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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 35, March 1999

US-North Korea Agreement on Suspect Site
Joint Press Statement

'US-DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] Joint Press Statement,' 16 March 1999

"Delegations from the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea met in New York from 27 February through 15 March, 1999. The delegations led respectively by US Special Envoy Charles Kartman and DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, continued discussions the two sides had held in Pyongyang, Washington, New York, and Geneva since November 1998.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Agreed Framework of 21 October, 1994, in its entirety, as well as to the principles of their bilateral relations expressed in the US-DPRK Joint Statement of 11 June, 1993.

The US and the DPRK, believing that successful cooperation to remove US concerns about an underground site at Kumchang-ni will contribute to improved relations between the two countries, agreed as follows:

  • The DPRK has decided to provide the United States satisfactory access to the site at Kumchang-ni by inviting a US delegation for an initial visit in May 1999, and allowing additional visits to remove US concerns about the site's future use.
  • The United States has decided to take a step to improve political and economic relations between the two countries."
Source: Text - US-DPRK Joint Press Statement, United States Information Service, 16 March.

Statement by US Secretary of State

Statement by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, State Department Office of the Spokesman, 16 March 1999

"I'm pleased to be able to tell you that we've just reached an agreement in New York with the North Koreans on access to the suspect underground site at Kumchang-ni. This agreement comes after four rounds of intensive talks between Ambassador Kartman and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan.

The agreement we've reached addresses all of our concerns, and it will enable us both to confirm and monitor the current and future use of the suspect site. Specifically:

  • The North Koreans have agreed to multiple site visits by a US team to the underground site at Kumchang-ni.
  • The first visit will be in May 1999, with follow-up visits continuing as long as our concerns about the site remain.
  • During each visit, the US team will have access to the entire site.
In the negotiations, we did not agree to North Korean demands for 'compensation' in return for access.

We did repeat to the DPRK something we've often said publicly; removal of our suspicions concerning Kumchang-ni would enable us to resume progress in our relationship as outlined in the Agreed Framework. In this regard, we have decided to take a concrete step in the form of a bilateral pilot agricultural project.

The United States is prepared to resume moving in the direction envisioned in the Agreed Framework, and we hope the DPRK will take the requisite actions that will enable us to do so.

Finally, I'm also able to announce that we have agreed with the DPRK to resume missile talks on 29 March in Pyongyang."

Statement by UN Secretary-General

'Secretary-General welcomes agreement between Democratic People's Republic of Korea and United states on Kumchang-ni Site,' UN Press Release SG/SM/6932, 18 March 1999

"The following statement was issued yesterday by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

'The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States on issues related to the underground site at Kumchang-ni, as well as some other aspects of their bilateral relations. The agreement confirms his strong belief that a determined diplomatic effort can resolve even the most serious issues. The Secretary-General is particularly pleased that the two sides have reaffirmed their commitment to the Agreed Framework of 1994, in its entirety. He hopes that the two countries will continue to successfully address other issues of importance, thus contributing to the reduction of tension in the Korean Peninsula and in the region.'"

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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