(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura

Date: Friday, April 25, 2008, 2:30 p.m.
Place: In front of the Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topic:

  1. North Korea's nuclear cooperation with Syria

1. North Korea's nuclear cooperation with Syria

Minister:
I just received an extremely detailed explanation from Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer on North Korea's nuclear cooperation with Syria. We shared the view that it is extremely regrettable that North Korea has provided nuclear cooperation to Syria and we agreed that it is essential that matters pertaining to proliferation be included in the declaration process along with details concerning the plutonium plan and the uranium enrichment plan. Going forward, we agreed to cooperate bilaterally to urge North Korea to make a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs. I expressed my gratitude to Ambassador Schieffer for the US side's continued stress on the need for progress in Japan-North Korea relations during the second phase process, and its effort in urging North Korea on that regard, towards which Ambassador Schieffer and I agreed to continue to work together in that area.

Question:
In the talks between the US and North Korea there have been discussions about creating a separate document to address the issue of proliferation in Syria and the issue of uranium enrichment. Did you discuss those matters with the Ambassador today?

Minister:
We did not yet talk about those matters at today's stage. The primary objective of our talks today was for me to receive an explanation, including evidence on the nuclear cooperation that North Korea has extended to Syria as an overall package, though I had already heard of the matters in general.

Question:
I would like to ask you once again what you think will be the influence this has on the Six-Party Talks?

Minister:
Rather, the fact that the US is in possession of such evidence will force North Korea to acknowledge it. Although I cannot say exactly how it will do so, it will have no choice but to virtually acknowledge these facts. I do believe that this can serve as pressure to urge North Korea to make its declaration.

Question:
Based on the report that you received today, can the Government of Japan judge that in the past North Korea did in fact provide nuclear cooperation to Syria and that such cooperation is still ongoing now?

Minister:
At the very least, it continued for a very long time. That is the way I understand it.

Related Information (North Korean Nuclear Issue)


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