Morning Walk Through With JournalistsChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Kerry Center Hotel
December 7, 2007
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: What are you doing up this early?
QUESTION: So what's your plan in Japan? What are you going to talk about?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I talked to Ken Sasae on the phone, but I want to brief him in person on the trip to the DPRK, tell him my assessment on where we are on the disablement, but also my assessment of where the DPRK is on the question of declaration. I'll also convey the letter. I will meet with Ambassador Schieffer at the airport as well, and through them convey the letter from President Bush to Prime Minister Fukuda.
QUESTION: Do you know if the discharging of nuclear fuel rods has begun at Yongbyon?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I expect the discharge to start very soon. They've had clean-up activities which I understood would be completed this week and possibly have already been completed as of Thursday, but I would have to refer you to the technicians on the spot to get an update on that.
QUESTION: When you talked to the Russian Ambassador yesterday, did you discuss when the Russian heavy oil will be transported to North Korea?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: He said there has been a decision to do so and that they are working on it. And it should be shortly, but I didn't ask for a date. But he said people are working on it as hard as they can.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I have a plane to catch. All right?
QUESTION: So this month, which country will transfer the heavy oil to North Korea?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the U.S. will go next.
QUESTION: The President today, does that change (inaudible)?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: The President sent letters to all five heads of government, heads of state, in the Six-Party process urging everybody to - underscoring the need to complete the tasks in December or as soon as possible and get on to the final phase. Whether it will have an effect on Chairman Kim Jong-il, you will have to ask him.
See you later.
Released on December 7, 2007