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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 11, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Good morning. Obviously we would like to see progress made on this verification protocol, but so far we have not seen it. So you can draw your own conclusions.

QUESTION: Ambassador, is it possible that North Korea will be included back into the list of state sponsor of terrorism?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I am not speculating on anything. We’re trying to get through a verification protocol here.

QUESTION: Ambassador, on today’s discussion, are you ready to give some compromise, or are you going to stick to the points that you made yesterday?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Are we planning to compromise today? Look, we’ve laid out our views on the verification protocol. Our views have been pretty clear for weeks - even months - on end, so it is not for us to be bargaining with ourselves. It is up to the North Koreans to do what they said they were going to do.

QUESTION: KCNA was excited to be included among the nuclear powers. Do you think that designation will last?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: KCNA gets excited by a lot of things, but neither we nor any of the other civilized countries accepts North Korea as a nuclear power.

QUESTION: But they were citing a U.S. Defence Department report.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know what you’re talking about, frankly. We don’t recognize them as a nuclear power. Even KCNA knows that.

QUESTION: What do you expect to happen today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’ll tell you after today. I don’t know. I think we have a meeting right now with the Chinese. We’ll see what happens.

QUESTION: Do the Chinese appear to be in recess and waiting, or not?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, but I’m sure we’ll have a discussion about what to do this morning.

QUESTION: The South Korean envoy just said that he had come down to say goodbye. Are you also saying that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Oh, he said goodbye? Well, as soon as the Chinese decide what to do, I’ll let you know. And if goodbyes are appropriate, then that’s what I’ll do.

QUESTION: And do you expect the four will want to meet? Or bilateral meetings? Do you have any idea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I understand that the Chinese want to meet with us, so presumably it will be another head of delegation meeting. I just don’t know. I’ll know shortly.

QUESTION: Ambassador, the understanding that you’ve been talking about with the North Koreans - the understanding that the U.S. has with the North Koreans - what is the status of that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, it’s the same old problem. The North Koreans don’t want to put into writing what they are willing to put into words.

QUESTION: But the understanding itself is still remaining?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes. But we can’t go forward on a verification protocol without something written down. Okay?

QUESTION: Heads of delegation meeting at nine?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I’m not sure, are you telling me or asking me?

QUESTION: Asking you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don’t know. I’ll find out.

QUESTION: Before or after the meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I really don’t know, but we’ve been told to go out to Diaoyutai, and I better do that right now.

Okay? All right, see you all later.

Released on December 11, 2008

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