U.S: East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian
and Pacific Affairs
November 23, 2008
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: On the fuel, the South Koreans are working hard to identify other providers. We’ve been trying to work to identify other countries. Some have come forward; we need some more. What we would like to do as we go to the head of delegation meeting -- which the Chinese are working to announce, and we hope very soon -- we would at this head of delegation meeting, we hope, be able to identify all the remaining shipments that we need to make. In the context of doing that, we would also try to put together a schedule of those shipments. Again the South Koreans are in charge of that, and they’re working very hard on it. And we would also work on the schedule for the disablement, so that disablement and shipments end at about the same time. So there’s a lot of work to be done on that matter.
Prior to doing that, we would anticipate having additional bilateral meetings with all concerned. I’m going to be meeting with Mr. Saiki in Washington this week. We would expect to have another trilateral meeting with the South Koreans and the Japanese sometime soon and definitely before the Six-Party meeting. I would expect additional consultations with the other parties, including the North Koreans.
QUESTION: What about the fuel? Do you have a base agreement of who is going to provide the fuel?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Yeah, we’ve identified some countries, and we’ve reached out to others. But we don’t have commitment from everybody. So we’re working on it.
QUESTION: And on the next heads of delegation, are you confident that you can get that commitment?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We would like to see if we can do that because the North Koreans want to see that we’ve identified the fuel commitment in order for them to complete the disabling commitment. So we need to have those two major commitments - disabling and fuel - to be done together.
We also, of course, need to have a clear [understanding] -- and, frankly, something where there will be no misunderstandings -- about the verification agreement. But as I told your colleagues earlier, while you were still running over here, we don’t want to be negotiating that through the media. But we did have some good discussions in New York. We did identify a way forward. Some of your colleagues pointed out that the North Korean media saw it differently. Again, I’m not going to make comments about media comments. I’m just going to say we do believe we have a way forward, and I will know much better after the Six-Party meeting.
QUESTION: Your Six-Party colleagues, or counterparts, have this understanding that you and the North Koreans have the understanding?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We’ve shown them what we’ve done with them. And we’ve shown them how we think -- this overall issue of making sure there is no ambiguity. We’ve shown them how we feel that’s going to be solved and how we talk to the North Koreans about solving it. But rather than speculating a lot, why don’t you keep running and go to Beijing (laughter). And then we’ll have the Six-Party meeting and then there’ll be no need for speculation. You’ll know whether we have it or not.
QUESTION: I can’t catch you running to the Six-Party meetings (laughter). How far would you like to go during this Bush administration?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: As far as we can, obviously. We’re in this not for partial denuclearization; we’re in this for full denuclearization. And obviously we need to get to an abandonment phase where they take the fissile material that’s already been produced and turn that over as part of a completion of the requirements set out in the September `05 statement. Whether that can be done in the next few weeks is obviously quite difficult. But I think with respect to the next administration, what we want to do - and what we’ve begun to do - is to explain to them what we’re doing, why we’re doing it. And then the new administration will have to look at it and decide whether they believe it’s their best option or whether they have a better idea.
QUESTION: Do you think that the fuel delivery and the disablement of Yongbyon is something that we can at least accomplish --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think that’s very realistic. Okay, I’ve got to go.