Remarks Upon Arrival in JapanChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Narita International Airport
November 28, 2007
QUESTION: Are you going to North Korea this time?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I think so. I think it'll be the beginning of next week for a day or two.
QUESTION: From the 5th of December?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think so, yes. I think Monday through Wednesday – something like that.
QUESTION: What's the plan during your stay?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, this is all part of getting ready for the completion of this phase of denuclearization, the disabling phase and the declaration on the part of the DPRK. Also, we have some obligations. So I thought it was a good time to do some consultations here in Tokyo, and in Seoul, and in Pyongyang, before going to Beijing.
QUESTION: Will you go to Yongbyon?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think so. I think that'll be part of the plan. I'd sort of like to see what the team has been doing there. We've had a number of people there for several weeks now. And there was also a group of people from the Six-Party process, including from Japan, that has been there this week.
QUESTION: What do you expect to hear from the team?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I just want to see how the disabling is going. I've been talking a lot about Yongbyon over the months and years, and I’d sort of like to see the place myself.
QUESTION: How much progress do you expect to see?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, from what I can gather from the reports, things are going well, so I'd just like to see it myself.
QUESTION: So if you do see some significant progress, are you going to give North Korea some kind of…
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we have some understanding of how we are going to proceed with North Korea. So I know that the disabling is going according to schedule, but I'd just like the opportunity to see it myself.
QUESTION: Who are you going to meet? Mr. Kim Kye Gwan in Pyongyang?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think I'll meet with him, yes.
QUESTION: What about the topic to discuss with him?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think we'll be talking about completion of this phase. And perhaps we can talk a little about what the next phase might look like.
QUESTION: How about abduction issue?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We raise that issue all the time. I'm sure that'll also come up.
QUESTION: How about the delisting issue -- DPRK?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: That’s also an issue that will be raised, I'm sure.
QUESTION: Are you going to get an initial declaration from the DPRK?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think they will be providing a declaration to the chair of the six parties, that is to the Chinese. And that will be addressed in the coming days and weeks, as soon as China is able to schedule a Six-Party meeting.
QUESTION: You mean a declaration that it is fully denuclearized?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, no. This is a declaration of all the nuclear programs that need to be denuclearized according to the agreement.
QUESTION: As of now, when are the Six-Party talks scheduled?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the Chinese are trying to work on the latter part of next week. But I don't think they have all the parties yet agreed to that date. So as soon as they do, I'm sure they'll make an announcement.
QUESTION: Are you going to talk to Mr. Sasae this evening?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I am.
QUESTION: What is your main issue?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, I think it'll be the same issue we're talking about with all the participants in the Six-Party process, that is, completion of this phase and how we can get going on the next phase.
QUESTION: Are you going to meet someone else in Japan?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m not aware that I am. But I know I'm meeting Mr. Sasae. I'll be checking with the Embassy to see what the rest of the schedule looks like.
QUESTION: So are you feeling optimistic?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m just feeling very jetlagged right now. That's all.
QUESTION: How about your visit to the DPRK? Did you get your invitation from the DPRK, the so-called New York channel?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL LL: You know, I think it was our idea to stop there, and they agreed to receive us.
QUESTION: So would you basically just outline what you expect to achieve on this visit?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, we are trying to review this phase to make sure that everything is done by the end of the year as planned. And then we want to have some discussion about what the next phase might look like. So if you don't mind, I'd like to get moving.
Released on November 28, 2007