QUESTION: Yeah, thanks for doing this call. A bit of a broader question: This obviously comes just a couple of months after the death of Kim Jong-il. Just wanted to see what sign, if any, you saw on continuity on the North Korean side, what this – what if anything this says about the transition and how it’s going in Pyongyang.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Sure. We spoke to this a little bit, actually, on the days we were discussing this in Beijing. I think this – well, a couple of things. One is we were sitting across from essentially the same North Korean negotiators who have been at this in some cases, for – well, for decades. In particular, First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, who is a veteran North Korean negotiator and has seen lots of guys like us come and go, and many of his team are familiar faces. So the people were the same.
The way that they presented the issues was quite familiar to us. The basic arguments they used, the requests they were making of us, the rationale that they were employing – and here is the point. I think that’s important because I think it shows that the new, call it, administration in Pyongyang is picking up where the previous one left off. And that’s great; that’s good. And they’re doing it within the 100-day mourning period that’s self-declared in North Korea. So it shows that they’re interested with some alacrity to reach out, to get back to the table, and begin to try to make diplomatic progress, and I think that’s a positive sign.
So I think overall, you – what we are seeing is a sign of continuity. I think overall, the early stages of this transition have been relatively uneventful as soon as near as we can divine what’s happening inside North Korea. So that’s about as far as we could go, not being in Pyongyang, but rather being in Beijing and talking to, as I say, a fairly familiar cast of North Korean negotiators.
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