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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #58, 00-06-14

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


400

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Briefer: RICHARD BOUCHER_

KOREA
1-2,4-6,9,11	North-South Korea Summit Meeting
2,4	North Korea Missile Program
TRADE
2-3	Lockheed Martin Agreement
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
7	Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations at Andrews Air Force Base and
	 Bolling Air Force Base 
8	US Secretary to Meet with Chairman Arafat
RUSSIA
9	Arrest of Chairman of Media Most, Gusinky
CUBA/ZIMBABWE
10	US Stance on Asylum Status of Cuban Doctors
HUMAN RIGHTS
12	Amnesty International's Annual Report

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 58

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14, 2000 12:30 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements. I have one small request, which is I'd like to be out of here in time to go see the treaty signings at 1:30 because - well, because that's more fun than this, actually.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. BOUCHER: I hope so. Write about her signing treaties. You can write that all day long; I'm happy.

All right, let's go to questions. George.

QUESTION: What do you have on what the two Korean leaders agreed to at the summit?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't have any of the details at this point. We obviously welcome their talks. We welcome any results that they can produce. The topics and subjects that they've been discussing are very important and, as we've said before, we hope this will lead to a process that reduces tensions on the Peninsula.

QUESTION: You don't have anything to say about the agreement to move toward, or work toward, reunification?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't really have any of the details or the copies of the statements at this point, so I don't have an analysis for you. We do recognize the seriousness with which they dealt with the issues and the importance of the issues and the possible benefits of their cooperation, so we generally welcome things without being able to comment on the specifics at this point.

QUESTION: Well, how about Kim Chong-il's jocularity? Is that a positive sign that this guy is kind of coming out of what was his shell?

MR. BOUCHER: I think, again, we certainly think that these conversations are important, this dialogue between North and South Korea is very important. And, generally, we have said that the contacts that the North Korean leadership is having with others - the visits to China, the talks that they had with the United States, Japan and others - that these are very welcome. So without commenting on jocularity, I think this increase in contacts on the part of North Korea is a very important development and one that we're - you know, one that's good to see.

QUESTION: Well, but isn't there some way you could comment on, you know, the atmosphere?

MR. BOUCHER: It appears to be very good.

QUESTION: I just find it a little bit surprising that the United States, which prides itself on its openness, is being about as forthcoming as North Korea used to be on this whole matter.

MR. BOUCHER: Matt, look. You guys, I don't know what you're reading in the wires. You're reading statements that were supposedly signed barely an hour and 15 minutes ago.

QUESTION: I'm not asking you about the --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to go through in specific detail commenting on things we haven't had a chance to analyze. We're certainly very happy. I don't remember ever commenting on jocularity from this podium. We certainly welcome the atmosphere. It's a good atmosphere. We just said that to you. It's very good that they're having these talks. We're glad to see them getting together. We're glad to see all the contacts that North Korea is having these days. And we will continue, for our part, to work on the issues that are important to us as well.

QUESTION: Could this possibly have any impact on the North Korean missile program that has the US poised to maybe spend $30 billion a year to defend against, tens of missiles, as Mrs. Albright has said?

MR. BOUCHER: I suppose one of the things that we have been discussing in our dialogue with North Korea is the missile program. And as you know, they have announced in the past a moratorium on further missile testing, which we thought was very important, and we would hope to see that continue. Does that change plans for missile defense? No, it doesn't because there are other technologies, capabilities, developments, that the United States needs to be able to deal with. We think there is a threat to the United States that will come up in coming years, and we need to be able to deal with that.

QUESTION: Well, the freeze doesn't change that, I think you're saying, but does the summit and the apparently warming of - call it relations, does that have any - or do you have any hope that will have implications for the missile program?

MR. BOUCHER: No, frankly. I don't think we see in this the seeds of anything that would change the possibility of missile threat to the United States that we would have to deal with.

QUESTION: Can you give us the details of the Lockheed agreement?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes. We reached a consent agreement with Lockheed. Let me get my stuff. We reached a consensual settlement with Lockheed Martin over their transfer to China of space launch assistance. The settlement involves $13 million in total penalties; $8 million will be paid over a four-year period, $5 million of which has been suspended. Lockheed can draw on this amount, the suspended $5 million, to fund a series of remedial compliance measures that are specified in the consent agreement and the annex to the agreement.

The remedial compliance measures include institution of a comprehensive computer control system throughout the country, the company's missile and space launch sector. Lockheed Martin has eight months to build a computer system. State and Defense will have access to this system over the next four years, which is the duration of the consent agreement, including all of the company's overseas activities involving missiles and space that are subject to regulation under the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Other measures include restructuring of reporting relationships within the missile and space sector to provide for stronger headquarters oversight by Lockheed's legal department and establishment of a new procedure for Lockheed to audit new corporate acquisitions for Arms Export Control Act violations and then to report them promptly.

I should make you aware that the consent agreement, the order approving the agreement and the State Department's charging letter are all available for public inspection in the Department's reading room, which is at 515 22nd Street, first floor.

QUESTION: It's my understanding that Lockheed does not accept any - well, that they're not admitting that they did anything wrong. But it seems to me that in the very least, by accepting this $5 million portion which is to improve their security, that they are admitting that they could have done things better. Is that fair?

MR. BOUCHER: I think that's a fair characterization. We certainly think that these remedial measures and better oversight measures are necessary to ensure that violations don't occur in the future.

QUESTION: But can I ask - I know it'll get technical but I'm willing to risk it. This computer business, I mean, you know the central complaint was out of Martin Marietta. Martin Marietta, which was absorbed eventually by Lockheed in its growing monolithic control of the industry, was providing Asia Sat with technology or at least know-how. You know, part of what you're saying here suggests - and I know we can draw our own inferences - that headquarters didn't have too good an idea what the fellows out in the field were doing.

But how would a stronger - a better computer system address what was the central complaint; that this Hong Kong company with strong ties to China received information from, you know, Martin Marietta? I don't know if it was a subsidiary but --

MR. BOUCHER: I think the way I'd put it, Barry, is that we think that the information that was transferred was inappropriate, and that the reports that were transferred were not appropriate, and that there was a serious problem here that information had the potential to be used to be applied to missile development. That's no exception in this case.

So the computer system will allow us, as they plan their technology transfer and information activities, will allow us to see what's going on so that we and they can compare notes before things are transferred. And having a better collective centralized oversight within the company means that when we and they talk about what's going on and decide which parts are appropriate and which aren't, they'll have all the information and we'll be able to look at it too and decide what ought to go and what shouldn't.

QUESTION: Could you just explain a bit about the $5 million suspended? Then you said they can draw on this? So they don't pay the $5 million, but how can they draw on it if it's suspended?

MR. BOUCHER: I would imagine some of that detail is in the consent agreement so I won't try to do it from here.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- what exactly it means.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, it means there's $5 million somewhere that they would draw on to finance things like the computer system and the other remedial measures.

QUESTION: For them to spend up to $5 million on these various --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if it's actually deposited in escrow somewhere and then drawn on. That's something I'd have to look in the consent agreement for.

QUESTION: Who gets the 8 million?

MR. BOUCHER: I assume the US Treasury. Who do you pay these things to? I'll double check on who gets the 8 million. That's a very good question; I should have asked. Let me check.

QUESTION: And this is basically case closed then, right?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: There's no way that they're subject to any further --

MR. BOUCHER: It's a settlement, yes.

QUESTION: Before we leave Asia, can I go back to North Korea for a minute? Notwithstanding the news of the day, am I correct that the last scheduled visit to the underground site is over and done with, and you have no plans for further visits? Or can you bring us up to date on that while we're on it?

MR. BOUCHER: I think we have talked about this. We did visit again the suspect site, and we found that it was not being used for any purposes that we had worried about; that the situation was the same as when we'd seen it before. I know there have been discussions about alternative development for that site.

I don't know for sure that we won't go back, so that's something I'll have to double check on.

QUESTION: One more, please. Your answer on the national missile defense --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. BOUCHER: May 30th we visited again. The team found conditions unchanged since the first visit. Well, anyway, I've still left where I just was, which is I'll have to check and see if we're going back or not.

QUESTION: It essentially ended with the agreement with the North Koreans does not preclude or allows for --

QUESTION: Leaves it open.

MR. BOUCHER: We may visit the site in the future. Thank you for those who read it more carefully than I did.

QUESTION: North Korea is a rogue state. You want to build the national missile defense because of rogue states like North Korea. If they turn a new page and start behaving themselves, why would this not be taken into account here vis-a-vis the national missile defense system?

MR. BOUCHER: Because they're not the only place where we see the development of missile technology around the world. And in terms of US national defense, we have to be able to deal with capabilities and possible timelines in a great many areas. And that's why we think it's necessary. We do believe there's a threat. That's one of the four criteria that the President will have to look at. And we'll have to deal with the potential here as we go forward, not just from North Korea but from elsewhere.

QUESTION: That could be fair enough for a general observation, but this program has two phases: and the first phase is strictly to defend against North Korea; the second is Iran. I know the US has spoken of other hostile rogue states but, if I understand correctly, what is being considered by the President is a program specifically designed to get something in place by 2005 to defend against North Korea. So, you know, if North Korea behaves, certainly that program would have to be rejiggered or maybe it wouldn't be necessary, you would think, if it's North Korea that you're defending against in that phase.

MR. BOUCHER: Barry, as I said, first of all, I don't think we see in this summit in particular the seeds of any changes that would change the possible threat that we might face. Certainly a reduction in tensions is important, but on the specific issues of possible missile threats I haven't seen nor heard of anything in this summit that negates that.

Second of all, when it comes to US national defense, the President has decisions to make based on the possible threat and the capabilities that might emerge. That's both a technical question and an intention question, and he will have to deal with that with the best analysis possible at the time he makes the decisions. But certainly we've made quite clear that we think the threat is there, and we haven't seen anything at this stage that makes it go away.

QUESTION: You said you don't see the seeds of a change, but they're talking about reunification. Under a reunification scenario, would that not make an enormous difference to the whole --

MR. BOUCHER: You've got me so far out in the future speculating on this, we really can't do it. What I can tell you now is that there is a threat that we see emerging; we have not seen that threat change.

QUESTION: A new subject? Is there anything developing on Israel's sale of AWACS technology to China?

MR. BOUCHER: I think I can answer that with a "no." Let me double check.

QUESTION: Does that mean --

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, I tell you what. Let me try to answer the question first, okay? I appreciate all the assistance.

The Secretary spoke to you Monday on her way out the door as we headed off to Syria. She made quite clear that we don't think that linking assistance to Israel is an appropriate way to address those issues. The commitment that we have to Israel's security is very essential, and our assistance is part of meeting that.

At the same time, we share with Congress strong concerns about Israel's arms transfer and defense relationship with China. We have made those concerns known to the Government of Israel at the highest level, and there is a continuing dialogue between us on this issue.

QUESTION: Any indication that they take it seriously - the Barak Government?

MR. BOUCHER: I think they do take us seriously, but I wouldn't say that we've seen a change in the situation at this point.

QUESTION: Can you say - I mean, does this - the Secretary's schedule for today does say that she is going to attend the theater tonight with the Representative who is the one who has called for this linkage. Should we read into that anything, and also should we read anything in to the title of the play they're going to see, bird-like in its --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think we can read anything into the title of the play. I think you read into the fact that they're going to the theater that the Secretary has a variety of contacts with Members of Congress in a variety of ways, and even when we don't agree with some particular aspects of things that people are doing, we try to keep in touch and work with them and try to work things out.

QUESTION: Well, would you imagine that the subject would come up in the intermission?

(Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how long the intermission is. I would say it would be a logical subject for them to discuss.

QUESTION: Can you say who invited who to this?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: And you said there were no developments on the Israeli front, but have there been any developments on the congressional front in this - I mean, even before the theater --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any new changes on the Hill in the last two days. There may have been. As I said, I've been flying on an airplane.

QUESTION: Do we expect some tomorrow?

MR. BOUCHER: Do we expect some tomorrow? Just after we get back to you on the Korean summit issues.

QUESTION: Is there anything - the OSCE

QUESTION: Can we stay in the Middle East?

QUESTION: Sure.

QUESTION: What exciting gems do you have for us today on the Israeli- Palestinian talks?

MR. BOUCHER: That's a pretty high standard. Negotiations began yesterday at Andrews Air Force Base and Bolling Air Force Base. Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross and his team will be meeting today with the negotiators at each site separately and together. Now that the Secretary is back, she may have the opportunity to meet with the negotiators, but nothing is scheduled at this point.

And we look forward to the visit by Chairman Arafat to Washington. He arrives, I think, this evening. They'll be meeting at the White House tomorrow with the President and also having lunch with the Secretary tomorrow.

QUESTION: Are you saying meeting the Secretary is possible today?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think he arrives late tonight.

QUESTION: No, I mean with the Secretary meeting the negotiators.

MR. BOUCHER: No, nothing is scheduled between her and the negotiators. It's just possible that they might meet.

QUESTION: And the lunch is where?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll check on that and see if I can make that available.

QUESTION: And can you tell us whether they made any progress yesterday?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I'd want to get into the content of the discussions.

QUESTION: Well, maybe you can get into the logistics. Are the talks suspended or on a break? Or you pick your own word, because we have strong reason to believe that the Palestinians aren't happy on the prisoner issue and have called a respite. I don't know how old your guidance is, but I don't know that they're in motion right now and I don't know Dennis is going to see them today.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think we've seen some reports that just came out. I think what I would say to that is that, as I said, we're having discussions with the parties and the negotiators. They're having some meetings together; we're having some discussions separately. There's a whole variety of issues being discussed, including permanent status issues as well as interim issues, and we're continuing to work that process.

QUESTION: Have they met today in any shape or form?

MR. BOUCHER: I guess I'm not sure I can say yes to you. I will double check that one very quickly. I'm just not sure of the exact timing.

QUESTION: If they're going to meet today, you'd have to find a word out there in the ether to describe the atmospherics, as Matt would put it, and might suggest it's less than warm.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, not as good as the Korean summit.

QUESTION: For instance.

(Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Without trying to characterize them, these discussions are continuing. We're in very close touch with the different delegations and the negotiators. And before I say yes, they have met today, I have to check on the timing of what was done.

QUESTION: Could I go back to North Korea? The North Korea and South Korean leaders apparently agreed on four points, including relaxation of tension. Are you in any way concerned that it might imply the future reduction of United States forces in South Korea since the Perry Report clearly stipulated that there be no change as far as the force posture is concerned?

MR. BOUCHER: The summit between the North and South Korean leaders is indeed a historic event. We certainly hope it begins a process to reduce tensions on the Peninsula. We certainly cooperate and work very closely with President Kim Dae Jung. His vision has led us here. We have cooperated and worked very closely with our South Korean allies.

But at this precise moment, with the results just started to be announced of this summit, I don't think it's appropriate to start speculating over a longer term about all the many changes that might occur on the Peninsula. Certainly our commitment to the security of South Korea is very, very strong and we would intend to maintain that peace and stability on the Peninsula are very, very important to us. So I don't think it's appropriate at this time to start speculating about dramatic change way down in the future. Let's try to deal with the issues that we have coming out now, and certainly a lot of welcome news and a lot of very important news.

QUESTION: The OSCE is calling for an explanation by the Russians for the arrest of Gusinskiy of Media Most. Has there been any contact to the Russian Government by the State Department? Are they demanding any explanation?

MR. BOUCHER: Our Embassy in Moscow has been actively seeking more information on the issue. Our diplomats have spoken with Russian authorities and Media Most officials as well about the Gusinskiy arrest. We understand Gusinskiy has met with his lawyers and that his lawyers were present today during prosecution questioning.

It's important that Mr. Gusinskiy, or indeed all persons that are accused of criminal acts, are afforded due process rights and protections in accordance with the Russian constitution and law. We note that after the raid on May 12th to the headquarters that a higher court called into question the legality of the raid. Many prominent Russian figures have spoken out about this against the apparent political motivation behind last month's raid and yesterday's arrest, and certainly these questions need to be dealt with.

We agree that Russia's international standing will be severely damaged if the government lets stand actions that are intended to intimidate independent media and voices with whom it does not agree. There have been a series of events recently in Russia which have drawn international attention to the issue of press freedom. As you know, this is an important issue to us. The Secretary and the President both made that clear when they were in Moscow during the summit, and we're looking very, very closely at the circumstances of this particular case.

QUESTION: Some time ago, retired Navy Captain Edmund Pope was arrested in Moscow on espionage charges. In the following two weeks or so, we followed the developments of this closely and then at least we tried to find out what we could. And then it seems that he dropped off the screen, and I was wondering if you could tell us what's happened with him.

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to get you an update on that. I don't have anything right now.

QUESTION: Do you have anything more to add on the Cuban doctors in Zimbabwe?

QUESTION: Can we stay with Russia? It's not exactly Media Most, but since you mentioned Clinton, the speaker of the Federation Council today is quoting President Clinton as having said recently while in Moscow that the US is not against union between Belarus and Russia. Can you just reiterate for the record what the US position is on this union?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to get that for you later.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, do you have anything on the Pope case at all?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new to say. I mean, we've expressed our concern; we've expressed our support for due process. I think we've been having consular visits and been able to visit with him, but I haven't heard of any new developments.

QUESTION: Are we satisfied from our consular visits that he is receiving his cancer medication, for example? Some of his family members are planning to go over this weekend and are very concerned because they haven't gotten word from him.

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that kind of detail. As Lou mentioned, I haven't followed it as closely over the past few weeks.

QUESTION: The Cuban doctors in Zimbabwe. Although the United States has offered them - has granted them refugee status, the Zimbabweans continue to detain them and to say that they're looking for a country to take them. There seems to be a lack of communication between the various parties on this. Can you explain what's going on?

MR. BOUCHER: I can't explain it in great detail to you at this point. What has to happen, and what we've called for, is for the Government of Zimbabwe to meet its obligations under the Geneva Convention. That would mean immediately releasing these doctors to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which, if they believe that these people had a legitimate claim of persecution and therefore to refugee status, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees would arrange resettlement in a third country. That's the process that needs to be followed. The ongoing detention does appear to be against international law, and it's important for the Government of Zimbabwe to live up to its obligations.

QUESTION: I'm a little bit confused. I was under the impression that they had already gone through that process; that UNHCR had already said that they were eligible and that the US had already said okay, come on in. Is that not the case?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't believe we've said that.

QUESTION: That's what the INS told us the other day.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, good.

QUESTION: You don't believe that's correct?

MR. BOUCHER: Has there been a public statement by the INS that I missed? Not that I'm aware of.

QUESTION: How about, yesterday the Ambassador in Zimbabwe, along with five other of his colleagues, met with - mainly on the election issue, but I'm just wondering did they bring up - did he bring up, or she, whoever the Ambassador is, bring up the case of the Cubans with the Zimbabwe Government?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that.

QUESTION: On Korea again, the Chairman Kim Chong-il wait to visit Seoul at an appropriate time and the President Kim Dae Jung declared that the summit has been successful. How do you appreciate this development?

MR. BOUCHER: We think it's great. I think I've said many times we think it's a very positive development and we welcome a dialogue. We hope the process continues and that it succeeds in reducing tensions on the Peninsula.

QUESTION: On this new Senate legislation that has, I believe, passed committee that would make disclosing classified information a felony, it would significantly toughen the law as it stands now. And as I understand, the CIA is for it; the Justice Department is against it. Can you tell us where the State Department stands?

MR. BOUCHER: My understanding is that the Administration has taken a position against the legislation, that there is an Administration position against the legislation. I do want to make clear that we certainly support appropriate measures to prevent unauthorized disclosures of classified national security information. We believe leaks are very damaging to our foreign policy and to particularly our negotiating stance.

When appropriate, certain incidents can be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. You'd have to check with them under what statutes that is. But we also punish people for leaking information with appropriate administrative and personal sanctions. So we take it seriously, but the Administration does not support this legislation.

QUESTION: Earlier today, as it does every year, Amnesty International released its annual human rights - worldwide human rights report, in which of course you're not surprised at the criticism of the United States is still there, as it has been. They say that the US is acting with flagrant violation of international human rights standards, basically in death penalty cases involving people who are convicted of committing crimes while they were minors.

And I'm wondering, does this kind of stick in your craw or do you just completely ignore it? How do you deal with criticism like this?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to comment bit by bit on a particular report. Most of these issues that they raise in reports like this are domestic issues, and what I would say, I guess, is in our diplomacy we don't claim to be perfect and we recognize that many aspects of human rights procedures are being improved constantly in the United States.

But we take all these things seriously. We have a very solid judicial system. We have very solid self-correcting and policing mechanisms, and we have a free and open discussion of the status of human rights in the United States. So we do think that we try to live up in this country to the highest standards. We may not make it occasionally, but that anybody who wants to talk about the human rights situation in the United States, that's fine with us.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:05 p.m.)

(###)


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