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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

`Serious Discord' Over Missile Sales to Egypt

Seoul CHUNGANG ILBO 27 Jun 96 p 4
by Pae Myong-pok

It was learned that the State Department is facing serious discord [simgakhan kaldung] with other offices in the U.S. Government surrounding the North Korea missile export issue, which is attracting the people's attention.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, quoting a secret Central Intelligence Agency report it had exclusively obtained, reported on 21 June: "North Korea has secretly delivered components of Scud-C missiles to Egypt on at least seven occasions in late March and April." The report created a sensation within the State Department.

The next day, State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns spent nearly half of his regular briefing on this question, which was exceptional.

While evading any confirmation of the truth of the report, he constantly expressed criticism and indignation against "someone else" within the government who leaked the secret report to the press. Such extreme phrases were used as "a mean act intentionally perpetrated to stab the State Department in the back," an "illegal act by someone who knows nothing about foreign policy," and an "offensive act to uselessly create confusion between government offices." What organization the ringleader belongs to, and who leaked the secret report, have not been confirmed. Spokesman Burns stated: "Although I can make a guess, I cannot make it public." He added: "It is certain it was not the State Department."

Rumors say it was CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency within the Defense Department. However, one thing for certain is that whoever leaked the secret report is discontent with the State Department's policy toward North Korea.

The United States and North Korea held the first round of missile export control negotiations in Berlin late last April, and are expected to hold a second round of negotiations next month.

If the content of the report is then true, North Korea, while pretending to respond to negotiations with the United States, was running amok exporting missile.

U.S. domestic law formulated in 1990 according to the Missile Technology Control Regime specifies that a two-year- period of economic sanctions will be imposed on nations illegally importing or exporting missile technology. In the event this report proves true, economic sanctions against North Korea, a country already subject to sanctions, should be strengthened or extended. In addition, economic sanctions should be placed against Egypt, a U.S. ally. Indeed, this will embarrass the State Department, which advocates a "policy of magnanimity."

It is an open strategy for the State Department to use relaxation of economic sanctions as "the lever" to achieve North Korea's abandonment of missile exports. This secret, which the State Department kept hidden for strategic reasons despite its awareness of the fact, has now been exposed to the public. As a result, the State Department has lost its lever against North Korea because its justification, as a negotiation card for relaxing sanctions against North Korea, no longer exists.

People point out that the sensation surrounding the leakage of the secret report is a clear example showing the delicate discord between hardline and moderate factions within the administration.

Meanwhile, the ROK can hardly eliminate doubts that the State Department might have carried out a series of negotiations with North Korea in such a way as to ignore North Korea's nuclear problem in spite of its being aware of the existence of North Korea's nuclear weapons.




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