Tracking Number: 389309
Title: "Gallucci: ROK Reactors Remain the Only Choice for N Korea." Remarks by Ambassador Robert Gallucci regarding North Korea's reluctance to accept nuclear reactors built in South Korea. (950428)
04/28/95 GALLUCCI: ROK REACTORS REMAIN THE ONLY CHOICE FOR N. KOREA (Transcript: A/S Robert Gallucci at WNDC luncheon) (8530) Washington -- South Korean nuclear reactors remain the only choice for North Korea if it is to get any light-water nuclear reactors at all under the Agreed Framework, according to Ambassador Robert Gallucci.
The Agreed Framework, which was signed last fall, stipulates that North Korea will freeze and eventually dismantle its current gas graphite nuclear program in exchange for proliferation-resistant light water nuclear reactors designed and built by South Korea.
In an address to The Woman's National Democratic Club April 27, Gallucci, chief U.S. negotiator for the Agreed Framework, gave an update on the current state of negotiations with North Korea.
North Korean officials called an early end to the recent talks in Berlin when they refused to consider accepting reactors from the Republic of Korea (ROK), but the United States is willing to continue discussions at another as yet unscheduled rounds of talks in Geneva, Gallucci said. But he emphasized that the South Korean reactors are the only political, technical, and financial choice. South Korea, which will be carrying the major financial burden for the deal, will not pay for reactors designed and built by some other country, he noted.
The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), led by the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, was established in March to provide a multilateral interface with North Korea on the light-water reactor project and to provide financing for the estimated $4,000 million ($4 billion) that will be needed.
Gallucci said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) understood that South Korea would be the primary provider for the reactors at the time they signed the Agreed Framework last October. But despite this understanding and the multilateral go-between provided by KEDO, North Korea continues to balk at South Korean involvement.
"The major stumbling block has come up from or results from the North Koreans' resistance to accepting those light-water reactors from South Korea," Gallucci said. "You may ask why this wasn't settled last October, and the answer is it was settled last October, and I have every confidence we'll be settling it for some period of time. The North Koreans have, not surprisingly, a great deal of difficulty accepting, in a political sense, reactors from South Korea. But that, ladies and gentlemen, was the deal. They well understood that that's the only place those reactors could come from and that they would have to accept that," he said.
"The United States is not prepared to change its position" on the South Korean light-water reactors, Gallucci said. He added that the United States "is not prepared to preserve the Agreed Framework at all costs" if the cost is excluding the participation of South Korea and Japan.
Gallucci pointed out that the Agreed Framework is not really an agreement, but a framework for taking certain verifiable steps. "We didn't want a treaty the North Koreans could violate," he added.
Gallucci refused to predict the ultimate outcome of the Agreed Framework. Following is a transcript of Gallucci's remarks: (begin transcript) REMARKS AT WOMAN'S NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB LUNCHEON BY ROBERT GALLUCCI, STATE DEPARTMENT AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR NORTH KOREA WASHINGTON, DC THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 1995 GALLUCCI: Thank you very much. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share lunch with you and some thoughts today. I am honestly and truly honored to have this opportunity. I am thrilled to have Nancy introduce me. I am sorry that Ruth Simms could not be here. Can people hear me?
VOICES: No. GALLUCCI: Well, that about wraps it up. (Laughter.) I'm not -- "This one's ours." What exactly does that mean? (Laughter.) How's that?
Ruth is not only my mother-in-law, but she also is the former first select woman in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is equivalent to being mayor. She was the first Democrat elected to that position in 60-some years and the first woman ever, and she was re-elected twice, I believe, then declined to run again. So I thought she would have particularly enjoyed this group. I know she would have, and I regret she can't be with us today.
We -- and you might have noticed today, this is Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. And we decided, with no political basis whatever, to also bring our sons to work today because we know what it is like, and I'm sure many of you do, when you show any distinction in treatment between son and daughter when they are separated by only two years, so this was bring your son and daughter to work today. And my wife is at a lunch that she needed to attend with my son, so I wanted to assure you all this is politically correct and everything is as it ought to be.
I'm, I think, advertised today to talk to you about North Korea, which I've been working on nearly full-time, or actually full- time, for the last six months or so, and to put it in a slightly larger context, of our effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, our non-proliferation policy. And somewhat in a presumptuous way, I'd like to put it in an even slightly larger context of our overall national security objectives in a post-Cold War world. And I'd like to begin in just that way. I will try not to be inspired by the thoughts of President Clinton at the time of his address by aiming for sincerity in length. I will try instead to keep my remarks relatively brief.
We who have, I think like you, been wondering about the nature of the world now that the Soviet Union is no more, and we begin in reacting to that, I think, with a very healthy sense of relief that the strategic nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union that was for decades targeted on the United States of America is no more, as the president noted in his State of the Union message. And for that we should be grateful. It does not mean that all those weapons are gone and they're taken away and there is no strategic nuclear threat, but it does mean that that threat is fundamentally basically changed and reduced. And if we had to list the implications of the structural change in the international system -- the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the end of the bipolar world, the tension between international communism and our way of life -- I think we'd properly start with the change that comes as a result of the at least substantial diminution of a threat, strategic threat, to the United States and to the possibility of world cataclysm.
That's obviously very good news, and we note that. At the same time we note, as we look to the nature of the world we live in without a Soviet Union, that there is a Russia. And it behooves us all to remember that Russia is an extremely important state to our security and to international security. Strobe Talbott has said that Russia is attempting to do something very, very difficult -- accomplish three transitions all simultaneously, none of them easy, all particularly difficult to do at the same time -- a political transition, an economic transition and a psychological transition.
The political transition is obviously from a totalitarian society to a democratic society; the economic transition from a command economy to a market economy; and the psychological transition, oddly enough, perhaps the most difficult of all, related to the first two -- transition from empire to nation. And as we look at the Russian foreign policy, that is a transition we are focusing on, I would suggest to you, as we try to define the future of Europe, how we ought to deal with what was a threat to Western Europe which is no more, but we try to define the nature of European politics and the nature of our relations with the states in now Central Europe.
So the first point I'm making here with respect to Russia is that these transitions are terribly important that they be accomplished and that we do everything we can to help with those transitions so that our national security and international security will be protected, obviously also in the interest of the Russian people and the other peoples of the former Soviet Union.
That said, I think many people believed that there was even more good news in store for us with the end of the Cold War. For a while, we heard phrases like "new world order." There was a sense that there was a kinder and gentler world out there for us in which military force was no longer going to be as salient a factor in international politics as it was in the previous 50 years or in the previous centuries, that economic power would be more significant, that we no longer needed to think in the terms of national security as we did in the past.
Very rapidly, I'd suggest to you, we found out that that was at least overstated -- if not fundamentally incorrect, at least overstated. We found that, for a variety of reasons, military force was still important; first, because traditional threats to the national security, to our vital interests, still emerged. We had to fight the war with Iraq. We cannot exclude the possibility that we'll have to confront overt aggression elsewhere again in the future.
Very quickly, we saw a situation in which our national security was not threatened, but where interests, values of the U.S., were still at stake -- not the national security but fundamental values. I'm referring here to Somalia, where we decided that -- and this was in the last administration -- deployment of U.S. forces was in the national interest because of the human stakes involved and because of our own values. This may happen again.
Third, I would suggest to you that we confront a world in which something like Oklahoma City can happen, and indeed, much worse can happen. International terrorism is a reality. We need to be able to deal with that, and that's another reason to believe that the world we will live in in the future is not yet the world we ultimately want to live in. We ultimately want to live in a world, the kind we envisioned when the strategic threat from the Soviet Union disappeared. And I'm suggesting to you we're not there yet.
This is my transition into what I think is becoming a central threat, if not the central threat to the United States in international security, and that is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Generally by that we mean nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and principally their means of delivery through ballistic missiles.
It is and has been our view that the proliferation particularly of nuclear weapons was a vital threat to the national security and international security. That's been true for about 50 years. I don't think we need to spend a lot of time at lunch today asking the question, why is that so? I think we're all aware of the enormous destructive power of nuclear weapons and that, in a general and simple, common-sense way, the fewer the number of nuclear weapons, the less countries and groups that have access to them, the better off we all will be. The question is how we bring about that world in a safe way. A couple of the realities that we face in the world we have now bear upon the threat that comes from the proliferation of nuclear weapons. One of the realities is that the Soviet Union is no more. Now, a moment ago I told you that that was great good news, and it is. But in terms of our concern about proliferation, there is a sort of unintended consequence that has flowed from that that has had something of a negative effect on our effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, because what has happened with the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the emergence of Russia and the arms controls, these very good arms control agreements which are dramatically reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the hands of the Russians, what this means is that these nuclear weapons are being collected in one place. They're being taken apart and the fissile material is being taken out. And indeed, less fissile material is being produced.
In a country in which there is less control, that is not a totalitarian society, in a country in which there is less control in the hands of the government than there was before, what this means is that we, the Russians and everybody else in the world has a real interest in controlling the disposition of fissile material; the fissile material that comes out of those weapons when they're taken apart, the fissile material in what you could call the civil portion of the cycle -- the plutonium, the highly-enriched uranium.
It's very important that particularly the activities that are undertaken under the Nunn-Lugar legislation are carried out effectively, that we help the Russians -- it's in our interest -- to account for this material and make sure that that material does not find its way across international borders. I know you've all heard stories about uranium or plutonium turning up in some parking lot in Europe. That is not what we wish to see. And there are hundreds of those cases each year these days. So far we don't have a case of significant quantities of fissile material turning up outside the border. We don't want to find one. The consequences of that for international terrorism or for nation-states getting their hands on this material is extraordinary.
Let me make a slightly technical point here in that connection. The significance of the acquisition of fissile material is very, very large in terms of the time it takes for a country or a group to acquire nuclear weapons. That's because fissile material is really the key to the acquisition of nuclear weapons. I know many of you remember from the past that some sophomore at Princeton successfully designed a fissile -- excuse me, a fission device, a nuclear weapon. And maybe some of you wondered if a sophomore at Princeton can design a nuclear weapon, why don't more countries have nuclear weapons? Why don't more sophomores have nuclear weapons?
The answer to that is that it's really not a problem of physics; it's a problem of engineering. And it's a problem of engineering in building facilities that produce fissile material. If you have access to plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, instead of eight to 10 years to the acquisition of nuclear weapons, that time frame can be collapsed down to one or two years. So it's extremely important that, as we look to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and stopping that, that we control the dissemination of fissile material.
The second point I'd note is that we are still concerned about some countries acquiring nuclear weapons that we believe do not now have them. And I would list here particularly Iraq, Iran and Libya. And I'd also add to that some countries that we believe could deploy nuclear weapons relatively quickly, such as India and Pakistan, and yes, Israel. Under these circumstances, you could say we have quite a lot to worry about, and one would add very rapidly North Korea to that list of countries that we worry about. And that's as it ought to be.
I would note that in most of these cases -- the Iran, Iraq and Libya cases -- we're worried about countries' capabilities which are very minimal. We know that if you assess risks in terms of capabilities, on the one hand, and intentions on the other, in these three cases we have countries with intentions which are quite clear -- that is, to acquire nuclear weapons -- but with capabilities that are virtually non-existent. We wish to keep it that way, and that's the purpose of our foreign policy; why, for example, we press countries to avoid any nuclear cooperation with Iran. We don't want Iran to fall into a category of a country that had both the intention and the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
There is good news as we look around at the proliferation of nuclear weapons as well. The first bit of good news is that I listed to you the countries which we are worried about in terms of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and I didn't list very many countries. When I was a graduate student in the mid '60s, some 30 years ago, we thought that within a decade there'd be about 15 nuclear weapon states, and maybe in 20 years or the end of the millennium, there might be as many as 30 or 40 nuclear weapon states. It hasn't happened. That's partly, I think, because of some very effective diplomacy. I think it's also partly a function of the decline in the interest in countries in nuclear energy, and for a variety of other reasons. But we don't face an unmanageable problem. There are a small number of countries we're quite worried about, but not a massive number.
The second point is that we have found out that proliferation is a reversible process. We used to worry at some point about South Korea and about Taiwan. We don't anymore. We used to worry about Argentina and Brazil. We don't anymore. Both have moved strongly in the direction of the embrace of international safeguards. We used to worry about South Africa. South Africa actually built nuclear weapons and actually dismantled them and invited full international inspection and joined the international non-proliferation treaty. So this is a manageable problem. This is not Chicken Little today telling you that the sky is falling and there's nothing you can do about it. My point today really is the sky could fall, but there's a great deal we can do about it to prevent it from falling.
That actually gets me to segue into the North Korea issue. And here, as we look at North Korea, we have a case that I would say is reversible. We have a situation in which I think the international community generally understood that about two years ago -- as a matter of fact, almost exactly two years ago, the spring of '91 -- excuse me, '93 -- the North Koreans were found to be in violation of their international IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, safeguard undertakings. They wouldn't let inspectors go to two radioactive waste sites.
When they said they wouldn't do that, the IAEA did what the IAEA is obligated to do under its statute. It reported them to the Security Council of the United Nations. The same time that they did that, the North Koreans said they were going to withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty. About then, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that encouraged states to try to resolve this issue bilaterally. The United States, in June of 1993, began -- and I represented the United States -- began direct discussions with the North Koreans.
Well, for a large part of the international community, the issue at stake was what I just described to you, that North Korea had violated its non-proliferation treaty undertakings. It had refused to allow what are known as special inspections at two radioactive waste sites. By the way, this was a material issue to the treaty in a legal sense because the radioactive waste sites were sought after by the IAEA because the agency believed that if they could go to those sites, they could determine how much plutonium the North Koreans had separated maybe three to four years earlier and whether the North Koreans had separated only gram quantities of plutonium, as they claimed, or whether they'd actually separated kilogram quantities, enough for maybe a nuclear weapon or possibly two.
So this was an important issue, and the North Koreans' refusal to allow that inspection was important. And ostensibly, the engagement of the United States with North Korea at that point was to solve the safeguards issue and drive the North Koreans back into the non-proliferation treaty regime. I say ostensibly because there was more to it than that and there always has been -- not that those objectives weren't very important; it is very important that the international community and the United States not tolerate a nuclear weapons capability in North Korea. That's true. But there was much more at stake, much more than one or possibly two nuclear weapons, because what we were also very aware of was that in North Korea there was a research reactor, as it is called, a five-megawatt reactor, that contains 25 to 30 kilograms of plutonium.
But a year later, in June of 1994, when the North Koreans discharged the fuel into a spent-fuel storage pond, we knew with certainty that there was enough plutonium in the pond in North Korea for roughly five nuclear weapons. We also knew that every year that reactor operated, that five-megawatt reactor, it produced about a bomb's worth of plutonium each year. We also knew that they had what's known as a reprocessing facility or a chemical separation facility that extracts plutonium from the spent fuel, that they had mastered what we call plutonium technology.
We also knew that the North Koreans had a 50- and a 200-watt reactor under construction, that these reactors would be finished within a few years, let's say -- the 50 was somewhat ahead of the 200 -- and that, in other words, a safe assumption with an unsafe outcome was that the North Koreans, within roughly four years or so, could be producing about 150 kilograms of plutonium each year, enough for maybe 30 nuclear weapons each year. Now, that's a lot bigger problem than one or possibly two nuclear weapons.
Moreover, as we looked at the North Korean case, we were aware that North Korea was the only country on earth exporting ballistic missiles. Let me try that sentence out on you one more time. North Korea was the only country on earth exporting ballistic missiles. Now, where do you think they were exporting those ballistic missiles? Where would you least like to see them export their ballistic missiles? To Iran, correct. Under that circumstance, we were interested in the range of these missiles, and they are extended-range ballistic missiles. The exports to Iran were in the range of Scud missiles, but the North Koreans were also building missiles in the thousands-of-kilometer range.
Those of you who are familiar with the geography of the Korean peninsula will note that one does not need missiles in the range of thousands of kilometers to cover the Korean peninsula. Indeed, these missiles were intended, we think, only for two things. One is force projection and intimidation in Northeast Asia, and the second is for exports. And such missiles with such range exported to the Middle East posed a grave threat to our vital interests and those of our friends in the region.
Moreover, we had to consider the possibility that a plutonium-production capability of such magnitude was also intended to intimidate those in Northeast Asia, principally Japan, South Korea, but also possibly for export. So the image confronting the Clinton administration was of a program in which North Korea could indeed produce large quantities of plutonium and ballistic missiles and corner the market on exports. Why would they wish to do this? The North Korean situation, economic situation, is not good. One might call them economically challenged. They have not been doing well; negative growth over, for example, the last four or five years. This was a method, we believe, North Koreans would seek to use in order to save an economy which was in big trouble after the end of the Soviet Union, after the special relationship with the Soviet Union, and the fundamental change in relationship with China.
This was all a very real definition of a security problem for us, and I would add to that, a conventional threat on the Korean peninsula of some significance. We have deployed, the United States, 37,000 Americans, men and women, deployed in South Korea to sustain and support and give evidence of our close alliance with the Republic of Korea. So we are very much on the line with the South Koreans in defending South Korea from North Korea. North Korea has a million- man army, 600,000 roughly forward-deployed. This is not a stable situation.
So when we went into these negotiations, our objectives were not only to solve the safeguards problem, but also to solve the problem of the plutonium availability. The agreed framework that we negotiated last year, that I signed on behalf of the U.S. government in October of last year, accomplishes all of our objectives, some of them accomplished only over a period of time, some immediately. The most important are accomplished immediately.
Very briefly, we succeeded in first freezing the North Korean nuclear program. That spent fuel with the 30 kilograms of plutonium stays in the pond and is ultimately shipped out of North Korea entirely. The five-megawatt reactor, the reprocessing plant, the 50- megawatt reactor, the 200-megawatt reactor, all those are frozen in place, the freeze inspected on a daily basis by the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors who are resident on the site, and ultimately those facilities are dismantled.
The inspections we want are achieved; return to the NPT. Those two steps are tied in the agreement to the benefits the North Koreans get, and the North Koreans do get benefits. They get a $4 billion light-water reactor project. That's an energy composition for giving up the gas graphite program, which is so proliferation- prone and which provides or causes a threat in the production of plutonium. So we did agree, with support of the South Koreans and Japanese principally, to lead an international consortium that would result in North Korea acquiring substantial energy benefits. But the price for them is to give up their nuclear weapons program. We thought it was the right thing to do.
The financial burden for this is going to fall most principally and most squarely upon the shoulders of the South Koreans and the Japanese. We plan, as well as others in the international community, to play a role as well. The burden on the American taxpayer we estimate to be -- the secretary of state has -- at about $20 (million) to $30 million a year to implement this agreement. I would argue to you that is not a lot of money relative to the threat we are presuming to deal with through this agreement.
We are now in the process of implementing the agreement that is only six months old. Some elements of it have been going extremely well. The freeze is in place. We have been talking to the North Koreans about opening liaison offices, one in Pyongyang and one in Washington. We have delivered some heavy fuel oil which the North Koreans get to compensate them for energy that they give up by not running their reactors. We have reduced some trade barriers so that there can begin to be an economic opening with North Korea.
The major stumbling block has come up from or results from the North Koreans' resistance to accepting those light-water reactors from South Korea. You may ask why this wasn't settled last October, and the answer is it was settled last October, and I have every confidence we'll be settling it for some period of time. The North Koreans have, not surprisingly, a great deal of difficulty accepting, in a political sense, reactors from South Korea. But that, ladies and gentlemen, was the deal. They well understood that that's the only place those reactors could come from and that they would have to accept that.
We would do what we could to make that politically acceptable to them. We'd create an international consortium that would play the role of supplier, and we did that in New York just about six weeks ago. The organization is called the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, or KEDO. The organization is extant now in a de jure sense and it soon will be, in a real sense, on the ground. That organization is the organization that will negotiate the arrangements for the reactor provision with North Korean and with the prime contractor in South Korea.
This is the deal that we made in October of last year. The North Koreans are having difficulty with it. I'm not going to predict the outcome of our efforts to resolve those difficulties. We just finished a week of unhappy negotiations in Berlin. They did not resolve the problem. We have taken the position that we are prepared to go to Geneva, that I would meet with presumably the gentleman I met with when I negotiated the agreement last year, Vice Foreign Minister Kong, and try to resolve this difficulty.
The resolution would not change the fundamental realities in any way what we negotiated. We wouldn't do that. That's the very clear, strong, straight position we've taken with our ally, South Korea. If the North Koreans wish light-water reactors to be in their future, they will be South Korean light-water reactors. It is the only deal we could make that has the characteristics of being politically, technically and financially viable.
So we are in the process of trying to resolve the issue that is preventing further implementation of the other elements of the agreed framework. The freeze is in place. The North Koreans have threatened to break the freeze. We've told them what will happen if they do. In case you haven't heard, we have said we will return this issue, after consultations with our allies, to the Security Council of the United Nations, where we will again seek sanctions. I say "again" because last year, last June, that's what we were doing before the North Koreans agreed through the terms to return to the table. We have every intention of returning the issue to the Security Council if the agreed framework is not implemented with respect to the nuclear portion.
So I can tell you that we do believe that the agreed framework was fundamentally in our interest, our allies' interest, international security interest, and also even North Korea's interests, long-term interests. That said, I think it's very worth our while to try to preserve it. It is not something we will try to preserve at all costs. It is something we will try to preserve provided we can do so in the context in which we negotiated it, by sustaining a very close alliance with our South Korean ally and our allies in Japan.
I think at this point I would stop. Thank you very much for your attention. I noticed that Jessica did not pick up her book to start reading, and I count that as a great success. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Q: On each table there are question cards. Please hold them up when you are finished and the hostesses will take them up.
The first question asks where and how did the North Koreans acquire their knowledge in the field of nuclear weapons?
GALLUCCI: It generally takes two kinds of things to build nuclear weapons. It takes the fissile material and it also takes the engineering and physics knowledge to produce what's sometimes called the physics package or the envelope or the triggering mechanism, the device, the thing that compresses the fissile material to make the material explode.
The North Koreans have benefited in the early stages of their nuclear program from cooperation with the Russians. That cooperation, in a real and material way, stopped a very long time ago, and the nuclear facilities I described to you are best characterized as indigenous. They are not complicated in terms of what is in the open literature in terms of engineering. The complete design of a gas graphite reactor is available. The complete design for a chemical separation or reprocessing facility is available. And what is involved in the construction of these facilities is engineering, not difficult or complicated or secret physics. So the fissile material is available to the North Koreans as a result of indigenous activity, as best I can characterize it.
With respect to whatever work the North Koreans may or may not have done in trying to produce the triggering package for a nuclear package -- and on that subject I'm afraid I will not comment -- I would say is also indigenous, to the best of my knowledge, if there is any. In other words, to put that another way around, I am unaware of anybody helping the North Koreans build nuclear weapons.
Q: Thank you. How well-informed are the negotiators from South Korea about the United States -- (inaudible) -- and have they spent any time here?
GALLUCCI: The team that sits across the table from me, and did during all those sessions in Geneva, is, I would say, a very experienced team. These are North Korean diplomats who have been out and about in the international scene and they are very comfortable operating in Geneva. This is not true, this international experience, of as large a group of North Koreans as in the service, as there are in the service of other countries who are more engaged in the international community. As you know, North Korea has been -- and I dabble in understatement here -- somewhat isolated, so that a lot of North Koreans do not have this kind of experience. And certainly their people are not at all aware of what is happening internationally. But the actual negotiators are quite sophisticated and are quite able to operate in the international environment.
Q: What is congressional reaction to the problems of the agreed framework? And will Congress move to support the administration to change the agreement?
GALLUCCI: That's, of course, a question best directed at the Congress, but I have spent a fair amount of time in what I would call retailing over the last six months, some of it with the new 104th Congress. It has been my objective to describe the details of the agreed framework because I think when I describe the details of the agreed framework, for most people it is convincing that it is a good deal for us in every way. I also try very hard to elicit from those who are critical of anyone who would negotiate with the North Koreans, I try to elicit from them their plan.
I mean, I don't think it's enough for a critic on the Hill or anywhere else to say, "I don't like the idea of talking to North Koreans. I've never liked them and I don't trust them and I wouldn't make an agreement with them." That's all very interesting, and I appreciate those visceral feelings. But in the end, we have a problem, and that problem is a threat to South Korean security, our security, Japanese security, international security. We need to deal with it.
Now, we are prepared to do what's necessary to deal with this and any threats of military action that arise. The president of the United States made that quite clear. The secretary of state, secretary of defense testified in open session in January that when we were headed to the Security Council last time that General Shalikashvili and Secretary of Defense Perry were prepared to recommend to the president that we increase American presence on the Korean peninsula by at least 10,000 in order to be in a better deterrent posture to support Ambassador Madeleine Albright at the United Nations as she voted for sanctions, because we knew that the North Koreans could take military action or some hostile action in response to a sanctions vote.
Our readiness to do that is extremely important and it's there, and the North Koreans know it, and they knew it then. So we shouldn't make any mistake about the course we will follow if we must. That is not the preferred course by most of us, and that's what we are trying very hard to convince critics of on the Hill, that we're prepared to go that way, we'd prefer a negotiated settlement on terms that are acceptable to us and our allies. That's what we think we have now. It's worth trying to preserve this agreement.
It does not mean we trust the North Koreans. There is no trust captured in the agreed framework. We don't even call it an agreement when we're speaking with precision. My lawyers are always trying to twist my mouth and stop me from saying "agreement," because we didn't make an agreement. We made an agreed framework. Now, it'll take a lawyer -- Nancy could maybe do this -- to explain exactly what the difference is, but I can tell you that for us politically what the difference is, that we knew we were dealing with North Korea and not Canada, and therefore we did not wish to solve this problem with another treaty that the North Koreans would violate. What we did was negotiate a framework which captures steps that they take and we take if they take those steps, which we monitor. That seems to me the right way to deal with North Korea. And if it all goes well, then gradually relations can improve. That's what's envisioned in the framework, if all goes well. And we'll watch along the way.
So I would say to those in the Congress and the public and the press who are critical, first, please understand what we've done before you attack what we've done because it is, quote, an "agreement" with North Koreans whom you have certain suspicions of. Believe me, I read some history myself and I'm well aware of North Korea's history -- terrorism, international aggression, the Korean war. I've got it, and so do the rest of the people in the administration. These are not naive folks. But nor are we interested in a policy that will involve us in a military conflict if we can avoid it.
Q: Can you tell us something about the current government in North Korea? GALLUCCI: No. (Laughter.) I can actually tell you very little about the current government in North Korea. It's not that it's a secret that I wish to keep from you. It is because what we believe we know is that Kim Jong Il is in charge in North Korea. We believe that. We believe there are other elements in the North Korean government which also have influence. We are not in the business of predicting the stability or relative stability of regimes, so I have nothing to say to that. And actually, I don't have any real insights into the way decisions are made except to go back to the first proposition, that the most important person to important decisions in North Korea is Kim Jong Il.
Q: Have Russia and China been supportive of our negotiations with North Korea, and will they support sanctions?
GALLUCCI: Certainly the Russians and the Chinese have been supportive of the negotiations and of the agreed framework; the Chinese, I would say, probably a little more unambiguously, and I need to explain that. The Chinese are very concerned that the North Korean issue be settled in a way that does not produce or result in hostilities. They have never favored sanctions because they worry that sanctions would lead to hostilities. They are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and so they recognize the board action that initially brought this to the Security Council and got us involved.
They have told us they're very pleased with the agreed framework as a mechanism of dealing with the nuclear problem and they've indicated their support throughout. I cannot tell you what is said between Beijing and Pyongyang. They don't invite me into those meetings so I don't know what transpires there. But generally, our belief is the Chinese have been very helpful in terms of trying to resolve the North Korean issue.
The Russians, you would have to understand, have some mixed emotions. And that is, I think, in one sense inevitable, and that's because the Russians had at one point a deal with the North Koreans to sell them power reactors. And as a result of what the North Koreans have been doing in the nuclear area for good non- proliferation reasons, the Russians refused to go through with that deal, and at that point we were very appreciative and supportive of that Russian move.
Subsequently, as we were trying to put together the settlement of the agreed framework, it transpired that we were looking for a way to finance 2,000 megawatts of light-water reactor-generated energy, and we would have been interested in a Russian ability to produce those reactors if there was a way to finance Russian reactors, just as we would have been interested in French or German or American reactors being delivered to North Korea, as we were interested in South Korean reactors.
But I described to you three factors that we needed to take account of -- political, technical and financial viability to this deal. And the only deal that could be put together, the only deal that had all three -- and I emphasize the financial here -- was the deal in which South Korean reactors would be provided, and that's simply, very clearly, because no one else would pay for anybody else's reactors. The South Koreans are willing to bear a central part of the burden of financing, provided they are also playing a role as the central designer, manufacturer and constructor of the reactors. And the Japanese, of course, are playing a leading role themselves.
So the Russians feel, I think at least some Russians feel as though there was a commercial loss to them as a result of the agreed framework. And I need to acknowledge that, because I've had many conversations with the Russians over this. I think many of them also understand that this was the only outcome we could negotiate, and we hope certainly that in the future, if the agreed framework is fully implemented, there will be a role for Russian entities of one kind or another in the nuclear and non-nuclear portions of those projects that will be completed under the agreed framework. But generally I would say we have had good support from the Russians and the Chinese.
Q: Are the North Koreans still exporting ballistic missiles to the Middle East? And if so, is Syria one of the recipients?
GALLUCCI: My appreciation for this is that the North Koreans have in the past exported ballistic missiles and ballistic missile equipment, such as launchers, to both Syria and to Iran. I really can't go into any more detail about what is happening currently. I will say that the concern I expressed that we had over the export of greatly extended-range ballistic missiles, into thousands of kilometers, those missiles have not been exported to anybody and are not yet ready for export. They are still under development. What I was talking about was the export of Scud and Scud-variant missiles.
Q: Why have the Japanese been so reluctant to be tough on North Korea? GALLUCCI: There's a premise in that question that I do not share. The Japanese have been with us every step of the way, along with the South Koreans, in designing our approach to North Korea, in the course of negotiations and in supporting us after the negotiations and in committing themselves to playing a role and the financing of the implementation of the agreed framework. So I count the Japanese as fully aboard.
I assume the questioner is looking for me to acknowledge the fact that there are many Koreans living in Japan, and that is true. But I do believe that the -- and I'm fully aware that when that happens, democratic government takes account of those concerns of Koreans living in Japan. But that said, the position of the Japanese government has been, from my perspective, beyond reproach with respect to a willing and able coordination with the South Koreans and ourselves in pursuing this policy.
Q: Is it conceivable that North Korea would use nuclear weapons against South Korea, and under what circumstances?
GALLUCCI: I don't think I have any special insight into the answer to that question about the use of nuclear weapons by anybody against anybody. I know that some people have said that -- I have heard it said that the North Koreans would never use nuclear weapons against South Koreans, their brethren. But the North Koreans slaughtered a great number of their brethren in the Korean war, and traditionally in history civil wars can, in fact, be the bloodiest wars.
I don't think any of us should take any comfort from the fact that a North Korea with nuclear weapons would be expected to, for some reason, not consider the use of nuclear weapons because of the ethnic connection to South Koreans. I don't think there's any comfort that should be taken there at all. I think a nuclear weapons capability in North Korea is a threat to South Korea. It's a threat to Japan, to the United States. Indeed, it's a threat to the whole future of Northeast Asia.
Q: What will the effect of the imminent political changes in China be on nuclear negotiations with North Korea?
GALLUCCI: Looking around for some crystal ball here. I -- fortunately, this is all off the record, so -- (laughter). I simply don't know the answer to that question. I don't have myself any reason to believe that changes that we might look to occurring in China in the months and years ahead would fundamentally change their orientation on this policy issue. From my perspective, a Chinese approach to the Korean situation is borne of fundamental strategic Chinese interest and shouldn't change, which is to say that China should have no interest in a North Korea with nuclear weapons. It should have no interest in any development of hostilities on the Korean peninsula on its border. And it should have every interest in a peaceful resolution to this issue, and ultimately a rapprochement, a reconciliation between North and South.
Q: Is the significant financial gain for South Korea in the sale of light-water reactors an important issue in North Korea's objections rather than political?
GALLUCCI: That one truly mystifies me, how South Korea could take on the burden of playing a central role in financing a $4 billion project in North Korea for financial gain. It's not real clear to me, I have to confess, what it is exactly in a financial sense the South Koreans have to gain from this deal. It does seem to me that the South Koreans are doing this for very good political reasons, and I don't fault them for it.
I believe that if there is going to be ultimately a settlement of this issue over the long term, the nuclear issue, it's going to be in the context of a reduction in tension between North and South, and in that context, greater contacts between North and South will be helpful. And certainly it is very difficult to envision a central South Korean role in the construction of a $4 billion light-water reactor project that doesn't involve a great deal of commerce and exchange between North and South. This all fits together as one piece or it doesn't fit together at all. And so this makes good sense to me. But I don't see it in financial terms or commercial terms.
Q: There is a press report that private U.S. companies have been in direct contact with North Korea regarding the development of light-water reactors. Do you have any information on that?
GALLUCCI: I have been told that there have been contacts between American light-water reactor vendors, vendor or vendors, and North Korea. I will tell you that my personal view, which I have conveyed to light-water reactor vendors, is the same view that we have asked other governments to convey to their vendors, which is that we discourage our vendors from talking to the North Koreans about selling their reactors and we ask the French and the Germans and the Russians to talk to their people about not engaging the North Koreans about selling reactors unless, unless they have some way to finance the sale. What I don't want to hear any more from the North Koreans is, "We would prefer," as they said to me, "to have Russian reactors. We'd prefer to have French reactors, German reactors, American reactors, anyone's reactors other than South Korea." "Thank you for that insight," I said, "but there's no way to finance anybody's reactors other than South Korea's reactors." So I don't think it is constructive, if you allow me to put it this way, to lead on the North Koreans about an alternative supplier. If there is a way to finance those reactors, I'd like to hear it. I've never heard it. So that's the position I've taken with our vendors and I've encouraged other governments to take with theirs.
Q: What was North Korea's response to the offer last week to upgrade -- (inaudible)?
GALLUCCI: The talks in Berlin essentially were declared over by the North Koreans at the end of last week. And when they did that, I wrote to my pen pal and negotiating partner, the vice foreign minister, that it seemed to me as though at this point we ought to reconvene in Geneva and see if we could not resolve the issue that had emerged over the supply of the light-water reactor.
Early this week I received a letter, actually a fax -- that's how we communicate -- from Vice Foreign Minister Kong. I won't call it actually a response. I'll say it was a communication. It did not say that they would not go to Geneva. It did not say they would go to Geneva. We try not to talk about the substance of these communications in order to keep them private and therefore more useful. We took account of what was said in that communication and we wrote or faxed a message back to Foreign Minister Kong. It went out the night before last. And we have, as NPR reported this morning, not yet heard back.
Q: Your last question: Would you care to comment on Secretary McNamara's book? (Laughter.)
GALLUCCI: Secretary McNamara's -- do I care to comment on -- (laughs). Sorry, I haven't read it yet.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) (end transcript) NNNN
File Identification: 04/28/95, EPF502; 04/28/95, EUR509
Product Name: Wireless File
Product Code: WF
Keywords: NUCLEAR REACTORS; GALLUCCI, ROBERT/Speaker; KOREA (NORTH)-KOREA (SOUTH) RELATIONS; KOREA (NORTH)-US RELATIONS; TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER; TREATIES & AGREEMENTS; NEGOTIATIONS; NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION
Document Type: TRA
Thematic Codes: 1EA
Target Areas: EA; EU
PDQ Text Link: 389309