Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks: Evening Transit St. Regis HotelBeijing, China
August 2, 2005
A/S HILL: There's certainly – I know the Chinese side is really trying to push to get to resolution of this round. Today, this morning that is, the hosts – the Chinese hosts – provided us with a new draft, a so-called third draft, and discussed it. We had heads of delegation discussing it. We went around and we worked on the third draft pretty much all morning and half the afternoon. Later in the afternoon the Chinese hosts, on the basis of the comments in the morning, put together a fourth draft, and asked that we get back to them tomorrow with final comments on it. So, clearly, the strategy is to try to reduce the number of comments that people will make on these drafts with the idea that we're really getting close to the end of this round. Now, whether we have a draft that everyone agrees on or whether it's decided that there should be a recess of some kind, we don't know yet, because it'll depend on what the responses of all the delegations are to the drafts. I know that the U.S. delegation has looked at it very carefully and we've sent it back to be looked at very carefully in Washington, and I know that other delegations are also sending it back to their capitals. So we'll have to see how we do.
QUESTION: Does the U.S. have major issues at this point with the latest draft?
A/S HILL: The latest draft, as put together by the Chinese side, is obviously a very negotiated document. As such, there are issues in it that we like and issues in it that if it were only our draft, we might have written differently, but overall we think it's a good draft. Whether we can accept it – it's being looked at very carefully, so I don't want to pre-empt that process. Overall, it's a good draft. Whether other delegations will look at it in similar terms, well, you'll have to ask them. So we'll have to see.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you found any language or warning which can be interpreted as a strategic decision by North Korea?
A/S HILL: Obviously, we are interested in this process because of North Korea's nuclear programs, and so for us it was very important that the language address our concerns in that area.
QUESTION: Is there a possibility for recess – you just mentioned it?
A/S HILL: I don't know. I do know that the Chinese side is really trying to bring these negotiations to a conclusion of some kind in the next few days, with the idea that we would not be here for the next few weeks. That's good news to those of you who need to do some laundry. How it ends, whether we have an agreement, whether we have
QUESTION: Is the apparent difference between the language of nuclear weapons programs the North Koreans keep talking about and comprehensive nuclear programs? Is that still a problem?
A/S HILL: We've been working very hard on the nuclear language. When we saw the draft, we felt that the draft really tried to address this. So, I don't want to get into too many specifics on it because it is a tough issue, and a lot of people are looking at it from, in some cases, very technical perspectives. So we have to see. But, clearly, that's an important – probably for us, the most important – element of it.
A/S HILL: I think the Chinese side has done a very good job of trying to meet various needs, so we can – I support some of the stuff they've done there, but we have to see how the technical people look at it. And, of course, we've all sent it back to capitals. So, we have to see how our capitals look at it. So, if I sound a little uncomfortable making hard conclusions for you, it's because I am.
QUESTION: (inaudible) government (inaudible) North Korea?
A/S HILL: It's hard to say because certainly I felt that the drafting session was productive today, and was really aiming to reduce differences, but I don't really know how the D.P.R.K. looks at it, so you're going to have to ask them. I think sometimes they're very careful about making their comments so that one is not sure whether they've agreed to something and disagreed to something else. So, I don't think one can talk about progress until you actually see the agreement.
QUESTION: This is the first time you've mentioned the possibility of a recess. Can you say which parties are interested in a recess and how long that might –
A/S HILL: I'm reflecting the fact that some parties have asked about that. I think the issue is how one winds this up. That is, does it wind up with an agreement? Does it wind up with parties saying we need to do some more substantial consultations in capitals? Does it wind up in a flat out disagreement? Obviously, a lot of work has been done in
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, North Korea said today that they're willing to sign on the dotted line if the U.S. withdraws the nuclear threat against it. What's your comment on that?
A/S HILL: I don't know... I haven't seen the comment. The United States is not threatening anybody. I guess you'd have to ask them what they meant by that because I have not seen that comment.
QUESTION: Does the latest draft include HEU and peaceful use?
A/S HILL: All these issues are addressed in all of the drafts, and again I don't want to talk too many specifics because the drafts have a way of changing ever so slightly. I think when there's a draft that everyone agrees – I should say if there's a draft that everyone agrees with – you can look through it and discuss these elements.
QUESTION: Are you satisfied with it at this moment?
A/S HILL: I don't want to discuss how we're looking at it. We worked very hard on it, obviously. First of all, I should say we're very pleased with what our Chinese hosts have tried to do. It's not an easy job to host something like this and consider all these different opinions around the table and try to put them together on one sheet of paper. I said several days ago this was going to take some time, and certainly it has. How much more time we devote to it, it's hard to say at this point.
QUESTION: Ambassador, you mentioned final comment. What do you mean – is there something like yes or no?
A/S HILL: I'm not sure we're at the yes or no stage, but certainly we're at the stage where there's an effort to try to reduce the differences and therefore reduce the amount of commentary on these drafts. Earlier, of course, comments were extremely long, fundamental, and now I think the comments tend to be on fewer and fewer numbers of issues. So there's a real effort – as there is in any negotiating process, not just in this – to try to reduce the number of issues, reduce the number of comments. So thank you verymuch, great to see you all, and we'll see how we do.