News

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

INDEX
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1998
Briefer: LEE MCCLENNY

N. KOREA
4Trilateral Meetings in New York
5Fuel Oil and U.S. Commitment
5Missile Program/Missile Test/Further Talks


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFF-CAMERA DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB #143
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1998, 1:10 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

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

QUESTION: (Inaudible) - North Koreans one technical question. Today, the US, South Korea and Japan, they're having a trilateral meeting in New York. Who leads the US delegation; is it Chuck Kartman? Do you have anything on that?

MR. MCCLENNY: I sure don't, but I'd be happy to get back to you on it. To be clear, you're saying that there's a trilateral meeting going on in New York today --

QUESTION: Yeah, trilateral meeting, yes.

MR. MCCLENNY: I didn't know that, I confess, I should have known that.

QUESTION: Second question -- anything new on fuel oil to North Korea?

MR. MCCLENNY: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Fuel oil --

MR. MCCLENNY: I don't have an update on that situation, either. I know that we've committed publicly to fulfill our end of the bargain, and we're working hard at that. But I don't have any announcements on that process. We're hopeful. Today's the 22nd; there are still a few days left in this year; we hope that we can make it all work and move forward. I know that there are a lot of people, very capable people, working very hard to ensure that we uphold our end of the bargain.

QUESTION: Have you seen the report that the North Koreans are preparing to launch a ballistic missile?

MR. MCCLENNY: I have; early this morning, I saw it. I've consulted our people, and they tell me there's no basis for this story. We view the North Korean missile program as a serious threat to the region and will continue to press North Korea to cease all development, testing and export of missiles and missile technology. We've made clear to Pyongyang that any further missile tests would have very serious consequences for any improvement in our relations with North Korea. And we continue to consult very closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies on North Korean issues. Perhaps we're doing that right now in New York. If I can confirm that for you, I will.

If asked about the possible next round of missile talks, I can tell you that you recall that at the conclusion of the October 1 and 2 talks in New York, we agreed that we would hold another round at the earliest practical date. But I don't have an announcement in that regard for you at this time.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCLENNY: I don't have an announcement at this point; I don't have a date of any kind.

QUESTION: January -- (inaudible) - venue in New York or Geneva or whatever?

MR. MCCLENNY: Don't have any details or any announcement.

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(The briefing concluded at 1:25 P.M.)

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