News

June 9, 1998

PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT KIM OF SOUTH KOREA


	     


                           THE WHITE HOUSE

                    Office of the Press Secretary
______________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                June 9, 1998     


	     
                PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT CLINTON
                  AND PRESIDENT KIM OF SOUTH KOREA
	     
	     
                              Room 450
Old Executive Office 
Building     	  
                                  	     


3:40 P.M. EDT
	     
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Good afternoon.  President Kim, 
members of the Korean delegation, let me first say again what a 
privilege it has been to welcome President Kim back to the United 
States and here to the White House.  His remarkable life history 
reminds us that from Seoul to its sister city, San Francisco, people 
everywhere share the same aspirations -- for freedom, for peace, for 
the opportunity of prosperity.
	     
	     President Kim once wrote from his prison cell, "If 
winter comes, can spring be far behind?"  This morning I reaffirmed o 
President Kim our deep confidence in his efforts to reform the Korean 
economy, liberalize trade and investment, strengthen the banking 
system, and implement the IMF program.  As he has said on many 
occasions, open markets and open democracies reenforced one another. 
The United States will continue our strong support for Korea's reform 
efforts.
	     
	     In this context, I reaffirmed our commitment to provide 
bilateral finance if needed under appropriate conditions.  We also 
discussed a number of concrete steps to promote growth in both our 
countries.  We explored ways to more fully open markets and to 
further integrate the Republic of Korea into the global economy, 
including new discussions on a bilateral investment treaty.  We 
signed an Open Skies agreement which permits unrestricted air service 
between and beyond our countries.  
	     
	     I expressed my appreciation for the decision by Korean 
Airlines to purchase over $1 billion worth of Boeing airplanes, and 
I'm pleased to announce that the Overseas Private Investment 
Corporation has determined that Korea is again eligible for OPIC 
programs, in response to recent steps taken to protect worker rights.
We also discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and 
reaffirmed the importance of our strong defense alliance.  
	     
	     Korea is a safer place today than it was five years ago, 
with a reduced nuclear threat, improved dialogue between North and 
South.  The United States applauds President Kim's efforts toward 
reconciliation.  Now we hope North Korea will respond further to 
President Kim's gestures and that the four-party talks will make -- 
will soon resume, because we think they also can make a crucial 
contribution to progress.

	     I am pleased that yesterday, for the very first time, 
the United Nations command and the North Korean military reached an 
agreement to hold general officer talks designed to resolve and 
prevent armistice-related problems along the DMZ.  On specific 
matters, I thanked President Kim for his commitment to provide 
peaceful sources of energy to North Korea, and I repeated our 
determination to resolve problems over funding heavy fuel oil for 
North Korea as part of our agreement, reached in 1994, to freeze its 
nuclear program.


	     We will continue to provide food and humanitarian 
assistance and urge our allies to do the same.  And we pledge never 
to give up the search for missing Americans.

	     President Kim and I discussed and shared concerns about 
the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.  Korea has lived with the 
threat of war for nearly five decades.   The last thing the people of 
Asia need now is a nuclear arms race.  South Korea has set a shining 
example for nonproliferation by abandoning nuclear weapons, accepting 
safeguards, and developing a peaceful nuclear program that brings 
benefits to the region.

	     And the Korean people have demonstrated the universality 
of democratic aspirations, bringing a springtime of hope and 
encouragement to advocates for greater freedom throughout Asia.
	     
	     Over the last half century, America has been blessed by 
the presence of Korean Americans and Korean students living and 
learning with us.  Soon we will be offering new work-study benefits 
that will allow Korean students here in the United States to support 
themselves while in school.
	     
	     Mr. President, your example reminds Americans what is 
very precious about our own democracy.  I thank you for your visit.  
I thank you for your lifetime of commitment.  When I go to Asia in 
two weeks, I will do so with the firm faith in the future of a 
dynamic and democratic part of the world, in no small measure because 
of your life and your triumphs.
	     
	     Thank you.
	     
	     PRESIDENT KIM:  Today, I had my first meeting with 
President Clinton since my inauguration.  We engaged in a broad 
exchange of views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in 
Northeast Asia as a whole.  
	     
	     At the time of President Clinton's first inauguration 
the United States faced a difficult economic situation.  In the five 
years since then, President Clinton has transformed the American 
economy into the world's most competitive, producing new jobs, 
reducing unemployment and achieving a balanced budget.  President 
Clinton has also been unsparing in his efforts to maintain world 
peace, from Bosnia to Haiti, and to promote greater respect for human 
rights and democracy.  
	     
	     I attach great significance to my first summit meeting 
with a leader of such outstanding ability.  In this meeting, 
President Clinton and I agreed to develop Korea-American relations to 
a higher level of partnership for the 21st century.  We also agreed 
to work together to promote the security and prosperity not only of 
the Korean Peninsula, but 	   of the entire Asia Pacific region, 
as well as the development of democracy in Asia on the basis of our 
shared values of democracy and market economy.

	     President Clinton and I are strongly of the view that 
close Korean-American relations are based above all on our security 
alliance for the preservation of peace on the Korean Peninsula.  I 
explained my new administration's engagement policy toward North 
Korea and asked for the United States' support and cooperation.  
President Clinton assured me of his full support and cooperation in 
this regard.

	     We agreed to further consider ways of promoting 
reconciliation and cooperation and the building of a lasting peace 
regime on the Korean Peninsula through the pursuit of the four-party 
peace talks and South-North dialogue in a parallel and complementary 
manner.  President Clinton and I agreed that progress in South-North 
relations and the improvement of U.S.-North Korean relations should 
be promoted in harmony.  We also shared the view that the light-water 
reactor project in North Korea contributes to nuclear 
nonproliferation efforts on the Korean Peninsula and in the world as 
a whole, as well as to the strengthening of peace and security in 
Northeast Asia.  We thus agreed to continue to cooperate closely to 
promote the project.
	     
	     President Clinton and I also held in-depth discussions 
on the measures to overcome the current economic crisis facing our 
nation.  I expressed my gratitude for the timely assistance of the 
United States during our foreign exchange crisis.  I explained the 
results of our efforts to stabilize the financial sector and 
reconfirmed our resolve for a continued reforms.  I explained the 
efforts of our government to promote active and bold openings to 
induce foreign investments, and to institutionalize these efforts, we 
agreed to work out a bilateral investment treaty.  
	     
	     I also explained that for an early resolution of the 
economic crisis Korea needs increased investment and financial 
cooperation, and asked that the United States take a leading role in 
the assistance for our efforts to overcome the economic crisis.
	     
	     President Clinton welcomed our efforts to overcome the 
financial crisis, including the economic reform measures.  He said 
that our overcoming the economic crisis will have a positive effect 
on the resolution of the economic crisis in Asia and is in the 
interest of the United States, and that the United States will be 
unsparing in rendering all possible assistance.
	     
	     President Clinton and I both strongly feel that the IMF, 
IBRD and ADB have played important roles in enabling Korea to 
overcome the economic crisis.  President Clinton and I also share the 
view that all economic trade issues between our two countries should 
be resolved in a mutually beneficial and amicable way through 
dialogue and consultation, and agreed to work together toward that 
end.	     	  

	     Thank you.

	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Thank you very much.  Now we will 
alternate questions.  I will call on a member of the American press 
corps, and then President Kim will call on a member of the Korean 
press corps.  And we'll begin with Helen.

	     Q	  I have a question for each President.  President 
Clinton, is the United States ready to remove sanctions against North 
Korea as proposed by President Kim?  
	     
	     President Kim, when will American troops be able to come 
home from the DMZ? 

	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Two for two there.  First let me say 
that we discussed this matter in real candor.  President Kim did not 
ask me to lift sanctions.  What he asked me to do was to work with 
him to support a policy of reciprocity which would enable us to move 
forward with the reconciliation of the North and the South.  And I 
said that I would be prepared to do that.

	     As you know, with regard to the specific sanctions, 
there are basically three categories of sanctions the United States 
has with regard to North Korea.  At least one, and perhaps two whole 
categories would require, in my view, some legislative change to be 
modified.  But there is some executive flexibility here.  What I told 
President Kim I would do is to work with him.  
	     
	     I am encouraged at the bold vision and the confidence 
that he brings to this, and the genuine concern for the welfare of 
people in both nations.  And I think that his initiatives, plus what 
we can do in the four-party talks with some issues that properly 
belong there, can really lead us to some progress here in the next 
few months and year.  So I'm very hopeful.
	     
	     PRESIDENT KIM:  I do not intend to say anything that 
would interfere with American policy-making, but I do wish to say 
that our new government will approach the North Koreans based upon a 
strong security alliance with the United States, but with 
flexibility, and to forge an atmosphere in which we can induce the 
North Koreans to open up, to encourage the moderate elements in North 
Korea.

	     We have nothing to fear from North Korea.  To induce 
them to open up will be beneficial to the interests of our two 
countries, but to the peace of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia in 
general.  Thus, if the United States should ease sanctions against 
North Korea, the when and how and the content would be a decision for 
the American government to make, but we would not oppose and we would 
cooperate.

	     Q	  A question to Mr. Clinton, President Clinton. 
According to the Geneva agreement, the United States is to provide 
crude oil to the North, and South Korea plays a central role in 
providing the light water nuclear reactors, but I understand the 
American government has requested our government to share some of the 
costs of the crude oil being provided to North Korea.  What is your 
position now? 

	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  The North Koreans, as you probably 
know, have asked for the provision of crude oil   and more under the 
agreement.  And in the last few -- several days, I have been able to 
invoke some provisions of American law which will permit me to 
fulfill our commitment there.  Once we fulfill our commitment there, 
then we have to see where we are with the North Koreans and whether 
others will have to do more.
	     
	     But you're correct, the most important thing that 
President Kim can do is to reaffirm the commitment of South Korea to 
fund 70 percent of the light water reactor, which he has done.  And 
so I believe he has fulfilled his commitment and I think I'm now 
quite confident that I will be able to fulfill America's commitment 
under this agreement.
	     
	     Q	  Mr. President, the tobacco bill appears on the 
verge of collapse in the Senate.  Today the Senate rejected an 
attempt to force a vote on the bill.  Would you accept a limited 
measure to reduce teen smoking and at the same time meet Republican 
objections that the McCain bill taxes too much and spends too much?
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, first of all, I don't agree 
with that.  I think it's clear that one of the things that will lead 
to a reduction in teen smoking is making cigarettes more expensive.  
And secondly, it's clear that we need to raise some funds to help 
states and the federal government defray the costs of paying for 
health bills related to smoking and to do the necessary medical 
research and to have the anti-smoking programs.  
	     
	     Now, having said that, it's my information -- and yours 
may be more up to date than mine, but I did talk to Senator Lott and 
Senator Daschle this afternoon -- and we're working hard to get this 
thing back on track and get into a position where a good 
comprehensive bill can pass the Senate.  And as of just a few minutes 
before I came over here, I think there may be some developments this 
afternoon and this evening which will make that possible.  And so I'm 
just going to hang on and hope for the best and keep working at this.
	     
	     Q	  What are those developments?

	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, we'll see, we'll see.  We're 
working on it.  But I do believe that the possibility of getting a 
comprehensive bill out of the Senate is greater now than it was this 
morning.  There are still problems, to be sure, but we're getting 
closer to, I think, a principled compromise.  I hope we are.
	     
	     President Kim, would you like to call on someone?
	     
	     Q	  The two of you have said that you will pursue the 
four-party talks and enter Korean dialogue in harmony.  Do you 
recognize Korea's leading role in this process?
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  -- the difficulties on the Korean 
Peninsula, and I think when there is movement, as there is now, being 
led by the Korean President, the United States should do all in its 
power to support that movement.  That is what we have tried to do in 
other parts of the world.  That is the sort of thing that led to a 
successful conclusion recently to the Irish peace process, with a 
vote of the people in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

	     I do think there are some discrete issues which, because 
of the terms of the Armistice, can perhaps best be handled in the 
four-party talks.  But the lead in all this should be the lead taken 
in the resolution by the parties themselves, between North and South 
Korea.  And we will do what we can to support President Kim in that 
regard, and to support the North Koreans insofar as they respond in a 
positive way.

	     Would you like to answer, Mr. President? 

	     PRESIDENT KIM:  As President Clinton has said, I agree 
entirely.  The non-aggression, arms reduction -- these should be 
dealt with in the four-party talks.  As for inter-Korean exchanges in 
cooperation, that should be dealt with in the bilateral inter-Korean 
dialogue.  The bilateral talks can be taken within the four-party 
framework or outside of that. 

	     Q	  Mr. President -- actually for both   of you 
gentlemen.  I wonder if you could give us your assessment of the 
situation in North Korea and just how dangerous the food shortages 
there make it.  And also if the two of you could share your thoughts 
about the leader of North Korea, Kim Chong-il, who has remained kind 
of a mystery to much of the world.  Do you feel he's someone who can 
be trusted?
	     
	     PRESIDENT KIM:  First of all, regarding Kim Chong-il, I 
don't think anybody knows well enough about him.  Based upon our 
experience it's very difficult to say that you can trust a communist.  
But we feel the need to negotiate, and once you've reached an 
agreement, to hold them up to that agreement.  
	     
	     The North Korean regime at present is faced with many 
difficulties still.  It is relatively stable and I don't think it is 
going to collapse all that easily.  But, of course, the food 
situation, the overall economic situation is very bad.   Normally, 
you could say that you cannot continue a regime based on such a 
difficult economic situation, but our intent is to persuade North 
Korea, to make it feel safe in opening up and so that it can 
resuscitate itself, follow the model set by China and Vietnam, and so 
that it can overcome such a hard situation at present.  
	     
	     If it remains in such a hard situation, it may decide to 
go the road of military provocation, or if it stays the course, it 
may simply collapse and that will fall on our lap.  So, for peace, 
for stability on the Korean Peninsula, we need to induce North Korea 
to open up and to regain the strength to live and grow on its own.  
And we have to help it in doing so.

	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I agree with President Kim's 
assessment of the leadership in North Korea.  Let me just say, with 
regard to the food situation, it is serious, and we are concerned 
about it.  The United States and South Korea have led the way in 
providing food to North Korea.  And I'm actually quite concerned that 
the U.N. appeal which goes out periodically has not -- to other 
countries -- has not been fulfilled.  And so I would hope that other 
countries that could also make a contribution that typically have 
when the U.N. has made such appeals, will do so.  I think we have to 
do whatever we can to avoid severe malnutrition or worse.  
	     
	     But, ultimately, the answer is not an annual food 
appeal.  Ultimately, the answer is structural change in North Korea 
that would permit them to feed themselves and to purchase whatever 
foodstuffs they need from beyond their borders	   that they cannot 
grow.  And that, I think, requires a positive response to President 
Kim's outreach, a rapprochement, a beginning of a resolution, and as 
he said, an opening up.

	     It was very interesting -- I never heard anyone say it 
quite this way before President Kim said to me this morning that if 
China can begin to open up and Vietnam can begin to open up and they 
can have very good results from doing so, then it's predictable that 
North Korea would get the same kind of good results if they would 
take the same path. 

	     Q	  Regarding KEDO and the sharing of the cost, 90 
percent for Japan and Korea; the remaining 10 percent is the problem.  
Korea has asked America to share that 10 percent.  The other question 
is on economic cooperation.  You agreed on an investment treaty and 
you promised continued assistance and economic cooperation.  Have 
there been other concrete pledges of assistance regarding the Korean 
economic situation? 

	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, of course, we were very 
involved in the early assistance to Korea and we have an emergency 
commitment should it be needed.  My belief is that it will not be 
needed because I think your country will do quite well now.  In 
addition to that, I committed today to ask the Secretary of Commerce, 
Mr. Daley, to organize a trade and investment mission to Korea as 
soon as it can practically be carried out.  And we will continue to 
do that.  
	     
	     With regard to KEDO, we have actively worked not only to 
secure funding to implement the accord we made with North Korea to 
suspend its nuclear program in all of its aspects, but also to make 
sure the United States gave as much as we reasonably could.  And this 
is a conversation that I hope President Kim will also be able to have 
with the leaders of the Congress, because I think there is a great 
deal of support for him in our Congress, even though there has been 
from time to time lukewarm support for KEDO.  And I think many of our 
members of Congress wrongly have viewed KEDO as something we were 
doing for North Korea instead of something we were doing for the 
stability of the Korean Peninsula, the safety and security of our 
allies and friends in South Korea and for the cause of defusing 
nuclear tensions everywhere.  
	     
	     In the wake of these nuclear tests in India and Pakistan 
I would think everyone all over the world would feel a bigger 
interest in seeing the agreement with North Korea be fully 
implemented. 

	     Wolf. 

	     Q	  Mr. President, a two-part question on your policy 
towards China.  The first part is there is a broad range of human 
rights activists, from Gary Bauer on the right to Kerry Kennedy Cuomo 
on the left who have appealed to you to avoid a visit to Tiananmen 
Square during your upcoming visit to China.  Will you go to Tiananmen 
Square, as some of your advisors say you must given the protocol of 
the Chinese government?  

	     And the second part of the question is, why did you 
resist the advice of the Justice Department last February and give 
Loral a license to export another satellite to be launched on a 
Chinese missile, even while the Justice Department was in the midst 
of a criminal investigation of Loral for allegedly providing 
technology information to China? 

	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, let me answer the questions in 
reverse order.  I didn't resist the advice of the Justice Department.  
I took the advice of the National Security Council, the Defense 
Department, the State Department, and the Arms Control and 
Disarmament Agency.  The statute gives the State Department the 
responsibility to make a recommendation, and then gets the 
opportunity -- the Defense Department and the Arms Control and 
Disarmament Agency are given the opportunity to concur.  The National 
Security Council also gave the Justice Department the opportunity to 
make whatever comments they wanted, evaluated all that, and concluded 
that I should approve the satellite.  It was sent to me in a decision 
memo which I approved.

	     And as you have seen from the practice in previous 
administrations and from all the evidence, it was, from my point of 
view, a pretty routine decision that I thought, on balance, if all 
those agencies felt that it was the right thing to do and it 
furthered our national interests, that I would do so.

	     Now, in terms of the trip to China, my own view is that 
if this is going to be a state visit to China and I am going to be 
the guest of the Chinese, that they should be designing the terms of 
the arrival ceremony, not me.  I simply don't accept the proposition 
that observing their diplomatic protocol in any way undermines my 
capacity to advance the principles of the United States. 

	     I appreciated the encouragement reflected in the ad I 
saw in the paper from a rather wide array of people, with a letter 
from Billy Graham and the statement from the Dalai Lama.  President 
Kim and I talked about it today.  I think in view of the -- again I 
would say, in view of the recent economic events in Asia and the 
nuclear tests on the Indian subcontinent, it should be clearer than 
ever before that we have a strong national interest in developing a 
constructive, positive relationship with China.  
	     
	     Because of that relationship, I think it has been made 
more likely that political descent would be more respected -- several 
political dissidents have been released from imprisonment since 
President Jiang came here, and I intend to make our views clear and 
unambiguous.  But I think that what Americans should want me to do is 
to make sure that I am as effective as possible not only in advancing 
our interests, but in standing up for our values.  And I'm going to 
do what I think is likely in the short run and over the long run to 
make our country the most effective.
	     
	     Q	  -- increase of social -- and thus it is very 
natural for Korean government to try to use their own budget to have 
social -- having said that, one part of Korean budget is devoted to 
defense budget.  And I want to know are you in favor of an idea that 
we use the defense budget, to use that money to help the social 
problems?  
	     
	     And just one more thing.  I believe you have said that 
you have talked with President Kim that to promote economic growth 
better, so what would be special measure to promote economic growth?  
Do you think Korea might need a kind of Korean version of -- plan 
from the first war, that Korea might need a kind of -- to stimulate 
Korean economy?
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Let me try to answer both questions, 
and if I might, I'd like to answer the second question first.  
	     
	     Your country has had a remarkable record of economic 
growth by any standard over the last few decades.  I believe what has 
happened here is a bump in the road if you stay with the necessary 
reform to reach the next level of development.  All the evidence we 
have -- not just concerning Korea, but even concerning the United 
States and then countries that have a far smaller per capita income 
than Korea -- is that no government program   can offset the flight 
of investment capital out of a country.  And whether anyone likes it 
or not, all this money can move around the Earth in a matter of 
seconds.
Therefore, I believe that the best social policy for Korea right now 
is an economic policy that will restore real growth as soon as 
possible.  That is what will drive down unemployment.  It will drive 
up family incomes.  It will help families stay together and take care 
of older family members and do all the things that make a society a 
good society.
	     
	     If I could do anything in the world for Korea just as a 
magician, if I were a dictator of the world, I would restore high 
growth rates to your country tomorrow, and then the Korean people 
themselves would work through these problems in no time.
	     
	     So that brings me to the next point.  I think, 
therefore, that the most important thing I can do as the United 
States President and the friend of Korea is to restore the Overseas 
Private Investment Corporation guarantees for financing to make sure 
you know there will be emergency support in the event you need it -- 
that will make it less likely that you will need it -- to get this 
investment mission going to your country and to do anything else I 
can to try to support growth.
	     
	     Now, your first question.  I have to answer that the way 
President Kim answered the first question to me.  That is, no 
President of one country can make a judgment about the national 
security needs of another country.  But I will say this:  obviously, 
if the security situation in Korea improves to the point that you can 
reduce defense spending as a percentage of overall spending, that 
frees up investment for the other human needs of the country to build 
a stronger social contract.
	     
	     However, security always comes first.  Therefore, as an 
outsider I would say what President Kim is doing in showing the 
vision and the confidence in your people to reach out to North Korea 
and encourage them to change and encourage a reduction in tensions is 
the path most likely to change the security reality.  As the security 
reality changes, then you can change the security budget.  But the 
budget must follow the reality.  And I think he's doing that.  
	     
	     Again, I would encourage the leader of North Korea and 
all those in influence there to respond to his farsighted overtures 
and let's get this show on the road, as we say in America.  
	     
	     Thank you very much.
	     
	     Q	  Kosovo, sir?
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  If I could say one word about Kosovo 
--
	     
	     Q	  Whether U.S. forces might be needed?
	     
	     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, I have authorized and approved 
accelerated NATO planning.  And we are supporting and working with 
the British to get the strongest possible resolution through the 
United Nations.  We're still trying to work out the wording of the 

resolution, but we have no dispute over the phrase that you have 
focused on, which is to use all necessary    means to try to avoid 
ethnic cleansing and the loss of human life.  
	     
	     Let me say, all of you know that this is a very thorny 
problem, and while we're all worried about -- deeply worried about  
seeing a repeat of what happened in Bosnia, we know there are some 
factual and legal differences between the two entities.  But the main 
thing is that I am determined to do all that I can to stop a repeat 
of the human carnage in Bosnia and the ethnic cleansing.  And I have 
authorized, and I am supporting, an accelerated planning process for 
NATO.  And, as I believe both the Secretary of State and the 
Secretary of Defense said yesterday, we have explicitly said that we 
do not believe any options should be taken off the table.
	     
	     Thank you.
	     
	     THE PRESS:  Thank you.

             END                          4:16 P.M. EDT