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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Remarks by Officials of the Bureau of Public Affairs

Remarks to the Press

Richard Boucher, Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 18, 2003

MR. BOUCHER: Obviously everybody has been looking today at the North Koreans' statement, trying figure out exactly what it means. The -- frankly, it's not clear exactly what it means. There's some imprecision in the language about the status of reprocessing.

We are consulting closely with others, including the Japanese, the Koreans and the Chinese. As we've said before, we would regard reprocessing of spent fuel to extract plutonium as an extremely serious matter.

We do have meetings going on today in this building this afternoon with visiting delegations from Japan and South Korea and so this is a chance to look carefully at the situation with them.

That's pretty much what we have to say.

QUESTION: What about the talks --

QUESTION: -- Kelly mission?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I said, we're evaluating this statement. We're consulting with others who are interested. And I really have nothing new at this point on those talks.

QUESTION: Which means it's on, as it hasn't been put off?

MR. BOUCHER: It had never been precisely confirmed. We've never been able to give a date for it so I just don't have anything new at this point.

QUESTION: Well, how about this? Is it fair to say that you're considering whether to go ahead with the talks pending your evaluation of what they, what they meant?

MR. BOUCHER: No. I would say we're evaluating the situation and there's nothing new at this point.

QUESTION: Can we go on background?

QUESTION: But wait a second. There was nothing new in the -- there isn't anything to be new about as far as I can tell, right? I mean, are you -- you're evaluating only the statement? You're not talking about reviewing whether you should go ahead with it next week?

MR. BOUCHER: At this point, we're evaluating the statement. There's nothing new to say about the talks.

QUESTION: So it is still your intention to attend such talks?

MR. BOUCHER: Nothing new to say one-way or the other on the talks.

QUESTION: Eventually?

MR. BOUCHER: There's nothing new to say one way or the other about the talks. That's the best way I can put it.

QUESTION: Can you talk more about those talks?

MR. BOUCHER: The people that are here, I guess I can do this on the record, as well. Assistant Secretary Kelly is holding bilateral consultations today with visiting officials from Seoul and Tokyo.

He'll have separate meetings with each of the delegations and then meeting with both of them together as part of our ongoing and very close consultations with South Korean and Japanese allies.

The head of the Japanese delegation for today's consultations will be the Director General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mitoji Yabunaka, Y-a-b-u-n-a-k-a.

QUESTION: How do you spell the first name, please?

MR. BOUCHER: Mitoji, M-i-t-o-j-i.

The South Korean head of delegation will be Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee soo-Hyuck, L-e-e s-o-o dash H-y-u-c-k.

QUESTION: Is this, the Japanese guy; is he the same guy who met with Armitage earlier this week?

MR. BOUCHER: No.


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