News

DATE=10/21/98 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-41645 TITLE=U-S / NORTH KOREA - CQ BYLINE=STEPHANIE MANN DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= INTRO: ONE ITEM IN THE NEWLY APPROVED U-S GOVERNMENT BUDGET PROVIDES FUNDING FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM BUILDING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN NORTH KOREA AND FOR FUEL OIL SHIPMENTS TO THE NORTH. THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTING TO THAT EFFORT FOR A FEW YEARS. WHAT'S NEW THIS TIME IS THE MONEY IS LINKED TO A LONG LIST OF CONDITIONS DESIGNED TO ENSURE THAT NORTH KOREA HAS NOT VIOLATED AGREEMENTS ON ENDING ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MISSILE PROGRAMS. V-O-A'S STEPHANIE MANN REPORTS. TEXT: UNDER A 1994 AGREEMENT BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA AGREED TO SHUT DOWN ITS NUCLEAR POWER FACILITIES AND STOP ITS PROGRAM TO BUILD NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IN EXCHANGE, A U-S-LED CONSORTIUM THAT INCLUDES SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN IS BUILDING NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN NORTH KOREA. UNTIL THE NEW PLANTS BEGIN OPERATING, THE UNITED STATES IS SHIPPING FUEL OIL TO PROVIDE ENERGY IN THE NORTH. THIS ARRANGEMENT, CALLED THE AGREED FRAMEWORK, HAS COME UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY IN RECENT MONTHS. SUSPICIOUS-LOOKING UNDERGROUND SITES HAVE BEEN DETECTED IN NORTH KOREA, AND THE U-S GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO DETERMINE IF THOSE LOCATIONS ARE BEING USED TO MAKE NUCLEAR FUEL AND -- POSSIBLY -- CONSTRUCT NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IN ADDITION, THE GOVERNMENT IN PYONGYANG RECENTLY LAUNCHED A MISSILE TO TRY TO PUT A SATELLITE IN ORBIT, SENDING A SIGNAL -- WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT -- THAT IT MAY BE DEVELOPING A LONG RANGE MISSILE CAPABILITY. FORMER U-S ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH, MORTON ABRAMOWITZ, SAYS NORTH KOREA'S ACTIONS RAISED CONCERNS IN WASHINGTON ABOUT U-S POLICY TOWARD KOREA. MR. ABRAMOWITZ SAYS, IN PARTICULAR, THE ADMINISTRATION'S DEFENSE OF ITS 1994 AGREEMENT WITH PYONGYANG HAS LOST SOME CREDIBILITY IN THE CONGRESS. // ABRAMOWITZ ACT ONE // THE AGREEMENT, WHICH HAD NEVER BEEN VERY POPULAR IN CONGRESS FROM THE START, HAS NOW RUN INTO SERIOUS PROBLEMS ABOUT ITS OVERALL CREDIBILITY -- WHETHER THE NORTH KOREANS ARE ACTUALLY CARRYING OUT THEIR AGREEMENT OR VIOLATING IT. // END ACT // IN EARLY OCTOBER, MR. ABRAMOWITZ AND 25 OTHER AMERICAN EXPERTS ON KOREA AND U-S FOREIGN POLICY SENT AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON EXPRESSING THEIR CONCERN ABOUT NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR INTENTIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS ON U-S POLICY. /// OPT /// THE GROUP CALLS ITSELF "THE INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE ON MANAGING CHANGE ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA" AND IS SPONSORED BY THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS. /// END OPT /// THE LETTER URGES THE ADMINISTRATION TO CONDUCT AN IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF ITS POLICY. IT SAYS THIS REVIEW SHOULD EXAMINE LONG-TERM U-S OBJECTIVES, NORTH KOREA'S INTENTIONS, THE EFFECTIVENESS OF U-S COORDINATION WITH JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA, AND THE U-S POSITION IF, INDEED, NORTH KOREA IS CONTINUING A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. THE GROUP URGES THE PRESIDENT TO SEEK CLARIFICATION FROM PYONGYANG ON WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THOSE NEWLY DISCOVERED UNDERGROUND SITES AND INSIST THAT FULL INSPECTIONS BE ALLOWED. MR. ABRAMOWITZ SAYS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS LIKED THE IDEA OF PUTTING CONDITIONS ON ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR THE NORTH KOREAN ENERGY PROJECT AND FUEL OIL SHIPMENTS, SO THEY ADOPTED SOME OF HIS GROUP'S RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE NEW BUDGET BILL. THE BUDGET PROVIDES 35 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM, CALLED KEDO -- THE KOREAN PENINSULA ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION. HOWEVER, THAT FUNDING WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE IN TWO INSTALLMENTS ONLY AFTER MARCH 1ST, 1999, AND ONLY IF A LONG LIST OF CONDITIONS ARE MET. THESE CONDITIONS INCLUDE PRESIDENT CLINTON CERTIFYING THAT NORTH KOREA HAS MADE PROGRESS TOWARD ENDING ITS NUCLEAR AND BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMS. // OPT // THE SPECIFIC TERMS REQUIRE NORTH KOREA TO ABIDE BY THE 1994 NUCLEAR ACCORD BETWEEN PYONGYANG AND WASHINGTON AS WELL AS A 1992 AGREEMENT BETWEEN PYONGYANG AND SEOUL ON DE-NUCLEARIZING THE KOREAN PENINSULA. OTHER CONDITIONS REQUIRE PROGRESS ON TALKS AIMED AT HALTING NORTH KOREAN MISSILE DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRESS IN THE DIRECT NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE. THE PRESIDENT HAS THE RIGHT TO WAIVE THESE CONDITIONS, IF NECESSARY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS. // END OPT // MR. ABRAMOWITZ SAYS THE LEGISLATION ALLOWS CONTINUED U-S SUPPORT FOR THE NORTH KOREAN ENERGY PROGRAM BUT CONSIDERS THE VERY REAL CONCERNS ABOUT NORTH KOREA'S ACTIVITIES. // ABRAMOWITZ ACT TWO // IT DOESN'T ASSURE EVERYTHING FOR THE NEXT TWO OR THREE YEARS, BUT IT IS A PIECEMEAL ANSWER WHICH PERMITS US TO PROCEED WITH SOME CONFIDENCE. BUT WE CANNOT PROCEED WITH CONFIDENCE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS UNTIL WE CLEAR UP THIS PROBLEM OF THESE NEW WORRISOME SITES. AND HOPEFULLY, THAT CAN BE DONE. // END ACT // MR. ABRAMOWITZ SAYS HIS GROUP DID NOT WANT TO RECOMMEND SCRAPPING THE 1994 AGREEMENT WITH PYONGYANG -- AT LEAST NOT UNTIL THERE IS REAL PROOF THAT NORTH KOREA IS VIOLATING IT. IF NORTH KOREA IS NOT WILING TO CLARIFY WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE SUSPICIOUS UNDERGROUND SITES AND DEMONSTRATE THAT IT IS NOT PURSUING A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM, THEN HE SAYS THE CLIMATE ON THE ALREADY TENSE KOREAN PENINSULA WILL FURTHER DETERIORATE. NORTH KOREA'S OFFICIAL NEWS AGENCY REPORTS THE GOVERNMENT IS WILLING TO OPEN ITS UNDERGROUND FACILITIES TO U-S INSPECTORS. THE NEWS AGENCY ALSO REPEATS NORTH KOREA'S ASSERTIONS THAT ITS UNDERGROUND FACILITIES ARE CIVILIAN STRUCTURES AND NOT PART OF A NEW NUCLEAR COMPLEX. (SIGNED) NEB/SMN/GE 21-Oct-98 10:38 AM EDT (1438 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .