News

DATE=1/6/97
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-208312
TITLE=U-S/NOKOR/FOOD (S/L)/CQ
BYLINE=VICTOR BEATTIE
DATELINE=WASHINGTON

INTRO: THE UNITED STATES SAYS THERE WAS NO DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA OVER ITS APOLOGY FOR A SUBMARINE INCURSION INTO SOUTH KOREA TERRITORY AND GRANTING A LICENSE FOR SALE OF GRAIN TO PYONGYANG BY A U-S COMPANY. HOWEVER, AS V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS, U-S OFFICIALS EXPRESS CONFIDENCE THE APOLOGY WILL IMPROVE THE CLIMATE FOR PEACE ON THE DIVIDED KOREAN PENINSULA:

TEXT: WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN MIKE MCCURRY (MONDAY) SAYS THERE WAS NO DEAL WITH THE NORTH TO GRANT A LICENSE TO CARGILL, A U-S/BASED FOOD PROCESSOR, TO SELL UP TO 500-THOUSAND METRIC TONS OF GRAIN TO NORTH KOREA IN EXCHANGE FOR THE APOLOGY:

///MCCURRY ACTUALITY///

NOT A SPECIFIC, DIRECT CONNECTION ALTHOUGH NOW THERE IS NOW A CLIMATE ON THE PENINSULA THAT WE HOPE IS CONDUCIVE TO DISCUSSIONS OF A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE DIFFERENCES THAT EXIST BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH.

///END ACTUALITY///

THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN PUSHING FOR NORTH KOREA'S PARTICIPATION IN FOUR-WAY PENINSULA PEACE TALKS INVOLVING THE KOREAS, CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS SAYS WASHINGTON REMAINS HOPEFUL PYONGYANG WILL FOLLOW THROUGH ON A PLEDGE TO TAKE PART IN A BRIEFING ON THOSE TALKS:

///BURNS ACTUALITY///

WE HOPE VERY MUCH THAT WE CAN SCHEDULE A DATE AND VENUE ON FOUR-PARTY TALKS. THE NORTH KOREANS HAVE AGREED TO THAT. WE JUST NEED TO SCHEDULE IT.

///END ACTUALITY///

THE PLEDGE FOLLOWED THREE WEEKS OF U-S/NORTH KOREAN TALKS IN NEW YORK LAST MONTH. LATER THIS WEEK, PYONGYANG WILL CO-SIGN PROTOCOLS PAVING THE WAY FOR CONSTRUCTION OF TWO ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTORS IN THE NORTH BY A U-S/LED CONSORTIUM. IT IS PART OF A 1994 AGREEMENT FREEZING PYONGYANG'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM.

///REST OPT FOR LONG///

IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, CARGILL SPOKESWOMAN LORI JOHNSON SAYS THE LICENSE WAS REQUESTED LAST SEPTEMBER BUT HELD UP OVER THE NORTH'S SUBMARINE INCURSION:

///JOHNSON ACTUALITY///

THE LICENSE WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM THE (TREASURY'S) OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSET CONTROL ALLOWS US TO SELL UP TO 500-THOUSAND METRIC TONS OF WHEAT AND OR RICE TO NORTH KOREA. AT THIS POINT, WE'RE STILL IN THE PRELIMINARY STAGES. THE LICENSE GIVES US THE GO-AHEAD TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS AND WE ARE GOING TO PROCEED WITH THOSE NEGOTIATIONS.

///END ACTUALITY///

THE UNITED STATES HAS A LONG-STANDING TRADE EMBARGO ON NORTH KOREA, BUT HAS IN THE PAST PERMITTED PRIVATE COMPANIES TO SELL HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES TO PYONGYANG UNDER LICENSE.

THE FOOD SHIPMENTS, ONCE AGREEMENT IS REACHED, COME AS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, HAS SENT MILLIONS IN FOOD AND AID TO NORTH KOREA WHICH HAS SUFFERED TWO YEARS OF DEVASTATING FLOODS. ANALYSTS SAY IT IS UNCERTAIN WHETHER THE FINANCIALLY-STRAPPED COUNTRY WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD SUCH A GRAIN DEAL. (SIGNED).

NEB/PT/KL

06-Jan-97 11:01 PM EST (0401 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America