Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
December 5, 2012
(Note: This is an Excerpt from the Full Transcript of the Daily Briefing)
QUESTION: Okay. There’s a report in South Korea that U.S. and allies are considering much tougher financial sanctions against North Korea in preparation for possible launch. Can you confirm that report?
MR. TONER: I can’t speak to that. I just don’t have any details of possible actions. And indeed, we don’t want to, obviously, talk about actions before there’s been a launch. What we’re hoping to do is dissuade North Korea for carrying out this launch. I can say that we did, as I mentioned yesterday, host the Republic of Korea and Japan in Washington and we had this trilateral dialogue, and the focus indeed was on North Korea yesterday. We also had, in addition to that trilateral meeting, bilateral meetings with each country. This was hosted by Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies.
We, obviously, collectively call on North Korea to comply with its international obligations under existing UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from a launch using ballistic missile technology. And all three countries also affirmed that if North Korea does, in fact, proceed with a launch, we would seek action by the UN Security Council, but I’m not going to get into what that might be.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on the meetings?
MR. TONER: Yeah.
QUESTION: South Korean news is reporting that the representatives are also set to meet with Robert Einhorn. Could you confirm that?
MR. TONER: I can’t confirm that. I know that Ambassador Lim met with Ambassador Davies separately yesterday, as I mentioned the bilateral, and he also has meetings scheduled with Assistant Secretary Thomas Countryman. And Director General Sugiyama also met, as I said, with Ambassador Davies separately yesterday and had consultations with Kurt Campbell. But that’s – I don’t know. I can’t speak to whether he’s – if there’s a meeting planned with Robert Einhorn.
QUESTION: Change topics?
QUESTION: No, no, wait.
QUESTION: Still on North Korea. Matt, I guess.
QUESTION: I was just going to ask, can you take this question because I’m sure you don’t have an answer. And that is, how much tougher can sanctions get on North Korea? Are there things – I mean, are there sanctions that are available for use that have not already – that are not currently in place?
MR. TONER: Well, I mean, speaking globally or generally here about sanctions, I mean, there’s always ways to toughen enforcement of sanctions. They can always be tweaked or modified so that there’s better enforcement of existing sanctions. I agree with you that no one – no other country, I believe, is more sanctioned than North Korea. If I’m wrong, I’ll correct that in the transcript. But I think I also don’t want to forecast where we might go in the wake of a launch. But in answer to your question, there’s always ways, I think, to strengthen these regimes.
Yeah, in the back. Oh, I’m sorry. My bad. Yeah, you were next, and then to you.
QUESTION: Very quickly, you said your goal is still hopefully to persuade the North Koreans to stop this launch. Is there any sign – do you have any reason to think they’ll listen to you?
MR. TONER: Well, good question, fair question. No. (Laughter.) The Secretary has been very clear that they have an important choice to make, the leadership within North Korea. And to date, they’ve consistently made the wrong choice, the wrong choice for the people of North Korea. But that doesn’t mean we’re backing away from our very clear message to them that there’s two paths here. And there’s a path of engagement with the outside world and there’s the path they’re on, and the path they’re on is not going to get them anywhere where they need to go for the 21st century.
Yeah, in the back.
QUESTION: Yesterday after the meeting, a South Korean official said that the three countries will now urge China and Russia to join the efforts to stop the launch. So far —
MR. TONER: I’m sorry, just the first part of your question. I just —
QUESTION: Yesterday after the meeting, there is South Korean official said three countries will now urge China and Russia to do something. So far, China has said North Korea should stay calm. What more do you expect China to do?
MR. TONER: Well, again, I’m not going to lay out what actions we want China to do. I think there’s broad agreement among the Six-Party members about the fact that this launch would be a bad idea for North Korea. We’re going to continue to consult closely with them on next steps, if and when that launch occurs. But I’m not going to lay out what we want to see, any of the Six-Party members to talk – just to reiterate that, we are talking closely, we are consulting closely, and whatever actions we do take will be coordinated.
QUESTION: But what leverage do you think China still have on North Korea?
MR. TONER: That’s a question better directed to the Chinese Government, I think.
QUESTION: I’m sorry —
MR. TONER: Yeah, go ahead, Matt.
QUESTION: Why can’t you say that you don’t – that you want the Chinese to use their influence on the North Koreans not to do this?
MR. TONER: Sure. I mean, she’s – I think she’s asking for what we’d do in the wake of a launch. If I understood that wrong, then I apologize.
QUESTION: No, no, no, I think the question was —
MR. TONER: We want to see everyone exercise whatever influence they have with the North Korean Government.
QUESTION: The question was that after the meeting yesterday, a South Korean official said that the three countries, yesterday —
MR. TONER: Would ask Russia and China —
QUESTION: — would ask Russia and China to use – to weigh in with the North Koreans to say, “Hey, this is a bad idea.” And then you said that you don’t want to get into it. It seems to me a no-brainer that you would tell the – you would want the Russians and the Chinese to —
MR. TONER: I misunderstood the question. I thought we were talking about actions post-launch.
QUESTION: Is it the U.S.’s view that —
MR. TONER: In the back there, and then Rosiland. Sorry.
MR. TONER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Have you had direct contact with North Korea so far, in New York or somewhere?
MR. TONER: No, and we don’t generally talk about that contact.
QUESTION: Does the U.S. have – does the U.S. believe that China has any substantial leverage with this new regime —
MR. TONER: I think I just answered her question. That’s really a question better directed to the Chinese Government. Certainly, in the past, they have.
QUESTION: Mark, can we change topics?
MR. TONER: I don’t know. Are we done with —
QUESTION: North Korea, yes, can I follow —
MR. TONER: In the back.
QUESTION: In diplomacy consequence are often frequently discussed. So in this case, what consequences will North Korea face if they go ahead and launch this whatever satellite? Is United States thinking about drafting another UN resolution?
MR. TONER: I just don’t want to get into any details. We’re obviously, as I said previously, looking at what possible action we could take within the UN Security Council. But let’s wait until we get there.