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Hill Comments to Reporters Outside Hotel Okura

Comments to Reporters Outside Hotel Okura

Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Hotel Okura
Tokyo, Japan
December 17, 2006

QUESTION: So, do you have any news since last night?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No news since last night, except I got a good night& rsquo;s sleep. Looking forward to getting to Beijing – we have, I think, several bilateral meetings, and as I understand, the Chinese are putting all the delegations together at a dinner tonight. So we’ll see how we do.

QUESTION: It has been reported the South Korean side is expecting the Six-Party Talks to be very difficult. And also, you ...

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I agree with them on that. I think it’ll be very difficult. It’s never easy, but I think it’ll be very difficult this time.

QUESTION: And also, last night, with a meeting with Mr. Sasae, you have promised him to bring up the abandon issue?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: About the abduction issue?

QUESTION: Yes, abduction.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We had a good talk with Mr. Sasae about that. We had a very good talk about the importance of that issue to Japan and how it affects how Japan goes forward in the Six-Party Talks. It was a very good discussion. Now I’ve really got to get to the airport, otherwise I won’t get to the Six-Party Talks.

QUESTION: So you’re meeting with Mr. Kim today, and I’m sure North Korea’s been longing for this day for some time. What kind of issues, specifically, are you ready to discuss with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, if I do get a chance to see him bilaterally today, which I’ve requested, I’d like to make sure that he’s got enough room for maneuver – that is, he has enough instructions to make a deal. I think the rest of us do, but with the DPRK delegation, one never knows. But I hope he has that, because we have been preparing for this round for some six weeks. We have talked about very specific elements that we want to get done here. I’ve talked to Mr. Kim about this, as well. I know the Chinese have talked to him, so I hope they come ready to make some progress, because we need progress. Released on December 17, 2006


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