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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks on North Korea

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Imperial Hotel
Tokyo, Japan
September 15, 2010


AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Thank you very much. Good morning. It is good to be back in Tokyo as it always is. I am in the midst of a trip with my colleagues, Ambassador Kim and Mr. Russel. We have been in Seoul, we came here yesterday, we leave later this morning for Beijing, and then we will be returning to Washington. We will also be consulting with Russia at some point. It was not possible to go on to Moscow on this trip, but we will see them in the very near future.

The purpose of this trip is to assess the way forward in dealing with the DPRK on the issues involved in the Six-Party Talks, particularly on the issues of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We had very good talks here in Tokyo with Director General Saiki and Vice Minister Sasae. I think we are very firmly agreed that we and our partners and allies must work together very closely over the next several weeks as we look for the right opportunity and the right moment to reignite the multilateral effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

For our part, and I think for the part of our allies here in Japan and South Korea, we continue to pursue what I would call a two-track strategy. On the one hand, we will continue to enforce the sanctions which have been approved by the UN Security Council as well as the sanctions that the United States and others have put into place over the last several weeks. At the same time however, as I’ve indicated, we remain open to productive and effective dialogue and negotiation. In fact, as is stated in the UN Security Council Resolution, the way to relief from the sanctions lies on the path of significant progress toward denuclearization. In other words, when we begin to make progress in the negotiations, we can begin to discuss what happens to the sanctions. But to discuss sanctions at this point is very premature.

It is very important I think to underline that this whole process does not depend just on decisions by the five – China, Russia, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. It depends very importantly on the decisions and actions of North Korea and we are looking for evidence that North Korea now regards the possibility of negotiations seriously. We are not interested in negotiations just for the sake of talking. We want talks that lead to specific and concrete results. It is important I think at this juncture for various reasons that we see an improvement in North-South relations on the Korean Peninsula as part of the effort to assess how we will best move forward.

So again, we had very productive discussions here in Tokyo. I would stress our common purpose and our common resolve, and I would caution that there is no reason at the moment to expect that there is going to be a flurry of diplomatic activity in the next few weeks. This is going to take some time to assess the way forward and then to begin building consensus as to how we get there. And very importantly, it requires some actions by the DPRK to demonstrate their seriousness of purpose. I will take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: You mentioned North Korea’s decisions and actions. Did you talk with the Japanese government what kind of decisions and actions you expect?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: We had discussions in depth of those questions. I don’t think it’s productive to discuss those now in public, but I think that most of you, being long-term followers – long-time followers of these issues, can probably figure out what decisions and actions we’re looking for.

QUESTION: What particular U.S. expects to have a direct talk with North Korea, other than North-South relations?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: I would certainly not rule out the possibility of direct U.S.-DPRK talks. We’ve had those in the past and I think they can take place again, and I think they will take place when we assess that it would be useful to do so. But I stress that we are committed in the larger picture to a multilateral effort, particularly to the Six-Party process, to deal with instability on the Korean Peninsula.

QUESTION: That gathering of North Korea Workers’ Party probably this week and coming soon. What is important for the U.S. because they talk about the succession issue for Kim Jong-il?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, without reference to the party conference, I would simply repeat that what is important to us and I think to the other members of the Six-Party process is to see evidence that North Korea regards negotiations, the possibility of negotiations, seriously, and that they are prepared to produce concrete results. Thank you all very much. Good to see you. Good to be back in Tokyo, even if only briefly.

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