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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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 
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)
22-Jul-2000 00:42 AM EDT (22-Jul-2000 0442 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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