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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 30, September 1998

US Statement on North Korea Talks

'US-DPRK talks,' US State Department statement, 10 September 1998

"Meeting in New York seven times from 21 August to 5 September, US negotiators obtained commitments from their North Korean counterparts on a range of issues of major concern to the US, our allies the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the region as a whole. The US objective in these talks was to obtain from the North Koreans concrete steps that will reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and to ensure that the DPRK continues to abide by all of the terms of the Agreed Framework. Working closely with our allies, we sought to remove DPRK threats to the Framework, to begin to clarify certain North Korean underground construction activity of concern to us, to raise our deep concerns over the missile test, and to restart talks on their missile program.

In the talks, US Special Envoy Charles Kartman led the US side. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Owan, who returned to North Korea 7 September, headed the North Korean delegation.

As a result of the talks, we made progress on each of our goals.

  • The DPRK has agreed to continue the serious discussion, which began in New York, about US concerns with respect to the nature of certain suspicious underground construction in North Korea. We made clear in the New York talks that DPRK verbal assurances will not suffice to meet our concerns. We intend to press for access to clarify the nature of suspect construction, and we have already made the North Koreans aware that access will be necessary to clarify our concerns.
  • The DPRK has agreed to resume missile talks on 1 October, which will allow us to press strongly our concerns about their production, development, and export of missiles, as well as their further testing, a serious concern heightened by the recent launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea. We have made and will continue to make clear to the North Koreans that such a missile launch should not be repeated.
  • The DPRK will resume canning of remaining spent fuel rods starting in mid-September. This canning is a North Korean obligation under the Agreed Framework and is to be completed without further delay.
  • The DPRK has agreed to attend a third plenary of the Four Party Talks in October.
  • The DPRK also agreed to restart talks on steps they need to take in order to be removed from the US list of State-sponsors of terrorism.
The US has reaffirmed that it is living up to its commitments. It will work to ensure that the DPRK will be provided with heavy fuel oil (HFO) under the Agreed Framework, including resumption of HFO shipments later this month and completion of the delivery of the remaining 284,000 metric tons of HFO planned for this year within 1998. The US also reaffirmed that the DPRK would be provided two light water reactors (LWRs) by KEDO, in accordance with the Agreed Framework. As we move forward in these areas, we will continue to consult closely with the Congress. The US will fully respect the positions of the ROK and Japan and consult closely with them regarding the LWR project implementation, as addressed in the US press statement resulting from the New York talks.

As we pursue our negotiations with North Korea on these difficult issues, we will continue to consult closely with Congress and our allies, the ROK and Japan.

There should be no doubt about our firm commitment to our bilateral security arrangements with the ROK and Japan."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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