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Press Availability Upon Arrival at Narita Airport

Press Availability Upon Arrival at Narita Airport

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

Chiba, Japan
September 4, 2006


ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE HILL: That was a long, long flight there.

QUESTION: I remember your last visit was in June, and since then, North Korea fired missiles and the Six-Party Talks have been stalled. What are you trying to achieve on this visit? And where are the Six-Party Talks going from now?

A/S HILL: Well first of all, it's always a pleasure to be back here in Tokyo . I haven't been here since June, and I want the opportunity to talk to my counterparts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so I'll be seeing my counterpart for Asia . We'll be discussing some regional issues. Also, I'll see my counterpart on North America and discuss some of our bilateral issues. With respect to the Six-Party Talks, of course, I'll talk to Mr. Sasae -- Director General Sasae -- about that. I think it's very clear we're in a very difficult period with the six-party process. The DPRK has not indicated any interest right now in returning to the process. We've made very clear that we would like a diplomatic solution, and we'd like to have a strong diplomatic track. But the problem we have is that the D.P.R.K. doesn't seem to have the same opinion. So I think I'll be talking to my Japanese counterparts on this, and from here I'll go to China and I'll have some discussions in China about it, as well.

QUESTION: Is there any particular reason why you're visiting these countries this week?

A/S HILL: I wanted to -- there's no particular reason this week as opposed to next week, but I wanted the opportunity to come here after the vacation season and have some discussions as we get ready for the fall.

QUESTION: North Korea , I guess, is hav ing their Independence Day on September 9. Are you hearing anything regarding the possibility of them firing another missile or anything?

A/S HILL: We have not heard any confirmed information of that kind. The D.P.R.K. often makes decisions on their own, and frankly, is quite isolated in the way they think about things. What is very clear is that the missile launch in July had the effect of bringing countries together, especially the U.S. and Japan. I think our two countries worked very well and very effectively together on a very strong, a very robust UN Security Council resolution. And in fact, we'll be discussing how better to implement 1695 -- how better to implement that resolution. And so I think all countries in the world sent a very strong signal to the D.P.R.K. But the D.P.R.K. seems to not be very interested in what other people have to say, unfortunately.

QUESTION: Interestingly enough, your visit to Beijing may coincide with the rumor that Kim Jong Il will be visiting Beijing at the same time. Do you think there will be any kind of contact?

A/S HILL: I seriously doubt there will be any contact. I usually take airplanes, and I understand he usually takes trains, so I don't think we'll meet. Thank you very much.

Released on September 7, 2006

ENDS


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