U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
September 10, 1998
Meeting in New York seven times from August 21 to September 5, U.S. negotiators obtained commitments from their North Korean counterparts on a range of issues of major concern to the U.S., our allies the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the region as a whole. The U.S. objective in these talks was to obtain from the North Koreans concrete steps that will reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and to ensure that the D.P.R.K. continues to abide by all of the terms of the Agreed Framework. Working closely with our allies, we sought to remove D.P.R.K. threats to the Framework, to begin to clarify certain North Korean underground construction activity of concern to us, to raise our deep concerns over the missile test, and to restart talks on their missile program.
In the talks, U.S. Special Envoy Charles Kartman led the U.S. side. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, who returned to North Korea September 7, headed the North Korean delegation.
As a result of the talks, we made progress on each of our goals.
--The D.P.R.K. has agreed to continue the serious discussion, which began in New York, about U.S. concerns with respect to the nature of certain suspicious underground construction in North Korea. We made clear in the New York talks that D.P.R.K. verbal assurances will not suffice to meet our concerns. We intend to press for access to clarify the nature of suspect construction, and we have already made the North Koreans aware that access will be necessary to clarify our concerns.
--The D.P.R.K. has agreed to resume missile talks on October 1, which will allow us to press strongly our concerns about their production, development, and export of missiles, as well as their further testing, a serious concern heightened by the recent launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea. We have made and will continue to make clear to the North Koreans that such a missile launch should not be repeated.
--The D.P.R.K. will resume canning of remaining spent fuel rods starting in mid-September. This canning is a North Korean obligation under the Agreed Framework and is to be completed without further delay.
--The D.P.R.K. has agreed to attend a third plenary of the Four Party Talks in October.
--The D.P.R.K. also agreed to restart talks on steps they need to take in order to be removed from the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terrorism.
The U.S. has reaffirmed that it is living up to its commitments. It will work to ensure that the D.P.R.K. will be provided with heavy fuel oil (HFO) under the Agreed Framework, including resumption of HFO shipments later this month and completion of the delivery of the remaining 284,000 metric tons of HFO planned for this year within 1998. The U.S. also reaffirmed that the D.P.R.K. would be provided two light water reactors (LWRs) by KEDO, in accordance with the Agreed Framework. As we move forward in these areas, we will continue to consult closely with the Congress. The U.S. will fully respect the positions of the R.O.K. and Japan and consult closely with them regarding the LWR project implementation, as addressed in the U.S. press statement resulting from the New York talks.
As we pursue our negotiations with North Korea on these difficult issues, we will continue to consult closely with Congress and our allies, the R.O.K. and Japan.
There should be no doubt about our firm commitment to our bilateral security arrangements with the R.O.K. and Japan.
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