Soviet criticism of Iranian intransigence
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Reconsidering the Dubcck era
Pyofigyang on KAL airlinerBeijing on arms control
Foreign Broadcast Information Service
FBIStcMbu tM7 FB8
Gof bschev-Deng Summit Prospects Linked to Cambodian I
Iran's Intransigence on UN Peace Efforts Draws Soviet S
Moscow Grapples With Unemployment Aspect of 9
Glasnosi Stir* Inquiries Into Dubcek Era14
Pyongyang Gives Low-Key Treatment lo KAL II
China: Beijing Toughens Stance on SD1
Pyongyang Gives Low-Key Treatment to KAL Incident
Pyongyang appears lo have decided ioelatively low profile in lis treatment of the recent crashouth Korean passenger plane over Southeast Asia. There are anomalies In North Korean media handling of the incident that set Ii off from treatment of serious Incidents in the pasi.
Despite worldwide attention to the disappearance of the plane onovember, which Seoul promptly alleged was the resultomb planted on board by North Korean agents. North Korean media did not report the incidentecember, ao unusual delay compared with Pyongyang's normal response time to such situations. Pyongyang offered its first comment on the incidentecember "KCNA spokesman's"ehicle rarely used and one lhat seems to rank low in the North's hierarchy of authoritative statements. The statement, carried io full in English-language transmissions for overseas consumers, denied thai the North was responsible for the plane's disappearance and suggested that it may have crashed due to mechanical difficulties. It acknowledged that two suspects had been questioned in Bahrain and that one had committed suicide, but it claimed flatly that both were Japanese who have no connection with North Korea. Neither the statement nor subsequent commentaries dealt with Ibe question of the bogus passports the twooint mentioned prominently in Western and South Korean press reports.
The spokesman's statement claimed that South Korean ruling party presidential candidate Noad scired on the incident to bolster his chances in ihe election scheduled for later this month, but it stopped short or directly charging thai be was behind the plane's disappearance. Lower level comment, however, has developed ihe themeink between No and the oiissingecember Nodong Sinmun commentary claimedortd opinion" suspected South Korean "intrigue" was behind the incident and raised what it claimed loumber of suspicious factors pointing toward the possibility of South Korean involvement. Nevertheless. Nodong Sinmun, like the KCNA statement, slopped shorl of directly charging the
South with complicity. However, Ihe clandesiirte radio Voice of National Salvation, beamed from North to South Korea, which typically goes beyond central media in these types of situations, didy charge that No platted the plane's destruction sod suggested that be deserved punishment.
Implicitly acknowledging that the incident could hurt the North's image, the KCNA statement, ending on an unusual note, protested defensively lhat the North would not carry out any action "harming the South Korean workers who were on board the passengereither the statement nor the Nodong Sinmun commentary, however, repeated the standard line that the DPRK docs not engage in acts of terrorism.
Kinds of Statements In the pastears KCNA is known to have issued only four other "spokesman's" statements two, in
n the issue of Japanese fishing boats violating North Korean waters, and two more,4n the issue of anti-North Korean propaganda from the South. Incidents similar to the South Korean plane's disappearance, in which Ihe North has been charged withand, and serious clashes between the DPRK. Of ROK forces are normally handled in an "authorized" KCNA siatcroent. Suchwbicb explicitly note that the news agency has been instructed to commentarticular topic, thus clearly indicating that they have the weight of authority behindused to put forth the DPRK position after3 Rangoon bombing,6 Panmumom ax-slaying incident, and4 assassination attempt against Pak Chong-hui.
On various occasions in the past, the North has refrained from issuing an authorized KCNA statement and instead used lower level statements toesire io defuse tension or to prevent an in-idem from escalating into something more serious. Following the downingS. military helicopter by the North inor example, Pyongyang merelyCNAuggesting its desire to quickly settle the matter. SioiUarly, inollowing VS. charges that the North bad tried lo shoot down aneconnaissance plane. KCNAenial not identified as an official statement, suggesting that the incident, which occurredime when the North had just begun to invite VS. scholars for visits, was one Pyongyang wanted to get past quickly.
evealing demonstration of the North's use of the hierarchy of statements, Pyongyang's first reaction to the4 Panmunjom shooting incident came tn the formCNA "information"ower level
expression of protest. The North escalated lu proteat to an "authorized" KCNA statement several days later, after concluding that Seoul was not going to match its efforts lo play down the incident in order to protect the newly emergent inter-Korean dialogue.
Otherline with Pyongyang's apparent attempt to pley
down the incident. North Korean media have devoted only minimal attention to it in the wake of tbe KCNA spokesman's statement. Pyongyang radiotalioo commentarytatementow-level official of the North's trade union organizationecember The only Nodong Sinmun commentary devoted cxdusrrdy to the incident was the one on the 7lh. On the 9th. the newspaperommentary protesting the possibilityemale suspect in the case might be transferred from Bahrain to South Korea. Otherwise, central media treatment of the incident bss been confined to pickups of comment by third parties. By contrast. Pyongyang media devoted considerable attention to the charges of DPRK culpability following the Rangoon bombing assassination attempt by the North against ROK President Chon Tu-hwan int that time Pyongyangedia campaign aimed at the domestic audience, while attempting to portray the population as rallying to Ihe government's defense.
ecember Nodong Sinmun commentary, in directly responding to charges that tbe North had carried out the incident to obstruct the Soutb's presidential campaign and8 Seoul Olympics, cited the observation, expressed in the Japanese press, that tbe North bad more to lose than lo gain from such an incident. (The Northimilar tack following tbe Rangoon bombing. At that time, it cited foreign media comment as saying that it would make do sense for the North to have carried out such an act in Burma and jeopardize its relations with theodong Sinmun went on to assert that the North would "not engagehat would help tbe South Korean military fascist elements in their maneuvers to retake power" This theme was also sounded in remarks by an official ofpro-DPRK organization of Koreans living inan interview reported by the Kyodo news agencyecember.
PartyKAL incident corneaime when the North
may once again be in the middleebate over sensitive policy issues, suggested by an unusual delay inarly plenum, which has not been held inear. There have been few such long intervals between plenums in theycar history; intervals of seven months or less arc the norm. The longest
the4 and the6 plenums, atlime when there was evidence of internal leadership debate over such sensitive issues as policy toward South Korea and the United Steles
Moscow,at first obscured, and then ridiculed, the
claims of DPRK invohreroent in theommentary aired on Moscow televisionecember noted charges by South Korean airline officials lhat the plane crashedesult of sabotage, but it ignored Seoul's allegations of Pyongyang's complicity, pointing the finger only at "unidentifiedn the 3d, however, both TASS and Moscow television carried commentaries on the incident, noting South Korean charges against the DPRK but implicitly ridiculing them by referring to the involvement of "mythical agents from theoscow media reported without commentecember KCNA statement.
The Chinese, whose relations with the North have become increasingly strained in recent years, have been noncommittal on the possibilityPRK connection to the plane's disappearance. After promptly reporting Ihe incident and the South's claims that sabotage was involved, Beijing media have been virtually silent on the subjectecember, breaking their silence only to report the KCNA spokesman's statement on the 5th.ovo)
CON) (OflkfiAlOriginal document.