U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing I N D E X Thursday, September 19, 1996 Briefers: Charles Kartman Kurt Campbell Nicholas Burns JAPAN U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee Meeting........... --Relocation of Facilities in Futenma Air Base/Construction.. of Off-shore Facility...................................... 1-4,6-7 10-11 --U.S. Troops on Okinawa..................................... 2 --Use of Kadena Air Base..................................... 4-5,8 --Technological Initiatives.................................. 5-6 --Regional Security Concerns................................. 6 NORTH KOREA Reported Submarine Incident.................................. 8-10,16-21 --Affect on 4-Party Talks.................................... 8-9 --U.S. Reaction to Actions Taken by South Korea.............. 9,17-19 --Completion of SACO Process................................. 9-10 DEPARTMENT Tomorrow's Daily Briefing Schedule .......................... 11 IRAQ A/S Pelletreau's Meeting with Barzani........................ 11-15 --Reported Remarks by Barzani Re: Iranian Involvement with... Rival Kurdish Faction...................................... 15 HAITI Congressman Gilman's Request for Information on Alleged...... Political Killings......................................... 21-22 --Charges Against Presidential Security Squad................ 22 U.S. Troop Presence.......................................... 22 PERU Alleged Collusion with Narco-traffickers by Presidential..... Advisor.................................................... 23-24
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1996, 2:41 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department. I'd like to give you the order of battle for today. For the next 15 or 20 minutes or so, or as long as you have questions, I'd like to suggest that Chuck Kartman, who is our Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, and Kurt Campbell, who's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, answer your questions on the 2-Plus-2 talks, as they transpired this morning.
Following that, I'll do my normal briefing on the normal issues that all of us deal with. So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce Mr. Kartman and Mr. Campbell.
MR. KARTMAN: Thanks. I'm Chuck Kartman, and this is Kurt Campbell. We've just finished up five hours with the Japanese Defense and Foreign Ministers, so I think we've covered things in great depth and great breadth, and you can ask just about anything now.
QUESTION: A couple of points. Which air base are we talking about placing this -- the heliport at, and exactly which camp is Camp Schwab, and how do you spell that? (Laughter)
MR. CAMPBELL: Schwab -- I'll take the easy one -- Schwab is S-c-h-w-a-b. It's a Marine training camp in the northern part of Okinawa. The base in question in terms of relocation of the facilities inside is Futenma, which is a Marine air station in the southern part of Okinawa.
QUESTION: How do you spell that?
MR. CAMPBELL: Futenma is spelled F-U-T-E-N-M-A. Is there another part of your question, or is that what you wanted -- just like where this would potentially move or that particular base?
QUESTION: As long as I see I have the floor, how much Japanese involvement would there be with the technical issue of this possible offshore platform?
MR. CAMPBELL: Very extensive. As both Secretary Christopher and Secretary Perry indicated, probably the two leading countries in the world in terms of developing this kind of technology have been the United States and Japan over the last 25 years. As Secretary Perry indicated, we will be establishing a joint technical working group that will frankly begin to meet almost immediately in the next week or two to begin making assessments about technical feasibility.
QUESTION: Both these Japanese officials mentioned a reduction in troop strength on Okinawa, and yet Perry said there would be no reduction of troop strength in Asia. Will any of the troops be moved off of Okinawa into Japan proper?
MR. CAMPBELL: As you may recall, part of the SACO interim agreement, which was released in April right before the meeting between President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto, both sides indicated that certain aircraft and other functions would be relocated from Okinawa to the mainland of Japan. Much of that process is already complete, including artillery firing, which is going to be moving off Okinawa to Japan.
However, one of the keys of the agreement is that there will be no ultimate aggregate reduction of American capabilities for deployed in Asia -- 100,000 forces were deployed.
QUESTION: This offshore facility -- costs wise -- are you expecting the Japanese to take this burden under the treaty obligation?
MR. CAMPBELL: I think, as Secretary Perry indicated today, that will be one of the issues that we'll want to discuss. The original conception, preceding into the SACO is that adjustments would be borne by the Japanese side, but we'll want to discuss the question of both development, engineering parameters and costs with our Japanese counterparts in the coming weeks.
QUESTION: And function wise, I understand that this facility is movable. How are you going to assure the neighboring states that this platform will not be used as an offensive measure?
MR. CAMPBELL: Let me be clear here that there are several models -- potential models that we are looking at in terms of an offshore facility. Some of the technology involves the ability to what we call "do course corrections." Some would be stationary and moored to the bottom, at least for a temporary period of time.
All can be removed once their missions are complete, but I must stress that the technology that involves some movement is not designed for long-range, long deployments but very small, subtle movements, largely for weather purposes.
QUESTION: This offshore concept, I'm a little bit in the dark about it, Kurt. Is this going to be politically helpful, politically palatable? Is that the basic purpose of these kinds of facilities, and might you make land by dredging -- make islands and make bases that are more permanent?
MR. CAMPBELL: I think the inspiration behind this idea -- and in fact our Japanese counterparts had been studying this for many months, and we've been looking at it internally in the United States -- is that this does not require significant excavation, for instance, on Okinawa proper. Okinawa is not a very large island. It already bears a significant burden.
One of the options that we're looking at by exploring this offshore facility would not require building new facilities on Okinawa proper. Also, one of the things that Governor Ota is quite clear about is his desire that there be no new facilities created over the long term on Okinawa, and so one of the things that we want to look at, obviously, is to try to come up with an option that meets our operational requirements but also meets as many of the needs and the desires of the Okinawan people as possible.
QUESTION: Is this politically palatable? Is it going to work that way?
MR. CAMPBELL: I think, as both Secretaries indicated, there are both positives and some negatives associated with all three options. I think there are some significant positives associated with the floating offshore facility, and we will have to explore very carefully with our Japanese counterparts what they perceive to be the political dimension of this. Really, that's for our Japanese interlocutors to tell us about whether it's politically palatable.
We do think that there are aspects of this that will be attractive both to the Japanese public and to the Okinawan people.
QUESTION: With the floating offshore facility, what percentage of the development has already been completed, and how long of a time period are we looking at before one could actually be constructed and put out there?
MR. CAMPBELL: Again, that would be based on which particular design criteria the two sides --
QUESTION: We're talking about a (inaudible).
MR. CAMPBELL: Much of the work on this is at a very advanced stage, and indeed many of these platforms have been used for other purposes. In Japan, some of the technology has been used for inland lakes, for floating structures. The Norwegians have made significant developments.
Obviously, offshore drilling platforms use this technology, and they have been used for 25 years. We have significant experience in this regard. I think Prime Minister Hashimoto stated it most clearly. No two countries, more than the United States and Japan, have more capability to do something like this, and we do have significant experience. This would be a new application, but it would be built on a firm basis of experience in the past.
QUESTION: A follow-up. How long do you think it would take to put something like this out there if they started production on it, say, within the next year or so? How long would it take to actually put something like this out there?
MR. CAMPBELL: I really can't give you parameters on this precisely. However, I think the most intensive period will be the design criteria. Construction will not be as difficult, given the kinds of capabilities that both the United States and Japan can bring to bear.
QUESTION: I'm wondering about Kadena, which is a huge air base, and what are we talking about here? We're talking about a helipad basically, and I know that there's a strategic runway for C-5s, etc. I'm just wondering, why can't you rip up a few tennis courts on Kadena or some oak paneled officers clubs and put the facilities in there?
MR. CAMPBELL: As you're probably aware, the dimensions associated with Kadena are a bit more serious than you've implied. First of all, ripping up a few tennis courts -- what's actually involved here is a fairly large facility. It would require moving a relatively large number of people into Kadena.
One of the things that we're hopeful for, obviously, is that Kadena will be a platform for our forward deployment in Asia for a significant period of time. We are a bit concerned that if we put too many things from Futenma into Kadena, then we will create the preconditions for the surrounding communities to be dissatisfied with the congestion and the noise associated with increased operations.
One of the things that we're proudest of in the SACO interim report are the steps that we're going to take to reduce noise; to create a better environment for the people that surround Kadena. I will also say, just as an aside, that in the United States our experience of mixing fast-moving aircraft, fighter aircraft, and slower moving aircraft has had problems in the past, and we want to avoid that kind of situation where helicopters are operating close to fighter airplane as much possible. We're operating in an environment, obviously, in Okinawa where we really have very little tolerance for any kind of accident like that.
So, as Secretary Perry and Secretary Christopher indicated, we are going to study this option more. We've studied it intensively. There are problems associated with it.
Let me also give you one more, if I might. The kinds of construction that would be necessary are relatively extensive; and, if you can imagine, when that construction would take place, it would be over the next five to seven years.
One of the functions of Kadena Air Base, obviously, is to be ready to respond to a contingency; and, as we look at the Korean Peninsula, obviously, you can't help but want to make sure that our capabilities with regard to Kadena are kept viable.
QUESTION: A follow-up, please. The two initiatives that Secretary Perry mentioned in the briefing -- he mentioned technologies, such as secure video assistance and new areas for training opportunities. Can you elaborate?
MR. CAMPBELL: Yes. Let me try to clear that up, if I can. One of the things that we're trying to look at and explore are mechanisms whereby the United States and Japan can communicate in a timely way, in a classified way, during a crisis. So this is an attempt again to signal our close cooperation.
Today, if we're to communicate, we don't have the capability to communicate in a secure way. We're looking at options that will allow the State Department to be in very, very close touch with both the Prime Minister's office and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So it's not so much a crisis hotline, but a way to communicate in a situation of some diplomatic urgency.
The second issue has to do with creating opportunities for the United States and Japan to work together in new mission areas. What I mean there is that in the past, we have primarily worked with the Japanese on one particular mission, which is defense of Japan. As we look at more and new kinds of missions in the post-Cold War world, we are drawn to two different kinds of missions in particular -- peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance.
So we're going to try to take steps to improve our consultations and training for Japanese officers in relationship to these two missions.
If there are questions on North Korea, this would be a good time.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the guideline -- the press conference (inaudible) the surrounding nations -- Japan's surrounding nations. Can you clarify that? Is that a priority -- Asia-Pacific or --
MR. CAMPBELL: I actually think nations surrounding Japan, it's a fairly clear statement. Except for this gentlemen over here, we have a pretty good sense of geography. He's already gone. (Laughter) I think our --
QUESTION: The current guideline that is pointing more to the Far East region.
MR. CAMPBELL: I think the language is fairly carefully adapted, and one of the things that we'll want to explore with our Japanese counterparts is the degree to which they will feel comfortable, considering regional circumstances in situations that involve Japan's security.
MR. KARTMAN: What you're aiming at is whether there's a difference between the area covered by the revised guidelines, when we're done with that, versus present security obligations under the security treaty. Secretary Perry and Secretary Christopher made it very plain that there isn't going to be any difference between the two. The new guidelines aren't going to change the security treaty or the Japanese constitution; it's just trying to bring it up into the present circumstances.
QUESTION: Kurt, can you describe a little bit about how the heliport at Futenma is currently used? What importance does it have?
MR. CAMPBELL: Futenma is not a heliport. Futenma is a quite large Marine air station, which has many components. It has long-range aircraft. It has tankers. It has helicopters of various kinds, both for transport and attack. It also has a significant role in a contingency, where it would receive large amounts of material.
One of the things that we tried to do, as we looked at Futenma, and that was clearly at the top of the list in terms of Governor Ota and the Government of Japan and the Okinawan people is how to relocate each of the component parts of the base.
So we've taken steps in every area to relocate these capacities, and the last one that we're working on is the question of the helicopters associated with Futenma. So that's why it's often referred to as a heliport. You don't need a long base for the helicopter functions, and that's what we'll be working on very closely with our Japanese interlocutors over the next several weeks, so that we can come to a conclusion in November.
QUESTION: I understand that. What I'm asking is why do you need helicopter facilities on Okinawa? For what? Where are you moving the troops by helicopter? Why do you need a helicopter facility on Okinawa?
MR. CAMPBELL: As you're aware, there is a significant Marine detachment that is currently based in Okinawa. Marines operate as part of a unit. Anytime they operate, they are transported to the field with helicopters and around the field in helicopters. So a significant aspect of their training involves movement with helicopters.
To say, well, let's just get rid of the helicopters, then there would be a critical piece missing in the training and the operational capabilities.
QUESTION: The point mainly is the training, because as far as operational capabilities, you're not going to fly any helicopter missions in an emergency out of Okinawa.
MR. CAMPBELL: As you are probably aware, the helicopters arrive -- this is very technical -- the helicopters arrive in theater in large airplanes called C-5s. If there was a deployment, many of them would be deconstructed and then taken to the theater. Some would be able to fly and be refueled along the way.
So the Marines fight and train with their helicopters. This is not a superfluous capability. This is integral to what they do.
QUESTION: You said about Kadena, that there were problems of noise and dissatisfaction. Is that the same with Camp Schwab if you moved there?
MR. CAMPBELL: Camp Schwab is a very small infantry base in the northern part of Okinawa, which is very densely forested and jungled with very few population. The vast majority of the population is in the southern part of Okinawa.
There are concerns about noise and crowding associated with Kadena, because that is a fairly large base in a civilian area. But in the northern part of the country, it is fairly desolate.
QUESTION: So what's the problem of not going there? It's less trouble than building an offshore facility.
MR. CAMPBELL: There's a long answer to that. I'll just take a part of that, if I might, please. There are significant associated costs with moving large numbers of people north. There's a quality of life situation.
In addition, much of that area is extremely mountainous, and so it requires literally leveling large tracts of land. That is an expensive proposition. It has some environmental consequences, and again one of the conditions that, at least the Okinawans have stressed, is how important it is to use existing facilities as much as possible without creating new ones.
We are looking closely at Schwab, but, as I indicated, each of the options have pros and cons. If you look at cost parameters, we believe that roughly the cost parameters of all three options are in the ballpark.
So an offshore facility is perhaps not as expensive as some might expect, and the other options are perhaps more expensive than some have estimated.
MR. BURNS: Two more questions.
QUESTION: North Korea and submarine incident. How will these provocative actions by North Koreans affect the four-party peace talks?
MR. KARTMAN: First, I wouldn't want to anticipate what we're going to discover. Right now this incident is still ongoing, and much of the information is coming to us even as we're speaking. My understanding is that there is still some small number of the North Korean infiltrators at large and being hunted. Some of their colleagues have been discovered and killed or captured by South Korean forces.
So we do not yet know everything we need to know about this incident in order to draw a judgment like that. However, Secretary Christopher earlier did call clearly on the North Koreans to refrain from further provocative acts, so we'll want to look at it with great care.
QUESTION: But there's no (inaudible) survivors, instead of the South Koreans killing off all the North Koreans that fall into their hands?
MR. KARTMAN: We will want to have as much information as we can get.
QUESTION: Even after the (inaudible). Do you disapprove of the way the South Koreans have --
MR. KARTMAN: No, we don't disapprove.
QUESTION: You never disapprove anything --
MR. KARTMAN: We do not disapprove of their actions in defending their territory.
QUESTION: They defended their territory when they killed those eight North Koreans?
MR. KARTMAN: Do you know that the South Koreans killed eight North Koreans?
QUESTION: That's what the report says.
MR. BURNS: I think there may be some confusion here. You might want to just ask a more specific question. I don't think Chuck (inaudible).
QUESTION: I'm sorry. You say you want more information. You can't jump to a conclusion. Information is just coming in. Would you like to see North Koreans survive this incident so that you could get that kind of information possibly from them or by interrogating them?
MR. KARTMAN: Not only would I like to see the information come from whatever prisoners are taken, I'm sure the South Korean Government would too. But they'll answer that for themselves.
QUESTION: I want to come back to SACO. November is the very, very near future. Actually, is there a possibility for you to reach a final conclusion by November? Or how often does the working group have a meeting ahead by November?
MR. CAMPBELL: We made a commitment last year when we set out to establish the SACO process that we would have a final report completed by November. One of the problems that we have had in the past with Okinawa reversion questions is that for a variety of factors, we have sometimes slipped in our deadlines, been unable to implement plans that both the U.S. and the Japanese sides have together come up with.
So as a result, we perhaps have lost some confidence. So we think it's very important that we keep our commitments and meet our deadlines. Secretary Perry and Secretary Christopher committed both governments today with the full support of Minister Ikeda and Minister Usui that we would complete our study, and we'd complete the SACO process at the end of November.
Today, Secretary Perry signed off on a plan of technical operational feasibility studies, bilateral working groups, including the use of the Defense Science Board, which will bring in now some Japanese participants, which involves literally weekly meetings. I, myself, will be in Japan next week, so we have a very, very ambitious schedule, but it is critical that we take every possible step to complete our action and our work by the end of November.
QUESTION: Is there any more to discuss about the Kadena option and Camp Schwab option, that option at the Special Working Group? Isn't that floating base the major issue to be discussed, since there's not much time left anyway until November?
MR. CAMPBELL: No. Well, first of all, as Nick has indicated, this is the last question. We have made very clear that we will study without prejudice three specific options. It's also true that we've had considerable time to study both Schwab and Kadena, but I think some of that study has been done too much unilaterally, and so we want to make sure that U.S. and Japanese forces and officials work more closely to compare their plans for both Schwab and Kadena. But we'll also want to look at some other possibilities as well, associated with those two options.
The offshore floating facility is a relatively new conceptual option, which was developed in the last few weeks in close consultation with our Japanese allies. It will require significant technical assessments, but we will study all three without prejudice.
I think the best way to describe it, however, is what Secretary Perry said in his session, which I think you all heard. In his heart, he's a visionary, but in his mind he's an engineer. So, he's hopeful that this will meet the challenges of Okinawa and Futenma, but he's mindful of the technical risks and the studies that will need to be done.
(Mr. Campbell and Mr. Kartman concluded their briefing at 3:06 p.m., after which Mr. Burns immediately began his Daily Press Briefing)
MR. BURNS: I'm here to take your questions on the offshore facility. Would anyone like to -- (Laughter).
I just have a couple of things to say. First, I want to talk a little bit about tomorrow. What I'd like to do tomorrow is give you some information about the Secretary's visit to New York next week to the UN General Assembly. So at 12:30, I have asked our Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Princeton Lyman to come into the briefing room to let you know what the Secretary will be doing on UN issues next week, international issues.
I will also be passing out, I hope, a fairly comprehensive list of what his schedule is going to be like next week -- who he will meet with, as well as the briefing schedule for those of you going up to New York.
So that's tomorrow. We'll begin at 12:30 here in the briefing room. Princeton Lyman and then my normal briefing.
QUESTION: By any chance, will you provide some information about the Barzani meeting?
MR. BURNS: The Barzani meeting with Bob Pelletreau?
MR. BURNS: I did that last night. I'll be glad to say once again what I said last night, if you'd like, but I provided a fairly good briefing.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) we got a total description. Will the Kurds, is he willing to work with the Kurds? What about his ties to other forces, to Baghdad, to Iran? What is your appraisal or have you made any headway in getting the Kurds to resolve their differences?
MR. BURNS: Well, I really can't provide much more information than I did last night. We've decided to take a low profile here on this issue because we want to keep these discussions private and confidential between us.
What I said last night, for those who weren't there, is that Bob Pelletreau had a productive meeting with Mr. Barzani in Ankara last evening; that they discussed the range of issues that we think and they think are important, and from our point of view, certainly stability and peace in northern Iraq; the humanitarian concerns that we have; the safety of those who have been affiliated with the United States and our partners in northern Iraq. And, of course, we discussed the political situation and the impact that Iraq and Iran have had on this situation.
That's a fairly general description, but I am really not inclined to go much beyond that.
QUESTION: What goes after this? Any further meetings?
MR. BURNS: We will remain in contact with Mr. Barzani and his associates, and I am sure we will be in touch. We also have been in contact with Mr. Talabani.
QUESTION: No progress on either front since yesterday?
MR. BURNS: Well, the meeting was last evening, and Ambassador Pelletreau is returning to Washington, so there weren't any meetings today. So it's not like there was a lack of progress. It's just that, you know, the meeting ended. He is on his way back to the United States to report to the Secretary and others here in Washington, and we'll just have to take things one day at a time.
QUESTION: When will he meet with the Secretary? Today or tomorrow?
MR. BURNS: I am not quite sure when his plane is going to be getting back. Of course he will want to brief the Secretary as soon as he is able.
QUESTION: Nick, CIA Director Deutsch did go somewhat further in describing, apparently describing this meeting in a hearing this morning. He said that Barzani was now urgently calling for allied help so that he won't become too dependent on Saddam. Was that part of what Mr. Barzani said to Mr. Pelletreau?
MR. BURNS: First, I haven't seen Mr. Deutsch's statement. I've just seen some of the press reports, so I can't -- I just haven't seen the words, so I can't comment on that except to say that I'd be a little bit skeptical about whether that was a complete rundown of the meeting last night.
Actually we have said very little about the meeting. He may have been describing in general an analysis of Mr. Barzani's ambitions and objectives.
QUESTION: Well, without regard to the meeting then, is Barzani and the KDP asking for allied help so as to keep from being dominated by Saddam?
MR. BURNS: Well, again, I can't go into any of the details of our meeting because we have pledged to keep that private and confidential, which is the best way to insure the success of our relationship. So I can't say, David. You'll have to ask Mr. Barzani what his own objectives are.
QUESTION: What will the U.S. view be? If the KDP were to ask for U.S. or allied help of some sort, military or otherwise, what would the U.S. view be?
MR. BURNS: Well, as you know, our view is -- and we have stated this repeatedly over the last two weeks -- that the Kurdish factions ought to try to deal with one another peacefully and across a negotiating table and not through resort to arms and to fighting.
QUESTION: You wouldn't be in favor -- the U.S. would not look favorably on the idea of military supplies or other kinds of military help for either faction?
MR. BURNS: I just can't anticipate where this relationship is going to head. The answer that I gave you is certainly the view of our entire leadership about what choices the Iraqi, the Kurdish factions, have made in recent weeks. And, you know, our very strong view is that there is nothing good to be had from contacts with either Baghdad or with Tehran by either of these factions. And our central focus obviously is to try to return northern Iraq to a region of stability and some relative peace. It certainly hasn't been that way for the last several weeks.
Q Did he give you any cause to expect that he wants to shake himself free of Baghdad?
MR. BURNS: In the meeting?
MR. BURNS: Again, I don't want to characterize what he said in the meeting.
QUESTION: Or outside the meeting? I mean, you know --
MR. BURNS: I don't know what he said outside the meetings, but I can't -- Barry, again, we are choosing to keep a low profile here. We are choosing not to give you a blow-by-blow account of what was said, or even to characterize it.
QUESTION: We would never ask for a blow-by-blow. The thrust of Carol's question, all our questions, is what did you accomplish. Or, not that it's a one-sided -- one way street, but did you accomplish anything substantive so far as your goals. This is a serious matter. There are a lot of American troops in the area. This has been called a crisis, et cetera. Allied support may be (inaudible) --
MR. BURNS: It was a productive meeting.
QUESTION: -- a little bit squishy. (Laughter.) So a productive meeting.
MR. BURNS: Productive meeting.
QUESTION: Should I ask you about the talks with the Israelis? Have they been productive, too?
MR. BURNS: No -- .
QUESTION: No, I mean, we are looking for some --
MR. BURNS: We like to have productive talks. It's better than unproductive talks.
QUESTION: I have never been at a briefing where you had unproductive talks. I just wondered if your goals are any closer, the U.S. goals.
MR. BURNS: We are taking it one step at a time. I'm not aware that the situation in northern Iraq has changed dramatically since yesterday. You know, we see a continuation of some of the trends of the last few weeks, and we'll just have to wait and see what the result of these contacts becomes.
QUESTION: Nick, I understand your desire to keep the meetings private --
MR. BURNS: Thank you, Jim. I'm glad someone does. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: -- except Mr. Deutsch, the CIA Director, said that Barzani is seeking coalition protection, quote/unquote.
MR. BURNS: Yeah. David asked me that question and I very studiously disengaged myself from the thrust of his question. I said you can ask Mr. Barzani, if you would like a trip to northern Iraq.
QUESTION: You are not suggesting we shouldn't use Mr. Deutsch as a source?
MR. BURNS: I'm just suggesting that, you know, I've been in touch with Ambassador Pelletreau. I have a fairly good sense of what happened, obviously, but I'm not inclined to go into it.
QUESTION: You are not steering us off Mr. Deutsch, though.
MR. BURNS: I'm just saying that we here at the State Department have said what we wanted to say about this meeting. We are going to keep to our very persuasive line with you. This is the best way to move forward, confidentially, privately, to insure the success of our diplomacy.
That is sometimes how diplomats have to work. I know you all respect that and understand it, and you probably even applaud it as citizens.
QUESTION: Mr. Burns, Mr. Barzani was reported to have said, and how do you respond to this, that it was because the United States would not get involved between the two Kurd factions, and when the Iranians jumped into it, it's for that reason that he led his people to seek an alliance with Saddam. Is that correct?
MR. BURNS: I think you're referring to some public statements that were made sometime ago, a couple of weeks ago, Bill. There's nothing new. We saw those several weeks ago and, of course, we completely disagree with them.
QUESTION: This is not the case, that Iran was involved?
MR. BURNS: The United States kept all of its commitments in our dialogue with the Kurdish factions, up until August 30.
QUESTION: It is true that Iran was involved with the rival faction of Mr. Barzani? Is this not true?
MR. BURNS: Our very strong view is that the Iranians will not exert a positive influence on the PUK or on the situation, in general. We've urged Iran to keep out of northern Iraq.
QUESTION: So we're not going to change our policy based on that statement?
MR. BURNS: Our policy is working, so we're not going to change it. Generally, when the policy is working, we don't like to change it.
QUESTION: Different subject. Can you elaborate on anything the Secretary of State said on the incident in South Korea -- the attempted infiltration?
MR. BURNS: Chuck Kartman just spoke to that, I think, maybe when you weren't in the room. Very briefly, just to say that the South Koreans, of course, are investigating this situation, as the Secretary said.
They have been in touch with us through our Embassy in Seoul and I think through our military people in the region as well.
As the Secretary said, just to reprise this, we don't have complete information about the incident. It's certainly premature to speculate about what might have caused it and what happened. A very confusing situation.
The United States strongly urges North Korea to refrain from all further provocative acts.
I do know that today the United Nations command protested this incident as a clear and flagrant violation of the armistice agreement. That's as much as we can tell you. We'll just have to wait and see what the results are of the South Korean investigation.
QUESTION: Do you know why they refused to accept the message?
MR. BURNS: Why the North Koreans refused to accept that? I understand that when the United Nations command did lodge the protest, it was not accepted by the Korean People's Army -- the North Koreans. That's unfortunate, because you've got to have communication on the DMZ about this and other incidents.
We will continue to rely upon the South Korean Government's channel to us to inform us of the results of its own investigation and its own manhunt which Mr. Kartman said is underway.
QUESTION: Are you making any, sort of, unilateral U.S.-North Korean consultations -- "consultation" is a bad word, but contacts on this --
MR. BURNS: Not that I'm aware of, no. The South Korean Government, of course, is an ally of the United States. It's directly involved here. We'll rely upon its own investigation. Any kind of conversations would have to go through the established military channels along the DMZ.
QUESTION: You just said that you called on the North Koreans to stop provocative acts. Upstairs, the Secretary said, "We wish all parties" -- plural -- "would stop provocative acts." Who is the "plural" referred to?
MR. BURNS: All I can tell you, I think I have a very good understanding. I was with the Secretary when he was briefed on this this morning. The position of the United States is that North Korea, having obviously been responsible for the fact that a midget submarine is on South Korea's coast, ought to refrain from provocative acts.
You had a follow up?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) The U.S. Secretary said that all parties to avoid further provocative actions. If so, do you regard the South Korean searching activities to find out the North Korean infiltrators as the provocative action?
MR. BURNS: No, we do not. The Secretary certainly did not say that. South Korea has had an incursion into its own territory. The South Korean military is searching for individuals -- North Koreans -- who may have been responsible for this. So they're certainly doing the logical thing, and we understand it. South Korea is an ally of the United States and we'll continue to be in very close contact with it.
QUESTION: At the risk of being obnoxious --
MR. BURNS: I know you'd never -- Carol! I would never, ever expect that.
QUESTION: Secretary Christopher was not at all referring to South Korea when he talked about provocative action?
MR. BURNS: The Secretary was certainly referring to North Korea.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) espionage, not a training accident, whatever. One of Mr. Lee -- a North Korean military confessions Kim Jong-Il is special missions --
MR. BURNS: We're going to have to let the South Korean investigation proceed before we can speak definitively about why the submarine found itself on the South Korean coast. We'll let the South Korean Government proceed with this investigation. I think that's probably the best place to go for information on this.
QUESTION: What's so urgent about this incident? You accept that the North Koreans were infiltrating the South; right?
MR. BURNS: We've said what we want to say on this today. The fact is, it's a very bizarre incident. All you have to do is watch the television footage to understand that.
There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. The South Koreans are very competent, very efficient. I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of this and we'll have to wait until that happens.
QUESTION: But all the questions refer to -- apply to North Korea's activities?
MR. BURNS: I think at this point, yes. Don't you?
QUESTION: I don't know.
MR. BURNS: Yeah, I do.
QUESTION: You have no questions about the way the South Koreans are going about this?
MR. BURNS: At this point, Barry, I think people want to know the answers of why the sub ended up where it did, why people were -- we had 11 people found dead very close by. So the South Koreans are investigating. We'll have to await the results of that.
QUESTION: Do you think there's a chance that the sub could just have wandered off course?
MR. BURNS: I'm not competent to answer that question. I'm not a naval person. We'll have to let the South Koreans investigate that.
QUESTION: At risk then, like my colleague, of belaboring this a little bit, did the Secretary mean to say "North Korea" when he said "all parties?"
MR. BURNS: It was very clear to me what the Secretary was referring to, perhaps because I had an advantage over you, really. I was with him just before the press conference when he was briefed. It was very clear to me what he said.
QUESTION: He was very clear in saying "all parties should refrain from provocative actions."
MR. BURNS: And it's very clear, I think, that North Korea is the provocative party here; clear to the Secretary and the rest of us. That's the way it is.
QUESTION: But he's the Secretary of State, and we all came out with a different -- or at least some of us came out with a different --
QUESTION: We weren't in the meeting. We just heard him say, "All parties should refrain."
MR. BURNS: You can rely upon me that I have a very good impression, I think, of what the Secretary said, what our understanding is, and what our position is.
QUESTION: Our understanding is different from what he said.
MR. BURNS: Pardon?
QUESTION: He said "all parties." What he meant was North Korea.
MR. BURNS: I think I've explained to you what the intent of the United States is here in calling upon North Korea to halt provocative activities.
QUESTION: You convince me on that front. But my problem is --
MR. BURNS: You might want to convince your colleagues. (Laughter)
QUESTION: You've done about as much as a Spokesman can do.
MR. BURNS: You want to help me out here? You want to come across the aisle and just sit there and talk to Carol and David?
QUESTION: You've as smoothly as any Spokesman can do just explained what the person you work for really meant to say, and I commend you for that. But what I don't understand is the provocative acts go back in time, or you're warning them to not do anything in the future that's provocative?
In other words, if you call what they did provocative, it strikes me you're ruling out any accident, any miscalculation. You're saying that the submarine's intrusion was by its very nature provocative. Is that what you mean to say? That's my problem.
MR. BURNS: Barry, I think the fact that the submarine was where it was is provocative.
QUESTION: Chuck Kartman had mentioned that there were still people -- who they're searching for -- still some infiltrators that have not been caught. Do you have any idea of how many infiltrators they're looking for, still, and in which direction these people headed?
MR. BURNS: No, I do not. You'll have to ask the South Korean Government -- the Seoul government. They are very communicative. I know when foreign journalists call, they'll give you all the information you need. I direct all your questions there. I've said everything I can say in this incident.
QUESTION: What specific plan does the U.S. have with future actions in North Korea for this incident? Do you have any?
MR. BURNS: I'm not sure I understand your question.
QUESTION: Do you have any --
MR. BURNS: It's the same question you asked Mr. Kartman. I think he answered that question. I thought his answer was brilliant, so I think I'm going to rest on his answer.
QUESTION: I understand that. Do you have any military actions -- if any military actions in South Korea?
MR. BURNS: I think Mr. Kartman answered that question. It was really the question that was asked.
QUESTION: Nick, is it the intention of the United States Government to downplay the incident in order to save the four-way talks that the U.S. hopes --
MR. BURNS: It's the intention of the United States Government to rely upon the South Korean Government to investigate this thoroughly. It's their affair, obviously. It's their coastline that is in question here. Let the South Korean investigation proceed. Let's see where it ends. I'm not sure there's a lot more we can say to be helpful to you.
QUESTION: He's asking if there's a spillover effect, on your other objectives?
MR. BURNS: I think Mr. Kartman answered that question. I think the Secretary answered that question. That was really the question I think Betsy asked the Secretary, if I'm not mistaken. I thought he gave a perfectly good answer to it, and I rely upon the Secretary's answer.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. BURNS: With pleasure.
MR. BURNS: With pleasure, David.
QUESTION: Chairman Gilman is reportedly going to issue subpoenas to the Administration asking for documents on what the Administration knew about -- I'm quoting here from a Republican document -- "death squads operating out of the Presidential palace in Haiti." Did the Administration know anything about death squads operating out of the Presidential palace in Haiti?
MR. BURNS: First, David, just to be -- we always like to BE comprehensive and not leave you in any doubt about what we're saying or what we mean to say.
I want to let you know, I have not seen or heard of the letter that Congressman Gilman has sent to the Administration, so I can't speak to that.
On the second question, I think you know there has been political violence in Haiti recently. This is one of the issues that Strobe Talbott, our Deputy Secretary of State, and National Security Advisor Tony Lake raised in their visit a couple of weeks back to Port-au-Prince at the very highest levels. They raised this with a variety of officials, up to President Preval.
As you know, we have talked to the Haitian Government about the need to be expeditious in pursuing an investigation into these political killings. We have been told by the Haitian Government that that investigation is continuing. It's our very strong hope that it be comprehensive and thorough, and that people who are involved in political killings be brought to justice.
So we have a very clear position on this. I would just say, to be fair, David, that this issue of political killings is one that has plagued Haiti for decades; that political killings hit their zenith under the former regime -- the regime that was overthrown in September 1994. After the action of the United States in September 1994, to bring Mr. Aristide back to power, to return constitutional rule to Haiti, to return elections to the Haitian people, there's no question that the level of killings, level of human rights abuses have diminished significantly -- significantly.
Haiti is a different country today than it was two years ago this month. That does not diminish the fact that any political killings are wrong and that they ought to be pursued to the very end. We have strongly advised the current Haitian Government to pursue those investigations quite strongly.
QUESTION: Two quick follow-ups. To your knowledge, have any members of the Presidential guard or protective service been arrested in connection with murder charges since Mr. Talbott's visit down there?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if any of the current members, or members who have just left the Presidential security force have been charged. I don't know the answer to that question. I will be glad to look into that for you.
I do know that one of the reasons why -- we can go tomorrow. As you know, the United States Government sent a group of our own security people from the State Department to Port-au-Prince to make sure that the security detail and security procedures were strong and effective. The people that we sent down last week are working with the Haitian authorities to make sure that the current security detail meets high standards.
Obviously, by taking that action, we are indicating a sense of concern about the situation in Haiti. There's no question about it. I think that was a successful mission.
QUESTION: May I ask, are there any plans to send more American troops to Haiti in the coming weeks? Are there any military exercises being organized on short notice, perhaps?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any, David. I'd have to check with the Pentagon, or have you check with the Pentagon. I'm not aware of any.
QUESTION: To follow up, Nick. If I understand correctly, the diplomatic security agents that were sent a week ago are back?
MR. BURNS: No, not at all.
QUESTION: I thought you said the mission was a successful mission?
MR. BURNS: It has been a successful mission. It continues, and they'll be there I think for some time.
QUESTION: I just want to go over to Peru for a minute.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
QUESTION: In Peru, Vladimir Montesinos, who is a close advisor of President Fujimori, has been accused by a drug trafficker by the (inaudible) of accepting drug money in exchange for information on government raids against drug traffickers.
What is the U.S. reaction to these latest developments in Peru?
MR. BURNS: I think that we've checked into this. We're not aware of any information that has come to our attention that pertains to any specific individual, including the individual that you cited, that would lead us to change our basic evaluation. And let me just quote from our international narcotics strategy, a controlled strategy report that was released on March lst of this year.
"The State Department reports that as a matter of government policy or practice, the government of Peru does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. No senior official of the government of Peru is known to engage in, to encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of these kinds of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from the sale of drugs."
That's a fairly definitive statement, and I see no reason to change -- we see no reason to change that statement about the activities or the performance of the government of Peru based on some of these press reports.
QUESTION: Isn't it a concern of the U.S. Government that this man who has a very powerful hold -- well, he's a very powerful aide to Fujimori, has been accused and he's not even being investigated? Isn't that a concern for the U.S.?
MR. BURNS: I think I'll just stand by my statement and say that the very clear definitive statement that we made on March lst we believe is an accurate, remains an accurate, description of the government of Peru's policies and conduct in this area.
QUESTION: If I may follow up, some say that the U.S. stands against Colombia are much stricter than that on Peru; that if something like this had happened in Colombia, there would be much more reaction and concern on the part of the U.S. and why isn't there concern of the U.S. towards Peru when somebody as close to the President is accused of accepting drug money?
MR. BURNS: There are no double standards here. We are -- as you know, President Clinton has made narcotics a major national priority, and his appointment of General McCaffrey, I think, is a very strong indication of that.
We are going to pursue allegations, serious allegations of drug abuse and narcotics trafficking and money laundering that stems from it, wherever it leads.
The problem is it leads more often to Colombia than just about anywhere else in Latin America. And, as you know, our concerns about Colombia are probably the strongest of the concerns we have about any of the activity that is underway in our own hemisphere.
So I think that's the way to explain what you may think is a problem, but we don't think it's a problem. I mean the problem of where our attention is directed, it's directed in the right places.
QUESTION: Nick, if you've covered this, I'll get it off the transcript, it relates to the meeting with Barzani. You've covered it?
MR. BURNS: Yes. We had a wonderfully kind of communicative discussion of this. We shared our own -- we shared thoughts about it.
QUESTION: Did you say how the U.S. feels about --
MR. BURNS: Everyone is very pleased, by the way.
QUESTION: As always.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
QUESTION: Did you give the U.S. opinion on Barzani's suggestion of a federation with Baghdad?
MR. BURNS: No one asked, and I have nothing to say about that.
QUESTION: Can you say if it came up?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if it came up. I just don't know if that came up.
MR. BURNS: Okay, thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 3:32 p.m.)
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