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Powell With Japanese FM Nobutaka Machimura

Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Iikura Guest House
Tokyo, Japan
October 24, 2004

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (in Japanese) Today we held a Foreign Ministers' conference between Mr. Powell and myself from around 11:00. We had lunch together, so the total meeting was for about an hour and a half. After that, Secretary Powell met Mr. Koizumi, Prime Minister, for about 30 minutes.

In less than one month since becoming Foreign Minister, I've had two opportunities to meet Secretary Powell already. I believe this has been a very good opportunity to show how constructive and solid the Japanese-U.S. relationship is.

Now with regards to the topics that we discussed, we first of all discussed the BSE issue, which we reached a certain agreement yesterday in the consultations. This is not a final agreement, of course. This is in a sense, a good progress towards reaching some sort of resolution.

Next we discussed Iraq and Afghanistan. With regards to Iraq, of course, there are still difficult issues to face but very recently we had a Tokyo meeting -- a donors' conference meeting -- this was a great success. Also, we shared the understanding, the view that it is necessary to cooperate to make the elections coming up in January a good success.

With regards to Afghanistan, first of all, we mentioned the fact that the elections were conducted very peacefully and this was a very good success. Japan will also follow on to continue its efforts. We are in the Indian Ocean; later this week we will go through our procedures to extend the activities for another six months.

With regards to the North Korean issue, we agreed that it is important to resume the six-party talks as soon as possible, and that we would continue our cooperation with the Chinese and the South Koreans--incidentally, the two countries which Secretary Powell will be visiting later on after this meeting -- that it will be important to cooperate with them. Furthermore, it would be very much necessary to tackle the issue of the nuclear development issue of North Korea. By mid-November there will be a scheduled Japanese-DPRK working level consultations. Of course, the abduction issue will be raised at these talks, but, in addition to that, we will try to push forward for a close resumption of the six-party talks.

In addition to these issues, we also discussed China, as well as UN reform. That basically wraps up what we discussed today. Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I think we've had a very good set of discussions today with you and your colleagues, and then with Prime Minister Koizumi. I thank you for your hospitality and your courteousness in receiving me.

I want to extend my condolences to Japanese citizens who may have lost their lives or their property during the earthquake last night, as well as during the typhoon earlier in the week. Our hearts go out to their families.

As the Minister noted, we have already met twice in a three-and-a-half week period that he has been the Minister and I look forward to seeing him on a regular basis in the months ahead. Such regular meetings reflect the importance that we attach to the U.S.-Japanese relationship.

I want to thank the Japanese government for the success we've achieved over the last couple of days on the BSE issue. It is not resolved; there are still technical questions that have to be dealt with, but I think this is a major step forward.

I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the Japanese government for hosting the donors' conference on Iraq that was held week before last. In that same light, let me thank the Japanese Self Defense Force humanitarian workers who are doing such a great job in Iraq, and I thank the Japanese government, the Japanese people for participating in this very important mission for the people of Iraq.

The Minister touched on all of the subjects that we discussed, so I just might close by saying that the United States and Japan have been global partners for so many years. We have a strategic relationship, and we want to enhance that strategic relationship and take it to a higher level of dialogue, and within that higher level of dialogue, deal with all of the other issues of interest to both sides -- the presence of our forces here in Japan; the transformation of our force presence here in Japan; issues related to seeing if we can do something about reducing our presence in Okinawa and other places. But all of these individual issues have to be dealt with in terms of our strategic needs and that's what the Minister and I committed ourselves to working on in the months ahead.

Again, thank you, Mr. Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (in Japanese) One point I forgot to mention, there were so many topics, was the transformation of the U.S. forces. Of course, we discussed this issue in length, as well. Of course, the deterrence capabilities of the U.S. forces, which is based on the U.S.-Japan security treaty, has proven to be a very big contributing factor to the Asian Pacific stability and peace. We need to maintain this as well, and at the same time attempt to reduce the excessive burden on the surrounding communities of U.S. bases in Japan, including that of Okinawa. We discussed that it is very important that we get involved at the high level in these discussions on transformation.

QUESTION: (in Japanese) I have some questions with regards to the transformation of U.S. forces. First of all, we understand that you had some discussions in length with regards to this issue. Did you discuss any sort of time frame on when the prospects on when this should be finished? That would be my first point. The second point would be -- you mentioned how the strategic dialogue should be held at the high levels. By mentioning that, does that mean that you are considering talks between the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister outside of the "2+2" dialogue, as well?

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (in Japanese) With regards to the first point, of course these talks have been held for over a year now at various levels, and it's not something that we should continue to discuss for years and years. However, at some point, we will need to reach some sort of conclusion to these talks. However, at this stage I cannot say until when, but that is also something that we will need to discuss in future talks. The second point, with regards to the "2+2" or, should I say "1+1" that you mentioned, we will hold both "2+2s" and "1+1s" as necessary, in any case, at the ministerial level and not only at the official level.

MR. BOUCHER: Let's go to George Gedda, the AP.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, as you know, the North Koreans are unhappy with the naval exercises that will start tomorrow, as well as the Human Rights Act that President Bush signed -- I think it was on Monday. They are calling these "hostile acts." Is there not a risk that these measures or activities could reduce the chances for reconvening the six-party talks?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't know. They are unhappy, but neither of these actions are hostile acts toward North Korea. In the first instance, the exercises that are going to be held, maritime exercises, are for the purpose of protecting the world, protecting the region and protecting the international community against weapons sales, contraband, other illegal and improper activities that are taking place on the high seas. And the only thing North Korea should be concerned about is whether or not they're going to be caught in the act of participating in this kind of illicit traffic. So, this is not hostile to any nation that is acting in an appropriate manner.

And with respect to the legislation passed by our Congress and signed into law by President Bush, the United States has a long-standing concern about human rights throughout the world. And this is a statement on the part of the United States Congress, and now as United States law, that we will have a special envoy who will look into such matters, and that we will take other actions to assess the situation with respect to human rights in North Korea and to see what can be done to assist those who are being denied their human rights in North Korea. These are not for the purpose of derailing the six-party talks, but they are expressions of concern that the international community has about the behavior of the North Korean government.

QUESTION: Vice President Cheney was here in April and he said, "Time is not necessarily on our side regarding North Korea." He also warned that North Korea's neighbors could unleash an arms race if the problem is not solved soon. Mr. Secretary, what has happened since Cheney's comments to give you confidence that we still have time? And for the Foreign Minister, is there a point at which Japan would consider building its own nuclear weapons in response to the North Korean threat, as suggested by the vice president?

SECRETARY POWELL: The vice president was, of course, expressing the sense of urgency that we all feel -- that this problem has to be resolved, and that's why we are pressing to get on with the six-party discussions. The sooner North Korea understands that there is only one way to solve this problem, that is through the six-party framework, the better off we will be. We're not out of time, and North Korea has needs. North Korea has economic needs and other needs that the international community is waiting to assist North Korea with. But, the provision of assistance of the kind that North Korea needs from South Korea, Japan and other nations can only come when North Korea has made it clear that they are prepared to use the six-party framework as a way of dealing with this problem and eliminating their nuclear weapons programs totally in a verifiable manner. So, we're all pressing hard. There is a sense of urgency, but President Bush has made it clear that he intends to use diplomacy and political activity, working with our friends and neighbors in a multilateral way, to solve this problem.

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (in Japanese) With regards to the question about whether Japan would consider arming itself with nuclear weapons in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program -- I believe that was the question -- with regards to this, we are, of course, very much concerned about reports and views that the North Koreans have possibly established a nuclear weapons program. However, the Japanese have three non-nuclear principles with regards to these issues, and this will not change. That is why, in a sense, we have the U.S-Japan security treaty and the arrangements with that. Furthermore, we have had some concrete discussions with regards to the BMD, ballistic missile defense, as well. So, I believe the current status is as such. Thank you. Just to be certain, I would like to confirm that the Japanese Government has not confirmed whether or not the North Koreans have nuclear weapons or not.

2004/1152

[End]

Released on October 24, 2004


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