Press Availability With Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aleksey BorodavkinChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
May 30, 2008
DEPUTY MINISTER BORODAVKIN: (in Russian) …[negotiations] with our American counterparts on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were very constructive, as usual. We exchanged opinions about what was achieved in the negotiation process, discussed positive developments that have taken place over the past few years, and exchanged opinions on what needs to be done, what lies ahead for us. We coordinated our positions on the issue. We confirmed once again that constructive atmosphere, a spirit of cooperation between Russia and the U.S. at these negotiations, will continue.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Thank you very much. Let me say that it was a great pleasure to come here to Moscow, to meet my new colleague Deputy Minister Borodavkin, and to brief him on how the U.S. sees the process in the Six-Party meetings. As you know, I was previously in Beijing for some discussions with the DPRK as well as with the Chinese. The South Koreans I met here, and I saw the Japanese in Beijing.
This rounds out for me a rather intense week of consultations. The U.S. is very pleased with the level of communication and cooperation between the U.S. and the Russian Federation on this issue.
This is not an easy issue to resolve. We have worked on this for many years now, and we do feel that we are making some progress. But we also feel that we are coming to an important juncture in the process. We are hopeful that we can get through this phase and get on to the next phase, which we hope will lead to the final and complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. As I said, it is a very difficult and at times slow-moving process, but we feel very positive in that the U.S. and Russia are working closely together, have very similar outlooks on how to address this. We hope that we can work together in the future as we get on to what we hope will be the final phase.
QUESTION: (in Russian, inaudible)
DEPUTY MINISTER BORODAVKIN: (in Russian) We discussed how we would continue to move forward in the negotiations; we thought about setting up working groups, organizing other events within the framework of negotiations. But we need to discuss it with the other participants in the Six-Party Talks. It’s a bit too early to talk about a concrete timeframe for other events that will be scheduled within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.
QUESTION: Could you be more specific about supplying alternative fuels to North Korea?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We discussed the fact that both our countries are engaged in fulfilling obligations to provide heavy fuel oil, as you know. South Korea and China are also providing some heavy fuel oil equivalents. And while Russia is completing its current shipment, the U.S. is gearing up for the next shipment. So I think we are doing well on that together.
DEPUTY MINISTER BORODAVKIN: (in Russian) Russia is already sending a second shipment of fuel to North Korea. Our first shipment was in January. The second is being prepared right now and is expected to be shipped at the end of May, beginning of June. So Russia will meet its obligations in full and on time.
QUESTION: When do you expect the next Six-Party Talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: When I talked to the Chinese representative a couple of days ago, they were working to try to organize a Six-Party meeting, maybe at the head of delegation level. I think the Chinese are going to be consulting with all of this on this and will come up with a date.
QUESTION: When do you expect the North Koreans to actually make their declaration?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, I don’t want to predict the day or the week, but I think they are getting ready to do this. What is important for us is that, as they get ready to do it, that this be a declaration that we can verify in a verification phase as being complete and correct. I know that are working very hard on it, but I am not prepared at this time to give you a precise date on it.
QUESTION: When they presented you 18,000 pages of this document you said you were satisfied. What else is left?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the 18,000 pages of documents have been very useful and will be very useful in a verification phase. Of course, verification is not just documents. It also will involve some other elements of verification. But we have had some good conversations with them on that. Again, I don’t want to give a date as to when they will present their declaration, but clearly providing us with the documentation is a sign that they understand the importance that we and everybody – if I can speak for the other parties as well – assign to the need for complete verification.
Thank you very much.
DEPUTY MINISTER BORODAVKIN: (in Russian) Thank you.
Released on May 30, 2008