Remarks at Incheon Airport, Korea

Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Incheon Airport, South Korea
September 9, 2013

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Hello, everyone. I just want to say, it’s terrific to be back in Seoul. My last visit was a few months ago. I look forward very much to consulting with the members of the ROK government, in particular, with my good friend and colleague, Ambassador Cho Taeyong at MOFA. Also, I’ll have meetings at the Ministry of Unification, other meetings at the Foreign Ministry, and I will consult with both colleagues at the Embassy and then also at USFK. Tomorrow I’ll have a chance to say something more extended after my meetings with the Government of the Republic of Korea.

This is the first stop of a three-stop trip. From here, I will go on with my colleagues to Beijing for discussions with the Chinese government, and then I’ll wrap up in Tokyo at the end of the week before returning to Washington. So, at this stage I don’t really have a lot of comment that I wish to make. I want to reserve that until tomorrow. Unless there are burning questions that your editors and producers need to have answered right now, I’d like to get in and get some sleep. But with that, any quick questions or we’ll wait until tomorrow?

QUESTION: Are you going to take part in the 1.5 meetings proposed by China?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, I haven’t yet gotten to Beijing. I need to get to Beijing and when I do, I’ll have the chance to talk to Chinese authorities about that. Our view is that of course, we can’t get back to the Six-Party Talks until we see a much greater degree of willingness on the part of North Korea to take the steps that it has already promised to take. So, our concern now is with North Korean attitudes towards denuclearization. They’ve gone in the opposite direction from the commitments that they’ve made before.

At the same time, the five parties, I think, are more united than ever on what the Six-Party Talks could accomplish if we can get back to that stage. But right now, quite frankly, after all of the provocations of the spring, after all of the announcements and pronouncements of North Korea indicating that they wish to have themselves accepted as a nuclear weapons state, it’s difficult to imagine how a Six-Party round could be productive just at the moment. So, we will have consultations here in Seoul, and then again in Beijing and in Tokyo on all of these subjects. I look forward to moving forward in close coordination with our friends, allies, and partners in the Five-Party process.

QUESTION: Has the attitude with concrete action for the denuclearize….? [sic ]

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: We’re calling for North Korea to take concrete action. The problem is they have for so many times in recent months and years engaged in behavior and made pronouncements that walked back or stepped back from their previous commitments -- it makes it very hard to imagine how the Six-Party could be fruitful at the moment. And it doesn’t’ really make sense to reconvene the six parties until we are in a position where we know we can make progress moving forward. And that is first and foremost up to North Korea because the purpose of the Six-Party process is to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, which in effect means that North Korea needs to move forward to denuclearize, not go in the other direction, which is what they’ve been doing. So, I don’t want to have an extended press conference here. I thank you very much for coming out to the airport. I love coming to Seoul. I look forward to talking to people here and seeing again a bit of this beautiful city. And I’ll see most of you, I hope, tomorrow at MOFA. Thank you very much.