News

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

INDEX
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 1998
Briefer: JAMES B. FOLEY

NORTH KOREA
13Talks have recessed; resumption still undecided
20Agreed Framework implementation terms are critically important to US
14, 20US committed to meeting its obligations, expects North Korea to meet its obligations
20US has no reason to conclude that North Korea is in violation of Agreed Framework


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 102
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 1998, 2:20 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

................

QUESTION: The talks that broke down in New York between our representative to North Korea and the North Korean delegates on this nuclear program in the North, does the Administration have any views on that?

MR. FOLEY: It's my understanding that the talks did not break down; they recessed. Let me describe to you what I can, though, about those talks, which may yet be ongoing and therefore don't lend themselves to extensive public comment at this point.

The US and the DPRK held discussions in New York on August 21, 24 and 25. The US delegation, as you know, was headed by Ambassador Kartman; the North Korean side by the Vice Foreign Minister. These talks are part of a series of such meetings, with the last one having occurred this March in Berlin.

The talks in New York covered a variety of issues of bilateral concern, including matters related to implementation of the agreed framework. Again, in keeping with usual practice, I'm not going to get into the details of the discussions. They are in recess. I don't believe it's decided whether or not they will resume, and we should have that for you by tomorrow.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. FOLEY: For consultations.

QUESTION: Is that - (inaudible) - or is that something that the US had requested or did the North Koreans request it?

MR. FOLEY: I know that Ambassador Kartman came back here for consultations; I couldn't speak to the North Korean side. I don't know that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. FOLEY: They are in recess right now. Ambassador Kartman has returned to Washington. If we have a resumption of those talks, we'll certainly let you know.

QUESTION: Well, at the end of the long --

QUESTION: Can you please comment -

(Laughter.)

MR. FOLEY: You are an unruly group today.

QUESTION: I just want to finish on North Korea. Did the US side express any concerns about --

MR. FOLEY: As I indicated, matters related to the implementation of the agreed framework most certainly came up in these meetings, as they have on previous occasions.

QUESTION: Do you have a copy of the heavy fuel oil status for us?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have a detailed update. What I can tell you is that we are committed to meeting our obligations. We are working with Congress in order to be in a position to meet those obligations, and we have certainly conveyed that position to the North Koreans.

QUESTION: That was in New York, right?

MR. FOLEY: In general, I can say that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) - nuclear facility; has that been confirmed?

MR. FOLEY: Obviously, you're referring to some newspaper reports which were based on intelligence information about which I cannot comment.

What I can tell you, though, is that we fully expect the DPRK to fully - without exception - conform to all of its obligations under the agreed framework; and we've certainly made that clear to them.

.................

QUESTION: Can I just clarify - back on North Korea, in Ambassador Kartman's discussions with the Vice Foreign Minister of North Korea, did he ask, demand, hint directly to the Vice Foreign Minister to halt any projects, any plans to construct or any ongoing construction with regard to the reports of this nuclear facility being --

MR. FOLEY: Well, I think I've already been very clear that I'm not going to get into the details of those discussions. What I have indicated to you is that the terms of the agreed framework are of critical importance to the United States. We believe they ought to be to the North Koreans as well - that they have an interest in abiding by those terms. This is of extraordinary national security importance to the United States - the agreed framework, its terms. It's something that we monitor extraordinarily closely and we expect that the North Koreans will abide by those commitments.

QUESTION: In the briefings back here in Washington, does he give any suggestion of the tone of the North Koreans?

MR. FOLEY: I have no characterization of that kind for you. I've not met with him; he's back here consulting with officials other than myself.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. FOLEY: We have no reason to conclude that they are in violation of the terms of the agreed framework; that's a very important point. You see a lot of things written in the media about this, and the words I just chose are very important because the agreed framework, I think, sometimes has been, over the years, subject to some criticism in this country. Let's remember what it's about. It's an agreement that meets critical US national security needs. It's an agreement that succeeded in shutting down a North Korean nuclear reactor in which the reprocessing of spent fuel for plutonium has been halted. That is very important to the United States. We expect that the terms of that agreement will be met by the North Koreans. We have no reason to conclude that they are not being met; and for our part, we are committed to meeting our commitments under the agreed framework.

.................

(The briefing concluded at 3:15 P.M.)

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