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Trilateral Press Availability With Director General Akitaka Saiki and Chief Nuclear Negotiator Kim Sook

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
June 19, 2008

[Note: Director-General Saiki spoke in Japanese, and Chief Negotiator Kim Sook spoke in Korean. Their comments are not included except in reference to A/S Hill’s remarks.]

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL:  Well, let me just say that we very much value these three-party meetings.  Obviously, we’re at a very important phase in the Six-Party process. So I think it’s very appropriate that Japan, the ROK, and the U.S. get together and discuss how we can make progress at this very important moment.  I think we did have a very good discussion about the various aspects of it.  Of course there are sequencing issues that need to be discussed, but also issues relating to obligations that all the parties need to make and issues relating especially to, as Secretary Rice noted today in her speech, issues relating to the need for verification.  So we’ve had a good discussion on all of these things and look forward to further discussions later on. 

QUESTION: With regard to the question of America’s delisting of the DPRK and the abduction issue, what did Assistant Secretary Hill say about this?

DIRECTOR-GENERAL SAIKI: With regard to the question of America delisting the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism and with regard to U.S.-DPRK relations -- if the DPRK submits a declaration, the United States will remove the DPRK.  In the context of Japan-DPRK relations as well, the United States is well aware that this is a very significant development.  Regarding progress in Japan-DPRK relations, we explained the situation to the U.S.  The U.S. has said that it will continue to fully communicate with Japan about the matter and act accordingly.  That’s our awareness.

QUESTION: (directed to Assistant Secretary Hill) How about this question? 

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: That’s exactly as we discussed it.  I think that Secretary Rice spoke to this issue today.  We have felt that it has been very important to be in close coordination with the Japanese Government throughout this issue.  Obviously, the question of abductions is not just a question that is of interest to the Japanese government; it’s also of interest to the U.S. Government as well.  So we stay in very close contact with Japan on this.  We have followed the progress very closely of these new discussions that have taken place between Japan and the DPRK. And I think that as we go forward, we will stay in close contact with each other. 

QUESTION: I’d like to ask about the declaration.  A complete and correct declaration has been demanded, but actually the amount of plutoniumand other issues will not be addressed at this point.  Regarding the fact that nuclear weapons are not included, Japan and South Korea are located near North Korea, so they are exposed to this threat.  America is especially focused on nuclear proliferation, but isn’t it rather lax on other issues?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: First of all, I want to make very clear that our position is a position that has been set out in the Six Parties all along -- which is, the goal here is complete denuclearization.  The goal here is not just the declaration.  The goal here is complete denuclearization.

Now we have done this in phases, with the understanding that we could not just complete everything in one phase.  We needed more than one phase.  So our position is that as we go forward, we need to achieve the complete goal -- and that is the complete abandonment of all nuclear programs, nuclear weapons, and the return of the DPRK to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards.  And that’s very clearly spelled out, very clearly spelled out, in the September ’05 statement.

So we will not finish this process until we have achieved the full implementation of that September ’05 statement.  In return for this complete denuclearization, we are also obligated to do some things for the DPRK, including normalization.  So we understand we have obligations, but we shall not be able to achieve our obligations if we do not get a complete denuclearization.  I want to be very clear that is the purpose of this, and the purpose is not just to stop half-way. 

 



Released on June 19, 2008

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