Tracking Number: 383401
Title: "Hubbard: US Hopes DPRK Will Accept Multilateral Help." Remarks by senior State Department official Thomas Hubbard regarding the multilateral assistance plan for North Korea that includes aid from South Korea and elsewhere. (950315)
03/15/95 HUBBARD: U.S. HOPES DPRK WILL ACCEPT MULTILATERAL HELP (Transcript: DAS Hubbard 3/14/95 Worldnet) (7440) Washington, March 15 -- The U.S. is hoping that the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK) will accept South Korean light-water reactors as part "of a broad multilateral role in helping them deal with their future development," according to Thomas C. Hubbard, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
During a satellite Worldnet interview March 14 with participants from Wellington, Beijing, Manila, and Bangkok, Hubbard said that "I am certainly hopeful that the North Koreans will realize that their interest lies in accepting the generosity of their brothers to the south, in offering those reactors."
Under the Agreed Framework, signed by the United States and the DPRK on October 21, 1994, North Korea agreed to freeze its gas-graphite nuclear program, which, if completed and fully operational, could produce plutonium enough for several nuclear weapons each year. In exchange, the United States promised to help establish an international consortium -- the Korean Peninsula Economic Development Organization, or KEDO -- to finance and supply more proliferation-resistant light-water nuclear reactors to meet North Korea's energy needs. KEDO is not in place; but until the reactors are constructed, the United States and KEDO will provide North Korea with heavy fuel oil for electrical generation.
The light-water reactors to be supplied by KEDO, however, will be South Korean models. Hubbard noted that "During press conferences in Geneva, the chief North Korean delegate, Kang Sok Ju, again said North Korea did not particularly want South Korean reactors, but it...would effectively leave it up to the United States to decide the reactor type. So we believe the North Koreans knew the only viable option was South Korean reactors. We were therefore disappointed that even at this stage they seem to have changed the position that they took in Geneva. They are no longer just leaving it up to the United States; they are now saying they can't accept that."
Hubbard noted that North Korea's dealings on the light-water reactor project will be with KEDO, not the Republic of Korea. "This is a multilateral project," Hubbard said. "We think it's something that the North Koreans ought to be able to accept -- both politically and certainly as a project of high technological value."
Another round of talks with the North Koreans is scheduled to take place in Berlin at the end of March.
Following is a transcript of Hubbard's remarks: (begin transcript) WORLDNET UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY Television and Film Service of Washington, D.C. GUEST:
Thomas C. Hubbard, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization HOST: Judlyn Lily INTERACTIVE POSTS: Wellington, Beijing, Bangkok, Manila DATE: March 14, 1995 TIME: 20:00 - 21:00 EST MS. LILY: On March 9th, following the conclusion of the KEDO preparatory conference, Ambassador Robert Gallucci of the United States, Ambassador Tetsuya Endo of Japan, and Ambassador Choi Dong-Jin of the Republic of Korea, signed the KEDO agreement. KEDO, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, will provide for the financing and supply of a light-water reactor project, as well as the implementation of any other measures deemed necessary to accomplish the objectives of the U.S.-DPRK framework.
Hello and welcome to today's program. I am your host, Judlyn Lily. Today, to discuss the KEDO issues and concerns, I am pleased to welcome the Thomas Hubbard, the deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. Prior to this, he was the minister and deputy chief of missions to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Secretary Hubbard, welcome to Worldnet's "Dialogue."
MR. HUBBARD: Thank you very much. MS. LILY: Now let's move directly to our international participants in Wellington, Beijing, Bangkok and Manila, who are standing by with their questions and comments.
Q. I am a member of parliament in New Zealand. I welcome this opportunity to have some dialogue with you. We in New Zealand particularly welcome the initiatives that we've seen take place over the last few months. And in our region of the world it's particularly important for us to see security and stability come here.
Can I ask Secretary Hubbard to lead off -- where they're in the lead-up to the Agreed Framework last year, of the October signing, whether there was any indication from North Korea that they would be uncomfortable at the time if there was a South Korean involvement in the processes under the KEDO developments?
MR. HUBBARD: Mr. Robertson (sp), let me just first take this opportunity to congratulate you, as a representative of New Zealand, for being the first country actually to announce its willingness -- its intention to participate in the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, after Japan, the United States, and South Korea. This was indeed welcomed to all of the original members, and I think a very good sign of New Zealand's responsible role in the region and in the world.
To get to your actual question, during the course, the long course of discussions we had with North Korea in Geneva, the North Korean delegates made clear that they saw the provision of light-water reactors as central to their willingness to deal effectively with the world's concerns about their existing nuclear program, and their role under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We made clear at the time -- very quickly made clear, after surveying various possibilities, that the only reactors that would be viable -- politically, financially, and technically -- would be South Korean reactors. We made that clear to the North Koreans on many occasions, and they acknowledged that point in Geneva. They didn't indicate that they would welcome South Korean reactors; they acknowledged that we had made that point.
During press conferences in Geneva, the chief North Korean delegate, Kang Sok Ju, again said North Korea did not particularly want South Korean reactors, but it recognized the point the United States had made, and would effectively leave it up to the United States to decide the reactor type. So we believe the North Koreans knew the only viable option was South Korean reactors. We were therefore disappointed that even at this stage they seem to have changed the position that they took in Geneva. They are no longer just leaving it up to the United States; they are now saying they can't accept that.
Q. I must say that I myself am very glad indeed that New Zealand has come on board. I think it's most important that the rest of the world, but particularly people in the Pacific Basin, should demonstrate clearly enough that they are very, very concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea. The important feature of the New York meeting last week was of course that people did turn up. I think it was very interesting that the Russians did; and disappointing, but you can no doubt explain why it happened, that the China didn't. But basically you really did not more than to get people to sign up. The North Koreans are still recalcitrant. They are still -- you might say they still have got the ball in their court.
MR. HUBBARD: Indeed, the ball is still in the North Korean court. As I said earlier, we have made it clear for some time that the only viable project is one based on South Korean reactors. I am certainly hopeful that the North Koreans will realize that their interest lies in accepting the generosity of their brothers to the south, in offering those reactors. South Korea, as you know, will play the central role in financing the reactors, while Japan will play a significant role. And we do hope a number of other countries will contribute to that.
Last week, at the KEDO meeting in New York, some 20 countries attended, in addition to the United States, Japan, and the ROK, the founding original members. The only country in fact that we invited that did not intend was China. As you say, China has its own reasons; we have to respect that, even know we would still like China to consider participating in KEDO. We think the countries did more than just show up. Australia offered a concrete indication of its willingness to contribute financially. Canada also indicated a willingness to contribute financially. The United Kingdom indicated that it was willing to participate in KEDO. And a number of the other countries around the room seemed to indicate that they would like to find a way to contribute materially to the work of KEDO, and we certainly welcome and appreciate that.
Q. But, in fact, if the North Koreans don't show any willingness to compromise in the next very little while, you've got some talks coming up in Berlin in a few weeks. Is it possible that a slightly different scheme could be put before them then?
MR. HUBBARD: No, we don't have any intention of putting a different scheme before them. As we have made clear all along, the reactors must be South Korean reactors. We still certainly stand with the South Koreans on that issue, and hope we will be able to persuade the North Koreans to accept that. One of the purposes for creating KEDO itself was to make clear to the North Koreans that this is a multilateral consortium that is providing the light-water reactors. The type will be South Korean reactors, but a number of countries, including the United States, Japan, New Zealand, and others who attended this meeting last week, will also be contributing to that project and participating in the management of it. As we said to the North Koreans, an American will be executive director of KEDO. He will have the ability to draw upon the services of an American program coordinator, will work with the South Korean prime contractor in carrying the project out. So we think this is a multilateral project. We think it's something that the North Koreans ought to be able to accept -- both politically and certainly as a project of high technological value.
Q. I can see perfectly the demonstration effect of the New York meeting, but obviously you've still got problems. Supposing that they don't come along in some way? The suggestion was made that you would have to go back to the Security Council, which presumably means that you have to go back to thinking about sanctions again and going through a long and strange -- long rigmarole that people went through in the middle of last year.
MR. HUBBARD: The absolutely crucial point to us is that North Korea continue to abide by the central terms of the Agreed Framework. And that means essentially maintaining the freeze that is in place on its current nuclear program. Both sides agreed in Geneva that April 21 was six months after the signing of the agreement, of the accord in Geneva, would be the target date for negotiating a supply contract. This is a target date. It is not a deadline. We have every intention of continuing to carry out our part under the Agreed Framework, so long as North Korea, so long as the DPRK continues to maintain its part. And the most central element of that is the freeze on its current nuclear program.
If North Korea breaks the freeze -- if, for example, it restarts -- reloads and restarts its five megawatt reactor, if it resumes construction on the graphite moderator reactors that were under construction until the freeze took place -- then certainly we will have to consider whether the Agreed Framework is implementable. Certainly we would consider a break in the freeze to be a material breach of the Agreed Framework. We would have to begin consulting with our allies, with our other friends who have joined with us in the KEDO project, with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to consider what action would have to be taken.
Q. On the KEDO project, are you able to identify just what it is that the North Koreans have difficulty with? I'm just wondering if there is a way of putting the organization together in some different form. Is it that the reactor is manufactured in South Korea? Is it that the construction of the facility might require South Koreans to take part in that construction in North Korea? One just wonders if there must be a way to break through this without destroying the -- or losing the whole exercise.
MR. HUBBARD: The North Koreans have made various statements about what it is they object to. They say they don't want South Korean reactors. Sometimes they say they don't want reactors that are designed by South Korea. Sometimes they say they don't want reactors that are built by South Koreans. Other times they say they don't want reactors that are called South Korean reactors. I think the important point here is that South Korea has very courageously and generously stopped forward and indicated that it will play the central role in the provision of these reactors. This means that they will play the central role in financing them, in carrying out the construction project, and in general in carrying out the project. We have also indicated, however, that the entity which will be signing the contract with North Korea, will be -- KEDO -- will be this multilateral consortium. We have indicated that the United States will play a major role in the management of that consortium, and in ensuring that this project is carried out in a way that fulfills the Agreed Framework. So we are not sure exactly what the North Korean problem is. We have tried to accommodate what we have perceived might be the problems through the creation of a multilateral consortium, through our own role in the project. We think that ought to be enough, and we believe the North Koreans ought to accept that.
Q. I have read that it's probably as important that the Koreans should maintain the freeze, the current freeze on their nuclear development, even if there is no settlement yet ton the matter of the LWR. Could you comment on that?
MR. HUBBARD: I think the basic point is that the Agreed Framework of course contains benefits for both sides and all parties. What we as the United States derive from this Agreed Framework is principally an end to North Korea's current nuclear program, which lends itself very easily to the production -- through the separation of plutonium and the production of nuclear weapons and its replacement by a light-water reactor program that is far more proliferation resistant.
The first step in this process of course is to stop, freeze, the current nuclear program. And the maintenance of that freeze is of course the most important step at the outset of the entire program. So long as the freeze remains in place, then we will be able to move forward with some of the steps that we had intended to take. North Korea will not get a light-water reactor project unless it accepts basically South Korean reactors, as we have proposed. But we believe we can move forward with a broad range of activities under that project, so long as North Korea continues to carry out the fundamental part of its commitments, which are to maintain the freeze. We cannot go along, however, unless North Korea moves along to pick up some of the other responsibilities it has undertaken, including first and foremost to engage in dialogue with South Korea.
Q. What is North Korea's position toward KEDO? And do they support the organization?
MR. HUBBARD: I think you would have to go to the North Koreans to get a definitive answer to that. As I understand that, North Korea welcomes the creation of KEDO as a multilateral consortium that will carry out a number of important projects in North Korea, including the light-water reactor project, and the provision of heavy fuel oil under the terms of the Agreed Framework. North Korea has objected to the provision in the basic agreement for KEDO that provides that the reactors must be South Korean. As I said earlier, in response to the New Zealand questions, that's an absolutely essential part of the program, as far as we are concerned. But we believe North Korea should, and in fact does welcome the creation of KEDO as a broad multilateral effort to carry out these important projects for them.
Q. Why is your country, the United States, thinks that a multilateral organization is better than a bilateral approach for which the Chinese -- (inaudible) -- Chinese? But my idea is that through a bilateral approach it would be comfortable for us and can reach -- (inaudible) -- to provide the money and the assistance for the project, for the reactor or other issues -- (inaudible) -- and why your country -- (inaudible) -- through KEDO, this organization, is a better approach than the bilateral one?
MR. HUBBARD: My first response to that question has to be that this is a very expensive project. The light-water reactor project is estimated to cost some four billion U.S. dollars over a period of eight to ten years. The provision of heavy fuel oil will cost another half a billion dollars. It simply is not financially feasible for the United States to carry out these projects bilaterally. We simply don't have the money. That's why I mentioned earlier South Korea, the Republic of Korea, has been both, I think, courageous and generous in offering to play the central role in carrying out and financing this project. Japan has also very generously offered to play a very significant role in that. The United States of course will contribute along with some other countries.
But we believe for the North Koreans, given the fact that no single country in this group, and certainly not the United States, can afford to finance this entire project. We felt it would make the North Koreans more comfortable to have a broad multilateral consortium to carry out the project, and that is one of the reasons we invited China to attend the preparatory conference, and had hoped that China would choose to participate.
Q. (inaudible) -- question concerning the multilateralism. And I just, as I know personally, that South Korea is really sensitive to have North -- South Korea to be involved in this dialogue about a nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. And personally I feel it will be easier for North Korea to talk with the United States -- to talk with their -- to settle the nuclear problem. I just wonder why the U.S. tried to avoid these obstacles, or avoid the difficulty to have a bilateral discussion with North Korea?
MR. HUBBARD: We have no problem with having bilateral discussions with North Korea. We have done this for about a year and a half now, sometimes with success, sometimes without success. We are prepared to continue to discuss bilaterally with the North Koreans issues that relate to our bilateral relations; for example, all of our discussions of the opening of liaison offices in Washington and in Pyongyang will be carried out bilaterally. This is an appropriate matter for the United States and North Korea to deal with bilaterally. Similarly, the question of lifting some of the trade sanctions that we have applied to North Korea is something that we are prepared to, and will, discuss bilaterally with North Korea.
The light-water reactor project is different. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the United States cannot carry out that project on its own. It's too expensive. We don't have the resources needed to carry out a project of that magnitude in North Korea. We have to rely on the help and contribution of other countries. And we are pleased and gratified that not only the Republic of Korea and Japan, but also other countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, have stepped forward and offered to participate in this project. We think the North Koreans should in fact be pleased that a broad range of nations in the world are prepared to work with them to help bring about a better economic future for their country.
Q. This is a question following -- also relating to the multilateralism is that if North Korea strongly resisted -- rejecting South Korea's light-water reactor, is there any alternative to settle this problem -- and whether the United States or the other countries can provide the light-water reactors instead of South Korea?
MR. HUBBARD: No, there simply is no alternative to South Korean reactors. We have said to the North Koreans, and to the world from the outset, that the only project that is politically, financially and technically viable is one that is based on South Korean reactors. And, again, we have done our best, through this multilateral consortium, to indicate that a broad range of other countries are involved, that this is not just a question of South Korea providing the reactors and forcing North Korea to accept the reactors. But indeed there are a lot of countries in the world who are concerned about this problem, who are interested in the future of North Korea, and prepared to participate and contribute. But let me repeat again the only viable project is one that is based on South Korean reactors.
Q. If this nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula failed, what's the effect on the extension of the NPT? I mean, is it positive -- but how positive will it be?
MR. HUBBARD: One of the objectives that we have had from the outset of our negotiations with North Korea is to support the NPT and the multilateral -- the global non-proliferation regime that has served us so well under the aegis of the NPT. So we believe that we are supporting the NPT by entering into an understanding, a framework with North Korea, that requires them to remain a member of the NPT and to accept all of its obligations under the NPT at a certain point in time. So we believe we are supporting it. We think this ought to be a positive step towards worldwide acceptance of the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT.
Q. Do you agree with the argument that the North Korean situation, I mean the Kim Jong Il's control over the country now is more clear than a couple of months ago? Do you agree with this argument?
MR. HUBBARD: We have no reason to believe that Kim Jong Il is not in charge of the country. As you may know, I was in Pyongyang about a month and a half ago. At that time people talked about taking decisions to Kim Jong Il about Kim Jong Il's having made decisions. I have no reason to doubt that he is in charge of the country and making the basic decisions in Pyongyang.
Q. What is the connection between NPT and KEDO? MR. HUBBARD: There is no direct connection between the NPT and KEDO. Our Agreed Framework with North Korea contains a number of provisions. One of those provisions indicates that North Korea will remain a member of the NPT, and that it will accept all of its obligations under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA that relates to the NPT. Other parts of the Agreed Framework provide for the freezing, and ultimately the dismantling, of North Korea's existing nuclear program, which is legal under the NPT -- under the IAEA safeguards, so long as it is in fact observed properly by IAEA inspectors, and carried out properly under those safeguards.
KEDO has been founded in order to carry out the technical projects that are needed to bring about the freezing and dismantlement of North Korea's current program, and in exchange for which we also expect North Korea to accept its full responsibilities under the NPT. So it is supportive of NPT objectives, even though it is not directly related.
Q. Sir, on March 11th, the North Korean foreign minister interpreted the U.S. position as -- and I quote him -- "a challenge against us," and that he said that the light-water reactor, which is put -- (inaudible) -- of South Korea cannot be introduced to us at any cost. Has any development taken place since then?
MR. HUBBARD: No. There have been no specific developments since then. We have been in contact in various ways with the North Koreans through the months. We have made very clear, as I said several times on this program this evening, that we are not challenging North Korea, but rather providing an opportunity for North Korea to move towards the development of its nation, to move toward national development by adopting modern nuclear technology. The world wishes to work with North Korea and help it down the road to development. We are not trying to challenge North Korea. We are trying to make things difficult for North Korea. In fact, we have spent a good deal of time traveling throughout Asia and elsewhere trying to put together this multilateral consortium, one of the basic objectives of which is to make it easy for North Korea to accept the South Korean light-water reactors, which represent the only viable option.
Q. (Inaudible) -- is there any existing mechanism in the NPT or the IAEA to deal with this issue, or is it separate issues?
MR. HUBBARD: Again, let me get back to the -- under the terms of the -- under the NPT, and under the terms of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, North Korea had every right to maintain the nuclear program that it is now abandoning, so long as it carried it out under the supervision under the safeguards of the IAEA. So under the terms of the NPT and the IAEA, North Korea could have gone on developing its graphite moderated gas-graphite nuclear program. It could have continued to run its reactors, to reprocess the spent fuel, and therefore separate plutonium, so long as it was under appropriate IAEA safeguards.
What prompted this crisis was an IAEA finding that indeed there were some doubts as to whether North Korea had accurately declared its existing accumulation of plutonium when it signed its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. In other words, there was some doubt that North Korea was carrying out all of its responsibilities under the IAEA safeguards arrangement, and therefore it was not in full compliance with its obligations under the NPT.
One element of our negotiations has been to try to get North Korea to come back to terms with the IAEA. That means carrying out, among other things, the special inspections that the IAEA has required. Another element of the program, however, has been to persuade them to abandon a nuclear program that lends itself very easily to the production of nuclear weapons, and adopt instead a nuclear power plant that is much more resistant to the production of nuclear weapons -- a program that does not lend itself to a nuclear weapons program so easily. And that's what we have accomplished.
So we have supported the NPT. We have insisted that North Korea come into compliance with the safeguards agreement. But, in addition, we have secured North Korean commitments to abandon this existing program that poses serious dangers to the region and to the world.
Q. Did China say why they didn't want to be part of KEDO? MR. HUBBARD: I think you should probably ask the Chinese themselves this question, but my understanding is that China felt that it could better support the objectives of KEDO, the objectives of our Agreed Framework with North Korea, by remaining outside KEDO than it could by joining. We of course have to accept and respect that decision, but our invitation still stands. We for our part would like to have China in KEDO, and believe Chinese participation would make a positive contribution to the work of the organization.
Q. Has the government considered consulting with the U.N. Security Council regarding this matter? Or will you wait until KEDO (project is scrapped ?)?
MR. HUBBARD: We certainly hope that North Korea does not take the steps that would make it have to once again consider consultations with the U.N. Security Council about how to bring North Korea back into line with its non-proliferation obligations. As I say, we consider it of the utmost importance that the freeze be maintained on the existing nuclear programs. We consider it extremely important that North Korea move towards genuine dialogue with the South, and accept the South's generosity in offering to play a central role in carrying out this project. We certainly are prepared to go back and consult with the Security Council. We'll no doubt find it necessary to go back and consult with the Security Council if North Korea breaks the freeze. But, as I've said earlier, we are not at that stage yet, and we hope we won't get there.
Q. The mood in Manila is one of welcoming the end of the confrontation in the Korean Peninsula. In the middle of last year the situation here was very tense, because of the possibility that war may erupt. You, having been in Manila, are aware that we sent 5,000 troops to the Korean Peninsula -- even our president was intending to help in the defense of peace in this area. So we therefore welcome the KEDO agreement -- Energy Development Organization, which is the mechanism for ending the impasse in the peninsula.
My question is -- it's rather general: How sure are we that this mechanism will work? That is, I am not articulating that as a personal question, but as a common question here, because we want peace in the area, we want peace in the region -- there are two flashpoints -- North Korea and the Spratlys. Last week we had a problem with the Spratlys with the Chinese. It is now being negotiated. I think by April our own foreign affairs undersecretary will be going to Beijing to come up with bilateral discussions on it. But the North Korean -- it's still there, and we are glad there is a mechanism. So give us your assessment: Will this mechanism work?
MR. HUBBARD: Yes, we do believe this mechanism will work. It will not be made to work easily. It will require a great deal of work on the part of the United States and other interested parties, including the other countries that I am speaking to tonight. It has already required very complex negotiations about very complex technical issues, and it is also -- it has already required a great deal of political courage and political will on the part of a lot of countries.
Our objective here, fundamentally, is peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and peace and security in the Asian region. As you say, North Korea is one of the flashpoints in the region. It is one of those issues that must be addressed by the nations of regions in all of the forums that we participate in, including the ASEAN regional forum and others. We of course are very grateful for the role that the Philippines played during the time of the Korean War. In fact, we are very pleased to remain allies with the Philippines, and to continue to have the opportunity to discuss and consult with each other about issues of importance to us. And I was personally very pleased to see a distinguished representative of the Philippines at the KEDO preparatory meeting last week, and I was very pleased to hear from him that the Philippines would like to find a way of contributing to this project. We believe that our agreed political with the DPRK, and that the organization, KEDO, that we are creating to carry out some of the fundamental provisions, will make a very important contribution broadly to peace and security in the Asian region.
Q. It seems to me that KEDO is limiting itself in terms of its mandate to the issue of replacing the graphite reactors of North Korea with light-water reactors. That is to say trying to reduce the capability of North Korea to produce weapons grade nuclear material. But we all know that the Korean issue centers around concerns much more than just the nuclear issue, although I agree that it is a central point. Are there other mechanisms that will seek to address issues, like for instance the question of troop buildup -- I mean, (the type ?) of buildup in North Korea -- issues regarding the missile capability of North Korea? Are these actually going to be part of the entire program that would lessen tensions in the Korean Peninsula in the future?
MR. HUBBARD: As you indicate, our interests on the Korean Peninsula are broader than the specific provisions of our Agreed Framework, and broader than the activities that KEDO will carry out on behalf of member nations. Our Agreed Framework established a basis for dealing with the nuclear problem. It also attempted to establish a framework for dealing with these broader questions, but didn't actually carry a blueprint for accomplishing that. One of the reasons for that is we believe fundamentally that the problems on the Korean Peninsula are problems that should be worked out in the first instance by the two Koreas. We believe it is absolutely essential that North and South Korea find a way to sit down together and carry out a dialogue about the future of their peninsula, and about the future of their people.
Our Agreed Framework requires North Korea to engage in dialogue with the South. It doesn't proscribe exactly when that should take place or how it should take place. Certainly we believe that North-South dialogues should develop in parallel with the other activities being undertaken as a result of the agreed political.
You mentioned questions like the troops levels on both sides of the DMZ. As you know, the United States still maintains 37,000 troops in South Korea. But South Korea carries the main burden of its own defense. And it is in fact South Korea -- the two Koreas that have to sit down together and work out permanent peace arrangements to replace the armistice that has existed on the Korean Peninsula for some 40 years now. We believe that should be an important subject of North-South dialogue. We believe that there must be talks. There must be measures adopted to deal with the very serious problem of North Korean production of medium-range missiles and their export of those missiles to regions of great concern to all of us.
Again, the Agreed Framework talks about the need to resolve issues going beyond the nuclear issue, if the United States and North Korea are to establish full diplomatic relations. We have agreed that we will establish liaison offices in respective capitals as the Agreed Framework is implemented, and once we resolve the technical issues involved in establishing these offices. We provided that we would only move to full diplomatic relations as we deal with a wider array of problems. And those problems certainly include the continued maintenance of a very massive number of troops and weapons on the DMZ. It means that we have to deal with issues like missiles. It means that we need to deal with issues like terrorism and human rights.
So the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and DPRK will call for the resolution as we go forward of a wide range of issues. And on most of these issues, particularly those affecting peace and security on the peninsula, we would expect North-South dialogue to play the primary role.
Q. I am concerned about the role of China in this whole process. Sometime in 1989, I covered the demilitarized zone on the North Korean end. And I saw of course the U.N. volunteer troops, and I saw the Chinese volunteers. I mean, there were -- (inaudible) -- that if there should be another Korean war, the large Chinese volunteer forces would be involved. So, therefore, to come up with an ironclad mechanism whereby there could be real peace in the region, the Chinese should be included in the KEDO. And I got from you that the Chinese would rather prefer to be out of it, or they would do better out of the process than within the process. Don't you think we should convince -- persuade the Chinese that it would be better for world peace for them to join this process?
MR. HUBBARD: I think it's very important that the Chinese contribute in any way they can to the success of the project -- contribute in any way they can to the moderation of North Korean behavior, that will be needed if all of our objectives are to be carried out. As I say, we had hoped that China would join KEDO. We invited China to the KEDO preparatory conference. We have to accept their judgment that they can play a more important role outside the organization than inside. Certainly we will wish to continue to consult very closely, and to work as closely as we can with China, as we carry forward on resolving the range of issues before us.
Q. Mr. Secretary, following up on the question on China, it's quite interesting to note that, yes, they were not in the Washington meeting, and at the same time the -- it's an important principal, the ideas behind KEDO. But feeling as they do it would be better for them to be outside of KEDO than inside. It boggles the mind (and senses too ?) what they actually mean by this. But you're right: It's up to the Chinese to answer this question. But earlier you did mention that you would like -- or the United States would prefer that China would eventually participate in KEDO, and that there would be a role for China regarding this issue. My question is: How do you see China's role in relation to KEDO, since this seems to be the -- it's desirable for them to participate? What kind of participation do you think they should actually have within the context of KEDO?
MR. HUBBARD: I don't want to get into too much detail on exactly what we might expect or ask China to do. I think the Chinese have to consider that themselves. I do believe that what we are after here is to an effort to work with the North Koreans to moderate their behavior, to help them down a path of domestic development that will enable them to join the international community, will give them a chance to enjoy the kind of prosperity and progress that is so evident elsewhere in Asia. So I would think the Chinese would, as old friends of the North Koreans, would be able to exert a moderating influence, to convince the North Koreans that the world is not challenging them. It's not offering them a challenge, but instead is offering them an opportunity to develop and join the international community. And we would hope to continue consulting very closely with the Chinese, and hope they will continue to stay in close contact with North Korea, and in effect to help them come to an understanding on the kind of behavior that will be necessary if they are to enjoy the fruits of the prosperity and progress that are so evident in Asia.
Q. I just wonder if we know how many reactors are stationed in North Korea, which can lend themselves to the use for weapons. And if we know that, is KEDO designed to cover all of those reactors? And then, thirdly, I guess, the follow question you might expect from New Zealand is: When you look at the needs the energy needs of the North Koreans, is nuclear the only feasible option at this stage?
MR. HUBBARD: In response to your first question, North Korea has had a five-megawatt -- a very small five-megawatt reactor in operation for some years. Just to give you some idea of the scale of that, the fuel rods that were recently unloaded from that reactor contain enough -- the spent fuel rods contain enough plutonium to produce probably four or five nuclear weapons if the plutonium is separated through reprocessing and fabricated into weapons grade material. So it's a very small reactor, but one that poses significant proliferation danger to the world and to the region.
North Korea also had under construction, and nearing completion, two much larger reactors: A 50-megawatt reactor and a 200-megawatt reactor. And North Korea had in place a reprocessing facility able to separate plutonium. North Korea had plans to -- as I understand it, to produce roughly 2,000 megawatts of nuclear power -- to have roughly 2,000 megawatts of nuclear power in place by the year 2000. That may well have been an optimistic assessment, but that was embodied in their national planning. So they have asked to replace the 2,000 megawatts that they would have produced through the gas-graphite program -- to replace that with 2,000 megawatts of power generated by light-water reactors.
This is not the only answer to North Korean energy needs. Perhaps probably it is not the best answer to North Korean nuclear needs. But the point is that this is the only answer that the North Koreans at this moment find satisfactory. They have indicated that an exchange for abandoning this program that they have, that lends itself so easily to the production of nuclear weapons, they require, and ask of the world, light-water reactors -- and that's the basic formula here. If at some point they decided they'd rather produce this energy through other means, certainly the world ought to be eager to work with them in building a different type of power program.
Q. Recently we have read a Pentagon paper document, a U.S. security strategy in the Asia-Pacific, and it states the U.S. will maintain 100,000 troops in this region, even after the resolving of the North Korean nuclear issue, and -- (inaudible) -- North Korea nuclear threat. Then my question is what is the - - (inaudible) -- Isn't China the major factor in your strategic consideration in this region?
MR. HUBBARD: The United States has for many years, and certainly since the end of World War II, maintained a strong military presence in the Western Pacific, in the East Asia Pacific region. We have a number of alliances in the region. We have a very important alliance with Japan. We have an alliance with the Republic of Korea. We have the ANZUS alliance involving Australia. And we also continue to have relations as allies with Thailand and with the Philippines. So we have alliances to support in the region.
We also believe that most of the nations of the region would like a continued U.S. military presence. This serves a number of purposes. It is a sign of U.S. commitment to the region, a sign that the United States will remain an important part of the Pacific region. In the past perhaps our presence in the region was more directed at single nations or at single situations -- for example, the Soviet Union. But the Cold War is over. We now are in the region to maintain a stabilizing presence, maintain a presence that seems to be desired by the nations of the region. Our presence isn't directed at any particular situation, any particular nation, although we obviously remain deeply concerned about the situation in North Korea. Rather it is a sign of friendship with a variety of nations. It is a sign of support for our alliances, and a strong indication of U.S. concern and interest in the region.
Q. What is the next step the U.S. will take to solve this problem about who will build the light-water reactor?
MR. HUBBARD: We have talks scheduled again with the North Koreans for later in March -- I think it is March 25th to 27th. These talks will take place in Berlin. That will be the next opportunity to exchange views with the North Koreans. And certainly we hope that based on the creation of KEDO, and based on the broad participation in our preparatory meeting, that our negotiators will be able to go to Berlin and in fact convince the North Koreans that their acceptance of South Korean reactors represents their acceptance of a broad multilateral role in helping them deal with their future development.
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File Identification: 03/15/95, EPF306; 03/15/95, EFS302
Product Name: Wireless File; Worldnet
Product Code: WF; WO
Keywords: KOREA (NORTH)-KOREA (SOUTH) RELATIONS; HUBBARD, THOMAS/Speaker; TREATIES & AGREEMENTS; NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION; KOREA (NORTH)-US RELATIONS; NUCLEAR REACTORS; TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
Document Type: TRA; INT
Thematic Codes: 1AC; 1EA
Target Areas: EA; EU
PDQ Text Link: 383401