Morning Walkthrough in Seoul, South Korea

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Seoul, South Korea
September 6, 2009

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Good morning. It’s good to see you except that I can’t see you because of the lights, but if I could see you, it would be good. As you know we are in the middle of a swing through the region consulting with our partners on the status of the Six-Party Talks and where we are going next on the question of North Korea’s nuclear program. We were in Beijing two days ago. We’re here, we leave now for Tokyo. I would like to have gone on to Moscow, but unfortunately, my Russian counterpart is not available. On the other hand, it is fortunate that Ambassador Sung Kim’s Russian counterpart is going to be here in Seoul next week, and so Ambassador Kim will come here for consultations with him while I go back to the States.

We’ve had very useful conversations here with our South Korean partners. I think there is a very strong convergence of view as to where we are now in the engagement with the North Koreans and where we would like to go. We are agreed entirely that denuclearization, complete and verifiable, of the Korean peninsula remains our core interest in engagement with the North Koreans. We are also agreed that, because of the nature of this issue and its regional implications and its global implications, that this is a problem that requires a multilateral solution. And it is for that reason that we remain, along with our partners, committed to the Six-Party process. Now as we’ve indicated in the past, we’re prepared to engage bilaterally as well with the North Koreans, but only in the context of the Six-Party process and in order to facilitate the Six-Party exercise. We’re also very pleased with the level of agreement and coordination between ourselves and South Korea - and, indeed, the other partners - on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 18[7]4 which has proven to be a very important manifestation of our cohesion, our solidarity, and our unity of purpose. That’s about all I would have to say. I would be delighted to take any questions that any of you might have.

QUESTION: Do you have any intention of (inaudible) HEU letter to the United Nations?

AMASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, at the moment we have just begun to consider that question, what we might do in response. At this point, all I think I would say is that any indication of any nuclear program on the part of North Korea - whether it is HEU or anything else - is a subject of concern and one which would have to be addressed if we are going to deal comprehensively with the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

QUESTION: Have things changed fundamentally given Clinton’s visit to North Korea last month and Kim Jong-il’s meeting with the former President?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No, I don’t think there’s been any fundamental change. Former President Clinton’s visit was, as you know, a private visit. We are very gratified that the two young American journalists have been released but our primary interest remains the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and we continue to look for opportunities to reinitiate this process.

QUESTION: How does North Korea’s announcement change the UN Security Council - the announcement that they have secured HEU (inaudible) - how has that changed the security balance in Asia?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, I wouldn’t say that it has changed the power balance in Asia. Clearly, it is another manifestation of the problems posed by North Korea’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. This is not the first we’ve heard of HEU, and it may not be the last. But clearly, as I said, if we are going to deal, as we wish, with the denuclearization of the peninsula, this is an issue that will have to be clarified. Okay, thank you all very much.