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Diplomacy in Action

Morning Walkthrough in Beijing, China


Press Availability
Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
December 12, 2009

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AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Good morning, I am pleased to be back in Beijing and it is nice to see some familiar faces out there. I don’t have all that much to say. Let me just note that I am here as part of the consultative process to inform first-hand our Chinese partners on the results of our discussions in Pyongyang.

As has been reported, those discussions were generally positive. We have reached common areas of agreement on the importance of and the need for the Six-Party Talks and the need to resume progress in the implementation of the Joint Statement of September 2005. How and when we will resume the Six-Party Talks remains to be resolved and that’s something that we will be watching and waiting for.

In Pyongyang, I had very constructive meetings with the First Vice Foreign Minister, Kang Suk-ju, and also Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan. We had an extensive review of the current situation and I think, as I said, that these were positive talks: very businesslike, very candid and forward-looking – not looking backward. Here in Beijing I was fortunate enough to meet with the Foreign Minister and the Vice Foreign Minister, Wu Dawei, who handles the North Korean and Six-Party account. As always these were extremely productive and cordial meetings. We agreed that it is essential that the five parties in the Six-Party Talks continue to work to maintain unity of purpose and unity of where we are in terms of our position. I think that this has proven to be – this coordination and cooperation with our allies – has proven to be a major strategic asset as we strive to restart the Six-Party Talks and to resume progress towards denuclearization.

I would like in particular to again recognize the important leadership on these issues that has been provided by China in their position as the Chair of the Six-Party process. They have made extraordinary efforts, with success, to make sure that we get back into the Six-Party negotiations. Speaking for the United States, we greatly appreciate their efforts and their moves towards cooperation as we move forward.

I think that, as far as the immediate future is concerned, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has noted, this may be a time to exercise a bit of strategic patience. These were very useful talks in Pyongyang and I think everybody – including the North Koreans – will have to sort of sit still quietly for a bit and then decide where we might go next and see what happens. So I’d be happy to take a couple of questions and, again, it’s nice to be here.

QUESTION: The Korean Central News Agency had a report that seemed to reflect their priorities in the talks. They said that last on the list of things you discussed was denuclearization. Up on the top of the list was discussing a peace treaty, normalizing diplomatic ties and energy and economic aid. How did that figure in your discussions? What was talked about?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: We talked about all of those issues and not surprisingly they are all issues since they are addressed in the Joint Statement of September 2005. They are all issues to which all Six Parties are committed to have negotiations and discussions. There, not surprisingly, are differences of emphasis and I think that the need to agree on a sequencing of the work on all of those various issues is going to be one of the challenges when the Six-Party process resumes. But I am quite confident that it is not beyond the grasp of human ingenuity to come up with a work program that would meet everyone’s considerations.

QUESTION: You have spoken about the need for patience in the process from here on. Could you sketch out for us how you expect this process to unfold for the potential restarting of the Six-Party Talks? What has to happen? What has to fall into place?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: My ability to see into the future, even the short term future, is extremely limited. So we’re going to digest the results of our talks in Pyongyang and then we’ll see what makes sense.

QUESTION: Are you willing to take another bilateral meeting with North Korea as they are demanding?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: We have not talked about the possibility of another bilateral meeting. I think, as we have emphasized with regard to this bilateral meeting, it took place within the framework of the Six-Party Talks and in our view that’s where the important work must be done. So we’ll wait and see what might make sense. I don’t rule anything in and I don’t rule anything out other than that our priority is to resume work within the Six-Party process where, as you know, there is ample opportunity for bilateral dialogue as well among all six countries.

Thank you all very much. It’s good to see you. I look forward to my next visit to Beijing. Thanks.




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