STATE DEPARTMENT REGULAR BRIEFING BRIEFER: RICHARD BOUCHER, DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING ROOM, WASHINGTON, D.C. 12:41 P.M. EST, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2005
On North Korea
Q Yeah. Just how do you react to this apparent change of heart and whether you take it seriously?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've seen the reports of a statement by Kim Jong Il that North Korea is prepared to participate in the six-party talks at any time, if there are "mature conditions" -- I think that was the North Korean phrase.
All of the other parties, all of the other five parties -- the United States, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia -- are in fact ready to return to the table at an early date and without preconditions. It's only North Korea that claims current conditions are unfavorable. For our part, the United States stands ready to return to the talks to discuss the proposals that have been on the table since June. We'll seek to learn more from the Chinese regarding the Central Committee member Wang Jarui's recent trip to Pyongyang. And we will continue to look for willingness on the part of North Korea to come back and address these issues, address these issues diplomatically as we want to, address these issues peacefully as we want to, and achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as all six parties, including North Korea, are pledged to do.
Q Has there been any contact with the Chinese so far?
MR. BOUCHER: We've had a little contact with the Chinese. Secretary Rice from Europe spoke with the Chinese foreign minister this morning our time and had a -- I'd say an initial conversation with him about the visit. But we expect to have further follow up and exchanges on the subject of the visit.
You know, in the conversation between our Chinese foreign minister and Madame Secretary this morning, did the Chinese part express their concern about the joint statement signed by Japan, the Americans --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try to go into detail on that conversation and don't have a readout for you. But the principal subject of discussion was North Korea.
--- (Off mike) -- who is going to be special envoy to human rights in North Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: No. (Laughter.)
Q You don't have any --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't have anything on that. I'll see if there's any announcement pending, but I'm not aware of one.
Okay? Thank you.