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US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Christopher R. Hill on North Korea, February 28, 2007
North Korea and the Current Status of Six-Party Agreement
Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific
Affairs Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC February 28, 2007.
I am happy to say that we have made some progress since I last
appeared before the The agreement at the most recent round of
Six-Party Talks in Beijing is an important first step -- but only a
small step -- toward the complete, verifiable and irreversible
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a
more stable, peaceful and prosperous Northeast Asia. We are
fulfilling the President's objective of approaching this problem
diplomatically, multilaterally, and peacefully.
In the September 2005 Joint Statement, North Korea committed to
abandoning all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.
The February 13 agreement is an important initial step in that
The current approach is broad in scope, with a comprehensive
vision that seeks a lasting solution to the problem by addressing a
wide range of economic and security issues. The agreement commits
all six parties, a key difference from previous bilateral efforts.
It establishes tight timelines for actions that are measured in
months, not years. Within 60 days, the D.P.R.K. will:
- Shut down and seal for the purposes of eventual abandonment the
Yongbyon nuclear facility;
- Invite back the IAEA to conduct all necessary monitoring and
- Discuss with the other parties a list of all its nuclear
programs, including plutonium extracted from used fuel rods, that
would be abandoned pursuant to the Joint Statement.
The Parties agreed to provide emergency energy assistance to
North Korea in the initial phase. The initial shipment of emergency
energy assistance equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO)
will commence within the first 60 days of the agreement. The Six
Parties also established five working groups to carry out the
initial actions and formulate specific plans for the implementation
of the September 2005 agreement -- leading to a denuclearized
D.P.R.K. and a permanent peace.
The working groups are:
Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
Normalization of U.S.-D.P.R.K. Relations
Normalization of Japan-D.P.R.K. Relations
Economy and Energy Cooperation
Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism
The details of the economic, energy and humanitarian (up to the
equivalent of 1 million tons of HFO) assistance will be determined
through consultations and assessments in the Economy and Energy
Cooperation working group and will be commensurate with the steps
the D.P.R.K. takes to fulfill its commitments, building on our
commitment in the Joint Statement to take "Action for Action."
An important aspect of this agreement is that it begins to lay out
a path to complete denuclearization, not just a temporary shutdown
of the reactor at Yongbyon. Under the agreement North Korea will
discuss in the first 60 days a list of its nuclear programs that
would be abandoned pursuant to the Joint Statement.
The fact that there are six parties is very important. We now
have five parties aligned and watching to make sure that North
Korea's commitments in the September 2005 Joint Statement are
fulfilled. Having these partners participating ensures that this
approach is more robust -- because it provides both stronger
incentives and stronger leverage for fulfillment of North Korea's
One of the benefits of the Six-Party process has been the
development of our relationship with China. The new and highly
constructive role of China as the convener of the Six-Party Talks
is especially important, and our coordination with them in this
area has been outstanding.
The Six-Party Talks have also become a useful mechanism for
addressing regional issues, for example between North Korea and
Japan. Our participation in these Talks is an important example of
our commitment to the region and is also a sign of how seriously we
take Northeast Asia's security.
These multilateral efforts have had a stabilizing effect and
reduced the negative impact in the region of the D.P.R.K.'s nuclear
test last October. The very important alliances we have with Japan
and the Republic of Korea are essential to maintaining regional
security, but the Six-Party process also gave people in the region
the sense that there was a mechanism to deal with this problem.
Without that process we could have seen a much more dangerous
counter-reaction in the region.
North Korea is well aware that it remains under Chapter VII UN
sanctions. Today, UNSCR 1718 remains in effect, and North Korea
understands that the international community will continue to fully
and effectively implement the resolution. North Korea continues to
face a basic strategic choice. There are political and material
incentives on offer to North Korea, but it must fully denuclearize
to realize the full benefits of those incentives. North Korea
understands that it must abide by its commitments to receive these
The Banco Delta Asia (BDA) issue is being discussed on a separate
track from the Six-Party Talks, managed by experts from the
Treasury Department. In December and January, Treasury had two
rounds of useful discussions with D.P.R.K. authorities, where the
North Koreans provided information about BDA account holders. This
week Treasury officials were in Macau and Hong Kong to discuss
details of the BDA case. We are hopeful that this will help in
bringing about a rapid resolution of the BDA case. Treasury advised
the D.P.R.K. about steps it could take to avoid future problems, be
less isolated in the international financial system, and eventually
join international financial institutions.
The measures the U.S. Treasury Department has taken with respect
to North Korean finances, specifically the designation of Banco
Delta Asia in Macau as an "institution of primary money laundering
concern," clearly had a significant impact on the regime. These
actions affected Pyongyang's ability to access the international
financial system and conduct international transactions as banks
everywhere began to ask themselves whether doing business with
North Korean entities was worth the risk.
Treasury is now prepared to resolve the Banco Delta Asia matter.
But this will not solve all of North Korea's problems with the
international financial system. It must stop its illicit conduct
and improve its international financial reputation in order to do
Once Treasury has concluded its regulatory action with respect to
BDA, the disposition of the bank and of the funds that were frozen
by the Macau Monetary Authority will be the responsibility of
Macau, in accordance with its domestic laws and international
The President has repeatedly said that if North Korea makes a
strategic decision to denuclearize, then much is open to them. The
denuclearization steps by North Korea announced in Beijing on
February 13 are only the beginning of their commitment to full
denuclearization. While this represents a first step, it is an
important one on the path towards our goal of a denuclearized
Thank you. I would be happy to answer your questions.
Source: US Department of State, http://www.state.gov.
© 2007 The Acronym Institute.