THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Naples, Italy) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 9, 1994
INTERVIEW OF NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TONY LAKE BY WOLF BLITZER OF CNN (As Aired on CNN) Palazzo Reale Naples, Italy
MR. LAKE: (In progress.) We're watching very carefully to see what happens in North Korea. We see no signs of ominous movement and, therefore, we concluded that we should recommend to the President that we not increase our state of alert and the President approved that.
Q But the South Koreans have cancelled leaves. What does that mean?
MR. LAKE: I think they did that for prudent reasons. It's not a sign that they are preparing, necessarily, for any crisis.
Q Is there any indication of instability, anything unusual going on in North Korea -- obviously, the death of Kim Il Sung represents a tumultuous development over there -- but is there anything suspicious at all that the U.S. has detected?
MR. LAKE: Not yet, no, we have not. And in Geneva their delegation has been in touch with our delegation and is handling this in a very professional way. They've agreed to, or they have asked that we postpone now the next talks, and we have postponed today's round. We have agreed with them that we will keep our delegation in Geneva, and the two delegations will be consulting then on when they can next get together.
Q Let me just ask you for the record, any evidence of foul play, because, as you know, rumors will immediately spread -- this is a sudden surprising death?
MR. LAKE: No, we have none. As I said, the initial reports that we have heard, I believe public reports, were that he died of a heart attack. And we have no evidence of foul play.
Q Your assessment now, it's obviously very, very early, how does all of this play out in terms of the international inspections of North Korea's nuclear facilities?
MR. LAKE: Well, we do have an agreement with the North Korean government both on proceeding now into this next round of talks, and that the major elements of their nuclear program will verifiably be frozen during those talks. That agreement is very much, as I said, in the interest of North Korea and of the United States. Nations generally act on the basis of their interests, and we hope that the talks will now proceed after the postponement which is quite natural in the circumstances.