TITLE=CLINTON-NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY)
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
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
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:
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.
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
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)
22-Jul-2000 00:42 AM EDT (22-Jul-2000 0442 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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