Tracking Number:  233056

Title:  "Lilley Sees Need for Vigilance Against Military Adventurism." In a June 18 telepress conference with newspaper editors in Pusan, South Korea, Assistant Defense Secretary James Lilley said that Asia may be the most economically dynamic region in the world, but it also holds the dubious distinction of having some of the most militarized regimes on the globe. (920626)

Date:  19920626


06/26/92 *

LILLEY SEES NEED FOR VIGILANCE AGAINST MILITARY ADVENTURISM (Article on Telepress Conference with Pusan) (710) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer Washington -- Asia may be the most economically dynamic region in the world today, but it also holds the dubious distinction of having some of the most militarized regimes on the globe, according to James R. Lilley, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

"We must be prepared to have a strong shield against these regimes, and to bring free markets, plural systems, and economic development to these areas that are backward, but we must always maintain our vigilance against any kind of military adventurism," Lilley said in a June 18 telepress conference with newspaper editors in Pusan, Korea.

North Korea, for example, has more than one million men under arms and devotes some 20 percent of its GNP to its military, Lilley noted. To deal with this threat, South Korea, Japan, China, and the United States must work closely together, he said. "We face a very serious problem with these people, and we have to work very hard as a group to deal with this problem."

Lilley said that "Kim Il Sung knows he has a fragile society which needs tight control, lest that system disintegrate and the North gets absorbed by the South." Kim's recent overtures at accommodation may be a desperate attempt to gain Western assistance and recognition while gaining time to secure a nuclear weapons program, Lilley suggested.

"The world is not that easily fooled," Lilley said. "We have gone through the experiences with the nuclear program in Iraq recently. It is essential that the North Koreans open up their nuclear developments to the world. We have already caught them in reprocessing (plutonium), which they originally denied and now belatedly admit. We must have honesty from these people. We must have a confidence that they are not developing nuclear weapons in secret. They owe it to the world to open up their system and open up their installations to both IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspections, and even more important, to bilateral challenge inspections with the Republic of Korea. This is absolutely essential."

Lilley noted that "We have detected that there are some forces (in North Korea) looking toward an opening to the outside world and are anxious to see the introduction of foreign capital and methods." The Chinese, he pointed out, have taken Kim Il Sung to visit their special economic zones which are flourishing in South China. While North Korea desperately needs economic reforms, the prognosis for immediate change does not look good, Lilley said. "But on the other hand, Kim Il Sung, because he is a complete and absolute dictator can change things by an order." Lilley recommended that countries not become engaged in any sort of major economic program in North Korea until the nuclear issues are resolved.

China's modernization, according to Lilley, is "proceeding overall fairly well, but rather erratically," noting the disparity in economic growth between southern and northern China.

Lilley predicted that the Chinese are moving toward "a new totalitarian regime that will allow a degree of free market development but that will still maintain a large degree of political control."

"It seems to me what China is trying to do is to develop into a new society without violence," he said. He did not foresee any more Tiananmen Square type incidents in the near term: "The cost was much too high for the people that were involved."

In response to questions about Japan's military capabilities, Lilley said: "We think Japan's current self-defense efforts are about right. Japan has a very modest capability that deters aggression and continues to emphasize a defensive role without a power projection capability that would alarm its neighboring countries."

As for recently publicized regional fears that Japan's nuclear power program may result in its stockpiling weapons grade plutonium, Lilley noted that Japan has "very strict adherence to the nonproliferation treaty, and very stringent physical security measures and adherence to the convention on the physical protection of nuclear material."

Lilley added that the United States will "monitor this very closely -- and you can be sure that this is of great concern to ourselves and the other countries of Asia."


File Identification:  06/26/92, EP-508
Product Name:  Wireless File; Telepress Conferences
Product Code:  WF; TC
Thematic Codes:  1DE; 1EA; 1AC
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  233056
USIA Notes:  *92062608.EPF