Ambassador Schieffer Discusses North Korea Policy with Japanese Officials

Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer
Comments to Reporters After Meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki and Foreign Minister Aso

Prime Minister's Official Residence
Tokyo, Japan

October 9, 2006

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: We discussed the events that occurred in North Korea this morning. We believe that some sort of seismic event has occurred, and we're studying it as to what exactly happened. And that's where we are right now. We also talked about cooperating as we go forward. I assured both the Chief Cabinet Secretary and the Foreign Minister that the United States is prepared to honor its commitments to its allies in Japan as well as in Korea. This is a very grave situation that we all are following with great intensity. But we're also great allies in that we are sharing the information that we have, and we'll continue to do so in the future. We also agreed to monitor this situation and to work together to take it to the United Nations for further action and again stress that we're all in this together.

QUESTION: Has the US Government confirmed that it was the nuclear experiment?

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: We believe that a seismic event has occurred, but we're not prepared to go beyond that at this particular time, although we will continue to study the matter.

QUESTION: So the US Government is going to consider or going to implement further sanctions in the Security Council?

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: We're going to - obviously this is a very grave situation if the North Koreans have tested a nuclear device. It would be a very serious and dangerous matter that we would of course take to the United Nations.

QUESTION: Could you tell us the current situation with US forces in southeast (sic) Asia?

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I don't think it would be appropriate to comment on that. We are obviously taking this very seriously, and we're trying to take into account all possibilities. But I would just like to again reassure the people of Japan that the United States stands with them today, just as we did yesterday, just as we will tomorrow.

QUESTION: What did the secretary and minister of foreign affairs say to you?

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: They basically gave the brief on what Japanese officials were thinking, where the Prime Minster was and the situation with him, and also the events that occurred up to this, and discussions inside the Japanese government. It's a very full brief and one that I will be passing on to my government.