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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Monday, July 24, 2000 - 10:30 a.m. EDT
Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen

(Media Availability with Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Minister of Defense Serzh Sarkisyan of Armenia)

Q: Mr. Secretary, I'd like to ask you a question about national missile defense.

The reported offer by North Korea as described by President Putin to abandon entirely its missile program if it gets international assistance in launching space satellites, does that influence in any way your thinking about the need for national missile defense?

Cohen: It's unclear to me exactly what the offer is. It is still fairly ambiguous in terms of the scope of the proposal, and it would require a great deal more clarification before I could comment that it was a positive proposal or not.

I have to also take into account that their top negotiator in Kuala Lumpur recently also made the statement that our missile policy is to develop, to produce, and deploy powerful missiles continuously.

So we have to weigh one statement against the other and get clarification before any judgment could be made about the validity and indeed the advisability of the proposal.

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