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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Taken Questions for January 27, 1994

1. CHINA Q. What is your reaction to China's demand that the U.S. drop plans to set up "Radio Free Asia"?

A. RADIO FREE ASIA IS AN EFFORT TO INCREASE THE FLOW OF INDEPENDENT NEWS AND INFORMATION INTO NOT ONLY CHINA BUT ALSO VIETNAM, NORTH KOREA, BURMA, AND LAOS.

-- RADIO FREE ASIA WILL CONCENTRATE ON NEWS AND INFORMATION ABOUT EVENTS IN THE COUNTRIES TO WHICH IT IS BROADCASTING.

-- PROGRAMMING WILL INCLUDE NEWS REPORTS, INTERVIEWS WITH ASIAN SPECIALISTS, DISCUSSION PROGRAMS REPRESENTING A WIDE VARIETY OF VIEWPOINTS, AND ANALYSIS OF EVENTS IN EACH COUNTRY.

-- WE BELIEVE INFORMATION IS A POWERFUL FORCE FOR GOOD. RADIO FREE ASIA WILL BE FOUNDED ON THAT PREMISE.

2. BELARUS Q: How much U.S. economic assistance was promised Belarus in the most recent assistance package? How much aid was obligated and delivered in 1993?

A: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOCATED APPROXIMATELY $20 MILLION FOR ASSISTANCE TO BELARUS DURING FISCAL YEAR 1994. THE U.S. HAS INDICATED TO THE GOVERNMENT OF BELARUS THAT IT WOULD LIKE TO EXPAND ITS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP WITH POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORM; HOWEVER, SUCH AN EXPANSION IS UNLIKELY UNTIL BELARUS DEMONSTRATES A STRONGER COMMITMENT TO REFORM.

TO DATE, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE HAS AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $7 MILLION, A DIRECT REFLECTION OF BELARUS' LACK OF ACTION ON EITHER DEMOCRATIC OR ECONOMIC REFORM.

LIMITED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES HAVE OCCURRED IN ENERGY, AGRICULTURE, PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT, AND EXCHANGES AND TRAINING.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS BEEN FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT, AMOUNTING TO APPROXIMATELY $127 MILLION. WE HAVE FOCUSED ON PROVIDING MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO ADDRESS GENERAL SHORTFALLS AND TO HELP PROVIDE SPECIALIZED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TO CHILDREN WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS STEMMING FROM THE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR ACCIDENT.

WE HAVE ALSO PROVIDED ABOUT $26 MILLION IN AGRICULTURAL AND OTHER CREDITS.

BELARUS IS ALSO ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE NUNN-LUGAR FUNDING TO SUPPORT DENUCLEARIZATION. FOLLOWING BELARUS' RATIFICATION OF THE STRATEGIC ARMS REDUCTION TREATY AND THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY, THE U.S. OFFERED $65 MILLION IN SSD (SAFE AND SECURE DISMANTLEMENT) ASSISTANCE IN ADDITION TO $11 MILLION PROVIDED BY PREVIOUSLY CONCLUDED AGREEMENTS. (###)

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