Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks: Evening Transit St. Regis HotelChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
August 5, 2005
A/S HILL: Well, we had another long day -- made a little progress, but I must say we didnít make enough progress. Frankly, I think weíre going to have to pick up the pace if weíre going to get there. Our strategy was to try to clean up a lot of the smaller issues and see if we could take care of them. We found it a rather excruciating process where we didnít really make as much progress as we planned. Iím going to have meetings tomorrow with our hosts, the Chinese. Iíll also talk to the head of the North Korean delegation, the head of the D.P.R.K. delegation to see if we can get moving on this because really the progress -- I mean weíve got some things done, but itís not as much as Iíd like and itís not going to get us there in the time span that I think we ought to get there.
QUESTION: Mr. Hill, we understand that the North Koreans raised some new objections. Do you think theyíre really serious or just looking for things to (inaudible)?
A/S HILL: Well, itís funny, sometimes in a normal negotiation you try to reduce so called brackets Ė bracketed language. You try to reduce the number of sentences that are in dispute, and this seems to be a process here where you take one step forward by getting a sentence out of brackets by getting everyone to agree to it and the next thing you know some other sentence is put into brackets. So, I looked at it, I talked to the team because this was being done, not at my level, but by a drafting team, and I just felt that it was disappointing, in terms of, how fast we were going. Now, to be sure there was a net gain. I donít want to imply there wasnít any progress, but I just felt it ought to be better than that.
You know, we had decided we were going to go after some of these issues that are sort of out there, sort of clean up some of those issues, before we go to the bigger issues, before we once again address the bigger issues. Itís not like we havenít been addressing those a lot but, you know, it was sort of 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Thatís an American football metaphor for those of you who donít know. And, I just (sound of plates crashing in the background) -- We didnít have any problem like that. (sound of laughter) But, I do think we ought to go a little faster. So, tomorrow morning Iím going to talk to our Chinese hosts. Iím going to give him my sense of how we did today. Iím going to talk to the D.P.R.K. head of delegation who was not present at these discussions. Iím going to look at some of the bracketed language myself and just see what we can do because weíve really, really got to get going on this because itís been too long. Iíve had to change a bunch of reservations and I really think we need to try and move it along.
QUESTION: Secretary Hill, South Korean chief negotiator mentioned creative ambiguity in addressing the dispute. Do you think that creative ambiguity can resolve the dispute over peaceful use of nuclear energy?
A/S HILL: Well, I think Iíve said before, creative ambiguity works in a lot of things. But, Iím a little reluctant to have them in nuclear weapons negotiations, especially when weíre talking about trying to devise principles that will guide our discussion to create the eventual agreement. I think we need some real clarity: clarity of thought, clarity of written expression. So, I think weíre going to have to stick with the idea of clarity. You know, Iím not contradicting anyone. I donít know the context of that remark. But, I do know that I need to explain what it is the North Koreans, what it is the D.P.R.K. has agreed to do. And they have a right to know what it is weíre planning to do. So, I think weíve got to kind of stick with clarity here.
QUESTION: Secretary Hill, are you going to talk about the possibility of recess?
A/S HILL: Well, you know recess is one of the sort of termination scenarios where the idea would be we take some time and delegations go back to capitals and we all go back to capitals and give it some thought and talk to some people and come back in order to solve the problem. So, itís definitely an idea out there. What you donít want to do, though, is have a recess and then have the progress youíve made, and I want to assure you there has been progress in this, and you donít want to have that progress slip way. I mean, we have been rolling this rock up this hill side and we donít want it to roll all the way back down to the base of the hill again. So, I think the issue of the recess is to figure out how, if we want to go that route, we want to make sure weíve really locked in the progress so that when people go back to their capitals we donít start from the beginning again. You know, twelve days is a long time, but thirteen months is an even longer time. And, I think you do you have to remember these negotiations were inexplicably held up for thirteen months. When we started again we found that we had to address some real basic issues again. So, going into a recess we really want to be careful not to have to start from the beginning.
QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, tomorrow, this weekend is going to be the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima. Does that in any way influence the fact that weíre dealing with nuclear weapons here and get the parties to the table so that theyíre never used again.
A/S HILL: Well, I mean, I thinkÖfrankly, look, Iím a diplomat. Iím working on a text which I can assure to you, would look awfully boring. Iím really trying to get through this text. Itís a very important thing to get through. Obviously I have some personal thoughts about any time you think about the use of nuclear weapons, but Iíd rather kind of stick to what I have to do.
QUESTION: Are you going to be here through the weekend?
A/S HILL: Where else do you think Iím going to be? (laughter)
QUESTION: Did the North Koreans raise the nuclear deal with Iran today and what (inaudible) do you think that deal has (inaudible)?
A/S HILL: They did not raise the nuclear deal with Iran. I mean, obviously, as we followed, as we pursued the nuclear deal with the D.P.R.K., certainly Iran has come up at various times. Itís an example of why we really need to deal with these problems. But, I donít want to suggest thereís a lot of cross-pollination there.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, regarding peaceful use, your side is insisting on the obligation of NPT. North Korea is insisting on the light reactors. Did the Chinese authority provide any modified version of text or phrase which can square your ideal with North Korean side?
A/S HILL: Well, the answer to your question is no. But, you know this is one of the issues we have to resolve. You know we have a state that has taken research reactors and turned them into bomb making reactors and I think we all have to bear that in mind. So, we have to be very, very careful about what weíre talking about in terms of the technology. I mean this is truly one of the great challenges in the world today is dealing with nuclear technology as the question there about Iran implied and I think we have to be very conscience of this. All right. You know, itís Friday night and I think, I donít even know where it is -- Oh, okay. Weíre inviting you all up for a beer. So, where? Ask someone over there. I think itís this way. So, we donít have a lot of beer, but I think thereís one for everybody. I know you all are tired. Iím exhausted. Unfortunately, this is going to go on a little longer. I keep hoping it wonít. I keep having airplane reservations. In fact, I was supposed to be at the Washington Nationals, San Diego baseball game tomorrow night in Washington, but Iím going to miss it. Iím going to miss it because Iíll be dealing with the six-party talks. So, all right, we thought weíd invite all the six-party hostages up for a beer. So, if youíve got a second, come join us. Thank you very much.
Released on August 5, 2005