DATE=7/22/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264680 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=OKINAWA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton - in Okinawa for the G-Eight summit -- says a reported North Korean offer to scrap its missile program in exchange for help with space launches is worth exploring, but administration officials are skeptical. VOA's David Gollust has more from Okinawa. TEXT: The North Korean proposal was conveyed to Mr. Clinton by Russian President Vladimir Putin and - as such -- it is not being rejected out of hand by the administration. But in a photo taking session with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, Mr. Clinton said the United States needs to know more about the reported initiative before it can take a position: ///Clinton actuality/// I think that it's something that needs to be explored. We need to see exactly what the specifics are. I think that he (Mr. Putin) would agree with that too. It is not clear to me exactly what the offer is and what is being requested in return for it. But I think we heard enough so that there should be an attempt to determine what the facts are. ///end act/// President Putin briefed Mr. Clinton on the proposal Friday after arriving here from an unprecedented visit to North Korea. U-S officials say if Pyongyang wants other countries to launch North Korean satellites in exchange for dropping its missile program it might be feasible. But they dismiss as a "very dangerous idea" the notion of providing North Korea booster rockets that would be launched form its own territory. They say the State Department's senior non- proliferation expert - Robert Einhorn - would try to sound out North Korea about the proposal as part of an on-going dialogue with Pyongyang. The United States has cited North Korea's missile program - which included a rocket test flight over Japan two years ago - as a major reason for its effort to develop a limited missile defense system. President Putin strongly opposes the U-S program and his travels in recent days also included a stop in Beijing, where he and Chinese President Jiang Zemin jointly condemned the U-S program as de-stabilizing. North Korea says it has suspended missile tests as part of its discussions with the United States, though the administration says it wants the project scrapped entirely before any further easing of sanctions against Pyongyang. In a statement Friday, the G-8 summit partners commended North Korea for the missile freeze but urged Pyongyang to do more to address concerns about weapons proliferation and human rights. They also welcomed last month's historic North-South Korea summit and expressed hope the Korean dialogue will continue and advance further. (Signed) NEB/DAG/PLM 22-Jul-2000 00:42 AM EDT (22-Jul-2000 0442 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|