[EXCERPTS] DoD News Briefing

Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)
Thursday, May 15, 1997 - 1:55 p.m.

Q: In strategic matters here, General Shalikashvili yesterday in
Beijing at the Defense University stated, warned the Chinese
that North Korea was what we know to be the greatest threat
to peace, and that was because of its inability to feed its
people, it has become the most dangerous factor in Asian
Pacific relations. General Shali said also that the United States
welcomes the intercession of China on the Peninsula. And I
would ask if basically this Department, does this government
agree with General Shali's assessment? And do we welcome
the Chinese to help feed the North Koreans? 

A: We welcome efforts by all countries to try to reduce the
tensions on the Korean Peninsula. I think our policy on that has
been very clear. 

As you know, President Clinton last year proposed four-party
talks to bring about peace and reconciliation on the Korean
Peninsula. Those talks involve China, the United States, North
Korea, and the Republic of Korea. So we are very much in
favor of Chinese involvement in efforts to bring peace and
stability on the Korean Peninsula. 

Q: Also on this topic, Mr. Rodionov yesterday told this
reporter that Russia was very concerned about the state in
North Korea, the instability, and he expressed an interest in
working with the United States to help alleviate these problems
of desperation. He called it desperation. Was this matter
discussed between the Secretary and Mr. Rodionov? 

A: Yes, it was discussed, and I believe they mentioned that at
the press conference. I'd have to go back and check the
record, but they did, in fact, discuss the situation on the
Korean Peninsula. Russia borders Korea, and like China, it
has a real interest in peace and stability and reconciliation on
the Peninsula.