NAPSNet Daily Report
november 15, 1999

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. ROK Missile Site Construction

The New York Times (James Risen, "SOUTH KOREA SEEN TRYING TO EXTEND RANGE OF MISSILES," Washington, 11/14/99) reported that US Defense Department analysts reviewed spy satellite photos which revealed that the ROK had built a rocket motor test station without notifying the US last year. Officials said the station, which includes a large concrete or tempered steel cradle in which rocket motors are locked for firing tests, appeared to have been built secretly as part of a larger ROK ballistic missile program. The officials stressed, however, that no single piece of intelligence had suddenly prompted the administration's efforts to limit the ROK missile program. An official also said that the US was "interested in greater transparency in their missile development. We don't want this issue to become a point of friction in our bilateral relationship." They said the US has known about ROK efforts to develop ballistic missiles for years and has been working consistently to contain the program. US officials said that although no final agreement between the US and the ROK has been reached, the Clinton administration has told the ROK that it will accept an increase in the range of its ballistic missiles to 180 miles. US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin stated, "It is public knowledge that South Korea would like more flexibility in its missile program. The U.S. is sympathetic to its needs and desire for flexibility, and we are hoping to work out an arrangement that conforms to our nonproliferation goals and the missile regime standards." US officials and outside experts, however, believe the ROK appears to be developing missiles with ranges of 300 miles or more to counter DRPK missiles of similar or even longer ranges to hedge its bets. George Friedman of Stratfor, a private research company in Texas said, "I think the South Koreans are trying to use this as a lever with the US, positioning themselves on missile talks with the North. Their missile program has many purposes, both to position themselves in the region, in relation to North Korea, and in relation to the United States."

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2. DRPK-US Talks

Reuters (MICHELE SANI, "N.KOREA, U.S. DELEGATES BEGIN TALKS IN BERLIN," Berlin, 11/15/99) and AFP ("US, NKOREA DISCUSS VISIT TO WASHINGTON," Berlin, 11/15/99) reported that a delegation of DPRK officials arrived at the US embassy in Berlin on Monday morning for the latest round of talks. US officials declined to comment on the talks other than to confirm they were being held. DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan told reporters, "the prospects of the discussions are not so promising." US special envoy Charles Kartman lead the U.S. delegation while Gwan headed the DPRK delegation. An ROK foreign ministry official said in Seoul over the weekend that the US and the DPRK would hammer out plans for a visit to Washington by a senior DPRK leader during the talks.

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3. DPRK Famine

Agence France Presse ("UN AID GROUP SAYS NORTH KOREA FAMINE EASING," Tokyo, 11/15/99) and Associated Press (N.KOREA FACES LARGE GRAIN SHORTFALL," Tokyo, 11/15/99) reported that an agency of the UN World Food Program said Monday that malnutrition is slowly easing in the DPRK as it edges open its door to the outside world. Head of the Food Aid Liaison for famine relief in North Korea Erich Weingartner said, "there is an improvement on dialogue and openness. In two years, we can feel the difference. There are now more NGOs (non-governmental organisations) admitted in the country, there have been church visits." The World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint report last week that the DPRK food crisis could only be solved with international aid, growth, and integration into the global economy. Based on population figures provided by the DPRK, it was expected to suffer a grain deficit in the year ahead of about 1.29 million tones, of which the DPRK was expected to import 300,000 tones. A further 370,000 tones was to be covered by expected food aid imports, leaving 623,000 tones of grain that would need to come through assistance programs. Weingartner said the increased number of overseas aid workers was a testimony to greater openness by the DPRK. There were only half a dozen World Food Program staff there two years ago, but now there were 42 international staff and 46 local workers. Including other agencies, there were a total of about 200 aid staff in the country. Weingatner also said signs of DPRK poverty abounded. A survey of 1,800 homes found acute malnutrition among 16 percent of the children measured. He also said agriculture was perilous, with farming moving to steeper and steeper hillsides, "where the topsoil is thin and erosion is vicious, especially in heavy rains. There are some positive factors which are helping to change the situation, although very slowly." He also said the DPRK was making huge efforts to rehabilitate flood-damaged land and making greater use of kitchen gardens and more fields were now providing two crops a year under UN programs.

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4. US-PRC's WTO Agreement

Agence France Presse (CHINA UNLIKELY TO JOIN WTO BY SEATTLE MEETING, Geneva, 1115/99), The Wall Street Journal Interactive Journal News Roundup ("CHINA AND THE U.S. SIGN TRADE DEAL, CLEARING HURDLE FOR WTO ENTRY," Beijing, 11/15/99), Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, "CHINA, U.S. SIGN TRADE DEAL," Beijing, 11/15/99), and The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, "SIGNS OF LANDMARK ACCORD IN U.S.-CHINA TRADE TALKS," Beijing, 11/15/99) reported that the PRC finally struck a deal with the US on Monday on the market opening measures China is willing to make to join the WTO, following deals with Japan and Australia. But, the PRC has not yet concluded bilateral talks with the European Union, Brazil, Switzerland, Canada and Norway. According to a statement released by the US Embassy, the agreement obligates the PRC to cut tariffs an average of 23 percent and promises greater access to the relatively closed PRC market for US banks, insurers, telecommunications firms and Hollywood film exporters. None of the terms will take effect until the PRC gains entry to the WTO and most would be phased in over five years or longer. But the agreement will enable the PRC to attend the Seattle talks. WTO officials said the PRC is highly unlikely to be admitted to the WTO in time for a ministerial meeting opening in Seattle on November 30 despite Monday's US-PRC agreement.

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5. PRC Spacecraft Launch

Associated Press (CHINA MAY LAUNCH UNMANNED SPACECRAFT," Hong Kong, 11/15/99) reported that a Beijing-backed Hong Kong Wen Wei Po said on Monday that China will soon send off its first unmanned spacecraft with the Long March 2F, or CZ-2F, rocket, at the new Jiuquan satellite launch site in the Gobi Desert. The rocket would "be shown to people" at that time, the newspaper said without elaborating. The report said that a successful manned spacecraft launch would be the next necessary step before a planned satellite launch to the moon.

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6. PRC-Japan Relations

Agence France Presse ("NO CHANGE IN ONE-NATION POLICY ON CHINA: JAPAN," Tokyo, 11/15/99) reported that after Tokyo Govenor Ishihara's visit to Taiwan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki said, "Although I am not fully aware of remarks made by Governor Ishihara, our stance is that we understand and respect China's viewpoint that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China." Ishihara had told Japan's Fuji television on November 13 that "President Lee Teng-hui has maintained Taiwan is a country. China says anything and everything including Tibet is its territory. The matter should be settled between the parties concerned." Ishihara has dismissed speculation that he flew to Taiwan for political purposes, saying he went to find out how to help the country after September's massive quake.

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7. Spratly Island Dispute

Agence France Presse ("PHILIPPINE LEADER ORDERS SHIPS REMOVED AFTER CHINA THREAT," Manila, 11/15/99) reported that President Joseph Estrada on Monday instructed armed forces chiefs to "remove" the Sierra Madre from the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys archipelago and the Benguet from the more northerly Scarborough Shoal. The Sierra Madre has been stranded since May 1998 and the Benguet since November 3, 1998. According to reports, the PRC had demanded that both ships be moved and had threatened to use force in the case of the Benguet. Earlier in the day, Head of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Order and Philippine Congressman Roilo Golez said if the PRC had indeed issued a threat it "would prove to the world that China is a vicious tiger on the loose preying on small countries... and not the civil, gentle giant it has been trying to project itself." Earlier on Monday, Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado dismissed the reported threat saying, "I don't think that China will threaten us considering our ship is in distress. I think it would be ironic since the right thing to do is to help rather than issue threats."

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8. Russian Views on ABM Treaty

Reuters ("US ALREADY DECIDED ON ABM BREACH-RUSSIAN," Moscow, 11/15/99) reported that Russia's Interfax news agency reported Russia's top general as saying on Monday that US plans for a Star Wars-style missile shield had taken on an almost irreversible character that could force Russia to improve its nuclear forces. US President Bill Clinton is to decide next year whether to go ahead with a national missile defense system which would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. But Interfax said Chief of Staff General Anatoly Kvashnin told a conference that the US had effectively already decided to breach the accord.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Asian Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
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

Leanne Paton:
Clayton, Australia

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