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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 2, 1999
                      REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AND

                            The Oval Office

3:18 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let me begin by welcoming President Kim and his delegation to the United States. He is a remarkable leader, and a person that all of us very much admire. And in the last year we have seen an astonishing turnaround in the Korean economy, going from a period of contraction to a period of quite robust growth, in ways that no one could have predicted. It's a great, great success story. And I congratulated President Kim on that, and then we talked some, and we will talk more in our meeting after this, of our security partnership.

The second thing I would like to say, very briefly is, I think all of you know that the British and Irish Prime Ministers have issued their proposal for the way forward on the Irish peace process. And I think this is a very welcome development. It gives us a chance to fulfill the Good Friday accords. It gives the people of Northern Ireland, both Protestant and Catholic, a chance to shape their destiny and govern themselves. It gives us a chance to put an end to guns and violence forever. And the United States intends to support their efforts and to hold all the parties to their commitments. I think that is very, very important.

This is a major opportunity to resolve that difficult problem forever, in ways that are good for all the people there. So it's good news.

Q Mr. President, do you plan to support the South Koreans' bid to make a long-range missile -- develop a long-range missile that could possibly hit their northern neighbor?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, we're going to have our security discussion after this, and I think that we should talk about it before I make a public comment.

Q Sir, to those who are dissatisfied with the proposals outlined by the Prime Ministers today, what would you say?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I would say, first of all, let's look at how far we've come. All the parties to the Good Friday accord -- and large majorities in Northern Ireland -- agree on the commitments that everyone has, and how it should look at the end.

This whole argument has been over the sequencing of, how do you stand up the government, how do you get on with decommissioning. No one disputes the fact that everything has to be done by next May -- on the decommissioning, for example. No one disputes the fact that everyone who got a certain percentage of the vote in the last election is entitled to be part of the executive.

And so I would say to those who are dissatisfied, first of all, everybody's got to comply with everything. One of the things this proposal does is to reaffirm that. So who can be dissatisfied with that?

Secondly, if you are afraid that the decommissioning won't occur -- therefore you don't want to stand up the government -- my answer to that is that the Prime Ministers have offered to pass a bill through the British Parliament, which will make it clear that if General de Chastelain's Commission's timetable is not kept, that the whole thing can be brought down.

So I would say to those who are skeptical, there are guarantees here. No one is going to get something for nothing. Everybody's going to have to fulfill the word of the Good Friday accord. And so don't let this thing come apart now.

Would you like to make a statement, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT KIM: This is my third meeting with President Clinton, and our third meeting in less than two years. And this clearly demonstrates the closeness of the bilateral relations between Korea and the United States. And I do hope that these close ties of cooperation will continue to be further strengthened.

I am extremely satisfied with the present state of relations between the two countries. We are meeting in close coordination on all issues -- on economic issues, as well as security issues. And I do hope that this close cooperation sends a clear message to North Korea.

Thank you very much.

Q Thank you.


Q What are you doing for the 4th of July?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: We're going to be around here, watch the fireworks on the Mall.

END 3:24 P.M. EDT