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Remarks to the Press Before Meeting in Singapore

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
The Regent Hotel
April 8, 2008

9:30 a.m.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, off to the first meeting at ten o’clock.

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, if you are able to make major progress at this meeting, do you expect any type of major announcement in Beijing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Look, we have to see how do today. We’ve got a pretty open agenda. On the other hand, we have some specific issues we know very well that we have to discuss. So we have a lot of hours today. Let’s see how it goes, and then we’ll decide what to do after that.

QUESTION: The meeting in Beijing, is it going to be –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think I have a lot of consultations in Beijing. And as I understand, I’m meeting separately with everybody. You know, it’s bilateral consultations on the Six-Parties. I know that ROK and Japan and the U.S. discussed having a trilateral. I don’t know if we’ll try to do that tomorrow, or perhaps we’ll do that (interrupted by phone ringing) when that phone goes off. No, I think we will probably do that in advance of the next Six-Party meeting.

QUESTION: Are you thinking of talking about the next phase on today’s discussion with Mr. Kim?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You know, Tomo, if we start talking about the next phase it will be a very good sign.

QUESTION: Will there be any kind of agreement will be achieved today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t think we will have any agreement. We are not looking for an agreement. I think we are looking to have a consultation on some of the issues that have kept us apart for several months, and certainly I will be discussing the fact that we are kind of running out of time.

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, Kim Kye-gwan said upon arrival that he doesn’t –they still don’t understand exactly what the U.S. position is and what they want. Is it possible after all this time that they don’t understand the U.S. position?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, it is not possible.

QUESTION: Has North Korea given you any indication that they are prepared to move forward?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. They know precisely what the issues are, and they understand that we didn’t want to meet unless we could achieve something.

QUESTION: Sir, after the talks, do you have plans to meet with officials from Singapore Foreign Affairs?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Singapore Foreign Affairs? I would like the opportunity to brief Singapore. Singapore has been, first of all, very gracious to host this. I had some very good talks last night with Singaporean Foreign Ministry officials, including Mr. Peter Ho. The focus of the talks was on the regional situation and the very excellent state of Singapore-U.S. relations. We talked about ASEAN and the fact that I look forward to coming back here a month from now in connection with the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting and that Secretary Rice looks forward to coming here to Singapore for the ASEAN Regional Forum Meeting. But if time and logistics permit, I would love the opportunity to meet see the Singaporeans today and once again to thank them and also to give them a briefing if they desire that.

Hey, I've got to get moving now.

QUESTION: Thank you very much

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, is there any possibility the U.S. Government take any action against North Korea if DPRK doesn’t accept U.S. proposal (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I'm sorry, that's a double hypothetical question. I don't even do single hypothetical questions. So no, I'm not going to get into questions like that.

QUESTION: Are you expecting to (inaudible) tonight?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I think I'm taking the Air China flight, and I think they are taking the Singapore Air flight -- something like that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Released on April 8, 2008

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