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Christopher R. Hill Remarks Upon Arrival In S. Kor


Christopher R. Hill
Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Incheon International Airport
Seoul, South Korea
November 1, 2007

Remarks Upon Arrival in South Korea

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I missed the parade in Boston. But maybe next year.

QUESTION: In Korea, the Blue House is trying to have a four-party summit for declaring the end of the war, declaring something about ending the war. When do you think it is going to be possible?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I don't have anything new on that. I think our position, the position of my government, has been very clear on that for a long time. Essentially, we are looking to get through substantial disabling. We would then hope to begin some discussions on a format that we really need to put together along the lines of the four -- .the directly related parties. And it has to be determined precisely. Then we would look forward to concluding something. But it would have to be in the context of complete denuclearization. So I really don't have anything new for you on that.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the discussions could start after the disabling but before the completion of the dismantlement?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, I think the concept is that we would get going with discussions after disabling, with the understanding that we would not conclude any peace arrangement until there is denuclearization.


QUESTION: Do you think four parties can declare something about ending the war before the peace treaty?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I am not sure. Our position has been very clear -- that we have talked about sitting down and having discussions. And at the end of the discussions, we would see where we are. We would hope to conclude something, but it has to be in the context of complete denuclearization.

Okay. So I really have to get going here.

QUESTION: Could you talk about the (inaudible) terrorism?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Terrorism list.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yes, this issue is something the DPRK would very much like. We have had some discussions with them. It is very much in our interest -- and I think in everyone's interest -- if we could remove countries from that list. But in order to be removed from that list, you have to show that you have not been supporting terrorism and been, in fact, supportive of UN conventions against terrorism. So we are working through those issues.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. One last question. Experts describe sort of a spectrum of disabling, from quickly reversible or easily reversible to very, very difficult. What is the level of ambition of this current disabling?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well I think we have an agreement on what it is. It should be -- It should take time to reverse, and it should be difficult and costly. I think we have that definition in mind. I think that is working for us.

I want to emphasize that disabling is just part of the game. What we want to do is move beyond disabling to dismantling and then to the abandoning of all the separated plutonium. So if we are in the situation where disabling is being reversed -- whether it's being reversed in 11 months, 12 months, 13 months, or 15 months -- if we are in that situation, I think we are in some trouble. So that is not our goal -- to see disabling reversed. Our goal is to move on from disabling to dismantling and, most importantly, to the full abandoning of this fissile material.

So we have a lot of work ahead of us. But we won't be done until we have complete denuclearization.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Six Parties, this month perhaps?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think we have had some talks with the Chinese. I look forward to hearing from our South Korean friends where we are on that. There is some talk about trying to get the ministerial in by the end of the year. And if we are going to do that, we need to have the delegations meet to figure out what our ministers are going to do. So it looks like it is going to be more traveling and a lot more work.

It is going to be a very busy couple of months because of this disabling just underway. We have an American team going in, but we anticipate other members of the Six-Party process to be included. We expect to have South Koreans going in to be part of the disabling process. So there is a lot to do in the next couple of months. And then let's see what we can do after that to finish the job.

Again, disabling is not the goal. The goal is the complete and, frankly, irreversible dismantling of all the nuclear programs and nuclear weapons.

All right. See you all later.

************************************

Additional Remarks at Incheon Airport

November 1, 2007

QUESTION: (Inaudible) There are three facilities in Yongbyon?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I was talking to one of the technicians this morning. I want to say, I think it was the reprocessing facility. But there are a set of several actions . I think there are about 10 all together -- disabling steps. So they will be working on all of them. But I think the reprocessing center is the first one.

QUESTION: What do you think will be the most difficult part in the disabling?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, I think the most important thing is to get the team there and to get set up -- to get our logistical operations set up -- and, most importantly, to work well with the Yongbyon staff, because this is only a first step. You know, disabling is just a first step. We want to get to dismantling. So we have a lot of work to do there. And I think if it goes well, it will make things easier for the future as we go to the next step.

QUESTION: Do you think that you can de-list the DPRK?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, you know our ambition is to, of course, see if we can get all countries off the list. But they only get off the list when they qualify. And they have to qualify on the issue of terrorism -- whether they are supporting or still sponsoring terrorism. We have had some discussion with the DPRK on that, and we intend to have some more discussions. We hope that as they qualify. That is, if they can demonstrate that they have not been providing any assistance to terrorism in any way, that they are supporting UN Anti-terrorism conventions and things like that, then we can move to de-list.

Okay. I've really got to go. See you later. Bye.

Released on November 2, 2007

ENDS

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