Remarks Before Start of Second Day of Six-Party TalksChristopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Morning Transit - Traders Hotel
November 10, 2005
Assistant Secretary Hill: Good morning. You know I donít have anything for you in the morning. I can tell you what I had for breakfast. [Laughter] Weíve got a delegation meeting in about thirty minutes, and I think we are just going to continue to try and identify a work plan for the rest of this round. This is just the first session. I think the session is devoted to organizing our way ahead. We have to see what the other parties want to do. I think the Japanese have some good ideas. ROK has some good ideas. I hope weíll have some good ideas. Weíll see if we can come up with a good way forward and try to meet in the next few weeks. So, thank you very much.
Question: Your dinner with the North Koreans last evening? Did youÖ
Assistant Secretary Hill: I thought I reported on that last night. But go ahead.
Question: Was there progress that you canÖ?
Assistant Secretary Hill: I think it was a very useful opportunity to exchange views on where we are. I think everyone knows what they signed up for in September. I donít think thereís any confusion on that point. I think the issue is how to come up with an implementation plan and get moving.
Question: The South Korean head of delegation was saying yesterday that he was going to meet you before the plenary session this morning.
Assistant Secretary Hill: Was he? Then Iíve got to hurry. [Laughter]
Question: Well, wasnít there a meeting scheduled?
Assistant Secretary Hill: No, I had a dinner with the DPRK representative. I got back here, and I was not able to see Mr. Song last night. Iíll try to see him for a few minutes before the plenary, but thanks for passing on the message.
Question: Mr. Ambassador, your ambassador to South Korea is saying that the United States is ready to open their office in Pyongyang. Is that Ö?
Assistant Secretary Hill: I think what heís talking about is the way forward and the fact that when we get through this nuclear issue, a lot of things are possible. I think that he was also making the point that the DPRK has to try to establish a level of trust. They are often fond of talking about our level of trust, but they have some responsibilities themselves. I think that was the point he was making. Itís quite a good point.
Question: Did you have any discussion with Mr. Kim yesterday about the future prospects of opening an office?
Assistant Secretary Hill: No, we didnít get into that kind of detail. Iím kind of focused on taking care of the nuclear weapons issue.
Question: You mentioned last night that the situation was [inaudible]. Did you mean you are coordinating with [inaudible]?
Assistant Secretary Hill: No, I was simply pointing out that since September 19, which is when we completed the agreed principals, Yongbyon has continued to operate. In operating, itís continuing to produce material that through reprocessing can be turned into weapons grade plutonium. Every day that goes on, the amount of this plutonium theoretically can increase. That is our concern and that means that we have bigger a problem than when we ended on September 19. I think the time to stop reprocessing - the time to stop that reactor - is now. Once that is stopped, we would look forward to DPRKís making a declaration of what it has in the way of nuclear programs. We can then get on with the task of ridding the Korean peninsula of this very dangerous material.
Question: When you made that proposal at the dinner last night, what was his reaction? What specific steps do you think North Korea should take in terms of trust building?
Assistant Secretary Hill: I had a dinner conversation. Iím not going to give you his reaction and my reaction to his reaction and so on. This is why we didnít do the conversation here in front of you. [Laughter]
Question: You said that Japan has good ideas and ROK has good ideas, but what about yours? Any mention of building of trust?
Assistant Secretary Hill: The issue is not so much building of trust. I understand that point about trust, but do you know how you build up trust? You live up to the agreement. You come up with solid implementing schemes that enable you to move forward and show that what youíve agreed to do is the agreement you are actually doing. Thatís the best way to build up trust. So you can build up trust through actions. Weíre prepared to fulfill all of our undertakings, but frankly weíve got to get going on this problem with plutonium. We think that the time to stop this production is now, and DPRK already knows that.
Thank you very much. Maybe Iíll have more for you later on.
Released on November 10, 2005