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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Deputy Secretary of State > Former Deputy Secretaries of State > Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage > Remarks > 2001

North Korea and the Agreed Framework

North Korea and the Agreed Framework

Richard Armitage, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Remarks to the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Remarks to the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Seoul, Korea
Seoul, Korea
May 9, 2001

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: We're delighted to be back here. I came to Seoul today at the request of President George W. Bush to consult with President Kim Dae Jung and his colleagues and government on several matters. I also brought a letter from President Bush for President Kim Dae Jung in which President Bush expressed strong support for President Kim Dae Jung's engagement policy with the North. He made some comments about our new strategic framework -- and I'll speak more about that in a moment -- and also indicated to President Kim Dae Jung that our policy review is nearly wrapped up and we wanted to get President Kim's latest thinking on North Korea and on our approach to North Korea. And finally the letter stated that we expected, among the things our policy review would show, would be that we would continue to support the Agreed Framework.

I also was able to discuss with President Kim and his colleagues, and will continue tomorrow to discuss, a new strategic framework, which in our view, has several elements: one, nonproliferation; second, counter-proliferation; the third, missile defense; and fourth, the view that the United Sates is willing unilaterally to reduce our nuclear

arsenal down below the levels envisioned in START II. We would like others, and the Russian Federation, to come along with us, but we are willing to do it, unilaterally, down to the level where we can protect ourselves and our allies. Those discussions, as I say, will continue tomorrow.

I did not come to present the Republic Korea with a fait accompli. I did not come to

present any final decisions on so-called missile defense. It was simply to get the views of our friends and allies on this matter so I can carry them back to the President. So I'll be glad to take a question or two if you have them.

QUESTION: How long does the policy review…

PRESS OFFICER: I'm sorry, please wait for the translation.

QUESTION: You said that your review on North Korea is nearly complete.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Right.

QUESTION: What are some of the remaining factors and when can we expect to see the

U.S. reopen its talks with North Korea?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I think that, as you recall, at the time of

President Kim's visit to President Bush, there were many ideas put on the table, ideas about reciprocity, etc. These things have to be looked at very carefully and I will note that because of our system and the need to have political appointees in place and the need for Senate confirmation, we've been relatively slow to get people into positions in our government. We are now relatively well staffed, first of all, so I think you can expect this

review to be completed in the very near future. I think the fact that my colleagues and I have been sent here by the President to get the latest thinking of President Kim Dae Jung is indicative of that fact. I won't be held to a specific date, but it's in the very near future.

QUESTION: I'm from Reuters. You said in the very near future, so what do you mean?

by the very near future? A few weeks or months?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I'd say a few weeks is closer to it. As I said, I won't be held to an exact date, but the fact that I and my colleagues are here is

a pretty good indication that we are pretty close to the end.

QUESTION: Two questions. One, do you have any plans to have any direct dialogue

with North Korea on missile defense? And secondly, what do you expect, or what would the U.S. want to see Korea's final position be on missile defense?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, let me answer the second part first. We've talked about a strategic framework of which missile defense is just an element. I think some of the elements will have a great deal of attraction to our friends here in Seoul, such as nonproliferation and counter proliferation and, certainly, the willingness of our President to lower our nuclear arsenal, unilaterally if necessary. The question of missile defense I was fortunate enough to have the time to explain. This is not an umbrella or shield, which makes the world 100 percent safe from missiles. But it is a system, which will be able to protect ourselves and our allies from a handful of missiles and, therefore, greatly increase the difficulty for any potential enemy in an attack on us. I think that at present we hope that the government of the Republic of Korea understands the new situation in the world. And I believe they do, but I'll leave our friends here in government to characterize their own views. And I made it clear that this was the beginning of the process and I don't want to prejudice the outcome.

On the question of whether we'll have missile talks, about missile defense, with North Korea, right now we're not talking with them about anything. But I suspect in the near future we will. And we're glad to talk about missile defense or any other element with any interested party.

QUESTION: The Defense Weekly reported that in relation to the missile defense

program the United States has plans to place its Aegis near North Korea by

year 2003. Is that true? Could you confirm that for us?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I can't confirm it or not. We have Aegis cruisers in our fleet now and I'm sure they are all around the place, but what we envision ultimately in a missile defense system is a layered system of which Aegis could possibly be one element. But we haven't settled on a final architecture and I am not here to lay down an architecture for our friends in Seoul.

QUESTION: I'm from the Associated Press. You just said that you wanted to resume

talks with North Korea soon and then you said the policy review would be completed in just a few weeks. Does that mean the U.S. is willing to resume talks with North Korea right after the policy review is completed?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, I think what we would do is, as soon as we've completed the policy review, we'd want to come talk to President Kim Dae Jung and get his views on how best to and how to approach the North on these talks. I suspect that's the way it will come out.

QUESTION: Who do you expect will be coming to North Korea after the policy review is completed to discuss with President Kim?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: South Korea. The Republic of Korea. I don't know who will come. There are many ways to communicate and exchange views. So I

wouldn't want to signal that one person coming or going would necessarily be

the beginning of any particular talks. But you can be assured that our diplomats would be very busy, both yours and ours. Thank you. 


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