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Morning Walkthrough at the Six-Party Talks

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
December 8, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Okay, I’m late. I have to go off to see [Vice Foreign Minister] Mr. Wu Dawei, so --

QUESTION: How far would you like to go on day one? What is your anticipation for today’s meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I’m going to talk to the Chinese to see what they have in mind for the schedule and what we might get accomplished.

QUESTION: The South Korean negotiator yesterday was relatively pessimistic, or gloomy, about the outlook of the talks. Given particularly that the current U.S. Government only has about a month, a little over a month, left in power, how hopeful are you that anything can really be achieved in this round of talks?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We know what we have to get done. I think we’ve prepared well for the meeting, so we’ll see if it is possible to get anything done. We’re not trying to solve all the problems, but we have several items that we’ve worked hard to get ready, so we’ll have to see.

QUESTION: Could you tell us what those items are?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’ve said it several times, on many occasions. Do you really want me to repeat myself for the hundredth time on the fact that we need to get a verification protocol, fuel oil delivery, and also, of course, the completion of disablement?

QUESTION: What happens if the North Koreans drag their feet and decide to deal with the Obama Administration rather than the current administration?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We all know what we’re supposed to get accomplished here, and like all these Six-Party meetings, it will be a difficult negotiation. I’ll be able to tell you better after a couple of days.

QUESTION: Are you ready to provide drafts of the verification protocol to your counterparts today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m going talk to the Chinese about what their plans are. It is their responsibility to circulate drafts. We’ve certainly had -- we’ve circulated a number of things in the last couple of months. So all our partners are well aware of what our aspirations are, and we’re aware of what their aspirations are. Look, we’ll have to see in the next couple of days.

Alright, I’d better get to work here. See you later.

Released on December 8, 2008

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