Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
December 22, 2009

Index for Today's Briefing
    • The Secretary and Japan's PM met briefly in Copenhagen; the U.S. feels that the current plan for the realignment is the best way to go forward; we are continuing to work with the Government of Japan and the Realignment Roadmap High-Level Working Group
  • DPRK
    • "Rumors of the demise of the Six-Party Talks have been greatly exaggerated" and the U.S. and other Six-Party members continue to urge North Korea to return to the talks; recent meetings in Pyongyang were hopeful; however, future actions by North Korea will speak louder than words
    • The results of talks in Copenhagen bear out that verification aspects are among the most important ingredients in any successful climate change progress; access to data will allow for the kind of transparency that is necessary


QUESTION: Do you have any readout of the Secretary’s meetings yesterday with the Japanese ambassador? I had heard she called him in to talk about Futenma.

MR. CROWLEY: The – I think the Japanese ambassador came by to see both Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell, stopped by to see Secretary Clinton. During the course of the meeting, the ambassador gave us an indication that they needed more time to work through issues related to the basing agreement. We continue to believe that the current plan provides the best way forward, but we’ll continue our discussions with Japan on this issue.

QUESTION: You said that – “stopped by.” You wouldn’t describe him as being called in on a --

MR. CROWLEY: All right, let me --

QUESTION: -- day when the government was being closed and --

MR. CROWLEY: He was – I think – my – I mean, he – I don’t think he was called in. I think actually he came to see us.


QUESTION: There were some reports in the Japanese press that the Secretary perhaps took issue with some comments that the prime minister had made in Copenhagen. He said something like she showed understanding, or basic understanding over the Futenma issue. Can you confirm?

MR. CROWLEY: I was with the Secretary in Copenhagen, and she had an encounter with the prime minister in the hallway as they were both moving to meetings. I think they also interacted during the course of a dinner there hosted by the Queen of Denmark. I don’t know, very specifically, what the nature of their discussions were. Obviously, this remains important to us and we will continue to work with the Japanese Government on these issues.

We continue to think that the realignment plan that currently exists is the best way in reducing the burden on Okinawa and – but maintaining our ability to defend Japan and to maintain security in the region. I think the message that Japan gave to us yesterday was just it’s going to take a little more time.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: One more on Japan.

MR. CROWLEY: All right. We have some – we’re – go ahead.

QUESTION: Can I ask on North Korea? Has the U.S. suggested North Korea setting the liaison office in Pyongyang or diplomatic office? Has the U.S. suggested North Korea setting a diplomatic office in Pyongyang?

MR. CROWLEY: You had a briefing last week by Steve Bosworth. I’m not aware that this issue came up.

QUESTION: And one more question on North Korea.


QUESTION: We know that U.S. has been in close consultation with South Korea and other countries to find a way to resume the Six-Party Talk. And South Korean official said today in Seoul that it’s very important to resume the Six-Party Talk before February. And if we fail to do that, the Six-Party Talk could be dead. So is – that timeframe is why you were talking with other countries to resume the talk? Is that the timeframe discussed now?

MR. CROWLEY: There have been a number of times where people declared the Six-Party process dead before. I think those claims of mortality have been premature. As Ambassador Bosworth told you last week, our message to North Korea during his recent visit to Pyongyang was very clear. We want to see North Korea return to the Six-Party process. We thought we had a constructive meeting, but we obviously await a formal indication from North Korea as to what it’s prepared to do.

QUESTION: But you haven’t gotten that indication yet from North Korea?


QUESTION: Can I go to (inaudible)?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) How do you make sure that the commitments made by these countries – four countries plus U.S.A. are adhered to?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m glad you asked that question. I mean, one of the significant issues when the Secretary arrived on Thursday morning and worked through these issues during the day on Thursday and the President on Friday was, in fact, to make sure that there was a significant verification aspect to the accord. And we think, at the end of the day, through some very intensive dialogue by the President and the Secretary with world leaders, that what emerged from Copenhagen, in fact, have – has the kind of transparency and mechanism so that, in fact, we can have access to data with – not in an intrusive way, but just so we’ll have sufficient transparency and access to data so that everyone can fairly evaluate whether countries are living up to their agreements.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: There was a document discovered yesterday in Japan that seems to confirm a U.S. and Japanese agreement over nuclear weapons to be stationed in Japan, a secret pact. Are you aware of this document’s existence and --

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take the question.


QUESTION: (Inaudible.) P.J., I’m sorry. (Inaudible) question on Futenma. Do you think (inaudible) makes the decision on Futenma issue for the proper timeline for the U.S.?

MR. CROWLEY: As we’ve said many times, the Japanese have told us as late as yesterday that they need some additional time to work through these issues, and we will continue our discussions with them.

QUESTION: And also, (inaudible) the U.S.-Japan relationship?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, Japan has a new government in place. We understand that transitions can be difficult. We’ve just gone through one of our own. Now, we will continue to work with Japan. And obviously, we have concerns potentially about the impact that this will have on the timeline for implementation of the existing plan, but we will continue to work very closely with Japan to help resolve the questions that it has.

Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:24 p.m.)