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Six Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, Selected Comment, September 13 - 19, 2005

The second phase of the fourth round of Six Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear programme was held in Beijing from September 13 - 19, 2005.

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Ambassador Sasae's Remarks at the Closing Ceremony, September 19, 2005.

Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Honorable Heads of the Delegations, and all the delegates,

· At the closing of this Round of the Six-Party Talks, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Government of China, which as the host country has, as in the previous rounds, provided us with generous hospitality, and also to Vice Minister Wu Dawei, who has, in the spirit of impartiality, exercised strong leadership throughout the Talks as the Chair.

· The DPRK's nuclear issue is a serious challenge to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and to the international non-proliferation regime, which requires a peaceful resolution as a matter of urgency for the entire international community.

· This round of the Six-Party Talks has been a marathon negotiation extending over two months including the recess period, but the fact that we have been able to reach an agreement finally on the joint statement that shows the key goals to be achieved by the Six Parties is a significant and concrete result. This marks the first step towards the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue. As this result could not have been realized without political decisions and contributions of each party, I would like to express my high respect to the considerable efforts extended by each party.

· The fact that the DPRK for the first time has made the commitment in this round of the Talks to the verifiable abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs lays an important basis to materialize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through the efforts among the Six Parties hereafter. Japan takes serious note of this decision by the DPRK. However, agreeing to a common document does not mean that the solution to our problems has been found. On the contrary, we will have to continue to work to reach a concrete agreement with regard to the implementation of the adopted principles, in particular, concrete procedures and the details of verification measures towards the realization of prompt nuclear abandonment by the DPRK.

· In this regard, let me take this opportunity to clarify the position of my delegation regarding "at an appropriate time" in paragraph 6 of section 1. We believe that it is imperative that the DPRK in the first place abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs under credible international verification in order to implement the commitments expressed by the DPRK in this joint statement. It is also imperative that the DPRK fully comply with all the international agreements and norms regarding the use of nuclear energy including the NPT and IAEA safeguards, and build confidence in the international community. When all of the above are met, we will be ready to discuss the subject of the provision of LWR.

· In order to promptly achieve our common goals of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, it is important for each party to closely and constructively cooperate towards the implementation of the joint statement on the basis of confidence obtained among the parties. Japan will make its utmost efforts while continuously coordinating with the other parties.

· In addition, the normalization of the Japan-DPRK relations, along with the normalization of the US-DPRK relations, has been clearly stated in the adopted joint statement as one of the final goals of the Six-Party Talks. Japan intends to resume the dialogue between the governments of Japan and the DPRK at an early date based on the commitment to implement this agreement together with the DPRK. Japan will, while gaining understanding and support from the parties concerned, continue to make maximum efforts towards the realization of the normalization of relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of unfortunate past and outstanding issues of concern between Japan and the DPRK, such as, in addition to the nuclear issue, the missile and abduction issues. During this Round, I have held talks with Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan several times. I believe that these contacts have served the purpose of re-opening the new process to achieve such goals.

Source: Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mofa.go.jp/

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South Korea

"Beyond the Six-party Talks" Speech by H.E. Ban Ki-moon at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 20, 2005.


North Korean Nuclear Issue: Results of the Six-Party Talks


Before I speak on other subjects, I would like to first share with you good news from Beijing regarding the adoption of the Joint Statement on the goal and principles for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Through the past four rounds of long and hard negotiations, the six parties finally produced a historic agreement for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. I believe that this agreement will contribute not only to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia but also to the strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime.

Therefore, I would like to report to you what has been developed over this issue and the significance of this breakthrough.

As this is my first public speech after the announcement of this Joint Statement, you have special privilege to get vivid and first hand information on this important development.

The resumed session of the fourth round of talks started last Tuesday, but during the 37 days of recess, there was a great deal of diplomatic effort made by each party to narrow the differences. I, myself, went to Washington DC and Beijing to meet with Secretary Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing to explore ways to overcome the impasse. Key issues comprised the scope of nuclear programs for dismantlement and the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

During the past week, all parties concentrated their discussions on the key issues and finally managed to agree on a Joint Statement. This is the first but very important step toward the full resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

During my stay in New York over the last several days for the UNGA, I was in frequent contact with my counterparts of the countries participating in the Six-party Talks. The negotiation in Beijing was at a critical juncture.

I met or called over the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Rice, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhao Xing, Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura, and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and conducted intensive consultations to explore ways for a breakthrough. Through these efforts, we could narrow down the differences and consolidate the common ground for the settlement of this issue. I am very happy that Korea could play a proactive role in this process.

Now, let me first explain the major elements of the Joint Statement and its significance:

Ø First, the six parties reaffirmed the goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And, North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning to the NPT and IAEA safeguards. By agreeing on the goal and principles, we will be able to build a firm foundation to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, which has been the main threat to the security on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia as well.

Ø Second, as the Statement includes respecting North Korea's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, promising to take steps to normalize relations and promote of economic cooperation, North Korea's major political, economic, and security concerns will be addressed. In implementing this Joint Statement, we can expect North Korea to open up more and become a more normal member of the international community.

Ø Third, the directly related countries will negotiate a permanent peace regime for the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum. Once this process is initiated, it will be a significant step towards the establishment of a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, replacing the current armistice regime.

Ø Fourth, North Korea and the United States and Japan will take steps to normalize relations. I am confident that these steps will contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the region.

Ø Fifth, with the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, inter-Korean economic cooperation will be accelerated, and thereby the peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia will be consolidated.

Ø Sixth, as the objective of the Joint Statement to stop the development of nuclear weapons will be very much conducive to the strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime against the weapons of mass destruction.

Ø Seventh, the Six Parties agreed to explore ways and means to promote security cooperation in Northeast Asia beyond the Korean Peninsula. Thus, the Six-party Talks framework can pave the way for a regional security regime.

Throughout the process of the Six-party negotiation, the Korean government has been playing an active role to move the negotiation forward based on the principle of peaceful resolution through dialogue and diplomacy.

In particular, the Korean government made an important proposal last July to provide 2 million kilowatts of electric power to North Korea to get Pyongyang back to the talks and help make a substantive progress in the negotiations.

In addition, I would like to emphasize without hesitation the importance of the ROK-US coordination in producing this historic Joint Statement. Throughout the whole process, I greatly enjoyed the close work with Secretary Rice, and was satisfied with the outcome we were able to produce.

Taking this opportunity, I want to express my appreciation for the flexibility and creativity shown by all the participating countries. Although we should expect to encounter some bumps along the road during the implementation process, I believe that all six parties will be able to overcome any difficulties we might face, based on the spirit of cooperation and flexibility.

We hope that North Korea will be forthcoming in faithfully implementing its commitment as early as possible, so that the respect and benefits included in the Joint Statement can be soon ascertained...

A new order in Northeast Asia will depend on the visions and policies of the region's political leaders. The principal players should work to overcome divisiveness and resentment while striving to make this region safer and more prosperous.

To this end, I believe it is important to institutionalize a regional security regime in the future, to secure peace and stability and restore trust among the different parties.

The Six-party Talks really is an unprecedented multilateral forum in the Northeast Asian region. As a forum for institutionalized communication and confidence-building among the participants, I believe the Six-party Talks will serve as a good example for the development of a multilateral dialogue mechanism to address regional security concerns in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with regard to our relationship with North Korea, we are pursuing a "Policy for Peace and Prosperity." This approach aims to lay the foundation for peaceful unification by promoting peace on the Peninsula and pursuing the mutual prosperity.

We firmly believe that inter-Korean reconciliation with Pyongyang is the right path. We were able to achieve significant progress in many areas, including economic cooperation and exchange of people. We hope to solidify this cooperation and expand it to other areas on the basis of mutual benefit.

The ROK-U.S. Alliance

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we look ahead into the future of Northeast Asia, I cannot finish without mentioning the future of the ROK-US Alliance.

As history has unfolded and relationships have shifted over the past half-century, the rock-solid Korea-US alliance has remained a constant. This alliance has played an invaluable role as a firm foundation for Korea's great achievements. Without such deep and profound ties, the political and economic dynamics of Korea today could not have been achieved.

Korea and the United States fully share the common values of democracy, the market economy, human rights, and the rule of law. Korea has always stood beside the U.S. in addressing issues of mutual concern such as the North Korean nuclear issue as well as the regional and global agenda for the 21st century. As I mentioned in the beginning, the close consultation over many meetings and telephone conversations between Secretary Rice and myself during last several days in New York reaffirmed the closeness of our alliance.

As the relationship has evolved into a more equal partnership, the U.S. and Korea have resolved almost all long-standing alliance issues during the last couple of years, such as the relocation and reduction of the U. S. Forces in Korea, the relocation of the U.S. Embassy, and defense cost sharing. Korea's decision to dispatch its troops to Iraq, making it the 3rd largest coalition partner, demonstrates Korea's firm commitment to the alliance...

Source: South Korea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, http://www.mofat.go.kr/me/index.jsp

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United States

President Bush

'President Meets with Homeland Security Council', September 19, 2005.

"Q Thank you, Mr. President. Given what you've said in the past about North Korea's record of noncompliance, what makes you think that this time North Korea will abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons?

THE PRESIDENT: Five nations, in working with North Korea, have come up with a formula which we all hope works. Five nations have spoken and said it is not in the world's interest that North Korea have a nuclear weapon. And now there's a way forward. And part of the way forward is for the North Koreans to understand that we're serious about this, and that we expect there to be a verifiable process. In other words, they have said, in principle, that they will abandon their weapons programs. And what we have said is, great, that's a wonderful step forward, but now we've got to verify whether or not that happens.

It was a positive step yesterday. It was a step forward in making this world a more secure place. And I want to thank our other partners in the six-party dialogue, you know, by working together. The question is, over time, will all parties adhere to the agreement."

Source: The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

'Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Interview With Time Magazine', Editorial Board, New York, New York, September 29, 2005 .

QUESTION: On North Korea, you have a breakthrough agreement but it includes a concession in allowing North Korea to pursue at some point a peaceful nuclear -

SECRETARY RICE: No, let me say what the agreement says. The agreement says that North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons and its nuclear programs. So not just its nuclear weapons but it will be denuclearized.

Secondly, it says that the Korean Peninsula will be denuclearized verifiably. It says that North Korea will come back into the NPT and adopt IAEA safeguards. But of course, since it's had an illegal program it's got to dismantle before it could be in good standing with the IAEA.

And then it says, and at an appropriate time we'll discuss the issue of a light-water reactor.

The North Koreans asserted that they have a right to peaceful nuclear uses. We took note of that and said at an appropriate time we'll discuss a light-water reactor.

Now, the associated statements by various parties to the agreement make clear that even the discussion of a light-water reactor is after the North Koreans have dismantled, come back into the NPT and been into IAEA safeguards. Frankly, by that time, when the North Koreans are verifiably denuclearized, we can discuss anything.

And so call it a concession if you will. I think saying you'll discuss a light-water reactor sometime in the future when the North Koreans have disarmed and are back in the NPT and the IAEA, it seemed worth it.

QUESTION: Well, what led to the breakthrough? Did that language, that particular language, help or -

SECRETARY RICE: Well, actually, the language that says "discuss an LWR at an appropriate time" was in the Chinese - the Chinese did a composite fifth draft and they essentially asked for an up/down on that draft. We debated it long and hard as to whether or not we wanted to agree to that draft. It had the good language, from our point of view, about abandoning nuclear weapons and nuclear programs because the North Koreans had fought to have it say nuclear weapons-related programs or whatever. It had the good language on IAEA safeguards. It had the good language on verifiably denuclearized Korean Peninsula. It required really that the United States only state things that we've been prepared to state before about not attacking and so forth. So the agreement was good from our point of view.

The question was: Were we prepared to leave in "discuss a LWR at an appropriate time"? We did have concerns that if "at an appropriate time" was vague that the North might try and tie up the next round saying, "Where's our light-water? You know, where's the discussion of our light-water reactor?" And that's why we thought it was important that other states make clear that there is a sequence here and that the light-water reactor is an issue for the future. The key here is the dismantlement of the nuclear programs....

QUESTION: Can I come back to North Korea for a second and talk specifically about the implications for the U.S.-China relationship? Because it does seem that in many ways China did play a key and constructive role with regard to North Korea. Does that in any way have an impact on U.S.-China relations? I think about, say, the speech that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gave that tended to characterize the Chinese ultimately as a threat to the U.S. and thinking about things like, if you will, the congressional reaction to the CNOOC effort to acquire UNOCAL and so forth. And I'm just wondering what impact this might have on both Congress and Bush Administration with regard to China.

SECRETARY RICE: Sure. I think it emphasizes the positive side of relations. This is a complicated relationship. It has puts and takes. It has good sides and it has bad sides. On the good side, we obviously have been pretty effective with them in this multilateral diplomacy and we'll see how it goes from here. And I want to emphasize in this North Korea deal that we got today is really a first step so we have a long road ahead of us. But obviously, they've played a constructive role.

We have good cooperation in the war on terrorism. I think you'll see that we have good cooperation in the UN on things like Haiti. There are a lot of good aspects of the relationship. There are good aspects to the trade relationship in that the growth of the Chinese economy is good for markets. It's been particularly good for commodities producers. And so there are good things about the economy.

On the other hand, a Chinese economy that is that big and that robust that isn't reformed is going to be a problem for the international system. So when you hear people talking about their currency reform or about protection of intellectual property rights, I think it's just acknowledgement that the reason for integrated China into the WTO was to integrate China into a rules-based economy so that you didn't have a huge economy playing outside of the rules and creating a different kind of playing field. And on that, the question - the picture is mixed.

On the defense side, I couldn't agree more with Don. China's military buildup looks outsized for its regional interests. Now, does that necessarily have to be a threat to the United States? Not necessarily. It also depends on how - whether or not the United States maintains its own robust defense capabilities and technological advancement in this region, which I'm sure we will.

So I think trying to characterize the U.S.-Chinese relationship as all positive or all negative is just difficult to do because it's such a complex relationship and there's so many different aspects, you're going to have good and bad existing side by side. But on balance, I think at this point in time I think it's a relationship that is better than it's ever been and it's really our job, given that China is going to be a factor and an influence, it's our job to try and make that a positive influence in international politics, not a negative one.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Press Availability at UN Headquarters, New York City, September 19, 2005.

SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. I would just like to make a few remarks and then I'll be happy to take questions concerning the achievement today of a Statement of Principles by the six parties to the six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This agreement to principles is a good first step on the way, we hope, to a fully denuclearized, verifiably denuclearized, Korean Peninsula.

I will note that the North Koreans made clear their intention to abandon their nuclear weapons program and other existing nuclear programs. This is also a good step.

I want to thank the Chinese for hosting the meeting and for their active role and also to thank Ambassador Chris Hill and his counterparts for the hard work that they put into this. It is only a first step, however. We now will turn to implementing agreements, implementing language, where we will have to tackle, I am sure, quite difficult issues of verification of the dismantlement of North Korean nuclear weapons programs and other nuclear programs. But it is a good first step and I am happy to take a few questions.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what assurances do you have that North Korea is really intending on implementing this agreement? Could they be biding for time? I mean, how do you think that this is going to go and what do you see about the future of U.S.-North Korean relations?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we are planning -- the six parties will plan to reconvene again, probably within a couple of months, and we have to at every stage test the dedication or the commitment of the North Koreans to indeed carry through with the obligation that they have now taken in this Statement of Principles to abandon their nuclear weapons program, to abandon their other nuclear programs, and to do so verifiably. And the proof, so to speak, is going to be in the pudding. We are going to now have to have a very clear roadmap for verification, a very clear roadmap for dismantlement, because that is the core issue here. And we look forward to working on it.

As to relations between the United States and North Korea, I would just remind everyone that this is a six-party agreement, that this is not an agreement between the United States and North Korea but rather an agreement between North Korea and all of its neighbors. We look forward to improvements in relations between all of the neighbors if indeed we do make progress on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula....

QUESTION: Does the fact that North Korea in this statement preserves sort a theoretical future right to a civilian nuclear program concern you at all, and is that at odds with your previous position on whether or not they could get a reactor now?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the question of whether the North Koreans will have peaceful nuclear uses, of course, doesn't come into being at this point in time. North Korea is not in compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty. North Korea is not under IAEA safeguards and they have not dismantled what was clearly a clandestine, and then later declared, military program.

So this issue about peaceful nuclear uses is down the road, and I think if you read the document you will see that what is agreed to here is that at an appropriate time we are prepared to discuss -- discuss -- a light-water reactor. And if you read the accompanying statements of several of the participants, you will see that there is a clarity about the need for North Korea to dismantle, get back into the NPT, get IAEA safeguards, and then discuss a light-water reactor. So I think this issue is some time in the future.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you didn't want to discuss it up until now. I mean, does "discuss" mean --

SECRETARY RICE: When the North Koreans have dismantled their nuclear weapons and other nuclear programs verifiably and are indeed nuclear-free, when they are back in the NPT, when they have gotten into IAEA safeguards, I suppose we can discuss anything.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY RICE: I suppose we can discuss anything. But I would just have you take note of the fact that the North Koreans asserted their right to peaceful nuclear uses. All that is done here is that we've taken note of that assertion and then a number of the states have made very clear what the sequence is here. The sequence is dismantling, NPT, IAEA safeguards, and then we can discuss. Because I don't think there's anyone who is prepared to try to go back to a circumstance under which we're debating sequences....

QUESTION: Do you see the U.S. having given in on any point to get the agreed principles?

SECRETARY RICE: I think the agreed principles serve our interest. And in fact, I think if you go back and look at the June 2004 proposal, most of the elements that are in the principles were in the June 2004 proposal. The sticking point of light-water reactor for North Korea I think was handled in a way that is wholly appropriate, which is that let's get about the business first of dismantlement and NPT and IAEA safeguards. This is, until then, not a question for the agenda. But when you have verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the North Koreans are nuclear-free, then I think we can probably discuss just about anything.

QUESTION: Why do you think now that they've finally decided to do it? Even in the beginning of the week you saw that they started off with their usual rhetoric.


QUESTION: What do you think turned the corner here?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the message is that the international community has a legitimate interest in the health and viability of the nonproliferation regime and that there are multiple ways to deal with states about which there are questions.... In the case of North Korea, of course, it was the regional states, but that there has been progress there, I think people should take account of.

I can't get inside the North Korean psyche about this. The only thing I can say is that we have long said and long believed that the key here was not to engage in a process by which this could become an issue -- the North Korean nuclear program -- between the United States and North Korea, but rather in which it was clear that this was an interest in which China, Japan, South Korea and Russia also had concerns and had interests. And by the structure of this, I think not only have we gotten the North Koreans to what is a pretty comprehensive pledge, but I just want to emphasize again, it is at this point just a pledge. But not only have we gotten them into a comprehensive pledge, but it is now in the context where they've made that pledge not just to the United States but to all their neighbors.

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

'Resumption of Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks: Afternoon Departure', China World Hotel, Beijing, China, September 19, 2005.

A/S HILL: We've had a good day. No, we've had a great day. We have an agreement. As you all know, it wasn't easy, but I think important things often don't come easily, and I think it is a very important agreement. We're very pleased about it. Obviously it represents the efforts of six different delegations and it spans the period of two years, so it represents the efforts not only of the people here today but also the people who were here a couple of years ago. In my particular case, I'm very respectful of what Jim Kelly did and the time that he helped get this thing launched and all the efforts that he put in. I know that all the current delegation heads feel the same way about their predecessors. This has been a tough two years.

I think it's also important, this example of multilateral diplomacy. I think it's important for this part of the world, for northeast Asia, and I think it's really one of the best examples of multilateral diplomacy in this part of the world, and its obviously not going to be the last. There are going to be many more efforts here.

The issue, of course, is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula - a problem that's been with us for quite a while, a problem that is not yet solved by this agreement but which we hope can be solved eventually through this agreement. Whether this agreement helps solve this will depend in large measure on what we do in the days and weeks to follow. We need to take the momentum of this agreement and work to see that it's implemented and work to make clear to everybody that all of our commitments, that all of our undertakings that are spelled out in this agreement are, in fact, fulfilled.

I think for the D.P.R.K. it is especially difficult, because they've been engaged in these nuclear programs for some twenty, twenty-five years, and by this agreement, they're going to get out of these nuclear programs. They are going to get out of the business of producing nuclear weapons and out of the business of these programs. It's a big decision for them, a big undertaking, but it's absolutely the right decision for them. The security, the success, the prosperity of the D.P.R.K. does not depend on nuclear weapons. In fact, it depends on relations with others. So this is a moment which I think will be a very important moment in their history, to make this turn and to turn away from these sorts of weapons and towards interactions with their neighbors and with other countries in the world.

I want to especially express my thanks and my high esteem to the Chinese government for hosting this process, for being a full participant as a delegation but also for running the secretariat. My counterpart Wu Dawei has been quite literally living at the Diaoyutai Guest House, and deserves so much praise for the efforts that he's put in - for the efforts of his entire team.

Let me just say also that from the point of view of the United States, we came with an interagency team - a team that represents the National Security Council, the Defense Department, other agencies of government. We worked together very hard, and we worked together with a great sense of unanimity. I think also our colleagues back in Washington, of course Secretary Rice especially, were on the phone with us constantly. And the support we had, indeed the very firm direction we had from Washington, was quite instrumental as far as my delegation was concerned.

So we have to see what comes in the days and the weeks ahead. I want to really seize the momentum of this. I'm going to be working very hard on this, trying to make sure that the seed that we've planted today really does grow and fulfill what we all believe it can. So I'll take some questions if you like.

QUESTION: Who's the winner?

A/S HILL: Who's the winner? Everybody's the winner, that's the whole point of this. This is a win-win situation.

QUESTION: What was the winning point?

A/S HILL: I think the winning points are that we get an agreement on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, I think very important to the D.P.R.K.'s future, but very important to all of our futures. And, I think this agreement can help the inter-Korean dialogue, just as the inter-Korean dialogue, I think, has been helpful to this agreement. Let's hope that something good can come of the Korean Peninsula - a peninsula that was brutally divided in some of the worst moments of the twentieth century. Let's hope that this agreement can help create some momentum so we can get beyond that as well.

QUESTION: Does the U.S… you at first absolutely objected to a light-water reactor, but in the joint statement, you're willing down the road we can discuss it? Did the U.S. compromise on this?

A/S HILL: I think what we said in the agreement is what we said in the agreement if you read it, which is that at an appropriate time we are prepared to have a discussion with the other parties about the issue of providing a light-water reactor. Now what is an appropriate time? We made clear in our statement together, and indeed I think all participants made clear in their statements that the appropriate time comes when the D.P.R.K. gets rid of its nuclear weapons, gets rid of its nuclear programs, comes back into the NPT and comes back into it with full IAEA safeguards. So that we will sit down and have a discussion, a discussion about the subject of providing a light-water reactor at that point, I would hope would be some incentive to the D.P.R.K. to get moving on its obligations.

QUESTION: What moved the North Koreans to accept the agreement?

A/S HILL: Well, you'll have to ask them. I would assume that there are a lot of reasons that the D.P.R.K. moved to accept this agreement. I would hope that one of them was the fact that they finally understood that these nuclear weapons are not providing security. In fact they are providing a lot of misunderstanding, and they are really harming the D.P.R.K.'s standing in the world. So I hope they came to that conclusion. I have no doubt that getting rid of these weapons and getting out of this nuclear business is the best thing that could happen to the D.P.R.K., and perhaps they came to that same conclusion as well.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, you say that this is a big decision and also the right decision. Is this a strategic decision which your President and the Secretary Rice have pursued for a long time?

A/S HILL: We have to see this decision followed up on. We have to see implementation, but certainly a strategic decision couldn't be without this, the results of this six party joint declaration. In short, this was absolutely needed. I don't want to say at this point how quickly this will happen, except we expect the D.P.R.K. to move promptly. We believe there are a lot of incentives on the table for the D.P.R.K. to move promptly.

QUESTION: Would this success encourage the United States to adopt multilateral negotiation worldwide?

A/S HILL: The United States is always interested in multilateral diplomacy, the broader… the more partners we can have in these arrangements the better, and we always want to do this wherever possible.

QUESTION: How was the turning point? It seems that [inaudible] Friday?

A/S HILL: Well, it is hard to say when the turning point came. I would say the turning point came in the earlier session in the end of July, early August when it was clear that we had the outline of a deal. We weren't able to get to a deal at that point, but we realize that we had pushed the rock pretty far up the hill, and we didn't want to see it go all the way down to the bottom again. I think everyone realized it was important, and that is why the decision was made to recess and to preserve what we had accomplished. So we came back here hoping to finish the job. We did have some different elements that came forward. As you know the subject of a light water reactor had not been in any previous texts, so this was something D.P.R.K. wanted in the text. But what we wanted to do was to preserve the focus, to continue to stress that what we were in this for was the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That meant that the D.P.R.K. needs to get rid of its weapons and all its existing programs. What we didn't want to do was get into an argument on which program was related to weapons. So, we wanted to insist that the D.P.R.K. get out of all existing nuclear programs so that there would not be any disagreement on whether this program is related to weapons and this program is not. We have agreement on that.

QUESTION: What's the next step? How do you move forward?

A/S HILL: The next step is I'm going to try to get on a plane. It's going to be a little tight actually. But what we're going to do is sit down and figure out how quickly to get to the implementing phase. Verification is very, very important to this agreement. Verification is a key element of this agreement. It says so in this agreement, and we need to look at how these things can be done through international verification. Obviously a lot of work has been done on this, so we need to sit down and work on that as well. We all have some commitments in this agreement. We all have some undertakings, so we need to look at these and to make sure that we can capitalize on the momentum of this and move ahead. So we are, as you may have seen from the text, we're planning to get together at an early date. Early November is the target time. That's some six weeks away from now, so we're going to really be working very hard in the next six weeks to make sure that this next phase, which is the discussion on implementation, can go pretty quickly because thanks to the agreement on principles we know precisely what is going to be in there.

QUESTION: Do you mind mentioning the 1992 framework for [inaudible]… does that mean the reactor…?

A/S HILL: No, no, no. You are confusing things. You are obviously new to the North Korea nuclear business. Let me help you with that. 1994 is the framework agreement, and this is not the 1994 framework agreement. This has nothing to do with the 1994 framework agreement. This is a six party agreement - very different. The basis is not freezing nuclear activity. The basis is getting rid of it. So that's one point. And, there is a Korean Peninsula 1992 agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It's a very brief document, and it has some very good elements. It was never implemented, and we'd like to see that 1992 agreement implemented, and that is in our document.

QUESTION: Apart from the statement, are there any sort of written informal agreements or commitments by each party about what they are going to do by November?

A/S HILL: No there are not. There are statements that each of the parties made today in connection with the closing plenary, and those are part of our official record. But there are no additional protocols or any additional agreements, so what you see is what you're going to get. There's quite a negotiating history now. We've been here some thirteen days in August, and now another seven days in September, so there is a rather substantial negotiating history, and we believe we have what we need to know in terms of each other's positions.

QUESTION: Is it true that there was an agreement made that North Korea is coming off the Axis of Evil?

A/S HILL: This is a good agreement. It's a good agreement for all of us, and we're going to get moving on it.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, do you think the negotiations are going to get easier or harder?

A/S HILL: Oh, I don't know. I can't imagine they'll be harder. [laughter] I just cannot imagine it, but you know, sometimes we have to imagine the unimaginable.

QUESTION: Is United States going to provide the energy assistance with other countries?

A/S HILL: In the agreement we have an undertaking to participate in this, so we will be determining what our participation is and how we can best do that. We would like to see the DPRK have a better economy. We certainly want to be part of helping it with its energy needs. As you know, we are strong proponents of the idea that the D.P.R.K. ought to be looking at non-nuclear energy. So I'm sure we will be very much involved consistent with our undertakings. We will make sure that anything we have undertaken to do in that agreement, we will accomplish. The first step, I think everyone agrees, we've got to get this place denuclearized.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the function of the [inaudible]?

A/S HILL: We haven't gotten into questions like that. I understand you're asking about heavy fuel. We haven't addressed questions about that. Now we all have a very clear understanding of denuclearization and a clear understanding of the undertakings to follow.

QUESTION: Suppose in November the next steps of verification and denuclearization [inaudible]?

A/S HILL: Well, I would say the key element of the November discussions will be the verification regime and clearly this will involve international verification -- IAEA -- so we have to do some early consultations to see how that will work. We worked very hard on these set principles so that there would be clarity and everyone would know what the deal is. We didn't want a situation where we would create ambiguity, and then have problems in further statements. I think we've succeeded in being very fair, so I hope we can move through these points with some haste.

QUESTION: So Ambassador Hill, what would come after that, after the verification?

A/S HILL: You have to agree on how you verify. You have to have a declaration of what you're verifying and then you have to go at getting rid of these nuclear programs. When you get rid of a nuclear reactor, it's a little different from getting rid of a building or something. You don't just hit it with a wrecking ball; you take it apart very carefully. That sort of thing will take time, but we need to very quickly figure out how we're going to do it. We need a list of items that we're going to do. We see this, of course, as a voluntary decision by the D.P.R.K. to get out of this business, so we do not plan to go out onto the landscape of the D.P.R.K. and start hunting for nuclear facilities. We expect those to be shown to us, and we expect to move quickly. This is absolutely in the D.P.R.K.'s interest. The sooner the better, and I think they know that.

QUESTION: [inaudible]about the sequencing of [inaudible], that the [inaudible] would be the foremost [inaudible] of the nuclear weapons?

A/S HILL: I think sequencing is very important. Not all the sequencing has been worked out, but on the key issues, it has been worked out. Nobody can cooperate with the D.P.R.K., even if someone wanted to cooperate with the D.P.R.K. on nuclear issues, it cannot do so while the D.P.R.K. is not a member of the NPT in good standing. So how is the D.P.R.K. going to get back into the NPT, back with IAEA safeguards, and the answer is by getting rid of its nuclear weapons and by getting rid of its nuclear programs. It's got to come into the NPT as a state that has cleaned itself and gotten out of these nuclear areas. We're very clear on that sequence of events.

QUESTION: So say the sequencing present in the previous U.S. proposal back in June - is any of that still on the table, or are you starting over in terms of a discussion about how to sequence?

A/S HILL: The proposal back in June was never really elaborated. It was very general at that stage. What we've done is taken that proposal and tried to elaborate it, tried to have greater specificity to it. There will be sequencing issues that have to be looked at. For example, some of the issues that had been promised the D.P.R.K. are very much processes. We're looking at a normalization process, for example. When do you start a normalization process? I don't think the sequencing will prove to be a big problem. Especially as I think the D.P.R.K. understands that it's got to get out of the nuclear business and that that is the key. That is why we're together. That is why we call this an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. I think when that is done, we will not have problems with sequencing.

QUESTION: Based on this agreement, are you going to accelerate the bilateral contact besides the New York channels?

A/S HILL: I would argue that one of the reasons we were able to achieve success is we kept as many lines of communication open as possible. I think if you're in the business of diplomacy, communication is very important. I will continue to look for avenues of communication that facilitate agreement and facilitate understanding so we can move ahead. I think we have really established a good framework for that through the six party talks, and I would look to enhance that.

QUESTION: You say you are "abandoning" nuclear weapons programs. Do you see any difference from dismantling?

A/S HILL: No. Abandoning means dismantling. It means getting out of those programs and having them taken apart. There is an absolute common understanding.

QUESTION: Can I make it clear that you respect the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy in North Korea?

A/S HILL: What we have made clear is that we will have a discussion on the issue of peaceful nuclear energy, and in particular the subject of the provision of a light water reactor, but only at an appropriate time. And that appropriate time is once the D.P.R.K. has gotten back into the NPT in good standing, and with IAEA safeguards. To talk about the D.P.R.K.'s right to peaceful use in advance of those steps is really to talk theory rather than fact. I'm very much focused on the facts and focused on reality, and we'll achieve that reality when they've taken these steps.

QUESTION: Has the D.P.R.K. demanded funds for the surrender process or the dismantling process?

A/S HILL: That's a very good question, and I think that has to be looked at because other countries that have gotten out of the nuclear business have been beneficiaries of funds to help them dismantle their nuclear facilities. I would assume this is part of this agreement. We have not specifically addressed it, but I would assume this should be a part of it.

QUESTION: So you will discuss the [inaudible] at the next…

A/S HILL: There have been some discussions about it. As you see, it's not addressed in the joint statement but there have been some discussions, and this will be one of the issues further discussed and elaborated and defined in the implementation phase.

QUESTION: Do agree that the six party talks remain the best way, the only way, to solve the North Koreans' nuclear problem?

A/S HILL: I've always been a believer in the Six-Party Talks. Sometimes my faith wavered at key moments, but here we are with a deal, so, more than ever, I do believe that this is the right way to go. I think it's the right way to go in terms of dealing with the immediate problem ahead of us - that is the problem of denuclearization - but it's also the right way to go in terms of getting these countries in northeast Asia, including the U.S. if you can consider us a northeast Asian country for a second, to establish a better framework for talking and a better way to facilitate communication. I noticed in the Six-Party Talks, where most of the discussion, of course, was about the denuclearization, I could see countries' representatives getting together discussing some other aspects of relations and other aspects of things that we might try to do together in the region. So, I think the Six-Party Talks really shows some promise as a sort of embryonic organization for the future. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I don't want to speculate on what sort of multilateral structures northeast Asia should have, but I do believe that they ought to have more than what they've got. Anyone who's been to Europe knows that Europe has structure on top of structure, and when you go to northeast Asia, it seems to me more could be done. I don't mean that as a criticism. It's a very different part of the world, a very different history, very different ways of interaction. But, I think the six party process is proving that more can be done.

QUESTION: So you are prepared to talk about northeast security…?

A/S HILL: Let's be careful about how we do that in the six party process. For example, if you look carefully at the document, there's some discussion of Korean Peninsula questions, but we're not going to discuss the Korean Peninsula in the six party process, because one has to ask the question who are the relevant players, who should be talking about it, what form should we use. But certainly, what I meant was in a more general sense, that the six party process can be a model for addressing the need, in my view, for a greater multilateralism.

QUESTION: Just quick… North Koreans are going to continue a nuclear operation in Yongbyon or as long as talks would continue, they're going to suspend the whole operation there?

A/S HILL: I haven't addressed that because one thing I didn't want to get sidetracked. In the Six-Party Talks, I didn't want to start talking about freezes. I didn't want start talking about how we'll stop this for a while -- because when you start talking about freeze, you can sort of take up all the time and you never get to the real issue, which is not to freeze but abandon. I really very purposefully avoided getting into the subject of freeze. But you asked me should the Yongbyon reactor be operating. You've got to ask yourself the question what is the purpose in operating it at this point, because it's going to have to be dismantled. It's going to have to be dismantled, abandoned in this arrangement. I would think the time to turn it off would be about now. We'll see how that goes, but I made a decision early on that we were not going to spend a lot of time talking about freezes.

QUESTION: Between yesterday and today, what was it that had the North Koreans make that leap to yes? If you had to identify two of the aspects, what was it that made them show up today and say OK?

A/S HILL: I think, first of all, the parties really stayed together. Although the D.P.R.K. very much wanted to see a light water reactor promised - it being Chusok and all -- promised as some sort of gift, as part of the agreement. It was very clear that all the parties said, look, we can talk about this, but only after there is an understanding that the D.P.R.K. gets out of the weapons business, gets out of the nuclear business, comes back into the NPT, and comes back with IAEA safeguards. I think what was very important was that all the parties really stuck to that. So, I like to think that that was an important factor in convincing the D.P.R.K. that the wording you see in the agreement was ultimately going to be OK. But you'll have to ask them, as I often say, because I am not their spokesman. What I like to think, too, is that after twenty days, the D.P.R.K. understood that their security lies not in nuclear weapons programs, but in good relations with others. That sounds kind of obvious perhaps, but I think it's been an elusive concept there. I think they understand that these weapons have not brought them security, have not brought them prosperity. They've done quite the opposite.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

A/S HILL: Sorry, I couldn't understand that question.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

A/S HILL: I think this twenty-five year nuclear program in the D.P.R.K. has been extremely costly for the D.P.R.K. It's been extremely costly in direct monetary costs. It's been costly in terms of its relations with others. It's been extremely costly in terms of what it has lost, in terms of economic cooperation with other countries. I would not recommend that a country go and develop nuclear weapons in order to get some sort of economic benefit. I think the example of the Republic of Korea - the same people, Koreans - they have twenty-one light water reactors, paid for every one of them themselves, tenth largest industrial country in the world. I think that's an example. If you want peaceful nuclear energy, as South Korea does, first develop a good economy and play by the rules, and you can be successful. I don't think the model of the D.P.R.K. would be marked down as a model for success, and I like to think they know that.

QUESTION: Will North Korea stop its nuclear activity in Yongbyon?

A/S HILL: We did not directly address the question of whether they would stop the nuclear activity at Yongbyon. When that issue came up, it was often in the context of the D.P.R.K. wanting … and I said we don't have time to negotiate a freeze, nor do we have the information to negotiate a freeze, because, unfortunately, when you start negotiating a freeze, it crowds out all the other time, and by the end, all you have is a freeze. We don't need a freeze here. We need the D.P.R.K. to get out of this business. We did not discuss, in any systematic way, the shutting down of the reactor. But logically, that's what's got to be done.

QUESTION: Can you say that [inaudible]?

A/S HILL: You're a journalist. You decide what it is. I'm just telling you what I was up to. I've really got to catch this plane. I just talked to my daughter and she's sort of wondering if I'm going to be back. If you don't mind, let me go back and see my family.

QUESTION: [inaudible]

A/S HILL: You'd have to go the White House on that. I don't speak for the White House. Thank you very much.

Source: US Department of State, Washington File, http://usinfo.state.gov.

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