THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
December 28, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     For several years, we have been working with our East Asian allies to
improve relations with North Korea in a way that strengthens peace and
stability on the Korean Peninsula.  We have made substantial progress,
including the 1994 Agreed Framework, which froze North Korea?s production
of plutonium for nuclear weapons under ongoing international inspections,
and the 1999 moratorium on long-range missile tests.  I believe new
opportunities are opening for progress toward greater stability and peace
on the Korean Peninsula.  However, I have determined that there is not
enough time while I am President to prepare the way for an agreement with
North Korea that advances our national interest and provides the basis for
a trip by me to Pyongyang.  Let me emphasize that I believe this process of
engagement with North Korea, in coordination with South Korea and Japan,
holds great promise and that the United States should continue to build on
the progress we have made.

     Our policy toward North Korea has been based on a strong framework
developed at my request by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and
carried out by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Special Advisor
Wendy Sherman.  We have coordinated each step forward with our allies, the
Republic of Korea and Japan.  The engagement policy of President Kim Dae
Jung and his personal leadership have spurred this process and earned the
world?s admiration.  Taken together, our efforts have reduced tensions on
the Korean Peninsula, improved prospects for enduring peace and stability
in the region, and opened an opportunity to substantially reduce, if not
eliminate, the threat posed by North Korean missile development and

     This past October, when DPRK Chairman Kim Jong Il invited me to visit
his country, and later when Secretary Albright traveled to Pyongyang,
Chairman Kim put forward a serious proposal concerning his missile program.
Since then, we have discussed with North Korea proposals to eliminate its
missile export program as well as to halt further missile development.
While there is insufficient time for me to complete the work at hand, there
is sufficient promise to continue this effort.  The United States has a
clear national interest in seeing it through.


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