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Rice Remarks After Six-Party Informal Ministerial

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Shangri-la Hotel
Singapore
July 23, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: Look, it was a good meeting, no surprises. It was just an informal opportunity. I think everybody essentially confirmed the September agreement, confirmed the October 2007 agreement, confirmed that we need to move ahead rapidly to finish phase two obligations; a lot of discussion of the verification protocol and the importance of the verification protocol; a call to have better bilateral relations among the various parties.

And I thought it was - you know, the atmosphere was actually very good. The Chinese did a really excellent job of running the meeting, and I think they are very focused on moving forward. And I think they would like to have a more formal ministerial at some point, but no one - we didn't commit to a date for that, although we said we would.

QUESTION: Did you get a North Korean - what kind of assessment do you have of him and what he said?

SECRETARY RICE: It was not - nothing surprising. He talked about the importance of everybody meeting their obligations. It was a not a --

QUESTION: So he talked about the importance or you did?

SECRETARY RICE: About - of everybody meeting their obligations, but I don't want to go, you know, into detail about what everybody said, just to say there weren't any surprises. But it wasn't - you know, it wasn't a standoff with people just stating their positions. I think we had probably three or four rounds of comments. So, you know, the initial - very often, these things, the initial thing is people read a statement. But a couple of people didn't and then there were several - it was interactive. It wasn't just people making statements, which is good.

QUESTION: Did you get any kind of sense about what they think about the draft protocol?

SECRETARY RICE: No, but we --

QUESTION: It was just --

SECRETARY RICE: We didn't. You know, it's important that we get a response, that the parties, the Six Parties get a response. It was actually China, as the chair of the denuclearization working group.

QUESTION: Did they give any indication about when they might?

SECRETARY RICE: You know --

QUESTION: This seems to be - much like Iran, you know --

SECRETARY RICE: We didn't get into specific timetables, but look - the spirit was good because people believe we've made progress. But there is also a sense of urgency about moving on, and a sense that this - we can't afford to, sort of, have another hiatus of several months.

Okay?

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay, guys.

QUESTION: Oh, one more thing.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you shake hands with the --

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: I didn't see it.

SECRETARY RICE: With the North Korean --

QUESTION: With the North Korean, you shook hands with him? And --

SECRETARY RICE: Twice.

QUESTION: Twice?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: And secondly, did you - you said beforehand that you were going to give a firm message that they had to meet their commitments and their obligations on all aspects of the nuclear program.

SECRETARY RICE: I - yes, I did, but so did others.

MR. MCCORMACK: All right, guys.

QUESTION: Okay.

SECRETARY RICE: All right.

QUESTION: Thank you.

2008/T21-4
Released on July 23, 2008

ENDS

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