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Remarks on the Visit to North Korea by a Team of Experts for the Disablement of Nuclear Facilities at North Korea's Yongbyon Complex

Sung Kim, Director of the Office of Korean Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
Beijing, China
November 1, 2007

MR. KIM: A disablement team is going in this afternoon. We expect to send the next team in about two weeks. I will be staying about a week in Pyongyang and Yongbyon to make sure that our team is set up to begin the operations as soon as possible.

QUESTION: When are you going to be Yongbyon?

MR. KIM: We hope to get there over the weekend.

QUESTION: When do you expect to start disabling the facilities? And who will actually do that? Will it be the North Koreans with you watching? Or will your team actually lay hands on the equipment?

MR. KIM: I think it will be a combined effort with some North Korean help and, of course, our experts supervising and coordinating.

QUESTION: When will it start? Do you know?

MR. KIM: We don’t know yet. We would like to start as soon as possible. I think as soon as we are set up in Yongbyon we will begin, hopefully early next week.

QUESTION: Could you elaborate on how to disable [inaudible]?

MR. KIM: We have a common understanding and a set of meanings of disablement steps. I’d rather not get into the details of those steps. I think the Chinese, as the head of the denuclearization working group and as head of the Six Party process, maybe at a later point or at an appropriate point will provide more details.

QUESTION: How many people are coming this week?

MR. KIM: Nine total, including myself.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

MR. KIM: We have experts on all three facilities. We have someone who has extensive experience with graphite reactors, someone who has worked in a reprocessing plant. So we have experts from the Department of Energy, from the State Department. It is an interagency delegation.

QUESTION: Is there any estimate as to how, once this process is carried forward significantly, how long it would take North Korea to actually get these facilities, if they decided to do that, back up and running and producing nuclear materials?

MR. KIM: Again, as I said, we believe we have a set of very meaningful disablement steps. I think it would take them a considerable amount of time to reverse the disablement.

QUESTION: Can you describe how you would disable? Would it be with concrete? What do you do? You go in and do what to disable it?

MR. KIM: There are various steps that would be taken. Some involve removing equipment. Some involve cutting certain types of equipment. I think, as I said, we will defer to the Chinese to make some details available to you later, at an appropriate point. Our main focus is to get there and start the operation as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Do you expect to have the initial list of declaration while you are there?

MR. KIM: I don’t know. It would be nice. But we don’t know at this point.

QUESTION: U.S. [inaudible] issued a report on disablement written by David Albright. He said that you agreed on only the first step out of ten steps for disablement. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. KIM: I don’t want to get in to an argument with David Albright. I can tell you that our experts believe that we have a set of very meaningful, substantial disablement steps, and that’s what we will pursue. And we have to accomplish those before the end of the year.

QUESTION: In the agreement, is every step to be taken for disablement is clear, or are there some steps to be sorted out?

MR. KIM: No, I think we have a pretty good agreement, a pretty good understanding on the three main Yongbyon facilities to be disabled this year.

QUESTION: IAEA and other government agencies are involved in this?

MR. KIM: Well, as you know, this is a Six-Party effort. So we look forward to other parties’ participation in this effort.

QUESTION: How about the IAEA?

MR. KIM: I think IAEA will probably continue to play a role in the process.

QUESTION: Are they going to supervise?

MR. KIM: Well, I think the details need to be worked out, but we anticipate that the IAEA will continue to have a role in this process.



Released on November 1, 2007

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