Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
May 26, 2009

Index for Today's Briefing
    • Secretary Clinton is actively engaged / Spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning / Spoke with the FMs of China, South Korea, Japan and Australia Monday / No travel plans to the region at this time
    • Strong UNSC opposition to nuclear test / Violation of UNSC Resolution 1718 / A quick, unified response / Working to craft a strong, new resolution that imposes consequences / North Korea must pay a price for the path they are on
    • Strong statements from Russia and China
    • US wants North Korea to make the right decisions / Bring them back to the table through pressure from the international community / Multilateral process is the way to go / The door is open for North Korea, if they are ready to reverse course and engage constructively / Patience is not infinite
    • US engaged in internal deliberations / Looking at a number of options / Won't discuss specifics / Ambassador Bosworth is in Washington and fully engaged
    • US doesn't recognize North Korea as a nuclear power / Wants North Korea to give up nuclear program and fulfill commitments / Must be verifiable and transparent / Actions have consequences
    • Aware of reports of North Korea missile launches on May 25-26
    • North Korea stated it tested a nuclear explosive device / Only confirmation is a seismic event / Still analyzing data, which is consistent with a nuclear test
    • North Korea notified the State Department through diplomatic channels on May 24 of its intention to conduct a nuclear test / No timeframe for the test was given
    • US welcomes South Korea's participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative
  • IRAQ
    • Death of Embassy Baghdad Employees on May 25 near Fallujah
    • Condolences to the families of the victims
  • IRAN
    • All UNSC members are obligated to implement UNSC resolutions and sanctions on Iran
    • Condolences to President Mubarak on the death of his grandson
    • President Obama looks forward to his visit to Egypt
    • Secretary Clinton looks forward to her meeting with the Egyptian FM


12:36 p.m. EDT

MR. KELLY: Good afternoon, guys. Why don’t I bring you up to date very quickly on where we are on North Korea in terms of the Secretary’s schedule. She just got back from New York, and soon after arriving here spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia. She reiterated the importance of a quick, unified response to North Korea’s provocative action. I think as you know, she also spoke yesterday to the – to her counterparts from China, South Korea, and Japan, and she spoke as well with the Australian foreign minister.

She, of course, remains actively engaged in making sure that the international community conveys a strong message to North Korea that North Korea will pay a price for the path they’re on if they don’t reverse that particular course they’re on now.

So with that, I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: So what’s going on then in New York?

MR. KELLY: You know that there was a Security Council meeting yesterday. In terms of what’s happening today, I do have a very brief update for you. As I said, we had a very productive meeting yesterday of the Security Council. We also had some very constructive and productive consultations with our counterparts up there.

Members of the Security Council were unanimous in voicing their strong opposition to and condemnation of the nuclear test, which we believe constitutes a clear violation of Resolution 1718. And the Security members agreed to craft a resolution in response to North Korea’s reckless actions.

We are now involved with our partners up there on working on a resolution in accordance with the Council’s responsibilities. And we look forward to working with our colleagues on the Council to craft a strong, unequivocal, and unified response to North Korea’s grave violation of international law.

QUESTION: So you expect an actual resolution, not just a presidential statement this time?

MR. KELLY: At this time, we’re working on a resolution. But I’m not going to prejudge how this is all going to come out with our partners. But we believe that we should have another – we should have a new resolution.

QUESTION: And you won’t be satisfied with a presidential statement, something less than a resolution?

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not going to prejudge how this is going to come out. I mean, obviously --

QUESTION: Well, have they – you – I think you said before that they – that all the members of the Council agreed that there should be a resolution. Is that correct?



MR. KELLY: That is correct.

QUESTION: How close are the Russian and Chinese positions with the U.S. position on taking action towards North Korea?

MR. KELLY: I think you saw yesterday that there was a very swift and very decisive reaction from all the – all the – our colleagues in the five parties, or the four parties, including very strong statements from the Russian foreign ministry and the Chinese foreign ministry. And I – we look forward to working with them on coming up with a resolution that responds to this very provocative action.

QUESTION: Just one follow-up. Are you discussing with the Chinese and the Russians financial sanctions, for example?

MR. KELLY: Again, I’m just – I – we want to have a resolution that provides a strong – a strong response to – from the Security Council to this – to this provocation from North Korea. But I just – I’m not going to get into details right now in terms of what the substance of that resolution would be.


QUESTION: But you did say that North Korea is going to have to pay a price for the path that it’s on, so would that possibly include putting them back on the terrorism list against? Is that some – I mean, that’s an option that’s open to the U.S.

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I think you know we’ve had a number of internal deliberations here in Washington. There were – there was a couple meetings yesterday. We’re looking at a number of options. But again, I’m not prepared to talk about a specific option.

QUESTION: Yeah, but you can’t put them back. Isn’t it true that you concluded that you can’t put them back on the terrorism list unless they actually commit an act of terrorism?

MR. KELLY: You know, I – again, I am just – I’m not going to get into the – what the details of --

QUESTION: But that’s not an – I mean, that’s not really an option, though.

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, obviously it would have to be the subject of a review. But I’m just not prepared to go into details.

QUESTION: You said that you want a quick, unified response.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I mean, at what point does the word “quick” kind of not become part of that? I mean --

MR. KELLY: Well, we had – I think – Elise, I think we’ve seen a quick response. I think now what we have to do is we have to – we have to come up with a resolution that actually – that actually imposes some consequences. But I’m not going to get into what the final version of that resolution is going to be.

Yes, Jill.

QUESTION: Ian, exactly on that, that actually imposes consequences, what could they do that would really change the equation? Because many of these things have been tried before. Pressure has been ratcheted up. Is there anything that’s, you know, a game changer or a significantly different approach to this, or is it just more of the same? And why should it work this time?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, this Administration’s approach to this is that we want to come up with the best approach that will get North Korea to make the right decisions vis-à-vis the international community and adhere to the obligations that they’ve committed to in terms of their nuclear program, nuclear weapons program. We think the best way to do that is to – is the multilateral approach, and that the – one format of that, of course, is the Six-Party Talks, because you leverage some of North Korea’s neighbors – China, Russia, South Korea, Japan.

Obviously, to have that process work, we have to have North Korea participate in that process. So what we’re trying to do is bring international pressure to bear to get them to reverse their course and come back to the Six-Party process.

QUESTION: So just to follow, you’re saying that no matter what the North Koreans’ actions are – I mean, they just launched a nuclear test, they followed it up with several missile tests – you still want to get North Korea back to the table? I mean, you are not diverting from your kind of patient diplomacy of getting North Korea back to the table no matter what it does?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, patience, obviously, is not infinite. But we feel the door does still remain open, that we – we’re ready to engage. And we hope that North Korea will make the right choice and choose to engage constructively.

QUESTION: So this is just like, what, a distraction?

MR. KELLY: A distraction?

QUESTION: No, I’m talking about this, like, action over the weekend, because if it’s not going to have any effect on whether you decide to bring them back to the table --

MR. KELLY: Oh, no, it had a tremendous effect. I mean, we’re now --

QUESTION: Well, what – you said you still want them back to the table.

MR. KELLY: Well, we would – I mean, we would like to see them – as I said before, we would like to see them reverse course. We would like to – we would like to see them engage constructively with us. We also believe that they have to pay a price for these – this recent provocative action.

QUESTION: Can I ask you to respond to criticism that the U.S. needs more than just a part-time envoy to handle the North Korea problem? Chris Hill did it under the Bush Administration. Now there’s been some whispering about the fact that Mr. Bosworth is still dean at the Tufts school and only addressing this issue part-time.

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not going to respond to whispering. But I will say is that Ambassador Bosworth is fully engaged, full-time engaged. He participated in our senior-level deliberations yesterday. He’s in Washington today and he remains very actively engaged.

QUESTION: Ian, there are some observers, experts in the field, who do say that the North Koreans essentially have said we are going to be a nuclear power, we are giving up on all of this multilateral stuff, maybe we will deal unilaterally with the United States, but this is – that a page has been turned, that they – it’s no longer just kind of acting out, that they really do want to be a nuclear power. What do you say to that?

MR. KELLY: Well, we don’t recognize them as a nuclear power. And we believe that, first of all, that we have to respond to this recent provocative action, and so we’re working with our four-party colleagues and we’re also working through the Security Council. And we just – as I said before, we – we’re not giving up on the multilateral process.

QUESTION: What does that mean, that you don’t recognize them as a nuclear power?


QUESTION: They are.

QUESTION: You mean you’re closing your eyes and ignoring the fact that they just set off a bomb? What is – do you recognize that Pakistan is a nuclear power?

MR. KELLY: We’re not prepared – as long as North Korea continues to behave recklessly and defy the international community, we’re not – just not prepared to deal with them on any kind of basis that would imply any kind of parity with the U.S.

QUESTION: But I mean – but that said, I mean, you did the same for Pakistan, you did the same for India. I mean, at one point you didn’t want these countries to become a nuclear power. And what constitutes a nuclear power? Does that mean that you have nuclear weapons? Because clearly they have them and they’re using them.

MR. KELLY: We want them to give up in a verifiable and transparent way their nuclear programs, their nuclear weapons programs. And these are the commitments that they themselves signed up to.

Yeah, Kirit.

QUESTION: The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations told some reporters in New York today that North Korea’s nuclear program is for self-defense. Do you have any reaction to that?

MR. KELLY: I don’t have any reaction to that, no.


QUESTION: I mean, it seems to me that there is some contradiction in what you are saying – you want them to return to the table yet they have to pay a price. If -- you’re slightly undermining the threat. If you say you want them to return to the table, they may not really care about the price, because it’s never going to be high enough that they won’t be able to come back to the table.

MR. KELLY: No, I’m just saying that actions have consequences. And they’ve taken some particularly provocative actions in defiance of the international community and they need to – we need to make sure that there are consequences applied to those actions in defiance of the international community. But we also want to show them that the path that they’re on – this path of defiance – is the wrong path and that there are no rewards for them for continuing down this path. We call on them to fulfill the commitments that I mentioned before. And we want to get them to make the right choice to give up their nuclear weapons program, and we hope we can get them to that point.

QUESTION: What sort of price do you think the Chinese are willing to make the North Koreans pay? I mean, how far do you think they’re willing to go?

MR. KELLY: Well, yeah, I just – you know, I’m not going to get very far into characterizing the Chinese position except to say that they are very actively engaged in this. They also have strong objections to the North developing a nuclear weapons program, and they’re involved with us in a very constructive way.

QUESTION: Just one last follow up.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, go head.

QUESTION: I mean, what sort of signal do you think this sends to Iran when they see a country like North Korea conducting these tests and launching missiles and, you know, not really yet paying the heavier price than they have already? They seem to be able to get away with it so far.

MR. KELLY: Well, I beg to differ. I mean, this is Tuesday – this happened a couple days ago. I mean, as I said, the President has said that there – that we have to take action. We will take action. We’re involved in very intense consultations with our partners. And in terms of Iran, I mean, they have to – they have to see that this is what happens when a country defies the will of the international community. So I mean, there will be a price to pay.

I think Mark wanted a question way back.

QUESTION: Ian, I’m just wondering whether you’d agree with the assertion that given that engagement has not worked so far, economic sanctions have not worked so far, United Nations’ resolutions have not worked so far, that North Korea policy is ripe for a fundamental rethink. Would you agree with that? And would the Administration be open to fundamentally rethinking the policy at this point?

MR. KELLY: I don’t think I’m prepared to say that we’re looking at a fundamental change. We have a path forward. And we continue to believe that multilateral leverage is the way to go. Like I said before, you know, patience is not infinite, but we’re still – we’re at the point right now where we’re still leaving the door open to North Korea if they choose to engage constructively.


QUESTION: Forgive me if I’m covering ground that you have plowed already here, but there’s a couple of things I wanted to ask you about. First, Ambassador Rice made clear in her comments this morning that one of the remedies we will seek here lies outside the Security Council and in the area of greater interdiction. And so can you clarify what that will entail? Is it basically a strengthening of the Proliferation Security Initiative?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I’ll let Ambassador Rice’s words stand for themselves. I think it’s – what I’ll say from here is that we’re looking at a whole range of options, not just multilateral options, but also appropriate national measures to prevent North Korea from proliferating the technology it already has. And I think you saw what Ambassador Rice said today.

QUESTION: Well, with regard to her remarks, are there steps that the United States can take unilaterally to bolster the PSI?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think you saw that South Korea signed on to it. I have some – I do have some guidance here on the PSI, I think, that I can – that I can give you. You know that yesterday – oh, I’m sorry, today, today at 10 a.m., the Republic of Korea announced their endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative, and its statement of interdiction principles. The U.S. welcomes their participation in the PSI, and we look forward to working with the Seoul government to advance the nonproliferation goals of the PSI and its statement of interdiction principles.

And in terms of what PSI is, it’s a global, cooperative effort that aims at stopping trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.

QUESTION: How materially will the South Koreans be able to help?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I just – I don’t have the kind of implementation details that you need on this. Sorry, James.

QUESTION: A couple of other things before I yield –

QUESTION: Can we continue on PSI for one second?


MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: I mean, you know that North Korea has said that they would consider South Korea joining PSI an act of war. So does that concern you that they could possibly take even further, greater action against South Korea? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Any – any statement –

QUESTION: I don’t see why that’s funny, but –

MR. KELLY: -- of belligerence, of course, concerns me. I have not seen this statement, so I’m not – I can’t respond beyond just general response.

Yeah, James.

QUESTION: There was some peculiar wording used by senior Administration officials over the last 24 hours that I want to ask you about.

MR. KELLY: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: President Obama spoke about – in the Rose Garden yesterday about the North Koreans, quote, “decision to attempt a short-range missile launch.” And Ambassador Rice spoke this morning about efforts to launch short-range missiles.


QUESTION: Are we casting doubt on the launch, on these launches, on whether they occurred, or – why are we speaking about their efforts to launch? Are we suggesting that they were unsuccessful missile launches?

MR. KELLY: Well, I do have something for you on that, actually. It’s press reports right now. We’re aware of those press reports that they conducted three short-range missile launches on May 25th and two short-range missile launches on May 26. We are not in a position to confirm or deny those reports.

QUESTION: Lastly, the statement that was distributed last night stated that the characteristics showed – of the nuclear test showed a man-made event with an explosive yield of approximately a few kilotons TNT. On what basis was the Department able to make even a preliminary conclusion about there only having been a yield of a few kilotons?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think that was done on background, and I can’t – I’m not – I can’t really respond to comments that were done on background.

QUESTION: Is it consistent with what you believe? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Here’s what I can say, that North Korea states that it’s conducted a nuclear – I’m sorry, that it’s tested a nuclear explosive device. We have reports of a seismic event in North Korea. This event took place at approximately 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, close to the site of North Korea’s prior test of a nuclear explosive device. So that’s what we have so far.

QUESTION: What is all the – I mean, why all the kind of dancing around it? I mean, If officials are saying on background that you believe it was a nuclear test and you have a seismic event right next to it, and all of your partners that are in the vicinity are believing that it was a nuclear test, and North Korea said it was a nuclear test –


QUESTION: Why is this government dancing around the fact that North Korea conducted a nuclear test?

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, the only confirmation we have now is a seismic event.


MR. KELLY: We continue to analyze data and that’ll –

QUESTION: Well, but you’re relatively – I mean, even if you’re not 100 percent sure, you’re relatively sure it was a nuclear test. I mean, considering you went to the UN Security Council, you’re not going to the UN Security Council condemning a --

QUESTION: An earthquake.

QUESTION: -- seismic event, right? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Yeah. The – well, the seismic event was – I think what we’re responding to, of course, is the North Korean’s own admission and claim that they’re done that. That in itself is very concerning.

QUESTION: It’s concerning that they said that they did, if they didn’t?

MR. KELLY: Well, okay. It’s concerning that they said that they did, that they claimed to have conducted a nuclear test. We have empirical data that would be consistent with a nuclear test. We just haven’t confirmed it – we haven’t confirmed all the data yet.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate at all on how the North Koreans informed you that they were going to do this?

MR. KELLY: What I can say is that on May 24th, they did notify the State Department.

QUESTION: How did they do that?

MR. KELLY: They notified us of their intention.

QUESTION: Did they call the Ops Center?

MR. KELLY: They notified us of their intention to conduct a nuclear test. They didn’t give any sort of specific information on timing, and they gave us this information through diplomatic channels.

QUESTION: Was this through the New York channel?

MR. KELLY: It was through diplomatic channels.

QUESTION: So, Ian, given that you have some empirical data already in hand, granted not as much as you will in a few days or would like perhaps to have, what can you tell us at this early stage about the success or failure or size or magnitude of this test?

MR. KELLY: You know, as I say, until we confirm that it was actually a test, I don’t think we’re prepared to talk about, you know, or to try and analyze or confirm what kind of test it was or the size or these comparisons.

QUESTION: These comparisons with Hiroshima are overblown, though, correct?

MR. KELLY: You know, I’m just – again, I’m just not prepared to talk about the details of the test.

QUESTION: Can I go back? This is – why are you – if you haven’t confirmed that that’s what this is, why are you going to the Security Council?

MR. KELLY: We believe that – as I said before, you know, we had the claims of the North Koreans that they’ve conducted a test, which is disturbing in itself. We have data that would be consistent with the fact that they have conducted a test. And this required the – a very swift response from the international community – this kind of very provocative behavior in violation of international law.

QUESTION: Then you should be prepared to tell us what the data is telling you, preliminarily at least, about the scope of the test.

MR. KELLY: Well, I did. I did. I mean, I told you that the seismic event that was recorded would be consistent with what they claim to have done.

QUESTION: But how – how big? How big a–

QUESTION: Yeah, they claim to –

MR. KELLY: I can’t tell you that, James. (Laughter.) I just can’t tell you.

QUESTION: Do you think that this is a bigger seismic event than the 2006?

MR. KELLY: You know, all I can say is I’ve seen press reports that indicate that it was bigger.

QUESTION: So who are you waiting for to confirm all this, whether you can go further and say, yes, it was? I mean, who’s going to give you that information?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’ll – we should have it, I think, in a few days.

QUESTION: And would that come from intelligence sources, or where do you get that?

MR. KELLY: I’m just not prepared to go into details of it.

Yeah, Jill.

QUESTION: Ian, President Medvedev apparently is expressing some doubt about who’s running North Korea. Does Secretary Clinton share that doubt? Is there real concern that it’s unclear who is running the show?

MR. KELLY: Well, I haven’t seen President Medvedev’s comments on who’s in charge in North Korea, but I think all I’ll say is that the regime has made some very bad choices. It is going down a path of self-isolation rather than constructive engagement. This is not in the interests of the international community, obviously not in the interest of regional peace and security, and it’s not in the interest of the North Korean people. But I just am not prepared to characterize the political situation.

QUESTION: But Ian, given what they did – I mean, they launched these two albeit small missiles after the sanction – after the UN Security Council – what is the word --

MR. KELLY: Session?

QUESTION: – sanctioned, or whatever their – condemned their decision. I mean, you have a procedure right now in place where they are just constantly doing what the international community is now saying. Is this consistent with what they’ve done before? Haven’t we kind of reached a point where they are doing things that you do not expect, they’re doing them more quickly, it’s a watershed event, and we’re going in a different direction?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I guess I wouldn’t agree with you that this was unexpected. I mean, in many ways, the North Koreans signaled themselves what they were going to do. After the – after their first missile launch, the foreign ministry spokesman came out and said, unless the Security Council apologizes, we’re going to conduct a test and we’re going to shoot off missiles. And so I’m – it’s not really surprising what they’ve done.

QUESTION: The rapidity is.

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: The rapidity seems to be.

MR. KELLY: The rapidity of --

QUESTION: How quickly they did it. And then also being sanctioned or being condemned by the world community, they go and launch two more missiles just to make sure that people know. You know, that is – that seems to be deliberately provocative in a way that perhaps maybe it wasn’t quite before.

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I think that North Korea does pay attention to what the Security Council says. I mean, their reaction by the foreign ministry spokesman is an indication of that. And that’s why I think we have to have a unified response both in terms of the four parties, you know, who are in the region, and would have the – would be able to take the best measure of what will work with the North Koreans, and also in terms of the Security Council. So I just – you know, I think that we should – we have to continue down this path of multilateral pressure.

QUESTION: Ian, Secretary Clinton before she left for Asia on her first trip, kind of while she was on the plane or something, said something about the idea of succession in North Korea and that it was unclear what was going on in the country, that perhaps succession has something to do with their provocative behavior. So how much do you think that this recent behavior has to do with the power dynamics of what’s going on in the country right now, given all the reports of Kim Jong-il and his health? He looks very frail in video and things. So how much do you think that, you know, this recent provocative behavior is indicative of some kind of issue regarding succession?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I’m just not an expert on North Korean politics, so I feel myself a little out of depth talking about what’s going on internally in North Korea.

QUESTION: But, I mean, what does the State Department think about it? I mean, because obviously Secretary Clinton had said something about a month ago, and this behavior is even more –

MR. KELLY: Well, I think, you know, we’ve expressed many times our concern at the lack of openness and transparency inside North Korea. We think that the best choice for them to make is engagement rather than isolation, which is what they’re doing now. And – but, you know, beyond – I mean, I don’t really want to talk about the – whatever is going on in that very opaque culture and society.

QUESTION: But don’t you think that that has to do something with what’s going on right now? I mean, it’s not completely --

MR. KELLY: Well, there are a lot of factors that I’m sure contributed to this very provocative decision that they made. But I – as I say, the society is very opaque, and I don’t think we can really see into their decision-making process.

QUESTION: I’m curious as to what – what leads you to believe that North – to say North Korea does pay attention to what the Security Council does? Because with the exception of flaunting everything that the Security Council orders or says or does, they don’t seem to pay attention to it at all.

MR. KELLY: Well, they do respond. I mean, they --

QUESTION: Well, they responded with a nuclear test --

MR. KELLY: -- they responded immediately to the --

QUESTION: -- and missile launches. Is that the kind of paying attention --

MR. KELLY: I think that --

QUESTION: -- to the Security Council that you’re looking for?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well --

QUESTION: They’re noticing.

MR. KELLY: They are noticing. Thank you, Elise. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: But Ian --

MR. KELLY: They do notice.

QUESTION: Well, you know, then --

MR. KELLY: I don’t know if they care, but they notice.

QUESTION: What’s the utility of it, then? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: What’s the utility of what? Sorry, Matt.

QUESTION: Of action at the Security Council, if they’re – if the only way they pay attention to it is by flaunting it?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, I’ll just repeat what I said before. We think that bringing as much leverage as we can is the way to go to try and get the South Koreans to change – or South Koreans – North Koreans to change their minds.

QUESTION: Ian, given everything that’s happened over the last two days, does Secretary of State Clinton still believe, as she stated before Congress on April 30th, that she views it as being, quote, “implausible, if not impossible” to get the North Koreans to return to the Six-Party Talks? I presume she still believes that.

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, she said that at a particular moment in time when we were very frustrated by the North Koreans. I would say we’re at another particular moment – similar moment now. But I think we just – you know, we have to – what we have to do is, first of all, show them that there are consequences for their defiance, for their destabilization of regional peace and security. But we want to get them to the point where they agree to verifiably give up their nuclear weapons program. And right now, we think the multilateral approach is the best way to go.

QUESTION: So she doesn't regard it as impossible to get them to come back?

MR. KELLY: I would say that she – she didn’t say – she said, “implausible, if not.” She didn’t say it would be impossible, but “implausible, if not impossible.”

QUESTION: So she still regards it as implausible that they’re going to come back?

MR. KELLY: Well, they haven’t done – their recent actions do not inspire confidence.

Yes, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Ian, earlier when you were talking about the size of this apparent nuclear explosion, the official Russian reports have given that number of the 10 to 20 kilotons, and the background guidance we got was several kilotons.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: When are we going to be able to get – I mean, that suggests that you have other information, that the State Department has other information that contradicts the Russian official information.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

MR. KELLY: No. (Laughter.) I mean, we – there’s a lot of data that we have to analyze, and we still haven’t been able to analyze all the data.

QUESTION: When will we know and --

MR. KELLY: I think it’ll be in the very, very near future. I hope in a matter of days, but I just – I’m sorry, I can’t get pinned down on it.

QUESTION: So who analyzes that data?

MR. KELLY: We have a number of national technical means for us to analyze it.

QUESTION: And secondly, when the last test took place in 2006, Secretary – then-Secretary Rice hopped on a plane and did a quick tour to try and get – to get a lot of support for UN Security Council action. Does Secretary Clinton have any plans to go to the region in the next few days?

MR. KELLY: There aren’t any plans at present for her to go to the region.

QUESTION: Is that because she thinks that it can all be handled at the Security Council and there’s no need to do kind of hands-on diplomacy and do a tour?

MR. KELLY: No, I wouldn't – I mean, she is very hands-on. She is very engaged. As I said, she’s reached out to a number of foreign ministers. And I’m not going to rule anything in or rule anything out.

QUESTION: But I’m confused about something. You say you want North Korea to stop their kind of provocative behavior.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And they have to pay consequences.


QUESTION: But every time you’ve sought consequences or, you know, condemn them or anything, they do further provocative behavior and they further destabilize the region. So how do you break that cycle?

MR. KELLY: Well --

QUESTION: I mean, because obviously if you put some more consequences on them, they’re going to do something else.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I’ll – I think I’ve already said this. I think that what was striking is – was the rapidity – not rapidity, that’s the wrong word – how quickly our four-party colleagues responded on this and how quickly the Security Council responded on this.

QUESTION: And also how quickly North Korea responded to that.

MR. KELLY: You mean with the --

QUESTION: Some more missiles.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I mean, we – as I said, it’s only Tuesday. We’re still involved in talks at the Security Council. We’re still involved in looking at whatever national measures we can take. We just haven’t brought everything to bear, obviously, so let’s give it some time.

QUESTION: Are you saying that you think at some point North Korea is going to overplay its hand and you’ll get such a strong international reaction that – the Chinese in particular , you need them --

MR. KELLY: No, I’m just saying that this was such a clear violation of international law and Resolution 1718 that we have remarkable unity in – on the Security Council and among our four-party colleagues.

QUESTION: Just following up on Sue’s question, I think within a couple of months after the 2006 tests, Chris Hill went and met one-on-one with the North Koreans, and that proved to go a long way in getting them to come back to the Six-Party Talks --


QUESTION: -- which had been stalled up until that point. Would you consider something similar this time?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re considering a lot of things. Like I say, I’m just not going to rule anything in or rule anything out.

And I’m going to take one more question on North Korea. Yes.

QUESTION: You said that North Korea notified the State Department about their intention on the nuclear test, and then U.S. official said immediately after U.S. got the notification from North Korea they notified Japan, South Korea, China. And then the Japanese Government claimed that they got notification from U.S. after the nuclear test.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You – how do you respond to that – their claim?

MR. KELLY: You know, I’m just going to – I’m going to take that question, if you don’t mind.

QUESTION: One more on North Korea?

MR. KELLY: I said one more. Well, okay, one more after that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) regarding the North Korea has nuclear test, some source said hidden intentions of North Korea is to get direct talks with United States.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: What is your comment?

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not going to respond to whatever kind of hidden intentions the North Koreans may have had on this.

So we got another issue? New subject. Yes, Elise.

QUESTION: Can you say anything about the U.S. contractors in Iraq that were killed over the weekend?

MR. KELLY: Yes, I can. It’s always a very said day when one of my colleagues is killed, of course. Just give me a moment.

On the afternoon of May 25th, a vehicle carrying Embassy Baghdad employees near Fallujah drove over an improvised explosive device. Two U.S. civilians and one military employee died as a result of the explosion. There was a State Department employee killed in the attack who was serving in our office in Baghdad. A Department of Defense civilian detailed to Embassy Baghdad was also killed. A third Department of Defense military employee was killed as well in the explosion.

We offer our condolences and utmost sympathy to the families of those killed in the attack. The employees were returning from an inspection of a U.S. Government-funded water treatment plant under construction in Fallujah.

QUESTION: Can you say more about the State Department employee, what they did?

MR. KELLY: Right now, I can’t tell you. But I’ll get back to you, if you don’t mind.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: And just continuing my guidance here, they were working in cooperation with local Iraqi authorities on the project, the water treatment project, the largest and most comprehensive ever undertaken in Iraq. The goal was to bring help to the people of war-torn Anbar province, who have suffered some of the worst violence at the hands of the insurgents, to build infrastructure, and to provide needed services.

Yes, Matt.

QUESTION: Yeah, Iran. Does the United States have any reason to believe that Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium?

MR. KELLY: I do have something for you on that, Matt. And we refer you to the Israeli Government to speak to the alleged Israeli report.

QUESTION: Well, I’m not asking about that report. I’m asking if you have any reason to believe --

MR. KELLY: I’ll just say that all UN members are obligated to implement existing UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions on Iran.

QUESTION: Well, that’s great. (Laughter.) But does the United States have any reason to believe that Bolivia and Venezuela are supplying Iran with uranium?

MR. KELLY: We are committed to the robust implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions on Iran. We’re certainly monitoring for any indication or any actions that might be in breach of the resolutions.

QUESTION: All right --

QUESTION: Do you have any indications that there has been a breach?

MR. KELLY: You know, we’ve just seen reports of this alleged Israeli report.

QUESTION: Different topic?


QUESTION: There’s a Brazilian report in a newspaper down there that Brazil has picked up a high-level al-Qaida operative. Have you been informed of that, and do you have anything to say about that?

MR. KELLY: You know, I haven’t seen that report, I’m afraid.

QUESTION: Different topic?


QUESTION: We have a report out of London today that the U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the U.S. may accept targets for reducing its greenhouse gases in an international treaty even if China doesn’t.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So does that mean there’s a new policy or a shifted policy, because this is different from what --

MR. KELLY: These were reports of the Energy Secretary?

QUESTION: We have our own story, yes --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- that the Energy Secretary said this.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I’ll just have to refer to you the Energy Department on that. I haven’t seen the reports.

QUESTION: Has the State Department changed its policy? Because Todd Stern had said prior --

MR. KELLY: Well, I think we’re still reviewing our policy. But regarding her comments --


MR. KELLY: His, sorry. Regarding the Secretary’s comments, I’d refer you to the Energy Department.

QUESTION: And so in terms of the State Department having anything new on going forward with targets even if China doesn’t, the State Department has not changed its position?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, let me see if I can just get you more information on that.

QUESTION: That would be great. Thank you.


QUESTION: On the Secretary’s meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister tomorrow, do you have a rundown of the topics to be discussed or who from the State Department will be present during the working lunch?

MR. KELLY: No, I don’t have that for you. But if I can get you information, I will.

QUESTION: Is – do you have the same prospects for a peace in general in the Middle East without the visit from Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak? Does him not coming to Washington change your view on the Middle East peace process or moving the Roadmap forward?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think you’ve seen the White House’s statements on that, that we offer him condolences for the death of his grandson. We, of course, look forward to the President’s trip to Cairo, and Secretary Clinton looks forward to her meeting tomorrow with the foreign minister.

QUESTION: Can I just ask one last question about her meeting tomorrow? Who is the democracy activist that she’ll be meeting with in the afternoon?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I just – I don’t have any information for you right now.

QUESTION: A follow-up on that?

MR. KELLY: New subject or --

QUESTION: The same subject, a follow-up.


QUESTION: I mean, the issue of the human right – that’s something President Obama will take it up with President Mubarak when he go there, because there is a schedule for human rights activist to meet Secretary Hillary yester – tomorrow. At the same time, you know, she’s going to meet the Egyptian foreign minister. So is there any link and connection – concern about human right?

MR. KELLY: Right, yeah. I’ll just have to – I’ll have to refer you to the White House on any questions of the President’s schedule.

QUESTION: Yeah, but the meetings are going to happen here in the State Department – the human rights activist.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I’m sorry --

QUESTION: So my question is State Department --

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I don’t have any information right now on the meeting that I can give you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:17 p.m.)

DPB # 85

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[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - May 26]

Short URL: http://m.state.gov/md123849.htm