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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 
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)
21-Jul-2000 09:54 AM LOC (21-Jul-2000 1354 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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