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Albright Press Availability October 25 in Seoul

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Seoul, Republic of Korea)
For Immediate Release
October 25, 2000
Press Availability With 
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Korean Foreign Minister Lee 
Japanese Foreign Minister Kono
Shilla Hotel after the Trilateral Meeting
Seoul, South Korea
October 25, 2000
FOREIGN MINISTER LEE: (English translation) I am very pleased today to
have this press conference to brief the results of the Secretary's
visit to the North, in the presence of Minister Kono and Secretary
Albright. In today's Trilateral Foreign Minister's Meeting, Secretary
Albright explained in detail the results of her visit to North Korea,
and Minister Kono briefed on the Japanese Government's plan and
prospects for the Japan-DPRK normalization talks, and Minister Lee and
myself presented views on the recent developments in South-North
relations and future prospects. Based on this exchange of information
and views, they consulted on the future direction of their North
Korean policies. The three ministers shared the view that the historic
inter-Korean Summit of last June greatly contributed to creating a
positive environment for the improvement of U.S.-DPRK relations and
Japan-DPRK relations.
In particular, they noted that significant progress has been made in
U.S.-DPRK relations as President Kim Dae Jung advised President
Clinton and Chairman Kim Jong Il on the importance of high-level
direct contacts between the two countries. The ROK, the U.S. and Japan
expressed the shared hope for further progress in the ongoing
South-North dialogue on tension reduction, reconciliation and
cooperation, and humanitarian assistance. They welcomed the recent
positive developments such as Vice Chairman Jo Myong Rok's visit to
the U.S. and Secretary Albright's visit to North Korea. They expressed
hope for tangible progress in the forthcoming Japan-DPRK normalization
talks slated for the end of October. The three countries also
expressed hope that North Korea takes note of the importance of
faithfully implementing the joint declaration of June 15th and the
importance of making progress in its relations with the U.S. and
Japan, and will continuously take positive measures.
In particular, the three countries confirmed that South-North
reconciliation, cooperation, and tension reduction, coupled with
improved U.S.-DPRK and Japan-DPRK relations, are the keys to promoting
peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia and to
strengthening efforts for global non-proliferation. The three
countries agreed to further strengthen trilateral coordination in
their undertakings to make further progress in their respective
relations with the North. The Korean Government expects that progress
in the U.S.-DPRK and Japan-DPRK relations will help South-North
relations and vice-versa, and that these bilateral relations will be
mutually complimentary in developing further progress in those
relations.
As a conclusion, we support positively the results of Secretary
Albright's visit to North Korea and we believe that the two sides had
a serious discussion on mutual concerns, thereby making important
progress towards better relations between the United States and North
Korea. Once again, I expect that those results will contribute greatly
to the expansion and development of the South-North dialogue and
relations. These are my remarks and this is the evaluation of the
Korean Government, and now I would like to invite Secretary Albright
and Minister Kono for their respective remarks.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon, I am very pleased to be able to
join my colleagues here in Seoul. To begin, I want to publicly
congratulate President Kim Dae Jung for his richly deserved Nobel
Peace Prize. His efforts to end Cold War divisions and increase
people-to-people contact between the North and the South merit the
world's full support. The South-North dialogue is central to peace and
stability. I was encouraged to hear while in Pyongyang of Chairman Kim
Jong Il's continued backing for this process and I hope that it will
succeed in improving lives on both sides of the 38th parallel. In our
trilateral discussions today, my colleagues and I discussed a number
of matters including my just-completed visit to the DPRK. I briefed
the foreign ministers on my wide-ranging discussions, including those
with Chairman Kim, and I will make a full report to President Clinton
as soon as I return to Washington. As allies, the Republic of Korea,
Japan, and the United States work closely to ensure that our support
for stability on the Korean Peninsula and [in] East Asia is well
coordinated and effective. In recent years, we have built a platform
for progress through the Agreed Framework, the Four-Party talks, the
Perry Report, and the exchange of high-level visits. We have begun to
address in a serious way some of our differences with Pyongyang. The
path to more normal relations has not been smooth and we are still
much closer to its beginning than its end. But every step in the right
direction is a step toward lasting peace in this region. Accordingly,
we will continue to work together closely and to consult carefully.
Our unity is crucial if we are to make further gains.
In closing, I would like to thank Foreign Minister Lee for hosting our
meetings and lunch today, and I am grateful that Foreign Minister Kono
was able to come to Seoul to join us. I look forward to seeing both of
my friends at the APEC ministerial next month in Brunei. Thank you
very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: (English Translation) Japan believes that
Secretary Albright's dramatic visit to the North was an extremely
meaningful one that, together with the ongoing progress with the
North-South relations since the North-South summit in June, which made
visible improvements in the situation on the Peninsula will contribute
greatly to the relaxation of tension on the Peninsula. I believe that
Secretary Albright must be very tired, having just concluded her trip
to North Korea, and she has been kind enough to visit Seoul for this
meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Korea and Japan,
and we are very grateful for this opportunity. I am also grateful to
Foreign Minister Lee Jong Il and the Government of Korea for making
preparations for this meeting at such short notice, especially so soon
after the Asia-Europe Meeting.
As far as Japan is concerned, we are convinced that the progress in
U.S.-North Korea relations will definitely have a positive impact on
Japan-North Korea relations as well. As for our normalization talks
next week in Beijing, Japan will hold its eleventh round of
normalization talks with North Korea. Although there was a hiatus of
seven years in between, since the resumption of the talks, after that
hiatus of seven years, it will be the third round of talks.
In the upcoming normalization talks with the North, we would like to
build on the report we heard from Secretary Albright and also the
results of the meetings we had today with the three Foreign Ministers,
and with perseverance, work on our negotiations to achieve further
progress in the Japan-North Korea talks. At the meeting, we renewed
our awareness that it will be important to see to it that our
respective relations with the North - with the DPRK - will progress
in such a way that they will positively influence each other and that
we continue to seek a constructive response from the North to the
security and humanitarian concerns of the international community.
To that end, our three countries - that share such values such as,
freedom, democracy and basic human rights - will need to keep up
close coordination with each other, that's what basically we
discussed.
QUESTION: My question is to Secretary Albright. During your visit to
the North, they say there was no progress in the "missile problem."
Was there any "terrorist list" problem? Was there any progress, please
explain it to us. But if not, are you satisfied with the developments
in the "missile problem," aside from the "terrorist list?" Is
President Clinton going to visit North Korea or is he going to visit
South Korea?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first let me say that on the terrorist list,
that is a subject that we have been discussing with the North Koreans
for some time now, and we had issued a communiqué on that, and they
know what they need to do. Obviously, the subject came up, but it was
not the central aspect of our discussions in Pyongyang because the
North Koreans know what they have to do on that subject. We did
obviously talk about the missiles and the idea of exchanging satellite
launches for serious missile restraint, and we think that progress was
made. And, as I said in Pyongyang, there will be expert level talks to
discuss the subject further in the next week. As far as President
Clinton's travel is concerned, no decisions have been made. I will
brief the President when I return.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, as you are aware, there are strong
suspicions that North Korea may have developed one or more nuclear
weapons before the Agreed Framework was signed. How important is it
that North Korea be transparent about these activities if Northeast
Asia is to achieve freedom from tension after all these years?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Obviously, the nuclear issue has been one of
central importance to us and the Agreed Framework has been central to
a lot of our discussions, and our agreement and our implementation of
it is important, and transparency is key. As one thinks about
different relations with any country, but especially countries such as
North Korea, transparency is essential. And I made the point any
number of times in my discussions with Chairman Kim, whatever the
subject we were talking about, was that confidence-building measures
generally, and transparency, were absolutely essential if our
relationship was to move forward.
QUESTION: My question is for Minister Kono and Secretary Albright, and
this is on the [inaudible] issue, which is a matter of life for the
Japanese people. Secretary Albright, did you raise this matter in your
meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Il? And what was Mr. Kim's response to
that? Mr. Kono, in the trilateral meeting today, what sort of
explanations did you hear Secretary Albright make, and how do you
evaluate that as [a member] of the Japanese Government? And would the
Japanese preparations for the next round of talks change as a result
of these explanations?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am afraid I missed the central word in your
question.
QUESTION:  That was on the abductee problem.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I did raise it a number of times and I made it
very clear to Chairman Kim that this was an issue that was important
not only to the Japanese but also to us because, as I have now stated
a number of times, it is essential that our three countries carry on
these discussions in parallel, and that we reinforce each other in
terms of making sure that each country's special concerns are met. And
that is why this trilateral meeting has been so important, and why I
felt that even before talking to President Clinton, that I would meet
with our allies here in Seoul in order to go through the details and
to make very clear that our work should be reinforcing.
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: (English Translation) On the abductee issue,
Secretary Albright just now responded in our trilateral meeting as
well. This is exactly what I heard from Secretary Albright. Needless
to say, this is an issue that we have discussed with the U.S. over and
over again, and Secretary Albright is fully aware of the importance of
the issue to Japan. It is with that understanding that Secretary
Albright went to the meetings in North Korea. As she stated just now,
the issue was taken up at the meetings as well. How will this bear on
the normalization talks next week, as Secretary Albright has stated
just now, how we assess this is up to us. As far as Japan is
concerned, how we will appraise their response on this issue, and how
we are to address this, [well] this is a matter which we, the
Japanese, have to give full thoughts to in preparation for the
upcoming round.
QUESTION: This question is to Mr. Lee. With the rapid progress between
the DPRK and the U.S., there is a great concern over the peace process
or peace structure on the Korean Peninsula in order to change the
truce system to a peace structure. What is your position on the
Four-Party talks and your forecast for the meetings?
FOREIGN MINISTER LEE: (English Translation) The Korean Government,
during the past two-and-a-half years, has been consistent in pursuing
North Korean policies, and we have put an end to the Cold War
structure of the past 50 years by eliminating the risks of war with a
permanent peace structure on the Korean Peninsula. Upon this basic
position, the Korean Government welcomes the rapid progress of
relations between the U.S.-DPRK and Japan-DPRK, and we are going to
utilize the framework of the Four-Party talks as South Korea [is] the
foremost interlocutor, and we are going to continue with this process.
In connection with this, the historic summit meeting between the South
and the North, in a joint declaration, the two sides confirmed the
principal of resolution of the problem between the parties that are
concerned, and all the other parties are welcoming this principle. So,
the peace structure on the Korean peninsula will be realized with the
welcome of all the other [members of the] international community.
QUESTION: Would you be willing to take the four Red Army persons who
are still in North Korea? Have you had any discussions about this with
the North Koreans? And is it your understanding that this would then
allow North Korea to be taken off the terrorist list and international
aid would flow to that country?
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: (English Translation) Whether I got to the
hijackers of the [inaudible]? We did have discussions in our meeting
today. We would like to hear further details on this matter.






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