Joint Press Availability With Republic of Korea Vice Foreign Minister Chun Young-WooChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
August 15, 2007
CHUN YOUNG-WOO: [Speaking in Korean.]
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had a good consultation in advance of what we expect to be a two-day working group on denuclearization. The working group on denuclearization is actually a very important working group, because it will address many of the technical tasks of actually disabling the nuclear facilities. We hope to have experts around the table who can discuss these tasks.
The purpose is not so much to negotiate an agreement today or this week, but rather to identify the technical procedures that can be used to effect disablement. And so we hope that if we can have agreement on what type of technical procedures to be used, then we can put together an actual agreement.
And it was very valuable to talk to my ROK counterparts and to exchange notes. I think I will have the opportunity to talk with Ken Sasae tomorrow morning, and we will see how we do this week.
QUESTION: Do you think it's going to go smoothly? It sounded like the North Koreans --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think it will go smoothly in the sense that we are not trying to hammer out an agreement this week. We are trying to identify the technical means to disable nuclear facilities. Primarily, we will also be talking about the issue of declarations.
I think we can get around the table in a businesslike way and identify those issues. But I want to caution you that in terms of implementing Roman numeral IV of the February agreement, we have to meet again in the plenary and try to do that.
QUESTION: Regarding the flooding in North Korea, are you thinking of giving North Korea help?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We have been monitoring the situation very closely in the last couple of days, and monitoring it with a view to seeing what we can do to help. It's a serious humanitarian issue, and we would like to be a part of the effort to assist. So we need to evaluate the situation and see what we can do to help.
QUESTION: Will you be trying to set up deadlines for disablement and declaration during this week's talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, we're not trying to negotiate disablement. I think what we would like to do, for example, is in identifying technical tasks and how to disable. Of course, we'd like to see how long some of those tasks will take to accomplish. For example, if you can disable by a certain process, you would like to know how long that process takes, because that will be relevant as you put together the overall implementing agreement.
QUESTION: Do you have any special assistance for handling the UEP problem in this session?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: UEP – uranium-enrichment program – needs to be addressed in the context of a declaration of programs. We have an ongoing effort to do that, but I can't be more specific at this time.
QUESTION: Will you be meeting with the North Korean delegation this time? What's the staffing for both of you? Is it going to make it easier?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Make it easier? I don't think that's very nice to Mr. Kim to say that. Mr. Li Gun is very aware of the issues. He has been a full participant in the Six-Party process. I think things will go fine.
QUESTION: Will you have a meeting with Ambassador Li? Any bilaterals?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Will you have a meeting with Ambassador Li?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't. I had a bilateral consultation the other day with Kim Gye-gwan, so I don't think I have a need to do that. I mean, I'm not opposed to it. I just don't think there's a need to do it.
Tomorrow, the bilateral schedule is that I'll meet early with Kenichiro Sasae, and then I'll meet with the Russian delegation a little later in the morning prior to the start of the working group.
QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, do you think you can get some better idea of handling the UEP after meeting Mr. Kim Gye-gwan?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Let me just say it's an ongoing process, and we'll continue to discuss all of the issues of denuclearization in the next bilateral working group that we have. And we will continue to discuss that.
QUESTION: [In Korean.]
CHUN YOUNG-WOO: [Speaking first in Korean.]
[In English] The preparation they have made, how serious they are to deal independently.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I certainly agree.
CHUN YOUNG-WOO: If they have enough experts.
QUESTION: Did you discuss the North-South summit later this month?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes.
CHUN YOUNG-WOO: [Speaking in Korean.]
QUESTION: Did you discuss, are there plans for you to meet with Mr. Kim Gye-gwan later this month?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We are expecting to have a bilateral working group, because the plan is to have all five of the working groups meet prior to the plenary session of Six-Party process. I expect it to be at the end of August, during that last week. I had a good discussion with them about dates and a place, but I don't think we are quite ready to announce it yet.
QUESTION: What time will you be leaving tomorrow?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Leaving the hotel? I think my meeting with Ken Sasae is in the hotel, and you'll have to check with the Consulate what I do after that.
All right, see you all later.
Released on August 16, 2007