Powell IV With Aiko Doden of NHK TVs World Network
Interview With Aiko Doden of NHK TV's "World Network"
Secretary Colin L. Powell
October 24, 2004
MS. DODEN: Mr. Secretary, let me begin by talking about DPRK. The date of the next six-party talks has not been announced yet. When would you determine that the process is not working and what would trigger the decision to bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council?
SECRETARY POWELL: There's no thought right now to bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council, that's always an option however. The talks are still working. We've had a delay because the North Koreans have been leaning backwards. But the other members of the six-party group, the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia, are committed to the effort. and we hope that after our elections, we might be able to schedule a meeting. I sense that the North Koreans are waiting to see what happens with the U.S. election, but as I've said to them, they will still find the six-party framework waiting after the U.S. election. It is the only way forward. it's the only way to solve this problem. The North Koreans really do have to understand that we need them to participate fully in the six-party talks if we're going to find a solution to this problem. It's not a problem that's just between the United States and North Korea, it's between North Korea and all of its neighbors as well as the United States.
MS. DODEN: But, how would you verify that the process is going when not many talks have been actually held?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we've had several rounds of talks and we have put important positions before the North Koreans. We made significant modifications to our position over the summer, and we asked the North Koreans to study it. We are sure that when the next set of talks are held, we will get their reaction to it. But the place to deal with this is in the six-party framework, not by press statements or rhetoric going back and forth.
MS. DODEN: So as to energize the process, would the U.S. consider it an option to provide the DPRK with a written multilateral security assurance, before the dismantlement process begins at the preparatory stage?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, we have made it clear that we need to see performance, some performance on the part of the North Koreans. They know that we believe a security agreement where all of the parties are involved is the best way to go. and they should find that to be more attractive for their security interests than just having an agreement with the United States. We all have a pretty good idea of what such an agreement would look like. But it'll be difficult to give them such an agreement, a binding agreement at the very beginning of a process, before we know what they are really going to do with respect to the dismantlement of their program. But they also know, and we have made this clear to them, that such an agreement is going to be part of the discussion and part of the solution to the problem.
MS. DODEN: So, all issues need to be brought to the six-party talks and nowhere else?
SECRETARY POWELL: Nowhere else. Nowhere else.
MS. DODEN: Let me go on to Iraq and aftermath. More people are now beginning to ask questions, quietly or vocally, as to the meaning of being the U.S. ally. Absence of WMD is now common knowledge and countries like Spain, a U.S. ally, have had to withdraw, especially after their capital was bombed. They are beginning to question the cost and risks of being a U.S. ally. Isn't the strength of the coalition of the willing weakening here?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think so. I think that the coalition remains strong. There have been some countries that found it necessary to leave, such as Spain, as a result of the change of government in Spain that was brought about by a terrorist incident that had nothing to do with Iraq, and that was the bombing of the trains in Madrid, which caused a different government to be elected a few days later and that government decided to pull out.
But, nevertheless, the remaining members of the coalition have stayed intact. they are continuing to take risk in Iraq, but they realize the benefits that will accrue from taking such risks. We have the opportunity to put in place -in that part of the world- a democratic nation. A democratic nation that wants to live in peace with its neighbors, that will be founded on democracy, the rule of law. we'll never have to debate whether they have weapons of mass destruction again in the future because there will be a government that will have no need or use for weapons of mass destruction.
And So, we have to be determined to see this through. It's costly. it's costly in terms of money. it's costly in terms of lives. but we believe that the result that we can achieve will be worth the costs. We regret every loss of life. we regret every family that has been saddened by loss of life. But the world must not shrink from the challenge of dealing with the situation in Iraq. a terrible dictator has been taken out of power- a man who filled mass graves, who had rape rooms, a man who destroyed his country- and he is gone, he's in jail. Now we have the opportunity to build a better Iraq and we must not let terrorist win, we must not let regime elements, old regime elements who are still fighting a war that should be over, in which they lost. we must not let them stop us from achieving our goal which is a democratic Iraq.
MS. DODEN: Some people ask questions like why is it always have to be the U.S. who makes those major decisions in worldly affairs?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the United States took this case to the United Nations. The United Nations had given to resolutions to the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein for twelve years, and Saddam Hussein ignored those resolutions. The world believed that he was not only developing weapons of mass destruction, had the intention of developing and using them. we also believed he had stockpiles. The previous American administration, under President Clinton, also believed he had that capability and bombed Iraq in 1998. But Iraq would never answer the questions, would never come forward. So the United Nations acted with Resolution 1441. But when it came time to take military action, the United Nations could not come together as a group. and the United States was prepared to make sure that Iraq complied this time and that Iraq was dealt with.
You can't keep walking away from problems just because it gets too hard, and we don't want to face this, we don't want to consider the use of military forces. That's not our way. We want to solve problems diplomatically. we want to solve problems politically. But if it's necessary to use force, you have to be prepared to use force and bring other nations along, which is what we did in this instance. Having done so, we want to build up the Iraqi forces so they can protect themselves, have an election so they can have their own leadership and bring the United States forces home.
MS. DODEN: On the issue of war and terrorism, you have said that there has not been an attack in the U.S. in three years, and that should be good news. But people round the world might think otherwise. The more aggressive the U.S. is in pursuing its war in terrorism outside of U.S. soil, the more vulnerable people outside of the U.S. become, the less safer the world becomes. Incidents in Madrid and Turkey might provide us with illustrative examples. Would you still contend that the world is safer?
SECRETARY POWELL: The world is safer, but it's not safe. The fact that we have not had a terrorist incident in the last three years does not mean that terrorists have not tried or don't want to strike the United States. I'm sure they do.
We have seen terrorist activity in Madrid. we have seen terrorist activity in Russia, that terrible incident at the school in Beslan. We've seen it in Indonesia. we've seen it around the world. The only answer to this is for all of us to work together to defeat terrorism of any form, wherever it is. It is not the United States that has made the world more vulnerable, it's terrorists who have made the world more vulnerable, it is terrorists who are doing this. And the United States is willing to play a leadership role with all the civilized nations of the world to say to terrorists and to the world, 'This kind of activity is not acceptable. The murder of innocent people, for whatever goal, is not acceptable. And we will fight you. We will fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. we'll fight the Taliban. we'll fight the terrorists in Iraq. we'll fight the terrorists who perpetrated the murder of innocent people at Beslan or in Madrid.'
This is something the world has to come together on, with our military forces, our legal efforts, our law enforcement efforts, all of this has to come together, our intelligence efforts, all of this has to come together, to defeat this threat to the civilized world.
MS. DODEN: Let me go on to the U.S. global posture review. Readjustments or footprints are being discussed. But triggered by the helicopter accidents and rape incidents in Okinawa, people in Japan are becoming even more acutely aware of the risks and costs of maintaining U.S. troops and base presence in Japan. How would you convince the Japan public of the significance of those presence in a broader perspective of maintaining and fostering the U.S.-Japan alliance?
SECRETARY POWELL: What I would say to the Japanese people is something the Japanese people understand and that is the benefits of U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific region, and especially in Japan, have been enormous over the last fifty years. Because of U.S. presence in the Asia Pacific region, we have created an environment of stability, an environment of peace, where Japan has thrived, South Korea has thrived, China has started to come out into the world. and so we have all achieved great benefits from U.S. presence in Asia Pacific region and in Japan.
We understand, however, that incidents such as the helicopter incidents and the number of troops we have in Okinawa is a burden on the people of Okinawa, the people of Japan. So as part of our strategic review of the relationship between the United States and Japan, we are going to be examining our force's posture in Japan to see if there are things we can do to relieve the burden of our force presence, especially in Okinawa. But we should not overlook the fact that it is U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific region and in Japan that has created an environment of stability and peace that has benefited all the nations of the region.
MS. DODEN: People in Okinawa say they want reduction and they mean it. Is it going to happen?
SECRETARY POWELL: We understand that. and we are examining our force posture and Secretary Rumsfeld and his colleagues are working with their colleagues in the Japanese government to see what can be done to make our force presence in Okinawa less of a problem and to see what can be done to reduce that presence or adjust that presence so it is less of a problem. We hear the people of Okinawa. We know what their desires are. But we think that even the people of Okinawa understand clearly that they have benefited, as have all Japanese benefited, from U.S. military presence over the years. But we want to be good guests in a country that has been a good host.
NHK: In a global picture, are you still concerned a little about the big, dark clouds over the public view of the U.S., which you commented formally with regards to Iraq war being fought, and even though democracy is underway, and the world is safer, as you contend, that there has been decreasing support towards the U.S. and increasing resentment. What would your argument be?
SECRETARY POWELL: What I have found as I've traveled around the world is that there is some concern about the policies that we follow, and there has been an increase in anti-U.S. sentiment in a number of places. Some places it has not increased, it's been stable or even more favorable than it was a few years ago. But I am concerned. and we have to do a better job of explaining our policies with respect to Iraq and with respect to the Middle East. I think as we defeat the insurgency in Iraq and as we move the Iraqi people to the kind of free election that we saw in Afghanistan just two weeks ago, then those attitudes will change. I still find that beneath these attitudes which are directed towards U.S. policies, there is still great affection for America, the American people, what we stand for, American democracy. There are still millions of people who come to our nation all the time to visit, to go to school, to immigrate, to find new lives in America. and so I'm confident that with success in Iraq, as we are now seeing success in Afghanistan, we'll be able to change these attitudes.
MS. DODEN: Are you confident that perhaps you have achieved what you envisioned during your term?
SECRETARY POWELL: My term is not over.
MS. DODEN: And in the remaining term?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm very pleased with the things we have been able to do over the last almost four years now. We got rid of a dictator in Baghdad. I'm very pleased with that. We eliminated a terrible regime in Afghanistan, the Taliban. We are chasing Al-Qaeda, the great terrorist organization. they are no longer as effective as they used to be, but they haven't been defeated.
But we've done so many other things in terms of reaching out and creating stable situations throughout the world. We have gotten Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction. We have put in place programs to go after HIV/AIDS throughout the world -- one of the greatest weapons of mass destruction HIV/ AIDS. We have put in place new programs for development assistance to help those nations of the world that need help. We have increased our development assistance by almost 100 percent over the last four years and, in addition to that, created a new program called the Millennium Challenge Account to help people.
We have created the best relationship we've had with China in the last 30 years. We have helped India and Pakistan avoid a war, and we have good relations with those two nations. We caused Pakistan to move away from the Taliban and to take a new strategic tack. We have gotten all of our neighbors to work with us to deal with North Korea. We have increased trade opportunities throughout the world with restarting of the WTO round and with bilateral trade and regional trade agreements that the United States has led. We've dealt with problems in Haiti and Liberia; we're working in the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, working with our French friends. We continue to be in the Balkans as a source of stability. I could go on and on but you're out of time.
MS. DODEN: Well, it seems like there is a lot of work for you to do still.
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes.
MS. DODEN: In foreign policy, I remember your telling me that it is always imprudent to remove all options from the table. So would that same wisdom apply to designing your career even after the elections?
SECRETARY POWELL: [laughter] Never remove any option that you don't have to remove.
MS. DODEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
Released on October 24, 2004