Reuters (“GORE IN SOUTH KOREA FOR TALKS ON NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 3/28/97) and CNN Interactive (“GORE ARRIVES IN SEOUL TO DISCUSS PEACE TALKS,” Seoul, 3/28/97) reported that US Vice President Al Gore arrived Friday in Seoul. He will discuss the progress of the four- party talks proposal during a Saturday meeting with ROK President Kim Young-sam. At a Friday dinner hosted by ROK PM Koh Kun, Gore stated that “our two nations and our two peoples have been allies for nearly half a century, standing watch together here for the causes of peace, security, and stability.” Gore also noted that “the growth of your democracy has made our alliance even closer.” PM Koh Kun hailed Gore’s Asia trip as signifying “the bonds between the United States and this region.” A senior US official noted that the US and ROK have advised the DPRK that “there will be a great deal of good will” if it enters into the peace process, and that “good things will happen.”
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA DEMANDS FOOD FOR PEACE TALKS,” Seoul, 3/27/97) reported that the DPRK made an offer at a working-level meeting in New York Wednesday to agree to participation in the four-party talks in exchange for a US and ROK assurance of food aid. An ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman stated Thursday that “North Korea asked the United States and South Korea to guarantee food aid in advance. You could say it was a conditional acceptance of the proposal.” He added that “we have repeated our position that food aid can be discussed in four- party talks in the framework of easing tension and building peace.”
The Washington Post carried an Associated Press report (“S KOREA EYES PEACE WITH N KOREA,” Seoul, 3/27/97) that South Korea, “apparently hoping to induce” the DPRK to “embrace” the four-party talks, authorized trade official Hong Ji-son of the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation to depart Friday for an eight-day visit to North Korea. Hong will discuss opening a ROK trade center in the DPRK free trade zone.
Reuters (“GORE SAYS HIS CHINA TRIP WILL LEAD TO PROGRESS,” Shanghai, 3/27/97) reported that US Vice President Al Gore Thursday predicted that his China visit will lead to “significant progress” in the coming months on issues dividing the US and PRC. Gore advised members of the American Chamber of Commerce that he addressed “the entire agenda of Sino-American relations” and that the mission was “part of President Clinton’s efforts to establish a high-level dialogue that will enable our two nations to build a new era of cooperation for a new century.”
Charles Hutzler of the Associated Press reported in the Washington Post (“GINGRICH DISCUSSES DONATIONS,” Beijing, 3/28/97) that US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich used his meetings with PRC leaders to discuss Chinese involvement in questionable 1996 election campaign donations and request help in the US investigation. Xinhua has dismissed the allegations as the US media “taking aim at the Chinese government.” Gingrich noted that PRC Vice Premier Zhu Rongji was “neither positive nor negative” on his request.
Choe Sang-hun of the Associated Press reported in the Washington Post (“S KOREA MAY EXPEL CHINA ACTIVIST,” Seoul, 3/28/97) that the ROK has threatened to expel visiting human rights activist Harry Wu if his criticism of the PRC “jeopardizes” PRC-ROK relations, according to Amnesty International. Wu stated Friday that he believes Seoul “will do what’s best for its interests; (but) I will not discontinue my travel.”
Reuters (“S KOREA ARRESTS HANBO CHAIRMAN FOR POCKETING FUNDS,” Seoul, 3/28/97) reported that Hanbo Chairman Chung Bo-keun was arrested and taken to Youngdungpo prison, according to Seoul prosecutors. Chung is accused of pocketing 37 billion won ($41 million) from Hanbo Group funds.
(US-China engagement “extraordinarily important”)
(Permission obtained covering republication/translation of the transcript by USIS/press outside the US. From the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, March 27, 1997, co-produced by MacNEIL/LEHRER PRODUCTIONS and WETA in association with WNET. Copyright (c) 1997 by MacNeil-Lehrer Productions.)
Washington — Samuel Berger, President Clinton’s National Security Adviser, says US diplomatic engagement with China is “extraordinarily important” because how China evolves over the next ten to 20 years “will have a profound impact on the stability and peace in Asia and the rest of the world.
“China will decide its own destiny,” Berger said during a March 27 interview conducted by Margaret Warner on PBS television network’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, “but we can help shape those choices if we are engaged with China.”
Such engagement is not “a reward for good behavior,” he said. The fundamental importance of Vice President Gore’s trip to China, according to Berger, “is to engage with China to deal with issues where we have mutual interests, and issues where we have problems — not to isolate China, or us from a quarter of the world’s population.”
(Full transcript of the interview is below.)
The previous Daily Report misidentified U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R). Sen. Cochran represents the State of Mississippi. Our apologies for the error, copied from the WASHINGTON POST.
Hwang Jang-yop, the DPRK top official in the Philippines, is healthy and spends most of his time reading and writing, a government source said yesterday. An anonymous reporter said that despite long confinement in a small place, Hwang is not showing any signs of psychological instability. “He is a man of temperance,” the source said. He said that Hwang skips breakfast everyday and refrains from taking meat. /\Instead, he likes fish and vegetables. Hwang starts his day with meditation and spends the rest of the day reading and writing. He loves to read fairy tales written for adult reading, so officials have given him 15 books of this kind, the source said. Hwang focuses his writing time on rewriting or amending treatise and academic papers he wrote in the DPRK. He is depending only on his memory for that work. Several dictionaries were sent to aid his writing work, the source said. (CSY) (Korea Herald, “HWANG REPORTED HEALTHY IN PHILIPPINES HIDEOUT,” 03/28/97)
DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop, is expected to arrive in Seoul around the second weekend of April, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. “It will take more time. We are still far away from the point where we and the Chinese agree on the timing of bringing Hwang to Seoul,” said Ryu Kwang-sok, director general of the ministry’s Asia-Pacific Affairs Bureau. He said that Hwang will have to stay in the Philippines at least one more week before coming to Seoul, thereby dismissing reports both at home and abroad that the DPRK Worker’s Party secretary’s arrival here is imminent. Meanwhile, a high-ranking government official said yesterday that a DPRK freighter ship has anchored in Manila Bay. However, the official states, there will be no serious problems with Hwang’s safety as the Philippine authorities are taking proper measures. No security problems have arisen in connection with Hwang’s stay in the Philippines and he is in stable condition, Ryu said. On Wednesday, Philippine President Fidel Ramos said that his country has asked the ROK and the PRC to shorten the duration of Hwang’s stay in the Philippines. “The issue of shortening Hwang’s stay in the Philippines has to be duly considered, and the Philippine government is still awaiting the replies from the governments of the PRC and the ROK,” said Ramos’ aid in his weekly press conference. Ramos’ remarks came amid mounting public opinion in the Philippines that Hwang’s stay there for a protracted period won’t serve the national interests of the country. (Korea Times, “HWANG EXPECTED TO COME TO SEOUL IN 2ND WEEK OF APRIL,” 03/27/97)
A delegation of five US Senators yesterday met with ROK President Kim Young-sam and ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha to discuss the situation in the DPRK and other issues of mutual concern. The delegation, led by Sen. Ted Stevens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, arrived in Seoul Wednesday for a three-day visit to be followed by a trip to Pyongyang. The top ROK officials told the US Senators the DPRK regime has been losing its grip in the face of severe food shortages and social unrest. They asked for US congressional support for a joint Seoul-Washington stance on the DPRK; which is more necessary than ever, said a Foreign Ministry official. Sen. Stevens, a Republican from Alaska, and four of his colleagues also attended a briefing from Gen. John H. Tilelli, commander of US forces here, and visited US military facilities. DPRK officials are certain to ask the US Senators to support massive food assistance to the North, the official said. He said the senators’ visit may help improve the atmosphere for food aid to the DPRK but will not lead to immediate assistance. Following the Senators, US Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to arrive in Seoul today on the last leg of his Asian tour. (Korea Herald, “SEOUL ASKS U.S. SENATORS TO BACK JOINT STAND ON NORTH KOREA,” 03/28/97)
A high-ranking official of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) will leave for Pyongyang tomorrow on an eight-day investment trip, the ROK Ministry of National Unification said yesterday. Hong Ji-sun, who heads KOTRA’s DPRK department, will meet with officials of the DPRK Commission for External Trade Promotions to discuss furthering processing-on-commission trade and the opening of a KOTRA office in the Rajin-Sonbong free trade zone. Hong was given permission to visit the DPRK by the Ministry yesterday. His earlier request had been rejected by the Ministry because his application document was missing some of the required information, an official said. Ministry officials strongly denied that Hong is visiting the North to carry out a behind-the-door transaction of 200,000 tons of rice to the North. An ROK weekly reported that Hong was the ROK mediator for the exchange of Hwang for rice. (Korea Herald, “KOTRA OFFICIAL ON INVESTEMENT MISSION TO NORTH KOREA,” 03/28/97)
A DPRK construction worker, Lim Jae-il, arrived in Seoul yesterday after seeking asylum through the ROK Embassy in Kuwait. Upon his arrival at the Kimpo International Airport, he said that scores of people die every day from hunger-related diseases in the North, except in Pyongyang, the capital city. ” I decided to defect to the South because I couldn’t live in the DPRK, which is a land of death, starvation and solitude,” said Lim, one of 1,600 DPRK construction workers in Kuwait. Lim said he worked 15 hours a day in Kuwait since November last year. “When they sent me to Kuwait, DPRK officials promised me a $120 monthly wage, but I received no money during the past four months,” Lim said. Lim fled his construction site March 18 and sought asylum to the ROK Embassy in Kuwait. The Kuwait government and the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees confirmed his desire to defect to the South, a Foreign Ministry official said. According to Lim, the food shortage in the North is becoming more aggravated . “(They) know very well that South Korea is far better off, while they are sick and tired of the North Korean society,” said Lim, in reference to DPRK workers in Kuwait. “As far as I know, many of them are seeking a chance to defect to the South.” As for the North, Lim left behind his wife, son and father. ROK Embassy officials in Kuwait told The Korea Herald, in October last year, when there were only 800 DPRK workers in the oil-rich nation, reported that the ROK Embassy in Kuwait was ready for possible defection of some of the DPRK workers. Another 800 DPRK workers entered Kuwait since then with the expectation that they would receive a monthly wage of $120 to $200. The defector’s arrival came as the ROK’s religious and civic groups launched a week-long joint fund-raising campaign to send 10,000 tons of corn to the DPRK. Meanwhile, at least three other DPRK defectors have arrived in Hong Kong seeking asylum in the South. (Korea Herald, “NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR ARRIVES IN SEOUL FROM KUWAIT,” 03/28/97)
Following is the MacNeil-Lehrer Productions transcript:
NEWSMAKER: SANDY BERGER MARCH 27, 1997 TRANSCRIPT
MARGARET WARNER: Samuel Berger took over from Anthony Lake as head of the National Security Council when President Clinton reshuffled his foreign policy and defense team last December. His relationship with Bill Clinton dates back 25 years when they both worked for the presidential campaign of George McGovern. Berger served as Mr. Clinton’s foreign policy adviser during the 1992 campaign, then became Lake’s chief deputy at the NSC. He joins us for his first NewsHour interview since becoming National Security Adviser. And, welcome. First interview, we hope not the last.
SAMUEL (SANDY) BERGER, National Security Adviser: Good to be here. I hope not.
WARNER: You gave a major speech today in which you said that we should stop calling this time we’re living in the post-Cold War era. What should we call it? How should we think of it?
BERGER: Well, the post-Cold War era is the phrase that defines what has ended — the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Berlin Wall. What we really need to focus on now is what we’re building. And what I tried to do in today’s speech, what the President has laid out in the State of the Union and elsewhere, are the strategic objectives of this new era of construction — an undivided, peaceful Europe, a relationship between Asia and the United States, an open trading system, America building peace in areas like the Middle East. These are the acts of construction that will mark the new era that we’re entering.
WARNER: But you still haven’t given me the bumper sticker line.
BERGER: I don’t think there is or need we spend a lot of time looking for the lift or the driving cliche that will answer every question. Containment was a one-word description of a policy. In its application to the central question of the Soviet Union it was enormously successful. As it was applied elsewhere, one might argue that it was not always quite as successful. I don’t think there’s a single slogan that embraces all the judgments we need to make. I think there is, however, a strategic direction of building an international community of shared values and shared interests.
WARNER: All rights. Let’s turn to your new job. Tony Lake’s management of the NSC did come in for a lot of criticism during his confirmation hearings to be head of the CIA. Are you going to run the NSC in a management sense any differently than he did?
BERGER: Well, first of all, I think Tony was an excellent National Security Adviser. I think the period — the President’s first term — was a period of great accomplishment, ending the war in Bosnia, bringing peace to Haiti, enormous accomplishments in the trade area, peace in the Middle East. I could go on and on. So /\I think that his administration of the NSC and the President’s leadership during the first term have been very sound. But I think that there are questions that were raised. And I think I would say also that the national security staff is an extraordinarily dedicated and fine staff. But there are some questions that have been raised in the course of the hearings about how you insulate the NSC from partisan political pressure on the one hand, without isolating the NSC from the outside world, and I think those questions need greater clarity, and I will talk with other former National Security Advisers and hope to provide that clarity.
WARNER: So if the FBI came to brief two of your staffers in a few months about some other foreign government trying to influence U.S. elections, would you want to know about it?
BERGER: Well, in the case you’re referring to the answer is certainly yes.
WARNER: All right. And if an NSC —
BERGER: But let me say this. There are also — here is a balance between micromanagement and need to know. A senior director at the National Security Council is the rank of an assistant secretary. These are extraordinarily bright people, hundreds of pieces of information come across their desks every day. I don’t need to know everything, nor should I — should they feel compelled to pass everything up the line. But, clearly, there are things that have broad implications, as was the case of that particular piece of information which I would have wanted to know, I think the President would have wanted to know.
WARNER: Do you have — let me turn to the other example, which had to do with the fact that an NSC staffer, one of these directors, warned that the President shouldn’t meet with a certain international businessman. I don’t want to rehash that. I want to know in the future do you have assurances that that recommendation would stand and not be overruled by political people either at the White House or the DNC?
BERGER: The President has said that he felt the procedures, some of the procedures that were in place the last few years, in terms of who he had — who had access to him were lax. He has directed the chief of staff, Mr. Bowles, to design a more rigorous system. I think the National Security Council has a role to play in that system, particularly with respect to foreign visitors. We can have access to certain databases and determine whether there is information with respect to those individuals that ought to be known by the people putting on the event, but we can’t be a police force for the tens of thousands of people who come to the White House.
WARNER: Attorney General Reno today defended the FBI’s decision to refuse your NSC’s request for some counter-intelligence information about China’s alleged attempts to subvert the U.S. election, and this was information you’re asking for, for Madeleine Albright, the Secretary of State, before her first trip to China. Now, are you — are you comfortable with that? How do you feel about that, that the FBI would not give you the information?
BERGER: Well, the FBI is in a difficult position. Obviously, it has a law enforcement responsibility and a need to preserve the integrity of that law enforcement process. I would hope when there are matters touching on national security that there would be a willingness to share that information to the extent they deem appropriate.
WARNER: You mentioned about wanting to isolate or insulate the NSC from political considerations, political pressures. You have been described, however, during the last few years as really the nexus between NSC and the political planning that went on at the White House. You were the ones — you were the one in those meetings with the pollsters and the campaign advertising people and so on. In retrospect, do you think that was appropriate for you to be there?
BERGER: Well, first of all, let me say my principal responsibility and what I spent 17 or 18 hours a day doing was the conduct of American foreign policy, advising the President. There were weekly meetings the President had with senior officials in the White House and some of the campaign consultants. I thought it was appropriate to have somebody from the foreign policy shop at those meetings so that those people who were engaged in directing the campaign had an understanding of what the President’s foreign policies were, and those of us who were on the foreign policy side had an understanding of what the general thrust and themes of the campaign were. There was no discussion at those meetings of fund-raising or contributors. And I think — I don’t think it was inappropriate, but obviously one has to be very cautious about that.
WARNER: All right. Let’s turn to Vice President Gore’s trip to China. What did the U.S. get out of that trip?
BERGER: Well, I think the policy of engagement with China is extraordinarily important. How China evolves, Margaret, over the next 10 years or 20 years will be — will have a profound impact on the stability and peace of Asia and the entire world. Will China integrate increasingly into the international community, or China develop in a more nationalistic and self-absorbed way? China will decide its own destiny, but we can help shape those choices if we are engaged with China. And we engage with China not as a reward for good behavior. We engage with China to expand areas where we can cooperate, such as stability in the Korean Peninsula, ending nuclear testing, as we’ve done last year, as well as to raise, forthrightly, as the Vice President did areas of disagreement, human rights, some questions of market access, issues of some of China’s weapon sales. So the fundamental importance of the trip is to engage with China to deal with issues where we have mutual interests, and issues where we have problems not to isolate China or isolate us from a quarter of the world’s population.
WARNER: Some critics, some observers of the trip in editorial pages, including the Washington Post for one, criticized the Gore trip because they felt that the business interests seemed paramount. I think the Post said something like it gave the impression that commercial interests trump all U.S. policy in China. Does that concern you?
BERGER: That’s not true. We have a broad-ranging relationship with China. The Vice President’s discussions with the Chinese involved — were a strategic dialogue. They involved issues of regional stability. They involved the Korean Peninsula. I’m sure they involved Taiwan. I know they involved Hong Kong. Part of our relationship is economic. We now have a trade deficit with China. We can’t get rid of that trade deficit if we don’t sell things to China. We can’t simultaneously complain about a trade deficit and not be supportive of American business as it seeks to sell into that market. But it hardly dominates the relationship. This is a broad, complex relationship. The economic dimension is simply one of many.
WARNER: Now you mentioned Hong Kong. Why did the Vice President not go to Hong Kong?
BERGER: I think the Vice President felt that it was most effective to raise our concerns about Hong Kong directly with the Chinese. Others from the administration have traveled to Hong Kong. There will be many senior visitors from Hong Kong coming to the United States. But we wanted to convey to the Chinese that the world here is concerned about the way in which Hong Kong is integrated into China at the end of this summer.
WARNER: So it wasn’t a concern about offending the Chinese?
BERGER: No. I think it was — this was — first of all, it’s a limited trip in duration, but I think it’s a question of how you are most effective in trying to achieve the result we want, which is not only in our interest but it’s very much in China’s interest to have a peaceful integration of Hong Kong which preserves the distinct identity and political freedoms of Hong Kong.
WARNER: There was also quite a bit of confusion about what exactly the Vice President said, what message he left with the Chinese when they asked him about all this, this fund-raising scandal and the ongoing investigation. What was the message that he conveyed to the Chinese?
BERGER: Well, I was not in the meeting but my impression is that what the Vice President said is that these are serious allegations, they are under investigation by our Justice Department, if they are true, we would take them seriously, and obviously, some appropriate action will be necessary, but they’re still allegations, and we need to at the same time we investigate those allegations, we need to proceed to deal with the broad range of issues that we have in common with China. You know, we have problems with other countries, sometimes law enforcement problems with other countries. Sometimes they’re our allies. Sometimes they’re our quasi-allies. We don’t deal with the relationship. We try to deal with a relationship as well as vigorously pursue the law enforcement matters at the same time.
WARNER: If in the ensuing months, though, this investigation should get to the point say there were indictments or that it was clear that the law enforcement community here or grand jury came to the conclusion that this interference was attempted, then what? For instance, would the summit go ahead between the President and Jiang Zemin —
BERGER: I’m not going to get ahead of what we know or what I know. The fact is that there is an investigation ongoing; let’s see where it leads; and obviously the President has indicated before that these are serious allegations, but they are allegations, and their overall relationship remains extremely important in our interest. This is not something we do for China. It’s something that we pursue for the United States.
WARNER: All right. Well, thank you so much for coming in.
BERGER: Thank you.