QUESTION: Sir, over the last 12 months or so we’ve seen a little regime change in countries around the world. Do you think that the Arab Spring has at all affected the North Korean thinking in any way?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: I don’t know. I mean that’s a question that…I mean, I hate to say this to you, but you’d have to put that to the North Koreans. I can’t get inside their heads to try to do some psychoanalysis of how the Arab Spring might or might not have affected their thinking. My objective is to try to find a way forward that will lead to greater peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula which is important not just for the people of Korea, North and South, but also for the region of Northeast Asia and quite frankly for the world. And with this change that’s occurring or has occurred in the leadership in Pyongyang, we will be interested in seeing whether they’re interested in moving forward with us and then eventually – the much more important phase of this – aspect of this – moving forward with the other members of the Six-Party. Let me come down here – yes?
QUESTION: I’m from CCTV and my question is things now in North Korea with a new leader, what kind of particular information do you want to get at these meetings?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Yes, well, the purpose of my meeting here – I’m not really here quite so much to try to investigate the new leadership is in North Korea. I’m much more interested in trying to find out what the new leadership in North Korea is prepared to do – and I think that’s what’s important about this diplomatic process that we’re engaging in. Are they prepared to pick up where we left off from the New York meeting in July and the Geneva meeting in October? Can we move forward on that basis, and can we find a way forward on, in particular, the question of denuclearization, but also on these other issues that I've mentioned: nonproliferation, obviously humanitarian issues and human rights issues are important to us, regional stability. We think it's very important that North Korea quickly take up again its dialogue with its neighbors, in particular South Korea but also with Japan, that's important. And so, those are the kinds of things I'll be looking for when I meet with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan tomorrow. And, as I say, I'm hopeful that we won't spend too much time going back over positions that we have already outlined to each other, and that we can start from that spot and move forward.
QUESTION: What do you think is the obstacle right now, the major obstacle...
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Let me come here and then come right back to you. Yes, please.
QUESTION: NHK, Japanese public TV, in terms of nutritional assistance, there is some differences between the U.S. and the DPRK. How is it influence on tomorrow's meeting?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, I don't know, I mean, I think we've all seen what the North Koreans said in their statement from KCNA some weeks ago, quoting their Foreign Ministry. They have laid out a position that you've all read about their desire for a certain quantity of food, a certain mix...they in particular want to get as much grain as they possibly can. Our position that we have outlined to them, actually in this city, in Beijing, just prior to the announcement of the death of Kim Jong-il is there. They know about it, they know what it's based on, that it's based on, number one, our deep concern for the welfare of the people of North Korea, number two, our technical assessment of the need that exists in North Korea, and then obviously we have to make these decisions based on competing needs around the word for our own nutritional assistance.
So all of that was laid out for them when Ambassador Bob King, who is our Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights, came out with Mr. Jon Brause, Deputy Administrator of AID. They got into a number of specific issues that relate to the modalities of the delivery of assistance. Exactly how long this might take, how we are hoping to reach certain populations -- children under five in particular, but also pregnant and breast-feeding women, and certain elderly who are living alone off of the North Korea public distribution system -- all of that was laid out to them, and those talks made very good progress but they didn't achieve a final result. I expect that that may well come up in our discussions with the North Koreans, and we are prepared for that - we're ready to talk about that - and to see if we can move that process forward as well. But right now, we've made no final decisions about the provision of nutritional assistance because we haven't reached agreement on all of the modalities that we've discussed in Beijing.
And now, over here there was a question...
QUESTION: What’s the prognosis out there for the possibility of restarting the Six-Party Talks, can you comment? (inaudible)
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, again that’s very much up to North Korea. We all, I think, all of us in the region have, and all of us involved in the process, have an interest in trying to get back to the Six-Party Talks. But we’re not interested in doing it at any costs and at all costs. So we’re not interested, as we’ve said many times, in talk for talk’s sake. We first need to see signs that North Korea is indeed prepared to take steps to reassure all of us, and particularly the United States - I represent the United States - that they are sincere in getting back to fulfilling the obligations that they themselves made, along with the other members of the Six-Party Talks, in the September 2005 statement, and in other Six-Party meetings and statements. And so, that’s really what I’m interested in, in this forum – is, are they ready to get back to that conversation, and to carry it forward into the future and not spend too much time re-fighting some of the battles of the past. I think that’s the most important thing. Other questions? Anyone else? One more. Yes, sir?
QUESTION: It’s me again. How much do you know about how Kim Jung Un and how much do you think his thinking will influence your job and the progress?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: You are now asking me an imponderable, quite frankly. I mean, North Korea has a new leader. This is obviously the backdrop to our having this conversation that begins tomorrow. What precisely his policies are, in what direction he wants to take his country, all of these are a bit unknown at this stage.
I find it a positive sign that relatively soon after the beginning of the transition in North Korea, the DPRK has chosen to get back to the table with us. I think that’s a good thing. But the proof will be in the results of these discussions that we have with the North Koreans. Which is why I’m so interested in having this conversation with the First Vice Foreign Minister and his team, and exploring just exactly where they are, maybe beginning to get some answers to these questions, such as you are asking here today.
In any event, I haven’t yet had a conversation with the North Koreans, so I don’t have all that much news to provide you. I’m sorry about that. But what I would like to do is find other occasions, perhaps at the beginning of every day and end of every day, to get back with you, and tell you what I can.
You have to remember that this is a diplomatic process. My first obligation is to our partners in the Six-Party process. I look forward very much to having a good conversation with Special Representative Wu Dawei here in Beijing. That will be excellent. And then from here, Saturday, we will go off to Seoul, where I will have a chance to talk to Lim Sung-nam, my counterpart in Seoul. And then to Director General Sugiyama in Tokyo on Sunday. And that’s an important part of this process. Making sure that we all stay, knitted up together, connected up together in the Six-Party process.
I was off to Moscow a few weeks ago, and I met with my new counterpart, Ambassador Morgulov. And I’ll call him sometime, to report to him. And with all due respect to you, I know you have jobs to do, and they’re important jobs, what I need to do is privileged as diplomatic conversations, and make sure I talk to them. And provide them details, perhaps so that they don’t hear it first from you. And I hope you understand that.
In any event, so if that’s okay, we’ll try to let you know when I’ll be leaving the hotel tomorrow morning. I’d be happy to say a couple of words. And then perhaps at the end of the day tomorrow we can all get back together again and have a conversation then. So again, thank you very much for coming here today and I look forward to working with you and talking with you over the coming days.
Thanks a lot, talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
QUESTION: Sir, are you going to meet North Koreans for tomorrow’s meetings tonight?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: No, I am not meeting any North Koreans today. No. That’s tomorrow, that’s tomorrow.
QUESTION: What about other delegations?
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We’ll see. Thanks very much.