Policy Forum Online:
I. United States
1. DPRK Government
The Associated Press ("N KOREA GENERALS BOOST GOVT INFLUENCE: S KOREA SPY AGENCY," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a report to the National Assembly on Friday that military officials have moved up in the DPRK's government hierarchy since Kim Jong-il took power five years ago. NIS stated, "This demonstrates the importance Kim Jong Il places on his military." It noted that before Kim Il-sung's death, members of the National Defense Commission were hardly ranked above 10th in the government hierarchy, but now seven commission members, including two generals in active service, made it onto the top 10 list. Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, was ranked third in the hierarchy, following Kim Yong-nam, President of the People's Assembly.
2. Alleged DPRK Spies in ROK
The Associated Press ("S KOREAN POLICE ARREST TWO ON ESPIONAGE CHARGES," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK National Police Agency on Friday arrested a 53-year-old woman and her 26-year-old daughter on charges of spying for the DPRK. The agency said that the two women were persuaded in 1991 by a DPRK spy operating in Japan to collect classified military data and other information for the DPRK. It said that the data that they have handed over to the DPRK included National Assembly transcripts and information on military personnel shakeups and military checkpoints on the roads leading to the Demilitarized Zone. Police identified the DPRK spy in Japan only by his surname, Kwak. They said that he is a leader of a pro-DPRK organization in Japan.
3. DPRK View of Korean War Massacres
The Associated Press ("N. KOREA ACCUSES U.S. OF MASSACRES," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that an unidentified spokesman for the DPRK's Foreign Ministry on Friday threatened revenge against the US for alleged massacres of civilians during the Korean War. The spokesman stated, "We will square accounts with the U.S. imperialists for all their crimes against our people and make them pay for the blood." The spokesman also demanded that the US withdraw its troops from the ROK.
4. Investigation of Korean War Massacres
The Associated Press (Robert Burns, "U.S. TO INVESTIGATE KOREAN MASSACRE," Washington, 10/15/99) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen pledged in a letter dated October 8 to ROK President Kim Dae-jung that the US Defense Department will conduct a thorough investigation of an alleged massacre of civilian refugees by US soldiers during the Korean War. Cohen stated, "I want to convey my commitment to determine, as accurately as possible and in close coordination with your government, what happened at No Gun Ri 50 years ago. We understand the enormous historical, political and emotional importance of this undertaking for you, your government and your people. It holds great importance for the U.S. government and the American people." He said that the probe would be guided by two overarching principles. "The first is a determination to find the truth no matter where it leads. The second is a commitment to work cooperatively with your government to ensure that no relevant information is overlooked and that you have complete confidence that the whole story has been told."
5. PRC Missile Development
The Associated Press ("REPORT: CHINA WORKS ON NEW MISSILE," Hong Kong, 10/15/99) reported that the Hong Kong Standard said Friday that the PRC has successfully conducted computer simulated tests of the Dongfeng-41 ICBM, a three-stage missile that could carry five to eight warheads with a range of 7,400 miles. The report added that PRC leaders have yet to decide when to conduct live test-firing of the missile, which could be deployed in five years. It said that the Dongfeng-41, which would use solidified fuel, would take only a few minutes to prepare for war and would replace the DF-5 missiles, which take up to three hours to prepare.
6. US Naval Visits to Hong Kong
The Associated Press ("U.S. DESTROYER GETS CLEARANCE TO VISIT CHINA," Hong Kong, 10/15/99) reported that Barbara Zigli, a spokeswoman for the US consulate in Hong Kong, said Thursday that the PRC will allow the US destroyer O'Brien will stop in Hong Kong from October 31 to November 5. The O'Brien will become the first US warship of its class allowed a visit Hong Kong since NATO's bombing of the embassy in Belgrade in May. The PRC has also approved landings by two US military C-141 Starlifter transport planes in Hong Kong, but banned a proposed stop by a P3 Orion surveillance aircraft. The first C-141 will visit Hong Kong from October 23 to October 26 carrying a group of senior military officers from the National Defense University on a tour of Asia. The other C-141 scheduled to visit on November 8 is a regional embassy support aircraft set to deliver cargo. Zigli said that all together, five US military aircraft have been allowed to land in Hong Kong, while five others have been denied permission since the embassy bombing. She added that the PRC has also banned 10 US Navy ships from ports of call. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird News Service for October 15.]
7. Japanese Nuclear Accident
The Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama, "JAPAN RADIATION TALLY UP TO 69," Tokyo, 10/15/99) reported that a report on the Tokaimura accident submitted Friday by the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission said that initial reports undercounted the number of people exposed to radiation in the accident, with the new number 69. The report said that the new exposures were revealed when investigators belatedly checked badges the workers wore to monitor radiation levels. Also on Friday, JCO Company said that a small amount of radiation was still leaking from the plant, although it does not pose a health risk to nearby residents.
8. Pakistan Military Coup
Reuters (Andrew Hill, "PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEF TAKES CHARGE - AND AIM," Islamabad, 10/15/99), the Washington Post (Pamela Constable and Kamran Khan, "PAKISTANI ARMY TIGHTENS GRIP," Islamabad, 10/15/99, A01), the New York Times (Tim Weiner, "PAKISTAN MILITARY COMPLETES SEIZURE OF GOVERNMENT," Islamabad, 10/15/99) and the Wall Street Journal (Jonathan Karp, "GENERAL DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY, MAKES HIMSELF PAKISTAN'S NEW LEADER," Islamabad, 10/15/99) reported that Pakistan Army chief General Pervez Musharraf on Friday declared himself Pakistan's new ruler. Musharraf also suspended the constitution early Friday and declared a state of emergency. He also met with the ambassadors of the US and the PRC. Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raminder Singh Jassal said in a statement, "Pakistan is effectively under martial law following a military coup. We have concerns about the direction in which the situation is moving. We continue to monitor and keep a close watch on these developments." [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird News Service for October 15.]
9. Indian Missile Sales
The Associated Press ("INDIA AIMING TO EXPAND ROLE AS MISSILE SUPPLIER," New Delhi, 10/15/99) reported that retired Indian naval commodore S. Rao, chairman of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), said Friday that India is hoping to expand its role as a supplier of military missiles. Rao stated, "Although we entered the international market a bit late, our aim is to become a big player in missile exports through sustained and planned measures." Press Trust of India news agency quoted Rao as saying that demand for missiles would grow worldwide in the next 20 years, and his company expected to make substantial market inroads in Asia. He stated, "Missiles will replace many conventional weapons." He said that BDL had exported US$170 million worth of guided missiles during the past two years, but did not say which nations had purchased them.
10. US Senate Rejection of CTBT
The New York Times (David E. Sanger, "CLINTON SAYS 'NEW ISOLATIONISM' IMPERILS U.S. SECURITY," Washington, 10/15/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said Thursday that the Republicans in the US Senate who defeated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) were retreating into a "new isolationism" that threatened national security. Clinton warned, "Now, if we ever get a President that's against the test ban treaty, which we may get, all bets are off. We'll have Russia testing. We'll have China testing. We'll have India testing. We'll have Pakistan testing. We'll have countries abandoning the nonproliferation treaty." Clinton also warned that, if international arms control conventions fail, Japan might be forced to reconsider its position against nuclear weapons. [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird News Service for October 15.]
11. US Nuclear Reliability
The Associated Press (H. Josef Hebert, "U.S. NUCLEAR PROGRAM TO BE REVIEWED," Washington, 10/14/99) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Thursday that he had ordered an across-the-board review of the US$4.5 billion Stockpile Stewardship program. Richardson said that the program "rests on developing an unprecedented set of scientific tools to better understand nuclear weapons" as well as enhanced surveillance and new manufacturing methods to extend the life of aging warheads. He said he was ordering the internal review to examine progress made over the past three years and to "ensure our continued confidence" in the program. The program is designed to test the reliability of US nuclear weapons without relying on nuclear tests.
12. Russian Nuclear Doctrine
The London Times (Giles Whittell, "RUSSIA DUSTS OFF NUCLEAR PLAN," Moscow, 10/14/99) reported that a draft military doctrine submitted this week for ratification by the Russian Duma contains a "first use" clause on strategic nuclear weapons. An unnamed Russian defense analyst said of the doctrine, "Now there is nothing to prevent Russia from using nuclear weapons against any country in any war." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird News Service for October 15.]
1. DPRK-Britain Talks
The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "BRITAIN, NORTH KOREA TO HOLD POLITICAL DIALOGUE LATER THIS YEAR," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that Great Britain and the DPRK plan to hold a new round of political dialogue aimed at improving relations in either London or Pyongyang later this year, a spokesman at the British Embassy in the ROK said on Thursday. He also revealed that Britain has held six rounds of talks at the official level with representatives of the DPRK government. "The talks have covered a broad agenda, including the humanitarian and food situations in the North as well as proliferation issues and security on the Korean Peninsula," said the spokesman. However, he expressed skepticism about the early normalization of relations between Britain and the DPRK, saying that Britain currently has no plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Pyongyang. "The British government believes this would be premature ahead of concrete and sustained progress in North Korea's relationship with the international community, although we welcome the recent statement by the North to freeze a missile test-firing while the talks between the United States and North Korea continue" the official said. Ahead of the Britain-DPRK political dialogue, a second round of talks between the DPRK and the European Union is expected to take place next month.
2. DPRK Refugees in PRC
The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "SEOUL REACTS CAUTIOUSLY TO U.N. MOVE ON NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES IN CHINA," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK government on Thursday reacted cautiously to the UN's move to virtually grant refugee status to some DPRK defectors in the PRC, stopping short of formally raising the issue. "Our position is that the defectors classified as refugees should be protected from a humanitarian point of view," said an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. However, the government finds it difficult to get involved in the protection of the refugees because the PRC government is primarily responsible for that matter, he said. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s confirmation was an apparent blow to the PRC government, which has refused to acknowledge the presence of DPRK refugees in its territory. In a related move, an official of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the UNHCR needs approval from the PRC government before taking any measures on DPRK refugees in the PRC.
Chosun Ilbo (Chung Byong-sun, "NGOS ASK UN TO CHECK NK DEFECTORS IN CHINA," Seoul, 10/14/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "WITNESSES RECOUNT TO NK REFUGEES' MISERABLE LIFE IN CHINA," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that Reverend Pomnyun, a Buddhist monk and president of the aid organization Good Friends, told the ROK National Assembly that the number of illegal DPRK residents in the PRC is 300,000. Pomnyun disputed ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young's recent estimation of 10,000 to 30,000, noting that his organization even carried out interviews with 2,479 of them in 897 villages in the PRC's three northeastern provinces from November 1998 to April 1999. The opposition Grand National Party called in the witness as part of efforts to urge the ROK government to make efforts to figure out the true picture of DPRK refugees lives in the PRC and seek ways to help them. The Buddhist monk noted that 75 percent of the DPRK citizens in the PRC are female, and many of them were staying in the PRC after forced marriages to PRC citizens via human trafficking rings. He added that a large portion of their PRC husbands are mentally or physically disabled or elderly. Meanwhile, Kim Yong-ho, a 34-year-old DPRK escapee, told lawmakers that he had led an extremely miserable life in the PRC after leaving the DPRK in 1997.
3. DPRK on Multilateral Security System
Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, "NORTH KOREA OPPOSES MULTILATERAL SECURITY SYSTEM," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the DPRK's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday showed that it is opposed to the multilateral security system proposed by the ROK, the US, and Japan but meant to include the DPRK as well as Russia and the PRC. The ministry said that it is too early to form a multilateral defense structure in Northeast Asia at the moment as the current situation is still not free of hostilities among the countries involved. The DPRK rather suggested that the US forces should be withdrawn from the Korean Peninsula immediately, which would set the stage for a peace pact first between the DPRK and the US, following which the ROK and the DPRK could meet.
4. DPRK Relief Supplies
Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, "$43 MILLION OF RELIEF SUPPLIES FOR NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK government and various civilian organizations have sent a combined US$43 million worth of relief supplies, including provisions and medicine, to the DPRK as of September this year. According to the ROK Ministry of Unification on Friday, the government sent US$28 million in goods to the DPRK, mostly in the form of 115,000 tons fertilizer. Among other quantities, the Korean Red Cross chipped in 40,000 tons of fertilizer, equal to US$10 million, while other civil groups delivered clothes and medicine.
5. Japanese Policy toward DPRK
Joongang Ilbo ("JAPAN TO MAINTAIN SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 10/14/99) reported that Japan will maintain sanctions on the DPRK until it is sure the DPRK wants to improve relations, a senior aide to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said on Wednesday. "Japan has to be convinced fully that a signal coming from North Korea is a positive one, constructive one, sincere one" said the premier's deputy press secretary, Akitaka Saiki. The DPRK has to show its "willingness to move the bilateral relationship forward and I don't think that stage has come, as far as Japan is concerned, with North Korea," he told foreign correspondents here. Expectations for an easing of sanctions rose last week when Foreign Minster Yohei Kono said "we can consider ... positively" resuming charter flights to the DPRK. Saiki said, however, that big obstacles remained, including Japan's suspicions that about 10 of its citizens have been kidnapped from its shores by DPRK agents. Saiki said he hoped for progress from an unofficial parliamentary visit being planned by former Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama to the DPRK. Details of the possible trip are still unclear. If the DPRK gave the proposed mission "positive signals on some of the remaining issues lying between Japan and North Korea then I am sure that will be a great step forward and it would certainly push the Japanese government in taking one step forward," he said. The premier's aide stressed, however, that Murayama's planned visit was still questionable.
6. US Policy toward DPRK
Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-Shik, "REPUBLICANS CRITICIZE PERRY REPORT," Seoul, 10/14/99) reported that Representative Benjamin Gilman (Republican-NY), the chairman of the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee, stated on Wednesday that he feared that US policy toward the DPRK was a failure and that US aid was helping to maintain a barbaric regime. Gilman made the remarks at the House hearings in the presence of the main figures who wrote the "Perry Report," namely US DPRK Policy Coordinator William Perry and US State Department counselor Wendy Sherman. Representative Christopher Cox (Republican-California) claimed that the Clinton Administration was "conducting a one-sided love affair with the regime in North Korea," by giving support that will allow it to "build reactors that will result in enough spent nuclear fuel to produce 100 nuclear bombs a year." The House Republicans raised their voices to criticize Perry's DPRK policy and showed strong doubts as to the policy's effectiveness. However, Representative Gary Ackerman (Democrat-NY) defended the Clinton Administration's engagement policy, claiming that they were unavoidable steps taken to decrease the tension on the Korean peninsula, and adding, "Nobody in this Congress or administration is in love with the administration of North Korea."
7. Alleged DPRK Oil Diversions
Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, "NK DIVERTS PART OF OIL SUPPLY," Washington, 10/14/99) reported that the Government Accounting Office (GAO) of the US Congress revealed on Thursday that the DPRK may have diverted some of the heavy oil supplied under the 1992 Geneva Accord for uses other than specified in the agreement. As of July, it said that 1.9 million tons of oil valued at US$220 million had been delivered to the DPRK via the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO). The GAO report said that the seven monitoring facilities established in the DPRK were subject to power cuts and that one in Pyongyang was non-operational for only 46.6 per cent of the year, while in Chonjin it did not operate at all in 1998. The GAO said that there was partial proof that 5 percent had been diverted for alternate use.
8. Light-Water Reactor Project
Chosun Ilbo (Son Song-mi, "HANJUNG PRIVATIZATION POSES PROBLEM FOR KEDO," Seoul, 10/14/99) reported that in the ROK National Assembly audit of state-owned firm Korea Heavy Industries and Construction (Hanjung), lawmakers claimed that the plan to privatize the firm could cause major problems in plans to construct nuclear reactors in the DPRK. A number of Assembly members pointed out that foreign partners such as ABB- Combustion Engineering and General Electric could terminate their contracts to participate in the construction if Hanjung is privatized. Hanjung president Yoon Young-suk said on Thursday, however, that such concerns have been addressed and that the government and shareholders are already aware of the issue, adding that he would encourage foreign partners to participate in the privatization plan.
9. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation
Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "NK PROPOSES SHINUIJU FOR JOINT PROJECT," Seoul, 10/14/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "KIM JONG-IL PROPOSES INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX IN SHINUIJU," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that an ROK government source said on Thursday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il indicated to Hyundai honorary chairman Chung Ju-yung during their October 1 meeting that he would prefer joint development projects to take place at Shinuiju, rather than the proposed Haeju. Shinuiju was mentioned as it has good electricity supply from a nearby hydroelectric dam, is on a river, and borders the PRC. Another administration source revealed that the DPRK is considering three cities for development; Shinuiju, Nampo on the west coast, and Wonsan on the east coast. The DPRK opposes Haeju due to its proximity to the Demilitarized Zone and its sea access, which would cross the Northern Limit Line. A 22 man joint-survey team composed of 16 Hyundai and six Korea Land Corporation workers was supposed to visit Pyongyang on October 16, to assess possible sites. However, as of Thursday, the DPRK failed to provide documents regarding sites, and so in all probability only Hyundai will send a team.
10. Mt. Kumgang Tours
The Korea Times ("PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT OF MT. KUMGANG URGED," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that in the ROK National Assembly's inspection of the Environment Ministry on Thursday, Representative Suh Hoon of the Grand National Party urged an emergency measure to preserve the natural environment of Mt. Kumgang in the DPRK, saying the tourism attraction is being exposed to serious pollution. "Given the estimation of the growth in the number of tourists to visit there to 1.5 million in the year 2005, Mt. Kumgang would be crowded with 3,000 tourists per kilometer," Suh said, calling for a check on the random development of tourist facilities there. As a measure to preserve the natural environment of Mt. Kumgang, Suh suggested an immediate environmental impact assessment and ecological survey.
The Korea Times ("S. KOREAN ORGANIZATION SEEKS TO BUILD ALTAR ON MT. KUMGANG," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that an ROK association is seeking to build an altar near Mt. Kumgang to offer ROK travelers a space to pay tribute to their late parents and relatives. Chang Seung-hak, president of Hyodohoe, an association of filial piety, said that his association is negotiating the issue with DPRK officials via the Hyundai staff based in the DPRK port of Changjon. "We plan to build an altar near Hyundai's entertainment complex in Onjong-ri. However, North Korea has not yet given us a final reply on the issue," he said. So far, many ROK travelers, whose hometowns are in the DPRK, paid tribute to their parents and relatives spontaneously on their way to tour courses. "As some created a scene, we believe it is desirable to build a standing alter, which will also help prevent forest fires and is beneficial for other reasons," he said. Chang said that if his plan makes progress, his association will also seek to create a post for mail exchanges between ROK citizens and their DPRK relatives there.
11. Korean War Massacre
The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "KOREA, US MASSACRE PROBE TEAMS TO MEET NEXT WEEK," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK decided on Thursday to arrange a meeting next week between the head of an ROK task force created to investigate the Nogun-ri massacre and its US counterpart. In a press conference, ROK Minister for Government Policy Coordination Chung Hae-joo said that the meeting will be arranged to mark a full-fledged joint investigation into the massacre. Chung, the leader of a high-level government taskforce, said that a 17-member investigation team, comprising officials from the Defense Ministry, police and local governments, will start probing the incident next week. The ROK government will also form an advisory group of military and legal experts next week to seek ways to resolve the issue. Minister Chung said that, in the initial stage, the two countries are expected to make independent investigations, with the ROK focusing on a site survey and interviews with victims and the US concentrating on interviews with Korean War veterans and document searches. However, the two countries are expected to make joint interviews with key witnesses and joint site surveys if necessary, he added. The bilateral cooperation will be discussed in the so-called "bilateral coordinating group," which also will be in charge of the assessment and announcement of mid-term and final investigation results. However, it is still dubious whether ROK investigators' access to US veterans and military archives would be fully guaranteed. In fact, ROK officials believe that the US side possesses all the key witnesses and documents regarding the incident.
12. Japanese Atrocity in World War II
The Korea Times ("JAPAN ALLEGEDLY SANK SHIP CARRYING 5,000 KOREANS AT WORLD WAR II," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that ROK Representative Lee Shin-bum of the opposition Grand National Party on Thursday urged the government to investigate an allegation that Japan sank a ship returning to Korea carrying more than 5,000 Koreans soon after World War II in 1945. The Japanese military allegedly ordered the destruction of the Japanese warship Ukishima on August 24, 1945, in an apparent bid to avoid international criticism that Japan put Koreans, including children, into forced labor during the war. Speaking to a parliamentary audit and inspection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the lawmaker said that Japanese seamen escaped from the Ukishima before it sank. The 5,000 Koreans were to have built an airfield, tunnel and underground ammunition warehouses in Japan's Aomori Prefecture, he said. Sixty-two survived. Lee said that no statute of limitations exists for crimes against humanity.
13. Human Rights Seminar in ROK
The Korea Times ("UNHCR TO HOST HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR IN SEOUL," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) and the ROK government will hold a workshop on human rights in Seoul from November 1 through 4. Organizers have sent invitations to the DPRK, the PRC, Japan and Mongolia, Kim Sung-jae, senior presidential secretary for civil petitions, said on Thursday. Representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations will participate in the workshop. They will review the human rights educational activities that the UN has conducted for the past decade and will seek ways of promoting human rights and activating human rights education, the secretary said. It is still unclear whether the DPRK will dispatch its delegation to the workshop. The Seoul meeting will shed light on improving human rights from the political and citizenship perspective in Northeast Asia, he said. The secretary said that the ROK government completed consultations with UNESCO to establish a peace center for Northeast Asia.
14. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping
The Korea Herald ("S. KOREAN TROOPS TO BEGIN OPERATION IN E. TIMOR SAT.," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the 150-member advance team of the ROK peacekeeping force for East Timor will arrive on the half-island territory on Saturday to begin its peacekeeping activities. The rest of the 419-man force will fly there between next Wednesday and Friday aboard C-130 aircraft, ministry officials said. The advance team will be stationed in Lospalos, Lautem Province, on the extreme eastern end of the territory. The area, which is situated about 250 km east of East Timor's capital, Dili, was devastated by recent riots and looting by anti- independence armed militia. Residents there, most of whom are hiding in the mountains, are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ROK peacekeepers and are badly in need of food, water and clothes, ministry officials said. The advance team will prepare for the arrival of the main contingent.
15. NGO Conference in ROK
The Korea Times (Kim Mi-hui, "SEOUL NGO CONFERENCE CLOSES WITH `MILLENNIUM DECLARATION'," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the 1999 Seoul Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), attended by some 1,000 member groups, closed its five-day program on Thursday at the Olympic Park with the presentation of the "Seoul NGO Millennium Declaration." In a draft covering the future goals of NGOs and requests to governments, the UN and NGOs around the world, the participants called on everyone to work together to create "a world that is human- centered and genuinely democratic." "We begin the new Millennium facing a large number of grave challenges," the declaration said. "The single-minded focus on economic growth is crippling many national economies, exacerbating poverty, eroding human values and destroying the natural environment." "(But) our vision is of a world where the driving forces of all societies are justice, equity, dignity and respect for diversity and the human rights of all people," the NGOs stated in the declaration. "This conference has been a wonderful opportunity for the NGOs to share their vision of the 21st century and for us to map out our goals for the future," the declaration said. During the conference, 180 group sessions or workshops prepared by global NGO activists gave participants the special chance to assess the overall state of NGOs worldwide and the prospects and the direction NGOs ought to take. The next planned event is the Millennium Forum, to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York next May. The Seoul Resolution will be submitted at that event.
16. Vietnamese Defense Minister to Visit ROK
The Korea Times ("VIETNAMESE VICE DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT SEOUL," Seoul, 10/15/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that Vietnamese Vice-Defense Minister Tran Hanh will visit the ROK on October 18-20. Tran Hahn, the highest-ranking Vietnamese military leader ever to visit the ROK since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992, will hold a meeting with his ROK counterpart Park Yong-ok. "The two vice-ministers will discuss ways of increasing military exchanges between the two countries during the talks," a ministry spokesman said, adding that Park will solicit Vietnam's support for ROK's sunshine policy. During his stay, Tran Hahn will visit military bases and defense-related plants.
1. Japanese-DPRK Relations
The Asahi Shimbun ("70% OF RESPONDENTS SAY AID TO DPRK SHOULD BE CONDITIONAL," 10/14/99) reported that the Asahi Shimbun and the ROK Dong-a Ilbo conducted a joint survey in September on Japanese and ROK views on aid to the DPRK. The report said that 73 percent of the Japanese respondents and 66 percent of the ROK respondents supported aid to the DPRK only if the DPRK promises not to use the aid for military purposes and shows a reliable attitude. As for policy toward the DPRK, more than half of both countries' respondents supported some combination of dialogue/cooperation and a tough stance. Regarding normalization of Japanese-DPRK diplomatic relations, 40 percent of both respondents supported diplomatic normalization between Japan and the DPRK, but more than 50 percent of the ROK respondents were negative. 81 percent of the Japanese and 73 percent of the ROK respondents were concerned about the DPRK's threat. Of those, 31 percent of Japanese respondents particularly feared the DPRK's missile and nuclear development, while 33 percent of ROK respondents mostly feared the possibility of DPRK armed provocations, including terrorist attacks, according to the report. The report pointed out that Japanese concern about the missile threat reflects the fact that the US-DPRK high-level talks in Berlin in September were still vivid and that the ROK respondents' support for some dialogue with the DPRK reflects domestic support for ROK Kim Dae-jung's sunshine policy.
2. US-DPRK Medical Exchange
The Daily Yomiuri (Linda Yun, "DPRK DOCTORS VISIT US MEDICAL SCHOOL," Washington, 10/14/99) reported that, in what was hailed as the first academic exchange between the DPRK and the US, Pyong-guk Kim, considered the founder of emergency medicine in the DPRK, and three colleagues, spent almost one month at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore studying US health care systems. According to the report, in September the DPRK delegation, made up of three physicians from Pyongyang Red Cross Hospital and one Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, visited the cardiology and radiology departments of Johns Hopkins Medical School, met with US doctors in various fields and took a ride in an ambulance. The report quoted Michael VanRooyen, director of the International Emergency Medical Fellowship Program at Johns Hopkins, as saying, "I think they are trying to evaluate the state-of-the-art in the US and to bring technology back, or at least the capability of technology back." VanRooyen invited the DPRK doctors to participate in the exchange during his 10-day trip to the DPRK in May. The report said that he installed surgical equipment and provided equipment training to doctors at a rural hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis in North Pyongan Province, where he spent three nights--becoming the first US doctor to stay overnight in a DPRK hospital. VanRooyen observed, "There are substantial equipment and supply needs that they have. And yet they are not the type of people who would come out and say 'we need everything you can give us,' and just simply open their doors." "The health needs are legion in North Korea," said VanRooyen, who acknowledged that sharing emergency medical information does not solve the country's nutritional problems. The DPRK delegation was unwilling to speak to reporters about their visit to the US, and the project's sponsors did little to publicize it, said the report. Steve Linton of the Eugene Bell Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid solely to the DPRK, was quoted as saying, "I think anywhere, but especially when you're dealing with North Korea, there are bottlenecks. But recently, I think the political bottlenecks have been opened in both societies." The Eugene Bell Foundation, which he founded in 1995, donated an ambulance to the Red Cross Hospital in Pyongyang about three years ago. "The hospital made extensive and very good use of the vehicle," according to Linton, who described the current exchange as a follow-up to the previous donation. The DPRK delegation left the US with additional emergency medical equipment from Samaritan's Purse, a charity based in North Carolina and one sponsor of the project. According to the report, Linton said that the US State and Commerce departments helped make logistical arrangements for the equipment transfer and the DPRK delegation's trip to the US. The report also added that the sponsors hope to send a team of US doctors to the DPRK a as early as next spring.
3. Japanese Reaction to US Rejection of CTBT
The Yomiuri Shimbun ("US REJECTS CTBT: JAPANESE GOVERNMENT CONCERNED," 10/14/99) and the Sankei Shimbun ("JAPAN LOSES ONE PILLAR OF ITS NUCLEAR POLICY IN WAKE OF US REJECTION OF CTBT RATIFICATION," 10/15/99) reported that the US Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) affects Japan's nuclear policy. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki said to reporters on October 14, "We are very concerned about (the US rejection of CTBT ratification). This may pose an inconsiderable influence on world nuclear disarmament in the future." Foreign Minister Yohei Kono also said, "(The US rejection of CTBT ratification) should not lead to the loss of confidence and significance of the treaty. We wish some immediate measure were taken." The Sankei Shimbun pointed out that for Japan, which is not only the only nuclear-bomb victim country in the world but has also asked Russia, India and Pakistan for earlier ratification and who chaired the conference on promoting CTBT in June, the US rejection of CTBT ratification was a major blow by its ally. The Sankei Shimbun also pointed out that resumption of ratification talks in the US Senate is unlikely and that it seems highly difficult to reverse the decision.
4. Japanese View on Nuclear Policy
The Asahi Shimbun ("POLL: 42% OPPOSE NUCLEAR ENERGY PUSH, " 10/12/99) reported that forty-two percent of respondents to an Asahi Shimbun survey opposed the promotion of the use of nuclear power for electricity. According to the nationwide telephone poll, conducted October 8 and 9 following last month's nuclear accident at the uranium-processing plant in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, about 35 percent of the 1,025 people who responded supported the promotion of nuclear energy. As for those who expressed opposition, about 30 percent said they did so because of the Tokaimura accident. The report pointed out that the results apparently reflect a growing distrust in the safety of nuclear energy since about half of the respondents said they had previously believed that serious accidents would not occur at the nation's nuclear facilities. The report also said that the survey showed differences in views based on gender, occupation and other factors. While half of the men surveyed supported the promotion of nuclear energy, half of the women opposed it. About half of those in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, along with housewives expressed opposition to it. While many supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supported the promotion of nuclear energy, a majority of those who do not support the LDP opposed it. One out of every four people in their 20s said they had negatively changed their views because of the Tokaimura accident. About one out of every five working in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries also said they had changed their opinions because of the accident. About half of the respondents said the number of nuclear power plants in operation in Japan should be maintained at the present 52. Only 8 percent said the number should be increased. The report finally said that even among those who supported nuclear energy, only 20 percent said the number of nuclear power plants should be increased, while 70 percent said it should be kept at the present level.
5. Japanese Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping
The Yomiuri Shimbun ("GOVERNMENT TO DISPATCH ASDF TO AID E. TIMOR REFUGEES," 10/12/99) reported that the Japanese government has decided to send Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) members to Indonesia's West Timor region to provide humanitarian aid to refugees from East Timor in Japan's first commitment of personnel to the island. According to the report, a fact-finding mission comprising SDF officials is expected to fly to West Timor as early as next week to work out details regarding the planned dispatch and relief activities of the ASDF personnel. The report also said that the ASDF members are expected to engage in transporting water, food and medical supplies in compliance with the UN Peacekeeping Cooperation Law concerning humanitarian international relief activities. The main task for the ASDF personnel is to transport the supplies aboard three C-130 cargo aircraft from the multinational force's bases in Australia, including Darwin. The government reportedly believed a mission to West Timor would pose no legal problems because the area has been free from conflict, and therefore does not violate the principles of the Japanese constitution. The report said that the government decided that it would be legal to send in SDF members to the region to transport supplies for refugees upon request of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The report added that while the Indonesian government has supplied food and dispatched medical personnel for the refugees, they are reportedly badly in need of daily necessities, including water, health and sanitation supplies, food for infants and pregnant women, medical supplies, tents and blankets.
The Yomiuri Shimbun ("GOVERNMENT TARGETING EXPANSION OF PEACEKEEPING ROLE," 10/13/99) reported that the Japanese government's decision on October 12 to dispatch members of the ASDF to Indonesia's West Timor region to provide relief to East Timorese refugees is intended in part to convince both the Japanese people and the international community that Japan is prepared to offer East Timor not only financial help, but also humanitarian aid. The report also pointed out that it is also an attempt for the country to participate in international peacekeeping operations without violating arms policies imposed under the Peacekeeping Cooperation Law. According to the report, the Peacekeeping Cooperation Law stipulates that Japanese police and SDF members may be dispatched for international peacekeeping missions if arms use is permitted only for self-defense purposes. Members can be also dispatched only if conflicting countries or parties have agreed to a ceasefire. These codes are both included in the so- called five principles of participation in peacekeeping operations, said the report. Japan has decided so far to contribute US$2 million to the office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) and to that of World Food Program. Japan has also decided to contribute approximately US$100 million to the UN trust fund to support international forces operating in the region. The government also believes that rear-area support for international peacekeeping forces currently deployed in East Timor could easily be adapted to greater arms use. According to a government official, the government has therefore decided that Japanese aid to the refugees will only focus on logistical functions, as that is the only way to guarantee the safety of the members. However, the government would be required to reconsider the five principles if Japan is to participate in the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor, which will soon be launched to help settle the current conflict. The report said that within the coalition government, some Liberal Democratic Party members are calling for a relaxation of the ceasefire code, while some Jiyuto (Liberal Party) members argue that policies limiting the use of arms should also be relaxed. New Komeito, on the other hand, is strongly opposed to any changes in the five principles, particularly concerning the arms code, as they would violate the Constitution, which prohibits collective defense efforts. Foreign Minister Yohei Kono has also made cautious statements against changing the five principles, said the report. The report added that while the three coalition parties have agreed to relax the current ban on the country's direct participation in international peacekeeping forces, some Foreign Ministry officials are concerned that the five principles would limit Japan's full-fledged cooperation in UNHCR activities. The report also added that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met with government and Cabinet officials on October 12 to review key issues involved in reforming the five principles.
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