Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

.
                      
Thursday, 6/23/94
 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
JUNE 23, 1994
 
 
 
                      U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
 
                             I N D E X
 
 
                     Thursday, June 23, 1994
 
                                 Briefer:  MichaelMcCurry
 
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
   Forum on Global Affairs & U.S. Diplomacy ........   1
 
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
   Non-proliferation
   --U.S./Russian Discussions on Binary Chemical
       Weapons/Agents ..............................   1-
6
   --U.S./Russian Discussions on Biological Weapons.   5
   Secretary Christopher/FM Kozyrev Discussions
     in Brussels ...................................   4
 
BOSNIA
   Testimony/Discussions on Arms Embargo ...........   6-
8
   --Statement of British Foreign Secretary Hurd ...   8-
9
   Contact Group Meeting ...........................
11-12
 
JORDAN
   Debt Relief/Discussions on Economic Issues ......   9-
10,14-15
 
HAITI
   Sanctions Enforcement Effort ....................
10-11
   U.S. Discussions with Aristide re Radio Broadcasts
11
 
NORTH KOREA
   Third Round of High-Level Talks .................
12-14,17-18
   Assistant Secretary Gallucci Discussions in Vienna
13
   IAEA Inspection Activities ......................
13
   Conditions--Nuclear Program Freeze ..............
15-16,18
   Secretary Christopher Discussions with Foreign
     Ministers Han, Kozyrev, and Kakizawa ..........
17
 
GREECE
   A/S Tarnoff Meeting with Greek Minister of Defense
17-18
 
SINGAPORE
   Contact with Michael Fay ........................
18
 
TURKEY
   PKK Attacks .....................................
19
 
CHINA
   Refugee Issue ...................................
19
 
 
 
 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #97

THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 1994, 1:26 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. Just a short reminder that -- something that Christine, I believe, did mention yesterday -- the Department is sponsoring a Forum on Global Affairs today from 2:00 to 4:00 in the Loy Henderson Conference Room. Under Secretary Tim Wirth will open the Forum. Four senior officials will simultaneously conduct some workshops during the course of the afternoon. That's all open to the press.

Under Secretary Wirth and the senior officials will be available to the press at the end of the Forum to answer questions. We've got some more information on that in the Press Office if any of you need that.

Questions.

Q Mike, has the Administration concluded, or does it know, whether Russia is trying to hide a binary chemical weapons program by not exchanging that information as it's obliged to under a treaty?

MR. McCURRY: Let me go back a little bit in answering that to the Memorandum of Understanding and some of the ways in which we've been attempting to resolve this issue in our discussions with the Russians.

I think you know that President Clinton, when he met last January with President Yeltsin, reaffirmed Russia's desire to meet its chemical weapons destruction goals. We have since then been working with Russian officials at all levels to help them carry out this commitment.

This effort included a recent joint exchange of information on chemical weapons stockpiles and programs. We're still analyzing the data that the Russians have provided to us, but we are concerned about what appear to be omissions and inconsistencies in that data.

Specifically, we have long known and believe that the Soviets -- the Soviet Union itself -- had developed binary chemical agents. In many senses, what we are dealing with here is a legacy of the Cold War era in which the Soviets pursued certain arms programs that now, in a sense, the Russian Federation has inherited. And in the process of working through many of our non-proliferation concerns, we deal with the Russian Federation which has inherited both the agreements made in the past with the Soviets regarding arms issues, and now working with them to resolve the concerns that we have expressed.

There are provisions in our chemical weapons agreements with Russia for raising concerns and questions that we have and a process by which we can seek clarifications. We certainly are going to seek clarification on the following point. The data that we have received from Russia makes no reference to binary chemical weapons or agents. That is contrary to our understanding of the program that was initiated by the former Soviet Union. So we are now requesting consultations with the Russian Federation, consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding, so that we can pursue the question further.

Q In his many recent conversations with Minister Kozyrev, did the Secretary of State bring this problem up? And how can you -- well, maybe you no longer -- the Administration -- how can you in good conscience ask Congress to act on the treaty if there's this sort of problem?

MR. McCURRY: Among other things -- let me take those two separate questions. The treaty - - the Chemical Weapons Convention would put exactly the type of activities that we are concerned about under an international regime, under international scrutiny. It would give the international community important ways to investigate suspicious activity and respond to non-compliance.

We do have a process consistent with our bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Russia that we can pursue. But certainly the effect of an international convention would increase in magnitude our ability to resolve some of these issues. That's why we have urged the Senate to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention as soon as possible, and the Russian parliament is also considering the Convention.

On your first question, the Secretary has raised this issue in the past in sessions with Foreign Minister Kozyrev. He has, in a sense, noted the importance of the dialogue that we are having with Russian experts on this issue and that we have pursued at a variety of levels in bilateral meetings that we have had with the Russians.

Under Secretary Davis has worked this issue in some of her consultations with the Russian Government. The Secretary did not raise this issue yesterday, to my knowledge, in Brussels, but I think he has on prior occasions with Foreign Minister Kozyrev, alerted Foreign Minister Kozyrev to the importance we attach to working through these issues in the context of our Memorandum of Understanding.

Sid.

Q I take it you're not letting them off on any technicality?

MR. McCURRY: No. That would not be accurate to say. We are pursuing --

Q I didn't think you were. There's a technicality they could argue which may or may not hold up. But you're not accepting that?

MR. McCURRY: We are, in the context of evaluating this shared data -- because we share data on arms programs and have allowed inspections consistent with the Memorandum itself. In the context of that, working through the issue, we expect to see the issue clarified and resolved.

Sid.

Q Sort of alluding -- referring to Barry's allusion, some U.S. officials and experts say that what the Russians are doing, I guess, is just taking advantage of a loophole in the treaty; that it doesn't relate to weapons that the Soviets may have developed, but that they are currently in the process of researching -- conducting chemical weapons research with three compounds that are not specifically named in the treaty, so that they are free to do so legally.

So the questions are, is it our understanding that they are going forward with research -- perhaps even development, which is banned; research is not -- and that they're doing it with these three compounds -- A-320, or something like that -- that are not named in the treaty, and that we are moving to get those compounds added to the Convention?

MR. McCURRY: Sid, that goes beyond what I know about how we are pursuing the dialogue. I can check with some of those who have been pursuing that. I think at an expert's level, we've most likely gotten into questions exactly of that nature. I guess I would say, and stress, that we do have the ability to resolve concerns; and a program of this nature, dealing with binary chemical agents or a program generally directed in the direction of poison gas chemical weapons, in a broader sense, is something that we can address and will address in the context of our Memorandum of Understanding dating back to -- it was the Wyoming memorandum which dates to '91, I believe -- and that's the context in which we can resolve the issue.

Q Two questions, Mike.

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q First, concerning the issues in crises areas: Bosnia, the issue about arms proliferation --

Q Can we stay on the same subject? Is this a different subject? Can we stay --

Q No, I'm on Russia.

MR. McCURRY: Go ahead.

Q Thank you. Regarding the arms embargo, some dispute perhaps there with the Russians on arms embargo, and other issues in Bosnia, and then over to Korea, the matter of the sanctions --

MR. McCURRY: Can we kind of keep this on one subject?

Q Alright. I was going to ask if those two -- the issues we have with the Russians in those two crisis areas had been addressed at the Brussels conference? That was my first question.

MR. McCURRY: As we indicated yesterday in Brussels, both Bosnia and Korea were substantial subjects of the discussion yesterday between Foreign Minister Kozyrev and Secretary Christopher.

Carol.

Q And my second question.

MR. McCURRY: A second question.

Q It's relative. Is there a framework for on-going discussions now with the Russians? What is the framework to resolve other issues, especially the one that was brought up about not going too fast with the NATO countries so we don't alarm the conservatives in Russia? Do we have a framework?

MR. McCURRY: We talk to them. That's the best way to resolve the issues. And as we did yesterday, we meet with them at a ministerial level. And, as we announced yesterday, President Clinton will meet directly with President Yeltsin. So the best way, we believe, to pursue these issues, in the context of our very constructive relationship with Russia, is to have the leadership and the highest levels of both our governments tackle these issues very directly.

Carol.

Q My understanding is that this issue, this has been a concern for the United States for some time and has been raised, as you acknowledge yourself, with Russian officials. Why is it not clarified yet? And what are you going to do -- you say you're going to raise it again with them or seek clarification. What are you going to do now that's different from what you have been doing?

MR. McCURRY: We are going to continue to press them on the issue. I think you're correct, we have raised it and it has been an issue that we have not had satisfactory answers to for some time.

Q Why haven't we been able to get a satisfactory --

MR. McCURRY: I have no conceivable way of answering that. You should ask the Russian Federation that.

Jim.

Q On another subject. Has the Secretary also ever had occasion to raise the issue of biological weapons with the Russians?

MR. McCURRY: He has had occasion. He's had some materials relevant to that. I'd have to go back and check whether he has raised that himself in conversations with Russian officials. That general subject has been a subject of discussions that we have had at other levels with the Russian Federation.

Q Would you say that our relations with the Russians are going well? The discussions are going well? Would you characterize them as positive?

MR. McCURRY: I would characterize it, as witnessed by the event yesterday in which we saw Russia join in an enormously important Partnership for Peace within the context of NATO, we see very many, very positive aspects to our relationship with Russia.

I would not characterize this particular issue as one that falls in that category. It's one in which we are working on. Again, as I would say, it dates back to an arms program that developed during the Soviet era, but one in which we now see the Russian Federation responsible for resolving. We'll continue to press the issue.

Other subjects?

Q Just to clarify that. There's no worry that they're continuing development of --

MR. McCURRY: One of the reasons we expect to get further clarifications is so we can understand exactly what the nature of any program they have extant.

Q So we're not sure whether they've stopped their chemical weapons program?

MR. McCURRY: I think we have unanswered questions about their program that we will pursue.

Carol.

Q And how specifically are you going to pursue this clarification again now? Is Clinton going to talk to Yeltsin at the summit?

MR. McCURRY: They have talked about it at a Presidential level. I can easily imagine it being discussed at a Presidential level, but I can't, at this point, speculate on what's going to be on a summit agenda.

The two Presidents will meet in Naples for a bilateral meeting. It will depend, I think, on the status of the discussions that we have had at other levels between our two governments. As I say, those questions have not been satisfactorily resolved at this point.

Q Mike, there are some defense officials from Britain, France, Demark, and Spain testifying on the Hill today of what they think -- any move by us to lift the arms embargo in Bosnia is unwise.

Have these governments raised this issue directly with us? And if they have, what has our responsible to them been?

MR. McCURRY: We have discussed the issue of lifting the arms embargo often with other governments. Many governments are now sharing their concerns publicly and certainly shared those concerns privately with us in the past. Many of their arguments about the consequences of unilaterally lifting the arms embargo on former Yugoslavia are concerns that we obviously share. The President has said so. We've said so here at the Department. That's the reason why we have opposed efforts in the United States Congress to unilaterally lift the arms embargo that's in place.

Carol.

Q To the extent that the Contact Group is considering lifting the arms embargo as part of a package of carrot and sticks that would be proposed to the combatants, are you at all concerned that this kind of public argument against lifting the arms embargo at this point in time really would undermine your efforts to get this peace plan --

MR. McCURRY: No. The peace plan is exactly the reason why. Let's step back from that for a second, because I think it's important.

In a discussion of consequences that would arise for the parties, should they not agree to implement a proposed peace settlement that grows out of the work of the so-called Contact Group - - the group that the United States, the Russians, and others have been involved in in formulating proposals that are now going to go before the parties -- in the context of that peace plan, the parties have to have consequences if they don't agree that they will enter into that type of an agreement and bring the war to an end.

That is surely much different at that point, in which they have, in a sense, rejected a reasonable proposal for peace, to consider options that would pressure the parties and to make good on their obligations, certainly much different to say at this point now, we should lift an arms embargo which will only serve the purpose of escalating the fighting and would very likely take us back to a period in which we saw Sarajevo under shelling and innocent civilians under attack. That is the consequence for taking that type of step.

There's the further argument and the powerful argument that taking that step unilaterally then would serve to undermine a variety of sanctions regimes in place through the United Nations in which we expect other governments to live up to requirements we've placed upon them.

We are dealing with very difficult issues involving Haiti. We've just been through very careful and precise discussions about steps that we were pursuing concerning North Korea. In our ability to bring a united and concerted international pressure to bear in moments of crisis around the world depends on support from multilateral sanctions regimes. The effect of then coming in and lifting unilaterally an obligation that we have made as a member of the United Nations, and an embargo that we have voted for as a member of the Security Council at the United Nations, would be grievous.

Q Setting aside this unilateral aspect, these guys from Europe, who are appearing before the Senate now, seem to be undercutting the strategy of their own government. Because to the extent that they make a powerful argument against lifting the arms embargo, if you then put lifting the arms embargo out as part of this carrot and stick approach, how are the Serbs even going to believe that you're serious about going ahead with it?

MR. McCURRY: Carol, we'll have to see the argument in the context that they make it. But I am sure that they will make it in exactly the context I just placed it.

We are at a critical moment in dealing with the problem in Bosnia. At the moment, the prospects for peace hinge on the success of the Contact Group, its ability to formulate a proposal that the parties will consider reasonable and that the parties will embrace so that we can bring that war to an end.

That's the context in which they are making this argument about lifting the arms embargo. There are many ways in which lifting the arms embargo at this moment would only serve the purpose of further inflaming that war and make the likelihood of a peace settlement far more remote. That's precisely the context in which I expect these leaders from Europe to make the argument and one that we find great merit in, obviously.

Barrie.

Q Yesterday, Douglas Hurd told a group of reporters that if the Bosnian Muslims were to accept the Contact Group's map but the Bosnian Serbs did not, this would create what he called irresistible pressures to have the embargo lifted; and then he said, as a direct consequence of that, for the UNPROFOR forces to be pulled out. He suggested that this should be told to the Serbs as a matter of pressuring them to accept the map.

I must confess that I was a little confused by the notion that that would be an effective threat on the Serbs. Is that really such a powerful threat, that we'll lift the embargo and pull UNPROFOR out and let them fight it out?

MR. McCURRY: Because they know what the consequences of that are. It's not only the likelihood of further military activity, further fighting, that they will have to deal with, and a newly aggressive Bosnian Government force, but it also means, Barrie, that there's no likelihood under that circumstance that they would get any relief from the economic sanctions which do continue to have pressure and do, I think, represent a central goal of, certainly, the Serbian Government's posture in this crisis, and most likely the Bosnian Serbs as well -- the desire to get out from underneath effect of the embargo and sanction regime that the world community has placed on them.

That was a very meaningful and important statement by the British Foreign Secretary. The British Government has concerns about lifting the arms embargo that are well known. And by indicating that there would be irresistible pressure, I think the British Government is indicating something important.

Q If the Contact Group's activities play out in a way where one side or the other doesn't accept the peace plan, will NATO continue to protect safe havens and abide by all the resolutions in favor of the Bosnian Government?

MR. McCURRY: The NATO decisions, or the decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council, that relate to Sarajevo and to other safe areas remain in effect.

Q Even if, for instance --

MR. McCURRY: They would have to be changed by NATO. And the circumstances at which they might change those, it's impossible to speculate upon at this point. There's nothing about any of the work of the Contact Group that changes the NATO ultimata that are in effect.

But, clearly, as Barrie's question indicated, there's an indication from the British Government about their view of the UNPROFOR status. If there were a lifting of the arms embargo or if there were other changes in the situation on the ground, there would be things different going on in Bosnia if one of the two likely outcomes is an increase in the fighting and a removal of the option of proceeding with the peace settlement.

Q But you can't just willy-nilly reverse U.N. resolutions. You have to pass another U.N. resolution to reverse it.

MR. McCURRY: That's true of both U.N. resolutions and decisions of the North Atlantic Council -- in both cases.

Jim.

Q Following up the Hussein visit, can you tell us, one, if the Administration is considering forgiving Jordan's outstanding loans to the United States? And, two, did the question of future economic and military assistance come in?

MR. McCURRY: The White House has given a fairly detailed readout on the sessions that President Clinton had with King Hussein yesterday. I don't have anything to add to that.

I will say that on the question of debt relief, we will be as supportive as possible when the Paris Club takes up rescheduling Jordan's public debt in the near future. In regards to your second question, we'll continue to examine economic issues, including the debt situation with Jordan. We'll be discussing that within our government and with the Congress as well.

Q And are there any conditions attached to this favorable consideration? In other words, does it depend on Jordan signing a peace agreement with Israel?

MR. McCURRY: I don't want to speculate about conditions. I think there are good reasons to promote this type of economic renewal. It certainly is in the context of what we see as a hopeful environment in the Israeli- Jordanian discussions.

Q How much does Jordan owe us?

MR. McCURRY: I would have to look it up. There was a figure used publicly. I don't know whether that is the correct figure or not, but I'll take that question and see if there's anything that we can provide on it.

Q Can we do Haiti?

MR. McCURRY: Yes. Go ahead.

Q There are reports that the U.N. sanctions are not working very well and that the price of gas is dropping in Haiti and that the border with the Dominican Republic is a sieve and the Dominicans are complaining of the lack of international cooperation. Do you have anything at all on this?

MR. McCURRY: It's the same question. I think I did that on Monday. We acknowledge that there needs to be improvements in the sanctions enforcement effort. We're willing to participate in efforts to do exactly that, particularly along the border with the Dominican Republic.

I believe they've now got that report from the experts who went down and looked at the issue of how to improve sanctions enforcement along the Dominican Republic-Haitian border. They are looking now at a multilateral team which will work closely with Dominican counterparts to assist in controlling smuggling across the border.

There are steps that can be taken to improve sanctions enforcement. We are very much interested in participating in improvement of that sanctions regime. They continue to build the pressure on the Haitian military leaders to live up to their commitments so that we can see democracy return to Haiti.

Q It doesn't seem like they're under very much pressure, though.

MR. McCURRY: It's your judgment. I'm telling you that we are going to do what we can do to improve the sanctions enforcement. You also know that the White House announced that more pressure was brought to bear yesterday. They are continuing to look at ways that they can make that pressure more effective.

Q Do you know when this effort will be deployed to help the Dominican Republic?

MR. McCURRY: I don't. I was trying to check at the Pentagon. The Pentagon had a public event earlier, and I wasn't able to get an answer from them. But there was some speculation that that might occur soon. I'd ask you to check over there.

Q Do you have anything further on these broadcasts which --

MR. McCURRY: No, I don't. We have been in discussions with President Aristide about ways in which he can communicate with his people -- with the people who elected him -- and that we are interested in trying to facilitate that. They've had some discussions about how we can help facilitate radio broadcasting in a way that the de facto government would not be able to impede. But I don't have anything specific on that other than to say that we are talking that through with President Aristide.

Q Mike, on Bosnia, where do they stand on a Foreign Ministers meeting?

MR. McCURRY: The next thing that will happen, Barry, is, Tuesday the Contact is going to meet again, reviewing some --

Q Monday?

MR. McCURRY: -- aspects -- did we say yesterday? I think it may -- I'm sorry, Paris. They're going to meet in Paris -- Paris, on Tuesday. That could very well then lead to a ministerial review of the work of the Contact Group itself. That probably will happen some time in July. It's just not certain at this point what date that would happen.

As indicated, and I think in the May 13 communique, the Ministers are ready to meet as necessary to assist the work of the Contact Group itself.

Same subject, Carol?

Q No, this is Korea.

MR. McCURRY: Let me try someone in.

Q North Korea also. The President said yesterday that the Geneva talks would take up a full range of security, economic, and political discussions. Is diplomatic recognition of North Korea now part of these discussions? Could you tell us more about that agenda? What our goals are going to be?

MR. McCURRY: I don't want to get too precisely into the agenda itself. By the President saying the status of our political, economic, and security relations, certainly the status of our diplomatic relations falls within that general rubric. I don't want to specify agenda items because, frankly, there has not been an agenda drawn up.

By the way, there are to be, through the New York channel at some point in the next couple of days, a meeting at that level -- at sort of the working level -- to flesh out the exact agenda, or at least to begin to put some structure to the dialogue that would occur next month at a third round of high level talks.

Q Are you saying this meeting could be tomorrow?

MR. McCURRY: It could be today or tomorrow or whenever they can work it out.

Q Could you (inaudible) ideas what ought to be on the agenda? How about the missiles? Is that something -- you know, the broad and thorough --

MR. McCURRY: I think the DPRK has indicated they have security issues they would like to see discussed in the context of a broad and thorough dialogue. We have security issues as well. Certainly, among them, first and foremost, would be a resolution of the nuclear issue and a discussion about the history of North Korea's nuclear program. But we certainly would seek to have, in the context of a third round, a discussion about security issues; it would also include conventional armament, balance of power in the theatre, and the types of security concerns that you can obviously imagine that would be a part of any broad and thorough dialogue.

Q You haven't said missiles -- missiles, as to Syria?

MR. McCURRY: MTCR-related transactions would be an issue that we want --

Q (Inaudible)

MR. McCURRY: That type of transaction, Barry; missile transfers to Iran and Syria, we've indicated in the past is a source of great concern to us. It certainly is the kind of issue that you would expect a broad and thorough dialogue to continue without, of course, specifying that there is any specific agenda at this point.

Q Have you heard from Gallucci? Have you gotten a readout from him?

MR. McCURRY: I haven't. The Secretary talked to him a short while ago. He had a very good meeting with Director General Blix at the IAEA today. He had been scheduled, I think as you know, to be in Vienna, in any event, when we received the response from North Korea yesterday.

They report that he had a very good session today in Vienna covering the status of IAEA monitoring and safeguards presence in North Korea. They discussed the upcoming third round as well.

Q When is he coming back?

MR. McCURRY: When is he coming back? I don't know the answer to that.

Q Do you know if the inspectors got to the reprocessing plant? Evidently, they got to the reactor. They've been promised they can see the sites -- storage facilities, particularly.

MR. McCURRY: I have seen sort of only sketchy information on their inspection activity. I think the quality of the information they've been able to generate has been sufficient to satisfy our need to know that there's been no activity in that program related to refueling or reprocessing. But specifically what they've done at the site I'd refer you to the IAEA, which should really reasonably talk about the activity of their own inspectors.

Yes, Victor.

Q President Carter mentioned last night that a light-water reactor was very much on the minds of the North Koreans and that we might try and put together some package for helping them get one. Is that going to be?

MR. McCURRY: At the time we had our second round of high-level talks between the U.S. and the DPRK about a year ago, I guess, or maybe July a year ago, we did indicate that we were interested in discussing with them a move away from graphite-moderated reactor technology into light-water reactors for the reason that that technology produces less weapons-grade material as a by-product of the reaction and thus would be a lesser risk of proliferation from our perspective. So that's a technology in a sense that serves some purposes that we would seek as well. And it is something that I believe North Korea has expressed a very direct interest in receiving.

So we would see in a third round that that would be a subject of discussion.

Q But we're now willing to pay for it.

MR. McCURRY: I don't want to get into how they acquire the technology and under what circumstances, and who pays the bill is obviously something that we'd leave to a third round of talks.

Q Mike, when you were asked about Jordan before you made some reference to wanting to help their economy. Do you have any appraisals -- U.S., I mean, appraisal -- of Jordan's economic situation, or did the King tell a sad story while he was here, because you remember they were cut off for supporting Iraq. You didn't like him then; you've gotten to like him again.

MR. McCURRY: He, I believe --

Q What's their economics -- what's their situation now? Are they on the rocks --

MR. McCURRY: I don't have a --

Q -- are they closing some of the palaces, or what?

MR. McCURRY: I don't have a full assessment of the economic conditions in Jordan with me here. The most recent discussion we've had with Jordan that I'm aware of -- well, I'll take that back. The Secretary and both the President had some discussions since then. But our discussions have been about the impact of the multilateral interdiction force and some of the economic damage they were suffering as a result of the sanctions enforcement effort in the Gulf of Aqaba; and we, as you know, have attempted to address that issue.

Q There seems to be a little bit of a misunderstanding about what the meaning of freezing of the nuclear program in North Korea exactly entails. Does this mean that they're freezing the reprocessing -- freezing the refueling -- or are we looking at, also, trying to freeze all construction of the 200-megawatt reactor and the other new processing plants?

MR. McCURRY: As the President indicated last night, and as we've said to them consistently, our interest is in freezing major elements of their program, specifically, and we wanted to make sure that they would neither reload the 5-megawatt experimental reactor with any new fuel nor reprocess the spent fuel that has now been removed from the reactor core and that we would permit inspections for the continuity of safeguards -- including the presence of IAEA inspectors at the facility and, obviously, the continuation of certain surveillance through the equipment that the IAEA has in place at the Yongbyon facility.

Those are the very, very precise aspects of the freeze that we asked for in their nuclear program; and they have now been confirmed in great detail by the DPRK.

Q So we're not looking, of course, at a freeze in construction.

MR. McCURRY: Issues like the second reactor, issues like the reprocessing facility, issues like inspections at the special sites that we're concerned about that may hold some key to the mystery or the history of the program are issues that we have said in the past we would seek to explore in a third round. And the DPRK has acknowledged that those are issues that would be within the purview of the program.

Q A quick follow-up on that also, if I could.

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q John Holum at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency came out yesterday and seemed to imply that the United States' position would be something more along the lines of "Well, let's worry about the future; let's worry about the present. And as far as the past goes -- the l989 refueling and other such issues -- well, maybe it can be some kind of South Africa model where we'll have a continuing dialogue" --

MR. McCURRY: I'm not --

Q -- "and some problems will be worked out in good time."

MR. McCURRY: I'm not familiar with those remarks, but that interpretation of them strikes me as curious. We are, as we have said in the past, very interested in knowing more about the history of the program because our goal, as you know, is a non-nuclear Korean peninsula. So the history of the program, the context in which there may have been prior reprocessing of plutonium is very much an issue that we would seek to explore in a third round of high-level talks.

Q I forget whether there was a time limit involved, for technical reasons, in terms of determining the historical record from the spent fuel. Do you recall --

MR. McCURRY: Is there a point at which the spent fuel rods decay? You can no longer measure the radioactivity or however they do that. I'm not a technical expert on that.

I believe there is a certain period in which you lose the ability to do that, but in any event remember that the IAEA has said that ability to reconstruct the history by looking at the spent fuel rods has already been lost and is now irretrievable.

Q Right.

MR. McCURRY: That is their view.

Q I'd like to clarify about North Korean status at NPT. When they had written back the confirmation about the three conditions for resuming the talks, they specifically stated that they would return to NPT without any preconditions?

MR. McCURRY: I think it would be more accurate to say that they felt they wanted to make clear to us that they were willing to discuss, within the framework of a DPRK-U.S. dialogue, steps that they could take to fully implement the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, as well, the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.

Q There's a side to the matter to interpret that they would return to the normal member status before the talks.

MR. McCURRY: In a less precise way, it would be accurate to say they hold open the possibility of a dialogue that would include a return to full-scope safeguards -- well, I shouldn't say that; at least, the Safeguards Agreement that they have in place with the IAEA -- and a discussion of fully implementing requirements under the NPT.

I think it would be accurate to say that that's something that is foreseen within the third round.

Q Just quickly, are you planning any consultations with Asian allies like --

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q -- Japan and Korea?

MR. McCURRY: Thank you very much for asking. I should have got into that earlier.

The Secretary did last night, on the way home from Brussels, have discussions with Foreign Minister Han of South Korea, Foreign Minister Kozyrev of Russia, and Foreign Minister Kakizawa of Japan. They were all useful in that, first, the Secretary was able to inform all three of the response by the DPRK to the U.S. letter; and, second, they were able to use that discussion to really begin to build a framework of consultations for the upcoming third round.

I'd stress that in every step along the way in dealing with this crisis we have used very careful and precise diplomacy to first build international support for a sanctions effort within the work we were doing at the United Nations, and we will use exactly that same type of approach now in building a common understanding and foundation for the type of dialogue that we now seek to have with the DPRK.

I'll come back; let's get one that hasn't had a chance.

Q The day before yesterday, the Greek Minister of Defense, I believe, met Mr. Tarnoff; and according to the press reports, he brought some ideas on the Aegean air space and territorial waters. And, also, did they discuss the Greek embargo against Macedonia and some border trade with Serbia against the U.N. sanctions?

MR. McCURRY: Did you get to do a readout on this Tarnoff meeting? (TO STAFF) You've haven't seen it?

I haven't seen anything on it. We'll try to --

Q Can you --

MR. McCURRY: -- get something for you on that, sure.

Yes. Charlie?

Q Mike, on a different subject, has anybody at the Department of State talked to young Michael Fay since he's back, or since he's left Singapore?

MR. McCURRY: We did -- didn't you do a rundown? (TO STAFF)

Since we've been gone the last two days, I'm not sure how much they got into it. I think we did say last night that they did have some contact with him in Singapore. I don't know if anyone from the Department here has talked to him or not.

Q Do you know whether he's waived any of his privacy rights? Is there anything you can tell us publicly?

MR. McCURRY: I can't. I think he has a legal representative; his family who's been quoted fairly extensively, so they have been discussing him.

Q Mike, if I could --

MR. McCURRY: O.K.

Q -- on this issue of communication from North Korea last night, my question is: Has the Secretary, has the President and this Government, confirmed that North Korea has a very clear -- a positively clear idea -- of what we are requiring in the freeze? From their response, would you say that they are completely clear?

MR. McCURRY: I would say the importance of this issue has required the United States to be very precise, very careful, in how we have formed certain questions that we posed to the DPRK; and the answers that have come back are satisfactory in that they specifically address the types of concerns that we raised, and our ability to make sure that we can verify those things that have been assured by the DPRK was a feature embodied in that exchange as well.

So I would say, yes, we are quite satisfied that their response was detailed enough.

I'm sorry. We got another question back here.

Q Do you think the meeting in Geneva is going to be on the 8th? There are reports that it's going to take place on the 8th, but the White House won't confirm it.

MR. McCURRY: We have had a good exchange with the DPRK on dates. I wouldn't say that the 8th is not something under discussion; I wouldn't say that the 6th wasn't under discussion. I wouldn't say anything about the date at this point. But it's not a bad two numbers to look at.

Q The counter-terrorist organization PKK -- they started again to attack the civilian tribe in Turkey. The last two days they attacked two touristic facilities in Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Do you have any reactions?

MR. McCURRY: Let me get a reaction to that. We have been following that situation carefully. We're certainly aware of the efforts the Turkish Government is making to address problems related to the PKK and we have addressed certain concerns about that as well, but I'd like to get into it a little bit and see if we can get a little more detail response and comment.

Q Another group of Chinese refugees has apparently been brought to shore in the United States off Cape May, and I was wondering if the United States Government is looking to a third country to accept those refugees.

MR. McCURRY: I'll have to check on that.

You did that yesterday? (TO STAFF)

Apparently the Press Office does have a workup on that. I followed that issue early in the week and then lost track over the last two days, but they do have something that they can give you on that if you check with the Press Office.

Q Thank you.

(Briefing Concluded at 2:07 p.m.)

(###)

To the top of this page