U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
U.S. Department of State

Great Seal logo

James B. Foley, Deputy Department Spokesman
Excerpt from daily press briefing
Readout of March 1998 plenary talks
Washington, DC, March 23, 1998
U.S. Department of State

Blue Bar rule

QUESTION: Have you reached any agreement in four-party talks in Geneva at all?

MR. FOLEY: Have we -- I'm sorry, I didn't --

QUESTION: Have you reached any agreement?

MR. FOLEY: Any agreement in the four-party talks?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. FOLEY: Well, alas, not agreement in this latest round. First, however, I would like to thank, on behalf of the US Government, the People's Republic of China for chairing the session with a lot of skill; and the Swiss Government for its support and hospitality. Our negotiators went to Geneva in order to identify the concrete steps that the four parties could take to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

US negotiators proposed various mechanisms based on the already-agreed agenda to move the dialogue from sterile debate to more productive exchanges on concrete confidence-building measures. Unfortunately, the North Koreans were not prepared to consider pragmatic steps forward. The North Koreans insisted that the negotiations on the withdrawal of US forces from Korea and a separate peace treaty be placed on the agenda.

As you know -- because we have stated this often over the last months -- the United States is willing to exchange views on any subject, including that subject. However, the 37,000 US troops on the Peninsula, vis-a-vis North Korea's 1.2 million-member army are not, in fact, a cause of tension. On the contrary, they have helped maintain peace and stability for 45 years. Their presence in Korea is, and will be, determined by the US and the Republic of Korea on the basis of our mutual security alliance. It is not a subject for negotiation with any other nation.

However, I can't say that we were altogether surprised by the results of the latest round of the four-party talks. We always expected the search for permanent peace to be long and difficult. So we're not -- while being realistic about the short-run, we're not pessimistic about the long-run. As the Chinese chair of the four-party talks stated at their conclusion, the four parties will work out the timing of the third plenary session through proper channels. We expect this process, however difficult, to continue because it's so important to the four parties represented there.

Link to complete March 23, 1998 daily press briefing.

[end of document]

Blue Bar rule

Great Seal logo

Return to the DOSFAN Home Page. Return to the Secretary's Home Page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.