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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks to the Media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Tokyo, Japan
January 28, 2013


This video is also available with closed captioning on YouTube.

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: I just want to say a couple of things at the top. First of all, since this is probably my last occasion to speak to the press here in North Asia (before returning to DC), I want to quickly review what we've been up to. I, of course, came out here with a good, strong delegation: Ambassador Clifford Hart, Mr. Sydney Seiler of the National Security Staff at the White House, and other State Department colleagues. This is the last stop on a three city visit to North Asia. We started out in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday of last week. We moved on to Beijing on Friday and we arrived here on Saturday to your brilliant, sunny Tokyo weather. Today has been a busy day, we began with a call on Ambassador John Roos and the staff at the U.S. Embassy here in Tokyo.

We moved on to a meeting with the executive members of the Association of the Family of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, Chairman Iizuka, Mr. and Mrs. Yokota. This was for us an opportunity to express our solidarity with them and to reassure them of our commitment to their cause, to express to them as we have before that they are not alone in their suffering. And we will never, we can never forget the abductees or the suffering of their families. We then moved on to the Cabinet Office, for a meeting with Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanehara. We expressed to him our commitment to coordinating closely with the new Japanese government, the Abe administration, on North Korea. From there, we went on to a luncheon meeting with the Secretary General for the Abduction Issue Mr. Hideshi Mitani.

Next, after a stop back at the Embassy, we came here to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet with my good friend and colleague Director General Shinsuke Sugiyama. I reported to him on the results of our meetings in Seoul and in Beijing. We discussed the importance of fully implementing the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2087, maintaining trilateral coordination with the Republic of Korea, and staying closely aligned with our Chinese and Russian partners. Following that session, we called on Deputy Foreign Minister Saiki here in this building, which brings us to the present point. Tomorrow very quickly we'll pay a call on Representative Fukushiro Nukaga, Secretary General of the Japan-ROK Parliamentary League, and Minister in Charge of the Abductions Issue, Mr. Furuya, before returning to Washington.

We began our trip last week intending to explore a way forward with our partners to a credible and authentic diplomatic process. But we found ourselves dealing instead with a North Korea bent on bluster and intimidation, a North Korea uninterested in finding a diplomatic way forward. A North Korea declaring itself at odds with its neighbors, and indeed at odds with the entire international system. Faced with this challenge, United Nations member states must make clear to North Korea that it has a clear and distinct choice: either it can continue its defiance of the United Nations Security Council, a path which can lead only to further isolation and to censure, or the path of peace, living up to its promises, meeting its obligations, living in harmony with its neighbors and the world. Thank you very much, I'd be very happy to take any questions you may have.

QUESTION: Do you see any signs that North Korea is moving towards a third nuclear test?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well they've said that they intend to conduct a nuclear test, so we'll see what they end up doing. We have called upon them, as have other countries, not to proceed with a nuclear test. It would be a mistake, it would be a miscalculation, it would set back the cause of resolving issues that relate to the Korean Peninsula diplomatically, most importantly the issue of denuclearization.

QUESTION: Mr. Davies, it seems that North Korea is determined to become a defacto nuclear weapons state. I was wondering how realistic the goal is of denuclearization. How specifically are you going to achieve that goal?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, I think what's important is to get back to the process that for many years had been underway, which is following up on the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six Parties, in which North Korea made commitments and undertakings. It's also very important that North Korea take seriously its commitments as a member of the international system, which is to say following up on the strictures of repeated United Nations Security Council resolutions. I think the international community should continue to make clear to North Korea that it does face a choice. It does not have to continue to go down the road of isolation and continued impoverishment of its people. It can instead choose to meet its obligations and rejoin the international system. If so, one can imagine a diplomatic process going forward.

What I hope to do, what we had hoped to do in coming to North Asia was to begin this process of exploring a credible and authentic diplomatic process going forward. But very soon after we arrived in Seoul, South Korea, North Korea began to make these threatening statements, which of course makes it very difficult to imagine how we could go forward diplomatically. So right now, the emphasis, the accent of our efforts is on seeking to convince North Korea not to go down this path, not to test a nuclear weapon, but rather to come back to its obligations and commitments.

QUESTION: Did you discuss sanctions with the Japanese side?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Of course, we discussed sanctions in South Korea, we discussed sanctions in Beijing, and we discussed sanctions here. And we agreed in all three capitols that it's very important that we fulfill the sanctions commitments contained in the recently passed United Nations Security Council resolution. Only by doing that can we prevent North Korea from obtaining the materials it needs to carry forward its weapons of mass destruction program, and prevent North Korea from proliferating technologies that are dangerous to the entire world.

QUESTION: Ambassador Davies, I think President Obama said he wants to break the pattern that North Korea has been rewarded for its provocations. But it seems that North Korea still wants that pattern again, it seems that want a direct talk with you. They've been sending a message to you, they want a direct talk with you as a nuclear state. So what is your response?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Again, I think what's important is to take this one step at a time. I don't know what North Korea's next step is going to be. If they go in the direction of testing a nuclear device, they are going to set back the prospect of any diplomatic process going forward. So that kind of a provocative approach in dealing with the outside world will not serve their interests ultimately. But the strength of our position really depends on the solidarity of our allies, first and foremost, of the Five Parties in the Six-Party process, and I'd like to re-emphasize this to all members of the international system. So that's the message that we're putting out there.

We came out to the region [hoping to find a way forward diplomatically] but instead we find a North Korea that seems bent on playing a game of risk. This is very dangerous. We'd like them to step away, step back from this kind of provocative stance and enable us to get back to a diplomatic process. But I have to be honest with you, as a diplomat I don't see any prospect for a diplomatic process in the immediate future, as long as North Korea continues this belligerent and provocative behavior and language.

In any event, gentlemen, ladies, thank you very much, we've had a wonderful visit to Japan. We leave tomorrow to go back to Washington to report. I want to thank you so much for your interest and maybe tomorrow I'll say a final word of thanks at the airport. But I don't plan to do any more kind of news conferences here in Tokyo. Thank you all so much, I wish you a good evening.


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