Morning Remarks to Press in Beijing

Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Westin Chaoyang Hotel
Beijing, China
February 24, 2012

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Good morning. In any event, I wanted to check in with you this morning and thank you again for coming out. Let me tell you a little bit about today so you understand what our plans are. We will go from here to the United States Embassy to do a little bit of work and read some messages from Washington overnight and to do a little consulting.

Then at 10am, at the American Embassy, the North Korean delegation led by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan will show up with their team and we will have what I think will be our final opportunity to discuss issues with them. I think by about midday our talks, exploratory talks with the North Koreans, will have been completed. Then, I have been invited very kindly by Ambassador Wu Dawei, to a luncheon where I will have a chance to brief him and his colleagues about the results of our two days of work here in Beijing. And then I think, you know the rest of the story, the rest of the schedule, that after staying overnight in Beijing, we will then fly off tomorrow morning to Seoul to consult with the government there, and on Sunday to Tokyo to consult with our friends, allies, and colleagues in Tokyo.

So, that is the order of battle for today, tomorrow, and Sunday. Beyond that, I don't really have anything new to relate to you from overnight. We are still in the middle of these exploratory talks with the North Koreans. We are hoping that we can build on the serious and substantive discussions that we had yesterday with them over three sessions. We had a very productive dinner conversation that was a mix of a continuation of discussions about the substance of the issues from our two daytime sessions, and then a little bit of a less formal discussion to talk about some of the broader issues. So, that's it, that's kind of where we are. What I would like to do, later on today, if this works for you, is after my opportunity to meet with and have lunch with Ambassador Wu Dawei, I would like to find a chance to come back and talk to you again and give you a little bit of a sense of how today’s discussions with the North Koreans went. But, as I’ve said before, since we will be going from here to Seoul and then to Tokyo and then, of course, importantly back to Washington, where I have to report to my colleagues, I won’t be able to tell you in terrific detail about the results of the talks. But maybe I can give you a little bit of a sense of how the discussions with the North Koreans have gone. With that, if there are any questions, I will try to answer them.

QUESTION: Do you think the good terms between the two governments are still going? Are they still there, the atmosphere-wise? Do you think U.S. is still continuing talks on good terms, or…?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We are still talking, and we are still talking about a very wide range of issues. All of the issues that you know very well that we have been talking about for many months, all the way back to July in New York, then Geneva in October. All those same issues that begin with denuclearization, but go onto non-proliferation, humanitarian affairs, human rights -- all of those issues are on the table, all of those issues are being discussed. As you might imagine, given the fact it has been some time since we have had a Six-Party process up and running, and it has now been a number of months since we have had an opportunity on a bilateral basis to discuss issues with North Korea, there is a little bit of catching up to do and a little bit of ground that we have to cover again from our previous discussions. So, simply a lot of diplomatic work that we have to plow through ,work through, in order to try to get to a result that can take this process forward more broadly. That’s really where we are. Thank you very much for coming out. I hope I didn’t interrupt your breakfast. I managed to have a very fast breakfast—I had a seven minute breakfast this morning. But I think that was enough.

Q: Sir, you have just mentioned that you are going to finalize the issue this morning. Can you make sure what the finalize issue exactly means?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: I don’t want to leave you with a mis-impression. What I’m saying is that I believe that this session this morning at the United States Embassy here in Beijing will be our final session in this round of exploratory talks with the DPRK. We don’t have any plans to come back this afternoon to continue. Whether that means that we will be able at the end of this session to say that we have “finalized the issues,” I think that is a bit much and I won’t want to go there. We’re going to try to make as much progress as we can. Diplomacy is a difficult process -- it takes time-sometimes it takes weeks and months. We’ll see how far we can get and if we can get far enough, and if we can get something that we can then build on, that’s the important thing, so that’s what I’ve been seeking to do. Yes?

Q: Is the U.S. considering increasing the amount of nutritional aid, including grains?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We’re talking about all of the issues that you are aware of. What I don’t want to get into is any kind of negotiating with the North Koreans through the press. That wouldn’t help our case with them. I really don’t want to signal in particular where we are. All I will say on the issue of nutritional assistance is that the offer that we put on the table with the DPRK at the end of last year is still on the table. And that was an issue that they raised yesterday. They brought it up, and I was prepared to address it. In any event, thank you all very much. I hope this has been useful to some extent for you, and I look forward in a few hours -- after lunch with Special Representative Wu Dawei -- to coming back here and we’ll do it again. Is that OK? Thank you very much I really appreciate it.