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Evening Walk-Through Remarks at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Beijing, China
May 27, 2008

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ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Hi. Well, good to see you all here. Let me just say this is the first visit back to China since the earthquake, and I just want to say or express, as I have before, but I think as we all continue to feel a great sense of sorrow at the loss of life caused by the earthquake and the sense of solidarity we all have with the Chinese people as they cope with this terrible, terrible tragedy. I know all Americans feel very close to all Chinese as they go through this very, very difficult period.

QUESTION: Can you give us some idea of what you have discussed with Mr. Kim Kye Gwan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I had a brief meeting this afternoon with the D.P.R.K. representative Kim Kye Gwan to lay out the agenda for what we will be talking about tomorrow. I also had the opportunity to talk to the Chairman of the Six-Party process, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, about how we see things in the coming days and weeks. I think both discussions were very good. I look forward to beginning my meetings tomorrow morning with the D.P.R.K., and then also talking to the Chinese later in the afternoon. Tomorrow evening I will be having dinner with Saiki-san, the Japanese representative of the Six-Party Talks.

QUESTION: What’s the main topic that is going to be on tomorrow’s discussion with the D.P.R.K.?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think we’re going to talk about the issue of how we can complete phase two, and what the elements are in putting together this declaration package, and how we might go on from there. Indeed, tonight with Mr. Wu Dawei we talked about the Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism and what the Chinese attitudes are like. I was following up on Deputy Secretary Negroponte’s visit here just a couple of weeks ago.

QUESTION: Do you feel you are almost there on the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we’ll have to see. I mean, obviously there is a lot of discussion ahead, and I think tomorrow we’ll have several hours to discuss that issue.

QUESTION: So that means that the declaration won’t be forthcoming for tomorrow night?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We have to work out a schedule for that, but, we’ve been working very hard on trying to complete phase two. And this was my first opportunity to talk to the D.P.R.K. representatives -- in fact, my first opportunity to talk to Wu Dawei since I met with Kim Kye Gwan in Singapore.

QUESTION: About the new documents you got from Yongbyon, does that accelerate the process now?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Obviously these documents were handed over two or three weeks ago. I know that in the U.S. we’ve been going through them very carefully. Obviously it helps as we try to evaluate whether the declaration will be verifiable and to address the issue of verification. So we had an opportunity last week to share some thoughts with our R.O.K. and Japanese friends, and today I did the same with Wu Dawei.

QUESTION: Do you have any idea of the timetable when the negotiations might begin again?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I think we will try to work on a timetable tomorrow. We’ll have several hours to discuss that and to discuss how we can get through this phase two.

QUESTION: How was the discussion of the Japanese abduction issue? Have they come up with any new ideas?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again I emphasized, as I have before, the importance of a better D.P.R.K.-Japan relationship. This is important to the Six-Party process, and we would hope that they get into a dialogue that will yield results on this. I can’t say there is anything new, but we certainly have emphasized the importance that the United States attaches to progress in the D.P.R.K.-Japan relationship.

QUESTION: As to the declaration, are you hopeful then that this is going to come soon?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We’ve needed this declaration since the end of December. We’ve emphasized the importance we attach to making a declaration that will allow for the verification means so that we can lead to a complete and correct declaration. So I would say it was a good discussion in that regard.

QUESTION: Did you discuss any timeframe of removing North Korea from the terrorist sponsor list?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We discussed the need to try to work on a timeframe for the submission of the declaration and for our own political actions we need to take. So I think we will be talking more about that tomorrow. Today was a brief meeting with Kim Kye Gwan. I think it was somewhat less than an hour and with the Chinese we were talking over dinner.

See you later.

QUESTION: Tomorrow?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think I will probably leave here around nine o’clock, and I think we will begin discussions with Kim Kye Gwan about ten o’clock. And later in the afternoon I meet with Chinese and then tomorrow night with the Japanese.

QUESTION: So in terms of coming back here after you meet with Kim Kye Gwan, will it be in the evening?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Let the Embassy work that out; we’ll work out something.

QUESTION: When are you meeting with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think it’s around 10 o’clock.

Okay, thank you very much.

Released on May 27, 2008

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