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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing July 25, 2001

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing Index Wednesday, July 25, 2001

BRIEFER: Philip T. Reeker CHINA 1 Deportation of Li Shaomin / Status of Gao Zhan and Other Detainees

MACEDIONIA 1,5 Violence Against Embassies in Skopje 1-5 Situation Update / New Violations of the Ceasefire 2-5 Role of Ambassador Pardew

ISRAEL 6 Former Secretary of State Haig's Remarks on Nuclear Weapons

IRAN / AZERBAIJAN 6 Maritime Incident in Caspian Sea

ARMS CONTROL 7-8 US Response to Protocol for Biological Weapons 7 Allegations of US Unilateralist Tendencies 8-9 National Missile Defense /Threat of China

GREECE 9-10 Security Preparations for the 2004 Olympics

SAMOA 11 Allegations of Child Abuse Against American Citizens

INDONESIA 11-12 Travel of Former President Wahid to the United States 11-12 Update on the New Government

NORTH KOREA 12 Proposed US / North Korean Talks

SOUTH KOREA 12 Dispute Over Japanese Textbooks


BRIEFER: Philip T. Reeker,

DPB # 106


MR. REEKER: Welcome back to the State Department this fine Wednesday afternoon. Apologizes for the slight delay.

As you know, Secretary Powell remains tonight in Hanoi. Ambassador Boucher, of course, is accompanying him, so that leaves me here to take your questions. And since I have no statements to make off the top, we can go straight to your questions.

QUESTION: So what does a resolution mean, as far as the detained scholars? Does this mean that the Secretary is working for their release? And can you elaborate a little bit on that?

MR. REEKER: Well, first of all, let me say, as the Secretary of State said in Hanoi, we are very pleased that Li Shaomin, an American citizen, has been released, and we hope to see the other cases moving toward resolution. I believe you have all been aware that Mr. Li is expected to arrive in San Francisco shortly, if he has not already, and will be soon be reunited with his family. A State Department official is in San Francisco to assist with his entry into the United States and reunion with his family.

In terms of the other cases, as you are aware, Gao Zhan was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail and we understand that her lawyer has indicated she is seeking a parole on medical grounds. We are engaged intensively on every level, in Washington, in Beijing, and indeed in Hanoi, where Secretary Powell is, to urge the Chinese Government for the early release of Gao Zhan on humanitarian grounds. The Secretary raised our concerns in his discussions with Chinese Foreign Minister Tang in Hanoi today.

We have also similarly urged the Chinese Government to promptly resolve the cases of others that have been similarly detained. There is US citizen Wu Jianming and legal permanent resident, Tan (Qin) Guangguang. So we will continue to be actively involved in that and continue to raise this and watch as events unfold.

QUESTION: Any update on Macedonia?

MR. REEKER: Sure, let's talk a little bit about Macedonia. First of all, I would like to very strongly condemn last night's violent attacks in Skopje against diplomatic establishments and international organizations. Those diplomats, those international organizations, are in Macedonia working at the invitation of the Macedonian Government and trying to help Macedonia.

We call on the multi-ethnic Government of Macedonia to redouble its efforts to protect these establishments in case there should be further such attacks. I would also like to take this opportunity to categorically deny once again any allegations that the United States or NATO have supported the ethnic Albanian extremists in any way. I would like everyone to listen to what the President of the United States said yesterday from Kosovo. The allegations that have been made in some quarters about our supporting ethnic Albanian extremists are unfair, they are inaccurate and they are wrong. This is not the time for Balkan conspiracy theories; this is the time for all of the leaders in Macedonia of all ethnicities to work together on a political solution.

The abuse by armed extremists of the cease-fire to improve their military positions is unacceptable, and we condemn cease-fire violations by the so-called National Liberation Army in its continuing pursuit of territorial gain in blatant violation of the cease-fire pledge. So NATO officials are working to restore the cease-fire, and we are going to continue to persevere, to push ahead, working with all sides to not only respect the cease-fire agreement they signed, and calling on them to exercise restraint, but to move ahead, seize the initiative for peace, and continue the political talks.

Again, it is time to show some true leadership in Skopje, and all parties need to continue negotiations and reach an agreement that addresses the concerns of all sides, respects the rights of all people of Macedonia, and preserves Macedonia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Leaders need to think about compromises. They need to follow a path toward peace and not toward war.

Any other questions on that?

QUESTION: Do you know if the Secretary has been in touch with President Trajkovski, who has been here in his --

MR. REEKER: I don't have an exact readout of the Secretary's calls. I can check on that for you afterwards. I had not gotten that information from the Secretary's party before coming out here.

QUESTION: Jim Pardew is there?

MR. REEKER: Jim Pardew is in Skopje, our Special Advisor for the Balkans. He remains there, along with the European Union Envoy, François Leotard, working with the political parties to facilitate their discussion, their dialogue on coming up with a political solution to this problem, because that is the only solution there can be. There is no military solution to this problem at all.

Just one moment. Betsy, did you have something else?

QUESTION: I just wanted to know if there were any other efforts being made by this Government to address this crisis?

MR. REEKER: Well, we continue to be in very close touch through our embassy, Ambassador Mike Einik. Ambassador Pardew, as I just mentioned, is there working closely. He has met with President Trajkovski today. We continue to reach out to all the political parties in the multi-ethnic Macedonian Government to continue promoting their working together to find a peaceful solution to this.

And I think you heard the President's comments yesterday from the region, where he spoke from Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo about the importance of moving ahead to a peaceful solution to this, and his very strong words against any support for armed ethnic Albanian extremists. We have been talking about that from the beginning of this crisis, and we continue to hold that position quite firmly.

Now, Mr. Lambros, please go ahead.

QUESTION: According to the press reports, however, NATO helicopters have been caught up by firing on military authorities yesterday, and it's supplying with guns Albanian extremists around Tetovo. And in a very unusual development, yesterday the demonstration attacked even the US Embassy in Skopje.

How do you comment?

MR. REEKER: Well, I think you need to start reading the right kind of press, Mr. Lambros, because those press reports are false and wrong.

QUESTION: Even in The Washington Post today.

MR. REEKER: I have seen all kinds of references to press reports. NATO has addressed this, and as I said at the beginning of my comments, those suggestions are completely wrong. They are inaccurate in every respect. We do not support the armed ethnic Albanian extremists at all. We have done nothing but call for pulling back, for laying down of arms, and following a peaceful solution to this.

So I would refer you to the statements put out by NATO. I would refer you to statements put out by Ambassador Pardew, and the European Union Envoy François Leotard, noting that they were shocked by allegations that they support the NLA or that they lay responsibility for fighting in Tetovo on Macedonian security forces. That is just incorrect. And, as I said, this is not the time for Balkan conspiracy theories. This is the time for people to focus on facts and to work together in Skopje to come up with a political solution, which is easily within their grasp.

All political leaders, all the people of Macedonia need to think seriously about their future, because they are on the road between peace and war, and they need to head toward peace. And so these kind of irresponsible press reports, irresponsible, immature statements from certain political leaders are not helpful to the situation and they only serve to exacerbate this. What we need to focus on are facts and what is being done to help the situation move in the right direction.

QUESTION: Do you think it is possible that the Albanians feel that they have a mixed message from the United States, or do you think that they are using these kind of statements to falsely persuade other Albanians to join their cause because they think the United States is - -

MR. REEKER: I don't know if I quite follow your question, because our statements have been very consistent from this podium, from the White House, from the President of the United States. Our statements and our actions against armed ethnic Albanian extremists in Macedonia or in Kosovo, where our KFOR soldiers have been working as part of NATO to tighten up border controls, to prevent smuggling and supplying illegal weapons transfers to these armed extremists in Macedonia, where the President's executive order has sought to cut off any flow of private funds from the United States to individuals or organizations involved in armed extremism. And we have been very clear on that from the beginning of this conflict.

There has to be a peaceful solution to this, there has to be a political dialogue. There is a multi-ethnic government in Macedonia right now, a government of unity that reflects all the major political parties, Albanians, Macedonians, that can work together to come up with solutions, assisted and facilitated by representatives from the international community who are there at the express invitation of the Macedonian Government.

So I think our message to ethnic Albanians, to ethnic Macedonians, to the government and certainly to any of those who purport to support armed extremism has been very clear and very much the same and consistent throughout this entire period. We do not support ethnic Albanian extremism, we support Macedonia and its territorial integrity and its sovereignty and in a future as a multi-ethnic state where everybody can live together, as they have for generations and generations, to strive for a better future for their children and grandchildren, economically and peacefully.

QUESTION: Will this latest violence prompt Pardew and Leotard to return to the negotiating tables to, let's say, start from scratch on a new cease-fire? Or is this cease-fire salvageable?

MR. REEKER: NATO, as I said, has been working diligently to get the parties to continue with the case-fire. The cease-fire is absolutely important. The cease-fire that was signed and agreed to does not have a particular end; it is an open-ended cease-fire. And it is crucial that the cease-fire be maintained to provide the right atmosphere for the political dialogue.

The types of activities that we saw recently in terms of violations of the cease-fire are unacceptable. And, as I said at the beginning, we condemn those violations because that is taking advantage of a cease- fire that is crucial, as I said, to providing the type of environment they need to move ahead with the political dialogue. And they are very much at the table. They are working with President Trajkovski, who has shown great leadership in bringing together a multi-ethnic government. And it is time for all of the political leaders to show the same kind of leadership, refrain from inflammatory, irresponsible statements and, instead, focus on the task at hand. And that is, thinking very carefully about the types of compromises that can be made, the way Albanians and Macedonians have been able to live together for so many decades, not centuries, and put that in perspective, work out a political solution, and move forward on the basis of that. And we, the United States, as well as the European Union and the rest of the international community, stand ready to help them. That is what we have been doing. We have been a strong supporter of Macedonia as a unified, integral, sovereign country since its independence. And we want to keep it that way.

QUESTION: Would mediation be the right word to describe Ambassador Pardew's role in Macedonia? That's number one. And do you plan to increase security around the embassy?

MR. REEKER: I think the word I have used has been "facilitation," and that is what Ambassador Pardew, as well as the European Union Envoy, Mr. Leotard, have been doing, facilitating at the invitation of the Macedonian Government, bringing in experts from the European Union and others to help the parties in their dialogue and their political process. Again, at their invitation. And we want to continue doing that.

In terms of the embassy, obviously security is always high on our mind. We will not get into specifics of that, as usual, but we work very closely with Macedonian security authorities. The police responded quite smartly, responsibly last night. They had riot units in place to assist with security, and obviously we will continue working with them on that. Mercifully last night there were no injuries reported. There was a crowd that marched toward the US Embassy around 11:00 p.m. local time, and threw stones and some other objects that caused minor damage after they had demonstrated at other Western embassies earlier in the evening.

So we have activated our Warden System, whereby we can contact all American citizens in Skopje and other parts of Macedonia, counseling American citizens in the country to stay in their homes, to exercise extra caution. I think you probably saw that we updated a Travel Warning that has been in place for Macedonia, updating with the latest security situation.

The reports today -- we have spoken with our embassy -- obviously reports are that demonstrations today are taking place in front of the parliament, but they are quiet. The area around the embassy is quiet, and the embassy was closed today for public business, but continues to provide emergency services to Americans as they need them.

And so we will continue to take all the necessary actions to ensure the security of our personnel, as well as all Americans in Macedonia.

Are we done with Macedonia? Okay, other subjects.

QUESTION: Former Secretary of State Al Hague had an interview in The Jerusalem Post today where he made comments to the effect that if the Iranians are developing some weapons, some nuclear weapons, it would be good for the Israelis to do the world a favor and to destroy those facilities.

Is this useful, given the present very volatile situation in the Middle East, that the former Secretary of State made such statements?

MR. REEKER: I think you defined it right there, a "former" Secretary of State, a "former" official, who is free to speak as he wants, and I just wouldn't have any comments on it. I noted the article, but I didn't really spend much time reading it.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the incident of sorts in the Caspian Sea between the Iranian ships and BP-Amoco vessels?

MR. REEKER: Yes, I think somebody raised that yesterday, and I promised to look into it, and in fact, I did look into it.

We understand that the company, BP, chartered two Azeri research vessels to explore the Alov structure on July 23rd. I believe the Alov structure is a naturally occurring geological formation in the Caspian Sea. I also understand that Iranian aircraft overflew the two chartered boats and that an Iranian naval vessel approached the two boats, asserted that the research vessels were in Iranian waters and ordered them to withdraw. The two vessels withdrew and returned safely to Baku, and we understand that their purpose in chartering those vessels was to conduct a survey under a production sharing agreement concluded with Azerbaijan for the Alov field, in terms of oil or gas exploration.

So we are particularly concerned about the reports that I just cited, that the Iranian gunboat used a threat of force in its efforts to clear the survey ships from the area. This is clearly inconsistent with the peaceful process under way in the Caspian Sea, in terms of demarcating the Caspian Sea. And that process has been under way for some time, and this incident could become a very serious incident.

As I said, that process is under way. The littoral states of the Caspian Sea have not yet agreed on how to divide the seabed of the Caspian, and while the United States takes no position on specific boundary disputes, our strong view is that such disputes must be resolved peacefully. And we will continue to support the rapid and commercially viable development of Caspian energy resources based on production sharing agreements concluded between relevant companies and relevant countries.

QUESTION: New subject? On the Biological Weapons Protocol?

MR. REEKER: You didn't get enough of that today?

QUESTION: I know we got from a senior State Department official, but from this podium, could you explain why the United States does not want to sign this protocol as it stands?

MR. REEKER: Well, I think Ambassador Mahley has also done that quite well -- in fact, I saw him just now on your network -- in terms of the statement he made in Geneva at that. We fully support the Bio-Weapons Convention. We have been a party to that since its inception, looking at nearly 30 years. We think it is an important international agreement to which we are a valuable part and will remain so.

The protocol, which was proposed, adds nothing new to our verification capabilities. And it was a unanimous view in the United States government that there were significant risks to US national interests and that is why we could not support that protocol. Implementation of such a protocol would have caused problems, I think, for our biological weapons defense programs, would have risked intellectual property problems for our pharmaceutical and biotech industries and risked the loss of integrity and utility to our very rigorous multilateral export control regimes. And so we believe that not having this protocol is having one. We will continue to work very closely with the other members, signators and parties to the Bio-Weapons Convention, to discuss how we can take steps to strengthen that convention and work on issues like verification, and we will continue moving ahead in that direction.

QUESTION: Secretary Rumsfeld said yesterday that the US needs to maintain presence in Asia --

MR. REEKER: Sorry, can we come back to you and just finish up? Go ahead.

QUESTION: I was wondering, has there been any response or backlash from the US opposition to the convention? And, secondly, is the Administration at all concerned about a perception of unilateralism or isolationism from the series of multilateral agreements --

MR. REEKER: In terms of the first part of your question, I am not aware of a particular response on that. I don't think it was a surprise to anybody. I think our views were well known and had been shared and we had been discussing our concerns about the direction that this draft agreement, this draft protocol was going. So it shouldn't have really been a surprise to anyone. I think a number of our allies, in fact, have understood quite clearly our concerns about this and we felt that we needed to take a leadership position to protect not only our own interests but to perhaps curb the momentum in terms of the direction that this protocol was heading and not accomplishing what the ad hoc group had truly set out to do in terms of strengthening the Bio- Weapons Convention.

In terms of the suggestion of unilateralism, I think just on the face of it, it can be dismissed. Here we are working multilaterally in an ad hoc group, discussing with our friends and allies and others issues like the Bio-Weapons Convention. It has become a convenient catch phrase in much of the media and certainly in other parts of the world to discuss there is some American unilateralism. I reject that completely because we work bilaterally with individual countries in our relations with them and we work very much multilaterally through the United Nations and its network of organizations, conventions and programs. We are a very active player around the globe.

The President of the United States has just returned after being in Genoa, where he participated with the Group of Eight nations at their annual summit meeting, sitting at the table with the other leading economies of the world. The United States accounts for a quarter of the world's economy, and we have talked many times about how integrated the world economy is now, about how our economy, our investments, our trade are very dependent upon the same factors in other parts of the world.

So to suggest that there is some sort of unilateralist tendency here, I think is just wrong. And I think people need to step back and look at the steps we have taken, look at how we have engaged around the world in multilateral fora and in our bilateral relations with so many countries. Just take a look at the list of countries that Secretary Powell has met with, with the representatives of those countries that he has met with here in Washington, that he has met with on the road. He is currently, as we just discussed, in Asia where he is participating at the ASEAN Regional Forum, not some unilateral process, but a regional forum where we can discuss with friends and allies and others on the world scene issues of the day, things that are important to us.

So we will continue to participate multilaterally, continue to show leadership around the world. But also, most importantly, to represent American interests. And because we are showing leadership, we are not going to stand back and go along with things that are not in our interest or do not accomplish the goals which they set out to reach. So I think it is very important to look broadly at where we are going. As we have said on other subjects, international relations is not some sort of zero-sum game; it is the practice of diplomacy. And the Bush Administration and certainly Secretary of State Powell are practicing a rigorous diplomacy all around the world to defend our interest to promote a trade and good relations to better the world. And that is what we will continue to do in the future.

Anything else on that? Yes.

QUESTION: So back on the threat remark made by Secretary Rumsfeld, is China then the threat or part of the threat in NMD, or the greater security issue?

MR. REEKER: I don't think I have anything to say in response to Secretary Rumsfeld's comments. I direct you over to the Pentagon on that. I think we have talked about China and our desire to pursue the important relationship we have with China. As we just mentioned moments ago, Secretary of State Powell is in Hanoi attending the ASEAN Regional Forum. He just met today with the Chinese foreign minister. I will refer you to his comments following that meeting. It is an important relationship.

And, as you know, he is going to Beijing. He will be there on Saturday, I believe, for a series of meetings. We have a broad range of issues which we discuss regularly with the Chinese, including human rights subjects, including missile defense. And so we will continue to pursue those talks with our Chinese counterparts, because we think it is in our interests and their interests to do so.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, the former President Carter yesterday said there is a split in the Bush Administration, saying Rumsfeld said China is a threat and Secretary Powell said China is not the enemy. Is there a split?

MR. REEKER: No, I think the Secretary himself has addressed this quite clearly in a number of recent interviews. There is no split; in fact, the Secretary has talked about the fact that he has worked with all of his counterparts in the Administration for many, many years. His relationships with Secretary Rumsfeld, with others, go back years, if not decades, without suggesting anything about anybody's age.

But I think the Administration works very well together, in terms of the national security apparatus, in terms of each of the members of the national security team playing their role, talking about ideas, making recommendations -- well thought-out recommendations to the President so that he can pursue foreign policy on behalf of the American people, which is after all what our job is.

And so I think we are going to continue moving ahead in that regard. In fact, Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld will be meeting at the end of this week in Australia, where they will attend the AUSMIN Conference together with their Australian counterparts. So this is very much an interagency process. It is an interagency foreign policy on behalf of the President of the United States, who of course conducts foreign policy on behalf of the American people.

QUESTION: Why did Carter say maybe Powell was left out of high-level - -

MR. REEKER: I'm afraid you would have to ask him that question.

QUESTION: On Greece?

MR. REEKER: On Greece, please.

QUESTION: Yes, Ambassador Nicholas Burns with The New York Times presented yesterday in an article the idea that besides with terrorist organizations, November 17th, there is a potential danger now that other international organizations, like Islamic terrorists, with full support by Usama bin Laden will act in Greece during the Olympic Games. And the Ambassador stated to this effect, "The big thing that November 17th is not the only threat to these games in Athens. The real threat is the international terrorists broadly defined."

I'm wondering, is it possible Burns authorized by Department of State to express this new dimension on terror over in Greece?

MR. REEKER: Let me say that Ambassador Burns' remarks in The New York Times were absolutely authorized and fully endorsed by the Department of State and this Administration. I don't think his comments come as a surprise to anyone in this room, and certainly not a surprise to anyone else. You don't have to be a crack reporter to know that international programs like the Olympics, international gatherings are often targets to security threats, and that terrorism is a problem we face all around the world.

Annually we release a report called, "The Patterns of Global Terrorism," which outlines exactly the types of things that Ambassador Burns mentioned. So I think the Greek Government is extremely engaged in security preparations for the 2004 Olympics. We have been working very close with them. We are pleased with the progress made so far and the serious attitude of the Greeks toward security for the 2004 Olympic Games. It is an unfortunate reality of the world we live in that there are those who seek to disrupt things like the Olympics, which should serve as unifying forces in our world, to disrupt those on behalf of misguided causes.

And so Ambassador Burns, I think, reflected quite well not only the work we are doing with the Greeks to ensure that there is appropriate and adequate security for the 2004 Olympics, but the types of threats we face all around the world all the time today.

QUESTION: But how do you explain, Mr. Reeker, the fact that since January 20th to the present, neither President Bush nor Secretary of State Colin Powell never -- I have to repeat -- never make even one single statement about terrorism in Greece in connection with Olympic games. To the opposite, Secretary Powell, in this room, answered my questions, expressed his full confidence in the Greeks.

How do you explain this attitude of Mr. Burns against Greece and the Greek Government with such vitriolic statements?

MR. REEKER: You can try to continue to attack my friend Ambassador Burns all you want. He will soon be leaving Greece, so maybe that will take him off your radar screen, Mr. Lambros. But Ambassador Burns' statements are directly in line with things Secretary Powell has said here.

We have talked extensively -- you have talked and asked questions extensively -- about the potential for terrorist threats in Athens related to the 2004 Olympics. And, as I just said, that is something we take seriously. We work with the Greek Government. Ambassador Burns and I spoke about this subject very recently. We are pleased with the progress made so far, and the serious attitude of the Greeks toward this problem. So we, along with the Greeks and others in the international community, will continue working on that. And perhaps you won't have Ambassador Burns to kick around in Athens for much longer.

QUESTION: What do you have on some American children that have been reported to have been abused in a school in Samoa?

MR. REEKER: Yes. In response to allegations of abuse and mistreatment, Western Samoan authorities visited the Pacific Coast Academy in Samoa on July 19th, and they were accompanied by representatives of the American Embassy in Apia, the capital of Western Samoa, and met with the students, most of whom are American citizens, to ascertain their health, safety and welfare.

I understand that Samoan Government officials announced that students over the age of 14 could depart Pacific Coast Academy of their own free will and could not be forced to return against their will. And we understand that 23 students elected to depart the academy and embassy officers worked with them to notify their parents, many of whom were in the United States. Approximately 15 students chose to remain at the academy, according to the reports I have. And we understand that the Samoan Government investigation into these allegations is continuing.

QUESTION: On a different subject, Wahid, the former President of Indonesia, claims he is coming to the United States for medical treatment. Can you confirm or deny that? And the second question on the same country, are we reevaluating our assistance programs to Indonesia now that they have a new government?

MR. REEKER: On your first question, we are aware that former President Wahid may travel privately to the US for medical treatment, as he has done very frequently in the past. Of course, as always, he would be welcome for that, and I believe he has the appropriate visas to do so.

In terms of the situation broadly, I don't have anything to add really to what I have said the last couple of days. We understand that the Indonesian people's consultative assembly continues to process, or continues in the process of electing a vice president to serve under the new Indonesian President, Megawati Sukarnoputri. And we also understand the situation in Indonesia remains calm, which further demonstrates what President Bush noted in his statements on Monday, that the Indonesian people have shown their commitment to the rule of law and democracy, in terms of resolving the leadership dispute that was present there.

In terms of our relationship with Indonesia, we want to pursue a vigorous bilateral relationship and certainly a multi-ethnic and a multilateral and regional relationship, with Indonesia as a part of that. We have an active embassy led by Ambassador Gelbard in Jakarta, and so I know, as this new government takes shape and new officials come into power, we will be reaching out to work closely with them.

I don't have anything particularly to announce in terms of any changes to our programs with Indonesia, but obviously it is something we are continuously reevaluating and watching as developments occur.

QUESTION: Do you have any specifics as to where and when he is coming, and what hospital?

MR. REEKER: No, I don't. It wouldn't be something we would handle. It is something that you will need to refer to former President Wahid's staff for.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) situation in which he would stay after his medical treatment?

MR. REEKER: I don't know. My understanding is that he will come for medical treatment, which of course we would welcome. There are no meetings contemplated with any US officials. So, again, I would refer you to his spokespeople for their comments on his condition and his plans in terms of his treatment.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) they couldn't hope for any progress in talks with the US, because the US is taking a hard line to Pyongyang. Do you have anything on that?

MR. REEKER: I think Secretary Powell, in some of his comments in Tokyo yesterday and in Hanoi today, may have addressed the question of North Korea. You know that we are continuing to wait for a response from the Koreans in terms of arrangements for our bilateral dialogue, in terms of what we offer, what President Bush announced, in terms of moving forward on that. But we haven't yet seen their full response to whether or not they have accepted our proposals. And so we will continue to watch as that develops.

QUESTION: Deputy Secretary Armitage was quoted in saying in South Korea that he insisted on those alterations to the Japanese textbooks about slave women and so on, on the issue. Can you clarify a little bit, did he or did he not say it?

MR. REEKER: I don't know when that quoting would have taken place, because he hasn't --

QUESTION: It was quoted by Kyoto out of some --

MR. REEKER: Weeks and weeks and weeks ago?

QUESTION: No, I don't think so.

MR. REEKER: Well, Deputy Secretary Armitage is here in Washington. He hasn't been in South Korea. So I am not --

QUESTION: He hasn't been in contact with any South Korean journalists?

MR. REEKER: Perhaps. It's something I would have to check for you. I think that is really an issue that is for the South Koreans and the Japanese to work out in their own context. Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)


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