Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters on North Korea in Naples, Italy

July 09, 1994

The President. Good morning.

Q. Where do we go from here on North Korea?

The President. Let me say, first of all, I have extended sincere condolences to the people of North Korea on behalf of the people of the United States after the death of Kim Il-song, and I have expressed my deep appreciation to him for his leadership in enabling our two countries to resume our talks. We hope the talks will resume as appropriate. We believe it is in the interest of both countries to continue.

Obviously, the people there are preoccupied with their surprise and their grief at this moment. But we have no reason to believe that they will not continue at this time.

Q. Do you have any sign of any foul play?

The President. No. All we know is what was reported. And it was reported that he died of a heart ailment, and that's all we know. We believe, as I said—first of all, we believe that Kim Il-song's leadership in starting these talks again was a very good thing, and we believe it remains in the interest of both countries to continue them, and we hope they will as appropriate.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 9:15 a.m. at the Hotel Vesuvio. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters on North Korea in Naples, Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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