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DATE=9/24/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-239222 TITLE=U-S/NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY) BYLINE=BILL RODGERS DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS SAY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S POLICY TOWARD NORTH KOREA WILL CONTINUE UNCHANGED -- DESPITE STRONG CRICITISM FROM SOME KEY U-S LAWMAKERS THAT THE POLICY HAS FAILED. THE ISSUE WAS RAISED AT A HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE HEARING THURSDAY -- AS WE HEAR FROM V-O-A'S BILL RODGERS. TEXT: BEFORE THE HEARING BEGAN, HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN GILMAN CORDIALLY SHOOK HANDS WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY -- AND THEN PROCEEDED TO SHARPLY CRITICIZE U-S POLICY TOWARD NORTH KOREA: ///GILMAN ACT/// OUR POLICIES HAVE NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL -- UNDER THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION POLICY, WE ARE PAYING FOR BAD BEHAVIOR BY REWARDING NORTH KOREAN BRINKMANSHIP (PLAYING GAME) WITH BENEFITS....OUR CURRENT POLICY OF WEAKNESS MAY LEAD THE NORTH KOREANS TO MISCALCULATE OUR RESOLVE. ///END ACT/// FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION -- ALONG WITH JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA -- HAS BEEN PURSUING A POLICY OF ENGAGEMENT WITH COMMUNIST NORTH KOREA TO REDUCE TENSIONS AND TO KEEP ITS NUCLEAR ACITVITIES IN CHECK. //OPT// IN 1994, THE UNITED STATES AGREED TO PROVIDE NORTH KOREA WITH FUEL OIL AND NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS IN EXCHANGE FOR PYONGYANG'S COMMITTMENT NOT TO PRODUCE NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND TO DISMANTLE ITS REACTORS THAT WERE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING WEAPONS-GRADE MATERIAL. //END OPT// BUT RECENT NORTH KOREAN ACTIONS, INCLUDING THE LAUNCH OF A THREE-STAGE ROCKET LATE LAST MONTH, HAVE GENERATED CONCERNS THAT PYONGYANG IS NOT LIVING UP TO THE ACCORD. HOWEVER, THE CHIEF U-S NEGOTIATOR WITH NORTH KOREA, CHARLES KARTMAN, ASSURED THE HOUSE PANEL THURSDAY THE CURRENT POLICY REMAINS THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION. ///KARTMAN ACT/// THIS IS A POLICY THAT IS NOT BASED ON TRUST OR CONFIDENCE IN THE NORTH KOREAN REGIME. ON THE CONTRARY, IT REFLECTS A SOBER JUDGEMENT OF HOW BEST TO CONTAIN THE THREAT OF NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM AND OTHER DESTABILIZING ACTIVITIES SUCH AS MISSILE DEVELOPMENT. ///END ACT/// AT THE SAME TIME, THE U-S DIPLOMAT WARNED THAT WASHINGTON IS, AS HE PUT IT, DEEPLY SUSPICIOUS OF WHAT MAY BE A NORTH KOREAN EFFORT TO BUILD AN UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR COMPLEX. HE SAID THE UNITED STATES WILL DEMAND HAVING ACCESS TO THE SITE WHEN U-S AND NORTH KOREAN NEGOTIATORS MEET AGAIN FOR TALKS. //OPT// NO DATE FOR THOSE DISCUSSIONS HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED, BUT MR. KARTMAN TOLD REPORTERS HE EXPECTS THEY WILL BE HELD SOON. //END OPT// REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE DID NOT APPEAR RE-ASSURED BY THE U-S DIPLOMAT'S COMMENTS -- AND THEY CONTINUED TO EXPRESS CONCERN OVER NORTH KOREA'S INTENTIONS. (SIGNED) NEB/WFR/PT/WFR 24-Sep-98 6:56 PM EDT (2256 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .