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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: Midday Transit Chang An Club

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Beijing, China
September 14, 2005

QUESTION:  Do you have any plans (inaudible) North Korea (inaudible)

 

A/S Hill:  Well, look, let me say, first of all we had a very good lunch together with the R.O.K.ís Song Ming Soon.  We have cooperated very, very closely throughout this six party process and continue to do so.  I am going to see the D.P.R.K. delegation for the first time, for the first time in a bilateral meeting, this afternoon.  When we left Beijing in early August we had a pretty good proposal on the table with a very good draft which our Chinese host put together, the so called fourth draft, and its on the basis of that draft that we think its possible to reach an agreement.  Itís a very good draft, weíve got some minor issues that we wanted to address in it, but we think itís really a basis for agreement.

 

Now, I need to find out what the D.P.R.K. delegation feels about it.  We had a lot of time to think about it, read it very carefully, to go through it very carefully, and we have come back to Beijing in the same mood that we left it in.  That is, with the sense that this is an excellent draft and the basis for an agreement.  I donít know where the D.P.R.K. delegation is.  I know theyíre talking about some other elements that are not contained in that draft, like the light water reactor.  I think they should focus on what is on the table and I think what is on the table is something their country very much needs.  And, one of the most important elements on the table is the significant proposal of the R.O.K., which is a very significant conventional energy program which would get for the D.P.R.K. electricity at a very early date.  So, if its electricity that they want, the draft certainly provides electricity. And, there are many other elements in that agreement that I think are very, very important for the D.P.R.K.  But, you know, theyíve had a lot of time to think about it so weíll want to hear what their conclusions are.

 

QUESTION:  Deputy Minister Song, you have talked to both the Americans and the North Koreans now, what can you tell us about your optimism?

 

Deputy Minister Song:  Well, I had a short discussion with my North Korean counterpart yesterday and based on the conversation I had, I shared the contents with my American colleague.  With that in mind, I think that my American colleague will continue discussions with Deputy Minister Kim Gye Gwan today.  Well, I think we have some middle ground agenda.  We are making the minimum adjustments to the construct of the last round quotes.  I think we can reach some agreement in case we keep some flexible objectives (inaudible).  Iím not, I donít have any reason to be optimistic but still we have to be in this and involved, to be more optimistic.

 

QUESTION:  Now that you have talked to both parties, now are you confident that all five parties are really unified on the issue of light water reactors and peaceful use of nuclear energy and how to deal with it?

 

QUESTION:  Iím sorry, Mr. Hill could you maybe cover this please, Iím sorry.

 

A/S Hill:  Well, let me just say that of the five parties, the U.S. and the other four parties, I think there is a strong willingness to work with the fourth draft, the draft as put together by the Chinese side.  With respect to the light water reactor issue that has come up in the discussions, I donít detect among any of the parties a willingness to construct a light water reactor, which after all is a very expensive and very long term type project.  So, Iíve not seen any of the parties come forward to say theyíre prepared to fund such a thing.  So, I think weíre talking about a theoretical issue at best.  But, I think whatís important is to stick with the fourth draft, to try to make minimal changes to the fourth draft.  That is, not to engage in any sort of major surgery on the fourth draft but rather keep it at minimal changes and see if we can get an agreement on the fourth draft and move on to the next phase.  So, I need to see what the D.P.R.K. thinks.

 

QUESTION:  Deputy Minister Song could you confirm that five parties in the six party process at least agree on one premise not to build a light water reactor for North Korea?

 

Deputy Minister Song:  Well, now we are talking about the concepts of the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.  We are not in the space to discuss in details about how these concepts can develop into a greater thing.  So, it is a little too early to talk about that much detail but North Korea, when they complete the dismantlement of their nuclear weapons and nuclear programs, they can enjoy, they can have their rights to peaceful use of nuclear energy.  And then on top of this, it is something to be discussed further.  But still, as we proposed to strive with that issue that will be, that will meet their interests and needs at such span of time, that would be good grounds and then peaceful use of nuclear energy is something to be discussed and formulated in detailed form at the later stages.

 

QUESTION:  Do you agree with that Secretary Hill?  Can that be discussed, the issue of peaceful nuclear energy or is that totally out of the question?

 

A/S Hill:  Well, I mean, as Iíve said before, weíre working on the fourth draft and the fourth draft has a number of elements put forward.  The key element is denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and I want to hear from the D.P.R.K. specifically how they would see that to be implementation of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  I consider that the sort of the most urgent task, to get the D.P.R.K. out of the nuclear weapons business.

 

So thank you very much.

 

QUESTION:   Are you heading to the Embassy to meet the D.P.R.K.?

 

A/S Hill:  Iím heading to Diaoyutai Guest House.



Released on September 14, 2005

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