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Remarks on Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
December 4, 2008

QUESTION: What are you hoping to achieve with your talks with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, it’s all part of a process of consultation, as we get ready for this set of delegation meetings. We haven’t had a delegation meeting since July, so it’s going to be an important one. We need make the -- arrange for the protocol and verification. We need to look at the fuel delivery. We need to look at the schedule of disablements. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll try to consult with all the parties (inaudible) the South Koreans and the Japanese. So we’ll see how we do here, and we’ll head back up. We’re going to stop in Seoul briefly, then go to Beijing to meet my Russian counterparts in Beijing on Sunday, and then we’ll meet the Chinese after that.

QUESTION: Are you optimistic that progress can be made? About the sampling issue are you possibly going to make them admit it?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well I mean, what we need to do is to make sure that the verification protocol is one that clarifies issues - so that there won’t be misunderstandings when we get to the actual verification. So we don’t want a situation where - when we get to verification - there is some misunderstanding on what we agreed to. So, we need some specificity on this protocol. We’ve had a lot of discussions about it. I think we do have an understanding on how to go forward, so we’ll see what it looks like. But I’m not here to negotiate anything; we’ll be doing that in Beijing on Monday.

QUESTION: Have misunderstandings took place, taken place?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think it’s not that we’ve had misunderstandings on verification, because we haven’t started verification. But it’s obviously a crucial phase in the process. And when we get to verification, we want to have a clear road map of how verification is being done. So we have some general themes, but we need to make sure there won’t be any problem, as we get to the actual measures that we need to be taken on the ground.

QUESTION: Are you seeking a position in Obama Administration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: (laughter) I’m just a simple diplomat trying to do my job.

QUESTION: What time is your talk with the North Koreans tomorrow?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Check with someone in the Embassy. I think it is late morning. Ok?

QUESTION: (inaudible)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m sorry, I’ll have to see what he says. I’ll see him tomorrow, so we can talk about things like that.

QUESTION: The meeting is going to take place in the Embassy - the American Embassy?


QUESTION: Are you (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. We’re meeting tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.

QUESTION: What time are you meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Tomorrow, I think it is late morning, check with the Embassy.

Ok. Thank you very much.

Released on December 4, 2008

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