Tuesday, March 18, 1997
Briefer: Nicholas Burns
DEPARTMENT Retirement of Court Reporter Ferdinand Kuyatt
NORTH KOREA Four Party Talks

BURNS: I do want to take one minute to honor someone who has been an unsung hero here at the Press Briefing. It's Ferd Kuyatt who is retiring from the State Department on March 31. All of you benefit, as do I, from the fact that we have Court Reporters here who transcribe everything you say and everything I say. Ferd has been doing that since 1980 with the State Department...

SCHWEID: Will Ferd be transcribing this briefing?

BURNS: Yes, he will.

SCHWEID: (Mumble, mumble, mumble)!

BURNS: Barry, thank you. Your usually entertaining self. ................

Q: Do you know what the current status is of the Four-Party Talks and particularly what the U.S. understanding is of the current North Korean position on the talks?

BURNS: I checked just a little while ago, and I'm told that there is no reported progress to date. The United States and South Korea have made a proposal to North Korea. We hope that North Korea will accept it. We're not aware that they have yet accepted it. They have not come back to us to say that.

Q: It seems that the North Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kim Gye Gwan, is still in the United States. Do you know, is there a possibility that negotiations will continue with him on the Four-Party Talks before he leaves?

BURNS: I understand that Vice Minister Kim Gye Gwan left the United States this morning.