State Department Noon Briefing


Richard Boucher, Spokesman

Washington, DC

May 9, 2001

Q: No, Mr. Rumsfeld yesterday ambitiously reached to all - new
frontiers. It's not quite clear what he's reaching. It's not clear
what he intends to do in space, in the upper atmosphere. But, you
know, there's been a whole history of gradually closing down weapons
activities for the good of the planet in certain areas.

Is there any diplomacy here? I know it's early in the process, but
there are arms controls agreements besides the ABM Treaty, which I
guess the whole Administration is in favor of throwing overboard, but
there are other agreements that may go by the wayside.

Is State part of this process, as the keeper of arms control
agreements? They were negotiated by diplomats. Is this purely a
military decision or is it a State Department decision, too, what to
retain for the sake of capping the arms race?

MR. BOUCHER: I would invite you to read the press conference that
Secretary Rumsfeld did yesterday. I think he was --

Q: (Inaudible) - the text?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, maybe you ought to read the text, then, because I
think he was quite clear that he is not chucking any arms controls
agreements; he's not installing new weapons in space. He's making an
organizational decision within the Pentagon about how they do things.
I don't think the way the Pentagon is organized has diplomatic
implications. If they decide to do something with diplomatic
implications, then obviously we'll be involved.

Q: On policy review, I'll try now. Deputy Secretary Armitage
apparently delivered a letter today, I think, to the South Korean
President and said that the US is ready to start - will soon be ready
to start re-engaging.

MR. BOUCHER: I think Deputy Secretary Armitage gave a press conference
where he was asked where we stood on the policy review, and he said we
were close to the end; and was asked how long, he said probably a
matter of weeks. And I agree with him.

Q: That's good. Great.

MR. BOUCHER: Lest he be reading the transcript, make sure it's
recorded that I agree with him.

Q: And you don't have anything else to --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have anything else to say at this point.

Q: So he gave a whole press conference?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if it was a press conference or a stakeout
or what, but he made some comments to the press.