Remarks at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea

Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Seoul, South Korea
May 17, 2011

[Also Available in Chinese]

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be back in Seoul. I have just come from a meeting with Ambassador Wi Sung-lac. We had very good and constructive conversations addressing where we now are in our joint effort with regard to North Korea and the North Korean nuclear program. And we also looked at the future and talked about things that we might do to be ready for future developments. I can say without any hesitation that the atmosphere and reality of coordination between the United States and South Korea is very, very good. We have full and open communication, and it is our firm intention to continue that kind of coordination as we move forward. I will be meeting with other South Korean officials here in the remainder of today and tomorrow before returning to the United States. So I would be happy to take one or two questions.

QUESTION: What is Washington’s stance regarding President Lee Myung-bak’s proposal last week, of a conditional invitation for North Korea to attend next year’s Nuclear Security Summit?

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: I think we are in favor of that. It doesn’t seem that the North Koreans are very enthusiastic but we’ll see.

QUESTION: Are you agreed on what the gestures should be from North Korea? South Korea says it wants a concrete gesture of sincerity. Are you agreed on what that gesture should be?

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: I think it is better if we allow the South Koreans to get into that question. It is not something that the U.S. is in a position to interpret.

QUESTION: Will Ambassador Robert King be going to North Korea, and if so, when?

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: We will be making a decision on that in the next few days and it will be announced from Washington. We had a good discussion today on the North Korean request for food assistance, and I think we have largely reached a common view on that. And we will be addressing that as we move ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, there are reports that there are differences between the U.S. and the ROK on the topic of food aid to North Korea. Could you tell us whether or not there is any basis to these reports, whether or not there is any…

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: I am not going to get into the respective positions of the two countries, Don, but I think we have a very strong common view of how to proceed in the future. One more question, and then I am going to have to...

QUESTION: What do you think about China’s efforts to delay the expert panels’ reports in the United States Congress [sic].

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: The ... on the sanctions issue?

QUESTION: According to the New York Times, China tried to delay the …

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BOSWORTH: You mean UEP? Well, I think our position on UEP has been very clear and consistent from the very beginning. We believe that this is an activity on the part of the North Koreans which is illegal under various UN Security Council Resolutions, and is contrary to various undertakings that we have received from them and that other countries have received from them. So, on the basic question of the program, we don’t think there is any ambiguity and we certainly have no ambivalence on our side. So, thank you all very much.