Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks: Evening Transit St. RegisChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
August 1, 2005
QUESTION: Has there been any progress made in the Six Party Talks today?
A/S HILL: It’s been a long, long day. There’s been drafting sessions most of the day. I wish I could report more progress, but in fact it’s been a long day without a lot of progress to report. We’ll go back at it tomorrow morning and see if we can get more done. I don’t see any breakthroughs on the immediate horizon. We continue to have rather major differences between North Korea on one hand, and the other five parties on the other, but I think everyone is committed to getting back there in the morning and seeing what we can do. So there are going to be days like this, where you just spend a lot of time – ten, twelve hours – and you look back and you wish you could report more progress, but we’ll get back at it tomorrow and see how we do.
QUESTION: Mr. Hill, did the North Koreans agree that they would forego a civil nuclear program?
A/S HILL: I don’t want to get into the specific elements except to say that we have a number of disagreements with the North Koreans, and which elements are at play, it’s really hard to say. There have been times when we’ve felt that some issues were resolved only to pop up again. So, again, I think it’s very difficult to talk about specific issues at this point.
QUESTION: Do you still have confidence to have real progress this time?
A/S HILL: We’ve got a lot of energy. We’re quite prepared to work on this as long as we can, as long as we’re continuing to make progress. But, it’ll ultimately not just depend on us. It also depends on the North Koreans to decide whether they really want this. So, we’ll go at it tomorrow morning and see how we do, and then we’ll assess at the end of the day and see where we’ve been.
QUESTION: Secretary Hill, is the United States prepared to participate in providing heavy fuel oil to North Korea?
A/S HILL: Again, I don’t want to get into specific elements of the agreement. At this point we’re looking at a set of principles. One of the principles is on the subject of energy, but at this point I don’t want to get into specifics like who’s going to provide heavy fuel oil.
QUESTION: Are you going to have bilateral meetings with the North Koreans tomorrow?
A/S HILL: There’s nothing scheduled. We met with basically all the delegations today. I know that what is scheduled is a meeting of the six parties tomorrow morning – a meeting of the heads of delegation plus five – so basically pretty close to plenary sessions. I know that I’ll be meeting with the Chinese hosts. I met with them a couple of times today – and beyond that I don’t have any other bilaterals scheduled, except that we’ve tended to stay in very, very close contact with our Japanese and Republic of Korea colleagues, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of them tomorrow.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, regarding the definition of denuclearization, did North Korea backpedal again?
A/S HILL: I’m not sure about backpedaling, but let me just say the definition of denuclearization has not been a big issue. I know you raise it with me every time I walk through this hotel so you must know more about it than I do, but I can say that we’ve got a number of issues at play and we’ve just got to keep at it and see how we do tomorrow.
QUESTION: Did the Chinese present a third draft today?
A/S HILL: The Chinese presented a second draft late last night, and it was on the basis of this second draft that we worked today.
QUESTION: Did the changes in that second draft cause North Korea to be more difficult?
A/S HILL: I am not aware of any change in the second draft that would have caused the North Koreans to be "more difficult," except to say that I’m sure there are a lot of elements in the second draft, as well as in the first draft, that they’re not entirely happy with.
QUESTION: Do you expect to see the word "normalization" in a final draft?
A/S HILL: I don’t know. When I see a final draft – and I’d love to see a final draft – but we’re not there yet with a final draft, I’ll look for the word "normalization" and let you know.
QUESTION: Will there be a third draft tomorrow?
A/S HILL: Don’t know. We’ll talk to the Chinese in the morning and see how they assess the results of the rather difficult drafting session, which went a long time and which involved a lot of disagreements and a lot of bracketed language.
QUESTION: How long do you think the Six-Party Talks will last?
A/S HILL: How long do the Six-Party Talks last? Well, I don’t know, I just sent eight shirts out to be cleaned today. I don’t know – we’ll stay here as long as we feel we’re making progress, and if we’re not making progress we’re not going to stay. So we’ll see how it goes and I’ll let you know.
QUESTION: Secretary Hill, can you confirm that the North Koreans hosted a dinner for the U.S. delegation?
A/S HILL: We’ve had working dinners pretty much every night. We don’t just work from 9 to 5, we keep at it at night and yes, we did have a working dinner with the North Korean delegation. We’ve done that with all the other delegations and we’ll probably continue to do that because we need to make use of all the time and not just during the day but also at night.
QUESTION: Will Mr. Zoellick take part in this negotiation process?
A/S HILL: No, Mr. Zoellick is here on another very important mission, which is to engage in this global dialogue with China. It really reflects the growing, important relationship the U.S. has with China, so that’s what he’s engaged on.
QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you – did you say there was a working dinner tonight with the North Koreans?
A/S HILL: No, no, there’s no working dinner. It’s eleven o’clock and the only thing I’m going to do is go to bed –
QUESTION: But was there already –
A/S HILL: No, no, no. There haven’t been any – I have not had dinner tonight.
QUESTION: Can you confirm when you had a working dinner with them?
A/S HILL: I don’t know, what’s tonight, I forget? Monday? I think it was Saturday. But you’d better check, all the days kind of merge in. I’ve been – we had meetings at the site until about nine o’clock, and then I went to the Embassy and then I’ve come here, and I’d like to get some dinner, if that’s possible.
QUESTION: Was it by North Korea?
A/S HILL: I don’t know who it was hosted by. You can go check with someone. We’ve had working dinners just about every night when we’re not just working. And tonight I didn’t have dinner, but I’ve been working. We have not had a night where we’ve had dinner and we’re not working. So I hope that covers the range of issues that you’re interested in. Ok, thank you very much, I’d like to go to my room and eat a banana.
QUESTION: What time will you leave tomorrow?
A/S HILL: I don’t know, probably six o’clock. You’ve got to be here at six o’clock. Well, just to be sure, 5:30.
Released on August 3, 2005