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Evening Walk-Through at the Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
July 9, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I really don’t have anything for you right now. I had further consultations with the DPRK and with the ROK. Tomorrow morning I’ll meet with the Russians for breakfast and then the Chinese. And then we’ll have a trilateral meeting in the afternoon with the ROK and the Japanese delegations. We are expecting them [the Japanese delegation] to come in early in the afternoon. And then we’ll have the Six-Party meeting.

So we’re looking forward to having our first Six-Party meeting in nine months. I think the subject will be verification. That was certainly the subject of my consultations today, and it will be the subject of consultations tomorrow. We really want to get on with agreeing on a verification regime and then get on with the actual verification. So this is the verification Six-Party meeting, and I hope it will go smoothly and we can close out phase two and get on with phase three.

QUESTION: What was the progress with the DPRK today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: These were just consultations. And we want to make sure there will be no surprises when we sit down in the Six-Party head of delegation [meeting] but also in the denuclearization working group meeting to discuss the issue of verification.

We also talked a little about the issue of fuel aid to North Korea, and the fact that the U.S., Russia, China, and South Korea have been providing aid, and tried to identify how we will wrap that up. We have many more shipments still to make, and so we had some discussion about that. And we’ll probably do some more of that in the Six-Party.

QUESTION: Are you expecting these talks to produce a substantive documental agreement, or is this just only one step?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Our hope is to produce a verification regime that will lay out the rules of the road for verification. Verification itself will take longer than just a few days. Verification could take several weeks or even months actually. But we need to agree on how verification will work. We have an agreement on the general principles on what is involved, and that is the interviews with their people. We have an agreement on providing documents and doing site visits. But there are a lot of details that need to be fleshed out. And that was something we were talking about today. And it’s something that the denuclearization working group will take up when they meet on Friday.

QUESTION: There are still significant disagreements on access to sites?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I don’t think there’s any significant disagreement. Obviously, the devil is in the detail on most of these things. But I think there’s an understanding that we have to go forward on this. And certainly the DPRK, in providing their declaration, said they would cooperate fully on verification efforts, so we have to identify what those efforts could be.

QUESTION: Ambassador Hill, I’ve just arrived, and I was wondering what you said, what your initial statement was, and who you met. I’m sorry if you’ve said all this already.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: To repeat what I’ve just said here? You’ll have to ask someone else. (Laughter) I just explained that I had some consultations with the North Koreans and South Koreans. Tomorrow I’ll have consultations with the Russians, the Chinese, and we’ll have a trilateral meeting. And all of this is in preparation for the Six-Party meeting which will be devoted mainly to coming up with a verification regime. But we’ll also be discussing a few other issues -- for example, the issue of scheduling fuel shipments to DPRK.

QUESTION: (inaudible) on when the verification should begin?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had some discussions about that with DPRK. But I think the first thing we need to do is determine what the verification regime is going to look like. And then I think we can get moving on the actual verification. But the important thing is to identify the real scope of it, and that’s where we need the six parties to work together on that.

AIDE: How about one last question? No? Are there any?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Okay, I’ll see you later.

Released on July 9, 2008

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