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Remarks Following Meeting With DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan

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

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ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't want to sit down. I'll fall asleep if I sit down.

Well, we had a – I suppose you want to know about today. We had a long -- No, I really don't want to sit down.

So we had a long day with the DPRK and this consultation here in Singapore. We had a good discussion of all the issues. We discussed the overall situation of the Six-Party process -- where we are, where we need to be. We talked in general terms about what needs to be done to move ahead, and then we got into some very specific issues of what needs to be done.

I would say we took the discussion beyond where we had it in Geneva. I am not in a position to describe to you precisely what the issues are or where we are in the process. We agreed that we would both report to capitals. I just sent a report back to the State Department, to my boss, Secretary Rice, to tell her how it went today, and I'll probably be doing additional reporting tonight. I'll be going to China late tonight, and I'll meet with the Chinese chair and also have consultations with my counterparts from the ROK and Japan, and I also look forward to briefing the Russian embassy on the current situation.

Again, I’m not in a position to give you details of the discussions, because all of our discussions need to be -- first of all, we need to make sure our bosses have had an opportunity to digest them and to get back to us. So I'm not in a position really to discuss anything. As I told you this morning, we would not be announcing any agreement of any kind here in Singapore. But if all goes well, I hope we can have some further statements in Beijing tomorrow, which would involve some follow-on activities tomorrow. So I really don't have much more to tell you than I've just told you, so --.

QUESTION: Are you happy with how things went?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, any time you can have a thorough, lengthy, and substantive discussion, I think one has to -- as a diplomat you have to feel that you conveyed the points you needed to convey; you've understood the points the other person has needed to tell you. So I would say it was a good discussion. How good it is, though, we'll know soon enough.

QUESTION: On the question of declaration, who will have to decide whether the North Korean side has given a complete and correct declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Ultimately, that's a Six-Party matter, where we are having a consultation but there are other parties to this. There are other parties that have an interest in making sure that all the terms of the Six-Party agreement have been lived up to. So it's not just the United States. I think ultimately what will need to be done is their declaration will need to be submitted to the Chinese, and then there needs to be a Six-Party meeting and a Six-Party discussion of it.

So what I did here in Singapore needs to be understood in the context of the broader Six-Party palette and the fact that we are having a consultation, and I think there'll be other consultations. And, ultimately, getting through phase two will depend on a successful Six-Party meeting.

QUESTION: Have the North Koreans come up with any ideas of making progress on Japan and DPRK?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, I don't want to say who came up with ideas and who did not come up with ideas -- except to say that I think we took the process beyond where we were in Geneva, and we both agreed we would report back to capitals and await further instructions.

QUESTION: How was the discussion on the abduction issue?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had a -- Again, I don't want to get into specifics, except to assure you that we discussed all issues.

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, are you leaving Singapore feeling that you've bridged the gap in the declaration enough to make progress in Beijing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I'm leaving Singapore with the feeling that we did as much as we could do. We worked very hard. We addressed all the issues we needed to address. And we've reported back to, in my case, sent the message back to Secretary Rice, and I'll be awaiting further instructions. So I think it's been a good day in Singapore.

QUESTION: Did you discuss North Korea’s uranium enrichment program? Did you get any evidence about or any kind of confirmation or any satisfactory evidence on that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, this is an ongoing issue, and we’ve discussed that many times. And I can assure you that was part of the discussions today.

QUESTION: Do you need more talks with the DPRK on this issue?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think what we need now is, we’re both reporting to capitals, and we need some instructions from capitals.

QUESTION: How satisfactory was the evidence or any (inaudible) discussions you had about the uranium enrichment? Did they give you any evidence (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, again, I don’t want to get into the substance of what we discussed -- except to say that we had a full discussion on all issues, and we’ve agreed that we have to report to – in my case, to Secretary Rice – and await further instructions.

QUESTION: You say that you want to clarify all the issues that have held you up for several months. So did you clarify all the issues today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we won’t know quite yet. But it was a, as I said, it was a very full discussion. I think it took us beyond where we were in Geneva, and I’m going to have to await further instructions from Secretary Rice.

QUESTION: Can we expect some movements on the Declaration soon?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think that, depending on what we hear back from capitals by tomorrow, I think there’ll be some further announcements very soon. But I don’t have anything to announce right now.

QUESTION: Are you going to meet with the North Koreans tomorrow in Beijing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We don’t have a plan to meet, but we do have a plan to try to be in touch to report on what we hear back.

QUESTION: Was there a narrowing down of opinions?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, again I don't want to get into too much of the substance. Again, we took it beyond Geneva. We had a full discussion, went through all the issues, reported to capitals, and looking forward to further instructions.

QUESTION: On declaration, will IAEA have any role at all in verifying?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: These are all issues that we've been addressing for some time. So I don't have anything new to say on that issue.

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, you said to the North Koreans that you didn't want to meet unless they were ready to make serious progress. Do you think they came here today with a sense of purpose to make serious progress?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I think we had, again, I think we had a very substantive discussion. I don't want to get into who came with new ideas or who came with old ideas. But we had a good and a full discussion.

QUESTION: Do you expect to hold the Six Party talks any time soon?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We need to get beyond, we need to get things finalized for phase two. If we can do that, I think we would look forward to having the DPRK make their report to the chair, and I think the Chinese would want to call a Six-Party meeting as soon as it can be arranged. I look forward to talking to my counterpart, Wu Dawei, on that tomorrow in Beijing. And, again, we will know much better tomorrow in Beijing where we are, once we get some further instructions from capitals.

QUESTION: In other words, unless the phase two issues are sorted out, there won't be a Six-Party conference?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, phase two – I mean, we need to tee up phase two, the elements of phase two, so that the Six Parties can review all the commitments made in phase two and pronounce phase two as being over. And while some commitments have been met, others have not yet been met, and so the Six Parties will need to assess all of that.

OK?

QUESTION: Kim Kye-gwan said you have some agreements or consensus today and you guys will implement the things according to today, what you achieved. So is it true?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: What did he say? I'm sorry.

QUESTION: He said that you have some consensus.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I mean, we had a very good discussion, and we agreed we would report it back to capitals and get further instructions on that.

QUESTION: Did you get any indication from them that there was a sense of urgency and time was running out?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Actually, I think they do understand the time sensitivity of it, yes, and we spent some time in the morning discussing this (inaudible) issue.

OK. Thanks very much. See you later.

QUESTION: Are you having dinner with the North Koreans tonight?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I'm going to have dinner and a beer.



Released on April 8, 2008

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