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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

State Department Noon Briefing, October 2, 2000

MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2000 -- 1:05 P.M.
Q: Let me ask you about an upcoming meeting between Secretary Albright
and the North Korea special envoy. Do you think that the military
issue -- for example, the issue related to changing the armistice --
(inaudible) -- peace agreement between the United States and North
Korea -- it will be discussed in the meeting?
REEKER: Well, I don't have any specifics to give you yet on that
meeting, which we announced Friday afternoon, other than just to
reiterate that the First Vice Chairman of the National Defense
Commission of North Korea, Chairman Cho Myong-nok, will visit
Washington October 9 through 12, as a special envoy of Chairman Kim
Jong-il. Secretary Albright is going to host the visit and the
meetings there. The President will meet with Vice Chairman Cho in the
course of the visit, and of course Ambassador Wendy Sherman, our
Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary on North Korea
Policy, will be very involved in that. We see this very much as an
important step forward in improving bilateral relations, and it is
going to contribute definitely to our goal of ending the longstanding
state of hostility on the Korean Peninsula.
So in terms of specifics of that, I can't obviously prejudge that, but
we are very pleased. The Secretary has expressed how pleased she is
that this visit is going to take place. We will try to have more
details for you as scheduling and other details emerge, probably over
this week. I will try to get you some background briefings.
Q: Two questions on the same subject. One is, I assume from that
answer that the North Koreans have not yet canceled this meeting --
(laughter) -- or otherwise postponed it because of some small thing.
I'm just assuming --
REEKER: No, we are continuing to work with the North Koreans on the
upcoming visit. As you know, we have talks still going on in New York
this week.
Q:  Have the terrorism talks begun yet?
REEKER: The bilateral talks with North Korea are continuing today in
New York, and the tone, I am told, remains very positive. Ambassador
Sheehan is there today leading a segment on terrorism, and we are very
much working with them in New York to coordinate the upcoming visit
that we discussed.
Q: And are those expected to go -- the New York talks -- beyond today,
or do we not know?
REEKER: I don't have a full readout of whether today would be the last
day or it will continue into tomorrow. I think obviously they are
working very hard to make all these arrangements and coordinate for
the following week when we have this high-level visit. So we will get
back to you as the details emerge.
Q: And there was a question on Friday of what -- did they have any
meetings over the -- or were there any types of meetings over the
weekend, or did they just break for the Saturday and Sunday?
REEKER: I'm not sure on that, Matt. I would be happy to check back
specifically. I think there was certainly a break of some sort.
Whether some meetings continued --
Q:  But the terrorism part started today?
REEKER:  That is my understanding --
Q:  Did they do the segment on missiles last week, or --
REEKER:  Did they do?
Q:  The segment on missiles.
REEKER: Yes, Ambassador Einhorn was in New York leading the
discussions on missiles last week. He is back in Washington. Mike
Sheehan is in New York, along, of course, with Ambassador Kartman, who
has been working on this all along.
Q: You announced that President Clinton is going to meet General Cho.
And at what occasion -- at what function?
REEKER: I just don't have details to add at this point. During the
course of the meetings, of the visit from October 9th through 12th,
the President will receive Vice Chairman Cho, but I just don't have
any schedule to give you at this point. Hopefully, by the end of the
week we will have a better picture of how we expect this visit to be
Q: (Inaudible) -- General Cho is going to be here using a private
plane? Or do you have any information about that?
REEKER: I don't have their travel details. Again, I think those are
the things that are being discussed in New York even today, and
hopefully toward the end of the week we will have some more details,
or perhaps North Koreans will give you details of the --
Q: The delegation in New York will be flown to Washington to negotiate
about the itineraries and protocols?
REEKER: I believe they are taking care of that in New York. That is
where they are meeting on this. And in terms of more details, I don't
have any at this point.
Q: Do you have any idea when they are going to be in town -- the
delegation -- the North Korean delegation now in New York?
REEKER: No, as I just said, I don't have any details that they are
going to be in town. I know they are discussing the visit in New York.
I am not aware of any plans for meetings in Washington prior to the
visit, but that doesn't preclude that that may occur as we continue to
work out the details for this. I just don't have those details yet
while they are working on them.
Q: Can you outline the general agendas between the two countries when
General Cho is in town?
REEKER: Well, I think in our statement that we released on Friday, we
did go through that to a degree. I think we noted that General Cho
Myong-nok is the first Vice Chairman of the National Defense
Commission, which is the most important ruling body in North Korea. He
is second to Chairman Kim Jong-il in the National Defense Commission,
and is considered to be very influential. So he will be accompanied,
we should note, by First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kang Sok
And, as I said, we have been discussing a high-level visit for some
time. I think a lot of you will remember that in January of this year
the North Koreans formally accepted our invitation to send a
high-level delegation to the United States as a reciprocal visit to
the May 1999 visit to Pyongyang by Presidential Envoy former Defense
Secretary Dr. William Perry, who was accompanied at that time by
Ambassador Wendy Sherman.
Obviously, given the historic events that have been taking place on
the Korean Peninsula in the last few months, the US and North Korea
are in full agreement that this is a very good time to have a
high-level visit that provides a very good opportunity for serious
talks on -- and indeed some progress on -- the issues central to peace
and stability in Northeast Asia, the Asia-Pacific region at large, and
that includes the improvement of US-North Korean bilateral ties.
We have been pursuing a dialogue with North Korea, as you know, in
which the range of our concerns can be discussed and resolved.
Obviously among those issues, as outlined in Dr. Perry's report,
includes nuclear missile issues, and we hope to see progress in
bilateral relations, and in enhanced stability in the Korean Peninsula
which will allow such normalization as was envisioned in the Agreed
Framework from 1994. So we will be reviewing all of those things.
Obviously Ambassador Sheehan is in New York today talking about
terrorism, so we will continue to look at all of those issues as we
move through these to the visit next week.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:50 P.M.)

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