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Morning Walkthrough With Reporters at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Intercontinental Hotel
Shenyang, China
August 16, 2007


QUESTION: Are you going to announce the schedule and venue of the U.S.-DPRK working group?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, not yet. We are just consulting on that. I’m sure will be able to do that next week or so.

QUESTION: Have you talked with Mr. Sasae about the DPRK-Japan working group?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, we had a discussion about that. In fact, we had a very good overall discussion about all aspects of the Six-Party process, including all the working groups and especially the two bilateral working groups -- ours and that of Japan. I think we will both be trying to schedule these working groups, and I want to say probably in the last part of August. But this will depend on scheduling issues. And then we have to move to a plenary of the Six Parties. I think we will be in a position to announce something in the next week or so.

QUESTION: So the two working groups are going to be held during the same period of time?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think in the same time frame. I wouldn’t say in the same period of time. So right now, I’m going to go have a bilateral consultation with our Russian Federation colleagues, and then we will move on to the actual denuclearization working group. We are looking forward to a very good, very substantive discussion of some technical issues. Obviously, technical issues are very important issues to deal with the question of how to disable and what the declaration should look like.

QUESTION: Is there anything specific you would like to achieve today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think we want to achieve some common understanding of what is involved in disablement and what would be involved in the declaration. I think there was a very good discussion in the energy and economic working group last week about what sorts of things can be done in terms of fuel oil equivalents. We will look forward to an equally substantive discussion on denuclearization.

QUESTION: You said you were looking for an agreement on this (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: That’s right. The agreements we reach will be in the Six-Party plenary, but we do look forward to achieving some understandings of what is involved in the technical task of disabling and providing a full declaration.

QUESTION: Will there be anything on what North Korea should be doing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: There usually is, but I think you should direct that question to our Chinese hosts. We will look forward to seeing what their ideas are today.

QUESTION: Are you trying to figure out the time schedule with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t think we will – I think we will have a sense of the time schedule, but I think the real time schedule will be set in the Six-Party plenary.

QUESTION: About the HEU (highly-enriched uranium) issue, you mentioned that you are going to talk in the bilateral. Why is it important to talk in the bilateral?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think what is important is to get clarity on that issue. We need to know what is involved in it, what they’ve done, what they haven’t done. So I think we will continue to work on that issue. I’m sure it will come up in the next couple of days, but it will also continue to come up in bilateral channels.

QUESTION: So do you think that disabling the nuclear facilities within the year is still possible?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I haven’t changed my view on that.

All right?

QUESTION: When are you coming back?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Coming back to Washington? To vacation? [Laughter]

QUESTION: To the hotel.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: To this hotel? I don’t know, because I think I go now to the conference site. I think it goes right through to the evening, so maybe you could check with our Consulate on precisely when I’m coming back -- whether it’s before dinner or after dinner.

QUESTION: You still don’t have a schedule to do a bilat with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t. I had several hours on Monday, so I wasn’t planning to have a bilat ahead of the start of the talks. I’m sure in the course of the next few days I’ll be talking to them bilaterally.

QUESTION: Are you having a working dinner tonight?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the Chinese are hosting – including the Chinese authorities in Shenyang – are hosting a dinner for senior members of the delegation, so I think I’ll be looking forward to that.

QUESTION: Ambassador, you said you haven’t changed your view of the timeline, year-end timeline. Does that mean the parties have figured out how to ship 950,000 tons of heavy oil?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: There was a very good discussion on how to do that and how to have fuel oil equivalents, so I think that issue can be resolved. But I want to emphasize that the actual resolution of that and resolution of how to disable and how to provide a declaration will be also determined through a working group. And then, finally, we will address all of that in the Six-Party plenary.

When we sit down to actually do the sequencing and the timeframe, that’s something we’ll do in the plenary. What we are trying to do is to make sure that we have a common understanding of technical tasks so that when we sit down in the plenary, we won’t be talking about things for the first time.

Okay, thank you very much. Enjoy Shenyang, it’s a great town.

Released on August 16, 2007

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