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Christopher R. Hill at St. Regis Hotel, Beijing

Press availability at St. Regis Hotel, Beijing

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Beijing, China
September 6, 2006

A/S Hill: Hi. Good morning. How are you? I'm going to be going off to Chengdu in a couple of hours. First I'm going to see another official in the Foreign Ministry, He Yafei. I've just come from breakfast with Wu Dawei, where we discussed the Six Party process. We discussed what we were doing about a year ago on this date and where we appear to be today, and I think it's fair to say that the Chinese very much want to try to find a diplomatic way forward. But I think, like us, they are having difficulties doing so because the DPRK seems a lot less interested in a diplomatic way forward than the rest of us do. I had a good discussion with Wu Dawei about China's efforts since July, when he took part in the trip to Pyongyang. But clearly we're in a very difficult moment in the Six Party process because the DPRK is not giving any signals that it wants to return. I don't have any new news for you, except it was always a good occasion to get together with my colleague and partner Wu Dawei and to have these discussions.

Question: Did you discuss about North Korea's preparation for nuclear tests?

A/S Hill: We talked about the need to make very clear to the DPRK that this would be a very, very unwelcome development. Yes, we did.

Question: What kind of concrete actions [inaudible] propose for implementing the resolution?

A/S Hill: We had some discussion about that. I don't want to go into the details except that I think China remains very focused on how to get the diplomacy working again. But I made very clear to the Chinese that we are proceeding to look for all ways pursuant to the requirements of 1695, to be vigilant and that we would expect the Chinese to do the same pursuant to their obligations. We did not get into the specifics of how that vigilance would be implemented.

Question: When you say "vigilance" what do you mean?

A/S Hill: That's the word straight from the Security Council resolution: to be vigilant, to prevent the DPRK from acquiring the means and the financing for weapons of mass destruction.

Question: John Bolton has several times raised the possibility of using Proliferation Security Initiative to deal with these issues. Did you discuss that in Japan and could you discuss that in China as well?

A/S Hill: We did not discuss it here in China. We certainly had the occasion, we discussed it in Japan because we've both been very active members of the PSI, but I did not discuss that here. So, I'll have one more meeting and then I'm off to Chengdu.

Question: Who are you meeting?

A/S Hill: Mr. He Yafei, who is in charge of North American affairs, and we're looking forward, of course. Our Secretary Rice will be meeting with Li Zhaoxing in New York in about a week, so it's a good occasion to get together and as always, we have bilateral issues to discuss.

Question: Can you tell us maybe a little bit more about what you sense that the Chinese understanding of a possible nuclear test is?

A/S Hill: Well I think they, like us, are concerned about this. We did not get into any discussion of what may or may not be clear signals on the ground but we certainly discussed the danger that the DPRK could try to take additional provocative steps.

Question: How about these rumors that Kim Jong Il?

A/S Hill: I have asked and I have not gotten any more concrete information on these rumors. So they remain, as far I'm concerned, to be rumors.

Question: Do you have any meetings planned involving North Koreans during your trip?

A/S Hill: No, I have no meetings planned with North Koreans. I told Wu Dawei that I'd be prepared to start the Six Party Talks today and cancel my trip to Chengdu if we had to. But no, I'm heading off to Chengdu this afternoon.

Question: Did you discuss financial restrictions on North Korea with Chinese counterparts?

A/S Hill: Yes I did. I made very clear that the U.S. would be pursuing our obligations under 1695, which I think provides a very clear framework for looking for appropriate measures to, in the words of the resolution, to exercise vigilance. I think that is a clear part of 1695. The other part is to call upon the DPRK to return to the Six Party Talks and they haven't done that. So there's another example where the DPRK is out of compliance.

Question: Did Wu Dawei explain to you what China is doing to exercise vigilance?

A/S Hill: We had some discussion about that and we got into some details, but I really don't want to go into all that.

Question: So did you get a positive response from China?

A/S Hill: I got a positive response in that China understands that a UN Security Council resolution needs to be fully implemented, but I don't want to go into the details.

Question: Are you considering five party talks?

A/S Hill: We don't have any immediate plans for five party talks. You recall what we did in Kuala Lumpur was to have a broader discussion of Northeast Asian security and I think we'd like to continue to do that. If the DPRK wants to boycott Six Party Talks, we don't want them to boycott multilateral diplomacy in Northeast Asia. I think already Northeast Asia has some catching up to do vis-Ã -vis Southeast Asia. And so we would look to continue to have these types of multilateral discussions whether at five or at ten or some multiple thereof. But we don't want to have a situation where, by not attending, the DPRK prevents other meetings from going on.

Question: So have you made any progress at all on this trip?

A/S Hill: Well again, my purpose in coming to China was, of course, not to deal with the Six Party process because I think everyone knows where the Six Party process is. It was to compare notes, to understand where the Chinese are, and I had some really good discussions on that. It was also an opportunity to talk about some of our bilateral issues -- which I plan to do with He Yafei -- and to get outside of Beijing and outside of the St. Regis Hotel and see what else is going on in China. So I'm quite pleased with where I am.

Question: Why aren't you going to Shenyang?

A/S Hill: I went there last year and where I'm going now, these are the other places where we have U.S. diplomats stationed, where we have U.S. Consulates in operation, and it's my duty, in fact my pleasure, to go out and visit and see how they're doing. So I'm looking forward to that.

Question: So next stop is Seoul and then Washington, right?

A/S Hill: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Seoul, Washington. New York after that I guess, because of the UNGA. OK, see you later. Good to see you all.

Released on September 7, 2006


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