March 3, 1997 Briefer: Nicholas Burns
2-4........Briefing on Four-Party Talks in New York
3-4........U.S.-North Korea Bilateral Mtg.
3..........U.S.-South Korea Bilateral Mtg.

First, as you know, the United States is looking forward to the meetings beginning on Wednesday in New York with the Republic of Korea and the North Koreans on the Four-Party proposal briefing. As you know, this was announced by the President and by President Kim back on April 16th of 1996 in Cheju Island. The United States hopes very much that as a result of the Four-Party Talks briefing to be held this week in New York, North Korea will agree to attend Four-Party Talks, and, of course, the fourth party there would be the Government of China.

The United States will be represented in New York this week by Chuck Kartman, our Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Government of South Korea by Deputy Foreign Minister Song Yong-shik, and the North Koreans by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan.

Also, on March 7th in New York, we will have a bilateral meeting with the North Koreans to discuss a variety of issues, mainly the issues that we've been working on with them, and I think you know what they are. Chuck Kartman will be again representing the American side there. There will also be a bilateral meeting with the South Korean delegation, which will be separate, and together we and the South Koreans will brief the Japanese Government at all of these meetings this week, because the Japanese are a very important partner of ours.

Just a little bit by way of background. North Korea requested the Joint Briefing so that it could learn more about the proposal for the Four-Party Talks. We intend to explain our ideas concerning the goals of the Four-Party Talks, and we want to propose arrangements for the negotiating process options for the negotiating process itself.

We will invite suggestions and comments from the North Koreans about the best way to implement this negotiating proposal, and I want to stress, this is a briefing; it will not be a negotiating session, but we hope it does provide the North Koreans with sufficient information that they'll want to accept this proposal nearly one year after it was made back on April 16th at Cheju Island. I'll be glad to take any questions on that.

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QUESTION: Nick, a couple of questions on the North Korean talks. Where in New York will they be held -- both sets -- and will the bilateral talks have a dynamism of their own, or does progress on that in any way depend on progress in the peace -- you don't want to even call them "negotiations." I can't call it a "peace" briefing, but pick your word. You know my point, of course.

MR. BURNS: I do. First, Barry, the talks will be held at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. If you contact the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, arrangements will be made for any of you who want to cover this to at least be present at the camera spray at the top of this meeting. We're also going to be making sure that we brief you on a daily basis about these talks. I'll be glad to do that On-the-Record, and we'll also have some background briefings in New York.

As to your second question, it's a very good question. The United States has made it clear to the North Koreans that progress in our bilateral relations can only come in parallel or consistent with progress in relations between South Korea and North Korea, and the North Koreans ought to understand that. We have an alliance relationship with South Korea. We are committed to the defense of South Korea, and we want to make sure that any kind of progress in our own relationship parallels progress in the inter-Korean relationships.