NAPSNet Daily Report
november 29, 1999

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. US-DPRK Relations

Associated Press (Pauline Jelinek, "US: NORTH KOREA FEARFUL OF WEST," Washington, 11/29/99) and Agence France Presse ("SPECIAL ENVOY PERRY ADVISES US KEEP "POWDER DRY" REGARDING NKOREA," Washington, 11/29/99) reported that Representative for the Special Envoy to the DPRK William J. Perry said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that regarding the DPRK, "I told the president I cannot predict a happy outcome from this. One reason I have to be doubtful that they will want to seize this opportunity is because this great benefit from normalization also has, as they see it, a threat tied to it. It's the threat of having Western businessmen in their country and destroying the insularity. They see that as a double-edged sword. All they hear from the time they are 2 years old and on is what the government wants them to hear." Perry also said relief workers "report no general dissatisfaction" in the DPRK despite US estimates that famine has killed 2 million DPRK residents in the past 10 years. He also said, "the conditions for a popular revolt do not exist in that country, even though the deprivation is widespread," he said. Perry called the DPRK "an armed camp" and said the US should make no changes to its military stance on the ROK and the DPRK while talks are unfinished. He also said he was "confident that pursuing talks with North Korea seriously and creatively is a good idea. But I cannot be confident that this process will actually lead to a peaceful peninsula," he said. "Therefore the United States should keep its powder dry. We should make no reduction in military readiness during the course of these talks. Having said that, I am hopeful these talks will lead to normalization and will create an environment that after years of war will finally allow Korea to be stable, ... prosperous."

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2. DPRK-Japan Relations

Agence France Presse (JAPAN'S PREMIER FORWARDS LETTER TO NORTH KOREA'S KIM JONG-IL," Tokyo, 11/29/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Monday entrusted a letter to DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il to former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama who will head an all-party delegation of lawmakers visiting the DPRK on December 1. Asked if Japanese food aid to the DPRK would be a focal point of discussion during the visit, the premier said, "I was told that the delegation will go to Pyongyang with no condition attached by either side." Government officials said the letter was signed by Obuchi in his capacity as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Japan Broadcasting reported the letter "expressed hopes for an improvement in relations." Murayama said, "we won't seek to settle this question as a precondition to talks on normalization of diplomatic relations. I will go there to create an environment for negotiations, including that question."

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3. PRC Construction of Missile Base

Reuters ("CHINA BUILDING MISSILE BASE IN DIRECT OPPOSITE OF TAIWAN," Taipei, 11/29/99) reported that the Taiwanese United Daily News quoted a "reliable military sources" as saying on Monday that the PRC is building a missile base which will reportedly house short-range M11-Mod2 missiles in Xianyou, Fujian province, directly opposite Taiwan. One source said, "Eastern Taiwan, even the Orchid Island east of Taiwan, would fall within the shooting range if the missile carries a smaller warhead." The source also said the Taiwan military has collected information from Taiwanese intelligence reports and has been keeping a close watch on the construction of the missile base. The report also said the PRC had simulated construction of a base at Zhangzhou, also in Fujian province, but this had not tricked Taiwan's military authorities.

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4. Spratyl Island Dispute

Agence France Presse ("PHILIPPINE SPEAKER ASSAILS CHINA FOR REJECTING SPRATLYS CODE," Manila, 11/29/99) reported that Philippine House Speaker Manuel Villar criticized the PRC about their conduct in the Spratly Island dispute in a statement on Monday saying, "They must abide by the consensus of the contesting parties and put a stop to the installation of military structures in the area." Villar said he asked Zhu in a meeting during the summit to "respect international law," and the PRC position was unacceptable and showed "a lack of serious commitment to resolve this conflict." Philippine Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado on Monday said the military was trying to remove a stranded navy ship from a disputed shoal following new warnings from the PRC.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "U.S., N.K. TO MEET NEXT MONTH TO ARRANGE NEXT YEAR'S SEARCH FOR WAR REMAINS," Seoul, 11/29/99) reported that ROK officials said on November 27 that US and DPRK officials will meet in New York in December to discuss arrangements for next year's search for and repatriation of remains of American soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, "during the meeting, the two sides will discuss details of their joint searches, including the frequency, sites and methods." He said that the US and DPRK may also discuss an increase in US contributions toward the search for US war remains. A news report in the ROK said deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW (prisoner of war) and missing personnel affairs Robert Jones will lead the US delegation to the talks. His DPRK counterpart will be deputy chief of mission of the DPRK's representative office to the United Nations Ri Geun.

The Korea Herald ("EXPERT POINTS TO N.K. MILITARY AS CAUSE OF RUPTURED TALKS WITH U.S.," Seoul, 11/29/99) reported that John Wolfsthal, an expert on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in an interview with Radio Free Asia, "North Korean military authorities might have expressed their negative position on Kang's visit. Kang's visit, if realized, will mean the North Korean leadership's full support for it by overcoming conflicts within the ruling circles." Wolfsthal also said there is a difference of views with respect to the proposed US visit by a DPRK envoy, noting that the US regards it as a chance to resolve DPRK's missiles and nuclear programs, while the DPRK attempts to exploit it as an opportunity to win more US aid.

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2. ROK-US Talks

The Korea Times ("SEOUL, WASHINGTON TO START WEEK-LONG WORKING-LEVEL SECURITY TALKS," Seoul, 11/28/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on November 27 that in preparation for the reunification of the Korean peninsula, the ROK and the US will conduct working-level talks on bilateral security issues in the year 2000. The talks are in accordance with an agreement reached between ROK Defense Minister Cho Seong-tae and his American counterpart William Cohen during the annual Security Consultative Meeting in Washington on November 23 to conduct security talks, tentatively named "Korea-U.S. Security Dialogue," to "seek future development in the bilateral military alliance." The agenda to be discussed at the working-level meeting has yet to be determined but the ROK press speculated that sensitive issues such as the continued presence of US troops in the ROK after national reunification may be discussed. The Yonhap News Agency reported that they may also discuss whether the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) should continue to exist after reunification and whether the US wartime operational control of ROK forces should be transferred to the ROK. The ROK Defense Ministry has denied the report.

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3. ROK View on DPRK-Philippinnes Relations

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "KIM BACKS MANILA'S MOVE TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH NK," Manila, 11/29/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said on November 27 that he supports the Philippine move to normalize and eventually set up diplomatic relations with the DPRK. At a summit with Philippine President Joseph Estrada at the Presidential Office Malacanang, the two leaders agreed that the ROK and Philippinnes would have prior consultations with each other ahead of the latter's establishment of diplomatic relations with the DPRK. According to Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young, the ROK thinks it is desirable for any country to improve ties with the DPRK and for it to ameliorate its relations with international society. President Kim hoped that the Philippines would convey to the DPRK ROK's true intention to ease tension and prevent war on the Korean peninsula so that both ROK and the DPRK would live together peacefully.

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4. Mt. Kumgang Tour

The Korea Herald ("FOREIGNERS' MT. KUMGANG TOUR DELAYED TO NEXT YEAR," Seoul, 11/29/99) and The Korea Times ("FOREIGNERS' MT. KUMGANG TOUR PUT OFF," Seoul, 11/28/99) reported that ROK officials said on November 27 that overseas ROK citizens and foreigners will not be able to visit DPRK's Mount Kumgang until early next year. The Hyundai Group, organizer of the inter-Korean tour, announced last month that it would include foreigners in the inter-Korean tour programs in November. The plan, however, hit a snag due to lagging negotiations with DPRK officials. An anonymous group official said, "we have to open more agencies abroad to gather applicants in earnest and the consultations with North Korea have yet to be concluded. Therefore, foreigners' participation will likely start between January and March at the earliest." Other sources attributed the drawn-out consultation to the DPRK Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which reportedly demanded that foreign tourists lodge in DPRK facilities instead of Hyundai's cruise liners.

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5. ROK-PRC-Japan Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Hong Joon-ho, "KOREA-CHINA-JAPAN AGREE ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION," Seoul, 11/28/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung had a breakfast meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Keijo Obuchi and PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji on November 28 and agreed to start a joint study for economic cooperation among the three countries. According to the plan, each country is to designate a national or private institute to carry out the study putting priority on ten fields including trade, finance, industry, science-technology and plans to maximize benefits following the PRC joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). The leaders of the three countries also agreed to institute the meeting regularly and to work together at the WTO's New Round negotiations scheduled in Seattle on November 30. Kim also held a separate meeting with Obuchi and agreed to join Japanese capital with Korean technology for projects in other countries. He also agreed to designate dedicated industrial complex for Japanese Hi-tech industries and to provide benefits of long term lease and tax break.

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6. DPRK Defectors in ROK

Chosun Ilbo ("FOUR NEW DEFECTORS ARRIVE IN SEOUL ," Seoul, 11/26/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on November 26 that four DPRK defectors have arrived in the ROK and are being processed. According to the NIS, a man using the false name of Lee Chong-seok, of Cheongjin, North Hamgyong Province, escaped from the DPRK where he worked at Kim Chaek Steel Works before escaping to a third country in May of 1997. The NIS says that Lee entered the ROK with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The three others are said to have sought refuge with ROK authorities while still in unspecified third countries. This brings the number of publicized DPRK defectors to 113 in 1999.

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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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