The White House Briefing Room

November 20, 1998


5:00 P.M. (L)

                               THE WHITE HOUSE

                        Office of the Press Secretary
                                (Tokyo, Japan)
For Immediate Release                                     November 20, 1998     

                          AND PRIME MINISTER OBUCHI
                                Akasaka Palace
                                Tokyo, Japan 	  			       

5:00 P.M. (L)

	  Q    Mr. President, you mentioned briefly your 
discussions on North Korea.  I was wondering if you could tell 
us, in light of, first of all, a couple of reports this morning  
-- one talks about new North Korean missile developments, another 
talks about the North Koreans requesting a sum of money in order 
for an inspection of that suspected complex -- I'm wondering if 
you can give us an update on the report from your representative 
who went to the region and what specific areas you two discussed 
as far as how to approach the situation, whether you need to be 
going more toward carrots, more toward sticks, more discussions, 
more direct negotiations.  Thank you.  
	  And I'd also like the Prime Minister, please, if he 
could give his input on that as well.  

	  THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, I think it is important 
to keep in mind the difference between the missile program, which 
we have always been quite concerned about but over which we have 
no agreement with the North Koreans, and the agreed framework for 
containing the nuclear program.  

	  We're quite concerned by some of the news reports we 
have seen -- not all of them, by the way, have been confirmed.  
But there are some disturbing signs there.  It is true that when 
I sent a team into North Korea to talk about inspecting sites, 
there was some discussion of conditions which were completely 
unacceptable for such inspections.  And I think it's fair to say 
that no one can be absolutely sure of whether the North Korean 
position is simply a product of economic difficulties so they're 
attempting to get more money out of various countries for doing 
what they ought to be doing anyway, or whether they really are 
moving toward a more hostile posture.

	  We will evaluate that very carefully.  I have appointed 
a former Defense Secretary, Bill Perry, to do a comprehensive 
review of our Korea policy and analyze all this and report back 
to me and to congressional leaders soon.  

	  Now, the second thing I would say is I still believe 
that we are doing the right thing to pursue the agreed framework 
because we know that if we had not been working on that these 
last several years, North Korea would have far more nuclear 
material for weapons productions than it is has because the 
agreed framework, in that sense, has worked.  
	  And in that connection, I applaud what Prime Minister 
Obuchi has done in supporting the KEDO project.  And we need to 
continue to work together with our friends in South Korea -- 
hopefully, with the support of the good wishes of the Chinese -- 
to try to restrain hostile developments in North Korea and keep 
working in the spirit of the agreed framework, and to avoid 
destabilizing things like this missile flight over Japan, which 
disturbed us greatly.

	  PRIME MINISTER OBUCHI:  With respect to the North Korea 
issue, basically the United States, South Korea, and Japan should 
cooperate in trying to resolve the matter.  And on this point, we 

have had discussions with the President and I think that it has 
been confirmed that this kind of trilateral deliberations and 
consultations will continue.

	  The North Korean missile flew over our territory and 
landed in the Pacific Ocean, but it was a very shocking 
experience for us.  And, therefore, in that respect, Japan would 
like to try to see what kind of cooperation Japan can extend to 
North Korea to these consultations and consultative processes.  
However, there are some doubts about the underground nuclear 
facilities should the North Koreans have, and, therefore, we are 
looking forward to the surveys and investigations which will be 
conducted by the United States and hope that that kind of a doubt 
will be cleared very soon.
	  On the other hand, we have to cooperate on the KEDO 
project and, therefore, in that respect, we are trying to extend 
our cooperation as the President has just mentioned.  And as 
Japan we are going to be thinking of providing a billion dollars 
worth of support and, therefore, in that respect we hope that 
such underground nuclear facilities or facilities that are 
producing nuclear material is not there in reality.  
	  Because if that happens it will be very difficult for 
us to persuade the Japanese people about the kind of cooperation 
we would be able to extend to the North Koreans and, therefore, 
in that respect, we would like to ask for the understanding of 
the United States and we're asking for the cooperation of the 
United States in this respect.

	  In any case, we do hope that we will be able to see 
that North Koreans will be able to coordinate their efforts 
together with the people that are involved.  Although in the 
consultation tables we are not included ever, we hope that the 
United States and South Korea will provide us the needed 
information so that we will be able to pursue our policies in 
trying to stabilize this area and bring peace and stability into 
the region.

	  I'm sorry, the time is up.  Thank you very much.

             END                      5:15 P.M. (L)