US Department of State Daily Briefing #68: Tuesday, 5/5/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 5 19925/5/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, East Asia, South America, Subsaharan Africa Country: Israel, USSR (former), China, Argentina, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Sudan Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, Security Assistance and Sales, Human Rights, State Department, Science/Technology, Trade/Economics 12:13 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any statements. I'll be happy to try to answer your questions.

[China: Visit of Under Secretary Kanter/Compliance with UN Sanctions/Reports of Beatings Around Embassy/Other]

Q Margaret, can you tell us a little bit about Under Secretary Kanter's trip to China? MS. TUTWILER: It's not only China, it's my understanding, Carol, and his office will, every day, be putting out exactly what his itinerary is. This is his first opportunity as the Under Secretary of the Department to go to this region. He will be going to China, to Seoul, to Bangkok. He will end up some time in May, the end of May, in Germany for the G-7 Political Directors meeting. And I think there's one other place he's going. Wait one second. I can't remember. I learned it this morning. He's left. He left this morning on his trip. I was right -- Beijing, Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo. I forgot Tokyo, sorry. Specifically, in each of these countries, he will meet with a broad range of officials and discuss a full spectrum of global, regional and bilateral issues. Specifically in China, it is my understanding that Under Secretary Kanter will stress the importance we attach to progress on human rights, non-proliferation and trade in advancing our bilateral relations, and also to continued cooperation in international issues in the U.N. and elsewhere. He will be in Beijing from May 6 to 9, and he will be meeting -- I don't have yet the names of the Chinese officials that he will be meeting with. We'll try to get that for you daily. Q Well, specifically, is he going to raise this issue of the reports last week that China was violating the U.N. sanctions against Libya? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I haven't been into that level of detail concerning his trip. I don't know if that's on his agenda or not, to be honest with you, and I'll be happy to ask his staff. Q Is that the sort of thing that you mean when you say you're going to be talking with China about cooperation in international organizations such as the United Nations? MS. TUTWILER: That could well be. I'll plead ignorance. I did not spend a lot of time this morning -- the trip just started. I haven't seen his briefing papers. I haven't talked to his staff. I just don't know what his agenda is. I will be glad to -- I think tomorrow's the first day he's there -- try to do a daily, if not readout, for you here at the briefing, give you who he met with, where he is, what did he discuss, what was the agenda. I just don't have it today at the beginning of a trip. Q Does the State Department still believe -- take China at its word that it's not shipping missile technology to various players in the Middle East? You're about to have a conference on proliferation, and I wondered if you could give us some notion of their behavior to date? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to ask some experts. Q Please. MS. TUTWILER: I have not looked at this, and I'll be happy to ask them if they have an update for you. Q Yes. And you can throw in the mix how they stand, how many political prisoners are they keeping now, and, you know, what they -- MS. TUTWILER: We've never, as I recall, given -- if you're talking about China -- given a number, remember. Q Well, there was once, I think, where you credited them with releasing a batch and said -- MS. TUTWILER: Releasing some, but we never gave an overall number that I recall. Certainly, I don't believe I did from the podium, because at the time we said it was impossible for us to get, across that vast country, an accurate number in our opinion. Q Are they sending somebody here in return, so this would be an exchange of high-level visitors? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. They recently just had a high-level visitor here and, as you know, last November the Secretary of State was there. Q So how does this -- are there still sanctions? I can't recall anymore. MS. TUTWILER: Yes, there are. I don't have them with me of which ones still remain. I'll be happy to get those for you. And, if you'll recall, his -- the person who served in this job prior to him -- Under Secretary Kimmitt -- made a very similar trip. It is my understanding from briefly discussing this with Arnie [Kanter] yesterday, that that is exactly what this is. It is his first opportunity, as the third ranking person in this Department, to visit this region, ending in Germany for the G-7 Political Directors meeting. Q Margaret, if I'm not mistaken, this is the highest level U.S. official to go to China since the Secretary was there in November, and that trip, I think, most experts felt had mixed results. And I was wondering if you thought -- if your expectations were any higher for this trip. There have been some reports that the Chinese might -- MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, the Secretary of State's visit, in my mind, was an action-forcing trip and was originally envisioned that way. There were specific things, if you'll remember, in three different baskets that the Secretary of State worked very hard to achieve. Arnie Kanter's visit, on the other hand, in my mind, is no different than Bob Kimmitt's previous visit or Reggie Bartholomew's visits or any other senior high-ranking State Department trips; that this is the first one where he has gone to the region. I am not aware that he is on a specific mission to China or to Seoul or to Bangkok or to Tokyo. But is it an opportunity for him as the third ranking person here at the Department -- I'm sure he will make other trips to other regions, as Mr. Kimmitt did. But I'm not aware, personally, but I will be glad to ask his staff who's here, if there's something specific that Arnie is going to negotiate with the Chinese. I don't think that's the case. But will he bring up -- Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me -- a number of the issues that, as you know, Secretary Baker himself described as falling short, as I recall, specifically in the human rights area? I'm absolutely positive he will continue to pursue that dialogue as Ambassador Schifter did here and others. Q On human rights, have you seen the report that the Chinese have told several people -- Westerners in Beijing -- that they intend to release some political prisoners? MS. TUTWILER: I have not seen that. Q Have they informed the State Department directly or the Embassy directly of -- MS. TUTWILER: If they have, Jim, I haven't heard about it last night or this morning. I haven't -- I just don't know anything about that. Q Also on human rights, Margaret, did China ever respond to us about the people who were dragged from the U.S. Embassy into the guard booth and beaten about a month ago? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. (TO STAFF) Do you remember, Richard [Boucher]. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: I don't remember. Q If there was a response, could we -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q In fact, exactly, the trips have been so commonplace, can we put to rest the notion that there's some prohibition on U.S. officials going to China? Isn't it pretty well, you know, kind of a well-trod path now? MS. TUTWILER: Barry, you can characterize it any way you would like. As you recall, the sanction that was in effect, as I recall it, was "delegations" were suspended, and I remember those were like trade delegations. I believe there was a specific one at Commerce at the time of Tiananmen Square. I believe there was a specific one that Secretary Brady from the Treasury Department was going to head. There are other types of interagency -- government types of delegations, as I recall. I believe that the Secretary and the President have adequately answered this hundreds of times, in my mind. We have -- never, that I recall, did the President of the United States say -- in fact, quite the opposite -- in fact, his policy has been the opposite of what you're saying of suspending or cutting off contact with China. And the State Department -- and whether high level or at other levels -- is the place where the vast bulk of that takes place and transpires, and it does. Q I thought there was -- I'm sorry, maybe I was reading his lips -- I don't know. I thought there was a ban on high-level exchanges, and, if a Chinese official came here last month and Kanter is going there this month, this looks like an exchange. And isn't he taking any people with him? What makes it a delegation? MS. TUTWILER: Right. We debated this at the time. Q He's not traveling alone, is he? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know who's with him. Q He's got somebody with him. MS. TUTWILER: He's on a commercial airplane. I don't know how many people are going with him. Q Well, that's nice. MS. TUTWILER: He is not out on a big Presidential delegation on a Presidential White House mission with a designated aircraft. Q I get it. MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. But not to rehash this entire subject that we did many, many times preceding Tiananmen Square, nothing has changed concerning what the President said at the time, what the facts are, and how we have conducted ourselves and answered these questions many times. Q Margaret, just to follow up on what Barry's saying, are you basically saying that this is a routine visit, and that visits at the level of Kanter are routine? There's nothing special. It's a routine visit. You said it's time for him to make this kind of visit, and he's going to Seoul and to Beijing and to Tokyo because -- MS. TUTWILER: We could, I guess, sit out here and debate the meaning of "routine." Since this is Arnie Kanter's first visit as the Under Secretary of this Department, I'm only aware in three years of his -- the person who occupied the job before him, Under Secretary Kimmitt -- of making one visit. So I don't know how you could really say routine. Routine, in my mind, is like this daily briefing. We do this every day. It's a routine. Arnie Kanter is making one trip to five countries, four of which are in this region -- I haven't asked him does he intend to go every six weeks or every eight weeks or once every three months or once every three years. I just don't know. Q Margaret, if I recall correctly, Kimmitt's visit led to the Secretary's visit ultimately in November. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Is Kanter preparing the way for another visit by the Secretary or perhaps the President? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. And you're right to point that out. It was just a little bit before that, if you recall, the Chinese Foreign Minister was here at the State Department. And at that meeting, with the Secretary and the Foreign Minister, they agreed upon three meetings, one of which was Under Secretary Kimmitt's, which was the last one. One -- the first meeting -- was in the human rights area by Assistant Secretary Schifter. The second was in the arms control area by Under Secretary Bartholomew, and the last was by Under Secretary Kimmitt. So all that was worked out in a meeting with the Secretary of State. I am not aware that -- Arnie Kanter's trip, again, is not just to China. He's there two days -- two and a half days. It is one part of a trip to this region. I have not read his agenda, but I have not heard of any type of follow-on by the Secretary of State. Q Margaret, there was a time when the Bush Administration sent visitors of Kanter's level and above to China secretly. That, obviously, is not the case with Kanter's visit. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q Have there been any other high-level visits that have not been revealed to date? MS. TUTWILER: That's a very broad question, Ralph. None that I have any knowledge of, that pop into my head. But if some individual has gone to China at any level in the United States Government that we have not announced, I'm just not aware of it. Q Margaret, do you know whether we're still operating those listening posts in northeast China? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. Q Is that something you can find out? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to check it out for you. Q Can I try on another aspect of U.S. policy -- non-proliferation of weapons. For two days now there have been reports that the Administration is removing restrictions on sales of jet aircraft and other military equipment to Argentina. Can you help us with that? MS. TUTWILER: Sorry, Barry. I haven't heard about that. I don't know anything about it. I'll be happy to ask.

[Former Soviet Union: START Treaty and Negotiations with Byelarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan]

Q On another subject: Can you bring us up to date on the status of U.S. attempts to proceed with the START treaty and complete negotiations with Byelarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan? MS. TUTWILER: There's really nothing additional to report today. The Secretary of State had another conversation yesterday with his counterpart from Ukraine, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. He will be seeing -- as you all know, it's on his public schedule -- the President of Ukraine this afternoon. I believe it's around 5:00 or 5:30 when he arrives and he's escorting him over to Blair House. He will meet with him later at the official opening of the Ukrainian Embassy, I believe it's around 7:00 p.m. So he will have a firsthand opportunity to continue this discussion with those two gentlemen, but there is nothing to report either on those conversations or the other three that he's continuing to have. Q Does the Secretary feel he's making progress on that score? He's been working at that for maybe four to six weeks now. MS. TUTWILER: He has. Q Does he feel -- MS. TUTWILER: I really try to refrain from setting him up for adjectives. His own characterization is that he's continuing to work the problem. Q Margaret, is there any value in getting the four nuclear states together? I mean, the Secretary meeting maybe with the Foreign Ministers or the Presidents of these four countries and addressing the thing in unison. Has any thought been given to that? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, thought's been given to that, and it's any one of a number of options that have been discussed. But there have been no decisions. Q Margaret, does the Department have a view of the announced declaration of independence of the Crimea today? MS. TUTWILER: That's another subject -- we must have really fallen down on our job this morning -- that I haven't heard about either. Argentina and the Crimea, I haven't heard. Sorry. Q Coming back for just a second to the negotiations over START, Secretary Baker will have a chance to meet the President of Ukraine, as you mentioned, for the first time since he saw him in December, I think, was the last time they saw each other. At that time, I think Baker was fairly proud of the promises he thought he had from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, particularly, on this subject. Does he feel somehow those promises haven't upheld or that he's been let down by these leaders? MS. TUTWILER: I would characterize his views, not only in that meeting, but in the other meetings we had on that trip, as rather pleased than proud. After all, these were decisions that other countries took. What I want to really refrain from doing, Ralph, since he is in the middle of these discussions, is characterizing whether he, to use your phraseology, feels let down or that -- obviously, without saying this about Ukraine or anyone in particular, people would certainly appear to have a different view of this subject maybe today than they did back in December. If they did not, then we wouldn't have something that we were working on. As you know, since his visit in December, there has been a White House high-level mission that not only discussed this, but discussed the whole basket of issues. The President of Ukraine, as I said, will be here today, and we have a Charge there on the ground, Ambassador Gundersen, who has been working this issue with us here and Reggie Bartholomew daily. Q Does the Secretary feel that something needs to get done about this anytime soon or there's no particular -- they could do it anytime soon? MS. TUTWILER: As we've said all along, we're working against our -- this is "our" -- legislative calendar, which we have made very clear to the parties involved that, at some point, you run out of rope here. Q Why is that important to the Bush Administration? MS. TUTWILER: In order to get it ratified. Q Sorry, just one last one. And why is that important? MS. TUTWILER: Ralph, you have the President of the United States and the President of the former Soviet Union sign something that our governments had spent, I believe it was over nine and a half years negotiating and working on. Most people at the time applauded that as an accomplishment -- if not an accomplishment, certainly, a step forward -- to closing out an account that had been painstakingly negotiated through two Administrations. As you know, in our system here, if you do not have that ratified, then you have not completed the process. So it was assumed then, it is still our desire of this Administration, and I would venture of most people, to get the START treaty ratified. Q Margaret, what happens if you don't meet the legislative target? What happens if May comes and goes, June comes and goes, and you don't have some sort of agreement on START? Is this Administration prepared to put it on a shelf and wait until the next Administration? Or would you consider perhaps implementing it on a bilateral basis with Russia, as the SALT II treaty was implemented? MS. TUTWILER: What I'd rather do is not answer your question. It's really speculative for me, because the Secretary of State right now is not dealing with "what if you don't get May, what if you don't get June, would you consider." I'm sure that there are probably experts here who have thought along those scenarios. But what he's actively involved in is trying to get something done now. So until we know that that is going to be the scenario, I just think it would be unfair to the current work that he's involved in. Q Is it accurate to say that the weapons would not be -- that the United States would reduce the strategic nuclear weapons mentioned in the START treaty without the START treaty being ratified? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, Ralph, I haven't heard that personally addressed. I'll be happy to ask someone what our policy is concerning that "what if." All I know is what's real and what is today and, as you point out, has been going on at a pretty steady clip at the Secretary of State's level for a number of weeks now, trying to painstakingly pull this together and get this agreement so that we can go forward here in our country, which we believe is a prudent policy, to begin the START ratification process. Q Margaret, when you say "a pretty steady clip," are you saying or are you trying to communicate to us that there has been some progress in these efforts by the Secretary? Or do you think that things are just kind of standing still right now? MS. TUTWILER: I've refrained from personally putting adjectives on this or characterizing it. What I mean by "pretty steady clip" is almost daily, the Secretary of State, including weekends, speaks to either one of his counterparts -- the Foreign Ministers or the head of state -- some days as many as three or four of them. I have almost every day been reporting who he has spoken with and that's what I mean by steady involvement -- moving along at a steady clip. Not whether there's progress or non-progress; but personal involvement, as I've said, almost every day here by him with his counterparts or, in many instances, the head of state, trying to help the parties work this out. Q Margaret, the Secretary came back from his last trip to Kazakhstan relatively pleased with what he had been able to extract in the way of promises from President Nazarbayev. Yesterday, you put out a statement here indicating that there's now some ambiguity about Kazakhstan's position on giving up its nuclear weapons. Does this indicate a rising level of concern here about what's going on in Kazakhstan? MS. TUTWILER: No. The reason that I put out -- it wasn't necessarily a statement. It was in response to a question concerning Sid's question on the $400 million. If you recall, we had said at the time -- I believe this has to do with certification -- that when Deputy Secretary Eagleburger sent the other certifications forward, we were unable at that time to certify for Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is one of the nations that has been very involved in Secretary Baker's current efforts. I believe that the President of Kazakhstan -- check with the White House -- is due to come for a visit here to our country. I believe it's in the month of May. Secretary Baker will continue working with him. But if we had not had concerns, then we would have -- it's my understanding -- been able to go forward with four certifications. In all of this, John, for loftier or a generic answer, obviously, we are concerned. Our focus has been even larger than START of four or potentially three new nuclear states in our whole emphasis, in this Administration, over proliferation. Q Does the Secretary, on a personal level or the State Department, on an official level, feel that it has somehow been deceived by Kazakhstan? MS. TUTWILER: Well, that's similar to Ralph's question about Ukraine. It is clear, is the most State Department diplomatic way that I can phrase this, that had -- what all that we were, as a government -- expressions that were made back in December -- had those not had to have a few things ironed out, we would not, probably, be in the position that we are in today. That is why the Secretary continues to talk with the various parties to try to help them resolve their differences in order to allow us to go forward with our ratification over START. Q Margaret, does the Secretary have a sauna? And if so, will he be inviting the President of Kazakhstan or Ukraine into the sauna to discuss this issue, to reciprocate? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, he does not have one. Q Margaret, I want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly. You're saying that the problems here are all among these states; it's not that any of them have any problems with us, because, you know, some of them have said, well, we want to be involved directly in arms control negotiations. We consider that's something they need to work out with Russia. Not something they would work out with us? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, what has evolved is they have -- again, diplomatically -- in looking at their own fine print, perhaps of statements they had made, or as things were evolving in their own new nations, with their own parliaments, with their own publics -- we are continuing to try to help them. As you know, they have all made various public statements concerning their country's views on either previous statements that were made or on positions that should today be taken. We are trying -- not necessarily to be a facilitator or a mediator -- but we are trying to help the parties, to use a familiar phrase, bridge their differences. That is what the Secretary has been involved in. I've tried to express what our reasons for doing so are, why we think it is in our national security interest to do so, and he will continue to plug along. I don't know -- as in Carol's question -- when you run out of string, or when you are told categorically "no." We're not at that point yet. Q But there are some things we do have a view on. For instance, Kazakhstan saying, gee, we'd like to be a temporary nuclear power. That sort of thing we've expressed views on -- right? MS. TUTWILER: We have expressed our view on this whole situation through any number of messages, at the highest levels of our government, over the last months since December; messages from the Secretary of State, and almost daily phone conversations with the Secretary of State, as I said, with one or the other or all, etc. What I'm refraining from doing, which I know is frustrating for you, is to say, we're almost there; there's only one more little part of the puzzle to put to bed, or expressing what the Secretary's views have been concerning this situation at the very time when he is talking to these people. That, I just can't do for you. Q Margaret, is the United States still convinced that Russia has launch control over all of these missiles? MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know, yes. Q There's been no change in that? MS. TUTWILER: There has been no change in that since the last time we addressed this. Chairman Powell has addressed it; Secretary Cheney has addressed it. That issue is, to my knowledge, not even on the radar screen. I have not heard it raised again in weeks. Q Has President Bush been engaged in messages -- exchange of messages on this subject with any of these four nuclear republics? MS. TUTWILER: Since December? Q Since December, yeah? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Another area: Do you have any comment on the announcement made by the Israeli Government that Israel is not responsible for the conditions and the practices in the Khiam prison camp? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that particular statement. So, no, I don't have a comment. I haven't heard about it. Q Will you please take the question? MS. TUTWILER: I'll look at it. Sure. Q Have you anything further on the Russia-India booster rocket thing since yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: No. In fact, there were several reports this morning that we had officially been told this; some reports saying that the Indian Government had officially told us, some saying that the Russian Government had. I've checked in a number of potential offices here that could have gotten that official confirmation. They say they do not have such confirmation. Q Is that about the program itself? Q The deal, whether -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, whether they're going to cancel it or go forward. Q The Indian Embassy said that several months ago when the Indian Defense Minister was here, that this was discussed. MS. TUTWILER: I said yesterday, we've had lots of discussions. Q Right, but that was when they got -- he says that you all said it was fine with us; we have no problems with the deal? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what official you're speaking of or what State Department official has said that. That is clearly not our policy. I said yesterday, at the highest levels of our government, this subject matter has been discussed. I said, as Barry points out, that we are very close to making a decision. I just don't have the decision for you, but I said what the penalties or sanctions would be and those are all going to be implemented. They are implemented, it's my understanding, against the companies or the organization. Q Margaret, there's a report today -- on the same subject -- from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Burbulis that Russia would go ahead with it. MS. TUTWILER: We saw that. We have absolutely -- other than one news report, which we then saw later in the day and called back to the various offices -- we only have it through a news report. Q Margaret, on that same subject. The Indian officials who are involved with this space research program say that in order to use this launcher, it would take 90 days to fuel it before a launch, which doesn't strike me as being very useful militarily. Why then -- since there's a such a long lead time -- why then is it regarded as potentially dangerous within the Missile Technology Control Regime? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I know that our view is that it is. I'm not a technical expert on the missile control technology regime nor on this specific rocket engine. I'll be happy to ask a scientist or an expert here if they can get you a fuller answer. I just know that it's our view that it does. Q Dr. Turabi is arriving next week here. MS. TUTWILER: Who? Q Dr. Hassan Turabi is arriving here from Sudan. He's arriving here next week. Do you know if he's scheduled to meet any U.S. officials? MS. TUTWILER: No, but I'll be happy to check various officials' schedules here at the State Department. I don't have any idea. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks. (Press briefing concluded at 12:39 p.m.)