News-Gazette, Champaign, IL

December 22, 2000



WASHINGTON (AP) – The Clinton administration has decided not to issue a formal apology to South Korea for the U.S. Army’s role in the shooting of civilians at Nogun-ri early in the Korean War, nor will it offer financial compensation to the survivors or families of the victims, three senior administration officials said. 

    The administration is, however, considering more modest gestures, including erecting a monument—presumably in South Korea—in honor of all civilians killed in the 1950-53 war and establishing a scholarship fund in memory of the Nogun-ri victims, the officials said.  The officials, interviewed separately, spoke on condition they not be identified. 

    Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said Thursday it was premature to say what actions the administration would take in response to the findings of a recently completed U.S. Army investigation into Nogun-ri. 

    "It’s not over until it’s over," Bacon said, noting Pentagon officials were meeting Thursday with a South Korean government delegation to discuss details of the investigation and possible responses.  Heading the U.S. side in the talks was Franklin Kramer, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. 

    Later, an administration official said the meeting ended with "broad agreement" on "follow-on measures" to be taken by Washington and Seoul in response to the investigation’s findings.  "We’ve agreed on a way ahead," the official said, adding that numerous non-contentious details remained to be resolved.  The points of agreement included no U.S. apology and no U.S. financial compensation, the official said. 

    The investigation’s findings and the U.S. measures in response are likely to be announced in early January, he said.  A call to the South Korean embassy seeking comment on the administration’s stance was not returned.  Officials said specifics of possible gestures have not been worked out.