Remarks Upon Arrival at Incheon AirportChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Seoul, South Korea
December 6, 2008
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Hi, how are you?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, we had a consultation. We spent a few hours on Thursday and a couple hours additional on Friday, and we reviewed what we need to get accomplished in the Six-Party Talks. We talked about three main elements: the issue, first and foremost, of getting a verification protocol, the second issue was the issue of finishing the disablement, and the third issue was finishing the heavy fuel oil. We went through all those and now we’ll have to see how we do when we get to Beijing tomorrow.
QUESTION: Were you successful in getting an agreement?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I wasn’t negotiating with them. The negotiations will take place in Beijing. I certainly let them know what we expect as an outcome on the three issues. They gave us the benefit of their views, and we’ll have to see how we do in the Six-Party negotiations.
QUESTION: Will they be able to say that sampling will be included in the document?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, again, I don’t want to get into any one issue.
Obviously there are certain ways that one needs to accomplish verification. We’ve been over that on a number of occasions. We need a situation where when we begin the verification, there are no surprises.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I’ve just seen that statement. There was some discussion. We did have a discussion about the need for the DPRK to do more to meet Japanese concerns - especially on the abduction matter - and the need for the DPRK to reach out and have better relations with its neighbors. And certainly Japan was one of the examples where the DPRK needs to do more.
QUESTION: Do you think the negotiations in Beijing are going well?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I haven’t gotten to Beijing yet (laughter). So I’ll tell you in a few days.
QUESTION: Was there any agreement regarding the verification protocol, including sampling?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, I don’t want to conduct the discussions in public, but I can assure you they have a very clear idea of what our views are.
QUESTION: Was there a very big gap?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Again, we’ll have to see when we get to Beijing.
QUESTION: What kind of consensus was there regarding the timeline of providing the fuel oil?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, the fuel oil is something that the Republic of Korea, in its capacity as head of the working group, has been working very hard on. We’ve been doing our part to assist. Indeed, one of the things that I want to do in Seoul is to talk to my counterpart, Kim Sook, about fuel oil. And I think we’ll have a way ahead in terms of laying out the schedule for fuel oil provided -- of course, we have a schedule for the disablement. And, of course, we need to get the verification protocol done. So we have a lot of work to do in Beijing.
QUESTION: What’s your plan after arriving in Beijing?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: To get to work (laughter). I think the first thing we’ll do is have a trilateral meeting with ROK and Japan. We found that very useful in Tokyo and I’d like to brief both our counterparts in person on the subject of my consultations in Singapore with the North Koreans. And I think I’ll have some other consultations with the Russians later on Sunday and, obviously, I’ll need to have a consultation with the Chinese. So it’ll be a very busy couple of days.
QUESTION: Do you think the North Koreans are tough?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m sorry - do I think they’re tough? Oh, I don’t know. They issue a lot of statements. I mean, it doesn’t seem to matter what day of the week, they’re always issuing statements. But I think if would behoove them to issue fewer statements and do a little more work in terms of developing plans and ways for their country to progress.
QUESTION: Do you have any other plans to meet with the DPRK before the Six-Party Talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I don’t. We had plenty of discussions in Singapore.
QUESTION: When do plan to see Kim Sook again?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think I’ll see him at the Ambassador’s residence, Ambassador Stephens’ residence.
QUESTION: Have you packed for a week or longer?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think the Chinese have in mind about three days. So, I hope my clothes are going to be warm enough.
QUESTION: Do you expect it to last long?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: It’s hard to pack for Singapore and Seoul in the same trip.
QUESTION: So, do you think it’ll last three days or longer?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Something like that. I don’t know. I know what we need to get done. OK? Alright - good to see you all. Goodbye.