Remarks to Media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Tokyo, Japan
December 12, 2011

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: I simply want to say that I’ve had a very good set of meetings here at the Foreign Ministry, first with Director General Sugiyama and then with Vice Foreign Minister Sasae, and of course we talked about a range of issues that relate to North Korea. For me personally, this is a very important stop on my trip through North Asia – it began in Seoul, now we’ve come here, and we’ll go on to Beijing – because the job I’ve come from in Vienna, where I was working with Yukiya Amano at the IAEA, was one where I was able to work on a number of subjects that related to Japan’s interests, the U.S.’s interests, as related to the International Atomic Energy Agency. So for me, it’s wonderful to come back to Japan, a country I first visited 40 years ago at the age of 13, in this new role as the Special Representative for North Korea, and to talk about ways in which the U.S.-Japan Alliance can be strengthened as regards issues that relate to North Korea. So, thank you all very much for coming out, it’s wonderful to be here. I plan to come back often, so we’ll have lots of chances to talk, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you very much, appreciate it.

QUESTION: Did you discuss when to resume the Six-Party Talks?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We talked about the various scenarios that could occur. But I think the basic, the most important point that has to be underscored is: it really is up to North Korea to take the right steps. They need to change their behavior; they need to cease their provocative actions; they need to fulfill their obligations to denuclearize; they need to fulfill their obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions; abide by the armistice. I think everybody knows the essential elements that are there. And we may have a chance in the coming period, relatively soon, to test the proposition that North Korea is ready to do the right things, to take the right pre-steps, so that we can begin to contemplate an eventual return to the Six-Party Talks.

QUESTION: Did you discuss about North Korea’s missile threat, including possible development of new mobile ICBMs?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We talked about a wide range of issues. I have to point out that I’ve been here now for a couple of hours at the Foreign Ministry; I have many more meetings to go in Tokyo, including more time that I will have with the Director General, Mr. Sugiyama. So we will have an opportunity to talk, I’m sure, in more depth about all of the issues that relate to North Korea and the challenge that we all face in convincing North Korea to do the right thing. Thanks so much.

QUESTION: Is there a possibility of meeting with North Korean officials sometime soon?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, it remains to be seen. As I’ve said, we need the North to take some actions, and this is one of the reasons I came here to Tokyo, to ensure that the United States and the Government of Japan are as closely aligned as possible, and that there is absolutely no daylight between our positions, and that there’s a very strong and deep understanding between Washington and Tokyo about what it is that we mutually need to see happen in order to get back to discussions with the North. It could be, if the North sends the right signals about what they’re prepared to do, that in relatively short order we could get back to having a third bilateral discussion with them. But we’re not there yet. We still have some ground to cover. It could happen quickly, I don’t know. But again, what’s important is that we’re having an excellent opportunity here in Tokyo to talk to the government, compare notes, and ensure that this aspect of the very strong and important Alliance between Japan and the United States of America is as strong as possible. So, again, thank you all very much.

QUESTION: What do you look for from China in terms of helping to bring North Korea back to the talks?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, I will go to Beijing next. I have yet to meet face-to-face with Wu Dawei, but I’ll have a chance in the coming days to do so. He and I have spoken on the phone. I think I’ll leave that until I have an opportunity to go to Beijing and discuss these issues with the government in Beijing. You know, I’ve been on the job now full-time for about a week-and-a-half, so I’m still slightly in a learning phase. But so far, I’ve been very, very pleased with my discussions here in Tokyo. The first meeting I had was with the family members of abductees. That was a particularly moving meeting. I learned an awful lot from them about the issues that relate to the abductee issue, the elements that make that up. And that is an issue that is always at the forefront of our thinking, it will never leave our thoughts. And as we go forward, we will raise it at every opportunity, whenever we have contact with the DPRK. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.