News

DATE=2/4/97
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-209672
TITLE=U-S/NOKOR (S/L)
BYLINE=VICTOR BEATTIE
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE UNITED STATES SAYS IT WILL NOT INTERVENE IN THE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEEN A PRIVATE U-S COMPANY AND NORTH KOREA OVER A MASSIVE FOOD SHIPMENT. V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS A SPOKESMAN FOR THE MINNESOTA-BASED COMPANY, CARGILL, SAYS THERE IS NO LINK BETWEEN THE NEGOTIATIONS AND HIGHER-LEVEL DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH PEACE TALKS:

TEXT: U-S STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS (TUESDAY) SAYS DESPITE NORTH KOREAN PRESSURE, THE UNITED STATES HAS NO INTENTION OF INJECTING ITSELF INTO THE NEGOTIATIONS OVER FOOD:

///BURNS ACTUALITY///

I THINK THE NORTH KOREANS ARE LOOKING FOR A MORE ACTIVE ROLE BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS, BUT FRANKLY, WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET INVOLVED, WE DON'T GET INVOLVED IN COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS.

///END ACTUALITY///

MR. BURNS SAYS THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT ORDER CARGILL TO SHIP THE GRAIN TO NORTH KOREA.

CARGILL SPOKESWOMAN LORI JOHNSON SAYS THE NEGOTIATIONS INVOLVING THE SHIPMENT OF 500-THOUSAND METRIC TONS OF RICE AND WHEAT ARE PROCEEDING AND DID NOT INDICATE THEY WERE STALLED. MS. JOHNSON SEES NO LINK BETWEEN PEACE TALKS AND THE POTENTIAL SALE OF FOOD:

///JOHNSON ACTUALITY///

WE AT CARGILL, AS A PRIVATE COMPANY, ARE NOT PART OF THE MUCH-HIGHER LEVEL DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON. WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH IS VERY SIMPLY A STRAIGHT COMMERCIAL SALE BETWEEN CARGILL AND NORTH KOREA.

///END ACTUALITY///

MS. JOHNSON SAYS SHE UNDERSTANDS THERE WILL BE NO SUCH OFFICIAL INTERVENTION IN THE TALKS.

NORTH KOREA HAS TWICE POSTPONED ITS PARTICIPATION IN A NEW YORK-BASED BRIEFING ON PROPOSED FOUR-PARTY PEACE TALKS INSISTING THE GRAIN DEAL BE CONSUMMATED FIRST.

///REST OPT FOR LONG///

MEANWHILE, NORTH KOREAN TRADE MINISTER KIM JON U, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE INTERNATINAL HERALD TRIBUNE, SAYS NORTH KOREA IS SEEKING -- QUOTE -- CLOSE LINKS WITH THE CAPITALIST ECONOMY. MR. KIM, ATTENDING THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN SWITZERLAND, SAYS THE SOCIALIST MARKET HAS COLLAPSED SUGGESTING PYONGYANG NEEDS TO CHANGE WITH THE TIMES.

ANALYST MICHAEL VALENCIA OF THE HONOLULU-BASED EAST-WEST CENTER, DESCRIBES MR. KIM AS ONE OF THE MORE PRAGMATIC AND INTERNATIONALIST OF NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS. MR. VALENCIA SAYS MR. KIM IS IN CHARGE OF AN EXPERIMENTAL ECONOMIMC ZONE IN NORTHEAST NORTH KOREA KNOWN AS RAJIN-SONBONG CREATED IN THE EARLY 1990'S:

///VALENCIA ACTUALITY///

NORTH KOREA HAS CHOSEN TO DESIGNATE THIS AREA AS AN ATTEMPT TO ATTRACT FOREIGN CURRENCY. IT APPEARS TO ME THAT THEY WANT TO EXPERIMENT, AT LEAST, WITH CAPITALISM IN THIS ISOLATED AREA AND TO PERHAPS USE IT AS AN ECONOMIC LIFELINE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THEIR ECONOMY AND, INDEED, THEIR GOVERNMENT AND WAY OF LIFE.

///END ACTUALITY///

MR. VALENCIA, WHO WAS AMONG HUNDREDS OF FOREIGNERS INVITED TO A TOUR OF THE ZONE, SAYS PRIMARILY CHINESE INVESTORS HAVE PUT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THE ZONE.

AS FOR MR. KIM'S COMMENTS, MR. VALENCIA SAYS IT REFLECTS A NORTH KOREAN WILLINGNESS TO EXPERIMENT IN CAPTIALISM TO SEE IF IT IS COMPATIBLE WITH ITS WAY OF GOVERNMENT AND LIFE. HE DOES NOT SEE MR. KIM'S VIEWS AS AN INDICATION PYONGYANG IS PREPARED TO OPEN ITS DOORS TO CAPITALISM. (SIGNED).

NEB/PT

04-Feb-97 9:40 PM EST (0240 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America