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Remarks to the Press With Ambassador Chun Young-woo

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Seoul, Korea
July 16, 2007

AMBASSADOR CHUN: (comments in Korean)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: All that’s true (laughter).

QUESTION: You will be meeting with Mr. Kim Gye-gwan tomorrow, is that right?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes that’s correct. I think I have a meeting planned also with the Russian delegation, and I think we’re working on seeing about the availability of the Chinese in anticipation of the Six-Party head of delegation meeting that will take place on Wednesday.

QUESTION: What are the main talking points with Mr. Kim Gye-gwan in terms of will you include normalization process and HEU programs?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Oh, we’re going to talk about a lot of things, but basically it’s the way forward. And we’ll talk about, exchange views on, how we see the Six-Party head of delegation meeting and basically try to look at the entire work plan through the end of the year. I’ve said many times, you know, we’re way behind, because we moved slowly through the spring. But I hope we can catch up a little. And I think the way to do that is to have these consultations so that when we actually get to the Six Party process, we can move quickly.

QUESTION: Any news from the IAEA?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t have any news from the IAEA, but I think what happens is they report to their headquarters, and I think it’s very early in the morning still in Vienna right now.

QUESTION: Considering that you’re in the second phase of the February Agreement, a lot of people are curious how you’re going to go about it. For example, in 1994 North Korea declared about sixteen nuclear facilities. Five are being investigated by the IAEA. What about the rest?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, again, we will work on looking ahead on how we’re going to get to the full declaration. Full declaration needs to be full. We need to look at all of the aspects of denuclearization. So we’ll see. We’re taking it step by step.

QUESTION: Also, touching upon the HEU program, a lot of people are curious how you’re going to work it out. Is Washington going to put on a list of say, for example, okay we know you bought aluminum tubes in Germany, what you have done with that? So will it be a check by check comparison?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think we’re going to figure out a way to resolve that. And we have to do it in a way, I mean we have to address it in a way that we get good results. So I see you have suggested talking points for me. Maybe I’ll use some of those. But, basically, I’m going to be very much guided by the need to have success in this area -- that is, have resolution in this area. We cannot leave this issue ambiguous. We need to get to the bottom of it.

QUESTION: Ambassador, do you have a plan yourself to go to Pyongyang later?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. I was there a couple of weeks ago, you may have heard. But I don’t have another plan right now. But, you know, we’ll do what we need to do as long as it’s in our interest to do it. As long as it’s in the interest of making progress in the Six Party process, we’ll do it. But we don’t have any immediate plans right now.

QUESTION: North Korea attempt to make additional demands along the way, do you expect the North Koreans will do the same during the second phase?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Oh, I don’t know. You mean, do I expect them to make additional demands? I’m sure that they are interested like the rest of us in trying to get through this agreement and trying to get it implemented. So I’m certainly not going to look forward to any additional demands. I’m just going to look forward to good cooperation and trying to work through this quickly. Obviously, we’ve encountered problems in the past, and we’ll encounter problems in the future. But I think with the solidarity that we have in the Six Party process, I think everyone understands the need to solve problems when they come up.

QUESTION: Ambassador Chun, on the KPA announcement that they’re looking for a peace treaty, do you see that as a slight that South Korea wasn’t included in North Korea’s announcement?

AMBASSADOR CHUN: Well, I think if North Korea has any position on a peace regime, they will bring it up in the Six Party Talks process. So this is not something to be dealt between the military authorities, and September statement and February agreement have a provision on how the peace regime is going to be dealt with. So I think that’s the official position that North Korea expressed in the past. So I think they will abide by that agreement.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Okay. Well, thank you very much. See you all later.

Released on July 16, 2007

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