Remarks to Reporters at the Westin Chaoyang Hotel

Sung Kim
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Beijing, China
January 30, 2015

AMBASSADOR KIM: Good afternoon everyone. It is great to be back in Beijing. We have had some developments since I last visited about six weeks ago. This was a good opportunity to exchange views and compare notes with our Chinese interlocutors. We had very productive and detailed discussion on various developments as well as the way forward. And I think I can tell you that we remain very much committed to denuclearization of North Korea and we will be working very hard, together with the other parties in the Six-Party process, to try and make some progress on this very important issue. Questions?

QUESTION: What do you think about North Korea’s recent relationship with Russia? Do you think North Korea is trying to lessen its dependence on China by looking to Russia more?

AMBASSADOR KIM: I am obviously aware that Russia and North Korea have had some senior level contact and reports that Kim Jong-un may be planning to visit Moscow. I think what is important is Russia’s position on the nuclear issue and they have made very clear in diplomatic communication with us, but also publicly, that Russia remains committed to the Six-Party Process and to our shared goal of denuclearization. And they have, in fact, made it very clear that they would strongly oppose nuclear testing or any nuclear activity by North Korea. I think that is the important point.

QUESTION: Ambassador, there was a media report that the U.S. side offered a bilateral with North Korea in Beijing shortly before your trip here. Can you confirm and comment?

AMBASSADOR KIM: We have made it very clear publicly that we are open to engagement, substantive dialogue with North Korea about the issue of denuclearization. I don’t want to get into details of diplomatic communication, but North Koreans were aware that I would be in the region and I think they understood that this would be an opportunity for substantive dialogue on the nuclear issue. But unfortunately, we are not having a meeting on this trip.

QUESTION: Ambassador, they are reports that China last year sent a total of zero tons of crude oil to North Korean for the first time. Do you have any comments on those reports and whether that is accurate?

AMBASSADOR KIM: Well, I can tell you that in general we continue to have very close cooperation and coordination with China on all aspects of our North Korea policy. And that includes sanctions enforcement. I think we have very effective cooperation with China on sanctions enforcement.

QUESTION: Did you discuss or did Ambassador Wu Dawei explain how China would improve the relationship between China and DPRK? Did you discuss this issue?

AMBASSADOR KIM: Well, we discussed many aspects of our approach on North Korea. China is very committed to the denuclearization of North Korea. They’re willing to work with us very closely, as well as with other parties in the process, to persuade North Korea [to come] back to credible and serious negotiations. There’s been no change in China’s commitment.

QUESTION: Do you believe the improvement of both countries’ relationship will be a [inaudible] in terms of, you know, this denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula issues?

AMBASSADOR KIM: I’m sorry, improvement of relations between China and ...

QUESTION: Between China and the DPRK.

AMBASSADOR KIM: China has a very special relationship with North Korea. They have a long history of ties with North Korea, and we expect that China will use its leverage and its leadership of the Six-Party Process to try to persuade North Korea [to come] back to serious and credible negotiations.

QUESTION: Ambassador, you said at the beginning that you made some developments since you’ve been here the last time. Can you elaborate about what kind of developments you made, that you’re talking about?

AMBASSADOR KIM: No, I meant there have been developments with regards North Korea, not that U.S. and China have had developments. I think you all know about the developments. First of all they conducted a very destructive and unprecedented cyber-attack against a U.S. corporation, very discouraging. And then they made this proposal to suspend nuclear testing in exchange for suspension of our military exercises with South Korea. There have been a couple of other developments, but those are the things that we discussed with Chinese colleagues. This was also a topic for discussion in our trilateral as well as bilateral meetings in Tokyo.

QUESTION: Ambassador, President Obama mentioned the possibility of collapse of the North Korean regime, or that a regime like North Korea will collapse. So what do you think is his intention, and are you negotiating with, collapsing the regime?

AMBASSADOR KIM: Look, I think anyone who saw the YouTube video will know the President was talking about the flow of information, and that when a lot of information starts to flow into a country, it’s inevitable that there will be some positive changes. And I think we’ve seen that over and over in many different contexts. That’s all he was talking about. There’s been no change in our position, our fundamental position that we’re willing to deal with the government that’s in power in North Korea if they will work with us sincerely towards credible negotiations on the nuclear issue. We’re ready to engage them.

QUESTION: About the U.S.-North Korea bilat. Have you discussed with China about that, and what position do they take on that, the bilat?

AMBASSADOR KIM: Well, I think the current position among all parties, including the U.S. and China, is that we should look for opportunities for substantive engagement with North Korea. The question is not what we are willing to do, I think the question is whether the North Koreans are ready for any serious and productive discussion on the nuclear issue, and that’s something that we’re continuing to look for.

QUESTION: Ambassador, did you raise the cyber-security issue in the discussion with the Chinese, your counterparts?

AMBASSADOR KIM: We have been in constant communication with them, from the moment that we determined, we concluded, that North Korea was behind the cyber-attack and that was a topic for discussion this time as well. OK? Thank you very much. Bye.