Diplomacy Six-Party Talks

Did North Korea Renege? Watch Chris Hill Not Say!

Two days ago,  I posted about a Tokyo Shimbun  report that  the North Koreans said they’d only include three sites around Yongbyon in their disclosure.  If true, that means the North Koreans have  renounced this deal, and it’s game over. 

Also two days ago, Chris Hill held an on-the-record briefing at the State Department, and Chris Hill’s skill at schmoozing a mostly  admiring media while telling them (and us) almost nothing was a wonder to see.  There’s no money quote I can really give you here, because the efforts of  a few  determined journalists  to get Hill to clarify what the North Koreans actually said at Shenyang were long and tortuous.  Clearly,  Hill  became irritated with it.  Here’s just a small sample,  but watch or read  the whole thing  yourself.     

QUESTION: Well, okay, that’s what I didn’t — but you talked about — that there were elements there and you kind of dismissed the Japanese newspaper report as talking about the opening statement. But I never really got a sense from your answer as to what the North Korean position was at the end of those meetings.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: That’s because I didn’t want to tell you what their position was because they’re — (laughter) — you know, it’s not for me to stand here and tell you about the North Korean position.


ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: But I can tell you our position. But I did feel it was worth mentioning that the press reports — I didn’t say “Japanese,” by the way — the press reports concerned opening statements in Shenyang.

QUESTION: So you think that they’ve moved beyond those opening statements —

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: (Laughter.) I think we have a basis for moving forward —

Video of the full briefing here: