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Press Stake Out at The Hotel de La Paix

Christopher R, Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
The Hotel de La Paix
Geneva, Switzerland
March 13, 2008

QUESTION: What are your expectations for this meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: First of all, let me just say that I am very grateful to the Swiss authorities for helping to facilitate this meeting.

As you know, the DPRK suggested we try to get together here in Geneva, and I think it was a good idea. Obviously what we are going to try to do is to have a thorough discussion of the declaration. Now I want to emphasize that the declaration is something that they have to deliver to the chair of the Six-Party process -- that is, the Chinese. But I would hope we would have a good discussion about it, and I would hope that we would be able to talk about all of the elements that we would expect to see.

QUESTION: Do you expect some movement, Mr. Secretary? Do you expect them to come up with something new regarding the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, rather than handicap this thing, why don’t I go and talk to them, and it would be easier if I came back and told you if we had some movement. I just don’t know. I do know that we need to get some movement. We are already some ten weeks behind if we are going to get onto phase three and what we see as the complete denuclearization, and we need to get moving. So let’s see if we can get that done.

QUESTION: You’ve said March is critical.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think it is pretty critical to get moving on this now. We are, as I said, ten weeks late already -- or something like ten weeks late -- and we have to get to the declaration. The declaration has to be a complete and correct declaration if we are going to get onto the next phase.

QUESTION: Any type of format is acceptable, if the content is –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Any type of format? Well, I wouldn’t look for like a coloring book or something like that, but obviously I think we can be flexible on format. But we cannot be flexible on the fact that we need a complete and correct declaration. That is, we need all the elements there, and we need them to be expressed correctly.

QUESTION: What is your best case scenario?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. My best case scenario is this is all over, and I go home. (Laughter) But I think we are going to try to get through and have a good discussion on the declaration and try to come to an understanding of what it is they are going to be submitting to the Chinese.

QUESTION: Just one meeting or more?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the plan is to meet early tomorrow morning as well.

QUESTION: How about the Uranium issue?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well that is part of the declaration. So obviously that has to be addressed. So we have a lot of work to.

QUESTION: There seems to be talk about separating --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Only from you. We have talked about different formats, but we have never talked about separating elements from the other, or separating them in time and space. We need all of the elements essentially at the same time. How the format, how many pieces of paper there are, we can discuss that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well look, we are going to have a discussion about where we are and what we need to get done if we are going to stay on schedule.

QUESTION: Is some of this being done verbally or in private rather than on paper, or does everything have to be on paper?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we have emphasized throughout that this is not a U.S. problem. This is a problem of six parties. And when we need a complete and correct declaration, that is not some U.S. position; that is a position expressed in the October agreement. So I don’t think verbal assurances to the U.S. is really what does it. I think we need a declaration to reflect all of these elements.

So let’s see how we do. I will let you know.

All right. See you later.

Released on March 13, 2008

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