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

.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/07/21 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman

                            U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                              DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
                                  I N D E X
                             Friday, July 21 l995
                                                Briefer:  David Johnson
CHINA
Reports of Proposed Missile Tests Near Tawain .........  1
House Vote on Extension of MFN ........................  1
-- Vote on Establishment of Radio Free Asia ...........  1
Status of U.S. Citizen Harry Wu/Consular Visit Status .  1-2
CUBA
Dep. Asst. Sec Patterson travel to Cuba/Migration Talks  2-3
--Meeting with Cuban Dissident Arcos ..................  3-4 
Status of Establishing News Bureaus in Havana .........  4-5
INDIA
Status of Hostages in Kashmir/Reports Hostages Being 
Wounded ...............................................  6
JAPAN
Civil Aviation Talks/Approval of FEDEX Routes .........  6-8
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
Situation in Zepa .....................................  8
London Conference on Bosnia ...........................  8
--Secretary Christopher's Return from London Conference  5-6
NIGERIA
Reaction by Nigeria re: Statements by U.S. on Sentences  9

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

FRIDAY, JULY 21, 1995, 12:55 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any formal announcements for you. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them. Q Two China questions. Do you have an update on the proposed missile test off the coast of Taiwan, and any reaction to the House-passed legislation, particularly with reference to the provision calling for the establishment of a Radio Free Asia? MR. JOHNSON: I'll do your first one first, since it's a little simpler. With respect to the question of military issues related to China, I think Nick addressed some of that on Wednesday, and I did some yesterday. I think for the time being we're just going to leave our comments where they stand. With respect to the passage of the House bill, I'd note that we're very pleased that the House voted to support the President's decision to extend Most-Favored-Nation status for China. We believe that Congressman Bereuter's initiative was key to the outcome of the vote and is very much appreciated, although the Administration neither supported nor opposed the Bereuter-Pelosi-Wolf bill. The Administration is already taking appropriate action in response to concerns expressed by Congress in that bill. We're also pursuing all of our human rights, economic and non-proliferation objectives in bilateral talks, as well as multilateral fora where that's appropriate. I'd note that we already report to Congress on progress in our China relations in several different reports and hearings, including our annual Human Rights Report, our Trade Barriers Report, and the annual Trade Report to the Congress, in addition to several others. I'd also note that $10 million has been appropriated for Radio Free Asia in this fiscal year, and additional funds have been requested for FY-96. Q Anything on Harry Wu? MR. JOHNSON: We continue to press to see Mr. Wu before we reach the 30-day time limit that's set forth in Article 35 of our Consular Convention. As you probably already know, we last visited him on July 10, and he told us at that time that he had not been mistreated. We have raised and will continue to raise Mr. Wu's case with Chinese officials at every opportunity, and we will continue to press for his immediate release. Q Do you know if he's still being held in Wuhan? MR. JOHNSON: As far as I'm aware, that's his current location. Q David, going back to your earlier statement, what do you read in what the House did that endorsed the Administration's stand on MFN, because I understand what they did was not go through it with another bill, but they didn't directly endorse anything, did they? MR. JOHNSON: I believe I said that we are pleased that the House voted to support the President's decision to extend Most-Favored-Nation status for China. Q In what way did they do that? MR. JOHNSON: The actions that they took yesterday had that effect. Q In other words, the actions they didn't take in not -- MR. JOHNSON: You're free to put your interpretation on it. Q Yes, and you are free to accept that as an endorsement or a support or whatever you want to call it. MR. JOHNSON: We have said and will say again that we are pleased that the House voted to support the President's decision to extend Most- Favored-Nation status. Q Do you have anything on Anne Patterson's trip to Cuba? MR. JOHNSON: A little bit. Deputy Assistant Secretary Patterson headed the United States delegation to the July 17-18 migration talks in Havana. Her official discussions considered a full range of migration issues where both sides agreed that the September 9 and May 2 accords are succeeded in directing migration into legal channels, while discouraging illegal and unsafe migration. There were no new agreements reached. I'd note that while she was there, she also met with a range of human rights leaders, including the noted dissident Sebastian Arcos, who was recently released from prison. She also met with non-governmental organizations such as the Catholic charity Caritas and leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches and the Jewish community. Q That was done, I suppose, with the Cuban Government's approval. MR. JOHNSON: I don't know that we asked the Cuban Government for their approval. Q Okay. So on her own she decided to meet with political opponents to the government? MR. JOHNSON: Sid, you're aware that throughout the world, whenever United States Government officials for the Department of State visit, they often find it important to meet with as broad a sector of society as they possibly can. In addition to that, our diplomats who are stationed places permanently also pursue that as part of their mandate when they are stationed abroad. This is fully consistent with the patterns of practice we have throughout the world. Q Do Embassy officials regularly meet with these groups -- dissidents, religious -- MR. JOHNSON: We regularly have contacts with a broad spectrum of Cuban society. I believe I've noted that Mr. Arcos was only recently released from prison. I don't know if Ms. Patterson was the first U.S. official to meet with him since his release. Q But the Embassy does engage -- MR. JOHNSON: The Embassy does meet with a broad spectrum of people -- Q So there's nothing -- MR. JOHNSON: Excuse me. Not the Embassy; the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Q So there's nothing unusual in what she did? MR. JOHNSON: I don't know that the leader of the delegation to the immigration talks was engaged in such appointments in the past, but we don't find it unusual that she would be reaching out to other sectors of Cuban society beyond the government, no. Q It's not unusual for a U.S. diplomat in Cuba to meet with these types of people? MR. JOHNSON: Yes, I think I can say that we meet with people in the non-governmental sectors all the time. Q So you don't read anything into it? It's not an encouraging sign from Cuba that she was able to do that? MR. JOHNSON: I'd read it as just part of our determination to have a broad spectrum of contacts throughout Cuban society. Q Can you tell me if she discussed issues other than immigration with officials? MR. JOHNSON: I can tell you that the talks focused exclusively on migration issues. Q Did she have any side talks with other Cuban officials? MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of anything unusual about her discussions with Cuban officials or any side talks or any other appointments. Q Could you tell me where the issue of journalists -- of news organizations being able to open offices down there is? MR. JOHNSON: We have for a long period of time been considering other ways in the framework of the Cuban Democracy Act which we could move forward to broaden our contacts with the Cuban people. As you recall, there are two aspects of that policy, and that Act -- that is, the tightening of the embargo -- and that is reaching around the Cuban Government with direct contacts with sectors of Cuban society. We are considering how we might move forward on a reciprocal opening of news bureaus, but we haven't reached a decision point yet. Q She did not discuss this while she was down there? MR. JOHNSON: I am unaware of any discussion that took place regarding that. Since we haven't made a decision, I don't that that would have come up. Q You would deny a recent newspaper report that said the Administration had decided to go forward with the news bureaus? MR. JOHNSON: I would say that we were considering a number of steps and that was one of them, but we haven't made any final determinations. Q What are the arguments against establishing news bureaus in Havana? MR. JOHNSON: I wouldn't know that there would be strong arguments against them. The arguments in favor of them is they would provide another way that the United States people, and actually the people in Cuba, because the reflection back in through radio and other ways -- particularly through Radio Marti -- that a more objective source of information if we had Western news people on the ground like Mr. Gedda to report back to the Cuban people what's happening in Cuba. Q So what's the downside, what's the decision waiting for? MR. JOHNSON: We have an embargo against Cuba. Any decision we take to move forward on any type of activity has some economic implications. So those would have to be addressed. Q Why Mr. Gedda? MR. JOHNSON: Because he's such a distinguished reporter on Cuban issues. Q Is that On the Record? MR. JOHNSON: That is On the Record. I'll be pleased to sign that for your employer. Q Do you support an amendment that Jesse Helms had to his own Cuba bill on the question of exchange of news bureaus? MR. JOHNSON: I don't know that we have addressed that particular aspect to the piece of legislation. I know that we're continuing to consult with the Congress on his bill, but I don't have anything with me today which directly address what the status of those consultations are. Q (Inaudible) due back? MR. JOHNSON: I think his schedule is still a bit up in the air. I think we're expecting him back some time tomorrow, but I don't have anything more for you. Q David, can I go back to the Chinese missiles. You said you don't want to take anything further than what Nick did the other day. On a factual question: Have you raised it directly with the Chinese Government? MR. JOHNSON: I don't have anything beyond what we've said already. I can't address that question for you. I don't have a yes or no answer. Q (Inaudible) MR. JOHNSON: No. I've read what he said and I've read what I've said, but I think we're going to leave it where we have it right now. Q Do you have anything more on the Kashmiri rebels holding Americans and other foreigners? MR. JOHNSON: Only that we probably, like you, have seen reports that some of these people who are being held have been wounded, but we've seen nothing that actually substantiates those reports. Our Embassy in New Delhi continues to monitor this closely. They're keeping us informed. We have an embassy officer that's in the area. We reiterate our appeal to the kidnappers to release the hostages and innocent victims immediately. Q How about calling on the Indian Government to try to work it out peacefully rather than the way they had in the past in Kashmir? MR. JOHNSON: We have talked to all -- made an appeal to all governments in the area and all who might have any influence with the kidnappers to do what they can to effect their release. Q Peacefully? MR. JOHNSON: To effect their release. I'll leave it right there. Q David, do you have anything on a reported deal between the U.S. and Japan on aviation in Los Angels? MR. JOHNSON: I do. There's good news tonight. The Japanese Minister of Transport and the United States Secretary of Transportation reached agreement at yesterday's ministerial talks in Los Angeles on our civil aviation dispute. The Japanese aeronautical authorities have now approved the application of Federal Express to operate on seven routes -- that Tokyo- Subic, Tokyo-Kuala Lumpur, Osaka-Subic, Osaka-Kuala Lumpur, Osaka- Singapore, Osaka-Penang, and Osaka-Kaohsiung. Those approvals are without encumbrances. Secretary Pena and Minister Kamei have begun further talks today in Los Angeles to address immediate issues for both sides in the area of all cargo services. In terms of when flying might start, we understand from FedEx that they plan to begin scheduled operations at their Subic hub on September 4. Q And how was this miraculous breakthrough achieved? Do you know? MR. JOHNSON: Through dogged determination on behalf of our negotiators. Q There were no concessions on the part of the United States? MR. JOHNSON: No. Japan agreed to recognize U.S. rights under our bilateral aviation agreement and approved FedEx's pending route application. That approval is going to allow FedEx to open its Subic Bay hub. We also agree to further talks designed to advance our aviation cargo relationship now that this impediment to progress has been lifted. These talks are going to begin in September, and we hope to conclude them in a six-month period. They aim at achieving a more liberal framework in the field of all cargo services and should be of significant benefit to American consumers and, presumably, Japanese of air cargo services. Q But nothing on passengers? MR. JOHNSON: I don't believe we've been attempting to address passenger services at this time. We focused on cargo services. Q Do you know how long the FedEx application had been pending? MR. JOHNSON: I do not know. I'll see if I can find you something on that; for a protracted period of time, but I don't know exactly when it was filed. Q Can you give us any information about Bosnia today? I know the conference is going on, but do you have any situation reports from the area? MR. JOHNSON: Do you have anything more specific? Q The situation in Zepa and Gorazde; the shelling in Sarajevo? MR. JOHNSON: I am sure that I don't have anything on Sarajevo. According to the U.N., although the Bosnian Serb army is in control of some of the 20 hamlets in the enclave of Zepa, the town itself remains in government hands. I understand that the Bosnian Serb army resumed shelling the town yesterday evening after the Bosnian Government withdrew its decision to surrender. The decision of the Bosnian Government, according to the U.N. to withdraw its approval, was because the two sides could not agree on the details of a massive prisoner exchange involving the Bosnian men of Zepa and Srebrenica. Bosnian Serb forces remain to the southwest of the town. Yesterday, the army brought in 60 buses in the expectation that a massive evacuation would follow Zepa's surrender. We don't really have any confirmed information on the actual status of the 17,000 Bosnians who are living in the enclave. Q David, do you know whether the Bosnian Government forces hold significant numbers of Serb prisoners? MR. JOHNSON: I do not. I just don't have anything to address that at all. I wouldn't want to give you a response without having some information. In terms of what's going on in London, what I can say is what we've been saying all week. We're determined to reach a united position with our closest allies which would change the status quo on the ground. But in terms of the course of those talks and what happens in London today, I think I'm going to refer you to your colleagues there. Do you have a question? Q: I wanted to find out if you got any formal response from Nigeria regarding your protest concerning the people given long prison sentences there? MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any direct response from the Nigerian Government on that question. Q Thank you. MR. JOHNSON: Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:12 p.m.) (###)

To the top of this page