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Morning Walk-Through With Reporters at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
Beijing, China
September 27, 2007

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Good Morning. Good to see you all. We will start at 4 o’clock, but first we will have a series of bilaterals. I am going to have a brief bilateral with the North Koreans, the DPRK, this morning, then a lengthy bilateral with the Chinese, which will include a meeting and lunch. Then I will meet with the Russian Federation and the ROK. Then I will touch base with the Japanese -- all before 4 o’clock. So I won’t have any real news to report until after all this and after we get together at 4 o’clock. It looks like a busy day. I think we will have a good sense of what we are going to do coming out of this in a few days.

QUESTION: What is the purpose of the meeting with the North Koreans this morning since you just had dinner?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I wanted to follow up on some issues that we didn’t get to last night. I wanted to do it in a more structured environment.

QUESTION: Do you expect the presentations from the experts today or tomorrow?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think you have to direct that question to the Chinese. I believe we will just be starting at 4 o’clock, so probably the Chinese will lay out a schedule for the next couple of days. Part of that will be the report of working groups. All the working groups have met since we last had Six-Party meetings. Then the report from the experts. Again, it is up to the Chinese, but that will obviously take up some time.

QUESTION: What kind of issues would you like to follow up with North Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’ll tell you afterwards. But there are some issues we just didn’t get a chance to discuss. There are a number of things we are trying to get accomplished.

QUESTION: You said there are big gaps between North Korea and the U.S.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had an expert team go there. They came up with some ideas. We’d like to do more. DPRK would like us to do less. We’ll figure out a way through that. There is no big gap.

QUESTION: Has the delay in holding the talks affected the atmosphere?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You mean the one week delay?

QUESTION: The one week delay, yes.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: What do you think? One week? That is not too bad. It affected my atmosphere, because I had a whole week planned in New York. But it is okay.

QUESTION: Will you be addressing the issue of Myanmar during your lengthy meeting with the Chinese?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Myanmar has really risen to the top of the international agenda. I would say it is becoming the main story in New York. I think it is something that all countries need to be concerned about, especially to use the influence that countries have to prevent the Burmese authorities from cracking down on these peaceful protestors. I think it is an issue that we all need to be very, very concerned about no matter what we are working on.

QUESTION: What will you be recommending the Chinese do?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: First of all, we need to be in close consultation on this. And I think we all need to agree on the fact that the Burmese government has got to stop thinking that this can be solved by police and military and start thinking about the need for some genuine reconciliation with the broad spectrum of political activists in the country. Whatever they think they have been doing for the last thirteen years in terms of this constitution does not seem to be working very well. It seems that the people are sending a very clear message to the regime there that they need to begin a process of genuine dialogue and above all refraining from the use of force. The use of force will solve nothing. This is about arriving at political arrangements. And our reading of the Burmese opposition or, more broadly speaking, the Burmese society is that people are ready for a peaceful resolution. We need the government to agree to that and come forward.

QUESTION: What can the Chinese government do?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think all countries need to use all influence that they have. I think every country has some influence with Burma, and I think China is certainly one of those.

QUESTION: Are you expecting a statement on that issue?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m not expecting a statement from the Six Parties.

QUESTION: No, out of your China meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I’m not anticipating any public statements.

QUESTION: Are you going to talk about that issue with Wu Dawei, or are you meeting with someone else?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think it is currently under -- They are trying to work on the schedule, and I don’t think I can tell you right now precisely.


QUESTION: All your bilats are at Diaoyutai today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m not sure. I know the Russian Federation and the ROK is out of the Diaoyutai, but I don’t know about China. I’d have to check on North Korea.


QUESTION: How long do you expect the meeting to run tonight, the 4:00 P.M.?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Ask the Chinese. I don’t know. As long as it takes.

All right.

QUESTION: When can you expect to be back tonight?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m sorry. I’m not being evasive. I just don’t know. We have a lot that we want to get accomplished, and I just don’t know what the schedule is. After we are done I’ll certainly come back here. I’m sure you can find out from the Chinese, who I’m sure will give you a full schedule.

Okay? See you later.

Released on September 27, 2007

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