Remarks to Media Upon Departure From JapanChristopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Narita International Airport
September 26, 2007
QUESTION: About the scope of the [inaudible] at Yongbyon, is it only going to be only [inaudible] on the three facilities at Yongbyon?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE HILL: First of all, the Six-Party plenary is going to hear from the technical team that went in. I think what we are looking to do is to disable the graphite [inaudible] program so there will not be the possibility of producing more plutonium. So what the team did was that they looked at Yongbyon, and they did not look at additional facilities. Of course we are going to discuss additional facilities, and we will see what can be done about them. But I think the focus of that team was in fact the reprocessing facility, the so-called fuel-fabrication facility, and also the reactor. They looked at the 50-megawatt reactor, which has a long way to be finished, and the 200, even further to be finished. So I think the focus of that team’s report will of course be the Yongbyon facility.
QUESTION: For the next [inaudible], will these three facilities be enough?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We will see. What we are looking for is to make sure that even if they wanted to start the production of plutonium, it would be difficult to do that. And we are kind of defining “difficult” as meaning kind of “a year to get going,” because during that time we would like to continue the process of full denuclearization, which as you know includes dismantlement. So the hope is that as we get moving with the next phase, it won’t be so important whether the disabling phase is 10 months, or 12 months, or 14 months.
QUESTION: Have you discussed with the Japanese any kind of financial or other kind of contributions they can make in the next phase?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No we didn’t. We were discussing what we are going to try to accomplish in Beijing and the fact that we would like to get a schedule for disablement and declaration. So we didn’t get into money issues. Now maybe that will come up at another time, but certainly not now.
QUESTION: Did you find any change in Japanese policy?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We weren’t looking for any change. And of course the government is very new. I did have the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Nakayama to discuss the importance we attach to the whole abduction question and that this remains an ongoing issue when we meet with the North Koreans.
QUESTION: Is it possible to delist the DPRK from the state sponsor of terrorism list within the four days?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t think that will happen in this four-day meeting. No, I wouldn’t worry about that. I don’t know if it will be four days or three days. I think the Chinese have available through the weekend. However, I think as of Monday all the Chinese go on vacation. So we will try to get it done as soon as possible.
We have worked very hard in the last month on this in the working groups, starting with the energy working group that took place in Panmunjom, and then of course the denuclearization working group in Shenyang, and then the US bilateral working group that we had in Geneva, the Japanese bilateral working group in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, and of course the northeast Asia security mechanism meeting in Moscow. It’s been a lot of work, very hard work. So I hope we can put that all together and can come up with a joint statement.
But again, we will have to talk with our Chinese hosts and see what they have in mind. I am very much looking forward to meeting with Wu Dawei.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: It kind of depends on how the Chinese want to structure it. I have in mind that it kind of looks like February. That would take us through the end of the year.
QUESTION: Is four days enough? Three days? Two days?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I would like to get back to New York, because I have made plans Monday morning in New York. And there are a lot of very important issues going on in Asia. We are very concerned about what is going on in Burma and the need for the government there to act responsibly to avoid any use of force against these peaceful demonstrators. So there are a lot of issues going on that we need to pay some attention to.
QUESTION: Were there any specific requests from Minister Nakayama?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We exchanged views. There were not specific requests. She certainly explained the Japanese policy. It was very useful, helpful. But as I told her, I have always with Ken Sasae had a very full discussion about the abduction matter. We are in very good contact with the Japanese Government, and we have had good contact with the Abe government. And I think we are going to do very, very well with Mr. Fukuda’s government. So he needs time to get his government set, and we look forward to working with them.
Released on September 26, 2007