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Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 8, 2008

INDEX:

RUSSIA

Expulsion of Two Military Attaches
US Believes Expulsions Not Justified / Reasons Part of Private Diplomatic Exchange
US Not Making Any Connections to Previous US Requests for Russian Diplomats to Leave
US-Russia Able to Do Diplomatic Work Despite Incidents
Formal Request Issued By Russians / Don’t Know Technically if Persona Non Grata

BURMA

Secretary Rice Spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister About Situation in Burma
Important for States with Influence Over Burmese to Use Influence to Allow Assistance
US Not Anticipating Using the UN Security Council
US Trying to Get Diplomacy to Work
Air Drops Not the Most Efficient Way to Deliver Humanitarian Assistance
International Hope That Assistance Will Be Allowed
US Getting More of a Lack of Response From Burmese
Chargé d'Affaires in Contact with Burmese Government Officials
Burmese Government Located in New Capital City / Diplomatic Representation in Rangoon

NORTH KOREA

U.S. Food Aid Team Has Left / Discussions Were Inconclusive
Sung Kim to Return to South Korea Tomorrow / North Korea Plutonium Program Documents
U.S. Top Priority is Verification

IRAN

P5+1 Incentives Package
Iran Has Rejected Package Prior to Receiving
P5+1 Still Working Out Delivery of Package

LEBANON

Demonstrations in Beirut / Hezbollah Manipulation in Provoking Confrontation
US Has Full Confidence in Ability of Lebanese Government
Lebanese Military Has Proven to be Effective Professional Force in Past
Security Council Talking About 1559
US Watching Escalation in Tensions Closely


TRANSCRIPT:

View Video

1:16 p.m. EDT

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. We can get right into your questions. I don’t have anything to start off with. Who wants to --

QUESTION: I don’t have anything.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the U.S. military attachés who were expelled? Anything more on that? They’ve left, I understand, but any --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: -- reason given for their expulsion?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, it was – we had a diplomatic exchange with the Russians on this and I’m not going to get into the particulars of it. But they gave us some reasons. We believe that the expulsions were not justified. But as we all know, in the world of diplomacy, sometimes these things happen. They happen from time to time. As far as we’re concerned, no – the – we don’t intend to take any further actions. Of course, we always reserve the right, but at this point, I don’t see that we’re going to take any further action in response.

QUESTION: Do you think that their response – their expulsions were sort of a tit-for-tat response to the expulsions that you made in April and November?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I can’t tell you exactly what the real reasoning behind the Russian actions were. You can talk to them. As I said, look, you know, this happens from time to time. We’re not making any particular connection between the expulsion of these two individuals and any previous steps that we might have taken. There were – I could go through the chronology here for you a little bit – dating back in November of last year and then in April of this year in two separate occasions, we asked Russian officials, Russian diplomats to leave. They had, on -- this past April -- on another occasion, asked one of our diplomats to leave.

So, I think we have a total of five people here over the course of – since late in the fall. But again, we don’t draw any particular connection among these various incidents. We deal with them in their own right. And as I said, we don’t have anything further to announce in terms of any response to what the Russians have done in this latest incident. I don’t anticipate at this point that there will be, but of course, we reserve the right.

QUESTION: But Sean, you say that you thought that the reasons were unjustified. What were the reasons?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, that’s part of a private diplomatic exchange and we’re not going to get into it.

QUESTION: And why were they not justified? I mean, was it on national security grounds --

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I’m not going to detail the reasons – the reasoning behind it. If the Russian Government wants to elaborate any further, I’m sure that they will. I’m not going to.

QUESTION: When was this fifth one?

MR. MCCORMACK: The – well, we had two – and I’ll just work back from present day to furthest away chronologically. You have two on April 28th. They were asked on April 28th.

QUESTION: Two U.S. diplomats?

MR. MCCORMACK: Two U.S. diplomats. We, on April 22nd of this year, asked a Russian official to leave. Prior to that, they had asked one of our diplomats, on April 14th, to leave. And then prior to that, back in November of 2007, we asked a Russian official based up in New York to leave.

Yeah.

QUESTION: New topic?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: On Burma, could you talk about any diplomacy that the Secretary has been engaged in? Has she been making any calls to her counterpart?

MR. MCCORMACK: She did speak with the Chinese Foreign Minister this morning, to talk to him primarily about Burma. They covered a couple of other topics as well, but it was primarily about Burma. And the basic message is – in private, was what you heard from her in public just yesterday, talking about the importance of any state with influence over the Burmese regime to use that influence to get a decision from the Burmese Government to allow in international aid workers and, therefore, really open up the spigot of international assistance to help with what is, quite clearly, a humanitarian disaster.

QUESTION: We had this briefing a little while ago --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: -- and there was a discussion about whether – if the government continues to refuse international aid to flow adequately, that – would food drops be considered? I mean, is there any action being considered, such as food drops or anything through the UN to kind of force the government to accept this aid, like food drops or any UN resolutions under the Responsibility to Protect?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the UN, as an organization that has a lot of capabilities to provide humanitarian assistance, certainly has a role to play here. In terms of the Security Council, we have dealt with political issues related to Burma in the Security Council. At this point, I don’t anticipate that we are moving towards use of the Security Council in any other regards related to the humanitarian situation there.

Our focus really is, as well as others, trying to get the diplomacy to work, to try to get this regime to allow in international assistance. That really is the focus of our efforts. In terms of the specific means of delivery of humanitarian assistance, I think the people that were briefing you talked about the fact that they plan for a variety of different contingencies and that, you know, for example, air drops really is not the most efficient way to get humanitarian assistance to the people on the ground.

What you really need are – you need a couple things on the ground. You need experts who can provide assistance, who know how to deal with these kind of humanitarian disaster situations, who can also make assessments about what further needs there might be and who might fill those needs in the international system and then you need – you also need the material that, you know, blankets, food, water, plastic sheeting, other kinds of equipment and assistance to be able to flow into Burma.

Yeah.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Can I go back to Russia?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: I’d just like to get a sense of how serious or anodyne these incidents are in terms of the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, as Moscow tries to flex its muscle?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Look, it’s a very substantial relationship in terms of the area that -- the policy areas that it covers. Like I said, these things happen from time to time. Would everybody rather that they not? Of course, but they happen from time to time. But as I said, look, this is a very broad and deep relationship and we – I think everybody feels as though that we are able to do our diplomatic work despite these recent incidents.

QUESTION: This is a follow-up. Did this get to the persona non grata stage or did this just get worked out and they asked people to leave and --

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know technically whether people were PNGed. But there was a formal request. I don’t know if it came in the form of persona non grata, but there was a formal request. We complied and they complied with our request.

QUESTION: And in terms of the Russians that you asked to leave here, did that get to the PNG?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know, Charlie. I’ll check for you and see if – yeah, sure. Sure. Anything else on this? Yeah.

On – on this?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.

QUESTION: Oh, I’m sorry. On Russia.

MR. MCCORMACK: Russia?

QUESTION: Going back to Burma.

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. Well, we can go back to Burma, if you like.

QUESTION: Burma. Is the State Department’s – when you say you’re not considering Security Council action in relation to trying to get -- in relation to the humanitarian issue, are you not doing that because you’re afraid it may get in the way of the other Security Council issues related to Burma? Or are you not doing that because there’s nothing that the Security Council could potentially do? For example, is there any capability – has this ever happened before to send humanitarian aid into a country in contravention – I mean, without the government’s permission, as far you know?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. But we’re --

QUESTION: And is there any consideration of that, if worse comes to --

MR. MCCORMACK: That’s not what we’re focused on at the moment. I can’t tell you how this will evolve. Our hope is -- it’s a shared hope with many other members of the international system -- is that the Burmese regime will listen to some of its neighbors, some of its friends, and allow in this international assistance. So that is where our focus is on, is trying to have traditional diplomacy work in this regard, work on behalf of the Burmese people.

Like I said, we have dealt with Burma in a political sense in the Security Council. And I expect that if you don’t have a change in the behavior of the regime over time, extending off into the future, irrespective of this particular humanitarian disaster, then it will probably continue to be a topic of conversation in the Security Council. At this point, I don’t know of anybody in our government that’s contemplating using the Security Council to try to lever action on the humanitarian disaster. We’re trying to make the diplomacy work.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: The discussion the Secretary had with the Foreign Minister -- correct?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct.

QUESTION: Chinese Foreign Minister, she called him, presumably?

MR. MCCORMACK: She did. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And do you know whether the Chinese have already made any sort of appeals to the regime in Burma and what do they plan –

MR. MCCORMACK: I can’t tell you – I can’t tell you specifically.

QUESTION: What kind of response did you get?

MR. MCCORMACK: I can’t tell you specifically. I’m sure that they have and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t because we have been engaged with them at lower levels on this issue, as have others. And it’s not just the Chinese. We’re talking, for example, to the Thai Government. And we’re, you know -- and I gave a list just the other day of all the other governments that we’re speaking with. Our ambassadors in the region are engaging with their governments to see what sort of leverage they might have with the Burmese regime. So it’s a – you know, a full-court diplomatic press and -- to try to get a different response than we’ve had, thus far, out of the Burmese regime.

QUESTION: Is the Secretary going to make more calls to her counterparts with those countries?

MR. MCCORMACK: I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming days she does. We’ll try to keep you up to date on those.

QUESTION: Is there any – do you think she’ll make any effort to reach out to the military government?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t anticipate that that’s really something the Secretary would do. I mean, look, frankly, if we thought that would help, I assume that we would consider doing it. I’m not sure that everybody thinks that that would be the most effective way to go about this, though.

QUESTION: Just one more on this. We tried to talk to the Ambassador a little bit about this yesterday, but what is the excuse that you’re getting from the government in terms of the reasons they’re not letting you in? I mean, we know that they’re paranoid and we know that, you know, that -- it’s a very reclusive regime. But what are they telling you about why this isn’t happening?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I don’t know the content – specific content of those conversations. I think it’s, more generally, one where this is a political system where, you know, issues – basically, any issue of import really has to be surfaced up to the very top and it’s sort of – I don’t – I can’t get in their decision-making loop and I’m not familiar with all their internal politics, but I get the sense that there are several individuals at the top who have to agree on a particular course of action. So it’s more sort of a lack of response at this point that we’re getting.

QUESTION: Sean, on the same issue. Has the Chargé in the capital gotten any government – gotten to see anybody?

MR. MCCORMACK: I know that she has been in contact with Burmese Government officials.

QUESTION: But do you know how high or –

MR. MCCORMACK: I know at least at the ministerial level. I can’t detail for you which ones. But at the – I know she’s had several conversations with different Burmese ministers.

QUESTION: Did you – I don’t know. This gets into kind of internal Burmese logistics, but has she met with those people in person or are the people that she needs to meet, are they actually in Rangoon or are they in this new capital that is –

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah. It’s – it’s a good question, yeah. I think they are – I believe – we can -- I can try to nail this down for you, Matt. But I believe they’re in the new capital and --

QUESTION: Right.

MR. MCCORMACK: -- she’s in Rangoon. So that – you’re right. That adds another layer of difficulty in terms of decision-making.

QUESTION: Does the fact that – do you know if that’s affected other people as well? I mean, I don’t think there are many embassies, if any, except for the Chinese.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah. I think it has. I know that in terms of --

QUESTION: So –

MR. MCCORMACK: -- prior to this humanitarian disaster, that’s been an issue because you have the government located up in the new capital city that they’ve designated and, essentially, all the other diplomatic representation is still down in Rangoon. So it has made interaction with the government more difficult.

Yeah. Anything else on Burma? Yes.

QUESTION: How long can you take the diplomatic route for? I mean, it’s five days on, if not six --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: -- a million people homeless. Is there a stage where something’s got to change?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we haven’t gotten to that point yet. We still think that there are possibilities pursuing these diplomatic avenues. And you know, if, at a certain point in time, and I can’t point to that point – that date on the calendar for you. You may have to consider other diplomatic possibilities. But we’re not there yet. We’re trying to make this course of action work.

Yeah. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: On North Korea, can you comment on the Wall Street Journal report that North Korea's going to hand over this week to the U.S. boxes of documents, including Yongbyon facility's operation history?

And also, do you have any updates on the U.S. team that's in North Korea to discuss food aid to North Korea?

MR. MCCORMACK: Food aid -- the food aid team has left. They are --

QUESTION: Any updates --

MR. MCCORMACK: Their discussions -- they were inconclusive, I guess you could say. They went there to take a look at whether or not conditions had changed sufficiently so that we could, in good conscience, in good faith, provide food aid and know that it was going to get to people who need it. So at this point, those discussions are inconclusive. I don't know that they've had a chance to brief back people here in Washington, so I can't give you a more full description. But essentially, they go out there and look at, is there a need and can we effectively get food aid to people who need it. That's been an issue not only for us, but others in the international humanitarian assistance community.

In terms of Sung Kim, I expect that he's probably going to be coming back over -- into South Korea tomorrow. And I expect that he is going to bring with him -- I know that he is going to bring with him a significant number of documents related to North Korea's plutonium program. And we'll have an opportunity over the coming days -- days and weeks to assess the significance of these documents. It is a large number. I can't provide you an exact number right now. We have to take a -- you know, really go through it very carefully. And with respect to these -- you know, with respect to the documents and how they may play in the declaration process, you know, our top three priorities are going to be verification, verification, verification.

So this is part of a process that is unfolding. We will see, perhaps, North Korea providing a declaration to China, who is the chair of the six-party talks, and these documents will play a role in that process. But again, it is going to be a verification process that plays out over a period of time.

QUESTION: The documents, including the operation facility?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I'm not going to try to characterize them any more than to say that they relate to their plutonium program, because we haven't had a chance to get a detailed look at the documents.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on the food aid? World Vision -- an official with the World Vision says that the U.S. is going to make its final decision on food aid to North Korea within this month?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not aware of that timeline.

QUESTION: On that same -- when you say "inconclusive," does that mean that they, just for the moment, haven't made any decision? Or does that mean that -- inconclusive because they have to come back and they have to talk and brief about what they heard before you guys make a decision?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think what -- well, it's one of these things where we're constantly looking at, you know, can we provide humanitarian assistance. But I think it's the case that they have not yet been able to fully brief everybody.

QUESTION: So you -- in other words, there may be a result of this visit that you could --

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, at this point, Matt, I'm not aware of a positive decision to provide more food aid to North Korea. It's something we always look at --

QUESTION: Right. It's something you always look at, but you don't always have a team in Pyongyang --

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no, I understand. We have had teams go in there before. But we'll try to see if we can get an answer on this timeline issue, if there is any reasonable expectation in the near future that there will be a change in where we are right now.

QUESTION: Right. I'm just wondering if inconclusive in this case means --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. I understand.

QUESTION: -- not negative or --

MR. MCCORMACK: No.

QUESTION: -- if it means negative.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, I understand. I understand, yeah.

Anything else on North Korea?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.

QUESTION: What prompted the North Koreans to hand over this stack of documents? Was there -- was this in response to a request the U.S. had made or --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, this is part of what we have been working -- we, on behalf of the six-party talks, have been working with them on. And again, it's part of the declaration process that speaks to the verification aspect of it.

Yeah.

QUESTION: On Iran -- do you have more on North Korea?

MR. MCCORMACK: You have North Korea? North Korea.

QUESTION: Yeah, I was just wondering, did you get any initial reaction from Sung Kim about the documents? Was it everything that he was hoping to get? And also, did -- when he went there, was there anything else on his agenda besides picking up these documents or was it -- was that basically --

MR. MCCORMACK: This was the main -- this -- the documents were the main reason he was going. And it’s difficult to make an assessment of whether or not this is the full extent of what the North Koreans said that they were going to turn over. At this point, I don’t have reason to question that. But again, let us take the time to look through the documents carefully, analyze them, and at that -- after we have done that, we’ll be able to determine their full significance.

Yeah.

QUESTION: On Iran. The P5+1 are discussing how to present this letter to the Iranians. It seems that it’s going to go to the Foreign Minister. Is that correct? And at some --

MR. MCCORMACK: I think they’re still working out the -- a few of the details on the package, as well as, I guess, the method of delivery of the refreshed package. Although, I would note, even though the Iranian Government has yet to receive said refreshed package --

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

MR. MCCORMACK: -- the package, they have apparently come out and rejected it. So I’m not sure that that’s an indication of good faith on their part. But nonetheless, despite that, we will be working in the coming days to deliver this refreshed package.

QUESTION: And there’s some discussion that the political directors will accompany Solana to deliver the letter. Would it be a fair assumption that the U.S. would not be among those political directors?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think that is -- that would be an accurate assumption, yes.

QUESTION: And why would that be? If this pushes the process forward, would that not be a good way of doing that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, we have laid out our conditions -- the P5+1 -- for having discussions with the Iranians. And you know, if -- you know, and again, I would turn the question around. You know, if there really is a -- you know, really is good faith on the Iranians’ part, would they be rejecting out of hand something they haven’t seen yet?

QUESTION: But do you think it’s a good idea if all the political directors deliver it or --

MR. MCCORMACK: No. No. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, I mean, (inaudible) the five. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) political directors go?

MR. MCCORMACK: What’s that?

QUESTION: Do you think it’s a good idea if P4+1 deliver it? I mean, if you’re exclude -- I mean, would you agree with four of the permanent members, excluding yourself, and Germany delivering it?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, again, we’re still working on the form of what the delivery is.

QUESTION: Or is it your position in the discussions that you think it should just be Solana?

MR. MCCORMACK: That could -- well, yeah, once we have this all wrapped up in terms of some final details, then we’ll be happy to talk about it more. Until that point, I will say that we are not going to be going to Tehran. But again, we’re still working out some of the details with our partners in the process.

QUESTION: Could you describe how long the new document is, I mean, just give us that little tidbit? Is it --

MR. MCCORMACK: Several pages. I don’t know exactly how many pages it is.

QUESTION: Is it much more substantial than the June 2006 offer? I mean, it fleshes that out?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, well, look, Foreign Secretary Miliband spoke to this when we were in London, so I’m not going to go beyond what he’s -- how he has described it.

Yeah.

QUESTION: What particularly is the issue in terms of how you transmit this? You could fax it, right? I mean -- I mean, really --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, there are a lot of different ways.

QUESTION: -- seriously, what is the issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, it’s -- you know, the ministers in their meeting and the political directors decided that this was an issue significant enough that we were going to discuss it. Sometimes in diplomacy, small details matter. So we decided it was worth the while to take the time to discuss it and think about it.

Yeah, Libby.

QUESTION: Can we move to Lebanon? How concerned are you about the street fighting that we’re seeing there? It seems to have escalated today?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, you know, it’s a -- certainly, as we are watching this unfold, it is a source of concern for us. I’m sure that it is even -- an even greater source of concern for the Lebanese people who have, once again, seen their daily lives interrupted by the actions of Hezbollah, who are, one could say, engaged in cynical acts of manipulation in provoking these kinds of confrontations and using violence to try to achieve their political ends in Lebanon.

So again, we have full confidence in the ability of the Lebanese Government. It is simply working to exercise sovereignty over all of Lebanon. It is simply looking to provide those basic things that the Lebanese people expect from their government: security, governmental institutions that function; an airport that is open so that they can travel, come and go as they please. These are all things that are being hampered at the current time by Hezbollah.

QUESTION: And that -- is that what you call the cynical acts of manipulation?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes. Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any thoughts on the restraint so far on the Lebanese military? I mean --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, they’ve proven themselves over the past -- certainly, over the past year, year and a half, to be an effective, professional force. We saw them deal with the situation up in Nahr al-Bared and they have over -- certainly, over the past year and a half, developed into a professional, respected institution within Lebanon.

QUESTION: Sean, I think Ambassador Khalilzad said something up at the UN today about further sanctions. Do you have anything more on that, what he might be referring to?

MR. MCCORMACK: I didn’t see what he said. I’ll check it out.

QUESTION: I mean, he basically said that if they – you know, if --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I know they’re talking about 1559 up in the Security Council today. I know that was on the agenda, so I’m not sure what else they discussed in the Council session.

QUESTION: Well, are there options for further sanctions?

MR. MCCORMACK: You always look at your options and you see what is most effective in terms of achieving the goals of 1559 and 1701.

Yeah, go--

QUESTION: Do you see this as yet another flare-up, as we’ve seen before, between Hezbollah and pro-government forces? Or is this seen as a turning point where Hezbollah feels its control is challenged and it is going to do everything to maintain --

MR. MCCORMACK: Hard to say. Certainly, we’ve seen an escalation in tensions and Hezbollah really be behind that escalation in tensions over the past several days, so that, I can’t judge for you. I mean, usually, those are things that you can judge better in retrospect. But it’s – you know, it’s a source of concern. We’re watching it, as are others, very closely.

QUESTION: But – Sean --

QUESTION: Sorry. On the army, I mean, you say that they’re professional, effective, but, you know, two days into the clashes, the airport road is still blocked, more roads are being blocked.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: Are you not worried that they’re not getting involved in trying to clear the roads and asserting control?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, those are going to be judgments for the Lebanese Government to take. And we are fully supportive of this government as one that is working on behalf of the Lebanese people and in the best interest of Lebanon. And they’re going to take these decisions about security and deployment of forces and how to use those forces. They have demonstrated over the past several years that their interest has been in trying to make Lebanon a more prosperous, democratic place that is a state for all Lebanese, free from outside influence. So, it is our belief that they, with respect to the current situation, are acting in that same vein.

QUESTION: And you think that the Lebanese Government is in full control of the Lebanese army?

MR. MCCORMACK: I have – yeah. Yes.

QUESTION: I have two questions, Sean.

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay, Samir.

QUESTION: Is the Secretary making any contacts regarding the situation in Lebanon and --

MR. MCCORMACK: She hasn’t made any calls specifically on that, no.

QUESTION: I see. And the second question: There is some speculation in the media in the Middle East about the meeting when Deputy Assistant Secretary Feltman invited the Ambassador of Syria --

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and there’s some rumors, you know. Do you have any guidance or any readout on what happened on 20 – on that meeting which took place on the 24th of April?

MR. MCCORMACK: Oh, this is the one to inform him that we were going to be talking about --

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. MCCORMACK: -- their reactor or their former reactor? (Laughter.) The – it was about a 15-minute meeting, Samir. It was really focused on that topic.

Yeah.

QUESTION: One more on North Korea. The assessment of the documents that Sung Kim received, will the U.S. primarily be doing the assessment or will the other four parties also receive the documents?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, good question. Certainly, our folks are going to be doing an assessment and we are obviously going to be consulting very closely with the other members of the talks about this and sharing the information. I’ll try to get you more on sort of the technical aspects of how people are going to – how an evaluation of the documents is going to unfold.

QUESTION: And are there any additional stops to Sung Kim’s trip?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. He’ll be coming back here.

QUESTION: Yeah, and just to follow up on that, in terms of the declaration itself, I mean, not all of the parties are nuclear states with the kind of nuclear expertise that the United States has or Russia has, for instance. So how do you – have you decided, like, on a mechanism for weighing the declaration? Because all five parties have to be happy with it, but not all five parties are equally, kind of --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, these are all highly developed economies with a great deal of technical expertise on issues related to nuclear technology, certainly with South Korea and in Japan, that’s in civilian uses. So I think everybody brings something to the table and some level of expertise that they can apply in making their own judgments about this. But certainly, there’s going to be a lot of discussion among the members of the six-party talks about the declaration once it’s received. I have to emphasize, we haven’t received, or the Chinese have not yet received, that declaration.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:45 p.m.)

DPB # 82



Released on May 8, 2008

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