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Thursday, May 24, 2012



Remarks to the Media in Tokyo

Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
May 24, 2012
AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Hello, everybody. Let me just spend one quick minute giving you a report on what I’ve done today. I’ve had three very good meetings: I met with Shinsuke Sugiyama, Director General Sugiyama, and we had a very good meeting. I also had a chance to pay a call on Vice Foreign Minister Sasae, and Senior Vice Minister Yamaguchi. We talked about all aspects of North Korea. Japan is an indispensable player on the North Korea issue; a key member of the Six-Party Talks; and of course, as everyone knows, we have no closer ally in North Asia than Japan. And so Japan, Korea, and the United States, our relationship – when it comes to all issues of peace and security, and in particular my issue of North Korea, representing the United States Government – our relationship, our conversations are very important to us. So this was a chance for me to follow up my visit to Seoul, South Korea, where we had a trilateral meeting with Japan and the ROK, and second, my visit to Beijing where I met with Chinese officials to talk about the current state of affairs on North Korea policy.
Tomorrow, I will have an opportunity that I look forward to very much to talk to representatives of the families of abductees and some of the family members themselves. And after that, I will return to Washington to report on my activities here in Tokyo, in Beijing, and in Seoul. So thank you very much for coming today, it’s wonderful to see you. And perhaps tomorrow, you may be at some of the ministries when I pay calls on officials. If you have any questions, I’m happy to try to answer them – but otherwise, I’ve got a schedule and I’ve got to run off and go to other things. But any questions you may have, I’m happy to try to answer them.

QUESTION: On behalf of all other reporters, I’m going to ask you a first question. My name is Karube from Kyodo News. With the information you have obtained so far from Beijing and other places, how do you assess the possibility of North Korea taking fresh provocative actions? Ambassador, frankly speaking, do you see that the likelihood is growing?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Yes, well, of course, I did not talk to North Korea on this trip. And I think what’s important to stress about this issue is that it is up to North Korea to make decisions about what it does. The signals that we are trying to send to them, the messages that we are sending to them – and we do sometimes communicate with them, in particular through the New York channel – is that it’s important that they think very carefully about the actions that they take, because their actions do have consequences. And as I’ve said before, provocations we take very seriously, along with most of the rest of the world community, and certainly the other members of the Six-Party Talks.
Prior to their launch of a missile on April 13, we were all telling North Korea that it would be provocative and it would be a miscalculation, and we called on them not to go forward with that step. They went ahead and did that. That is unfortunate. That represents a missed opportunity on their part. That, in fact, is a setback, I think, very much, to diplomacy, and made it impossible for us to go forward in our bilateral track as we had begun actually almost a year ago, before our first meeting in July in Washington, followed up in October in Geneva, and then finally in Beijing in February, where we achieved that modest deal. So, that was, we think, a miscalculation. And we are essentially repeating the same message to them now: that it would be a serious miscalculation were they to go ahead with another provocation. So we hope that they don’t do that.

We hope that what they will do instead is concentrate their energy and their efforts on fulfilling their undertakings, their promises that they’ve made for many years, in particular as represented by the September 2005 Joint Statement; that they will take seriously the word of the international community as expressed in a number of United Nations Security Council Resolutions; and instead of devoting resources to prestige projects or vanity projects such as launching missiles, instead they’ll devote their resources to feeding and educating their own people, and they’ll devote their diplomatic energies to opening themselves up to the rest of the world, abiding by their commitments, and finding a way forward with all of us. That’s where we are right now. So I don’t have any particular wisdom or judgment to give you on whether or not it’s more likely or less likely that they will engage in another provocation. We hope they don’t, and we’re listening to what they say. We always will be open to messages from them, and we will simply have to wait to see what direction they go in and draw the appropriate conclusions and take the necessary steps if they do miscalculate again. But we hope that they don’t.
In any event, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. I may see some of you tomorrow. I’ll be in Tokyo overnight and then I have to go back and report to my boss, the Secretary of State, in Washington. It’s been a pleasure to chat with you, and perhaps I’ll see you again.

QUESTION: Briefly, one more: how about the statement two days ago, released by the North that they did not intend nuclear testing. Does this something change your perception about the DPRK’s intention, or simply, how do you analyze this?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, it’s a difficult statement to analyze, because I think there were several different messages embedded in the statement. Some have said that it may mean that they don’t intend to test a nuclear device; others view it as a warning to the United States. So it’s a little difficult to know. It’s a mixed message, and what we’re looking for is really an end to mixed messages from North Korea, and a beginning of a more positive track with them, based on better decisions from them about the choices they make. And that’s really where we are diplomatically with North Korea. So I don’t have any particular interpretations that I can make to you about that. We study it, we study all the messages. But I think more important than talk are actions. And I think we’re looking for positive actions from them.

Anyway, I’ve got to run. Thank you very much for coming out today, I really appreciate it. All the very best.
QUESTION: How (inaudible) worried about the launching pad after they, Musudan-ri…

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, as I said, I think it would be better if they were to devote their resources to – you heard me say it – feeding and educating their own people, rather than engaging in these kinds of very expensive technological projects. But thank you very much.