We’ve had a very good day and a half here in Tokyo and excellent conversations with our Japanese hosts and our counterparts dealing with the Six-Party Talks, including, of course, a very useful and important meeting with the Foreign Minister yesterday afternoon.
I think that it is clear that, with regards to the Six-Party Talks, five of the six parties are prepared to move very quickly, and we would hope that the sixth - that is to say, the DPRK - will also decide to move ahead very quickly. There is a strong desire to get back to the table and to begin serious work on the very important issues that we face. In the end, of course, the decision as to whether they are going to come back and when is up to the DPRK, and they have to reach that decision on the basis of their assessment of their own interests. When I was in Pyongyang in December we, of course, agreed that the Six-Party process is an essential element in our overall efforts to bring about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We also agreed that the Joint Statement of September 2005 is an essential element on which we must build as we move forward. However, what we have not yet been able to agree on is, as I said a moment ago, when the Six-Party process will actually resume. We look forward to having that happen as soon as possible, and we are prepared to do that as soon as possible. So I will take maybe two questions. Yes?QUESTION:
The U.S. State Department’s Mr. Crowley said that talks could begin in weeks or months. Do you see any chance that the talks begin before the Nuclear Summit that will be held in February in Washington?AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH:
I don’t think there is any relationship between the two. The talks can begin as soon as the DPRK agrees to come back to the table.QUESTION:
Your Secretary of State said on Friday to reporters that, “We are encouraged by the signs of progress to return to the talks.” Do you share the same feeling?AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH:
I am encouraged. I think that there is a strong disposition on the part of the five led, of course, by the chair, by China, to get this exercise back in motion as soon as possible. There have been extensive contacts with the DPRK, and I hope that in the not distant future but fairly soon we will see a resumption of the talks. For our part, we are ready to move on very short notice.QUESTION:
Do you have any plans to meet with North Korean officials in the near future, maybe in the U.S.?AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH:
I have no plans to meet North Korean officials at this point. Our view is that we had a very useful bilateral meeting in December in Pyongyang and in our view the next step should be a formal resumption of the Six-Party process. We are always prepared to meet. We have no philosophical objection to meeting bilaterally with the DPRK but our objective remains to resume the multilateral dialogue as soon as possible. So thank you all very much…QUESTION:
Do you see a strong desire from the DPRK to go back to the talks?
AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: You will have to ask the DPRK.