US Secretary of State to Seek Audience with Chinese Over North Korea

Posted: 11/23/2010
US Department of State
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Mark C. Toner
Acting Deputy Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 23, 2010
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton’s schedule this morning?
MR. TONER: Do you have a question, Matt?
QUESTION: I understand that she met with a certain scientist who might have some information that you guys are interested in.
MR. TONER: She did meet with Dr. Hecker this morning.
QUESTION: And what did they discuss?
MR. TONER: I’m not going to get into the details. She was obviously briefed on the details of his visit to North Korea, and I’ll leave it there.
QUESTION: All right. Has she had any other discussions with anyone about the situation in North Korea, particularly about the incident overnight?
MR. TONER: Well, she’s at the White House now, I believe, meeting with National Security Adviser Donilon and Secretary Gates. That’s a regular meeting, but obviously, North Korea is going to be something they’re going to discuss there. And I believe she’ll – she will be making some counterpart – or calls to some of her counterparts in the region. Once we get a fuller readout of that, I’ll let you know.
QUESTION: The usual suspects?
MR. TONER: Don’t want to say yet. Again, once I get a better readout, I’ll convey. The usual suspects, but I don't want to --
QUESTION: China, South Korea, Japan?
MR. TONER: Once we get a firm list, we’ll let you know.
QUESTION: Are you suggesting she might call someone other than that, like – I don't know – the Botswanan foreign minister to talk about North Korea?
MR. TONER: Matt, I trust that you’ll use your keen foreign affairs intellect to discern who she might call.
QUESTION: But she hasn’t made any calls yet?
MR. TONER: Not yet.
QUESTION: So --
MR. TONER: Sure, Christophe.
QUESTION: Most (inaudible) think that China is the only country to have some sort of leverage on North Korea. So my question is: Do you think China is doing enough? Do you ask them to do more to help you resolve this?
MR. TONER: Well, Christophe, I mean, as you know, Ambassador Bosworth was in Beijing today and he’s actually on his – should be on his way back, or I believe he’ll return actually to the United States tomorrow. He had good discussions with the Chinese. He gave a readout of his meetings there. I believe he spoke with – or met Special Representative Wu Dawei as well as the Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai.
Obviously, they exchanged views on recent developments in North Korea, both over the weekend the uranium enrichment allegations as well as the exchange of fire overnight. And he gave a readout that said basically that they shared our concerns. We’re going to continue to consult with the Chinese through the Six-Party Talks. We believe that it’s important that we keep a unified and measured approach going forward.

Go ahead, Nicole.
QUESTION: But given that China’s reaction after the Cheonan disaster was – it fell short of U.S. hopes, are you confident you’re going to get the support you need from China, and are you taking any special measures to sort of shore up that support or ask for that support?
MR. TONER: Well, I mean, Bosworth was just in Beijing. I mean, I know that was part of a preplanned trip.
QUESTION: I mean, what --
MR. TONER: But obviously we’re consulting closely with the Chinese on next steps. And right now we’re – again, what happened overnight was an unprovoked military attack on both Korean military personnel as well as civilians. Our condolences go out to those who lost their lives and their families and loved ones. But moving forward, we’re going to take a measured and unified approach. We’re going to work with China. We’re going to work with all our Six-Party partners on our response. But again, just to stress, it’s going to be a measured and unified response.
Go ahead, in back.
QUESTION: The Spokesman yesterday said a number of times that North Korea can’t be rewarded for bad behavior, as he put it. Particularly with regard to the alleged enrichment plant, is this viewed as part of a pattern in which a threat is revealed and then pulled back on an offer of increased assistance or aid from the outside? Do you see this as some kind of pattern?
MR. TONER: Well, you’re right. It is – it’s – it is a pattern, absolutely. It’s – we’ve seen this story before, and I – your question is right on the money. We’re not going to buy into this reaction-reward cycle that North Korea seeks to perpetuate.
QUESTION: Do you see any linkage between the events early this morning and that enrichment --
MR. TONER: I don't know.
QUESTION: Mark?
MR. TONER: Sure.
QUESTION: Same question in the past. Can you trust that North Koreans, whatever they had been saying before, that you provide them some kind of aid and all that and they will halt their nuclear weapons program and all that? And second, as far as Chinese involvement is concerned, do you believe that whatever North Korea is doing, whether it’s exchange of fire or finding out the – I mean, the South Koreans or nuclear, that China is behind, or they are – they cannot do without the blessings and the support of the Chinese Government?
MR. TONER: In answer to your second question, we are fully engaged with China as a Six-Party partner and are committed to working with them within that process. On your first question – I think it was something about being able to trust North Korea – you’re right; it’s hard. And it makes the Six-Party process a difficult process. I think Ambassador Bosworth said as much. But the onus is on North Korea. We’re going to stay unified with our partners. We’re going to consult. We’re going to figure out next steps. But North Korea, through its actions, continues to isolate itself.
QUESTION: And finally, as far as this exchange of fire is concerned, how serious it is, or are you getting UN involved?
MR. TONER: That’s a good question; too early to tell. Again, we’re consulting with Six-Party partners. But there may be some involvement at the UN. I just – I can’t say at this point.