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U.S. Department of State
96/04/04 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman

 
                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                          DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 
 
                             I N D E X  
 
                       Thursday, April 4, 1996 
 
 
                                             Briefer:  Glyn Davies 
 
 
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA 
  Croatia: Loss of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown in 
   Plane Crash in Croatia 
  --Secretary Christopher's Statement on the Loss of 
     Commerce Secretary Ron Brown .........................  1     
  --Chronology of Events re: Crash of Brown's Plane .......  2     
  --Department of State's Operations/Efforts ..............  2-4   
  --Release of Flight Manifest ............................  4,5-6,7 
  --Status of Search Efforts/Recovery and Identification  
     of Remains ...........................................  4-5,7 
  --Plans for the Return of the Remains ...................  6     
  --Status of Business/Trade Mission to Croatia ...........  6-7  
  --Status of Investigation of Crash/Causes ...............  7-8 
 
LIBYA 
  Construction of Chemical Weapons Plant ..................  8,9-10 
  --DoD Secretary Perry's Meetings with Egyptian Officials   8-9 
  Reports of Unrest in Libya ..............................  10-11 
 
SUDAN 
  Sudan Involvement in Attempted Assassination of Egyptian  
    President Mubarak .....................................  11   
 
NORTH KOREA 
  N. Korean Announcement to No Longer Maintain DMZ ........  11-13 
  Reported U.S.-N. Korea Missile Talks in Berlin ..........  12 
 
CHINA 
  Status of U.S. Determination on Technology Transfers ....  13-15 
  Secretary's Meeting with Chinese FM on April 19 .........  14 
 
 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #53

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 1996, 1:36 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. What I'd like to do is walk through some information that we've got about the crash of Secretary Brown's plane. This will take a little while, and then after that go to your questions.

The first thing I would like to do is to read a statement by Secretary of State Warren Christopher that we just released:

"It was with terrible shock and sadness that I learned of the loss of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and his party in Croatia yesterday. The American business leaders and government officials were accompanying the Secretary on a mission of peace to help the people of the former Yugoslavia rebuild their economies and their lives after four years of war. This is an immeasurable loss for America, for the United States Government, and for the families of those on board the aircraft.

"I am honored to have served in President Clinton's Cabinet with Ron Brown, a man for whom I have had great respect and affection. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and those of the others lost in yesterday's tragedy."

Just a word about the statement and what it means for us in the Department of State. It, of course, immediately brings to mind -- recalls for us here in the Department the deaths last summer, in August 1995, of Robert Frasure, Joe Kruzel, and Nelson Drew.

Secretary Brown, and all who perished with him, died, like Frasure and his colleagues, in the highest calling -- that of peacemaker.

The Secretary of State this morning attended the President's prayer service at St. John's Church across from the White House. He has no public schedule today and is obviously very much saddened by what's occurred.

Let me give you a little bit of a rundown on yesterday quickly, because there were some questions about who learned what when. I can answer questions about this a bit later.

First off, when did Ambassador Galbraith arrive in Dubrovnik and when was the plane due to arrive -- things like that? Ambassador Galbraith arrived in Dubrovnik just prior to the scheduled arrival of Secretary Brown and his party. Ambassador Galbraith was, of course, there to form part of the welcoming party for Secretary Brown and the party and their arrival in Croatia.

The plane carrying Secretary Brown originally had been scheduled to arrive in Dubrovnik at 2:30 p.m. local time, which would have been 7:30 Eastern Standard Time here in the United States. That schedule slipped a bit, though, and Dubrovnik Tower -- that is, the Control Tower at Dubrovnik Airport -- subsequently informed Ambassador Galbraith's party to expect the plane to arrive at approximately 2:55 p.m. local time, or 7:55 Eastern Standard Time.

A short time later, realizing that something was amiss, Ambassador Galbraith called the State Department. He first called Under Secretary of State Tarnoff with the first indication that something was amiss. That call took place at 8:35 our time, or 3:35 local time.

Under Secretary Tarnoff immediately informed Acting Secretary Talbott and called out to California where Secretary Christopher was at about 8:50 in the morning, our time.

The Secretary decided very shortly after receiving the call that he should return to Washington, that his place was here, given these reports at the time -- of course, conflicting reports -- and Secretary Christopher, after conferring with others, then directed that a Task Force be set up. I'll tell you a little bit about that in a minute.

The Secretary, just a few hours after that, left his home near Santa Barbara -- in fact, it was shortly after noon that he took off and he arrived in Washington around 9:00 last night.

What is it that the State Department has been doing? Yesterday and today we've really been working at two tasks. First off, keeping the families of those we believed were on the flight informed of developments and working to assist them to the maximum extent possible. Then, also, of course, we were doing our best to gather information about what was occurring on the ground. For that, Ambassador Galbraith was our main source of information, since he was on the scene.

A bit about the Op-Center -- the State Department Operations Center -- when it was first notified at about 8:50 our time, immediately began tracking all available information and coordinating the U.S. Government's response. The full Interagency Task Force that the Secretary commissioned was established in the Operations Center by about 10:00 in the morning.

The agencies on the Operation Center Task Force, which is still up and running, include, of course, the State Department, the Commerce Department, representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon, the National Security Council. From this building, a number of bureaus are represented: The European Bureau, Consular Affairs, Diplomatic Security, Congressional Affairs, Political-Military Affairs, Protocol, the Secretariat, and others.

So right now we have, in fact, several dozen personnel who are working on the Task Force coordinating with the Embassy and with military personnel in Dubrovnik. The Task Force remains a 24-hour a day operation. It was up and running last night. It's Director is a senior official from the European Bureau. Her name is Nancy Ely-Raphel. She is the Bosnia coordinator, in fact, for the European Bureau. We'll keep that Task Force up and running as long as necessary.

We've been receiving from around the world -- they're continuing to come in -- condolence messages for Secretary Ron Brown and the families of the passengers. Some of these messages are directed to the President of the United States; some to the Commerce Department; some to the Secretary of State. They've been coming in as cables, letters, faxes, some phone calls.

Just to give you a sense of countries that have expressed condolences so far: Chairman Arafat of the Palestinian Authority has sent a message; President Mandela of South Africa; the Prime Minister of Bosnia; President Helmut Kohl of Germany; the President of Poland; the Governments of Italy, Estonia, Zimbabwe, and many others -- Slovakia, Botswana. The list goes on. The messages continue to come in.

The Secretary intends at some point, probably today, to send a message of deep appreciation to his counterpart in Croatia, Foreign Minister Ganic. He may also send a similar communication to Foreign Minister de Charette of France, as France has also been instrumental on the scene in helping us out.

We have just put out for you a flight manifest of those on board Secretary Ron Brown's aircraft. I'd like to stress that this is a list of those we believe were on the plane. This is not a confirmed list of the deceased. That will come, of course, in due course as the U.S. armed forces do their work.

There was a bit of a discrepancy, I think, in some of the reports of the numbers of people on board the aircraft. This passenger manifest that we put out is the best list of those on the plane, the best list that's available. Now, of course, the forensic specialists will work very hard to positively identify all the remains.

We've made every effort with regard to this list to confirm its accuracy, and there are no indications that anyone listed on this manifest was not on the plane that crashed.

The search for survivors and the identification of remains does continue but the circumstances at this stage give very little hope that anyone has survived that crash.

Let me give you an update on the rescue operations as they're occurring out there. You heard a bit from General Estes at the Pentagon earlier today. Some of this duplicative, I apologize, but there is some new material here.

Of course, the planes wreckage, just to confirm, was located about two and half kilometers off the end of the runway at Dubrovnik Airport. The aircraft is in pieces. It's scattered over an area of about 400 square meters. Bad weather continues, and continues to hinder the search operation -- very low visibility. There's a great deal of fog, for instance, up in the mountains.

There are many people up there working hard under extremely difficult conditions to search the area. Helping us in this effort are forces from Britain. The French are engaged, the Germans, and, of course, the Croatians -- all have been involved in helping us in this effort.

On site, today, are approximately 29 Americans, 21 French, and 150 Croat personnel who are continuing to sweep the site for remains. In fact, I'm told by the Task Force upstairs, that effort has now, for the night, shut down due to not just the darkness but the weather which continues to be very bad.

The Croat Interior Minister is leading operations on the ground with headquarters for the Coatians at the Dubrovnik police station. Brigadier General Canavan, of course, is leading the U.S. team on the mountain.

The other bit of information that I got by calling up the Task Force just recently is that they report that 14 sets of remains have been taken down off of the mountain to the temporary morgue that's at the airport at Dubrovnik. Tomorrow morning, they will seek to, if they can, begin some preliminary identifications. But they have called off, as I've said, the retrieval operation for tonight. They'll start that again at first light.

I can't yet confirm for you what will happen with the remains that are brought down off the mountain in coming days. Obviously, the U.S. Government's effort is to identify them and also to get them back to the United States as soon as possible.

I think with that -- I've got a little more but I'll just let it go and go to your questions.

George.

Q Do you have anything on the one passenger who apparently survived briefly?

MR. DAVIES: I don't. I don't have any way of confirming for you today who that was. It may well have been a crew member. I would direct you, I think, to the Pentagon for questions that relate to the search-and-rescue effort on the scene and people that have been brought down off the mountain.

Q The Pentagon seems to be fairly firm that there are 33 bodies that have been out there, and yet your list of names is 35. Is it possible that some of these people were not on the plane? I mean, this is a manifest of those you think were on the plane. Is it possible, do you believe, that some of them might not have been on the plane?

MR. DAVIES: No, we've worked very hard, and we've been at this around the clock since we first started this effort to make sure that the list that we were putting together was a list of people who were actually on that airplane.

These delegations that travel overseas are often kind of works in progress, as it were, as they go from stop to stop. Sometimes people do get on, people get off for various reasons, and that makes it hard to reconstruct, in retrospect, sometimes precisely who was on a plane. But we believe that this list is an accurate list of those who got on the plane.

Q Have all the members -- have all the families of these people on the list been contacted by the United States Government?

MR. DAVIES: Absolutely, yes, they have. Here at the State Department we've been working on those who are not members of the Air Force crew, and the Pentagon, of course, has been notifying the family members of those who were listed as crew members.

Q Is there any plan for any kind of -- will the remains be returned in a single way in which members of the family might be invited or there would be any kind of a ceremony of some sort on the Tarmac?

MR. DAVIES: Ralph, I just don't have that right now. I don't know what the plans are. We'll have to see. It remains our commitment to do this as soon as possible.

Q Was there identification on the interpreter and photographer? Were they foreign nationals?

MR. DAVIES: My belief is that they were foreign national employees of our Embassy in Croatia, but I don't have any further information about them.

Any other questions on the crash?

Q Will the bodies be brought into Dover? Do you know that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know. There are different things being discussed, and I can't confirm that. But the Pentagon will, I hope, at some point make an announcement about that.

Q Do you have anything to say about the future of this particular mission which was to go into Croatia and, obviously, explore both investment opportunities for U.S. firms as well as redevelopment and rebuilding opportunities for the Government of Croatia?

MR. DAVIES: That remains a priority for the United States of America and indeed for all friends of the peace process in Croatia. Secretary Brown was doing a very important thing, leading this business delegation, representing a number of companies to that area, trying to promote foreign investment, to generate long-term economic development in Bosnia and in Croatia.

The mission was designed to be an affirmation of our support for Bosnia reconstruction and to demonstrate our interest in reviving the economy and to demonstrate our confidence in Bosnia's future.

So it was an important mission. It will, for us, be a loss that he was unable to carry forward with it -- a great loss, in fact -- and we will simply have to do everything we can to pick up where he left off and carry his work forward.

Q Is the current plan to try to make all the identifications either on-site or at the temporary morgue at the Dubrovnik airport, or, i.e., to delay the return of the bodies while that is being done or to get the bodies back and worry about proper IDs later?

MR. DAVIES: That, I think, is a question for the Pentagon, since they're in charge of the effort. What I was told was that the 14 who were brought down off the mountain before dusk today -- that they will try to identify those remains preliminarily.

I don't know to what extent they're going to be able to identify remains at Dubrovnik airport. Obviously, they'll try to do what they can, but I think one of the overriding concerns that we've got now is just to get the remains back to the United States as soon as possible.

Q (Inaudible) the other agency doesn't have briefings like this, could you please describe to us the role and purpose on this mission of Jim Lewek of the CIA?

MR. DAVIES: Sure. I can tell you a little bit about him. He was a 20-year veteran of the agency; had done a lot of work just recently on the Balkans; in fact, was a member of the Central Intelligence Agency's Balkan Task Force.

His role on the Task Force was as an economic reconstruction expert, and his role on the mission with Secretary Brown was to serve as a resource, since he's been working on this for some time, to the members of the mission -- kind of somebody you can go to with a detailed question about reconstruction-related matters in Bosnia, and that's what he was doing on the plane.

Q Is there any kind of record anywhere that has been recovered or is being recovered of maybe final conversations or what the people on the -- delegation on the plane was discussing as it was heading into Dubrovnik?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not aware of any records like that. I don't know of any phone calls from the plane. I don't have anything like that. But the investigation, of course, will be looking into all of this, including any recordings that might have been made from the cockpit or elsewhere, and we'll see what that investigation comes up with.

Q Can I ask about Libya?

MR. DAVIES: Sure.

Q Can you tell us more about the evidence that Secretary Perry claims to have about this chemical weapons plant?

MR. DAVIES: I think what I'll do is punt on giving you any great deal of evidence about the plant. But I could state that we believe that Libya is determined to move its chemical warfare program forward, despite the condemnation of the international community and political pressure from a number of quarters to halt such activities.

Currently, we believe that Libya is constructing what would be the world's largest underground chemical weapons plant near a place called Tarunah, about 60 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. They began this work, we think, in about 1992, and we know that their chemical weapons production facility at Rabta has been inactive since it was exposed in the late 1980s, partly as a result of our efforts.

Tripoli -- the Government of Libya still insists that the chemical plant at Rabta was designed to produce just pharmaceuticals. It claims that this new site, Tarunah, is a training site for Libyan workers of the much publicized civilian Great Manmade River Project, which is ongoing there. But our indication is that Tarunah will be a reconfigured version of the plant at Rabta, and that it will, if it moves forward, be used to produce blister agents, such as mustard gas, and perhaps nerve agents as well.

Q Do you have any indication whether the Egyptians were convinced by your evidence?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have a report of Secretary Perry's conversations in Egypt. I basically know what you know, and I've seen the reports that he went and had conversations with Egyptian officials and laid out some of the evidence for them. But you'd have to ask them if they were convinced by it.

Q The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr. Moussa, I was told is going to Tripoli today. Is he going there, bringing any direct message from the United States?

MR. DAVIES: Jim, I don't know. I think you'd have to ask the Egyptians. I don't know that he's taking any message from us. It would be irregular if he were.

Q Glyn, is the plant near completion? Is that why there's suddenly a rash of comments from U.S. officials about it?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that it's near completion. In fact, my understanding is -- well, I don't know what you mean by "near completion." These large capital projects take a long time to carry forward. I have the impression that they weren't going to cut a ribbon on this place in the next month or so, but that they've done a lot of work in recent years, and so therefore it had taken shape enough that we were able to make these determinations about it that I've given you.

Q What makes you think all the things you think about it? How were you able to make --

MR. DAVIES: The evidence that we've got which I can't go into in any detail.

Q What steps is the U.S. is taking to try and thwart this effort?

MR. DAVIES: One step, obviously, is diplomacy, which is always an important element of how you deal with this. We're trying to gather as much information as we can about Tarunah, and we're presenting what evidence we have to our friends, especially our friends in the region.

Q What can they do? How can they persuade Qadhafi not to go forward? I mean, do you think that's possible?

MR. DAVIES: Obviously, we hope that it is possible to get the international community together sufficiently so that we can bring a lot of pressure to bear on Qadhafi. Qadhafi doesn't often seem to be somebody who listens to reason, but hope springs eternal. So part of this effort is simply to get as many of our friends in the region up to speed on what we know about it, and we'll go from there. But I don't have an elaborate diplomatic plan to lay out for you right now.

Q Are there some critical elements that the Libyans are missing for this project that you're hoping to persuade other countries not to provide?

MR. DAVIES: Carol, I don't know. I don't know what the status of their supplies is.

Q What country is the -- did the engineering come from for this plant? What design do we --

MR. DAVIES: I do not know. I don't have details on that. I don't know if it was an indigenous project or if engineers came from other countries. I'm just not sure.

Q Are you also pressuring friends who are not in that region?

MR. DAVIES: I think what we're talking about is a diplomatic effort that includes, really all of our friends and allies, but with a particular concentration on those countries that are there -- are nearby. But this is something we've talked to the Europeans about and others who have a concern in that part of the world.

Q There are some European countries particularly that have continuing relations with Libya -- some U.S. allies who do -- and have long histories of doing business with Libya and providing technology, and so on. Are you engaged with those countries?

MR. DAVIES: Sure. I think it's fair to say we're engaged with a broad range of countries, including many European countries, about this.

Are we still on the same --

Q Yes, this is a follow-up. As a matter of fact, the Russians apparently were recently in Libya trying to encourage closer ties. When Secretary Christopher was in Moscow recently, did he ask the Russians to try to intercede on this?

MR. DAVIES: Secretary Christopher did discuss regional issues with the Russians, but I don't have any kind of a breakdown, and I can't confirm for you whether or not he raised that issue.

Q Did you take the question as to how far along the plant is?

MR. DAVIES: I've given you, I think, a pretty good idea of when it started and where we think it appears to be now. But I'm happy to look into that and see if we can give you a little more about it, sure.

Q Another one on Libya -- different angle. Last week you all had nothing for us on the reports of a prison break, perhaps growing into a revolt of sorts in Libya. Anything on that?

MR. DAVIES: Howard, still nothing more for you.

Q And why you don't have anything on that?

MR. DAVIES: Basically because I've been engaged in the last couple of days in other things, I guess is the way to put that.

Q North Korea. Is the tensions --

MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry. We're still on the region.

Q You said you gave us an idea about when this thing started. That must have gone by me. When do you think this project --

MR. DAVIES: Didn't I say that excavation at Tarunah began in 1992?

Q Yes, you did.

Q Ambassador Albright gave yesterday to the U.N. Security Council evidence against Sudan. Could you elaborate on this?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that I can elaborate greatly on what she provided, but I'll give you what I know, which is that we did provide information to the Security Council yesterday, which indicates that the operation -- which is to say the attempted attack on President Mubarak of Egypt -- was planned in Sudan; that we believe that weapons for the attack in Ethiopia were shipped via Sudan Airways from Khartoum for the operation; further, that Sudan harbored the three suspects, and that officials of the National Islamic Front are playing a role in protecting them.

Q Tension on the Korean peninsula is growing after that North Korea announced that it would no longer recognize or respect the DMZ, so-called. I think you must have something to say to us.

MR. DAVIES: On April 4, what we know is that the North Korean military announced that it will no longer maintain or control the demilitarized zone from their side. While we don't fully know what the implications of this announcement are, it appears to us to be another step in the campaign of the North Koreans to dismantle the longstanding military armistice agreement -- an agreement which for more than 40 years has helped to maintain stability on the peninsula.

So we are reiterating that the armistice should be observed until a permanent peace arrangement has been achieved, and we call upon the North Koreans to abide by their responsibilities under the armistice and to avoid provocative actions.

Q Do you think, is it connected with the missile meetings supposed to be held this month in Berlin?

MR. DAVIES: No, there's no connection that I would draw between the two. I mean, are you talking about the motivation for the North Koreans for doing what they've done?

Q Yes.

MR. DAVIES: You'd have to ask them why they did what they did. We clearly don't view it as a positive development.

Q Is the United States willing to enter into direct peace negotiations with the North Koreans, aimed at a treaty ending the state of war?

MR. DAVIES: I've got nothing to announce along those lines, nor do I believe that we will any time soon.

Q Are you now confirming, though, that these missile talks are going to take place?

MR. DAVIES: We put out something, I think, recently to indicate that we're working on that, but I don't have any announcement for you on it right now.

Ralph.

Q Then is it accurate to summarize what you're saying about this, that the North Koreans have offered to dismantle the fences and walls and guns separating North and South Korea, but the United States opposes the dismantling of the DMZ? Is that --

MR. DAVIES: Ralph, what you're doing is sort of stating something positively that I think they may well have put negatively, which is to say that they will no longer maintain or control the demilitarized zone. I don't know what that means. We're trying to figure out what that means, and there may be an effort at Panmunjom to do that. I don't know. But that's what they've said -- that they will no longer maintain it, and we'll have to see in coming days what that means.

Q Will the U.S. and South Korea continue to maintain and control the demilitarized zone?

MR. DAVIES: We stick by the military armistice agreement, which includes, as I understand it, provisions for maintaining and controling the DMZ.

Q Do you sort of see this as a unilateral abrogation of the armistice agreement?

MR. DAVIES: We're viewing it as something perhaps incremental, which is to say a further walking away by North Korea from the provisions of that agreement, and that's why it's giving us cause to make this kind of an announcement today.

Q Have you seen any moves by the North Korean military to pull back forces from the area?

MR. DAVIES: I've got nothing to report like that, no.

Q Can you take the question? Since you're saying that you don't know what they mean by it, the U.S. has very good observation capabilities along the DMZ. Could you take the question whether the U.S. has observed any lack of control?

MR. DAVIES: I'm happy to look into, but I think that's a question much more for the Pentagon, which is up there on the DMZ, than it is for us. We're down in Seoul, in our Embassy. I'll see what I can find out for you. Sure, happy to.

Q Has there been any decision by the Secretary on China and the ring magnets?

MR. DAVIES: Carol, nothing to report. The Secretary has not yet made a decision. He's still considering all the evidence.

Q Is he going to stay here, or is he going to resume his vacation?

MR. DAVIES: The Secretary's plans are to remain in Washington for the time being. He has no plans to go back out to California at all.

Q On Tuesday, Mike McCurry said that a decision on China was imminent. Now you're saying the Secretary hasn't made a decision yet. Is that imminent?

MR. DAVIES: Well, "imminent" in bureaucratic terms, can be a couple of days, I think it's fair to say.

Q A couple of days away from a decision?

MR. DAVIES: Or a couple of weeks, as Ralph reminds me. It can take a while. These things sometimes move a little bit slowly. I can't give you a steer or a hint about when this decision will be made.

He's considering the evidence, and he wants to make a good decision.

Q Will he make a decision before the Libyans complete their weapons plant?

MR. DAVIES: First, I've got to find out about that Libyan plant.

Q Seriously, on the question of the timing of a decision, the Secretary has a plan, I think, to see the Chinese Foreign Minister soon, within the next -- I've forgotten when, exactly.

MR. DAVIES: The 19th of April.

Q Would it be reasonable to assume that the United States Government will have a decision by then, or it may be more reasonable to assume that no decision until those talks are held?

MR. DAVIES: Ralph, I'm not going to make any assumptions about it. He's considering the evidence he's got, and he'll make a decision. I can't tell you whether it will be before or after the 19th of April.

Q Glyn, initially, U.S. officials had made it clear privately - - certainly, not publicly -- that they would not wait until the Qian meeting. If there's now a decision to possibly delay it until then, that suggests that you may want to try to renegotiate with the Chinese?

MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't draw that conclusion, Carol. You're free to go back to your private sources. I've given you all I can today on this, which is that the Secretary is looking into it. He wants to make a good decision; he wants to make a decision that advances our non- proliferation goals but takes account of our broader concerns in China - - one that's consistent with the law. That's what he's engaged in doing right now.

Q The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Shen --

MR. DAVIES: Guofang.

Q -- denied the allegations that they sold the ring magnets, or an agency of their Atomic Agency sold them. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. DAVIES: I've seen the report. He doesn't have the responsibility for speaking for the U.S. Government, so I guess he can make any claim he wishes. We have a responsibility under U.S. law to make a determination here, and that's the process that the Secretary is working on right now.

Betsy.

Q Would it be safe to say that the tragedy of yesterday has somewhat delayed this decision on ring magnets?

MR. DAVIES: What's safe to say is that the tragedy of yesterday has been a real shock to everybody in Washington, to include this Department. The Secretary of State, in coming back here, wants to make very clear that our first responsibility in the wake of this tragedy is to do what we can to support the families of those affected. That's where efforts are directed.

But the work of the State Department, and certainly the work in the U.S. Government, can't grind to a halt; and it hasn't so we will move forward on these issues.

But the last couple of days, it's true, have been very arresting for all of us.

Q Glyn, have the Chinese indicated to you that they would -- or to the State Department -- that they would be at all offended by any kind of even targeted sanctions?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into the substance of our diplomatic exchanges with the Chinese. We've had a number of exchanges with them on this matter in an effort to get at the facts. They've given us their views, but I'm not going to characterize them. Shen Guofang has done a good job, I think, of characterizing it.

Q Are those exchanges complete on this issue? Or is the Secretary suggesting that there might be additional changes on the --

MR. DAVIES: I think the safe thing is to say that before there is a determination made, there's always the possibility for further exchanges. So we'll just have to wait and see on that.

Q Thank you.

MR. DAVIES: Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 2:11 p.m.) (###)

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