Morning Walkthrough on Six-Party TalksChristopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
St. Regis Hotel
December 22, 2006
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Good morning. I'm just going to the Embassy, and then I think at about 9:15 I'll meet with the Chinese delegation and we'll take it from there. That's the only thing scheduled so far. We think this is the last day of talks, and I plan to leave tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes.
QUESTION: What are the chances you'll meet again with the North Koreans?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't know. They need to show some seriousness of purpose on denuclearization. We've worked for weeks and weeks on this proposal. Let's see if they have something to say about that. They know what they have to do.
QUESTION: Any signs of breakthrough?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: [Laughter.] No, I'm not aware of any signs, but let me know if you hear of any or see any.
QUESTION: Do you believe the financial talks have been the main drag on the Six-Party Talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I would not call the financial talks, quote, "the main drag." I think its instructive to understand that when the DPRK raises problems, one day it's financial issues, another day it's something they want but they know they can't have, another day it's something that was said about them that's hurt their feelings. It's sort of one thing after the other. I think what they need to do is get serious about the issue that has made them such a problem - the issue that has really contributed to their problems worldwide in dealing with other states and dealing with financial institutions and dealing generally with the world. That is these nuclear activities.
QUESTION: Do you think it's because North Korea is ultimately not interested in giving up the nukes?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: You'd have to ask them. I wish I could see more evidence that they were.
QUESTION: Do you think that you can agree on the next round of talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't know. What we always do with these rounds is, at the end we assess and see whether there was progress or not, and we see whether they're valuable to us. The purpose is denuclearization, and so we will have to evaluate this round in terms of whether we've moved towards the goal.
QUESTION: If there is no progress in this round of talks, isn't there a doubt that [inaudible]?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: As I said, at the end of the round we'll assess it. Our goal is denuclearization, period. There is no reason why there should be any nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons programs on the Korean peninsula. It's a small piece of land in a very big world, and no responsible person anywhere should want to see nuclear weapons there. That is why we're here. That's why I'm here, that's why we're prepared so hard for this thing. Now we have to see if the North Koreans are serious. So, at the end of this thing we're going to have to evaluate and take it from there.
QUESTION: What is it exactly the North Koreans are demanding as preconditions, to have the money back?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't know, every time it's some precondition. Every time it's some issue that they know they can't get. Sometimes they want you to give them things that they know you won't give them. Other times it's that they don't like things that have been said about them because they're very sensitive. Other times they asses your policy in a way and they want you to change your policy, and you ask how and they can't even tell you how. So I don't know. It all comes down to the question of, are they serious, are they acting responsibly? I think that question is very much unanswered.
QUESTION: Are you expecting the Chinese to propose some kind of statement or has it not reached thatů?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't know, I'm going to see them about 9:15 and we'll see. Okay, well we'll see you later, but I think we're getting closer to Christmas here. Okay, bye-bye.
Released on December 22, 2006