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DATE=11/19/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-241919 TITLE= COHEN / NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY) BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN SAYS CONCERNS ABOUT NORTH KOREA'S SUSPECTED NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM ARE 'SERIOUS' AND MIGHT SPELL THE END OF A KEY WEAPONS AGREEMENT. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON. TEXT: AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES SAY A LARGE UNDERGROUND COMPLEX, UNDER CONSTRUCTION INSIDE A MOUNTAIN IN NORTH KOREA, MAY BE USED TO HIDE A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. NORTH KOREA INSISTS THE PROJECT HAS ONLY NON-MILITARY PURPOSES. EARLIER THIS WEEK A HIGH-LEVEL U-S DELEGATION WENT TO NORTH KOREA IN PART TO PERSUADE PYONGYANG TO ALLOW U-S INSPECTIONS OF THE FACILITY. BUT NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS HAVE SET A CONDITION -- SAYING IF THE INSPECTORS ARE ALLOWED INTO THE COMPLEX AND FAIL TO FIND EVIDENCE OF A NUCLEAR PROGRAM, WASHINGTON WILL HAVE TO PAY A 300-MILLION DOLLAR FEE FOR 'SLANDERING' NORTH KOREA. U-S OFFICIALS DISMISS THIS AS 'RIDICULOUS.' DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN SAYS WASHINGTON'S PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN. /// COHEN ACT /// THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN GO ON INDEFINITELY. THIS IS A SUBJECT MATTER THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT REPORTS THAT WE'VE HAD ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE COMPLYING WITH THE AGREED FRAMEWORK. WE ARE GOING TO NEED INSPECTION, THE SITE OR SITES THAT MIGHT BE INVOLVED. /// END ACT /// U-S OFFICIALS SAY IF NORTH KOREA IS BUILDING A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY, IT WOULD LIKELY VIOLATE A 1994 AGREEMENT, CALLED 'THE AGREED FRAMEWORK.' IN THE DEAL, NORTH KOREA SHUT DOWN NUCLEAR REACTORS SUSPECTED OF PRODUCING NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIALS --- IN RETURN FOR HELP IN BUILDING REACTORS FOR PEACEFUL USES. THE DEAL IS ADMINISTERED BY AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION WITH MANY MEMBERS, INCLUDING SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES. SEOUL AND TOKYO FUNDED AND STARTED CONSTRUCTION OF REPLACEMENT NUCLEAR REACTORS DESIGNED PRODUCE ELECTRICITY, NOT BOMBS IN NORTH KOREA. WASHINGTON PROMISED TO HELP DELIVER THOUSANDS OF TONS OF FUEL OIL TO MEET NORTH KOREAN ENERGY NEEDS WHILE THE NEW REACTORS ARE BEING BUILT. (SIGNED). NEB/JR/WFR 19-Nov-98 6:10 PM EST (2310 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .