Morning Walkthrough With Reporters at Six-Party TalksChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
August 14, 2007
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Hi, good morning. I don’t have anything new for you.
QUESTION: Have you got authorization from Secretary Rice about the U.S.-DPRK working group schedule and [inaudible]?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. I have to be in touch. I am not going to try to announce it in the next day or so.
QUESTION: So not yet set for the announcement of the venue and the date for now?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. Kim Gye-gwan made a suggestion that seemed okay with me, so I just need to check with Washington. I haven’t done that since I last saw you.
QUESTION: So you cannot announce that yet?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No.
QUESTION: You said before that it was going to be somewhere in Southeast Asia. Has that changed?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes. They had another suggestion, which was fine with me. So I don’t think we will be doing it in Southeast Asia. But it won’t be in the U.S. Not in the U.S.; not in Southeast Asia.
QUESTION: In Pyongyang?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. Not in Northeast Asia. Look, I just need to tell my boss what the plan is and make sure she agrees before I tell you all.
QUESTION: And has the host country agreed on that already?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. It is not that difficult a process. I just think I need to check with my boss first. Okay?
QUESTION: So something you have never told us until this point?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: It is not like I am playing some kind of parlor game with you. It has been done before, but I need to check with my boss. Okay?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t want to talk about it until I check with my boss. I am sure it will be fine. Okay?
QUESTION: You are meeting Wu Dawei today?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes. I meet with him at three o’clock, and I am seeing He Yafei in about an hour or so.
QUESTION: Can you give us an idea about what you are going to be talking about. Anything specific?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I believe that we will discuss the gamut of bilateral issues, and with Wu Dawei we will be discussing Six-Party matters.
QUESTION: I already asked this yesterday evening, but are you going to have any dinner with Chun Young-woo or Ken Sasae tomorrow evening – that has changed?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I haven’t been in touch with Ken yet, so I’ll see what his availability is tomorrow night. Chun Young-woo called me this morning. We are going to try to get together tomorrow night at some point either before dinner, during dinner or after dinner, depending on the schedule. But I would want to meet with Ken Sasae as well.
QUESTION: The Japan (inaudible) working group is the only one which is not really set at this point. Do you have any – Did he talk about it in yesterday’s meeting?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I did not talk specifically about it, but based on the meeting we had in Beijing a few weeks ago, I am sure it will get scheduled. So I want to check with Ken Sasae.
QUESTION: And have the North Koreans been still showing the willingness to progress on their part? You are not concerned that Japan will be a stumbling block?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I am not. We have other problems, but not that one.
QUESTION: Do you have any plans for tonight’s meeting.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I don’t right now.
QUESTION: You are not going to meet anybody?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. I think I am just going to have a dinner with some people from the delegation.
QUESTION: Will two days be good enough for the discussion on denuclearization?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Based on the consultations we had last night, yes I do.
QUESTION: Do you expect you would reach some kind of agreement on that?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the idea of the denuclearization working group is to discuss options for how to denuclearize, how to disable, for example. I have every reason to believe that will go okay. Again, the crucial question will be the actual meeting of the Six-Party plenary and how much time we really have for that.
QUESTION: Have you talked about when the ministerial will be?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: After the plenary. But we have to work out a time. We have agreed to do it promptly, but it is tough to get everyone scheduled.
QUESTION: Are you trying to have it before the middle of September?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, we are, because we want to do it in China. After the middle of September everything shifts to New York.
QUESTION: Is that going to be probably after the APEC meeting? The ministerial meeting will take place after APEC?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think either just before or just after. It is just trying to work on schedules. We have to check with the Russians, because I think Minister Lavrov had a very busy schedule before APEC, so we will have to see if we can work that out.
I must say, for us, we want to move on this Roman numeral IV from the February Agreement. I felt -- based on this very businesslike meeting last night -- I believe we will get through the denuclearization working group with some very specific ideas of how to proceed. And that would be good.
All right? Had enough for the time being? Everyone else in Japan is on vacation. You should be, too. [Laughter] You’re the only ones working. It’s sad.
QUESTION: What time to you expect to come back here?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think I will go straight to the three o’clock meeting. But I am not really sure. And so I don’t think I would be available here until five or six o’clock, but we will let you know through the embassy.
Okay? All right. See you later.
Released on August 14, 2007