U.S. Opening Statement at the Fourth Round of Six-Party TalksChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
July 26, 2005
I would like to join with other colleagues to express my government’s sincere appreciation to the People’s Republic of China for hosting and chairing the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks. I would especially like to thank Foreign Minister Li for hosting the banquet last night and for all his personal efforts and those of his team to get us back to the talks.
The Six-Party Talks represent our common effort to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful diplomacy and these talks are at a critical juncture. As I have told the U.S. Congress, we have different options to deal with the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs -- by far the best option is to negotiate through the Six-Party process. We do not have the option of walking away from this problem.
Nuclear weapons will not make the D.P.R.K. more secure. And on the contrary, nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula will only increase tensions in the region and threaten the integrity of global nonproliferation regimes.
The Six-Party Talks offer a better future for the D.P.R.K. When the D.P.R.K. makes the decision to dismantle its nuclear programs, permanently, fully and verifiably, other parties, including my country, are prepared to take corresponding measures consistent with the principle of "words for words and actions for actions." All the parties have made clear that we are prepared to address the D.P.R.K.’s security concerns. We have made clear that we are prepared to address the D.P.R.K.’s energy needs.
The United States remains committed to the Six-Party Talks, not only as the best means of achieving a denuclearized Peninsula, but also as a forum for the six sovereign nations at the table to express their concerns about other multilateral and bilateral issues, and to address the concerns of others in turn, in the spirit of good will.
We had hoped for an early resumption of Talks after the last Six-Party plenary, but it has been more than a year since we last met together. During that period, we met frequently with other parties in the context of the Six-Party Talks, and including meeting six times directly with D.P.R.K. At those sessions, we conveyed our view in a straightforward manner on a number of key points: the U.S. is prepared for serious negotiations in the Six-Party framework; we view D.P.R.K. sovereignty as a matter of fact; the U.S. has absolutely no intention to invade or attack the D.P.R.K.; and we remain prepared to speak with the D.P.R.K. bilaterally in the context of the talks. My delegation and I are pleased to be back in Beijing, and we want to remain here so long as we are making progress in these talks.
Injecting a new dynamism into these important talks is critical. Three rounds of talks to date have indeed been useful. Up to now, we have agreed on the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and we have exchanged ideas on how to achieve it. The one-year delay since our last meeting is unfortunate and regrettable, but now that the talks have finally resumed, all of us have the opportunity and the obligation to work creatively and energetically together for an outcome that provides the basis for lasting security and prosperity for all our peoples.
Released on August 3, 2005