News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 1:50 p.m.
Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA


Q: Bill Perry, speaking on the issue of North Korea and on compliance or non-compliance with inspecting the possible underground facility, said the current situation appeared to be "moving toward a critical situation similar to that of June 1994." I remember Secretary Cohen saying this was a serious problem and that the United States would consider dropping the Framework Agreement.

Does Mr. Perry, is he going further by saying that the situation is loaded and dangerous? How would you comment on his remarks?

A: Secretary Perry wouldn't have been appointed to that job if we weren't facing a worrisome situation in North Korea. And as I said on Tuesday, his job is to go over and review the situation and review our policy towards North Korea to find out whether it's appropriate, given the current conditions.

I think that the situation is obviously troublesome. We are working very hard with the North Koreans to negotiate rights to look at an underground facility. Those discussions, I believe, are continuing and Secretary Perry is still on his trip. He'll come back, he'll meet with people here. He'll meet with the State Department leaders. He'll meet with the National Security Council leaders and give people his recommendations. But I think it's premature to suggest what his recommendations will be at this stage.

Q: Based on this statement that I just read, what was reported, has the U.S. taken any precautions or on heightened alert in South Korea?

A: Our forces are always prepared in South Korea, but I'm not aware that there's been any change in alert status there.


Press: Thank you very much.