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Trilateral Press Availability With Director General Akitaka Saiki and Special Representative Kim Sook

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
December 3, 2008

[Note: Director General Saiki spoke in Japanese. Special Representative Kim spoke in Korean.]

DIRECTOR GENERAL SAIKI: We met with Ambassador Kim and Secretary Hill from the United States - the delegation teams from South Korea and the United States - and we had very significant exchanges of opinions. And on the 8th of December, we will start Six-Party Talks, or at least that’s our assumption now. And we discussed various issues today before the meeting, especially on the framework of verification -- how it should be, we had to confirm amongst us. And there are various issues amongst the six parties. As I said yesterday, when we start verification, there shouldn’t be any misunderstandings. And we shouldn’t allow any misinterpretations. So we need to codify amongst the six parties so that there is a clear understanding. So we agreed on this point, including sampling, and what kind of sites will be covered by verification, and what kind of plants will be covered by verification. On all these points, we should agree amongst the six parties in a written form. And today we reconfirmed these points.

Next week in the Six-Party Talks, North Korea is supposed to be conducting disablement, and we have to think about the process of energy and economic assistance. And we’ll be discussing those things. And we confirmed the status quo and future developments on these issues today as well. Before we go to Beijing -- before we start the Six-Party Talks in Beijing on Sunday -- if at all possible, we would like to meet in Beijing once again. And we would like to talk among the three parties to reconfirm the directions we go in the Six-Party Talks.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE KIM: Over the past three years, we have been able to hold constructive and significant talks, and amongst the three parties we have a good tradition. For example, before the Six-Party Talks, we meet and exchange opinions. And for this round of Six-Party Talks, we vow to complete phase two and vow to start phase three, so we are at an important phase, and we are determined, and we go forward.

In terms of the issues, we have to discuss the verification protocol in this coming Six-Party Talks. And this morning we spent a lot of time to discuss this issue. We conducted very specific exchanges of opinion. And the next point is completing the second phase. North Korea has to complete disablement, and other countries must complete economic and energy assistance. And this morning we had a very meaningful exchange of opinion. Based on today’s results, we have to – and in order to complete the disablement of North Korea we will - work together. Our concern is that after the second phase, we have to start the third phase.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, first of all, let me express my gratitude to my friend and colleague Saiki-san for organizing this trilateral meeting, indeed for also organizing the bilateral meetings we had. We've had a very good opportunity here in Tokyo in the last 18 hours or so to exchange views and to prepare ourselves for the next Six-Party head of delegation meeting. We have found that the success of any of the Six-Party meetings depends on the degree that we prepare for them. And I think the set of consultations we've had - especially this trilateral consultation - has been very conducive to trying to reach agreement in the Six-Party Talks, and agreement on some very critical issues as we go forward to Beijing.

I think it's important to recall the fact that fundamentally the Six-Party Talks are not just about denuclearization; they’re about relations among states in the region. And we hope that through our very strong trilateral consultation, a process that -- as Ambassador Kim mentioned, and as we've done in the past and we intend to do in the future, that we have strengthened that trilateral process in a way that will help to strengthen the Six-Party process as well. It's our hope that the DPRK will come to understand - as many countries in the world have come to understand - that their security lies in having good relations with all of their neighbors, rather than in a unilateral arsenal of their own.

And it was with this in mind that -- in addition to discussing the agenda of the Six-Party meeting, that is the need to come up with a verification protocol, the need to agree on the phasing in the sequencing of energy and disablement, but in addition to those things -- we also discussed the bilateral relationships that each of us has with the DPRK. So I'm very pleased that - with respect to the narrower issues of the Six-Party Talks, that is the need for the complete denuclearization in North Korea - that we also, the three of us, have, I think, a very strong and broad understanding of the need to create better relations among states in the region, and the hope that the Six-Party process can take this forward into the future.

QUESTION: [in Korean] Is the verification, including sampling, going to be codified? That’s the first question. And with the Six-Party Talks restarting, are you going to restart energy assistance to North Korea?

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE KIM: This morning we discussed the framework of verification. We discussed (inaudible)verification must be accurate and complete, so we need scientific procedures. And the three parties agreed that we need sampling, and based on that agreement in the Six-Party Talks, we need to work toward codification.

With regard to the second question, phase two of the Six-Party Talks is based on word-for-word, action-for-action (inaudible). If North Korea is going to take steps of disablement, we will provide energy assistance. Countries are providing energy assistance right now based on (inaudible). But we missed the October deadline, so as part of phase two, we need to agree on a new deadline.

QUESTION: [in Korean] Regarding energy assistance, South Korea has a suggestion on this topic? Can you elaborate a specific suggestion?

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE KIM: South Korea is the chair of the energy assistance working group, so based on the principle of word-for-word, action-for-action, we discussed providing energy assistance in this morning’s meetings as well. We welcome international assistance and based on the (inaudible). Before we discussed the Six-Party Talks, we had a prior meeting with (inaudible). So once we get to the Six-Party Talks, we need specific exchanges of opinion on this topic.

Released on December 4, 2008

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