Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
September 13, 2013

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: It’s wonderful to be in Tokyo so soon after the terrific announcement on the Olympic Games, and I personally congratulate all Japanese on winning the right to host the Olympics. But I am here of course in the context of a trip through Northeast Asia – I began my trip in Seoul, South Korea a couple of days ago, where I had meetings with the ROK government. I went on from there to Beijing, where I had good discussions in particular with Ambassador Wu Dawei. And then have come here to Tokyo for talks with members of the Japanese government, in particular today very good discussions with Director General Ihara on all aspects of the North Korea issue. Then I had a very productive meeting with my good friend Shinsuke Sugiyama again on the North Korea issue. So with that, let me go ahead and take a couple of your questions, and then I have to move on to the rest of my schedule. Over to you - thank you.

QUESTION: You have seen the reports that North Korea has restarted its 5 megawatt reactor at Yongbyon?


QUESTION: Did you discuss about it?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well of course. We’ve seen these reports, these reports that appeared on the very good and authoritative website “38 North” in the United States. These reports, I believe, are as yet unconfirmed. You’ll understand that what I cannot do of course is comment on intelligence matters, but I will say this about that: If it turns out that these reports are true, that North Korea has restarted the 5 megawatt plutonium reactor, this would be a very serious matter. We think a misstep on the part of North Korea because of course it would violate a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It flies in the face of North Korea’s own commitments and promises they’ve made over the years, in particular the September 2005 Joint Statement. So this would be a step that we regard very seriously.

I will also point out that the board of governors of the IAEA, which met this week in Vienna, passed a resolution on the subject of North Korea’s nuclear activities. It underscored the importance that North Korea should not follow through on the indication that they made on April 2, when they said that they would restart and repurpose their nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, because it would be in violation of international law and of their own commitments. So we’re watching this very closely. We’ll see what developments occur in the coming days, but this is potentially quite a serious matter.

QUESTION: Mr. Davies, this is a very important international issue. Without getting into the details of the intelligence, can you confirm at this time reports that are out there that Yongbyon has restarted?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, as I said, we obviously watch very closely what is happening in North Korea and what is happening in particular at Yongbyon. What I cannot do is get into - comment on - intelligence matters. We will watch this in coming days, and we’ll see whether it is confirmed that they have restarted this reactor. It’s serious, and my purpose in coming here today is to continue the very close consultations that we have maintained over recent months and years with our partners in the five-party process, in particular our allies Japan and the ROK, and it is true that in my several years in this job I have never seen a stronger, firmer consensus among the five parties of the Six-Party process about the importance of denuclearization as the issue at the centerpiece of Six-Party. So we’ll see what the news brings us in coming days.

QUESTION: The Chinese government seems to be making noise to resume Six-Party Talks. Could you describe briefly the meeting with your counterpart Wu Dawei?

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, I don’t want to get into discussing in-depth diplomatic conversations in China. We had excellent conversations. I can say something very general about the subject of Six-Party Talks: Obviously, ultimately, we hope that we can get back to meaningful, authentic, and credible Six-Party Talks, but you know there’s an issue right now – what are Six-Party Talks to be about? They should be about – because this is what the Joint Statement of 2005 specifies – they should be about the denuclearization in a peaceful fashion of the Korean peninsula.

It seems clear that North Korea is attempting to make these talks, when and if they occur in the future, about something very different, which is about their right to be a nuclear weapons state. That is not something we can countenance. That is not something we can accept. And that is the purpose of our diplomacy in talking to all of our partners among the five parties. Certainly that was at the center of our discussions in Beijing, to ensure that as we develop a roadmap back to Six-Party – and as importantly discuss what-Six Party Talks would be all about – that we reaffirm that Six-Party can only be about denuclearization. We hope that North Korea comes back in the direction of that fundamental fact, that when – if – we’re able to get back to Six-Party, it is about denuclearization. It must be about that. That, for us, is the most important issue, and that is increasingly true along all five of the partners with which we are having this intensive diplomacy.

I thank you very much. I need to go off and do other things at the moment. I hope to return to Tokyo at an early moment, and again let me congratulate Tokyo and Japan on winning the Olympic Games. Thank you so much. Talk to you again soon. Bye-bye.