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Morning Walk-Through at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
June 24, 2008

QUESTION: T he reason we saw the North Korean (inaudible) came to the hotel this morning.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I think they’re passing some message to Sung Kim. I didn’t meet them.

QUESTION: So [what was] the message?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. They called and said they had something to pass along.

QUESTION: Did they have something on the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I wasn’t there {laughter}. I’m sorry. Sung -- We frequently have messages to and from the New York channel, and in this case they called and said they had something they needed to pass along. And so they came over to the hotel. I didn’t meet them.

QUESTION: Could you tell us, is the 26th [of June] the deadline for (inaudible) the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think, you know, that has always been our target date, as the White House Spokeswoman said today. And, as for the sequence of events, again I refer you to Secretary Rice’s speech last week at the Heritage Foundation.

QUESTION: So what are your plans for today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t have any Six-Party plans right now. We’re obviously having a lot of telephone calls going back and forth. But right now I’m going to look at the new embassy, and then I am going to meet with some Chinese professors at lunch and have some discussions. And we’ll see what this afternoon brings.

QUESTION: The secret document about the (inaudible) and the deliberation, is this going to be submitted at the same time as the declaration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: As part of the so-called “declaration package.”

QUESTION: Is that (inaudible) the U.S.?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, but you know, there will be a package of items for the declaration, which has to cover all of the nuclear programs.

QUESTION: Are they submitting it to the Chinese or to the United States?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: It will end up with the Chinese as part of a package.

QUESTION: Are you going to send somebody that is part of the Six-Party Talk team to the North Korea for the blowing up of the cooling tower?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We haven’t made that decision yet.

QUESTION: How about the information on the nuclear weapons as the declaration increases (inaudible) the nuclear weapons?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: The weapons are to be determined at a subsequent phase. The declaration at this point, the purpose of it is to list all of the nuclear materials and all of nuclear facilities and programs. So we needed to -- So with regard to weapons, that has always been the vision for the subsequent phase. So we’ll be dealing with that, and the North Koreans have acknowledged that we have to deal with the weapons. But not on this phase -- not on phase two, but rather in a subsequent phase. And we’re going to deal with it as soon as we sit down again to begin to map out the remaining piece of this negotiation.

QUESTION: Do you think you can trust the -- even though North Korea is handing out the declaration, do you think you can trust them, because it’s been going on for, like, so much, so many years?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Trust? I’m sorry what --

QUESTION: --Trust North Korea. I mean, even though they handed the declaration, like this document, do you think you can trust them?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Trust to what? Not to skip some phases? And –

QUESTION: -- and if they are going to go on with the process.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: Can you trust that even though they handed in those documents, do you think that you can trust that they will go on with the process? Or they might just shut (it off), and say, you know, I’m not going to do it again.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well the process is a step-by-step process. And so, you know, we have things we’re prepared to do at this stage, and then we’ll have additional things that we’re prepared to do at a subsequent phase. I think everyone is committed to finishing the process in the September ‘05 Statement. So to stop short of finishing the process is not to fulfill the requirements of the Joint Statement of September ’05, which calls for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and calls on North Korea to abandon all of its nuclear programs and all of its nuclear weapons. So it’s all spelled out there.

But what we’re essentially doing through all of this is to develop implementation plans for the September ‘05 Statement. And, obviously, we’re trying to get to the end of a very important phase of the implementation by not only having the disablement of their facilities, but also having a complete listing of their programs. Now, in order to get a complete listing, we need to be able to verify it. And so we have made sure, made clear that in receiving this listing of programs and fissile material that we have a means to verify it. And that’s what a lot of the work has been about, which is the verification.

Verification is something that will continue even beyond this phase and take many months to actually verify the amount of fissile material. But, obviously, verification is a very important part of it, and we’ve spent a lot of time going through in great detail what verification really means. It means, for example, looking at documents, and we’ve already received the documents. It will involve some other elements, and we’ve had extensive discussions about those. And we’ll have more discussions as we put together a verification regime.

Okay?

QUESTION: Excuse me. Has there been any change to your schedule visiting Kyoto and Seoul?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m going to Kyoto tomorrow. And then I think I go, I’m with the Secretary at that point, and I think we go to Seoul -- I’m losing track now -- I think Saturday, and then come back to China on Sunday. Something like that.

QUESTION: How about the Six-Party Talks?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we’re waiting for the Chinese. We’ve told them we’re very flexible. So whenever they can put it together, we’re prepared to do that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Okay? See you later.




Released on June 24, 2008

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