THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Jakarta, Indonesia) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release Novermber 17, 1994
BACKGROUND BRIEFING BY SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL
November 14, 1994
Jakarta Hilton Jakarta, Indonesia
10:20 P.M. (L)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It's late, so I'll be brief. As you know, the President invited his colleagues, Prime Minister Murayama, President Kim Yong-sam, to meet together to discuss the North Korea agreement and where we go from here. All three leaders expressed the strongest support for the agreed framework. There was a consensus on that. There was also clear consensus that we need to continue to consult and cooperate closely as we proceed with implementation of the agreement.
They stressed how many details have to be worked out in the future. They said that they would not discuss the details amongst themselves, that this would be done by the staffs at follow-up meetings. They all agreed that the staffs had to coordinate closely in the future, as they have done in the past.
I would say that one of the primary themes of this brief and cordial meeting was that all three emphasized the importance of resuming the North-South dialogue, and how critical and fundamental that was to ultimately achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Q Was China invited to attend this meeting, too?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, this was the trilateral just between the three allies.
Q Why wasn't China, because they're a neighbor and they're important?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: These are the three allies most directly involved in the agreement. We have had trilateral consultations for the past two years amongst ourselves on this arrangement.
We discussed separately with China today in the meeting with Jiang Zemin.
Q What are all the details that have to be worked out?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as you know, the agreement itself calls for the establishment of KEDO, a new organization, to actually contract the reactor, to find the site, to survey it, to arrange for the financing, to build the reactor -- is an agreement that gets implemented over 10 years. So we are obligated under the agreement to provide interim energy while the light-water reactors are being built. And there are, of course, many details about monitoring the freeze of the North Korean program, which is part of their obligation. So there are many details to be worked out over a period of years.
Q Has any progress been made in determining the financing of the agreement?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Money was not discussed at the meeting.
Q But outside this meeting -- has the United States made progress in working out the financing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We're continuing to talk amongst the three of us.
Q When do you think there's going to be some progress, some public progress made on that question?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We're continuing to consult on it and to talk to other countries. And we're pretty much have a deadline of the end of the year since we need to start moving on the contract under the terms of the agreement in January. So that's the outermost date. We hope to do it sooner.
Q Throughout the day there have been -- there's been an obvious effort to orchestrate that everyone is behind this thing. In view of the fact -- I think it was generally known they were all behind it -- why have you all felt it's necessary to do this?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think since the Korean issue dominated so much of the bilateral discussions, not only hours with Korea and hours with Japan, but apparently based on what they've told us, it was a large topic in their discussions with China and with some of the other participants, we felt it made sense to meet together, to talk about how we're going to proceed, and to do this on a regional basis.
What's unique about the North Korean nuclear agreement, the agreed framework, is that in Asia it represents for the first really for a regional solution to a regional security problem, in that sense precedent breaking, and so the trilateral dimension of it was quite important to us.
Q Did they ask about chances for support or lack of support in the Senate, or Senator Dole's fairly cool reaction to the agreement?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, it was not discussed.
Q Is it understood the South Koreans will have no construction role at all here, or is that still open for discussion?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: One, it wasn't discussed at this meeting, but, two, it's one of the things we're discussing as we proceed is how we'll actually carry out the project.
Q Do you mean the South Koreans could have a significant role in actually building the reactor?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You're way ahead of us. I mean, at this point we're trying to get the contract negotiated and arrange the financing and arrange the interim energy. That's one of the details. Who actually does it, that remains to be worked out.
Q Do you have a formula in mind for sharing the financing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: As you know, the bulk of the financing, the overwhelming majority will come from Japan and from Korea. We will be providing some help in terms of interim energy, and that's where the United States financial commitment on a much lower level and with an order of magnitude less comes in.
Q When you talk about interim energy, is this the oil for the oil-fired power plants you're talking about?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes.
Q Are we providing oil, bulk oil or money to buy it?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We're still working out the details on the oil -- how it will be done.
Q Will any European participation be asked for in the funding?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We'll certainly talk to the Europeans about it.
Q and North Korea agree that they will have to pay the Balkans the money. Is it something that they agreed upon?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That's been understood for quite some time now. As you know, they both -- we had extensive consultations before we signed this agreement with the North Koreans to make sure that this was real and that the funding would exist. So it was understood for quite some time that the overwhelming majority would come from those two countries.
Q On a different subject, can you explain why President Clinton did not raise specific human rights cases in his meeting with the Chinese President the way he did last year in Seattle?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I wasn't at the meeting, so I really can't tell you about the dynamics and how it came up.
Q Since this is our only briefing where the whole press corps has an opportunity to speak with a senior administration official, could we get an answer to that before our deadlines?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Can try. We can try.
Q Thank you.
Q Did any of the three leaders offer an assessment of South Korea's -- North Korea's rejection of the South's overtures for business contacts?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, it wasn't raised. As you can tell, this was a relatively brief meeting that stuck largely to the big picture.
Q How long was the meeting?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Fifteen, twenty minutes.
Q Was it that long?
Q How did the issue of the election results come up in the South Korean bilateral? It was discussed at length at the ministerial level last week.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It was raised merely in the sense of President Kim saying, keep going; and the President said, I intend to. Very much -- very straightforward, very sincere expression from President Kim that he expects the U.S. to continue with its business. He knows there have been big changes. He talked about some ups and downs in his own political career. It was a very friendly exchange.
Q What about in the Japanese bilateral?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I wasn't at it, so I don't know. I haven't been briefed.
Q Can you get an answer to that question, too?
MS. MYERS: I think it was answered in the background briefing.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END10:33 P.M. (L)