NAPSNet Daily Report
november 26, 1999

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. PRC Decommissioning of Submarines

Agence France Presse ("China To Put Decommissioned Submarines Back Into Service," Hong Kong, 11/26/99) reported that an unidentified Chinese military source was quoted by the independent Hong Kong daily Ming Pao on Friday as saying that half of the estimated 100 decommissioned submarines in Shanghai would be put into service with the East Sea fleet. The source said the East Sea fleet was currently carrying out simulated war games, and that the submarine fleet had been put on the first stage of a three-level alert.

Agence France Presse ("Taiwan denies rumours China massing military on southeast coast," Taipei, 11/26/99) reported that Taiwan Defense Minister Tang Fei said on Friday, "it is total fabrication that they (Chinese) are assembling a fleet of submarines near the Taiwan Strait. It is really contradictory to common sense and our intelligence is able to monitor the real situation. It is impossible ... to accommodate so many submarines." He also added that the total number of submarines that China had at its peak was around 100. A defense official told Agence France Presse: "If China was to take any military actions against Taiwan, using missiles would be more effective than submarines."

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2. Cross Strait Relations

Reuters ("Taiwan using missile talk to arm, China says," Manila, 11/26/99) reported that responding to Taiwan's response to reports that the PRC was targeting the island with missiles, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzhao said, "I think this report has been made out of ulterior motives and it is not worth commenting (on). Indeed media reports have been playing up or exaggerating the employment of missiles by the mainland side and the targeting of Taiwan. Again, as I have said a moment ago, this is out of ulterior motives. The Taiwan side merely uses this as an excuse in order to energetically build up its armaments. This is an act to obstruct the reunification of the country and we are firmly against it." Zhu also warned Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui "not to do anything to obstruct the reunification of the country. The first thing for the Taiwan authorities to do is to take back the two-state theory. When the theory is taken back, anything can be talked about under the prerequisite of there being only one China."

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3. Spratyl Island Dispute

Agence France Presse ("'Good neighbor' Zhu arrives in Manila for regional summit," Manila, 11/26/99) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji arrived in Manila on Friday for an Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and promised that the PRC would be a benign neighbor. Zhu called for "good neighborliness and mutual trust" to promote regional peace and stability. Chinese government spokesman Zhu Bangzao said the premier held talks with Philippines President Joseph Estrada and assured his host that "the Chinese side is ready to establish a stable and long lasting good neighborly relationship with the Philippines." The spokesman also warned the Philippines to pull out the navy vessel which ran aground in the Scarborough shoal, north of the Spratlys. Zhu Bangzao said, "we expect the Filipino side to keep its promises. This will also be a test to see whether the Filipino side can abide by its commitments."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Imports PRC-made Weapons

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, "NORTH KOREA IMPORTS CHINESE WEAPONS," Seoul, 11/ 25/99) reported that the DPRK has recently imported massive quantities of PRC military weapons while the PRC has dispatched military advisers to promote further cooperation. According to an ROK government source and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) on November 25, as of September 1999, the DPRK has received most of its $10-million-worth of weapons from the PRC. The imported military goods include military blankets, tank engines and TNT detonators. The equipment is modern and of high quality. The PRC has sent military advisers to the DPRK in June and October 1999, which hints at a practical exchange rather than merely formal ceremonial ties.

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2. DPRK's View on the Dispersal of Agent Orange

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, "NK REQUESTS U.S. APOLOGY FOR USE OF AGENT ORANGE," Seoul, 11/25/99) reported that fourteen groups in the DPRK, including the National Peaceful Unification Commission, issued a joint statement on November 24 demanding that the US officially apologize for having used Agent Orange along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in the Korean peninsula. In the statement, the groups requested that the US government halt the development and use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical armaments. The Korea Central News Agency reported on November 25 that the DPRK groups also urged the ROK to make a stand against the US so as to win compensation from the US for its use of the defoliants in the DMZ. The joint statement alleged that the dispersal of Agent Orange by US troops in Korea was an unforgivable crime.

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3. DPRK-Japan Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Youn-bae, "N. KOREA URGED TO TAKE CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES FOR NORMALIZATION OF TIES WITH JAPAN," Seoul, 11/26/99) reported that a former Japanese vice foreign minister said on November 25 that the DPRK should take confidence-building measures if it wants to normalize relations with Japan. "The establishment of normal state-to-state relations is not possible in a highly unstable security environment," Takakazu Kuriyama said in an international symposium for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. He expected that the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and the DPRK would help improve the security conditions in the region. "The absence of state-to-state relations is in itself not conducive to peace. Japan-North Korea normalization, therefore, is an essential component in the wider peacemaking process on the peninsula," he said. Japan is reportedly planning to dispatch a group of high-level politicians to the DPRK early next month to explore the resumption of negotiations for normalization of ties. At the seminar organized by the private Asia-Pacific Policy Research Institute (APPRI), the Japanese analyst also said the security on the Korean Peninsula has remained unstable and fragile because of the absence of a peace treaty and confidence-building measures.

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4. DPRK Ministry for Electric Industry

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "N.K. ESTABLISHES NEW MINISTRY FOR ELECTRONIC INDUSTRY GROWTH," Seoul, 11/26/99) reported that ROK officials said on November 25 that the DPRK has set up a new ministry exclusively responsible for promoting its lagging electronics industry. "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has established the Electronics Industry Ministry," the official DPRK Korean Central Broadcasting Station was quoted as saying in a brief report. Unification Ministry officials said that the ministry's establishment came in line with DPRK's policy of putting top priority on technological and scientific development this year. The DPRK has set 1999 as the "year of science," introducing a computer-science department at Kim Il Sung University, they said. The DPRK Ministry spokesman Shin Eon-sang said, "these moves, while following North Korea's industrial strategy change, also reflects the country's top leader's special interest in computers and software." A research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) Choi Soo-young said, "in North Korea, a country where top politicians hold sway on almost everything, the establishment of an electronics ministry will lead to the creation of a favorable environment for South Koreans wanting to do businesses there." According to a report by the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the DPRK's electronics industry is one of the least developed industrial sectors in it. DPRK's annual capacity to produce computer hardware still remains at about 30,000 units, and it has managed to developed only about 30 pieces of software on its own, it said.

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5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "INTER-KOREAN POP CONCERT TO BE HELD IN P'YANG DEC. 5," Seoul, 11/26/99) reported that ROK organizers said on November 25 that pop singers from both halves of the divided Korean Peninsula will get together to perform at a unification concert in the DPRK capital on December 5. ROK concert promoters, who returned home on November 24 from the DPRK, said they had reached a final agreement on details for the inter-Korean concert, including its venue and schedule, with the DPRK's Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC). Officials at Korecom Company said Roger Clinton, US President Bill Clinton's half brother, is also expected to join the Korean singers. The entertainers are scheduled to visit the DPRK from December 1-8. SBS will record the show and broadcast it in the ROK at a later date.

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6. DPRK-ROK Agricultrual Cooperation

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Chang-woo, "UNIVERSITY TO SEND SEED POTATOES TO NK," Seoul, 11/25/99) reported that the DPRK and the ROK Agricultural Cooperation Working-level Committee of Kangwon National University announced on November 25 that it has agreed with DPRK's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee to send 30 tons of Kangwon Province seed potatoes to the northern part of Kangwon Province, DPRK on November 29. Kangwon National University plans to send the potatoes on a large-size barge from Okgae Port in Kangnung to Jangjeon Port in the DPRK and also said it would send 1,000 tons of fertilizer in March 2000. From the year 2000, Kangwon National University will receive recommendations from DPRK's Farming Science Institue and Wonsan Agricultural University on what type of potato, among the three main Kangwon Province's potato species, can adapt to the DPRK climate and environment. The DPRK plans to experimentally cultivate the seed potatoes sent from Kangwon Province on 990,000 square meters of land in the northern part of Kangwon Province. Hyundai Asan will transport the seed potatoes and it is currently working on packaging in the Pyongchang area.

III. Japan

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1. Japan's ODA Policy

The Daily Yomiuri ("GOVT TO OVERHAUL ODA EVALUATIONS," 11/24/99) reported that the Japanese Foreign Ministry plans to drastically reform the evaluation system for official development assistance (ODA) to improve their efficiency. The report said that Japan's ODA programs have been criticized for being inefficient and irresponsibly allocating funds are not evaluated until a few years after they are completed. In response to this, the ministry will evaluate programs before they are implemented as well as while they are being carried out by using as indicators the dissemination rate of water to households for a water facility construction project and the rate of children attending school for a school construction project. The ministry plans to start the system from fiscal year 2000. The report also added that Japan was the biggest ODA donor for the last eight years until fiscal 1998 and that the ODA budget for this fiscal year stands at about 1.4 trillion yen.

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2. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("PRIME MINISTER ASKS MURAYAMA DELEGATION TO GIVE HIS LETTER TO KIM JONG-IL," 11/26/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi decided on November 25to ask the suprapartisan delegation to the DPRK, led by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, to give his personal letter to Kim Jong-il. The report said that Obuchi will ask Kim to promote the resumption of Japanese-DPRK diplomatic relations. Obuchi said, "Japanese-DPRK diplomatic normalization has been pending, and I hope this delegation will become a good opportunity. I hope that (Mr. Murayama) will be able to meet with Mr. Kim Jong-il. I also hope that our diplomatic relations will be improved through this." Murayama also said, "(We) wish to make an entrance to normalization of Japanese-DPRK relations."

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("ISSUE OF DPRK ABDUCTION OF JAPANESE CIVILIANS SHOULD BE DISCUSSED AT DIET SESSIONS," 11/25/99) reported that former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said on November 25 that although he thinks the issue of DPRK's suspected abduction of Japanese civilians should be discussed at Diet sessions, the issue should not necessarily be the premise of normalization of Japanese-DPRK diplomatic relations. Hiroyuku Sonoda, executive director of the Murayama delegation, told reporters, " the solution to the issue (of the DPRK's abduction of Japanese civilians) should be discussed at the inter-governmental level (after normalization of the bilateral relations)."

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3. PRC Reaction to Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (Osamu Yoshida, "JIANG TELLS KANZAKI THAT HE GIVES CREDIT TO MURAYAMA DELEGATION," Beijing, 11/24/99) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin said to visiting Komeito representative Takenori Kanzaki on November 23 regarding the Murayama delegation to the DPRK, "Mr. Murayama is my old friend, and (the delegation) is a good thing. I do hope that peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula will be maintained." Jiang also said the PRC would do everything good for stability in the peninsula and that the PRC would provide any aid possible including food aid to the DPRK. As for the ongoing US-DPRK missile talks, Jiang said, "I am glad that things are going well under the US initiative." Kanzaki said, "We have to make the Murayama delegation successful. I ask you for your support."

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4. Japanese-PRC Fishery Talks

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPANESE-PRC FISHERY TALKS BEGIN: NONAKA MAY GO TO PRC TO COORDINATE," 11/24/99) reported that Japanese-PRC fishery talks began talks on November 23 to discuss the Japanese-PRC fishery agreement. The report pointed said the talks are unlikely to solve their disagreement on the conditions for the area of fishing operation but may be an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the visit to the PRC by LDP Acting Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka from November 24 to 27.

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5. PRC Reaction to Japan's TMD Policy

The Sankei Shimbun (Yoshihisa Komori, "PRC DOES NOT OPPOSE TO TMD ITSELF BUT IS STILL CONCERNED ABOUT JAPAN'S INVOLVEMENT," Beijing, 11/26/99) reported that according to a PRC arms control and disarmament official quoted by the PRC News Agency, "the PRC does not necessarily reject TMD (itself)...The PRC understands the role of TMD to defend ground-deployed forces." However, according to the same PRC source, the PRC is still opposed to the type of TMD that the US and Japan plan to use because "such a system will tip the strategic balance," stressing that it is difficult to understand why Japan has to introduce such a system despite the fact that Japan had never tried to introduce such a system during the Cold War.

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6. Mongolian-DPRK Relations

The Daily Yomiuri (Toshinao Ishii, "MONGOLIA OFFERS TO MEDIATE," Ulan Bator, 11/26/99) reported that Mongolian Prime Minister Renchinnyam Amarjargal said to the Yomiuri Shimbun on November 25, "Mongolia will cooperate in helping normalize relations between Japan and North Korea, if both countries so request." Amarjargal also said, "I support every step taken with a view to strengthening the security of the northeastern region of Asia. I think that (Japanese) lawmakers can also contribute." Regarding his visit to the DPRK in early November, Amarjargal said, "I was convinced that leaders of North Korea intend to solve problems in the Korean Peninsula peacefully."

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7. Impact of Recent Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Daily Yomiuri ("JCO N-ACCIDENT DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT 15.3 BILLION YEN, Mito, 11/25/99) reported that according to a survey conducted by the Ibaraki prefecture government, damage to industry and lost tax revenues rustling from the uranium reconversion plant accident in Tokaimura amounted to more than 15.3 billion yen as of the end of October. The report said that the survey found that damage to commerce and industry was nearly 9.6 billion yen, damage to agriculture totaled 2.5 billion yen, damage to tourism was 1.47 billion yen and that tax revenues for the Ibaraki Prefecture have dipped by 769 million yen.

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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

Leanne Paton:
Clayton, Australia

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