[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book II)]
[December 1, 1993]
[Page 2091]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Carl 
Bildt of Sweden
December 1, 1993

North Korea

    Q. Mr. President, what do you make of what North Korea has publicly 
said following your statements last week?
    The President. I don't know what to make of it yet. I wouldn't 
overreact to it. We're just going to have to see. The one thing I've 
learned here over the last year in dealing with North Korea is that it's 
important not to overreact, either positively or negatively, to 
something that they say which may not mean the same thing to them that 
it does to us the first time we hear it. And I mean that on the upside 
as well as the downside. We're just going to have to see and kind of 
work through this and see what happens.
    Q. Is it still possible they'll come around and allow international 
inspections?
    The President. I think it is. I hope it is, and I think it is.
    Q. Do you agree with Director Woolsey, who said that he believes 
that they might be willing to go to war rather than let you hold 
inspections?
    The President. I've tried to review his remarks, and I'm not sure I 
would characterize it quite in that way. I think, like all of us, he's 
very concerned about it, and he's studied it very closely. And all I can 
tell you is we have a strategy; we're going to pursue it, and we're 
going to keep going.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group 
entered.]

Sweden

    Q. Mr. President--Swedish press--why did you decide to meet with Mr. 
Bildt?
    The President. Well, we haven't met yet. And I admire him, and I'm 
jealous of him because he's 3 years younger than I am. And so I wanted 
to see about this man who's taken Europe by storm and who's so much 
younger than me. We have a lot in common. And Sweden, you know, coming 
into the EC has--the end of the cold war has enabled us to cooperate on 
a whole range of things. We agree on a lot of issues, and I've really 
been interested, just kind of looking for an opportunity to meet with 
the Prime Minister. And this is a nice day for him to be here in 
Washington because after this we're going to have a chance to go over 
and meet with our Nobel Prize winners this year.
    Q. Mr. President, what role would you like to see Sweden play in the 
new environment in Europe after the cold war?
    The President. I think that's a decision that the Swedes will have 
to make for themselves. But let me say, I'm very, very impressed with 
the role that Sweden has been playing in trying to work through to a 
constructive solution to some of the problems in Europe and working its 
way into the security framework of Europe as well as the economic 
partnership of Europe. I think that your nation is in a position to 
really exercise a leadership role.

Note: The exchange began at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White 
House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this 
exchange.