Remarks Upon Arrival at Gimpo Airport

James B. Steinberg
Deputy Secretary of State
Seoul, South Korea
June 2, 2009

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: On behalf of President Obama and Secretary Clinton I am very pleased to be here in South Korea. This is a very important moment for all of us and an opportunity to consult closely on the challenges that the United States and South Korea and the other countries in the region face in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear program. I’m looking very much forward to meeting with President Lee and Foreign Minister Yu and the entire team here. On behalf of our delegation we know these will be very fruitful and productive discussions and I’m confident this will lead to even closer cooperation as we go forward.

QUESTION: Is the United States, up to now, single-handedly imposing financial sanctions on North Korea?

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: No, quite the contrary. The United States is working very closely with all our partners in the region. I had a chance along with Secretary Gates to meet with South Korea’s Defense Minister in Singapore at the Shangri-La conference. We had very good collaborative discussions with Prime Minister Aso, Foreign Minister Nakasone and all of our colleagues in Japan. We will be going from here to Beijing to discuss how to work together because we are quite convinced that the only effective way to convince North Korea to take a different approach is to work collaboratively both in New York as we are doing together in the UN Security Council and here in the region. This is going to take an effort by all of us to be united and have a common approach and that’s what our consultations are all about. We don’t have all the answers here; we’re here to consult and to develop a common strategy going forward.

QUESTION: Approximately how strong a piece of action do you expect this time from the United States and from the Six Parties?

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: I think what we are seeing is a very clear sense by all the other five members to the Six Party Talks that they are deeply concerned by the actions of North Korea; that they see this as destabilizing and dangerous to the region. We’ve been very pleased by the fact that there is this common analysis to the problem. And I’m confident from hearing from Ambassador Rice from New York that we’re coming around to a common approach and I’m sure we’re going to get even more common efforts as we go forward.

QUESTION: The Quarterly reports that you have not shared creative ideas with your Japanese partners. Can you share some concrete details about that?

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Part of the reason we’re here is to have a chance to have good conversations with our colleagues from South Korea. I’m looking forward to hearing the ideas of President Lee and the Foreign Minister and the other members of the South Korean government who are interested in this question and the Prime Minister and others. We’re very pleased we’re having such good meetings here and we are being so warmly welcomed by such a broad range of officials in the South Korean government.

QUESTION: Why has the Russian schedule been canceled?

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Just because of logistics. The Foreign Minister is out of town and so we’re going to look forward to seeing him in the next few days. They have the St. Petersburg economic summit going on so a number of their officials are busy while we’re here. The Secretary has had extremely good conversations with Foreign Minister Lavrov. The Russians have been very, very helpful and very supportive in the New York conversation. So it’s really just a logistical in scheduling.

Careful! Don’t want to lose any of the photographers!

QUESTION: You want strong and unified action, right?

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Strong and unified action. Absolutely.
Happy to be here! Delighted to be here! Glad to see so many of our good friends in Korea. It’s really a great pleasure to be here. Thank you very much.