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Chris Hill Comments to Reporters in Tokyo, Japan

Comments to Reporters in Tokyo, Japan

Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Narita Airport
Tokyo, Japan
October 19, 2006

QUESTION: Last comment, please.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I can't remember what I last commented on, but I just saw Mr. Kawai today and we reviewed the state of the bilateral relationship, which I really think is excellent. And in a funny sort of way, I think this whole North Korean situation has brought the US and Japan even closer together. So we were discussing a lot of particular elements about our Secretary's visit here tomorrow, and I'm going to Korea right now to do the same with the South Koreans. So I think our relationship is in a very good place right now, very close, and I think we've gotten off to a very fast start with the new Japanese government.

QUESTION: What do you expect to do in South Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, in South Korea, they are right there next to North Korea, so I know there is a lot of concern in the general public there, as there is in Japan actually, about the meaning of this nuclear test. And so I think it's a time that we want to reaffirm our alliance and deterrence with the South Koreans. But we're also looking forward to getting together with South Korea and Japan and the U.S. in a trilateral meeting. It's a meeting of the three democracies, the three baseball-playing members of the Six-Party Talks. So I think it's a good opportunity to really try to harmonize our approach, because I think what we really need to do in the days and weeks ahead is really to speak with one voice. So, thank you very much.

QUESTION: South Korea is reluctant to carry out the inspection of cargo.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think we can work through this issue of inspection. This was a big issue here in Tokyo as well. I know a lot of people want to know how this will be implemented, and so this is something we'd talk to the South Koreans about, but I'm sure we can work something out. Thank you very much.

Released on October 18, 2006

ENDS


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