DATE=7/21/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=G8 - CLINTON-PUTIN (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264655 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=OKINAWA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S officials at the G-Eight summit in Okinawa are skeptical about a reported North Korean offer to scrap its ballistic missile program in exchange for outside help in launching satellites. President Clinton discussed the issue in a bilateral meeting Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came to Okinawa after talks in Pyongyang with North Korean President Kim Jong-Il. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from Okinawa. TEXT: A senior administration official says the United States will seek direct clarification of the reported North Korean offer with Pyongyang. But he dismisses as a "very dangerous idea" the notion that other countries might give North Korea booster rockets to launch satellites from its own territory. In an announcement Wednesday that capped the first- ever visit by a Russian president to North Korea, Mr. Putin said Pyongyang would be willing to halt its missile program in exchange for access to space launch technology. Mr. Putin strongly opposes the U-S anti-ballistic missile program that is in part a response to North Korea's missile efforts. His visit to Pyongyang was part of a diplomatic offensive that also included a stop in Beijing and a joint statement with Chinese President Jiang Zemin condemning the U-S program. The senior U-S official who briefed reporters said President Clinton and Mr. Putin discussed the Russian leader's Pyongyang visit in some detail during their 75-minute meeting here. He said the State Department's top non-proliferation official, Assistant Secretary Robert Einhorn, will soon meet North Korean officials to discuss the purported offer. He stressed that the United States would only be interested in a scenario under which North Korea would truly give up -- or as he put it "unplug" -- its missile program, and that any satellites developed by that country would have to launched outside of North Korean territory. The senior official said the U-S anti-missile effort and Russian opposition to it had been thoroughly covered in the Clinton-Putin meeting in Moscow last month, and that their meeting here focused more on areas of strategic cooperation between the two powers. They issued a joint statement stressing, among other things, their commitment to seeking deeper cuts in strategic nuclear weapons and to looking for new ways to cooperate in controlling the spread of missiles and missile technology. In that regard, the senior U-S official said the two leaders had a "highly focused" discussion on what he said was continuing aid by Russian "entities" to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. He also said the U-S side urged Russia to press the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Milosevic to show restraint with regard to Montenegro -- saying there must be no repeat of the crackdown by Serb forces two years ago in Kosovo. (Signed) NEB/DAG/JP 21-Jul-2000 09:54 AM LOC (21-Jul-2000 1354 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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