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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2005 East Asian and Pacific Affairs Remarks, Testimony, and Speeches

Resumption of Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks: Evening Transit China World Hotel

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Beijing, China
September 13, 2005

A/S Hill: We just had our introductory meetings tonight. I think we all stressed the need to sort of pick up where we left off; which is to say, we were concerned that we donít want to go back to where we started last time. We want to go back to where we ended last time. I canít say we had too many substantive discussions tonight. The U.S. delegation had a bilateral with the Chinese and we went over what we saw as the modalities of the talks. Weíd like to try to move this along in the next few days. We donít feel the need to spend thirteen full days here. We think we can make progress more quickly than that.

I had some brief discussions with the D.P.R.K. delegation or the North Korean delegation but we did not have a bilateral. We did schedule one for tomorrow and we look forward to exploring their thinking. Again, I was not able to have a substantive discussion with them at this point. But, I think tomorrow we will know where we are. Obviously, I think everyone would like to move this along. We donít want to spend any more time than we have to here. So, weíll see.

QUESTION: Ambassador, basically the major impasse is the same as last time, that is the civilian use of nuclearÖ.

A/S Hill: Well, I am not even sure I can accept the premise of that. That was one issue that came up but, you know, nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed. So, the question is -- for us the fundamental question is whether the D.P.R.K. is prepared to abandon its nuclear programs. And, as you know, its nuclear programs are involved with the production of materials for nuclear weapons. Whether the issue of future civilian use turns out to be an important issue or not, I canít say at this point.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate what you talked about?

A/S Hill: Can I elaborate what I am talking about? I just did. I could have told you this in two words.

QUESTION: There seems to be a feeling among the other delegates that the light water reactors might be a flexible topic. Is that a flexible topic for you?

A/S Hill: Well, I think the issue is that we have a proposal on the table which involves the D.P.R.K. abandoning its programs in return for which there is a set of compensating measures. The compensating measures include some economic measures. They include some bilateral recognition issues. They include some security guarantees. They also include the idea that the energy needs of the D.P.R.K. would be met largely through a South Korean conventional energy program which would insure that within just two and a half to three years the D.P.R.K. would be receiving energy.

As you know, the D.P.R.K.ís power generating and power distributing has really suffered from losses in recent years due to under investment and that best estimates by experts are that D.P.R.K. is producing and distributing about one third of the power that they had only fifteen years ago. So, this is all on the table. Now, the notion that on top of this there should be another element of a light water reactor really goes beyond what the participants in the process have to offer. And, I want to stress that all the participants very much support, I mean all five of us very much support whatís on the table today which are the issues that I enumerated. And, it seems that this should be a deal that the North Koreans should think very hard about because it really meets a lot of their needs.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, you mentioned the modalities which you discussed with the Chinese delegation today. Are you going to stick with the same modalities as the last time? I mean, focusing on the bilateral talks with North Korea?

A/S Hill: Well, I think there will be a lot of bilateral talks but I donít want to say they are just with the North Koreans because weÖ. For instance, today I spent a considerable amount of time in bilateral discussions with the Chinese delegation. Also, I had some good discussions with the Russian and Japanese and South Koreans. Bilateral I think is probably the primary means of exchanging viewpoints but I think what we also agreed is that we will have a daily six party meeting at the level of the heads of delegation. So, I think weíll do both. The purpose here is to exchange opinions, exchange views, exchange ideas and see if we can make some progress quickly so that we can get on to the next stage.

QUESTION: Did you set a time for concluding the meetings?

A/S Hill: You know, we didnít set a hard deadline but I think there is a view that we know each otherís positions. We did spend thirteen days working at this at the end of July and the beginning of August. So, I think the sense is that we should be able to wrap this up in a matter of days not weeks. You know, I think we all have a view of really trying to make progress and trying to achieve an agreement so we didnít pin down too hard the issue of a deadline.

QUESTION: You said that the North Korean position seems to be evolving. What did you mean by that?

A/S Hill: I think the D.P.R.K. took the time during the recess to think about what it is that they need. And, I donít want to characterize their position at this point because we really did not sit down and have an in-depth discussion with them. But, we know from various visitors to Pyongyang and from various press accounts that issues that were not prominent issues in the first round seem to be achieving a little more prominence. Although, I emphasize that they did talk about the light water reactor in the end of the round in August and I suspect that will be an issue as we sit down tomorrow.

QUESTION: What about the statement of agreed principles? Is that still on the agenda?

A/S Hill: Absolutely, the purpose of this session is to achieve this statement of agreed principles. We thought we had a lot of common points last time albeit we didnít reach the objective. The point of this session would be to achieve that objective.

So, Iíve got to go make some phone calls and see you tomorrow.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, whatís your itinerary like tomorrow? Do you start early in the morning?

A/S Hill: I think weíll start around nine in the morning. So you donít have to be here at six thirty if you donít want to be.

QUESTION: So, youíll leave here around eight?

A/S Hill: Iíll leave here around about eight-thirty, something like that. Then we have bilaterals throughout the day. I think I have bilaterals scheduled with all the other delegations including the D.P.R.K. delegation.

QUESTION: So you know what time you will meet with the D.P.R.K.?

A/S Hill: I think the D.P.R.K. delegation is after noon. I canít remember exactly but I think we start with the Japanese. And then, other delegations are having their own bilaterals. There are going to be a lot of bilateral meetings.

Alright, we will see you all later. Bye, bye.

Released on September 13, 2005

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