Morning Walkthrough in Tokyo, Japan

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Imperial Hotel
Tokyo, Japan
September 8, 2009

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here. We've had a very useful round of discussions here in Tokyo. We have one more meeting. We are going to meet with the Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka for lunch and then we are leaving. This is the third stop in our series of consultations here in the region. We started in Beijing. We were then in Seoul, and we arrived here on Sunday afternoon. I am returning to the United States from here. My colleague Ambassador Sung Kim will be going on to Seoul again, where he will be meeting with the Russian representative to the Six-Party Talks. I would have been willing to go to Moscow to meet with the Russians, but my counterpart is not available in Moscow. But we will then have completed the latest round of consultations with all of our partners in the Six-Party Talks, and I think we are very comfortable with where we are.

We have very solid agreement on three major items. First, that denuclearization remains the core objective and essential goal of our engagement with North Korea. Second, that we are very attached to the Six-Party process as a mechanism for achieving denuclearization. And third, that we are all committed to the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution, and we will continue our efforts to coordinate that implementation. As we have indicated in the past, the United States is willing to engage with North Korea on a bilateral basis, and we are currently considering how best to respond to a North Korean invitation for bilateral talks. We do not consider in any way that bilateral engagement is a substitute for multilateral engagement, and this is not a substitute for us for the re-ignition of the Six-Party Talks. We have not reached a decision on how to respond to this invitation, and we will be considering that in Washington over the next few weeks. I would emphasize that the results of our consultations here in the region, particularly here as well in Tokyo, will inform our decision as to how to respond to the North Koreans. So, with that I will take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: What can you say about the timing and condition of holding bilateral talks with the North Koreans and how did the Japanese say about that?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, we have made no decisions on whether and when and how to hold bilateral talks with the North Koreans, and I made that point clearly to our hosts here in Tokyo. We did discuss some of those questions, and I think we are generally in quite good agreement.

QUESTION: What do the North Koreans have to do in order to get these talks?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: To get which talks?

QUESTION: To get bilateral talks.

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Well, we have to decide that we think that these would be useful and that it’s timely. Above all, we would not want to engage with the North Koreans without the full support of our partners in the Six-Party process, because as I said, bilateral talks are not, in our estimation, a substitute over the longer term for multilateral talks and the Six-Party process.

QUESTION: Given the recent moves by North Korea, including uranium enrichment, do you see any possibility at all of the Six-Party Talks resuming soon? And if so, how and when? And if not, why not?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: My ability to see into the future is very limited. All I can do is to say that we are determined to move forward in close consultation with our partners and that all of us agree that the denuclearization has to be at the center of our agenda. As for what the North Koreans have been saying and doing with regard to some of the aspects of their nuclear program, I think I would not want to comment on that now because frankly I don’t think the information is very clear.

QUESTION: The DPJ will form a new government in Japan, and how do you expect to work with the DPJ government? Do you have any particular concerns to work with them in terms of North Korea?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: None whatsoever. I anticipate that our relationships with the new government will be as good as our relationships with the outgoing government. I did not have any contact with the DPJ while I was here this time. That would probably not have been appropriate. So our contacts with them will resume once they are in office.

QUESTION: Do you have plans to meet with them very soon?


QUESTION: With the DPJ members.

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: I don't know, I don't have any specific plans right now, but I'm sure there will be many opportunities over the next few weeks for meetings between senior American officials, including the Secretary of State, and representatives of the new government.

QUESTION: Did you meet Wu Dawei in Tokyo?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: No. I met Wu Dawei in Beijing. I enjoyed our conversations. They were very useful. But that's enough. Thank you very much.