Ambassador Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of US Department of State, Pays Courtesy Calls on Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs

February 8, 2007

In the afternoon of February 6, Ambassador Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, paid courtesy calls on Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs (for about 20 minutes from 4:00 pm) and Mr. Taro Aso (for about 20 minutes from 6:40 pm). The gist of the calls was as follows:

1. Courtesy call on Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs

(1) Mr. Yachi told Ambassador Hill that it was important for North Korea to make a commitment to concrete actions to abandon its nuclear ambition at the forthcoming Six-Party Talks, and that it was important for Japan and the US to continue close coordination for the purpose of achieving such commitment, to which Mr. Hill agreed.

(2) Mr. Yachi and Ambassador Hill also discussed the implementation of the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. In this connection, Mr. Yachi reiterated Japan's stance that an early resolution of the abduction issue is a top priority and requested persistent US cooperation in resolving the issue. Mr. Hill said that there was no difference in stance between the US and Japan and that the US would not spare any effort in providing cooperation.

2. Courtesy Call on Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

(1) Mr. Aso stated that it was essential for the Six Parties to reach an agreement on specific measures toward North Korea's nuclear abandonment. Ambassador Hill observed that at the forthcoming session of the talks it was necessary to create momentum to implement the Joint Statement as a whole.

(2) Mr. Aso also explained Japan's basic stance that there is a limitation to the actions Japan is able to take, considering the present situation in which North Korea has shown no sincere response toward the resolution of outstanding issues of concern with Japan including the abduction issue. In response, Ambassador Hill said that the US fully understood Japan's stance and that it would cooperate with Japan to promote Japan-North Korean relations including the abduction issue.

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