U.S. weighs deal to sway North Korea

June 28, 1994|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration is considering a package of economic and diplomatic inducements, including an initial exchange of liaison offices, in its opening round of talks with North Korea on July 8.

Mike McCurry, the State Department spokesman, said that the first days of the talks in Geneva will be devoted to presentations by each side. After initial discussions, the two sides will take a break, then reconvene the next week to discuss each side's position, he said.

Clinton administration officials said that the best way to cap the North Korean nuclear program would be to procure the spent fuel rods from its reactor and take them to the United States.

Another approach would be to store them in North Korea in a way that would make it hard for the material to be quickly diverted, like encasing them in concrete.

But North Korea's short-term freeze will not have a major effect on its nuclear ambitions if the talks fail. Its offer to freeze its program is only for the duration of the negotiations in Geneva.

To monitor the freeze, two officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency are stationed at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site.

From there, they conduct inspections to make sure that the 8,000 fuel rods the North Koreans have removed from the Yongbyon reactor are kept in a cooling pond and not diverted to produce plutonium, an ingredient in nuclear weapons.

When the inspectors are not present, the United Nations watchdog agency relies on cameras to keep an eye on the stockpiles. The rods embody the future of the North Korean nuclear program, since they contain enough plutonium to make four to five weapons.

In another development, South Korean state television reported today that South Korean President Kim Young Sam will meet North Korean leader Kim Il Sung on July 25 in the northern capital of Pyongyang.

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