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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: Morning Transit China World Hotel

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

A/S Hill: Im just off for what should be a pretty full day of bilateral talks, meeting all of the delegations, I think starting with the Japanese, then the Russians, then the Koreans that is, the South Koreans, then the North Koreans, after we have dinner with the Chinese. We anticipate this being a very long, very important day, because we hope to really go through the fourth draft and see where our differences are, and see where our similarities are, and see if we can make progress on the basis of the fourth draft. As you know, we got here with the idea that we will pick up where we ended in the fourth session, not where we began in the session. So where we ended was with the fourth draft, with the U.S. side wanting to make some small modifications, with the D.P.R.K. side wanting to make some large modifications, so well have to see where we are today.

Today should be an important day. Its the first full day of the talks. I think they got off to a good start last night, with very good atmospherics. But, well have to see where we are today.

QUESTION: Would you confirm with us whether the fourth draft has mentioned about peace regime on the Korean peninsula?

A/S Hill: There is a very general reference to this subject. The issue of a peace regime is one that I think many of us are interested in, but we are interested in pursuing it in an appropriate forum that is, an appropriate place, at an appropriate time, with appropriate partners. While I think the six party process is a good place to support a peace regime, its probably not a good place to negotiate a peace regime, because its not the appropriate place and not necessarily the appropriate partners, and probably not the appropriate time, given that were working on this nuclear question. But, obviously, it is an important issue and, indeed, we would like to use the momentum of the six party process that is, this process dealing with the issue of denuclearization. If we can succeed with this process, wed like to move on and see what can be done in terms of a peace regime on the Korean peninsula. But, its a very complex subject. Its obviously a historical subject. Its a subject that has to be pursued with great care, and with a view to maintaining the stability that weve all been a part of keeping over the decades.

QUESTION: What is the most important point [inaudible]?

A/S Hill: Well, in the near aside we had some wording issues. I dont really want to get into the particulars. I dont think we have any major issues. We consider the fourth draft to be really an excellent basis for reaching the goals and principles that will guide us in the eventual agreement. So, we dont have any strong problems with the fourth draft. How the D.P.R.K. reacts to the fourth draft is something well have to see today, and thats why I consider it kind of an important day. At the dinner last night I did have the opportunity to sit next to the D.P.R.K. representative, Mr. Kim Gye Gwan. We did have some good general discussions. We both reiterated our desire to reach an agreement in this session. But, as is often the case in these sorts of issues, these sorts of negotiations, really the devil will be in the details. So, we have to look very carefully at how this all works.

QUESTION: Do you have any indication that the North Korean position is changing, and if so how do you plan to deal with this?

A/S Hill: Well, I mean, for me the big questions is: What did they do during the past month? We broke up in early August. We reconvened in mid-September. I know what my delegation did: We worked very hard to go through the fourth draft to make sure that we do consider it a basis for the agreement. We worked very hard to review all of our positions in it, and really worked hard to develop consensus on coming back here and achieving an agreement. Id like to see and I know that several other delegations did that as well. But, what Id like to see is what the D.P.R.K. did back in their delegation back in Pyongyang in the last month. And I think Ill find out today. And as soon as I know, Ill tell you. [Laughter]

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, did you get any news, perhaps in from Washington, based on what was discussed at the New York meeting between President Bush and President Hu this morning?

A/S Hill: And President Hu?

QUESTION: Hu. Yes, sorry.

A/S Hill: Actually, I talked to Secretary Rice before that meeting. So, thanks to jet lag, I was up after that meeting, but I did not have a communication after that meeting. But I hope to get some report when I go into the Embassy.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, North Korea has asked for a light water reactor. If it would drop that demand, would you then be willing to accept a premise that the North has the right to develop peaceful nuclear programs?

A/S Hill: Well, you know, I know theres been a lot discussed about the issue of eventual use of civilian nuclear power. My main concern here is in achieving a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and in reviewing the general principles that we need to have agreement on in order to achieve denuclearization. To be sure, there are some issues in the draft that I know therell be some discussion on, but I want to make sure that on the fundamental issues that confront us in this draft that is, namely, the denuclearization and ridding the Korean peninsula of these terrible weapons; weapons, really, of mass destruction that we can achieve agreement on that. And when we do that, we can look at some of these other questions.

So thank you very much. Have a good day.

Released on September 14, 2005

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