Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


DPB #123
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1998, 12:50 P.M.


QUESTION: This might be on your agenda for tomorrow, but the fact that the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman came out and said we will not tolerate any types of inspections of the underground site, prior to the meeting tomorrow or the briefing tomorrow, do we feel competent that the US delegation will be able to inspect that underground facility? Do you have any comment on this subject?

MR. RUBIN: I have specifically steered you all away from the idea that this delegation is going to have a short stop in Pyongyang on the way to this underground facility. On the contrary, given our experience with North Korea, we do not expect them to instantly provide what we have said is required. That is, verbal assurances are not sufficient for us; we need on-site inspections. And in the absence of clarification on this issue, it is one that is important enough that it could call into question the viability of the agreed framework.

So our people are going to work very hard at trying to get access, and they are going to make clear that access is a necessity. But the idea that they are going to quickly achieve that from the North Koreans has not been something we have taken as a given.

QUESTION: So we have no expectations of seeing that site prior to leaving the visit?

MR. RUBIN: Not to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that the North Koreans have asked for a cash payment in exchange for access?

MR. RUBIN: It isn't new for North Korea to put out rather dramatic positions like that, calling for compensation for providing information necessary to see the agreed framework lived up to. In previous discussions in New York leading up to this agreement to have this meeting, they did raise subjects like that; that's not new for us. Given that kind of posture, it's why we don't expect to see this resolved because we don't intend to pay money to see whether they are living up to their obligations under the agreed framework.

We have said that failure to live up to the agreed framework could have negative consequences; and by contrast, we've also said in the past that if on the missile issue and on this issue and several other issues there was progress, we could see an improvement in the relationship down the road. But the idea of a cash bribe like that is simply not on the table -- not on our side of the table.


(The briefing concluded at 1:45 P.M.)

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