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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Briefer:  Richard Boucher, Spokesman
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2000, 1:15 P.M.
QUESTION:  Do you have any further readout on Ambassador
Sherman's travels?
MR. BOUCHER:  I think so.
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) - be launching satellites, North Korean
satellites, into space?
MR. BOUCHER:  Where is she?  Where is Wendy?  There she is.
She's under East Asia because it's about Korea.  Okay, sorry.
I want to tell you who she met with.  She had good discussions in
Moscow.  She met with Deputy Foreign Ministers Losyukov and
Mamedov.  They did discuss a wide range of issues regarding North
Korea policy.  In the course of those talks they also discussed
North Korean leader Kim Jung Il's proposal of trading missile
restraint for satellite launches.
Both the US and Russian officials continue to believe it's
important to explore this proposal with North Korea.  Ambassador
Sherman will talk with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts
at the trilateral coordination oversight group meeting later this
week in Seoul.  That's September 1st, tomorrow.  We are taking
the proposal seriously and we look forward to finding out more
for our part through direct discussion with North Korea.
QUESTION:  Does that the mean the Russians are also taking it
MR. BOUCHER:  We and the Russians both believe that it's
something that needs to be treated seriously and needs to be
followed up.
QUESTION:  So your understanding now is that this whole joke
business is not on, that it wasn't --
MR. BOUCHER:  Not in the end.  I can't give you final
clarification of what the North Koreans have to say at this stage
about it.  But certainly for our part and for the Russian part,
we believe it's something that needs to be pursued seriously.
QUESTION:  There was supposedly a letter sent from Pyongyang to
President Putin, described by Kim Jung Il, describing it in a bit
more detail.  Is that something that - what's her title - that
Counselor Sherman - did she get any information about that?
MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I'll have to check on that.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 P.M.)

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