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Press Availability, Chris Hill With Kenichiro Sasa

Christopher R. Hill
Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
November 2, 2007

Press Availability With Director-General Kenichiro Sasae

[Note: Director-General Sasae spoke in Japanese, and his statements and the questions to him are not included, except in reference to A/S Hill's comments.]

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Well, thank you very much. This was an opportunity to come to Tokyo and provide a briefing on my discussions in Beijing, where I met with the DPRK representative and also the host of the Six-Party process, the Chinese. Our discussions in Beijing really focused on the issue of disablement and to accomplish disablement by the end of the year. But, of course, I raised there, as I have raised always, the very important issue of making sure that there is progress in the DPRK-Japan relationship and, namely, on this very difficult, sensitive matter of the abductions.

So this week the first of the disablement teams has gone into the DPRK to begin disablement. We anticipate a very busy time in the next couple of months. I think it's very important that the U.S. and Japan work together very closely, befitting the very strong friendship and the alliance that we have, to make sure that we are able to accomplish our goals and to assure that we will have a completely nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Thank you.

QUESTION: What kind of discussions did you have about the U.S. delisting the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism?

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DIRECTOR-GENERAL SASAE: [Translated from Japanese] As I said earlier, we discussed America's basic policy on the matter, which is that delisting will be considered depending on progress on denuclearization and that progress in Japan-DPRK relations will also be taken into account. This is America's basic position. And in our meeting this time, we discussed how America will work on North Korea toward this end.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I completely agree. We always need to keep in mind that denuclearization is the primary goal of the Six-Party process. But we are also trying to address the problems among states in the region and, in particular, to put ourselves in a better position in achieving denuclearization. So we don't want a situation where denuclearization is achieved while some relations among states are allowed to deteriorate. So clearly we need to work on several issues at once and together, and I think we're able to do that.

QUESTION: [Translated from Japanese] As for the problem of Syria's nuclear development and North Korea [inaudible], what kind of exchange of opinions or consultations [inaudible]?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Let me just say that in response to your question, let me just say very broadly that we have been concerned generally about the issue of proliferation and that proliferation is one of the main reasons that we have worked together in the Six-Party process, which we believe is the best process to ensure that there will not be proliferation. So this has been an issue for us in the past, and we remain very much seized with it as an issue that we need to ensure that the DPRK lives up to its obligations, which are expressed very clearly in the last joint statement -- that there should not be any type of transfer of nuclear technology or any kind of transfer of nuclear know-how. So this is an issue that we have to be very concerned about.


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