Some parties are not showing any flexibility, insisting on their previous positions which they have been holding ever since the first session. If they are going to insist on their positions ... we really don't see any point coming to such kind of four-party (talks) any more. But it is not an ultimatum." Kim also restated the DPRK's position that a missile or satellite launch is a question of its "sovereign rights. Kim said, "We will make it whenever we feel it necessary. The missile issue is not a bargaining chip with any other party."
2. DPRK Missile Test
The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "NORTH KOREA STEPS UP RHETORIC," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that the DPRK's party-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday accused the US of trying to start a new war on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) carried a report of the Rodong Sinmun's commentary, which implied that US warnings to the DPRK to drop any plans for a missile launch could lead to war. KCNA quoted the commentary as saying, "The frantic U.S. maneuvers going on in the Far East ... prove that the next war may break out on the Korean peninsula. In the Balkan war, the U.S. tested a Korean War scenario." On Sunday, KCNA reported that US warnings would not influence the DPRK's decision on whether to go ahead with a missile launch. KCNA stated, "We will go ahead with satellite and missile launch whoever may say this or that. The U.S. attempt to unleash a war against the DPRK compels us to further increase the self-reliant defense capabilities."
Reuters (Bill Tarrant, "TEST WOULD GET NKOREA MORE PAIN THAN GAIN," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that, according to analysts, the DPRK stands to lose more than it would gain from test-firing a missile. Daryl Plunk, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said, "I don't believe Pyongyang will go ahead with the threatened launch, since it would bring the North more pain than gain. For the North, talk is cheap." Ralph Cossa, executive director of the Pacific Forum CSIS, noted that if the DPRK test-fired the Taepodong, it would not be a violation of any international agreement. However, he said the DPRK is going out of its way this time to let everybody know it is preparing a fresh launch. Cossa said, "This suggests it is following its 'compensation for crisis' tactics." An unnamed DPRK watcher said, "The North may want to use a missile launch to boost the morale of the military." Analysts said that a likely date for a launch could be the 51st anniversary of the DPRK's founding on September 9.
The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "MISSILE TEST MAY ISOLATE N. KOREA," Inchon, 08/07/99) reported that, according to analysts, the DPRK will use the threat or execution of a missile test as leverage to win economic and other concessions. Yoon Duk-min of the ROK's Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security stated, "North Korea tends to believe such actions give them more rewards from the West. North Korea is rationally considering the cost and risk and benefit."
3. DPRK Fighter Purchase
The Associated Press ("N. KOREA TO ACQUIRE JETS," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that, according to the ROK's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the DPRK has agreed to buy 40 MiG-21 fighter jets from a former Soviet republic. Chosun Ilbo said that parts for the planes began arriving in the DPRK by air in July, and the DPRK is assembling the jets in secret bases. The newspaper cited a high-ranking government official but did not identify the exporting country. Chosun Ilbo added that the ROK would look into where the DPRK found money to buy the planes. Captain Park Kyun-yoel, a spokesman for the ROK defense ministry, stated, "We are paying close attention to details of the newspaper report."
4. Potato Farming in DPRK
The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, "N. KOREANS FACE POTATO REVOLUTION," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that, according to the DPRK's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has been visiting potato farms and instructing his populace how to improve potato farming. Rodong said, "We have started to see the potato revolution as an ideological revolution. The great leader said that from now on, potatoes should not be considered a secondary food but a primary food.... The great general [Kim], unable to suppress a certain regret, emphatically pointed out to officials that if only we had undertaken the task of creating a great revolution in potato farming 10 years ago, our people would not have suffered the pain of the food shortages of today." Nicholas Eberstadt, a visiting scholar at Harvard University, stated, "The implicit message of this campaign is 'Kiss grain goodbye.' You're not going to be seeing rice for a while. And forget about meat. It's a great way of turning the ground into a calorie machine, and if you can order people to eat what you want them to eat, instead of what they want, it's fine." Others warned that tampering with a population's eating habits could be politically risky, even for a totalitarian regime. Hajime Izumi of Shizuoka University in Japan said, "This new policy of Kim Jong Il's is quite discriminatory. Rice only goes to the elite.... This is quite different from his father's point of view." The ROK's leading potato expert, Joung Hyouk, who works on "microtubers" at the government-run Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, has been invited to set up a laboratory in the DPRK. Microtubers are cultured from virus-free potato tissue and can be used to produce huge crops of high-quality seed potatoes and then vastly larger potato crops. Joung, who carried 100 kilograms of tiny tubers for a test planting around Pyongyang said, "They need our technology."
5. DPRK-Mongolia Relations
The Associated Press ("N. KOREA MAY CLOSE MONGOLIA EMBASSY," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that, according to the ROK's Yonhap news agency, the DPRK in late June notified Mongolia of its intention to close its embassy there to protest the visit of ROK president Kim Dae-jung in June. During the visit, Kim had asked Mongolia to help open the DPRK's society and sought support for his policy of promoting more contacts with the DPRK. Mongolian President Natsagiin Bagabandi had pledged full support and cooperation.
6. ROK Dissidents in DPRK
The Associated Press ("S.KOREA DISSIDENTS PUSH KOREA UNITY," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that, according to the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency, five ROK dissidents defied the ROK government by traveling to the DPRK on Saturday to promote unification of the two Koreas. Ra Chang-sun, vice chairman of the ROK chapter of Pomminryon, or the National Alliance for the Country's Reunification, made the trip with four other ROK citizens to attend an annual festival marking the August 15 anniversary of Korea's 1945 liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Pomminryon has sponsored pro-unification rallies in both Koreas to celebrate Korean Independence Day. However, the ROK outlawed Pomminryon and its rallies because they supported key DPRK demands, including the withdrawal of 37,000 US troops stationed in the ROK.
7. DPRK Body Found in ROK
The Associated Press ("N. KOREAN BODY FOUND IN S. KOREA," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that, according to ROK police, a badly decomposed body believed to be that of a DPRK soldier was found near the ROK border town Chorwon on Sunday. Police said the body may have been washed into the ROK by torrential rains that fell on the Korean peninsula last week. The police said that the clothes and other belongings found on the man's body indicated that he was a DPRK soldier.
8. ROK Intelligence Aircraft Purchase
Reuters ("S.KOREA TO GET EIGHT U.S. SPY PLANES - PAPERS," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that, according to local newspapers, the ROK plans to proceed with the purchase of eight US surveillance aircraft, which will be delivered within two years. Local reports quoted an ROK ministry official as saying that the ROK would receive four surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin and the other four from Raytheon System Company. The Korea Herald quoted the official as saying, "The first four Hawker 800XPs will be delivered from Lockheed Martin by April next year, and Raytheon will deliver four others in the year 2001." The official said that the introduction of the surveillance planes would greatly increase the ROK forces' intelligence capability over the DPRK. ROK Defense Ministry spokesman declined to confirm or deny the reports.
9. Japanese Remittances to DPRK
The New York Times (Calvin Sims, "JAPAN WEIGHS BAN ON NORTH KOREANS' SENDING CASH HOME," Tokyo, 08/09/99) and the Associated Press (Martin Fackler, "JAPAN THREATENS N.KOREA OVER MISSILE," Tokyo, 08/08/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said on Sunday that Japan may respond to an expected DPRK missile test by cutting off money sent from pro-DPRK Koreans living in Japan. He added that Japan may also take other "drastic steps" if the DPRK goes through with the launch. Komura added that repeated efforts to discourage the DPRK against testing another ballistic missile appear to have been for naught. Ichita Yamamoto, a Liberal Democratic Party member of the Japanese Upper House, said, "We are doing this to send a strong message to North Korea that if you launch the missile, we are going to hit you where it hurts. Cutting off their cash flow from Japan, even if only 30 or 40 percent of it, will certainly do a lot of damage because they are using this money for weapons production and other military activities." Keiichiro Asao, a member of Parliament from the Japanese Democratic Party, said, "The underlying message here is tit for tat." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 9.]
10. Japan-US Theater Missile Defense
The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, "U.S. PLANS NEW MISSILE IN PROJECT WITH JAPAN," Tokyo, 08/07/99, 1) and Reuters ("WASHINGTON, TOKYO CLOSE TO MISSILE RESEARCH DEAL," Tokyo, 08/09/99) reported that Japanese defense officials said on Friday that the US Defense Department and the Japan Defense Agency had worked out specific terms of a memorandum on Theater Missile Defense development. Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sadaaki Numata said, "It's in its final stages." Kohei Masuda, director of defense policy for the Japan Defense Agency, said, "The exchange of notes gives the authority to sign the memorandum of understanding. The memorandum describes details of the work itself." Masuda said that his office already had copies of the memorandum, under which "the Japanese and American sides will jointly design" a missile equipped with a so-called kinetic warhead capable of shattering an enemy missile without exploding. Japanese officials said the memorandum would specify which country had primary responsibility for each component. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 9.]
11. US-Japan Military Alliance
The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, "U.S. PLANS NEW MISSILE IN PROJECT WITH JAPAN," Tokyo, 08/07/99, 1) and Reuters ("WASHINGTON, TOKYO CLOSE TO MISSILE RESEARCH DEAL," Tokyo, 08/09/99) reported that US-Japan Theater Missile Defense development is leading to concerns about the structure of the US-Japan military alliance. Masashi Nishihara, professor at the National Defense Academy, said, "If there's ballistic-missile defense, we have to have a joint command." He acknowledged that this remained a sensitive issue among the Japanese. Masuda added that he believed the mechanism would consist initially of an umbrella committee with several subcommittees and perhaps a coordination center staffed by US and Japanese colonels, aided by liaison officers from both sides. Japanese defense analysts said the coordination center could turn into a joint command if war broke out in the region. Shigeto Nagano, a retired general and the president of the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, said, "I hope we will have that kind of headquarters. Studies should begin on this idea." Nagano said that he did not believe opposition to such a joint command, even one under a US general, would be as severe as many officials have said. Other military analysts said, however, that a unified command would face not only Japan's constitutional constraints but also deep-seated concern about anything suggesting foreign control. Toshiyuki Shikata, a retired lieutenant general, said, "It's a very, very difficult issue. I think a coordination center will be enough for us. Japanese people will not like to work under American command. We will continue in a parallel way - not under a joint command." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 9.]
12. Japanese Anthem and Flag
The Associated Press (Todd Zaun, "JAPAN MAKES FLAG, ANTHEM SYMBOLS," Tokyo, 08/09/99) reported that Japan gave official status on Monday to the national flag and the anthem. The Japanese upper house of Parliament approved the bill in a 166-71 vote. The law goes into effect on Friday.
13. PRC War Strategy
The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "CHINA PONDERS NEW RULES OF 'UNRESTRICTED WAR'," Beijing, 08/08/99, A01) reported that PRC Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui published a book called "Unrestricted War." Among their proposals for dealing with a powerful adversary are terrorism, drug trafficking, environmental degradation and computer virus propagation. Qiao and Wang stated, "Unrestricted War is a war that surpasses all boundaries and restrictions. It takes nonmilitary forms and military forms and creates a war on many fronts. It is the war of the future." Wang stated, "War has rules, but those rules are set by the West. But if you use those rules, then weak countries have no chance. But if you use nontraditional means to fight, like those employed by financiers to bring down financial systems, then you have a chance." Qiao said, "Take theater missile defense, for example. It's obviously part of a U.S. plan to pull China into an expensive trap. We don't want China to fall into that trap because all Chinese military officers know that we don't possess the resources to compete in an arms race." Wang said that the roots of some of PRC concerns can be traced to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when the PRC officers were shocked at the gap between Western and PRC military technology. Wang stated, "The country that studied the Persian Gulf War the most was not America, but China. The military studied all the weapons systems and all the strategy, but we two think that China cannot follow the U.S. model. We are much poorer than the United States. So we think China needs to begin to adjust the way it makes war." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 9.]
14. US Delegation in Taiwan
The Associated Press ("U.S. HOUSE DELEGATION ARRIVES FOR TAIPEI TALKS," Taipei, 08/09/99) reported that a seven-member delegation from the US House of Representatives arrived in Taipei on Sunday for meetings with Taiwan officials. According to the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, the group, led by US Representative Benjamin Gilman, Republican-New York and chairman of the House International Relations Committee, is to meet with Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Monday. According to the ministry, the delegation will also hold talks with Taiwan Foreign Minister Jason Hu and Vice President Lien Chan before leaving Tuesday morning. In a statement issued by the American Institute in Taiwan, Gilman said, "I have been following events in the Taiwan Strait very closely for the past few weeks, and have come here to gain a fuller understanding of the situation." [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 9.]
15. Hackers in PRC and Taiwan
The Associated Press (Annie Huang, "TAIWAN-CHINA HACKERS' WAR ERUPTS," Taipei, 08/09/99) reported that a cyberwar has erupted between Taiwanese and PRC computer hackers. A Taiwanese hacked into a PRC high-tech Internet site on Monday, planting on its webpage a red and blue Taiwanese national flag as well as an anti-PRC slogan: "Reconquer, Reconquer, Reconquer the Mainland." A PRC railroad website and a securities website were hacked into in a similar way. The Web attacks came one day after several Taiwanese government and academic websites were hacked into by the PRC, with their webpages erased and replaced by slogans stressing the PRC's sovereignty over Taiwan and warning against any moves to split the motherland. Lin Fu-jen, a Taiwanese computer expert, said that Taiwanese hackers, some of whom have written widely damaging computer viruses, are more capable of wreaking havoc on PRC's computer systems. Lin called on both sides to exercise restraint.
16. Pope's Visit to Hong Kong
The Associated Press ("POPE WILL NOT VISIT HONG KONG," Hong Kong, 08/09/99) reported that, according to a statement issued by PRC Foreign Ministry, Pope John Paul II will not visit Hong Kong this year. A Hong Kong government statement said that because of the Vatican's ties with Taiwan, it would be appropriate to discuss the Pope's proposed visit only after the PRC and the Vatican have "resolved the relevant issues." The Vatican's press office declined to comment.
17. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
The Associated Press (Tom Raum, "CLINTON PRODS SENATE ON NUKE TREATY," Washington, 08/09/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton called on the US Senate on Monday to move on ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Clinton asked the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold hearings on the treaty in the fall. Clinton added that the CTBT would "strengthen national security, not only of the United States, but of people around the world."
18. US National Missile Defense
PR Newswire (Association of the United States Army, "ARMY EXPECTS TO BE LEAD SERVICE IN NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE," Arlington, 08/09/99) reported that, according to US Lieutenant General John Costello, the US Army expects to be the lead service for National Missile Defense. Costello, commanding general of the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, said he expected the decision to be announced following a Joint Requirements Oversight Council meeting Aug 30. Costello stated, "There have been years of controversy over this, but I think on Aug. 30 the Army will be designated the leader service for national missile defense.... It will be a National Guard organization."
19. India-Pakistan Relations
The Associated Press ("PAKISTANI SHELLS SLAMS VILLAGES," Srinagar, 08/09/99) reported that, according to Indian officials, more than 200 Pakistani artillery shells slammed into villages in Indian-controlled Kashmir over the weekend, killing one person and damaging more than a dozen homes.
Reuters ("INDIA SAYS PAKISTAN ATTEMPTING INTRUSIONS," Ludhiana, 08/07/99) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee accused Pakistan on Saturday of attempting to open new fronts to infiltrate into India. Vajpayee said, "Pakistan is making attempts to open new fronts with India with all preparedness to infiltrate into our territory but we will not let this happen. In such an atmosphere there can be no talks. Before any talks there should be an atmosphere to support the talks. Pakistan must accept to respect the Line of Control (LOC) or the international border with India as it exists."
1. Four-Party Peace Talks
Chosun Ilbo (Kim Hyun-ho, "NO PROGRESS IN FOUR PARTY TALKS," Geneva, 08/06/99), The Korea Times ("'NO PROGRESS' ON MISSILE TENSION AS NEW KOREAN PEACE TALKS BEGIN," Seoul, 08/06/99) and The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "PROSPECTS DIM AS 4-PARTY TALKS MOVE TO SUB-PANELS," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that as the 6th session of the Four-Party Talks entered its second day on August 6, delegates held committee meetings on tension reduction and the establishment of a permanent peace settlement. In the tension reduction talks, the ROK and the US suggested to the DPRK that the countries start with projects that are relatively easy to accomplish and that can build trust, such as installing direct phone lines between army officials and reporting on military drills. However, the DPRK insisted on its previously held position that fundamental problems should be solved first, such as the removal of US troops from the ROK. In the permanent peace settlement committee meeting, the ROK suggested that the two countries start to make a list of what to put in an agreement. To this, the DPRK side argued that a treaty had to be signed between the DPRK and the US. DPRK Senior Representative Kim Gye-gwan said that he regretted that there were no accomplishments in the four-party talks despite hard efforts over the last two years. Kim showed signs that the DPRK may possibly discontinue the talks by stating that "our tolerance has a limit." An ROK official explained that such remarks, however, are only to emphasize the DPRK's statements and that they are words it has used since the very first meeting of the talks.
The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL SEES NEW N.K. ATTITUDE ON PEACE," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that officials said that the ROK is noting a "change of attitude" by the DRPK delegation toward a proposed peace regime. "The North Korean delegation at the ongoing round of four-party talks has indicated that it can discuss the agenda and contents concerning the establishment of a peace regime (with the ROK instead of the US)," said Kim Hyung-ki, assistant minister for unification policy at the Unification Ministry. ROK officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would not confirm the alleged position change by the DPRK at the Geneva talks. According to government sources, the proposed "South-North peace agreement" consists of two major parts: one that regulates the inter-Korean relationship and one that guarantees compliance by the two Koreas by their respective allies. An ROK official said that they are not sure whether the DPRK would accept the proposals, however, as the DPRK is still urging the ROK to withdraw US forces from the ROK. "As long as North Korea makes demands we can not accept, it may be too hasty for us to make detailed proposals to the North," an ROK foreign ministry official said. "But, it is still meaningful if the South and North Korean governments can exchange their views over a possible peace regime that can replace the armistice between themselves in the four-party or six-party talks," said the official, who requested anonymity.
2. DPRK Missile Test
Joongang Ilbo ("N.KOREA IGNORES WARNINGS FROM US AND ITS ALLIES," Seoul, 08/09/99), The Korea Times ("N.KOREA WILL `NEVER' GIVE UP MISSILE RIGHTS, REBUFFS U.S.," Seoul, 08/08/99) and The Korea Times ("PRIDE AND NEED WILL DICTATE NORTH KOREA'S DECISION ON MISSILE TEST," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that the DPRK's state-run news agency reported on Sunday that the DPRK will ignore appeals and warnings from the US, Japan, and the ROK and test another missile. It was one of the strongest statements yet from the DPRK. The DPRK's Central News Agency reported that the US was plotting war by threatening economic and political reprisals in the event of a rocket launch. "We will go ahead with satellite and missile launch whoever may say this or that," read the KCNA statement. "The U.S. attempt to unleash a war against the DPRK compels us to further increase the self-reliant defense capabilities."
The Korea Herald ("SEOUL DENIES N.K. CLAIM ARF RECOGNIZED LAUNCH AS SATELLITE," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that the ROK government on Thursday denied the DPRK's contention that the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) acknowledged that the DPRK launched a satellite - not a missile - into orbit in August last year. In a press release, the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the expression "payload" used in the ARF chairman's statement can mean either a warhead or a satellite. "The ministers expressed concern over the August 1998 payload launch and other missile-related activities that could heighten tensions and have serious consequences for stability on the Korean Peninsula and the region," the statement said. A spokesman for the DPRK's foreign ministry claimed on Thursday that Japan failed in its effort to describe "our satellite launch" as a missile launch when the ARF statement depicted it as a "payload."
3. DPRK Fighter Purchase
Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, "GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO COUNTER NK'S ALLEGED MIG-21 PURCHASE," Seoul, 08/08/99), Choson Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "NORTH KOREA PURCHASES 40 MIG-21S," Seoul, 08/08/99), The Korea Times ("N. KOREA TO BUY 40 MIG-21S: REPORT," Seoul, 08/08/99) and The Korea Herald ("NORTH KOREA ADDS 40 MIG-21S TO ITS AIR FORCE, REPORTS SAY," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that the ROK government is looking for ways to counter the DPRK's reported purchase of 34 MIG-21s fighter planes from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Notably, the ROK government is investigating how the DPRK could afford to spend US$200 million on the purchase of Russian fighters worth US$5 million to US$7 million each. The government is not excluding the possibility that the inflow of payments from Hyundai for the operation of the Mt. Kumgang Tours may be involved. A source within the government said, "Our intelligence services are investigating in cooperation with the US whether the information concerning the purchase of fighters by the DPRK is true or not. We should regard this matter from the viewpoint of military balance on the Korean Peninsula." Another government source added, "We will be seeking military and diplomatic countermeasures in the event that this purchase by the North turns out to be true."
4. ROK Intelligence Aircraft Purchase
The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, "SEOUL TO BUY SPY PLANES TO BEEF UP INTELLIGENCE," Seoul, 08/09/99) and The Korea Times ("SEOUL TO PURCHASE SOPHISTICATED SPY PLANES BY 2001," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on Sunday that in order to collect more intelligence on the DPRK military, the ROK will purchase eight spy aircraft within the next two years from US companies. An ROK ministry official said that the ministry would buy four spy airplanes from Lockheed Martin and the other four from Raytheon System Co. "The first four Hawker 800XPs will be delivered from Lockheed Martin by April next year, and Raytheon will deliver four others in the year 2001," the official said. Introducing the eight spy planes, which can collect visual and audio information on the DPRK at altitudes of 40 to 50 km while staying south of the Demilitarized Zone, will greatly increase the ROK forces' intelligence capability, the official said. The 12.5-billion-won (about US$10.4 million) airplanes can eavesdrop on DPRK communications, take clear pictures of basketball-sized objects on the ground, and detect moving targets at night. The planes can travel 4,634 km without refueling.
5. Japanese Views of DPRK Missile Tests
The Korea Times ("JAPAN READY TO CUT CASH LIFELINE IF N.KOREA TESTS MISSILE," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said for the first time on Sunday that Japan is considering halting the flow of yen from Japan-based pro-DPRK Koreans to relatives in the DPRK if the DPRK tests its Taepodong 2 missile. He said that Japan might also take other "drastic steps" if the DPRK goes through with the launch. "All measures are possible," Komura said on state-run NHK television.
The Korea Times ("N. KOREAN MISSILE TEST TO HAVE GRAVE IMPACT ON ASIA: JAPAN'S PREMIER," Seoul, 08/06/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi warned on Friday that a DPRK ballistic missile test would have a serious impact on peace and stability in Asia. Obuchi told a news conference after attending a memorial for atom bomb victims in Hiroshima that a missile test "would not bring any profit to North Korea." He added, "At this moment, we concluded that another missile launch is not imminent, in order to avoid such a case, I will do my best to prevent a missile launch, cooperating with the US and the ROK." Japan on Friday marked the 54th anniversary of the day the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the "Little Boy" bomb on Hiroshima.
6. ROK Ratification of CTBT
The Korea Herald ("SEOUL TO SEEK RATIFICATION OF NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY," Seoul, 08/09/99) reported that ROK officials said on Sunday that the ROK government will ask the National Assembly to ratify the bill for joining the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) this fall. The move is aimed at imposing fresh pressure on the DPRK, which still refuses to sign the CTBT, the officials said. The ROK has already signed the treaty, which would take effect only when all 44 "nuclear-capable" countries ratify it. "We need to soon join the CTBT, to strengthen our position in demanding the North to stop its nuclear and missile development programs," an ROK administration official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency. "Our ratification of the treaty would help the international community to put pressure on North Korea to join the CTBT," the official said.
7. Mt. Kumgang Tour
Chosun Ilbo (Hong Young-lim, "MAJORITY WANT KUMKANG TOURS SUSPENDED IF NK TESTS MISSILE," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that nearly 7 out of 10 ROK citizens think that the Kumkang Mountains tours should be suspended if the DPRK launches another missile, according to a telephone survey conducted by Focus Research last August 5. Of the respondents, 65 percent answered that the tours ought to be stopped if the DPRK launches another long-distance missile, while 28 percent replied that the tours should continue in spite of this, and 7 percent gave no answer. In addition, 85 percent replied that they thought there were chances that another ROK tourist might get detained in the DPRK. When asked how much another DPRK missile may affect peace on the Korean Peninsula, 51 percent thought that it " was a great threat" and 27 percent said it was "threatening to some degree." Only 2 percent said that it was "no threat whatsoever." The sample error was set at a 95 percent confidence rating plus or minus 4.3 percent.
Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, "'NK'S MISSILE FIRE WILL END MT. KUMGANG TOURS'," Seoul, 08/06/99) reported that the ROK government decided on Friday that it will halt the Mt. Kumgang tour project if the DPRK test- launches another long-range ballistic missile. This is the first concrete measure taken by the ROK in connection with the DPRK's threat to launch another missile. In a morning meeting of the ROK National Security Council chaired by Unification Minister Lim Dong-won, participants were informed by related authorities that the DPRK has been buying new weapons from abroad with the money it has made from the Mt. Kumgang tour project. To date, the funds the DPRK has earned from the tourism reportedly amount to US$166 million dollars. Participants included the Foreign and Defense Ministers, the head of the National Intelligence Service, and the senior adviser to the President in charge of foreign and security affairs.
8. ROK Students in DPRK
Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, "COLLEGE STUDENT SNEAKS INTO NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 08/06/99), Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "FIVE PRO-NK ACTIVISTS ARRIVE IN PYONGYANG," Seoul, 08/08/99), The Korea Times ("YONSEI STUDENT ENTERS NK," Seoul, 08/06/99) and The Korea Herald ("STUDENT ILLEGALLY ENTERS N. KOREA," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on Friday that Hwang Hye-ro, a 23-year-old Yonsei University female student, secretly went to the DPRK on June 1 as a representative of national student unions. According to the NIS, she told her family in Inchon she was headed to Koje Island off southern ROK, and then flew off for a global tour including Osaka, Europe, and finally Pyongyang, where she currently remains. The purpose of her trip was to prepare for national unification events with the DPRK on August 15, Independence Day. The NIS said she would be punished upon her return to Seoul on the charge of violating the national security law. An investigation of two male college students on suspicion of having instigated her visit continues.
9. Floods in DPRK
The Korea Herald ("HEAVY RAINS INFLICT MASSIVE DAMAGE ON N. KOREA," Seoul, 08/07/99), The Korea Times ("HEAVY RAINFALL LEAVES 42 DEAD IN NK," Seoul, 08/06/99), The Korea Times ("NK BELIEVED TO HAVE SUFFERED SEVERE FLOOD DAMAGE," Seoul, 08/06/99) and Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, "NK ALSO HIT BY TORRENTIAL RAINS," Seoul, 08/06/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification said on Friday that the number of casualties due to torrential rains which battered Kyesung and its surrounding areas in Hwanghae Province, the DPRK from July 30, amount to 136, including 42 dead and 94 severely injured. They were quoting a report by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) working in the flood-stricken areas. The report showed that the number of those who have suffered due to the heavy rains totals 39,136. Out of those, 2,905 have had their homes totally destroyed. The DPRK Red Cross has reportedly dispatched 250 rescue workers to the area. The IFRC has supplied 82 tons of rice, which is being stored at its shelter in Kyesung, and 2,900 blankets for the DPRK victims.
10. DPRK-ROK Trade
The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "INTER-KOREAN TRADE IN FIRST HALF INCREASES BY 117.3 PERCENT," Seoul, 08/07/99) reported that ROK officials said on Friday that inter-Korean trade in the first half of this year more than doubled from a year ago, thanks largely to the sharp increase of de facto donations from the ROK, including fertilizer and heavy oil. According to figures released by the ROK Unification Ministry, trade between the ROK and the DPRK in the first six months jumped 117.3 percent from a year earlier to US$164.96 million. "Actual" trade excluding donations also rose 33.4 percent from US$55.53 million to US$74.09 million over the cited period, the statistics showed. Reflecting the unilateral transfer of money and commodities, exports to the DPRK rocketed 172 percent to US$119.43 million, while imports from it climbed to US$45.53 million, or a 42.3 percent increase. "The sharp increase in exports is mostly attributed to South Korea's financial and commodity aids for the North, which totaled US$90.742 million, up a hefty 345.5 percent, during the cited period," said Cho Myoung-gyon, senior coordinator at the ROK ministry's Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation Bureau. Such trade includes the fees for the Mt. Kumgang tour project by the Hyundai Group, estimated at US$22.472 million, and US$15.458 million worth of heavy oil the ROK government supplies to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization for the construction of two light-water reactors in the DPRK.
11. DPRK-ROK Family Reunion
The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "S-N FAMILY REUNIONS INCREASE SHARPLY," Seoul, 08/08/99) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said on Saturday that reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War are increasingly taking place in third countries this year. From January to July this year, 122 ROK citizens met their DPRK family members, mainly in the PRC, representing a 2.7-fold increase over the corresponding period of last year. Aside from the rising number of reunions, ROK citizens are increasingly succeeding in locating their DPRK family members and exchanging mail, the ministry said. During the seven-month period, 385 ROK citizens managed to find the whereabouts of their DPRK families, while 419 succeeded in exchanging correspondence. Many ROK citizens provide private agencies operating in the ROK and the PRC with thousands of dollars to meet their DPRK family members.
12. Food Aid for DPRK
The Korea Times ("EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF WFP ARRIVES IN N. KOREA FRIDAY," Seoul, 08/06/99) and The Korea Herald ("DIRECTOR OF WFP ARRIVES IN N. KOREA," Seoul, 08/07/99) said that the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency reported that the executive director of the World Food Program (WFP) arrived in the DPRK Thursday. Catherine Bertini, arriving in Shinuiju, North Pyongan province, will stay in the DPRK through Tuesday to discuss food shortages and assistance distribution with DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun and other officials. Her delegation also will tour Kaesong and Hwanghae provinces, which reportedly suffered severe damage from recent rainstorms and typhoon Olga.
The following is the table of contents from the latest NATO Nuclear Flash.
1. Terrorism Declines Amidst Terrorist Scare.
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