NEPSNet Daily Report - Mar 30

2000-04-04 00:05
In today's Report:
I. United States
1. Italy-DPRK Talks
2. Japan-DPRK Talks
3. US-ROK-Japan Policy Coordination
4. US-PRC Talks
5. US Senate Resolution on Taiwan
6. Cross-Straits Trade Relations
7. Taiwan Premier
8. Taiwan Assembly
9. PRC-Russian Relations
II. Republic of Korea
1. ROK-DPRK Talks
2. DPRK Provocations
3. DPRK-Italy Relations
4. ROK-UK Talks
III. People's Republic of China
1. DPRK Diplomacy
2. DPRK Economy
3. Construction of Light-Water Reactors
4. ROK-Japanese Relations
5. PRC-US Talks
6. PRC-US Trade Relations
7. The Taiwan Issue
8. PRC-Russian Relations

I. United States

1. Italy-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse (Jun Kwan-woo, "N. KOREA HAILS ITALIAN VISIT AS
START OF NEW CHAPTER IN TIES," Seoul, 3/29/00) reported that the DPRK
hosted a visit by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini to Pyongyang on
March 29. The DPRK and Italy released a joint statement at the end of
Dini's two-day visit on March 29, and agreed that a dialogue between the
ROK and the DPRK was essential to achieving peace in the Korea Peninsula.
The statement released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said,
"(The DPRK and Italy) shared the view that the division of Korea, a
source of constant tensions in this area, should be terminated peacefully
at an early date." It added that an end to the world's last Cold War
frontier should be sought "through beneficial reunification-oriented
dialogue and negotiations between the North and South of Korea." The
statement also said, "the Italian side assured the DPRK that it would
positively examine the latter's request for its sustained aid" and both
sides agreed "on expanding and deepening the friendly and cooperative
relations in the political, economic and cultural fields on the principle
of mutual respect, sovereignty and equality." KCNA said that during his
stay, Dini met with his DPRK counterpart, Paek Nam-sun, and nominal head
of state Kim Yong-nam, president of the presidium of the DPRK Supreme
People's Assembly. A statement issued in Italy said that Dini while
holding talks with Paek had urged the DPRK to end its isolation.

2. Japan-DPRK Talks

Tokyo, 3/29/00) reported that Japan said on March 29 that huge hurdles
must be cleared before progress can be expected at the normalization
talks with the DPRK beginning on April 4. Kojiro Takano, Japan's chief
negotiator in the talks, said that the two sides were far apart on key
issues including the alleged abduction of Japanese citizens by the DPRK
and the DPRK's demands for reparations for damage suffered during Japan's
colonial rule of the Korean peninsula. Takano said, "a huge gap exists
between Japan and North Korea over bilateral issues.... We can't expect
for a quick progress. It's impossible to normalize relations while the
abduction issue is shelved." However, he added that Japan would not
extend additional aid to the DPRK until the ROK and the DPRK make
"substantive" progress in their talks over key bilateral issues. Tokano
said, "even if North Korea asks for more aid, it will be very difficult
for the Japanese government to respond positively as long as no
substantive progress is achieved over various issues, including the
abduction case." He also said that Japan would not accept the DPRK's
demand that Japan pay reparations for its colonial rule of the Korean
peninsula, although it would be ready to accept DPRK demands that Japan
apologize for harm done under its colonial rule.

3. US-ROK-Japan Policy Coordination

ACCEPT KIM INITIATIVE," Tokyo, 3/30/00) reported that at a meeting in
Japan, senior officials from the US, the ROK and Japan jointly urged the
DPRK on Thursday to accept ROK President Kim Dae-jung's recent call for
tighter inter-Korean cooperation. A joint statement said that the three
countries also agreed to continue efforts to engage the DPRK in dialogue
to improve relations. The meeting was led by Yukio Takeuchi, Japan's
deputy vice foreign minister for foreign policy, US State Department
counselor Wendy Sherman, and ROK deputy minister of foreign affairs and
trade Jang Jal-ryong. The statement said, "they hoped that the DPRK
would respond positively to the initiative. They also stressed the
central importance of South-North dialogue to peace and prosperity on the
Korean Peninsula. They expressed the hope that the DPRK will continue to
take positive steps for the improvement of its relations with the three
countries." The statement also said that the three countries
particularly welcomed the resumption of talks between Japan and the DPRK
set for April 4-8 in Pyongyang to establish diplomatic ties. It added
that the three countries hoped that the US and the DPRK would improve
relations through dialogue, including talks on a visit to Washington by a
high-level DPRK official as well as the DPRK's missile and nuclear

The Asian Wall Street Journal published an editorial ("ABETTING NORTH
KOREA," 3/30/00) which said that the meeting on Thursday of senior
officials from the US, Japan and the ROK in Tokyo to discuss the DPRK did
not consider the best available option: Do nothing. The editor wrote,
"instead they are determined to go on aiding a despotic regime that
starves its own people and threatens its neighbors." The editorial
continued, "North Korea's communist regime has been teetering on the
brink since the Cold War ended. Were it not for the good intentions of
the free world, it probably would have collapsed by now. But over the
past six years, the U.S. and its Asian allies have tried to buy peace and
security from an innately hostile power. As a result, they have proven
to be easy pickings for Pyongyang's extortion, and the region has grown
less secure." The editor added that the US should consider whether
giving aide to the DPRK Nationals would be a kindness because much of the
assistance sent to the DPRK ends up in the hands of the armed forces or
the Workers Party elite, thus "enabling the regime to survive longer."
It concluded, "neither humanitarian nor security concerns will be
resolved until the Democratic People's Republic of Korea vanishes from
the face of the earth. The summitteers in Tokyo should concentrate on
hastening that happy day." [Ed. note: This editorial was included in the
US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 30, 2000.]

4. US-PRC Talks

SECURITY ADVISOR," Beijing, 3/30/00) reported that PRC President Jiang
Zemin met with US National Security Advisor Samuel Berger on Thursday at
the Zhongnanhai leadership headquarters in central Beijing. The two
exchanged pleasantries before journalists were escorted out of the
meeting. No other information was immediately available.

5. US Senate Resolution on Taiwan

Office of International Information Programs, US Department of State
reported that US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Democratic Senator
Joseph Biden of Delaware urged their US Senate colleagues on March 28 to
pass a Senate Concurrent Resolution 99 praising the successful democratic
elections held in Taiwan on March 18. Resolution 99 mirrored a House
Concurrent Resolution 292 passed by the US House of Representatives on
March 28. The Senate approved the resolution unanimously.

6. Cross-Straits Trade Relations

The Los Angeles Times (Jim Mann and Tyler Marshall, "CHINESE REJECT
TAIWAN TRADE OVERTURES," Washington, 3/30/00) reported that deputy chief
of mission at the PRC Embassy in Washington Liu Xiaoming said on March 29
that the PRC government said that before trade restrictions between the
PRC and Taiwan can be eased, Taiwan president-elect Chen Shui-bian must
first promise to adhere to the principle that there is only "one China."
Chen said during his campaign and in subsequent interviews that he would
like to open up what are commonly called the "three links" between Taiwan
and the PRC: direct trade, shipping and postal services. However, Liu
said, "I do not see that there will be [direct trade] between the two
sides without an endorsement by Chen Shui-bian of the 'one China'
principle. The 'one China' principle is the basis for cross-strait
relations, including the three links." Huang Renwei of the Shanghai
Academy of Social Sciences echoed the same sentiment at a Washington
conference on Taiwan. Huang, suggested that it would be
counterproductive for the new government in Taiwan to press for a more
precise definition of "one China." Huang said, "there are those who want
a clear definition, but this will make it much harder to resolve the
problem" of launching a substantive dialogue between Taipei and Beijing.

7. Taiwan Premier

3/30/00) reported that Taiwan media and stock investors on Thursday
applauded Taiwan President-elect Chen Shui-bian's choice of Defense
Minister Tang Fei as premier, saying that it would help Chen build
support in the military and ease relations in the legislature. Tang is a
veteran Nationalist Party member and military man whose appointment was
also seen as reassuring to the PRC. Taipei Times said in an editorial,
"although a great surprise, Tang seems to be an inspired choice." Beyond
Asset Management President Michael On said, "most see Tang's appointment
as quite positive because this can help stabilize sentiment in the
military in Taiwan's first power transfer in five decades."

8. Taiwan Assembly

SCRAPPED," Taipei, 3/30/00) reported that Taiwan's two major political
parties, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),
agreed on Thursday that the 334-seat body Taiwan National Assembly should
be marginalized after its term expires on May 19, but not dissolved.
Parliamentarian sources said that the KMT hoped that the assembly would
keep marginal powers as a balance to the powerful parliament. DPP
secretary-general You Hsi-kun said, "they got the face while we got what
we really want. Virtually the National Assembly would be scrapped in
terms of its function. It would exist only in form." Hung Yu-chin, the
KMT party whip, said in a statement that under the new deal, deputies to
the assembly would be appointed by political parties in proportion to
their seats in the Legislative Yuan. Most of the assembly's powers would
be switched to the parliament including the power to impeach the
president or vice-president and to elect the vice-president. Hung said,
"NA deputies would be organized in a temporary manner ... only if the
parliament presents proposals to impeach the president or the vice
president, or when they want to vote in the exercise of their rights of
referendum on proposed constitutional amendments submitted by the

9. PRC-Russian Relations

WON'T CHANGE," Beijing, 3/30/00) reported that the PRC state press said
on Thursday that Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev told his PRC
counterpart Chi Haotian during meetings in Astana that there would be no
major changes in Russia's relations with the PRC following the victory of
Vladimir Putin in Russian presidential elections last weekend. Sergeyev
was quoted by the official PRC People's Daily as telling Chi, "Russia and
China have an important responsibility for maintaining world peace and
from today onwards we will continue this kind of cooperation. I stress
that Russia in the past, at present and in the future has supported
China's policy and position on the Taiwan question, this will not change.
Russia and China have similar and close positions on many big
international and regional issues and closely cooperate on issues like
Kosovo, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, human rights and fighting
ethnic splittism, religious extremism and international terrorism." Chi
praised Sino-Russian cooperation in maintaining global peace and
"opposing hegemonism and power politics. The Chinese side believes that
the Chechnya problem is an internal Russian affair and the Chinese side
fully understands and completely supports all actions adopted by the
Russian government in efforts to maintain national unity and territorial

MILITARY TIES," Astana, 3/30/00) reported that defense ministers from
Russia, the PRC and three Central Asian states promised on Thursday to
intensify military cooperation. PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian said,
"we reached a unified position on a wide range of issues. I would
especially stress achieving an agreement on a joint fight against
reactionary extremism, national separatism and international terrorism.
All of us were in agreement that only by joint efforts can we avert this.
Our agreements will provide stability and the development of prosperity."
Chi also said the three defense ministers discussed continuing work on
two Shanghai Five agreements to strengthen confidence-building measures
and reduce armed forces along their shared border. He continued, "the
defense ministers also paid serious attention to the problems of anti-
ballistic missiles, Islamic regional terrorism and extremism and attempts
of interference into interior affairs of sovereign states."

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-DPRK Talks

EVENTUALLY," Seoul, 03/30/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "PRES.
reported that the DPRK is currently on a "fierce" diplomatic offensive.
The DPRK has established relations with Italy and is attempting to do the
same with Australia, the Philippines, and South Africa. More
significantly, it is taking giant strides toward normalizing ties with
its two major capitalist foes - the US and Japan. ROK Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Joung-binn said that even though the DPRK's
ongoing diplomatic initiative is partly a result of the country's dire
economic straits, it is also attributable to the ROK's efforts under its
"sunshine policy" for the past two years to persuade its major allies to
befriend the DPRK. Lee added that this being the case, it can no longer
attempt to isolate the ROK diplomatically as it did in the past. Lee
predicted that the DPRK's financial struggles would eventually, if not
immediately, cause the DPRK to accept ROK President Kim Dae-jung's recent

2. DPRK Provocations

that ROK President Kim Dae-jung ordered the ROK Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade on March 29 to send the DPRK a "message" to convince
its government not to commit any acts of aggression against the ROK. Kim
said, "we must also let the North know that we will not tolerate any
provocation." He also said that the DPRK's recent moves to improve
relations with foreign countries should assist the ROK and the
international community in their efforts to help end its decades-old era
of isolation.

3. DPRK-Italy Relations

PYONGYANG," Seoul, 03/29/00) reported that the DPRK's official Korean
Central News Agency (KCNA), reported that Italian foreign minister
Lamberto Dini arrived in Pyongyang on March 28. Dini is scheduled to
meet DPRK Prime Minister Hong Sung-nam and the DPRK foreign minister, to
discuss such issues as aid to the DPRK, military weapons development,
human rights, and Italy's future activities regarding the DPRK.

4. ROK-UK Talks

Seoul, 03/29/00) reported that the ROK and the United Kingdom will resume
talks scheduled for April 3-4 regarding DPRK policy. An unnamed person
within the ROK Foreign Ministry said that John Battle, the British
Minister of State for Foreign Commonwealth Office and person in charge of
the Asia region, will visit the ROK next week and have official meetings
with Ban Ki-moon, his ROK counterpart at the ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade. During the talks, ROK and UK officials will largely discuss
policy on the DPRK. The source said that the "UK does not have
diplomatic relations with North Korea but has had seven official meetings
in the past. The eighth will see discussed the sending of two British
English instructors to North Korea."

III. People's Republic of China

1. DPRK Diplomacy

People's Daily (Zhang Xinghua, "NEW CHANGES IN DPRK DIPLOMACY," 3/21/00,
P6) carried a commentary saying that the DPRK's diplomacy in the new
century tends to be active. This is a positive change, the article said.
After the cold war, the article said, containment and antagonism are not
in accord with the demand of the age. The tension on the Korean
Peninsula in recent years has gradually eased. The US and Japan have
adjusted their policies toward the DPRK and economic and cultural
exchanges between the DPRK and the ROK have been continuously increasing.
Under such circumstances, the article said, the DPRK adjusted its foreign
policy in a timely fashion, fastened its steps to push forward positively
multilateral diplomacy, and has made encouraging progresses. According
to the article, the promotion of multilateral foreign policy shows that
the DPRK wants to improve its relations with all countries, including
western countries. It said that the tendency of DPRK diplomacy is
conducive to creating peaceful and stable environment on Korean Peninsula
and increasing the DPRK's economic exchanges with others and its domestic
economic construction. However, in the end, the article warned that the
cold war mentality has not completely disappeared and the diplomatic
normalization between DPRK and the ROK, the US and Japan cannot be
reached in one day.

2. DPRK Economy

China Daily ("DPRK'S ECONOMY ON THE UP," Seoul, P6, 03/23/00) reported
that ROK economists said on March 22 that the DPRK economy registered
positive growth in 1999 for the first time in 10 years. The DPRK's gross
domestic product (GDP) grew by up to 3 percent last year, the Korea
Economic Daily said in a survey of research institutes in Seoul. It said
that the rebound from a 10-year contraction since 1990 was propelled by
steady foreign aid and a recovery in agricultural and manufacturing
output. "The rebound reflects a shift in economic policy to pragmatism
and an inflow of foreign aid," Cho Myong-chul of the (ROK) Korea
Institute for International Economic Policy said. "Last year's growth
was a technical rebound. But I believe the DPRK economy will grow
further this year and next year," he said.

DEVELOPING ECONOMY," 3/30/00, P6) carried a report saying that the DPRK
Labor Party and the DPRK Government have taken a series of policy
adjustments and all kinds of measures to promote economic development.
Since last year, the article said, the DPRK economic situation has
improved. It said that while facing difficulties, the DPRK people have
displayed incredible endurance and strong will, which is an important
element to push forward the DPRK's economic development. However, the
article also reminded that the DPRK still have difficulties in resolving
its economic problems in the short term.

3. Construction of Light-Water Reactors

3/30/00, P6) reported that the DPRK's Rodong Shinmun issued an article on
March 28 demanding that the US take practicable measures to compensate
the DPRK's electricity loss because of the delay of the construction of
light-water reactions.

4. ROK-Japanese Relations

China Daily ("JAPAN, TAIWAN BAN SOUTH KOREAN MEATS," Seoul, 03/30/00, P5)
reported that Japan and Taiwan have banned ROK beef and pork because of a
suspected outbreak of foot and mouth disease on dairy farms in the
country's north. "Japan on Monday temporarily suspended the quarantine
inspection of beef and pork from South Korea following the outbreak," a
spokesman from the ROK agriculture ministry said. He said the blister-
causing disease was reported on dairy farms in Paju County. He added
that Taiwan had also temporarily banned imports of ROK pork. Kim Sung-
hoon, ROK agriculture minister, said that the ministry asked for
cooperation from the Defense Ministry and other government agencies in an
effort to fight the disease.

5. PRC-US Talks

People's Daily (Zhang Jingyu, "ZHU RONGJI MEETS WITH BERGER," Beijing,
03/30/00, P1) reported that when meeting visiting US National Security
Advisor Samuel Berger, PRC Premier Zhu Rongji stressed that any kind of
"Taiwan independence" will not be allowed no matter who is in power in
Taiwan. He urged the US to be fully aware of the complexity and
sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and adhere to the one-China principle,
the report said. Zhu expressed the PRC's willingness to improve and
develop ties with the US. He said that such a relationship must follow
strictly the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and the norms of
international relations. In particular, the premier said, the principles
of mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity,
and non-interference in each other's internal affairs must be honored.
Berger, describing the bilateral relations as "at a critical moment,"
said that the US will adhere to the one-China policy and observe the
three Sino-US Joint Communiques. He promised that the US will not
support "Taiwan independence," "two Chinas," or "one China, one Taiwan."
Nor will the US support Taiwan's entry into any international
organization that requires statehood, Berger said. He said the US
government will continue working for the establishment of US-PRC
constructive partnership. The US government hopes that the PRC can
smoothly join the World Trade Organization and will work towards granting
the PRC permanent normal trade relations, Berger said according to the

6. PRC-US Trade Relations

China Daily (Gong Zhengzheng, "US NUKE FIRMS EYE CHINA," 03/22/00, p5)
reported that the US nuclear power plant manufacturers are eyeing China's
vast market potential and to supply China with electricity beneficial to
its environment. "US companies are prepared to work with Chinese
manufacturers and research institutes to establish nuclear power
technology base with high efficiency and reliability in China," said Joe
F. Colvin, president with the US Nuclear Energy Institute at the sixth
China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition. Details of the
companies' plans were not revealed. The institute and three US nuclear
power plant manufacturers, including ABB Combustion Engineering, General
Electric and Westinghouse, are participating in the exhibition.

reported that the PRC said it will allow importation of wheat, citrus and
meat from the US if certain conditions are met. The conditions were
outlined in three bulletins released earlier this week by Ministry of
Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign trade and Economic Trade and Economic
Cooperation, and the State Administration for Exit-Entry Inspection and
Quarantine (SAEEIQ). The first bulletin said that so long as its own
wheat industry is not threatened, China will allow the import of all
kinds of wheat from the US. The second bulletin agreed on citrus imports
from the states of Texas, Arizona and parts of Florida and California.
According to the document, the oranges destined for the PRC must come
from orchards, carriers/packing plants and storage sheds designated by
both the SAEEIQ and the US Department of Agriculture as passing certain
inspection requirements. The third bulletin said that US meat imported
by the PRC must come from slaughterhouses approved by the Food Safety
Inspection Bureau under the US Department of Agriculture. In commenting
on the three bulletins, US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said
on March 24 that the new rules are a final step towards implementing the
agricultural agreement signed by the PRC and the US in April 1999. The
Chinese departments that endorsed the bulletins declined to comment.

7. The Taiwan Issue

China Daily (Xin Zhiming, "'TIMETABLE' FOR TAIWAN ISSUE," 03/24/00, P4)
reported that Li Jiaquan, research fellow with the Institute of Taiwan
Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that "definitely
the current condition across the Taiwan Straits should not last for too
long." For this reason, he said, the mainland has reiterated the
importance of Taiwan not being off the track of reunification. The
report said that the white paper on the Taiwan issue released on February
21 indicates that the PRC will take drastic measures to safeguard
reunification if Taiwan refuses the peaceful settlement of the issue.
After Taiwan's local election, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State
Council issued a statement saying that the PRC is "listening to the words
and watching the actions" of Taiwan's new leader Chen Shui-bian, implying
that any action may be taken by the PRC if the Taiwan authorities do
anything dangerous, said the article. Such warnings and implications
actually set a timetable for reunification, the report said. The third
"if" put forward in the white paper, that is "if the Taiwan authorities
refuse the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through
negotiations, then the Chinese Government will be forced to adopt all
drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard
China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and fulfill the great cause
of reunification," is a timetable without time limit, according to Li.
However, the article said, now the watershed of war and peace lies in the
attitude of the Taiwan authorities.

03/29/00, p1) reported that the PRC reiterated Tuesday that the
Government opposes any form of official contact between Taiwan and
countries that have diplomatic relations with the PRC. "China opposes
any country that invites Chen Shui-bian for any kind of visit," said
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi. Sun's remarks came when asked to
comment on the intention of some countries to invite Chen, the newly
elected Taiwan leader, to visit before or after he takes up the position.
Sun stressed that the one-China policy is of vital importance to the
healthy development of relations between the PRC and other countries.
Sun also indicated that those countries concerned have made solemn
international commitments to the PRC Government that there is but one
China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese
territory. Sun said that the PRC Government and people firmly oppose Lee
Teng-hui's splittist activities in any of his visits following his
stepping down as the chairman of Kuomintang and leader of Taiwan.

8. PRC-Russian Relations

Beijing, 03/28/00, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin
communicated with Russian newly-elected president Vlaimir Putin through
hot-line on Monday, sending a message of congratulations to Putin for his
victory in Russia's presidential election held on Sunday. Jiang said on
behalf of the Chinese Government and people that he expresses heartfelt
congratulations to Putin and the Russian people on Putin's election as
the president of the Russian Federation. On the future of Sino-Russian
relations, Jiang said, "It's a historic and correct choice for China and
Russia to establish and develop a strategic partnership." "Strong Sino-
Russian ties will contribute to pushing forward the process of building a
multipolar world and establishing a fair and reasonable new international
order," Jiang said. The Chinese president highly praised Putin for his
efforts in developing bilateral relations, and said he believes that
relations will only improve in the future.


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