Remarks to Media Prior to Departure From Japan

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Imperial Hotel
Tokyo, Japan
May 12, 2009

QUESTION: First of all, could you tell us about the meeting with Mr. Saiki yesterday? And also how do you see the outcome of this trip to Asia?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, I think the meetings yesterday here with the government officials of Japan were very useful. I met with Director General Saiki, Vice Minister Yabunaka, and Deputy Minister Sasae. And I find that we have, as I would have expected, a wide convergence of views and a common commitment to move forward together -- the two of us plus the other three members of the Six-Party process.

So I think, on the whole, it’s been a very good trip. We had very productive meetings in all three capitals. Ambassador Sung Kim is going on to Moscow today and he will, I’m sure, have productive meetings there.

I think everyone is feeling relatively relaxed about where we are at this point in the process. There is not a sense of crisis. We acted together in a strong fashion in the United Nations with the Security Council Resolution, and now I think we are going to proceed with patience and perseverance. We are committed to dialogue, and we are obviously interested in returning to the negotiating table as soon as we can, but this is not a decision that depends on us. It also depends on the DPRK. So we’ve, I think, managed to confirm that we have a common view and a common sense of the road forward.

QUESTION: Have you mentioned any chance of the U.S. having direct dialogue with North Korea?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, I think that it is clearly understood that the possibility of direct dialogue between the U.S. and the DPRK is very much with us. That of course would be done within the framework of the Six-Party process where there has been direct contact frequently by various members of the group with North Korea.

QUESTION: Do you have any idea about when to go to North Korea for dialogue?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No, that of course does not depend entirely on us. But this is something we will be considering over the next few weeks. I think I will go back to Washington now. We will have consultations there on an interagency basis and then probably continue to be in touch by telephone and other means of communication with our partners out here in Asia.

QUESTION: Ambassador, how can you be relaxed when North Korea is threatening another nuclear test? Is it because you don’t want to get them angry, or --

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, you know, I very much hope that North Korea does not do another test. I think it would be a step in the wrong direction. But, in the end, that is the decision that only North Korea is going to be able to make, or will make. All I can do is stress that among the five, there is a common determination to stand together and to continue to emphasize that we believe that dialogue and negotiation is the only proper way to resolve the issues that exist.

I might also add that here in my conversations in Tokyo, we did, of course, discuss again the issue of the Japanese abductees. And I reiterated as we have in the past our strong support for Japan in its efforts to resolve this problem.

QUESTION: Have you received any instructions from the President regarding this visit or even regarding the abductee issue?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: From our President?

QUESTION: Yes, President Obama.

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, I operate under our President’s instructions on an ongoing basis. So he is very much committed, as you all know, to the notion of dialogue as a way of resolving this problem. But he, of course, is eager to get back to the table as soon as it’s feasible.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, I think you have said before making the trip to Asia that the U.S. is open for dialogue -- direct talks with the DPRK. But yesterday I think you had mentioned that this talk will be in the framework of the Six-Party Talks. Is this a change in policy?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No, maybe a change in terminology, but not a change in policy. No, that remains the position that we’ve had for some time. Okay?

Thank you all very much.

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