FW: Daily Report - March 10

2000-03-17 00:01
In today's Report:
I. United States
1. Alleged DPRK Kidnappings of Japanese
2. DPRK Military
3. DPRK Defectors
4. ROK Fighter Purchases
5. Cross-Straits Relations
6. US Military Role in Pacific
II. Republic of Korea
1. ROK Policy towards DPRK
2. DPRK-US Talks
3. DPRK-Canada Talks
4. DPRK-Japan Talks
5. Inter-Korean Soccer Game
III. Japan
1. DPRK's Suspected Abduction of Japanese
2. Japanese Aid to DPRK
3. ROK Policy toward DPRK
4. Japanese View of TMD
5. Japanese-US Arms Control Talks
6. Japanese-US Host-Nation Support

I. United States

1. Alleged DPRK Kidnappings of Japanese

JAPANESE," Tokyo, 3/10/00) reported that the DPRK announced on Friday
that it had re-launched investigations into missing Japanese citizens,
believed to have been kidnapped by DPRK agents. However, the DPRK
suggested that Japan also check whether the missing citizens had been
kidnapped by criminals in Japan. Japan suspects that DPRK agents
kidnapped about 10 of its citizens in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s to
help train its spies in Japanese customs, language and geography. DPRK
officials agreed to re-launch the search at a Red Cross meeting with
Japan in Beijing in December 1999. A report by the DPRK's Korean Central
News Agency said, "under the agreement, the central committee of the DPRK
Red Cross Society sent to its affiliated provincial, city and county
branches a notice on the re-start of the investigation into the 'missing
persons' proposed by the Japanese side. The competent relevant organs
kicked off the investigation as a matter of routine. The investigation
will be made in our own way."

2. DPRK Military

SURPRISES THE U.S.," Washington, 03/10/00, 1) reported that US officials
said that the DPRK has in recent months carried out extensive military
exercises. Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, the commander in chief of US
forces in the Pacific, told the US Senate this week, "the North Korea
armed forces have just finished the heaviest winter training cycle that
we have seen in recent years." Blair added that the DPRK "seem to have
stabilized economically at what we would consider an impossibly low level
of production and consumption. They continue to divert a
disproportionate part of their small national wealth to military programs
and are able to wring a formidable military capability out of a busted
economy because that's in the interest of the ruling family there, and
they maintain it by authoritarian means." However, when asked whether
the DPRK could continue amid its economic difficulties, Blair replied,
"Not forever." Peter Brookes, a Republican staff member for the House
International Relations Committee, stated, "We've been resuscitating a
dying patient. All of the aid we provide to North Korea is completely
fungible. They must have gotten the fuel from somewhere, or the money
for fuel from somewhere, to conduct these exercises." He argued that
even if the DPRK uses the food it gets from other countries to feed
ordinary citizens, that food frees up money and resources for the
military that might otherwise be used to combat famine. The article
quoted former US State Department official Joel Wit as saying in a recent
Nautilus Policy Forum Online that the US President Bill Clinton
administration's DPRK policy has been "a good deal for the United States"
because it stopped the DPRK's nuclear program. [Ed. note: See "Clinton
and North Korea: Past, Present and Future" at
http://www.nautilus.org/fora/security/0002A_Wit.html]. Richard L.
Armitage, a former US Defense Department official and now an advisor to
US presidential candidate Governor George W. Bush, argued, "I think the
governor [Bush] would feel much better about the current situation if the
administration would turn immediately to the conventional threat and
devote as much energy to bringing down the conventional threat to the
Republic of Korea as they did to the missile question." [Ed. note: This
article was one of the Top Stories in the US Department of Defense's
Early Bird news service for March 10, 2000.]

3. DPRK Defectors

Associated Press ("15 N. KOREANS DEFECT TO THE SOUTH," Seoul, 3/10/00)
reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that
fifteen DPRK Nationals arrived in the ROK on Friday. A ministry
statement said that among them were four members of one family and five
members of another, as well as individuals who left the DPRK separately
between 1996 and last year. They arrived in ROK from a "third country."

4. ROK Fighter Purchases

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Philip Dine, "S. KOREA WILL LOOK AT F-15 AS
IT CONSIDERS NEW PLANES," Washington, 03/09/00) reported that ROK
military officials said Wednesday that the ROK plans a major purchase of
jet fighters by next year. The ROK will evaluate four planes, including
the F-15 Eagle made by Boeing, over the next few months. Lockheed Martin
Corporation is also competing for the ROK fighter contract. Richard
Aboulafia, aerospace analyst for the Teal Group Inc. in Virginia, stated,
"Korea is the battle cry. The stakes are huge, a potential US$6 billion
to US$8 billion fighter buy from the Koreans, with 40 to 80 planes." He
added, "We're getting into the realm of F-15 line survivability. Every
day (a decision) is pushed back is worse for Boeing. Lockheed Martin,
not surprisingly, wants to push it back." Lockheed spokeswoman Kathryn
Hayden stated, "I think anywhere in the world now competitions are very
intense, as orders have decreased. We have a long history in South Korea
and feel very strongly that we would like to continue that relationship."
ROK Air Force Colonel Choon Kang stated, "The Korean Air Force is going
to purchase planes next year. We will evaluate sometime this year which
aircraft will be good for the future." He added that the ROK is also
considering the Eurofighter and French and Russian planes. [Ed. note:
This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird
news service for March 10, 1999.]

5. Cross-Straits Relations

Hong Kong, 3/10/00) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen said
Friday that there is little chance that the escalating rhetoric between
the PRC and Taiwan would lead to a military confrontation. Cohen told
reporters in Hong Kong, the first stop of a four-country Asian tour, "all
the evidence is that the prospect that this escalates into a military
confrontation is not likely." He urged the PRC and Taiwan to lower the
rhetoric and work peacefully to settle their differences on the status of
the Taiwan. Cohen stated, "we expect China to pursue its relationship
and these negotiations with Taiwan in a peaceful fashion. As far as
firing words as opposed to taking action, that's certainly a change from
what they've done in the past. But we want to make sure they continue to
work the peaceful way."

6. US Military Role in Pacific

The International Herald Tribune (Michael Richardson, "U.S. TO TRIM
PACIFIC ROLE," Singapore, 03/10/00) reported that the US is encouraging
local armed forces to work more closely together and take the lead in any
regional crisis that does not require large-scale US intervention. US
officials and analysts said that the goal is to strengthen security
cooperation in the region while reducing US commitments to send troops
into conflicts. Admiral Dennis Blair, commander in chief of US forces in
the region, pointed to the Australian-led peacekeeping coalition in East
Timor, saying, "Previously, the U.S. has followed two modes of
involvement in international peacekeeping operations - either being large
and in charge or standing aside. East Timor demonstrated the value of
having the U.S. in a supporting role to a competent ally, providing
unique and significant capabilities needed to ensure success without
stretching the capability of U.S. forces and resources to conduct other
operations worldwide." He added, "We are working closely with our
security partners to merge bilateral exercises into regional exercises
using updated scenarios that develop the skills we expect our combined
forces will need." Philippines Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado stated,
"What we are foreseeing would be a situation where we would have not only
bilateral but possibly multilateral exercises with other countries with
which the United States has military cooperation ties." [Ed. note: This
article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news
service for March 10, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Policy towards DPRK

WITH PYONGYANG TO GOVERNMENT LEVEL," Berlin, 03/10/00), Joongang Ilbo
OFFERS ECONOMIC HELP TO PYONGYANG," Seoul, 03/09/00), and The Korea Times
03/09/00), and The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "KIM SEEKS INT'L SUPPORT
FOR BERLIN DECLARATION," Seoul, 03/09/00) reported that ROK President Kim
Dae-jung announced on March 8 that the ROK is willing to engage in
economic cooperation with the DPRK on a government level. Kim said in a
speech at the Free University of Berlin, "the government of the Republic
of Korea is ready to help North Korea overcome its economic
difficulties." Kim also urged the DPRK to accept the ROK's proposal to
resume government-level talks and agree to the exchange of special envoys
to discuss the 1991 inter-Korean basic agreement. Kim's aides said that
the president's address, which they dubbed the "Berlin Declaration,"
represents a shift in the ROK's policy. The government had previously
confined economic cooperation to the private sector under the "principle
of separating politics and the economy." [Ed. note: The Korean Herald
article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news
service for March 10, 2000.]

2. DPRK-US Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Chul-hee, "N.K.-U.S. TALKS AIMED AT REMOVING NORTH
KOREA FROM LIST OF 'TERRORIST STATES'," Seoul, 03/09/00) reported that
the US and the DPRK are currently carrying out talks with the aim of
removing the DPRK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in
addition to the preliminary talks for the DPRK-US ranking government
official meeting to be held from March 7 in New York. In order to escape
from the list of terrorism states, the DPRK would be required to declare
never to support terrorist activity. The US congress must also confirm
that the DPRK did not support terrorist activities over the last 6
months, while the DPRK must join the anti-terrorism agreement and admit
and apologize for its past terrorist activities.

3. DPRK-Canada Talks

CANADA," Seoul, 03/09/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, "CANADA STARTS
OFFICIAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH NK," Washington DC," 03/09/00) reported that a
delegation from the DPRK secretly visited Canada this week. A
spokesperson for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on
March 8 that five delegates from the bureau of DPRK Foreign Affairs
(responsible for Central and Latin America plus Canada) headed by Ryang
Tae-shik, paid a visit to Ottawa and returned to the DPRK on March 7.
The spokesman said that the visit was planned after University of British
Columbia professor and university representative Brian Job and Korea
Section diplomat Linda Watson and four others visited the DPRK last
December. Since the two countries have no official diplomatic ties, the
meetings were considered unofficial. The delegates from the DPRK toured
various industrial sites and the Canadian House of Parliament during
their visit.

4. DPRK-Japan Talks

JAPAN," Seoul, 03/09/00) reported that the Tokyo Shimbun reported on
March 9 that Chung Tae-wha, a former ROK deputy minister of Foreign
Affairs, will lead the DPRK's negotiating team at the upcoming
rapprochement talks with Japan. Chung, aged between 69 and 70, was
ambassador to Madagascar before taking up the ministry post.

5. Inter-Korean Soccer Game

that the 2002 World Cup Main Stadium (WCMS) in Sangam-dong, Seoul will be
completed by the beginning of September 2001, three months earlier than
scheduled. Upon completion, a friendly game between the ROK and the DPRK
is scheduled.

III. Japan

1. DPRK's Suspected Abduction of Japanese

ISSUE," 03/10/2000) reported that Rodong Shinmun, the DPRK Workers'
Party's official paper, criticized the Japanese government on March 9 for
its handling of the DPRK's investigation into an abduction of a Japanese
female in Niigata Prefecture. The report said, "the Japanese government
cannot solve many abduction incidents in Japan. The Japanese government
is making up 'abduction' (by the DPRK) as a scapegoat. The Japanese
government should not take up the abduction issue any more."

2. Japanese Aid to DPRK

03/08/2000) reported that the Japanese government announced on March 7
its plan to send a 100,000 tons of rice as aid to the DPRK. According to
the Japanese government, both Japan and the DPRK have agreed to resume
normalization talks in the DPRK in early April. The government also
briefed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on the aid shipment at the
LDP's joint meeting on party diplomatic relations at the party's
headquarters. The LDP participants and the LDP's General Council
approved the shipment. According to government officials, the shipment
will mainly come from government stockpiles. The officials also said
that the World Food Program (WFP) would use funds allocated by the
government to buy the rice, which would cost 16-17 billion yen. The rice
is expected to be shipped from a port in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. The rice
will arrive in the DPRK in April. Japan provided 500,000 tons of rice to
the DPRK in 1995, food and medicine worth US$6 million in 1996, and 6.7
tons of rice worth US$27 million in 1997 through the WFP. Ichita
Yamamoto, the state secretary for foreign affairs, said that the 100,000
tons of rice would be transported to the DPRK through the WFP as a
humanitarian gesture. The report quoted Yamamoto as saying, "The first
round of normalization of diplomatic relations talks will be held in
Pyongyang in April, the second round will be held in Tokyo, and the third
will be either in Beijing or a third country."

The Daily Yomiuri ("PUBLIC UNCONVINCED ON N. KOREA RICE AID," 03/09/2000)
reported that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Jiyuto have voiced
discontent over the lack of concrete measures that could be used to
uncover the truth about the alleged abductions of Japanese citizens by
the DPRK. Ichita Yamamoto, the state secretary for foreign affairs, said
at an LDP meeting that the 100,000 tons of rice aid was strategically
necessary to make progress on the alleged kidnappings. After the
meeting, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a House of Councilors member, said he wanted
to know whether the government had other plans if the aid did not bring
the DPRK to talks. Yoshizaki also expressed concern over the nation's
legal system that allowed the DPRK spy ships to escape after being
sighted in Japanese waters. The vote on the rice aid was 15 against and
two for, with six leaving the matter in the hands of the chairperson of
the meeting. The government plans to increase rice aid if progress is
made over the kidnapping issue. Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama,
who visited Pyongyang in December to pave the way for the resumption of
talks, said that DPRK government officials openly told him the DPRK was
suffering from an acute shortage of food. Murayama added that
humanitarian action was needed to send rice to the DPRK, and that he was
hopeful that the aid would help bring about bilateral talks. At an LDP
meeting on March 7, Kunihiko Makita, chief of the Foreign Ministry's
Asian Affairs Bureau, said that during unofficial Japanese-DPRK talks,
the DPRK had shown sincerity in wanting to solve the abduction issue and
had reported the results of its own investigations to Japan.

3. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Norihide Miyoshi "ROK EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR DPRK'S
AGRICULTURAL REFORM," Berlin, 03/10/2000) reported that ROK President Kim
Dae-jung gave a speech at Freedom University in Berlin on March 9 called
the "Lessons from German Unification and the Urgent Problems on the
Korean Peninsula." Kim proposed a "Berlin Declaration" in which he
expressed his support for the DPRK's agricultural reform. Kim said, "the
ROK government is ready to help the DPRK overcome its economic
difficulties." The report said that Kim expressed his support for the
DPRK's agricultural reform because the ROK was aiming to find a way to
resume ROK-DPRK intergovernmental talks after the Japanese and the US
government had some form of normalization plans with the DPRK already in

4. Japanese View of TMD

AGAINST PRC," 03/09/2000) reported that the National Institute of Defense
Studies, the Japanese Defense Agency's research institute, published its
"East Asia Strategic Overview 2000" on March 8. In the report, the
institute argued that although the PRC has been opposed to the theater
missile defense initiative, the system is purely defensive and it is hard
to believe that the system would destabilize Japan's relationship with
neighboring countries. The report also said, "the PRC is strengthening
its ballistic missiles and there still remain suspicions about the PRC's
export of missiles. It is hard for Japan, which has no ballistic
missile, to accept opposition to research on TMD from such a country (as
the PRC, which has ballistic missiles)." Regarding the DPRK's missile
development, the report said, "although the DPRK temporarily froze its
missile launch, there is no sign that the DPRK would restrain from its
missile development and deployment. It is hard to believe that the DPRK
would abandon its missile card or nuclear card until the Kim Jong-il
regime becomes confident about its survival."

5. Japanese-US Arms Control Talks

The Daily Yomiuri ("JAPAN, US MEET TO DISCUSS ARMS," 03/09/2000) reported
that according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Japan and the US on
March 8 set up a joint committee on arms control, disarmament and
nonproliferation, which held its first meeting the same day. Norio
Hattori, director general for arms control and scientific affairs at the
ministry, led the Japanese delegation, and John Holum, senior adviser for
Arms Control and International Security at the US State Department,
headed the US side. The committee will hold a meeting twice a year to
discuss a wide range of issues regarding disarmament. At the first
meeting, the two sides agreed on technical cooperation to establish a
system to inspect nuclear experiments and on early implementation of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). They also agreed to cooperate on
strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at the UN meeting in
April when the treaty is to be reviewed.

6. Japanese-US Host-Nation Support

The Daily Yomiuri ("US MAKES DEMANDS FOR 'SYMPATHY BUDGET'," 03/07/2000)
reported that the US government has been intensifying its demands in
negotiations with the Japanese government for maintaining the current
level of budgetary support for US forces stationed in Japan, called host-
nation support (HNS). The Japanese call HNS "the sympathy budget." The
report said that the US government's insistence on maintaining HNS at
current levels was seen when James Foley, US Ambassador to Japan, met
directly with each political party to put forward the US position. Foley
and other officials began their meetings with Japanese political parties
by talking with New Komeito. During the meeting, Foley insisted that HNS
was not a sympathy budget but a strategic contribution essential to
maintaining the Japan-US alliance and the stability of the Asia-Pacific
region. Foley also pointed out that Japan bears 59 percent of the costs
of US forces stationed in Japan, but more than 40 percent of that is used
for renting the land and implementing countermeasures for the safety of
US bases. Foley said that although the operating costs for personnel and
other expenses to maintain the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk reach
hundreds of million of yen per day, these costs are not included in HNS.
However, Masao Akamatsu, chairman of the New Komeito's diplomacy and
security committee, emphasized the need to reduce HNS. Akamatsu said,
"currently, we do not have guidelines. Expenditures (from the sympathy
budget) are used even for leisure facilities on the bases. Now is a
chance to review how we should share the costs." The report said that
one factor behind the US intensifying its demand for HNS is anxiety that
the US public will oppose Japan's reduction, adversely affecting the
Japan-US security alliance. Another factor seemed to be that the US
government was calculating that it will be easier to get Japan to
compromise if negotiations are held in connection with the summit of the
Group of Eight major in July.

SYMPATHY BUDGET," 03/10/2000) reported that Shunji Yanai, Japanese
Ambassador to the US, expressed annoyance on March 9 over the
intensifying US demand for Japan's maintenance of the current level of
the "sympathy budget." Yanai said, "as far as the Japanese government is
concerned, it is needless to remind the government of how important (the
sympathy budget) is. There are many people who recognize the strategic
importance of the budget, but as long as the budget is made by Japanese
taxpayers' money, we should be able to explain to them sufficiently. (In
addition,) no one is saying that the budget should be completely
terminated. Some reduction of the budget (should not be taken to mean)
such an extreme view."


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