Morning Walkthrough at the Six-Party TalksChristopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
China World Hotel
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.
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