Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 5, 2005

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Six-Party Talks and North Korean Nuclear Issue:
Old Wine in New Bottles?

Hyde Schedules Thursday Hearing with Asst. Sec’ty Hill

BACKGROUND:  In the Six-Party Statement of September 19th, North Korea committed to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.”  However, the statement failed to address a core issue of dispute between the United States and North Korea: the timing of dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs.  The Bush Administration envisions a dismantlement process running simultaneously with South Korea’s development of infrastructure to provide North Korea with electricity.  Throughout the talks, North Korea made clear that it will not undertake any dismantlement until after the United States and Japan deliver a range of economic benefits and security concessions.  Pyongyang has placed new emphasis on receiving light water nuclear reactors (LWRs), a demand that would likely delay dismantlement for a decade or longer.  The Six-Party Statement and its omissions create several challenges for the Bush Administration as it prepares for the next scheduled meeting in November.  Some U.S. policymakers believe that priority should be given to issues that the statement glossed over, particularly North Korea’s secret highly-enriched uranium program and verification of North Korea’s nuclear programs and dismantlement.  Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has suggested that the verification issue must be a top priority at the next meeting.  He has asserted that a verification system must be intrusive and have the full cooperation of North Korea in order to be effective. 

WHAT:                             Full Committee Oversight Hearing:
                                          The Six-Party Talks and the North Korean Nuclear Issue:  Old Wine in New Bottles?
                                          U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

WHEN:                             10:30 a.m., Thursday, October 6, 2005

WHERE:                           Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESS:                        Christopher R. Hill,
                                           Assistant Secretary,
                                           Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
                                           U.S. Department of State.

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