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Remarks to the Press in Jakarta, Indonesia

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Jakarta, Indonesia
April 4, 2008

QUESTION: What did you discuss with the Foreign Minister?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I had a really nice discussion with Foreign Minister Wirayuda. I always appreciate the opportunity to come here to Jakarta to talk about some of the regional issues, about developments in ASEAN, but also just continuing developments in this part of the world. Indonesia is a country that has so much to offer in terms of its understanding of these issues, and Indonesia is also a country with an international perspective. We talked about the Middle East. We talked about lot things, and we talked about North Korea as well.

With respect to North Korea, I’m not in a position yet to confirm reports that you’ve all heard that we’ll be having meetings with my counterpart from the DPRK -- except just to say that we’re obviously looking at trying to wrap-up the declaration very soon. We don’t have a lot of time, and we really need to move onto the next phase if we’re going to really achieve our goals. And our goals aren’t really to finish phase two; our goals are to get through what should be final phase towards realization of the September 2005 [joint statement]. I can’t predict to you at this point, first of all, whether, if we will definitely meet and, secondly, whether we will definitely resolve the declaration. We had a lot of talks with the DPRK. We’ve been doing a lot of things through the New York channel, and we’ve reached out to our other partners in the Six Party process -- because the declaration itself is something that has to be delivered directly to the Chinese. We have to see in the days ahead.

QUESTION: How about rising tensions between North and South Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: First of all, we’ve made very clear that the comments that were made, in some cases by an anonymous spokesman of the KCNA, that those comments in many cases were very inappropriate and very unhelpful to the situation. The DPRK needs to be reaching out to its neighbors and should not be engaged in those kinds of comments.

Secondly, we have not seen with respect to the Six Party process, we have not seen how the Six Party process has been affected by those comments. But I want to say that I have not met with any DPRK representatives since Geneva. So we have to see whether those comments are affected or not. I’m not in a position to say that “no they don’t,” but nor am I in a position to say they are affecting [the Six Party process].

QUESTION: Will there be a meeting with the North Korean delegation after you leave Jakarta?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, if there’s a meeting with them, it will not be before I go to East Timor and meet people from the American Embassy and officials from Timor-Leste. I’m really looking forward to that visit. So maybe after that visit we’ll see what the schedule holds.

Released on April 4, 2008

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