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DoD News Briefing, September 15, 1998 - 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
September 15, 1998 2:15 PM EDT

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.

Let me start with one personnel announcement. Two, actually.

First, General Eric Shinseki has been nominated by President Clinton for reappointment to the grade of general with a new assignment of Vice Chief of Staff of the Army here in Washington. He is currently the Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe and the 7th Army, and he's also the Commander of the SFOR forces in Bosnia.

When he moves here to be Vice Chief of Staff he will be replaced in Germany by Montgomery C. Meigs who is currently a lieutenant general in charge of the U.S. Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Lieutenant General Meigs has been nominated for promotion to the rank of general to take over in Europe.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Q: Did the Secretary of Defense bring up the question of increasing the budget when he met with the President today?

A: First of all, that meeting starts in five minutes, so he has not brought up anything.

Second, the point of this meeting is not to discuss specific numbers about the budget. The point of this meeting is to answer the President's request for reports on the status of forces and the readiness of the forces. This really came out of a meeting that the President had with the CINCs last year. The Chairman, the Secretary, and the Commanders in Chief of the functional and regional commands will give the President their assessment of our forces today.

Q: According to the Wall Street Journal report yesterday which states that Defense Secretary Cohen and the Joint Chiefs were planning to ask Clinton for a big increase in the defense budget. Is this an accurate report?

A: Bill, they are going to outline a situation for the President. They're going to describe some of the conditions of their operations, and there are some stresses in today's operations. As I said at great length on Tuesday, the Chairman believes, and the Secretary believes, and the CINCs believe, that the forces at the tip of the spear, those who are forward deployed in Korea or Bosnia or Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia from which they fly Operation Southern Watch, are well prepared, well led, and ready to do their job. In fact they're doing their job every day.

There are some concerns about the follow-on forces. There have been some readiness strains that have developed. That's the type of thing that the Chairman will discuss. I think the way the Chairman has put it is that in the last year or so readiness trends have nosed down. We want to pull up on the stick before there's a nose dive, and that's what the point of this meeting is, is to lay out those trends and those challenges for the President. It's not a meeting about the budget. It's a meeting about the readiness of U.S. forces today and their ability to do not only their assignments now, but the challenges they might face in the future.

Q: So this is not a "money will remedy this problem" sort of a meeting?

A: I think the President's a smart man and he can draw his own conclusions from what he's being told at the meeting, but the point of the meeting is not to give him a laundry list of expensive fixes that the military needs today. The point of the meeting is to outline the general condition of our forces.

Secretary Cohen understood when he went through the Quadrennial Defense Review last year that he was making some choices. The most fundamental choice he made was to increase the procurement accounts, to try to boost annual procurement spending up toward $60 billion over a period of years. He managed to get procurement up from about $43 to close to $49 or $50 billion for the current, for FY99, but that comes at a price. The price is not as much spending as we would like for some areas of readiness; not as much spending as we would like for quality of life and infrastructure.

For a long while the military services have been making a choice between readiness on the one hand and procurement, quality of life, infrastructure on the other. Secretary Cohen set out to change that balance because he wants to look 10, 20 years down the road and make sure that we're buying the weapons we need to face the challenges of the future.

The question now is how to get the right balance. One of the things we've learned in the last year is that there is some concern about pay in the military and there is some concern about retirement benefits. Some of this reflects the vibrant private economy and the fact that airlines are bidding for pilots and getting them, and other businesses are bidding for people who are trained as computer technicians, as electronics experts, as repair people. These are highly trained jobs, the people have proven themselves to be very responsible in the military, and they're valuable employees for private companies so they're being bid away. The question is how do we deal with that? So there are a range of questions.

Q: Does the Secretary believe, though, that the readiness can be improved or maintained at the current budget levels?

A: I think that the Secretary has launched a number of... First of all the Chiefs, with the Secretary's encouragement, have begun to look at a number of management reforms that tried to reduce some of the stresses on the men and women in the military. This has to do with rearranging training. It's trying to reduce overlap between exercises demanded by the Commanders in Chief, the CINCs, and those demanded by the services themselves. It's trying to rationalize the exercise schedule so after people come back from long deployments they have some time off with their families, and then maybe ramp up, slowly.

I think also you see a lot of efforts, particularly in the Air Force, to try to make deployments more predictable. To give people a greater certainty about times they'll be away and times they'll be at home. These are all management changes that the services and the Chiefs in the joint environment are making.

Second, the Secretary has proposed a number of savings or economies. The principal one, of course, is more base closures. So far Congress has not smiled on that proposal, to say the least. He believes that we still need to grasp the tens of billions of dollars of savings that would be available over time from two future rounds of base closures. We need to reduce excess and costly infrastructure.

He's also proposed a series of other savings. These won't produce instant results and they won't produce huge savings immediately, but these are various management reforms, paperless contracting, some reductions of civilian staff, etc. These are all efforts to run the Department more efficiently.

He wants to generate savings that can be channeled into either procurement or readiness or other areas. Should we not be able to generate enough savings and relieve enough pressure through management reform such as recalibrating training exercises, then one of the things we'll have to look at is whether the top line is enough. But that is something that will emerge in the course of the budget process.

This meeting today is an informational meeting for the President to educate him about some of the trends in the military. Ultimately Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, the President, and other officials will have to decide what the proper top line of the budget is for the military right now. It's premature to discuss that.

Q: I think the Secretary's on record saying he hasn't made up his mind about whether to request a raise in the caps, correct?

A: You're talking about under the balanced budget agreement?

Q: Right.

A: I think what is most appropriate to say right now is that no decisions have been made about specific numbers.

Q: Going on to a second part of that, he met last Thursday with the big four appropriations committees on the Hill. The focus of discussion was how about an emergency appropriation for the Pentagon for fiscal '99. The question is, does the Secretary oppose such an emergency appropriation to ease the readiness and other problems? What is his position on that?

A: I don't want to talk about a private meeting he had with the big four, but just let me say there are two things we need. One, we need the $1.9 billion to cover the cost of Bosnia operations, the extended cost of Bosnian operations in FY99. And also to the extent that the pay raise turns out to be higher by half a percentage point than initially proposed, that is 3.6 percent versus 3.1 percent, we'll obviously need some money to cover the cost of that pay raise. So we do need money to cover those two issues.

Q: Let me just follow up on that. The pay raise is roughly a little under $200 million; Bosnia is $1.9 billion. They're talking about, Stevens and others are talking about, a $2 billion increase for FY99 in the defense budget. My question is whether the Secretary would look with favor upon that, whether he opposes it as a run around to caps, or whether he would welcome the extra money

A: Right now I think I'll just leave my answer where it is. The budgetary process is under way and there are a number of decisions being made. Right now there is a balanced budget agreement and that clearly is a consideration here. On the other hand, we do face readiness demands, and those are demands that the Secretary is determined to meet. He wants to keep the readiness trends from changing from a nose-down to a nose-dive.

Q: The $250 billion plus inflation which was described in your platform several times by high officials as adequate through the year 2001, 2002, has that been overtaken by events, or does $250 billion plus inflation still look like perhaps it's adequate, or is it inadequate?

A: You're trying manfully, I must say, to get me to announce a budget increase and I'm not in a position to do that right now. This is the type of thing that the Secretary and the Department are working out. All I can tell you is that the Secretary is committed to making sure that the military is adequately funded to carry out its missions today and in the future. That means we have to look at retention and recruiting issues today and figure out what impact they're going to have in the future. We have to look at procurement today and figure out whether the trends are adequate for the future. We have to look at things like quality of life which has a big impact on whether people want to stay in the military or not and decide whether we're spending enough on that for the future. This is what we're doing right now, even as we speak. This is what the Secretary and the Chairman and the Commanders in Chief of the area and functional commands and the service chiefs are doing with the President. But it's part of a process and it will take some time to sort out.

Q: Can you give us the most current assessment now of North Korea's August 31st missile test and what capability the U.S. believes it represents?

A: Yes. I want to begin with a caveat; that we are still looking at some of the information we have gathered and analyzing it in an effort to make a clearer determination of what actually happened and what the capabilities of the North Korean missile program may be. But we believe that North Korea attempted to launch a satellite and failed.

There are two, at least two significant revelations from this effort. The first is that they launched a multi-stage missile and they were able to get the stages to separate. The second is that the third stage of the missile apparently was a solid fuel missile. The other two stages were more traditional liquid fuel missiles, which is what the SCUD is and the No Dong, so they have some solid fuel capability. That's what we have learned from this latest test.

When you add those two factors up, it means that they are experimenting with missiles, they have gone some way down toward developing a missile with a much longer range capability.

Now this is worrisome and we've stated that many times. It shows that they are attempting to develop missiles that would give them a longer range strike capability.

Having said all of that, it's necessary to stress again what I started with, that their effort to launch a satellite failed and the launch did not work as planned so they clearly have some problems they have to overcome. We will be watching their efforts, if any, to overcome those problems very carefully.

Q: How does this affect the U.S. assessment of how far away North Korea is from having the ability to launch missiles that, for instance, could strike the United States? Does this shorten the time that we think, until we get to that point?

A: I think that that's one of the things we have to look at very carefully in the future. Clearly, they failed to achieve the range they wanted. We're talking about quite a small satellite. We're talking about quite a small third stage without a lot of propellant capacity or capability. So we have to continue to monitor the findings, but this is a distressing development on their part. The development of a multi-stage missile and the use of a solid propellant in the third stage are both distressing, and they both show that they're attempting to develop longer range missiles.

Q: If they had succeeded, what sort of range would it have given them?

A: Well, they didn't succeed so I don't think it's worth talking about if they had succeeded.

Q: What sorts of potential ranges would a solid fuel multi-stage capability...

A: We're only talking about a solid fuel in the final stage. We're talking something that could be approaching intercontinental ballistic missile range.

Q: You're talking about 5,000 miles?

A: Let's talk in terms of kilometers. Five thousand kilometers.

Q: Three thousand miles.

A: We're talking about a range -- four to six, potentially.

Q: Four to six thousand kilometers?

A: Kilometers.

Q: If there was a third stage... There were two impacts reported. One basically straddled Japan; one went into the Sea of Japan, the other went into the Pacific on the other side of Japan. Where did the third stage go?

A: I'm not sure I know that. I don't know precisely.

Q: What kind of satellite was it? Spy satellite, telecom...

A: All I can tell you is that they have claimed it was a satellite designed to broadcast patriotic songs to the North Korean people. We have not been able to hear any of these broadcasts because we don't think the satellite succeeded, but they claim it was supposed to broadcast glorious songs.

Q: In his meeting with the Chinese delegation today, did they agree, in Cohen's meeting, did they agree on an approach for dealing with this North Korean missile problem?

A: They talked about the North Korean missiles. They also talked about the importance of maintaining the framework agreement which is designed to stop the North Koreans from restarting a nuclear program. General Jiang said that China had a strong commitment to stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region as a whole. He repeated his earlier statement that China is adamantly opposed to nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

Q: In the Pentagon's authoritative document, the Proliferation, Threat, and Response, which many of use as a handy field reference, it refers to the belief that North Korea is developing two longer range missiles -- the Taepo Dong 1 and the Taepo Dong 2. Do we now think that this... Was this test of a longer range Taepo Dong 2? Or is this a third missile under development that we weren't aware of?

A: It's not a third missile under development that we weren't aware of. I think the important point here is this missile was derivative of missiles they've had for some time. We've been watching its development. We have expected them to try to test a long range missile. And they have done that. We will continue to watch this development.

They have not succeeded with their program so far, but they are clearly trying to develop a longer range capability.

Q: Just to clarify, you do or do not think this was a Taepo Dong?

A: It was a Taepo Dong.

Q: Two or one?

A: I don't want to get into the semantics of it here because I'm not sure that we know at this stage, but it was a Taepo Dong.

Q: I thought both the Taepo Dong 1 and 2 were both two stage missiles. This was a three stage missile. So is it a Taepo Dong with a third stage added to it, or is it a new kind of missile?

A: Without getting into semantics, the important point is that they are working on developing a longer range capability. Let's just leave it at that. I'm not sure the semantics are important. What's important here is the capability they are trying and so far have failed to develop.

Q: Does the fact that they were trying to launch a satellite, had a three stage missile, launched toward the east where all orbiting, I believe most orbiting space shots are fired to the east, does this legitimize or does this take away the injury to Japan of this missile overflight that they were trying to launch a satellite? Does that make a difference?

A: I think countries have to make their own decisions about what they consider injurious, and I don't want to speak for how the Japanese should view this. Let them describe their own feelings about this.

I think they appreciate, as do we, that North Korea at a time when its people are starving is investing a lot of money and energy in developing longer range missiles.

Q: I think Secretary Cohen will meet the counterpart of Japan next week.

A: Right.

Q: Can you tell us what are they going to discuss, or is it including this North Korean satellite issue?

A: This is the annual so-called 2+2 meeting which involves the Secretary of Defense and State of the United States and their counterparts from Japan. There, of course, has been a personnel change in the Japanese Cabinet, so this meeting takes on additional importance because there are some new personalities involved.

But they will talk about general security issues. They will certainly talk about regional issues. They'll talk about the importance of moving forward with work in Japan on the defense guidelines, full implementation of the defense guidelines which have been negotiated and agreed to by the two sides. These guidelines represent a very, very important achievement in our relationship. They really show that the security relationship between the U.S. and Japan is important if not central to both countries. So we believe, and we know Japan believes that it's important to move forward with these guidelines. I'm sure they'll also talk about theater missile defense and some of the challenges posed by developments on the Korean Peninsula.

So there will be a wide range of topics. There will be a press conference at the end of the meeting which is currently scheduled for Saturday in New York. There will be, I'm sure, a complete readout on what happened at the meeting.

Q: The meeting is Saturday?

A: It's currently scheduled for Saturday.

Q: Could you give a quick readout on the meeting that Secretary Cohen had with the Japanese Diet members that were here? Are they any closer to wanting to start on a joint cooperation on the theater missile defense?

A: I think that's a decision for the government to make. The administrative branch to make, rather than the legislative branch at this stage. But they did discuss the North Korean situation and some of the challenges that are posed to both Japan and the United States. They also discussed the importance of defense guidelines.

Q: Was there anything conclusive that came out of that?

A: I was not at the meeting and I didn't get a full readout. Secretary Cohen has made it a practice to meet with visiting members of the Diet. I think this is the third or fourth time he's done it since he's been Secretary here in the United States, and he's met with some members when he's been in Japan as well. As a former Member of Congress he thinks these meetings are important. Because of the centrality of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, he wants to maintain a very full dialogue with leaders of Japan, so he does that fairly regularly.

Q: This new capability that the North Koreans are working on, does the Pentagon believe that they're developing it themselves, or that they've purchased it from someone?

A: I think there's a lot more we need to know about this program and we're in the process of trying to find that out.

Q: In light of the missile tests, are you still confident that they are fulfilling their commitments under the agreed framework?

A: Remember the agreed framework does not cover missiles. It covers their nuclear program. And we have recently reached a new agreement or a new understanding with North Korea to proceed with talks in a variety of areas. So far we believe that they are adhering to the agreed framework agreement which is a crucially important agreement, because this is the agreement reached in October of 1994 that, under which they stopped work on their nuclear program.

One of the things we agreed to do with the North Koreans is to continue talks that will give us access to various facilities in North Korea so we can monitor better what they're doing in their program, and also the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy inspectors, will go in and monitor what they're doing at the Yongbyon facility where they have stopped their nuclear work.

Q: Did they agree to allow inspections of those underground sites...

A: That's what we're negotiating. We're continuing negotiations about inspections of the underground sites.

Q: A follow-up from earlier in terms of the assessment of when North Korea might have an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. As a result of this new information, is there, or has there been any decision to revisit that issue? Obviously it appears from what you're saying that the North Koreans are much further along than previously expected.

A: That's not entirely the case. I mean we expected them to launch a longer range missile and they did. They have launched a missile that failed to achieve what they set out to achieve. Obviously it would be better if they weren't trying to achieve longer range capability. We've made that very clear to the North Koreans. I think the Chinese, the Japanese, I think all the nations in the region feel that way -- that this is a potentially destabilizing development. That's one of the reasons why we're trying to engage in missile limitation talks, certainly missile export limitation talks, with the North Koreans. But the fact is that they've tried and failed to do something, and we will watch very closely what happens next.

Q: The Secretary doesn't see any need to revisit that issue vis-a-vis national missile defense?

A: Making decisions and reaching realizations about this is an organic process. It's not something we just do in the month of September. We monitor stuff all the time, and we adjust our conclusions according to the evidence. So far we are still looking at aspects of this launch. We're still sort of combing through the radar and other information that we collected to figure out what happened.

Q: Can I ask you to look through the other end of the telescope? Isn't it better if they shot straight up? I mean we use military rockets to put up peaceful satellites. If they had instrumented a range and did a point to point launch, it would seem to me that would reflect more militarily significant.

Do they have a point in saying that hey, we used a military rocket to launch a peaceful satellite?

A: I think that's a good point. It does not obscure the fact that they have a capability to go over a longer range than they did before; that they are improving their range.

But you're absolutely right. What they said they were doing here and what we concluded they were doing was trying to launch a satellite and do it into an orbit, and we believe they failed to do that.

Q: Is that far less worse than if they had an (inaudible) range and they were doing...

A: Yes. Yes.

Q: So you would say to Japan, do not be so concerned, to stay in Kedo and keeping alive?

A: I would say to you what I said to you ten minutes ago. It's up to Japan to make its own determination about what it thinks about this. I don't speak for the Japanese government. I have a hard enough time speaking for a small part of my own government. I'm certainly not going to take on speaking for the Japanese government.

Q: But we speak to the Japanese government and we can assure them that there may not have been anything belligerent...

A: The Japanese government is entirely capable of reaching its own decisions on this issue.

Q: How about No Dong? Do you have anything updated on No Dongs?

A: I do not.

Q: Going back to Taipo Dong, do you accept the North Korean's assertion that the full purpose was to launch a satellite? Or do you think they have also tested the missile capability?

A: Maybe this point's too subtle, but let's just start with the facts. The North Koreans say that they were trying to launch a satellite. Our conclusion is that yes, there's very strong evidence that they were trying to launch a satellite. The North Koreans say that they not only tried to launch a satellite but they did successfully launch a satellite. We have found no evidence that they successfully launched a satellite.

So on the fundamental point whether they successfully launched a satellite, we disagree.

The capability that allows them to launch satellites is the capability to project payloads over a longer range. We consider that to be worrisome. We're glad that they're trying to launch satellites to broadcast glorious music to their people. But... And as George Wilson pointed out, that's less worrisome than a point to point test.

But the fact of the matter is that it does display some enhanced capability or an intent to develop an enhanced capability on the part of the North Koreans.

Now launching payloads is very complex and it requires a lot of things to work at the same time. You have to have enough propellant. If you have a big payload you have to have a lot of propellant. And it has to burn for the proper amount of time. You've got to get it into the right orbit. It's very complex. You have all sorts of protective devices on payloads, and all of these things we're continuing to examine, to find out exactly what they were doing and what their capabilities are.

Q: There was a report I guess last week about an impending memorandum from Dr. Hamre to lay out some stricter guidelines, I guess, on what the DoD posts on its web site. I was wondering if you could maybe give us a little bit of background on this activity, and whether or not there are some specific cases where the Pentagon may have released information inadvertently or perhaps some other fashion, and it's led Dr. Hamre to be concerned about this.

A: This is an example of a challenge that balances two goals. The challenge is to balance two goals. One is to have web sites that provide useful information to the users of those web sites but don't go too far in providing information that could be dangerous if misused by malefactors of various sorts.

So Dr. Hamre and the Joint Staff have been aggressively looking at the content of web sites to see what sort of information they may provide on building plans, for instance; actual diagrams of buildings of certain military installations; on lessons learned on certain military operations or programs; on future R&D goals or programmatic goals, and also personnel information that could perhaps provide too much information in terms of locating people or recreating identities from information provided on the Internet.

We're in the process now, as I believe many private companies are, of trying to sort out what the right balance is between providing useful information and providing more information than is necessary over the Internet. Some of this involves cutting out clutter on the Internet and focusing web sites so that they provide useful amounts of information without overwhelming users. This is a process that has been going on for some time. I don't believe it's quite over yet. At some appropriate time we'll be able to make a more detailed announcement.

Q: Have there in fact been specific cases where it is believed that these malefactors have gained permission and might be...

A: I think this is an example of trying to anticipate future problems rather than waiting for the problems to catch us.

Q: Do you have an assessment of what kind of damage the Cuban spy ring might have done to security itself? And are there plans to beef up background checks and to even review the status of people who now work for SOUTHCOM as civilian employees?

A: First of all, my understanding is that only one of these people was a government employee. I think he was a fellow charged with handling hazardous materials, or as they say on the tunnel signs, HazMats. This could have been things like cleaning fluid or paints or disinfectants, a whole variety of things that would be considered hazardous materials.

This is a group that's been operating in one form or another, talking to each other for the last three years. I think they've been under FBI surveillance or monitoring since 1995. They did not succeed in penetrating into any military installation and I think that yeah, local commanders will have to make their own conclusions about appropriate checks. We think our security checks are generally pretty good right now, but they can always be better. But we're not dealing with any high level employees. I don't believe that the hazardous materials man had a security clearance that would have brought him into contact with classified information.

Q: So the U.S. Attorney's press conference yesterday indicated they were taking measurements of buildings, citing the men, checking out aircraft, doing all kinds of things after the indictment, so..

A: Well, he was an observant fellow, I guess, and this group had made all sorts of preparations for something. I'm not quite sure what. They'd bought wigs and hair coloring. They had bought material from a store called Spy World to help promote their operation. One of the things the FBI found was a bag filled with wigs and different colored sunglasses for disguises. So these guys had thought about what they were up to. I'm not trying to minimize the threat. This is clearly a serious potential espionage attempt according to the FBI, and we take it seriously. But the fact of the matter is, they did not get the type of penetration or secrets that they were looking for.

Q: Do you have any indication that Tehran is actually prepared or on the verge of carrying out any attacks on Afghanistan? There seems to be some nervousness on the part of the Taliban spokesman today indicating they thought some sort of attack might be imminent.

A: I do not have any indication of imminent military action along that border. Some top Iranian officials have said they don't plan military action, but I think they should speak about their own intentions.

We have urged, along with many other countries, for a peaceful resolution of this dispute. Taliban has returned some bodies. They apparently violated rules of civility and diplomacy by killing diplomats, or at least the Iranians claim they were killed. If that's true, if they were murdered, that's an outrage. But this is something that we hope that Iran and Afghanistan can negotiate peacefully.

Q: If the tensions were to escalate to the use of military force by one side or the other, how does that affect the U.S. military in the region? For instance, would you be placing forces in the Persian Gulf on higher alert or anything like that?

A: I think it's a hypothetical I won't respond to. Our goal, along with the goal of the UN Security Council, is to achieve a peaceful, diplomatic solution to this problem.

Q: Is Secretary Cohen aware that the housing complex at Prince Sultan Airbase was being built by a construction company that belongs to Usama Bin Laden's family?

A: I can't say whether he's aware of that or not. Certainly...

Q: Is he concerned about that?

A:...top officials in the Department have known for some time that the Bin Laden family company was involved in construction. I want to just point out several things. First of all, as you know, Usama Bin Laden has had his Saudi citizenship revoked and has been, I believe, disowned by at least some part of his family. He does not, as far as I know, have anything to do with the family's construction operations in Saudi Arabia.

Second, the Saudi government makes the decisions since they were paying for the construction of these barracks and pay for the construction of most if not all facilities in the Kingdom used by Americans, they selected the construction company, and as I said, this is a major, perhaps the major construction company in Saudi Arabia.

Three, we will check the building very, very carefully as we always do, to make sure that it's up to our standards.

Q: Would it pose a potential security risk if, for instance, plans of buildings were to...

A: I don't believe that that's the case, but as I said, there is a divorce between Usama Bin Laden and the operations of his family in Saudi Arabia.

Q: Did it come up this morning in the conference with the Chinese delegation, the alleged, publicized threat that the PRC and the PLA have made to any who would arm or defend Taiwan? Did this particular statement of belligerence come up in the discussions? I don't think it quite came up in the Q&A.

A: I think the press conference was a pretty accurate reflection of the discussion of Taiwan in the meetings. There was a private, small session meeting first, and then there was a larger plenary session, so I would refer you back to both what General Zhang said and also what Secretary Cohen said about Taiwan.

Q: You couldn't say anything further about that?

A: The gist of what they both said is that, what General Zhang said is that when the Taiwan situation is handled well, our relationship tends to be in good shape. When it's handled badly, it's in bad shape. I took that to mean a question that referred to both countries, how both countries handled the Taiwan situation.

Secretary Cohen pointed out that the United States has a one China policy and that part of that policy calls for the peaceful resolution of differences about Taiwan.

Q: So that particular issue of war over Taiwan was not raised today.

A: I think what they said publicly about Taiwan reflects what they said privately.

Q: You said the Chinese oppose (inaudible) nuclear program, but how about the missile program? Did the Chinese oppose, express any opposition to the missile program?

A: The Chinese said that they support stability on the Korean Peninsula and stability in the region. That was their general comment in response to issues raised about the missile program.

Q: Can you give us any more detail about the announcement last week of the investigation involving possible fraud in the ship repair industry?

A: I don't have any more facts. I would refer you to the FBI. But it may be possible for, we may be able to arrange for you to talk to somebody in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service if that would be helpful.

Press: Thank you.

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