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Christopher Hill Briefing on Six-Party Talks

Briefing on Six-Party Talks

Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Beijing International Airport
Beijing, China
November 30, 2006


QUESTION: Mr. Hill, do you still think the next round of the Six-Party Talks will be held in December?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We're hopeful we can do this in December. As I've said before, we want this to be well-planned. One thing we did in Hanoi a couple weeks ago was we worked out some ideas. We did that with the South Korean delegation and the Japanese delegation. We talked to the Chinese as well. We (inaudible) briefed the Russian delegation.

And so when I came here, the idea was to discuss these points with the North Koreans. The purpose is to make sure when we start the talks that we really do make progress. The purpose of the Six-Party Talks is not to talk; it's to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. These are ideas that are designed to make rapid progress.

The North Koreans took them, we discussed them, and they're going to take them back to Pyongyang, and we hope to hear from them soon.

QUESTION: Did the North Koreans once again talk to you about financial sanctions in your briefings?

ASSASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I think they are realistic about where all that stands. I made pretty clear that all these issues of sanctions are all related to their nuclear programs. The best way for them to get out of sanctions is to get out of nuclear programs.

QUESTION: Have you talked about the oil supply to North Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I did not talk about that, no. We did talk about what they need to do to start getting out of this nuclear business and what we could do to help them do that.

QUESTION: There's a report saying that you suggested a foreign ministerial meeting between the U.S. -

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I don't know where these reports come from. There are a lot of things that were discussed, but the main issue was how to get the North Koreans to make some tough decision to move out of the nuclear business. Then, when they make those tough decisions, we'll respond appropriately.

QUESTION:: What was your reaction to the proposals of the DPRK?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: The DPRK did not have any proposals. What they did was they took our ideas and they said they'd get back to us, that they had to go back to Pyongyang.

QUESTION: Did you talk about how to solve the BDA case?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We talked about a lot of things. There are a lot of issues we discussed, but I want to stress: The main issue was that we've got to get North Korea off of this nuclearization program because unless they denuclearize, really nothing is going to be possible.

QUESTION:: Did you discuss possible dates with the North Koreans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: We discussed some ideas for dates, but we're much more focused on the success of the talks rather than the dates. What we don't want to do is meet and then not have a good result. So we'll work very hard to make sure that when we do meet, we have a good result.

QUESTION: In your discussions, did the North Koreans insist on being recognized as a nuclear power?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I made it very clear - and I think everyone has made very clear - we don't accept them as a nuclear power. So they did not make that insistence. In fact, I made it very clear at the time yesterday that we don't accept that firing off this nuclear device somehow makes them a nuclear power. I made very clear to them that they've got to get out of this.

There is no future for the DPRK as long as they are on this nuclear track. They've got to get out of the nuclear business and back into the NPT. When that happens and when they make that fundamental decision, I think a lot of good things can happen to their country.

Okay, I've got to go catch my plane….

QUESTION: Did they insist upon their position as a nuclear power?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: No, I would not say so. They talked about what they felt was their achievement, and I made very clear - and I might add that this is not a U.S. issue; every country - China, Russia - every country has made very clear that we don't accept North Korea as a nuclear power. And they've conducted this experiment, and now it's time for them to get out of this business.

Thank you very much. We'll see you next time. Keep warm.

QUESTION: Will we get to see you within this year for Six-Party Talks?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: But in the meantime you should go indoors. You look very cold. I'll be back at some point. See you later.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Released on November 30, 2006

ENDS


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