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Remarks Upon Arrival in South Korea

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Gimpo Airport
Seoul, Korea
November 29, 2007

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Hi. Nice to see you all. Nice to be back.

QUESTION: Can we get right into it?


QUESTION: Should we just get right into it?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Whatever question you got?

QUESTION: When do you think North Korea can be removed from the terrorism list?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, you know we are working on that. The process is moving forward. There have to be a number of steps, so I’d rather not predict it right now, except to say we are moving ahead on that.

QUESTION: Has North Korea begun declaring its atomic programs?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: They have begun to put together their list. I think it is pretty close to being ready. I think they are going to be giving it to the chair of the Six-Party process, that is the Chinese. And I expect the heads of delegation will talk about it when we meet. I know the Chinese are trying to organize a meeting of the six parties for the end of next week. It will depend on whether everybody can come. I am certainly available, and I know that a number of other countries are ready to come.

QUESTION: Will you be discussing the declaration list when you get one at the meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I am sure we will be -- absolutely. I’ll do that when I am in Pyonyang, but also I think when we get to the Six-Party meeting. I mean that will be the proper forum to have a proper discussion about their declaration list. You know the declaration is one of their key undertakings for this year. It is a very important development for us, a very important milestone as we move forward. But I want to emphasize that none of these milestones are important unless we get to the end, which is full denuclearization. And I want to begin to have some discussions about how we can use the calendar year ‘08 productively to get this job finished.

QUESTION: When you visit the Yongbyon Complex will you be seeing some of the equipment used for the -- involved with the UEP or what kind of facilities will you be --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, Yongbyon is a facility for plutonium production, so I’ll be meeting with the technical people who have been engaged directly in the disabling. I am sure I will also see the IAEA people who have been there since Yongbyon was shut down some several months ago. And I think the IAEA has performed really excellently, and I want to have the opportunity to thank some of their people for the hard work that they have done. I also look forward to meeting some of the DPRK technical people and to make sure that everybody is working well together.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, in connection with the declaration, should North Korea declare its last nuclear property in this area?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think in the declaration -- we have said all nuclear programs need to be declared, and I think all means all. So let’s see what they have, but certainly we will be having some preliminary discussions in anticipation of that full declaration being submitted to the six parties.

QUESTION: Can we expect the declaration by year’s end?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, because that is part of the undertaking.

QUESTION: The timing of lifting DPRK out of terrorist sponsoring list is directly related with how you evaluate their declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we are making progress on that, and obviously this is a very important issue. And I can assure you we are working hard on that, as is the DPRK.

QUESTION: Are you bringing along with you some kind of letter from President Bush to Kim Jung Il by any chance?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I do not have any letters with me.

QUESTION: Do you have any plans to visit Kaesung Complex?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No plans to visit Kaesung Complex.

QUESTION: What will your talks focus on with Kim Kye Gwan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think with Kim Kye Gwan, we will be talking about things we all need to get done by the end of December. And I can talk to him about what we are up to, and he can tell me what they are up to. And then I think we will be talking about the expected Six-Party meeting in Beijing for the end of next week.

And I think, very importantly, I would like to have a preliminary discussion with him to get his ideas on where we will go in ’08 because we really need to move on to the next phase. I would like to see the disabling actions which have been, I think, up until now very successful. I’d like to see them move into dismantling actions. Similarly, I would like to see us get to the abandonment phase of all nuclear programs, and that is what we have to really focus on in ’08. So, it is going to be a busy month of December, but it’s going to be an even busier year of ’08.

QUESTION: Can we expect a Six-Party meeting on December 6, 7, 8 [inaudible]?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we are ready. And I think the Chinese are ready. And we have to see what other delegations are prepared to do. I know the Chinese are working very hard to organize that for the 8th of December.

QUESTION: Is it up to North Korea now to consent to the date or --


QUESTION: Is it up to North Korea to agree to the dates or --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I mean you have to ask the Chinese and the North Koreans on that. Okay, good to see you all. Nice to be back.

QUESTION: [inaudible] trading with the enemies act comes at about the same time as the removal?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yeah, we are working very hard on that. I think we are making progress on that issue. That is something I’ll talk to Kim Kye Gwan about. I would rather talk to him before I talk to the press here in Seoul.

QUESTION: Which way are you going to use when you go to DPRK this time, by air or just the same way as you went there before?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Are you a tourist agency giving me a tip on -- [Laughter] I think I will be flying.

QUESTION: Here or in Beijing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think somewhere here, but I don’t do the logistics. Someone else is working on that. Alright, thank you.

Released on November 29, 2007

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