US Department of State Daily Briefing #28: Friday, 2/21/92

tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Feb, 28 19922/28/92 Category: Briefings Region: East Asia, Europe, MidEast/North Africa Country: North Korea, Israel, Lebanon Subject: Security Assistance and Sales, State Department, NATO, Military Affairs, Narcotics 12:03 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Announcement: Secretary to Testify and Join President for Drug Summit]

MS. TUTWILER: Two announcements, both of which I think you know: On Monday, February 24, at 10:00 a.m., Secretary Baker will testify before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. The subject will be the FY '93 budget request. The room is 2360 Rayburn. On Tuesday, February 25, at 10:00 a.m., the Secretary will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, on the same subject. The room is 106 Dirksen. Obviously, as you know, on the days he testifies we do not have a State Department briefing. On Wednesday, the Secretary will join President Bush in San Antonio for the Drug Summit, and the Secretary will return to Washington, D.C. on Sunday. That's it. Q On Sunday. That's a long drug conference. MS. TUTWILER: He will be having a private weekend in Texas at the conclusion of the Drug Summit. Yes, John.

[North Korea: Reported Shipment of Scud-Cs Bound for Syria]

Q Do you have anything on the North Korean ship which is allegedly about to deliver, or is at least heading in the direction of Syria with Scud missiles? Understanding that you don't like to talk about intelligence matters, have you filed a protest with the North Koreans who we have no relations with? What are you doing about it? MS. TUTWILER: On the literal part of your question that you're asking me, you're correct: it's an intelligence matter and I cannot address it. I would remind you, though, that last year the Secretary of State did address a similar report that was out there by saying that we are aware that there was a shipment of North Korean Scud-Cs to Syria. That was last spring, and we told you about it in the form of the Secretary of State at the time. Syria, as you know very well, has had Scud missiles in its arsenal for years, and we believe that they are still trying to procure more, including from North Korea. The United States feels very strongly about proliferation of surface-to-surface missiles, particularly in the Middle East. This is a subject that the Secretary has discussed in his various trips to the region and one which we continue to pursue as part of the President's five-power arms control initiative. As it happens, those experts at the expert level are meeting here in Washington, D.C. today and, I believe, they met yesterday. They are being headed on our side by Assistant Secretary Clark. We would view with great concern any transfer of this type. The dangers of Scud missiles in the Middle East region have been amply demonstrated during the past Gulf War. We have made known our views on this subject to all potential suppliers of such weapons, including the North Koreans. We are following proliferation issues worldwide and examining carefully all evidence regarding transfers of missile technology from any source. The United States will continue to convey its concerns about such transfers to both suppliers and recipients when possible. As with all such transfers that contribute to proliferation, we would like to see these transfers stopped. Q The last time the United States was concerned about a shipment, it, indeed, focused the public spotlight on the alleged shipment and the ship suddenly turned around and went back. Is that what you are attempting to do this time -- to focus public attention on something like this and perhaps get them to change their minds and some of our allies or friends to put pressure on them? MS. TUTWILER: Well, no. Since this is an intelligence matter, the specific case I cannot discuss. We didn't attempt to focus attention on this. The media -- our close friends -- did focus attention on it, so then we are forced to say that it is an intelligence matter that we cannot discuss the specifics of. But it is something, having said all that -- without commenting on the specific case -- it is something that I said that we view with a great deal of concern. I have acknowledged that we believe that Syria is trying to procure more, including from North Korea. I have said basically what I can say about this. I'll remind you that last spring, when there was such a story that surfaced, as I recall -- in the press first -- the Secretary of State did go out and say that, yes, we are aware of this shipment. Q He's not out in the public today, so we obviously can't ask him that question. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. He didn't, as I recall -- the very first day this surfaced -- respond to it. Q Without addressing intelligence matters, how would the United States view an attempt by any other nation to keep Scuds from falling into the wrong hands, or apply pressure so that they didn't reach their destination, given the United States attitude about proliferation? MS. TUTWILER: I think I know what you're asking me, but I'm not exactly positive. I think I do. Q What view would you take of any attempt to stop this transaction by one means or another? MS. TUTWILER: That's what I thought you were trying to ask me. We, the United States, view this seriously. We do not believe that these transfers should take place. But I don't want to speculate with you about what others may or may not choose to do. I'm not encouraging, at all, anyone to do that. That is not our intent. But it is something that, as I just told you, we have right now experts in this city who are meeting at the Assistant Secretary level, discussing proliferation in this region, these very types of matters. Q Have the Israelis asked the U.S. to try and get this shipment halted? MS. TUTWILER: If they have, I don't have any knowledge of that. I don't know. Q Did they express any concern or angst about the movement of such a shipment to the U.S. Government? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. To be honest with you, those are both very valid questions. They're two I did not think of this morning to ask, so I just don't know. Q How did you let the North Koreans know what you feel about this? MS. TUTWILER: That is, again, something that you're familiar with that we cannot discuss. Q Do they have a protecting power here -- third party -- or not? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, what have you said to the Syrians recently about this issue? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll be happy to check into that, also. Just as I did not ask the Israeli question this morning, that's another one I didn't ask either. Q Specifically, of course, if there's been any communication in the last week, two weeks? MS. TUTWILER: I will. Q What might be the United States procedure to intercede to halt the North Korean shipment? MS. TUTWILER: That's terribly speculative for me. I haven't even acknowledged the specifics, and so it would be totally dealing in hypotheticals to say "what if" when I won't acknowledge a specific, because it's an intelligence matter -- would or would not the President decide to do or to not do. Q But there might be some international procedure to intercept the North Korean shipment. MS. TUTWILER: That's just something that would be highly speculative for me to get into with you. Q Margaret, the NATO General Secretary said about -- MS. TUTWILER: Who? Q The NATO General Secretary, Mr. Woerner, said that in March the former Soviet republics will be integrated into the political structure of NATO, as I understood that. And do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry -- Q Is it the first stage to full membership in the organization? MS. TUTWILER: That who would integrate into it? Q Former Soviet republics. MS. TUTWILER: Oh, I'm sorry. I haven't seen Secretary General Woerner's statement. But, as you know, we have already had -- I believe I'm correct -- in December a NATO meeting at the Foreign Minister level where I believe six Foreign Ministers of various republics of the former Soviet Union attended. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we did. Remember, when -- Q That was East Europeans who were attending. I don't think any -- MS. TUTWILER: But wasn't Shevardnadze going to come, and then he resigned, and then they sent a number of people. That's what I recall. Am I wrong? Q Yeltsin sent a letter, I think. Q Yeah. There was a letter. There was no representation by them. MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Sorry. At one point there was supposed to be. At one point we had been told six different representatives would come. It's my understanding that there is currently under discussion the possibility of having a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the former republics. That's something that the Secretary General's office would be announcing, not me. And, as you know, the German Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State announced -- and I cannot remember the date -- the forming of what we call NACC -- the NATO group that meets also with these Foreign Ministers. But as far as some statement that Secretary General Woerner has made today, I'm not aware of one. But our feelings and our views and our policies towards having liaison offices -- we established, as I recall, almost a year ago of having obviously a closer and different relationship -- has been out there. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the situation in north Israel, south Lebanon? Have the Israelis withdrawn as far as you know? MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know, yes. Q Everybody still coming to the peace talks, as far as you know? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. On Monday. Q Margaret, the Secretary ended the last round of talks with meetings with all of the parties. His schedule next week doesn't seem to leave him much time to hold hands or twist arms or otherwise be closely involved. Any change in attitude or -- MS. TUTWILER: None. The Secretary's meetings at the end of the last round came up the night before he was to leave town on that Friday, as I recall. Something like that could come up this time. It has not been, so far, suggested and to my knowledge has not been asked by any of the parties. I'm not aware, for instance, of how long the parties are intending to stay here. The Secretary returns, as I said, on Sunday night; but, no, you should not read anything into that. Q Margaret, Secretary Solomon -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. And he is here all day Monday and Tuesday. Q Assistant Secretary Solomon was due to testify this morning on East Timor, and the hearing was cancelled. Was that their instigation or here? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I didn't know he was scheduled to testify. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: That's it? Q Yes. (The briefing concluded at 12:13 p.m.)