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Afternoon Walkthrough With Reporters at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
Beijing, China
August 13, 2007

QUESTION: Welcome back!

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You’ve been here the whole time?

QUESTION: Yes, waiting for you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: It’s good to be back. I hope we can make some progress in the denuclearization working group, for which we are waiting for an announcement. But I think it will be later this week. I plan to have some bilateral consultations ahead of that with the Chinese side tomorrow and also with the DPRK.

So it is good to see you all.

QUESTION: You are going to meet Kim Gye-gwan today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think so. I think it is today.

QUESTION: When are you flying out to Shenyang?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You’ll have to check with the embassy. I think it is Wednesday?

QUESTION: Which hotel are you staying in Shenyang? (Laughter) Marriot?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I really don’t know.

QUESTION: What do you hope to achieve out of the working group?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: The same thing we’ve been talking about for several weeks. We want a clear idea on what is involved in disablement, what is involved in the declaration, so that when we have our Six Party meeting -- which depending on scheduling we hope can happen either the last week in August or the first week in September -- we can make real progress. I think scheduling is such that we probably only have enough time for a two-day Six Party meeting, which really needs to be pretty well keyed up. In that instance, I think it is important that we have some good working group meetings.

QUESTION: Have you talked directly about highly enriched uranium?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We’ll talk about a lot of stuff.

QUESTION: Will this working group be about scheduling future working groups and how the process is going to evolve?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You mean on denuclearization?

QUESTION: Yes.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, this will be about the technical aspects of how you denuclearize and what the declaration issues will be, what the disablement issues will be, that sort of thing. It’ll be very much focused on some technical aspects, which is why we have a number of technical people who will be attending.

QUESTION: With all these technical people attending, why is the meeting being held in Shenyang as opposed to Beijing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We go where the Chinese ask us to go. Our understanding was they wanted to have it there, but I don’t believe they made an announcement.

QUESTION: What will you be discussing with Kim Gye-gwan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We will be exchanging our views on the denuclearization working group. But maybe we can make a plan for doing the bilateral working groups later on in August.

QUESTION: Are you the head of this? How many working groups are you the head of? Is there four --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I never thought about it in that way, but let me think. Denuclearization and then, I think, the bilateral working group -- so two.

QUESTION: Who are the heads of the other ones?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Okay, I can stand here and be a spokesperson for the Six Party Process. I think the South Koreans are the ones on the energy—Chun Young-Woo. I think on the Japan working group, I think it is Kenichiro Sasae. What have I left out? And the Russian side does the Northeast Asia peace and security working group.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism is, I believe, going to take place in Moscow. I don’t know if it has been announced yet, though. And, as you know, the energy working group took place last week in Panmunjom. We have to determine the date and place for the U.S. bilateral working group, and I think the Japanese and DPRK need to do the same.

QUESTION: How do you view the upcoming intra-Korean summit?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: The summit has been discussed and in the works for a long time now, and I guess they have some dates and a place, which will be in Pyongyang at the end of August. We have always supported a North Korean dialogue, and we hope it will be successful.

Okay, I really have got to go.

QUESTION: Do you think that the next round of Six Party Talks from the ministerial meeting will be the biggest issue of this meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m going to talk to the Chinese when I meet them and get their ideas on when they would like to schedule the Six Party Talks. But I think we all felt it was important to have successful working groups, and I understand from our people who attended the Panmunjom energy working group that it was successful. The DPRK had some good experts there. Everyone brought some good experts. So that one went well. We’ll see how this goes this week, and then we have the others to go. As we said, we are not going to have a lot of time for a Six Party meeting. We are not going to be able to sit for two weeks. It’s going to be a two-day meeting, so we really need to be sure that issues are well keyed up for that event.

QUESTION: When would you like to have the declaration by?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: When we meet in the Six Party meeting, whether it is at the end of August or the beginning of September, we’ll need a sequencing plan for the paragraph IV – Roman numeral four -- of the February agreement. Of course that involves the declaration, and we would hope that the declaration would come fairly early, followed by the disablement plan. So, you know, we’ve got to sit down and work that through.

QUESTION: How does getting North Korea off the state terrorism list figure into the process?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: That’s something that is in accord with the February agreement -- that we agreed to begin the process to remove them from these things. Obviously, it will depend on the overall plan of action. So it is something we will continue to be discussing with the DPRK and consulting with our partners on.

QUESTION: Do you think the upcoming U.S.-South Korean military exercise would be used as a (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I have no idea. We have those exercises every year.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) When will you meet with Kim Gye-gwan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think it is today. Yes.

QUESTION: Where? At the Embassy or –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Check with our embassy, and they will tell you.

QUESTION: Why are you having these bilateral meetings at this time, and what is the difference with bilateral meeting (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Oh. This is just a consultation in advance of the denuclearization working group. This is not a bilateral working group. But that’s a much more comprehensive meeting that will address issues related to the development of the bilateral relationship. This is a consultation on the denuclearization working group. And I’ll be having, I’ve got some consultations with some other delegations as well.

QUESTION: Is there something that is more convenient to talk about with just the two countries not involving the other countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I am going to try to see the South Koreans before we start and the other delegations before we start, but it was just convenient to do it here in Beijing with the DPRK and with the Chinese. I think the South Koreans and the Japanese are flying directly to Shenyang, assuming it is taking place in Shenyang.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) You will meet first with (inaudible), right?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think that is tomorrow, actually.

QUESTION: The Chinese side announced the agreement to the new particulars on fuel oil. When is the United States going to do this?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We’re prepared to do that. I think we’re next in line. but we need to get going. This is all pursuant to Roman numeral IV of the February agreement, so we need to have an agreement. So we’ll work on that.

QUESTION: What is the (inaudible) timeline?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think we’re all doing monthly tranches of 50,000 tons or their equivalent. There was a good discussion of heavy fuel oil equivalents in Panmunjom meeting last week. So I think the issue is to look and see what equivalents we would do rather than heavy fuel oil -- or do heavy fuel oil -- depending on what’s finally agreed. So we’re not there yet in terms of an agreement on that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) How key will uranium enrichment be to the discussion?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We have to have clarity on that issue. We have to continue to have a resolution of that issue. So, obviously, it is very much a part of any declaration that’s finally submitted.

Okay? It’s good to see you all, but I have to scoot. See you later.



Released on August 13, 2007

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