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Afternoon Walk-Through at Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
July 12, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Hi. I am trying to catch a plane, but I’ll just spend a minute. There will be a press communiqué issued by the Chinese Chair, which I think pretty accurately reflects the range of discussion we had. It will discuss the various elements we talked about, including verification, monitoring, and the North East Asia Peace and Security Mechanism. It also discusses fuel oil and a target time for completing the disablement of the Yongbyon facility. The most important issue is, of course, working out the overall protocol for verification.

There were additional meetings of the denuclearization working group this morning. And the plan is that the delegations will take the documents - the drafts, rather - that have been shared and take them back to their respective capitals (inaudible) and will reconvene at an early date and try to finish the protocol as soon as possible. I must say, a lot of work was done. A lot of specifics were discussed. The meetings went pretty well. And we look forward to getting together very soon and continuing the process.

QUESTION: How did the talk on the scope of dismantlement [go] today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We discussed the next phase. We discussed elements. But we didn’t have a very lengthy discussion on it because we were taken up by some other things.

QUESTION: Are you going to keep that discussion on the upcoming --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Probably we’ll have an upcoming -- we’re all going to be in Singapore at the same time, so there’s some thought that maybe we can get together on an informal basis in Singapore. We’ll see. At any rate, [there will] probably be -- depending on what the Chinese Chair does -- an early resumption of the Six-Party process in Beijing at some point.

QUESTION: Is the working group done?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No. The workinggroup did a lot of work. They went through drafts relating to the protocol. The protocol gets very complex because it’s not just saying what verifiers will have a right to do – that is, visit sites – but it also spells out what they can do when they visit the sites. So all this kind of stuff has required a lot of scrutiny. And I think the plan is [to] have everyone go back to capitals and make sure people in capitals are comfortable with what’s agreed.

QUESTION: So it’s done for now?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: So it’s done for now. But I think they’ll reconvene as soon as they get additional guidance from capitals.

QUESTION: Can we say that North Korean cooperation with the Syrians is not of interest anymore?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: As you know, we addressed that with the North Koreans. I think we’ll continue to address that and continue to have a process for monitoring the issue of proliferation. Indeed, monitoring of proliferation -- if you look carefully in the Chairman’s press communiqué -- you’ll see that is addressed. We’ll continue to address that. Same with the uranium enrichment issue.

QUESTION: Do you thinkthe verification process should be set within 45 days (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Oh, yes.

QUESTION: You’re hoping that the verification actually starts within the 45 days?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yeah, we’d like, first of all, a protocol to be reached within the 45 days and, secondly, to actually begin the verification within the 45 days. We’re just anticipating that, and we don’t see any obstacles to getting that done.

AIDE: I’m sorry. He needs to probably make his flight now.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Ok. I really have to catch my plane. See you later.


Released on July 12, 2008

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