Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Military Leaders
Representative Dan Rostenkowski
Q. On Rostenkowski, sir, should the public be concerned at all that you and he have the same lawyer?
The President. No.
Q. Mr. President, did you send Michael Armacost to China to negotiate some kind of deal?
The President. Well, we've had a number of Americans in China and speaking with the Chinese, and those conversations are ongoing. And I think until they are resolved, one way or the other, I shouldn't say more about them.
Q. It's being reported that you have made a decision to go ahead and renew MFN.
The President. We are still in discussions with the Chinese. I don't know that I should call them negotiations; that's not an accurate characterization. We are having discussions with them about our differences and about the importance of our relationship. And I will have a decision on the matter in a timely fashion. No decision has been reached yet; we're still talking with them.
Q. Is it true that China has—[inaudible]— leaders willing to make concessions on human rights——
The President. I don't think I should speak for the Chinese. All I can tell you is there are some things which have been reported which have actually occurred, and we've had discussions about other matters. But I don't think I should discuss them now. We're still in discussions with them.
Q. What's the purpose of this meeting?
The President. What?
Q. What's the purpose of the meeting?
The President. We meet on a regular basis to discuss a number of national security issues. And there are a number of things that the CINC's are going to bring me up to date on. I have some questions to ask them about some of the challenges we face around the world.
Q. On North Korea, sir—[inaudible]—North Korea divert its spent nuclear fuel? And if so, is it too late to avoid sanctions?
The President. Well, let me say I certainly cannot answer that first question in the affirmative. That's why we have inspectors there now. And they are working hard, and as far as we know, they're—I got a report this morning— they are proceeding with their inspections. They should be in a position to give us a report imminently, in the near future. So I don't think you'll have to wait long for an answer to that. But the inspectors are there and working, and we should know more about it. And I think that the better course of action is for all of us to refrain from any kind of comment until we know what the facts are, because we will have the facts soon.
Q. Sending troops anywhere? [Laughter]
The President. To Normandy. [Laughter]
NOTE: The exchange began at 10:14 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. A reporter referred to Michael Armacost, Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.
William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Military Leaders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220114