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Remarks to Media on Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
June 20, 2008

QUESTION: How was your meeting with Mr. Koumura?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had a very good meeting with Mr. Koumura. I think we have really shown, not only in the last two days but also a few weeks before, that this trilateral process -- which has been sort of reborn -- is actually working very well. I think the coordination among Japan, the ROK, and U.S. is very good now, and we consider that a very positive development in the Six Parties. And I think it’s a process that will strengthen the Six Parties.

So we had a very good discussion with the Foreign Minister about that, and we discussed how we see the way ahead. I told him I thought it was useful not only to look at the way ahead but also to review some of the progress we’ve made, because there has been progress in the Six Parties.

So tonight I’ll go to China, and I’ll see Mr. Wu Dawei, and I think this is an important moment for the Six Parties, an important moment for China in its position as chair of the Six Parties, to try to move ahead. So we’ll see how we do.

QUESTION: After this trilateral, do you hope to see the timing of next round of Six-Party Talks before or after the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we are trying to work very hard on the timing issue, and of course there are a lot of issues involved in that. We’ve seen the beginnings of a DPRK-Japan bilateral process to discuss some issues of mutual concern, and we’re pleased that that has gotten going. Obviously it’s only at the beginning, but we’re very pleased that that has started. So we have to kind of look at all of these processes and see how we can put this together and get the Six Parties moving. I must say that there’s been a lot of work done on what we believe will be the end of this second phase, and with the Six-Party process I think we can move from there.

QUESTION: Do you plan to accept a declaration by North Korea in the next Six-Party meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think we are looking to receive the declaration soon. I’m not prepared at this point to give you the date, but obviously we’d like to get moving on it soon. We’ve done a lot of work on it. We have some obligations we need to fulfill, and one of the reasons there’s been a lot of U.S.-DPRK bilateral contact is some of the obligations in this conclusion of phase two have been U.S. obligations. So we have to consider that point.

QUESTION: Do you think the visit by your boss, Ms. Rice, do you think that gives more pressure to North Korea to hand in their declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I don’t want to speak to pressure on the declaration, but let me just say I know that Dr. Rice is very much looking forward to coming here to Japan. I think the meetings will be in one of Japan’s most beautiful cities. I know she’s very much looking forward to it.

And I’ve got to go, because I’ve got to get out to one of your most beautiful airports. So see you.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]  to the U.S. Congress in the next 45 days?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: With the U.S. Congress? Well, that’s our problem, not your problem. So don’t worry. We’ll deal with our problem, and you deal with your problems.

OK? Thanks a lot.

Released on June 20, 2008

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