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Press availability 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 5, 2006


A/S HILL: Hello. I'm visiting China to have some bilateral discussions. Obviously, we'll discuss the six-party issues. But what I really want to do this time is to have some discussions about U.S.-Chinese relations. Tomorrow, I'm going off outside Beijing to Chengdu, to Guangzhou, Shanghai and see what's going on out there.

Tonight, I met with Assistant Minister Cui Tiankai. Tomorrow morning, I'll meet with my six-party colleague Wu Dawei, where I hope to get an update on what Chinese perceptions are of the six-party process. I will also meet with He Yafei [ Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of North American and Oceana, Protocol, and External Security Affairs] l ater on tomorrow morning, and then I'm flying to Chengdu.

I was in Tokyo earlier today and had some good discussions with the Japanese. I think it's fair to say that all of us would really like to see the six-party process continue. We would like to get on with a diplomatic track. But I think we need to be realistic about the fact that one member of the six-party process appears right now to have no interest in the six-party process. That member in fact doesn't seem to be as interested in a diplomatic track as the rest of us.

So I think it is a time when we have to work very closely together. We need to talk about how we will be implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1695. It's been almost two months now since 1695 was passed, and we need to consult closely on how we're going to implement it. We are into some rather busy days ahead.

We all have emphasized our desire to get on with the diplomatic track to implement the statement that we hammered out one long year ago.

If you have any questions, I can answer them. If not, I'm going to bed.

QUESTION: Will you encourage China to put more pressure on the D.P.R.K. rather than bringing back the Six-Party Talks?

A/S HILL: No, I'm not here to exert pressure on anybody. We work very well with China throughout the six-party process. I would say that one of the real benefits of the six-party process is how it has brought the U.S. and China more closely together. We've really appreciated the work China has done, especially the work in organizing the process and getting everyone to the table.

I'm here to consult, really, with our Chinese partners in this process and see how they assess the situation. Obviously, their relations with the D.P.R.K. have undergone some evolution in recent weeks due to the D.P.R.K.'s decision to go ahead with these missile launches -- behavior that I don't think any of us, including the Chinese, were very pleased about.

So I'm not here to pressure anybody. We do need to talk, as I said earlier. We need to talk about how we're going to implement the resolution and get on with making sure that a resolution like that -- which was passed unanimously in the Security Council -- is in fact a resolution that is properly implemented.

QUESTION: What are you going to discuss with Mr. Wu?

A/S HILL: I want to hear his assessment of the situation and how he sees the six-party process from his vantage point. He has had the opportunity to be up in Pyongyang. I think he's had a number of conversations, so I'd like to hear what he has to say. We will also discuss more generally how we can move ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you have a message for Kim Jong-Il, who is supposedly coming to China today on the train?

A/S HILL: I'm sorry, I'm not aware of his travel plans. I know there are an awful lot of rumors, but you'll have to ask him. I don't think it's appropriate for me to be sending messages to Chairman Kim Jong-Il.

QUESTION: Mr. Hill, you were just saying that over recent weeks, China 's position towards North Korea has undergone an evolution. What evolution do you perceive in that relationship?

A/S HILL: Again, I don't want to be speaking for China. There are plenty of people from China who can speak for China. I think clearly what happened in July was a very difficult moment for China. I know China has worked very hard to get everybody to the six-party process, worked especially very hard on trying to put together these various drafts. If you recall, a year ago we were working on draft one, draft two, draft three -- it went on and on. That was a lot of work for the Chinese. I'm sure there was a certain amount of disappointment at the fact that while many of us have greatly appreciated their work, one country did not seem to appreciate it enough to come back to the six-party process, and that's the D.P.R.K.

Again, I am not going to speak for the Chinese, they can speak for themselves, but I'm sure they were as disappointed as we were by the fact that the D.P.R.K. chose not to come back to the talks and instead chose to fire off all kinds of missiles. As I said at the time, these were missiles of all different ranges. There was really a missile for everybody in that barrage.

I know China has been very concerned about D.P.R.K. behavior.

QUESTION: What did you talk about tonight with the Chinese?

A/S HILL: I was speaking to the Asst. Minister Cui Tiankai. We discussed issues not just related to Six-Party Talks because I anticipate tomorrow morning, when I speak with Wu Dawei, our conversation will really focus on the six-party process as that is Mr. Wu's responsibility.

With Asst. Minister Cui Tiankai, we had a broader discussion about a number of Asian issues where we want to be in close cooperation and close consultation. Those go beyond the D.P.R.K. Those are issues such as relations in Southeast Asia, relations with APEC, with ASEAN and those sorts of issues.

QUESTION: Did you discuss Iran with him as well?

A/S HILL: Yes, but I want to hasten to add that I am not the person to deal with Iran. That's dealt with by another bureau in the State Department. I do the Asia-Pacific Bureau, so I don't want to highlight discussions on Iran. Obviously, that is to a great extent the issue of the day. Inevitably, that's part of any discussion.

QUESTION: Did you discuss a possible nuclear test by North Korea or another missile firing?

A/S HILL: We had some general discussion about that, but I'm going to have some additional discussions tomorrow morning, as I mentioned, with Wu Dawei and He Yafei. I think we'll be able to discuss a little more about some of those issues. What you're basically referring to is if those things happen, how can we prevent them from happening? And if they happen anyway, what will we then do about that? And that's something that we do want to be in close contact with the Chinese about, but that was not the subject of my discussions tonight.

QUESTION: The Secretary of the Treasury is coming later this month. Have you been in contact with him regarding Korea?

A/S HILL: The new Treasury Secretary will be coming here. I think he has a great interest in China. It's something we all welcome. He is going to be at the bank fund meetings in Singapore and will be coming through China on the way back from Singapore. We look forward to this as the opening of an additional dialogue that we have with the Chinese on our very important -- really, our vast -- economic and financial issues.

Well, thank you very much -- yes?

QUESTION: Why are you going to Chengdu?

A/S HILL: I have not been out of Beijing except to go to Shenyang just once, so I would really like the opportunity to get out of Beijing and see some of the extraordinary progress that has been made in this country and other places like Sichuan Province. I know about the food, but I don't know about the province, so I look forward to getting there. Guangzhou, of course, is a major manufacturing center. Shanghai -- well, Shanghai is Shanghai. I really look forward to seeing that. And we have consulates and American diplomats stationed in all three of these places. Part of my job is to see how they are doing, so I look forward to visiting with all of them.

Thank you very much.

Released on September 7, 2006

ENDS


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