NAPSNet Daily Report
november 18, 1999

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. US-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse ("NKOREA DEMANDS LIFTING OF ALL US SANCTIONS IN TALKS IN BERLIN," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that ROK officials said on Thursday that DRPK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-Gwan has called during talks in Berlin for the lifting of all US economic sanctions against the DPRK. An anonymous ROK official also said that the DPRK's demand would not adversely affect the mood of the negotiations in Berlin on a proposed visit to the US by a top DPRK official. The ROK official also said, "The second and third day of the talks focused on matters related to the high-level visit such as itinerary and agenda. Pyongyang also complained about the delayed implementation of the partial lifting of US sanctions." The ROK's Yonhap news agency said that Kim wanted the US to take action before the two nations proceed with the high-level visit but did not make the lifting of sanctions a condition for that visit. Yonhap reported that the US said a precondition for winning US Congress approval for lifting the DPRK sanctions would be for the DPRK to do its part to get itself removed from the US list of terrorist states.

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2. US-ROK Missile Talks

Agence France Presse ("US SIGNALS IT WILL NOT ALLOW S. KOREA TO BOOST MISSILE TARGET RANGE," Seoul, 11/18/99), Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, "U.S., S. KOREA OPEN MISSILE TALKS," Seoul, 11/18/99), and Reuters ("U.S. OPENS MISSILE TALKS WITH S.KOREA," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn on Thursday said that while the US understood the ROK's desire to boost its missile capability, the ROK should abide by the global Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). He also gave a sign that the US would block ROK's request to increase its missile targeting to 500 kilometers (312 miles). Einhorn said, "the United States strongly supports the deterrent capability of the ROK and our combined command. So we are prepared to look at the ROK's interests in a very sympathetic way and to try to work out a mutually satisfactory solution that conforms also with the US global non-proliferation interest." Director General of the Foreign Ministry's North American Affairs Bureau Song Min-Sun led the ROK negotiators. Ministry officials said they would not release the results of the talks.

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3. US Defoliant Use in ROK

Agence France Presse ("SOUTH KOREAN VETERANS SEARCH FOR VICTIMS OF US DEFOLIANT," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that ROK army veterans in the southern city of Taegu opened a hotline on Thursday to track down those who fell victim to toxic US defoliants used on the border with the DPRK over thirty years ago. Jung Choon-kwang, head of the group's Taegu office, told the ROK's Yonhap news agency that the hotline would be used for a lawsuit to demand reparations from the US.

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4. US-PRC Military Talks

Agence France Presse ("US OFFICIAL TO TEST WATER FOR HIGH-LEVEL MILITARY TIES WITH CHINA," Beijing, 11/18/99) and Associated Press (John Leicester, "CHINA: US MILITARY TIES CAN IMPROVE," Bejing, 11/18/99) reported that US diplomatic officials said on Thursday that the US will try to resume high-level military ties with the PRC on Friday when US deputy assistant defense secretary Kurt Campbell begins a visit to the PRC. The PRC foreign ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said, "in order to resume high-level exchanges between the two militaries, we hope the US side will do more concrete deeds so as to create the conditions." Sun also said the US should pay "effective compensation" for damages to the PRC embassy in Yugoslavia and offer an "acceptable explanation" to the Chinese government and people for the bombing. US military officials in Washington said Campbell, who carries the portfolio for Far Eastern Affairs, was expected to begin scheduling next year's military relations and exchanges between the two countries. US embassy spokesman Bill Palmer said, "we are pleased that he is coming and hope that he has constructive talks. Military-to-military dialogue with China is important to maintaining peace and stability in the Pacific as it lowers the possibility of misunderstandings on both sides." A senior PRC official stated, "Mr. Campbell is a deputy assistant secretary, we consider this position as the upper reaches of a middle-level official." The official also said he doubted the possibility of an exchange of defense ministers next year due to the US elections. Campbell will meet with officials from the People's Liberation Army on November 20 before returning to the US on November 21.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Implementation of Agreed Framework

The Korea Herald ("N.K. CLOSE TO FINISHING SEALING N-FUEL RODS," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that a government official in the ROK said that the DPRK is in the final stages of sealing its nuclear fuel rods after nearly three years of supervised operations. The official said, "experts from the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are in North Korea and finishing up cleanup work for the two nuclear reactors in Yongbyon." His remarks followed a report to the Congress by US President Bill Clinton last week that the sealing process was near completion.

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2. DPRK Defector

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "SEOUL CANNOT CONFIRM EXILE TO U.S. OF N.K. NUKE EXPERT," Seoul, 11/18/99) and Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, "GOVERNMENT HAS NO INFORMATION ON NK POLITICIAN'S DEFECTION," Seoul, 11/17/99) reported that Japan's Jiji Press reported that former deputy chief of DPRK's Atomic Research Institute Pak Ok-gyong appeared to have defected to the US recently. Quoting an unnamed diplomatic source in US, the Japanese news agency said Pak is believed to have requested political asylum in the US while hiding in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. It added that if Pak's self-exile to the US proves true, it may lead the DPRK to take a tough line in negotiations with the US over improving bilateral relations. The whereabouts of Pak have remained a mystery since he, along with his family, was reported missing while in the PRC in April 1998. Pak's disappearance then sparked speculation that he might have defected to the ROK or the US. The DPRK then accused the ROK of using the PRC as a camp for training its intelligence agents to kidnap key figures from the DPRK. Pak is said to have served as a representative of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. An anonymous official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on November 17, "we are trying to find out whether or not the report is true." According to a Washington-datelined story of the ROK Yonhap News Agency, the ROK Embassy had asked the US government to confirm the truth of the Japanese report, but the US State Department declined to comment.

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3. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald ("KOREAN, U.S. DEFENSE CHIEFS TO MEET FOR SECURITY TALKS," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that ROK officials said on November 17 that ROK Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae will hold annual security talks with his US counterpart, William Cohen, at the US Defense Department next week. The officials said Cho and Cohen will talk about strengthening the ROK-US security alliance against the DPRK for the next century at the annual Security Consultative Meeting on November 23. They will also discuss the investigation into the killings of ROK civilians by US soldiers during the early weeks of the Korean War in Nogun-ri. Cho and Cohen will also deal with the use of Agent Orange and other toxic defoliants supplied by the US military along the Demilitarized Zone in 1968 and 1969. Cho will also ask for US cooperation with a group of ROK veterans suffering illness following their exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

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4. Agent Orange in DMZ

Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, "KOREA AND US CONFIRM USE OF AGENT ORANGE IN DMZ," Seoul, 11/17/99) and The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, "U.S. PROPOSED SPRAYINGAGENT ORANGE IN DMZ; DEFENSE MINISTRY REBUTS WASHINGTON REPORT," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the ROK and the US officially confirmed on November 17 that Agent Orange was sprayed along the DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ) between 1968 and 1969, but both countries insisted they did not ask for the spraying at that time. ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) Brigadier General Kim Tae-young said at an emergency press conference November 17, "It is presumed that the US 2nd division had asked to spray first and then the Korea military asked the USFK to do so, identifying the necessity." Spokesman for the US Department of Defense Admiral Craig Quigley also admitted at his monthly briefing November 16 that Agent Orange was used and said that the mission was according to an agreement between the ROK and US that time. He also added that the ROK had officially ordered Agent Orange to remove the thick forest along DMZ that blocked lines of sight and had paid for it. ROK veterans who sprayed Agent Orange at that time did so by hand, and said that they sprayed it without wearing masks and did not find any caution or danger instructions on containers.

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5. DPRK on Agent Orange Scandal

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "PYONGYANG BLASTS U.S. FOR AGENT ORANGE SCANDAL," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that in a reaction to an ROK incident, DPRK media said on November 17 that the spraying of lethal defoliants by US soldiers in the ROK is a crime that could never be forgiven. The DPRK's official Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) said, "South Korean reports that the U.S. forces sprayed the defoliant, as deadly as the one used in the Vietnam War, in the Demilitarized Zone are causing great shock here." ROK officials said the broadcast, which came on the day after ROK's media covered the news, reflected the DPRK's interest in the incident and its need to strongly criticize the US, as part of its negotiating tactics. A anonymous Unification Ministry official noted that it was a "classic" DPRK tactic and that the "North Korea has been denouncing U.S. military ambitions more vehemently since its negotiations with Washington began in Berlin Monday." The official also added that the DPRK "must have thought the Agent Orange scandal was another good source for offensives toward the United States."

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6. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

The Korea Herald ("BUDDHIST MONKS TO VISIT NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that an ROK Unification Ministry official said that three monks from a Buddhist committee on national reconciliation will visit the DPRK from November 23-30 for discussions with the DPRK's Korean Buddhists' Federation on ways to expand mutual exchanges and cooperation. During the visit, the delegation will discuss the exchange of visits by their representatives and exhibitions of DPRK cultural assets in the ROK, and look around several temples there, the official said. The committee sent a four-member group earlier to the DPRK in May 1999 to visit several temples, including Songbulsa in Hwanghae Province and Yonghwasa in Pyongyang.

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7. DPRK Defector in ROK

The Korea Herald ("NIS QUESTIONING N. KOREAN DEFECTOR," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that it is questioning a DPRK citizen who sought asylum in the ROK via a third country. Using the alias Kim Ki-ho, the 19-year-old, a native of Hoechang-gun in the DPRK's South Pyongan Province, fled the DPRK in October and hid in the third country. Kim said he is the son of Kim Ho-song, 62, who defected to the ROK on November 1. The NIS is checking into Kim's identity and reasons for leaving the DPRK. The number of DPRK defectors coming to the ROK this year is now 107.

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8. DPRK Computer School

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, "KIM IL-SUNG UNIVERSITY ESTABLISHES COMPUTER COLLEGE," Seoul, 11/17/99) reported that the DPRK has recently established a computer college within Kim Il-sung University. According to a report by Rodong Shinmun, Kim Il-sung University professor Kim Young-jun mentioned the college's existence in his address in Pyongyang. Kim said the college has already developed guided robots that can sense minute changes in its environment and a linked computer system to monitor factory processes. So far, the university has only had undergraduate departments with no separate or specialized colleges. Kim Il-sung University has departments of economics, philosophy, history, law, Korean, foreign languages, physics, chemistry, nuclear physics, mathematics, biology, geography, geology and automation/robotics. The computer college absorbed part of the automation and physics department to form the first college in the university.

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9. ROK Aid to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, "COMMODITIES FOR NK DEPART FROM INCHON," Seoul, 11/17/99) reported that the ROK's Korean Sharing Movement announced on November 17 that it will hold a ceremony for the departure of a transport ship carrying 50 million Korean Won worth of wheat, oats, ramyon and soccer balls to the DPRK at Inchon Port on November 18. Three ROK firms, including Cheil Jedang, donated the commodities. The civil organization said, "We will deliver these commodities to the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee of North Korea. Notably, 51 tons of wheat will be delivered straight to North Korea's Women Association."

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10. ROK's View on Relations with DPRK

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "KIM SAYS PATIENCE, CONSISTENCY KEY TO IMPROVEMENT OF S-N TIES," Seoul, 11/17/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on November 16 said that patience, consistency and sincerity are the key to the improvement of inter-Korean relations. During a speech at the 60th Martyred Patriots Day at the Sejong Cultural Center, the Chief Executive said, "As long as Seoul pursues its policy of engaging with North Korea with patience, consistency and sincerity, I expect improved inter-Korean relations to bear fruit.''

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11. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald ("NAVY FLEET DELIVERS RELIEF GOODS FOR TIMOR," Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the ROK Navy said that a fleet of three naval ships arrived in Surayaba, Indonesia, on November 17 to deliver relief goods to East Timorese refugees displaced in West Timor. The relief goods, donated by sailors during a campaign in October, were handed over to the Indonesian naval officials, who will ship them to Kupang in West Timor, the Navy said. There are some 200,000 East Timorese refugees in the Indonesian territory of West Timor. The Navy said that the 2,070 boxes of relief goods include daily necessities, such as clothes, shoes, noodles, and toothpaste. "We hope our warm heart could be delivered to the refugees," a Navy spokesman said.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Asian Institute,
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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

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Clayton, Australia

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