Evening Walkthrough at the Six-Party Talks

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel
Beijing, China
March 4, 2009

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Good evening. It’s a pleasure to be here in Beijing. As you know, this is my first stop as I work my way though the region with my colleagues. I go from here tomorrow to Tokyo. And after Tokyo, we’re going to Seoul.

The President and the Secretary of State have asked me to come here early in my service - early in the new administration - in order to demonstrate the importance that we attach to dealing effectively with the issues of the Korean Peninsula. We’re still conducting our review of policy in Washington. We’re making good progress, but as part of that policy review, we very much wanted to have directly the views of our partners in the Six-Party process. I will be meeting with the Russians in Seoul on Saturday. By coincidence, their delegation to the Six-Party process is going to be in South Korea.

Here we’ve had very good talks. I’ve met with Wu Dawei, and I met with the Foreign Minister just now. I think there is a great convergence of views. We are very much committed to the notion that it is important to resume the Six-Party process as soon as possible. And we believe that the Six-Party process is central to all our efforts to deal with what is happening on the Korean Peninsula. So I’d be happy to take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: Ambassador, how was the discussion on the possible missile launch when you met with the Chinese? Have you and the Chinese come up with a consensus on how to respond if it actually happens?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: I really don’t want to get into a question of how we might respond, since that is a hypothetical. What I would say is that we both believe that it would not be a good idea to have a missile launch. But beyond that, I really don’t have much comment.

QUESTION: The U.S. delegation now, is there any noticeable change between the former administration and now this new team that’s being put together? New policies? New approaches?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Again, it is a little premature to talk about the “new” policy. I think we continue to have some very obvious goals here in Northeast Asia with regard to the Korean Peninsula. Most important of those in the immediate sense is that we remain very committed to the need for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That will not change.

QUESTION: Ambassador, is it your understanding that the Chinese and the Russians will oppose invoking UN sanctions if it is a satellite and not a missile?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: As you know, from the U.S. point of view, we don’t see a distinction. But I really don’t want to characterize the views of other countries, other than to say I think we all agreed that it would be far better not to see a launch.

QUESTION: Did you have some kind of message for North Korea through Mr. Wu Dawei, who made a clandestine visit to the DPRK?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: I don’t want to get into those questions. But there have been no messages passed back and forth. We were here to consult with our good partners in the Six-Party process, and I think that’s been very useful and very successful.

QUESTION: Do you have any plans to meet with North Koreans during your visit?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Not at this point.

QUESTION: Are you still trying to get these set up?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Not at this point. (laughter)

QUESTION: Sir, any talk of setting a date for a formal Six-Party heads of delegation meeting?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No, other than the fact that I think we and the government here would like see that happen in the near term. Thank you.

QUESTION: One more question, one more question. North Korea insists that they are launching a satellite, not a ballistic missile. Is there any difference between a ballistic missile and a satellite from the viewpoint of the U.S.?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No. Not in our viewpoint, no.