News

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

INDEX
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1998
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN

NORTH KOREA
9US, Japanese and South Korean officials are meeting to discuss situation in DPRK.
10KEDO agreement issues are being discussed today.
17US analysis of missile firing concludes it was a failed satellite launch.
17-18DPRK missile technology has been marketed worldwide, including to PAKISTAN.


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 106
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1998, 1:30 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

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

QUESTION: Can you talk about the meetings here today with the Koreans and the Japanese? What exactly are you aiming to do?

MR. RUBIN: US, South Korean and Japanese officials are meeting here today to continue coordinating policy discussions on North Korea. From our side, Charles Kartman will convene the discussions with the Director General of the South Korean Foreign Ministry and the Director General for Asian Affairs of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

As you know, we have consulted very, very closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies in the implementation of the agreed framework and the policy towards North Korea. These talks represent a continuation of that consultative process. We will coordinate on all North Korean issues, including its recent missile test, which is a priority concern for all three governments.

QUESTION: The Japanese suggested that they might launch a satellite themselves in order to be able to more closely monitor what happens with North Korea. How does the United States feel about that?

MR. RUBIN: Japan is a very close ally, and many other allies have their own such programs. Given that they're allies, I wouldn't expect us to have a problem. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be something that would be talked about; I would it expect it would be, on the contrary. They would be looking for our assistance in some form or another - whether it be technical or not technical in the sense of equipment, but tapping into our long experience in this business.

QUESTION: And who would --

MR. RUBIN: I notice there was a slight uptick in the --

QUESTION: (Laughter).

MR. RUBIN: I really don't know further than to answer the question to say they're a close ally and if they want to launch a satellite, we wouldn't have a problem with that. It's something I would expect to be discussed.

QUESTION: The Japanese have been waiting for some kind of expression from the North Koreans in order to get back to the KEDO framework. Japan has suspended to pay its share for the light water reactor construction. Has the US put any influence to the North Koreans to persuade them to come back with some kind of international appeal or something?

MR. RUBIN: The question again, please.

QUESTION: The Japanese have been asking for some kind of cooperation from the US to persuade North Koreans to come up with some kind of international expression to express its remorse, whatever, for the missile launch test in order for the Japanese to come back to the framework agreement.

MR. RUBIN: Well, we're discussing those very issues today with Japan and South Korea; and perhaps after such a discussion we might be in a position to talk more about what the future will hold. But we do believe it's important for the KEDO to be funded and for the heavy fuel oil and the reactors to be funded; because let's remember what we're dealing with here -- the very real and tangible possibility that in the absence of a framework, we would have a crisis with North Korea and the prospect of a nuclear armed North Korea in Asia, which should frighten both those countries there and any sane citizen. The idea of a nuclear armed North Korea is a very sobering prospect and has great ramifications and could, again, rivet the world the way it did in 1993 and 1994.

So we're working on this problem. I'll leave the Japanese position to be described by the Japanese, but it's something we're working on very closely together and consulting very closely.

QUESTION: What is the current US position on the cost-sharing for the light water reactor?

MR. RUBIN: Nothing has changed there.

QUESTION: Nothing has changed at all?

MR. RUBIN: No. ...........

QUESTION: Back to North Korea really quickly, to the extent the missile launch was a satellite, are we ready to make any revised statements?

MR. RUBIN: On that issue, let me say that our analysis regarding the August 31 launch continues. We have concluded that North Korea did attempt to orbit a very small satellite. We also have concluded the satellite failed to achieve orbit. Nevertheless, the North Koreans have demonstrated in this launch a capability to deliver a weapons payload against surface targets at increasing ranges, confirming the inherent capability to threaten its neighbors.

So we regard this missile as a threat to US allies, friends and forces in the region. As far as the specific capabilities of this missile, I'm not in a position to state anything more than we continue to examine it. But that is our conclusion at this point.

QUESTION: Follow on that - is it legal to launch a missile over somebody - some other country's airspace?

MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get that. We regard this as something we don't want to see happen again. It demonstrates a dangerous capability, a destabilizing capability. As far as the technicalities are concerned, I'll have to get a legal answer for you. But regardless of the technicalities, we do not want to see it happen again.

QUESTION: Is the US going to go so far as to condemn North Korea for doing what they did, even though --

MR. RUBIN: I think we've stated very clearly our opposition to these tests time after time after time.

QUESTION: Could you comment on the reports that the North Koreans were shipping warhead canisters to Pakistan a couple of months ago?

MR. RUBIN: I can. I know it's in here. It is well-known that North Korea has marketed its missile technology and equipment world wide, including to Pakistan. North Korean, Pakistan cooperation on the Ghauri missile also has been documented. The United States takes this matter very seriously and has been addressing it.

In April of this year, we imposed sanctions on North Korean and Pakistani entities for their involvement in transferring from North Korea to Pakistan items controlled under Category I of the Missile Technology Control Regime related specifically to the Ghauri missile. The sanctioned entities are the Changgwang Sinyoung Corporation of North Korea and the Khan Research laboratories of Pakistan.

We have sanctioned North Korean and Pakistani entities for the transfer of equipment and technology. Again, this is under Category I which refers to complete missiles, major sub-systems or production technology for a missile system capable of delivering a 500 kilogram payload to a range of at least 300 kilometers. I cannot be more specific than that, other than to say that Pakistan has announced that the Ghauri has a payload of some 700 kilograms and a range of 1500 kilometers which is - and the parameters, therefore, described by Pakistan are consistent with our understanding of the parameters of North Korea's No Dong missile.

QUESTION: When was this sanctions decision made?

MR. RUBIN: In April 1998.

QUESTION: Do you know what kind of satellite they were lofting?

MR. RUBIN: I have no further information.

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(The briefing concluded at 2:20 P.M.)

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