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Press availability at Beijing Intl. Airport

Press availability at Beijing International Airport

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

Beijing, China
September 5, 2006

Question: Are you meeting with Mr. Cui or Wu Dawei tonight?

A/S Hill: I'm meeting with Mr. Wu Dawei in the morning for breakfast. I have another meeting with Cui Tiankai and some other meetings tomorrow after Wu Dawei. Then I go on a trip to visit some other cities in China , not just Beijing . I go on to Chengdu and Guangzhou and Shanghai , so I look forward to it.

Question: What do you think the Chinese government should do at this point [regarding North Korea ]? Sanctions? More punishment?

A/S Hill: Well, I look forward to having the opportunity to talk to Mr. Wu Dawei about how the Chinese are seeing the situation. It's been almost two months since the missile launch. I want to compare notes. And we'd also like to have some discussion about resolution 1695. I want to emphasize, though, that we continue to be very much in favor of the diplomatic track and very much in favor of the 6-party process. The problem is that I don't think the North Koreans share our interest in the 6-party process. So it is a very definite problem for us right now.

Question: Are you proposing informal meetings with China ?

A/S Hill: We're not proposing any informal talks. We're simply proposing that the North Koreans get back to the six-party process. When they do, they'll find us there, and we can implement the September statement. And obviously, if they don't, we have to deal with that situation. So, I had some good conversations in Tokyo . I'll do the same here in Beijing and look forward to getting to Seoul before I get back to the states next week.

Question: Is there any kind of a way out for North Korea , to kind of back down and back away ( trails off) Â…

A/S Hill: Well, we're not asking anyone to back down, we're just asking them to show up at the Six-Party Talks. I know the Chinese have been very gracious hosts. I'm sure the Chinese will be prepared at any time to start the talks, and we certainly are prepared to attend. So the problem right now is that the D.P.R.K., or the North Koreans, really apparently have no interest right now in joining a diplomatic process. And we regard this as really too bad -- not only for the process, but too bad for them.

Thank you very much.

Released on September 7, 2006


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