Powell Presser With FM Ignacio Walker of Chile
Joint Press Conference with Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker of Chile
Secretary Colin L. Powell
November 20, 2004
MINISTER WALKER: [unofficial translation] Good afternoon. I want to speak to you as the Foreign Minister of Chile on behalf of the Government of Chile.I am pleased to have had a bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, a great friend, who leaves his post soon. We have reinforced our friendship, and paid homage to him the day before yesterday at APEC, for everything that he has done in terms of his contribution to international relations and wish him the best of luck.
We are very happy that he is here with us and we are also pleased that President Bush will have an official visit tomorrow in addition to the work that they are already developing within APEC. I want to say also that we discussed with Secretary Powell the excellent relationship between the United States and Chile.
We spoke about our concerns for the region, especially Haiti. We talked at length about the next term of mandate November 30 and the necessity to renew this mandate, and above all to fortify our dedication and efforts to Haiti as countries, a region and as an international community. Also, of course, in economic terms, we have celebrated the very significant Free Trade Agreement that took effect January 1, 2004 following many years of negotiation. I believe the agreement opens great opportunities in the development of trade, investment, and job creation in both countries. If one looks at the numbers for this year, we have had a 27% increase in Chilean exports to the United States and a 25% increase in imports from the United States. This shows in a few months the great effect of the Free Trade Agreement.
Finally, we reiterated to the Secretary of State a position that is a fundamental part of our foreign policy, the importance of multilateralism in economic as well as political terms. We believe that this is a good moment with respect to trade that the World Trade Organization appropriately finishes the Doha round so we can fulfill the objectives of Bogor. This requires unilateral, bilateral, and regional efforts to fortify the multilateral environment of liberalization and the facilitation of trade and investment. Also of course, multilateralism at the global political level will also face new security threats, fortify and reform the UN system, which is very central and an important part of our policy. We also talked about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq and other issues that are of concern to both of us.
But I would like to express my enormous satisfaction with the visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell, for this very successful bilateral meeting that we just had and for the great privilege to have President George Bush in his official visit and I look forward to his active participation in the leaders' summit that is taking place now.
SECRETARY OF STATE POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I am very pleased to be back in Chile and to have the opportunity to meet with the new foreign minister and to congratulate him on his appointment.
Chile, as he has noted, is a close ally and a friend, as well as an important partner in promoting free trade and democracy in the region and, for that matter, around the world.
As he noted, we have had a good discussion during my visit. We have had a good discussion during the APEC meetings and, of course, the bilateral meeting that we just concluded. I thank the minister for Chile's strong role in assisting the Haitian people. The vital work being performed by Chile's dedicated and highly professional peacekeeping troops in Haiti is a powerful example of Chile's contribution to peace, security, and democracy in the region.
Chile's hosting of the APEC Summit and the upcoming hosting of the May 2005 Community of Democracies meeting are prime examples of the valuable contribution Chile is making to promoting free trade and democracy, not only in our hemisphere, but throughout the world.
We are especially appreciative of Chile's leadership role in the joint initiative it co-sponsored with the United States and Korea to implement an APEC course of action to fight corruption and promote transparency.
Foreign Minister Walker and I discussed the great success of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which took effect on the first of January of this year and, as he noted, trade has increased in both directions approaching 30% during less than one year's experience with the agreement. It is an agreement that in the years ahead will benefit both nations as well as benefit the region, and we look forward to working closely with Chile and our other regional partners to eventually achieve a Free Trade Area of the Americas that serves well the hemisphere and all of its peoples.
We also recognize that Chile has a key role to play in promoting democracy and the rule of law, which are key to building a more prosperous, just, and stable world. The minister touched on all of the other areas that we discussed regional issues here in our part of the world as well as international issues, Iraq, the Middle East peace process and it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to meet the new minister and have quality discussions with him, and I thank you again Mr. Minister and, through you, President Lagos, and the government and people of Chile for hosting the APEC meeting in such an outstanding manner. Thank you Minister.
QUESTION: In light of Iran's processing of yellow cake and its adapting of missiles for a nuclear warhead, is Iran just playing games with the international community? And do you know of anything else indicating that Iran is violating the spirit of the deal just signed with the Europeans?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have maintained for all the years of this Administration, the first four years of this Administration, that the international community should be concerned about Iran's activities with respect to its nuclear programs. Everybody thought we were perhaps overstating the case, but over the last four years I think the international community became as concerned as we were. The Russians have now made it clear that the fuel cycle at the Bushehr reactor must be a closed one, so that the spent fuel comes back to the Russian Federation; that was a step forward. The IAEA gathered evidence provided by dissidents and through their own means that showed that Iran was not complying with its obligations under the IAEA. The European Union Three, my three distinguished colleagues from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, engaged in this in the fall of 2003 because they were concerned that Iran was not meeting its obligations, and they entered into agreement with Iran in the fall of 2003. Iran made commitments, which it then walked away from in the course of 2004.
Now the EU-3 have gone back in, also with Mr. Solana, and gotten a new agreement, which has tighter controls than the other agreement. And I hope that Iran will comply with this one. Iran has been working on long-range missiles. This is not a secret. This is not any news. They have been working on intercontinental-range missiles that they claim are for, perhaps, space-launch purposes. And we have reasons to believe that when we see what they have been doing to hide aspects of their nuclear program, that you see what they had been doing over the years with missiles and potential delivery systems, it is a cause of concern.
Now, I am not going to prejudge the outcome of the round of discussions that are taking between the EU-3 and the Iranians. What we are interested in doing is making sure that Iran does not move toward a nuclear weapons program, and I am glad that the entire international community is now seized with this problem, and Iran is being held to account for its actions.
QUESTION: My name is Ray Chan with the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. I just want to ask you a question regarding U.S. President George Bush's meeting today with the Chinese President Hu Jintao. Two particular points: one point, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, is that Mr. Bush expressly told Mr. Hu Jintao that the United States would not give any inconsistent messages to Taiwan independence and [inaudible]. And the second question was, Mr. Hu expressed a desire to work together and cooperate with Washington to contain or restrain Taiwan. So I guess my first question is, what does the word "inconsistent" mean from the U.S. side, and the second is what is the reaction of the of the United States on working together with Beijing to contain Taiwan independence?
SECRETARY POWELL: The president reaffirmed a One-China Policy, which is based on the Three Communiqués, our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act in U.S. domestic law. He also reaffirmed the position he has taken previously that we do not support any independence movement in Taiwan. There has to be a peaceful resolution of this issue between the two parties, and he made the point that neither side could take unilateral actions, which might prejudice the ultimate peaceful resolution of this issue. He expressed some concern over the fact that there are so many missiles in the mainland that are pointed toward Taiwan, and we encouraged the Chinese side to act with restraint and prudence. It was a standard formulation that we have used in the past, and it remains our consistent policy.
QUESTION: Warren Strobel of Knight-Ridder newspaper. This is a question for the Secretary on North Korea. The President said earlier today that he was calling for a common voice on North Korea. Can you tell us specifically what commitments he got from the other members of the Six Party Talks to bring North Korea back, and did he hear anything new from those that are in touch with North Korea about its intentions?
SECRETARY POWELL: As you know, he met with all of the parties today. He met with the Japanese Prime Minister and the President of South Korea and, of course, President Hu and President Putin of Russia, who are the six members, we being the fifth. What he came away, from each of these conversations, with is a solid commitment to the Six Party framework. Everybody agrees that it is that framework which will be used to resolve this problem. We made it clear to all of them, and they reciprocated that we are looking for a peaceful diplomatic solution to this problem, and all of the president's interlocutors were encouraged to speak to North Korea, to encourage North Korea, to return to the Six Party format. Let's have a fourth round. That's where the outstanding issues could be discussed. There are three proposals on the table now: a North Korean proposal, a U.S. proposal, a South Korean proposal. Let's discuss these proposals at the table and not by a public exchange of views. And I think the president came away feeling that everybody that he spoke to today, the nations that I mentioned, solidly support and have a common view of the way forward using the Six Party format.
QUESTION: [unofficial translation] Secretary Powell, this week a Miami Herald columnist commented that a simultaneous visit by Chinese President, Hu Jin Tao, and President Bush to Latin America is taking place. He noted that the times have changed and that nowadays a larger carpet is placed for the Chinese president who comes to promote several investment programs in Latin American counties. I would like to ask you about the interest that China has in Latin America. What do you believe are the expectations of cooperation today between the United States and Latin American countries particularly considering the reality of what's happening in South America with the advance of leftist governments that are less friendly and do not sympathize with U.S. policy?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am pleased that President Hu Jintao is having good visits here in the hemisphere. President Bush's presence here today, to participate in APEC meetings, with all the economies of the Asia-Pacific region demonstrates his commitment to good economic relations with our hemisphere. The U.S.-Chilean Free Trade Agreement, I think, is a perfect example of the kind of economic commitment we are making with the region. We are working on a Central American Free Trade Agreement. We got work going on with our Andean friends, and the President remains committed to a Free Trade Area of the Americas. There is massive investment taking place, private investment, not government investment, but private investment taking place between U.S. companies and those nations of the hemisphere that are attractive for investment.
The point we make to all of our friends in the hemisphere is that what you really want is trade not aid. It is important for you to put in place political systems that are democracies that rest on the rule of law, that do not rest on the rule of corruption. And you will attract U.S. investment and U.S. assistance. And that is a consistent message that this President has given from the very beginning. And the aggressive manner in which we have moved forward with the WTO and now trying to get action on the Doha development agenda, I think also shows the importance that the President places on economic development in our hemisphere.
With respect to your comment about leftist governments that might come in to power, yes, rightist-centered governments might also come into power. The point is that the United States will work with any nation in the hemisphere or, for that matter, in the world as a full partner if that country has full, free, fair elections and the will of the people is represented by the political leader and the other leaders of that country. Thank you.
Released on November 21, 2004