Rice Rumsfeld Japan's Foreign & Defense Ministers
Remarks With Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Japan's Foreign Minister Machimura and Defense Minister Ohno
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Loy Henderson Auditorium
February 19, 2005
11:40 a.m. EST
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had the pleasure this morning of welcoming our colleagues from Japan, Foreign Minister Machimura and Defense Minister Ohno, to a very productive session on U.S.-Japan security consultations. This is a so-called two plus two. We've had very fruitful discussions this morning.
Our discussions have reflected the importance that our President and Prime Minister Koizumi place on this longstanding alliance with Japan. It is a unique relationship that is vital to peace and prosperity and security in Northeast Asia and beyond.
Our growing global partnership is already producing results in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Japan has been a stalwart supporter of the efforts of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to build democracies there and a staunch supporter of the peace process in the Middle East.
We have pivotal cooperation in fighting proliferation, close cooperation in the Indian Ocean, which showed itself in the tsunami relief efforts there, and increasing coordination of our assistance throughout the world.
Today, more than ever, we share a number of challenges, but we also share opportunities. And our vital relationship is at the basis of our ability to pursue those opportunities and to meet those challenges.
We talked about a wide range of issues, about Iraq, about Afghanistan, about the Middle East peace process. We talked about Asia and our desire for cooperative relations with China, our desire to ensure that the Cross-Strait issues can be resolved peacefully, our desire to promote fundamental values like human rights and democracy globally, and the need to eradicate new threats like terrorism and proliferation.
We agree, too, that the United States and Japan will improve our ability to operate our forces together, reaffirming the importance of maintaining a strong deterrent and addressing concerns of the base-hosting communities in Japan.
We will issue, or have issued, a statement on North Korea, the Foreign Minister and I will, because we share a concern about events on the Korean Peninsula. The Ministers and I urge North Korea to return to the six-party talks as the best way to end nuclear programs and the only way for North Korea to achieve better relations.
We are proud of this longstanding alliance. It has been a good alliance that has provided peace and security in the region and throughout the world for a long time, but we are by no means resting on our laurels. We understand that alliances, in order to remain vital, have to be updated and have to be improved every day, and that was the purpose of our meeting, is to talk about how to continue to push this alliance forward so that we can meet the challenges before us in the 21st century, and also pursue the many opportunities that we have. Thank you very much. Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (Via translator.) Sincerely this morning, we had breakfast together, and we also -- ahead of the two plus two meeting, the plenary, we had a Japan-U.S. foreign ministers meeting. As Secretary of State Rice said just now, we discussed the security situation or environment in Northeast Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace and so on. We covered a broad range of issues, and agreed that we should maintain close cooperation between Japan and the United States and play the role as partners, global partners, and I've asked Secretary Rice to visit Japan at the earliest possible opportunity. So I extend an invitation and I got an answer that she would consider that positively.
With regard to North Korea, in my meeting with Secretary Rice, and also in the two plus two meeting as well, we had rather in-depth discussions, as Secretary Rice said. We shall call for an early and unconditional resumption of six-party talks, as far as Japan is concerned, on the basic policy of dialogue and pressure. We very much hope the various countries concerned, especially China, will play an important role.
And we also, in this regard, reaffirmed the importance of Japan-U.S. security arrangements, and I believe the relevant statement has been handed out. So we -- and we reaffirmed this point in our two plus two meeting as well.
In the two plus two meeting, we were able to have extremely significant consultations that the continued -- in the security area, Japan's cooperation would be very important in the international context as well.
Now, I will not repeat what Secretary Rice said, but especially with regard to -- that the review of U.S. forces in Japan, their military force structure, I should like to make a point. And there are three points in this respect, and we have handed out a relevant document today.
And I believe there are three stages in this force structure review. The first stage is the review of strategic objectives, and the second is examination of the roles, missions and capabilities of JSDF and U.S. forces, and the third is review of the individual facilities and areas in Japan.
And I believe we were able to confirm the common strategic objectives between Japan and the United States, the first stage. And building on this in the coming several months, we shall carry out intensive discussions on the second and third stages and accelerate our work. And doing this, we see eye to eye that it is important to maintain firmly the deterrence of the U.S. Forces Japan, and also take into consideration the prospective of reducing the burdens on local communities, including Okinawa.
Now, but at the same time, we have not looked simply in terms of burdens, but must also, in Japan, emphasize the positive aspects that this stationing of these forces have.
DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, Ministers, and Secretary of State. It's always a pleasure to meet with friends and allies. The security relationship between the United States and Japan is an old one and a very durable one, some fifty plus years. And I've had the privilege of being around for those -- for that period, and I must say that I can't think of a time when the relationship has been closer or more constructive, and we value that in the United States and benefit from it, and certainly understand that it remains a key pillar of peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region and a benefit to the world.
I should also add that Japan has provided valuable assistance to the people of Afghanistan in their transition to a democracy, and has been courageous and steadfast in supporting the Iraqi people as they strive to build a democratic and a peaceful country.
Today's meetings were good meetings. It's an opportunity to take stock and to continue the momentum towards strengthening and transforming this important alliance. Thank you very much.
DEFENSE MINISTER OHNO: (Via translator.) Thank you. As Secretary Rumsfeld mentioned, we had a very good discussion today. Before two plus two, we had Japan-U.S. defense leaders meeting. The point is, first of all, the North Korean issue. The statement of North Korea that was issued a while ago would instigate instability in the region, and also the nuclear nonproliferation regime had major challenge because of this announcement.
It is not just a threat to the region, but we believe that through the six-party talks, there has to be a resolution of the issue peacefully. This is a point that was confirmed between us.
And also, we discussed the missile issue. First, we had a lot of discussion in Japan on missile defense, and recently, we submitted a bill for missile defense to the Japanese Parliament and explained what it is to the Secretary. And basically, a collection of information, sharing of information, and analysis of information in all aspects, missile defense is an area of mutual cooperation. And so we had a meeting of minds on this issue as well.
And also, with respect to the international security cooperation, in Japan, there should be an improvement of international security involvement. This is becoming increasingly important issue. The world is getting smaller and so international security environment needs to be improved. And that would lead to peace of Japan. So, for example, we talked about studying a possibility of the activities of the Self-Defense Forces, doing a broad -- to be a mandate. So in international activities, there should be a deepening of cooperation between Japan and the United States. This importance is also shared by Secretary Rumsfeld, and I was one who emphasized that.
And then we had two plus two talks after that. We explained the new -- the national program outline. The point, first of all, is, there was, in 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in Japan, there has been a diversification of threats. And so the -- not traditional deterrence, but we have to place more emphasis on readiness, in terms of defense. That is what we must consider. This is the first issue.
And secondly, the importance of international activities, which was emphasized. In connection with this, what I would like to say secondly is the realignment of U.S. force structure in Japan. By establishing new structure to respond to a variety of contingencies, we can maintain deterrence, and we should also strive to reduce the burden on local areas in Okinawa. This can only be done by cooperation with each other, so in this respect, we had an agreement on this point.
And also, we discussed the Japan-U.S. security cooperation. This two plus two is going to put us on orientation for the future of our security cooperation, and also for the Asia-Pacific region. This will set -- an orientation, this would perhaps set the first step of the future orientation. This is my impression. Thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: We have time for about four questions. We'll start down here with Reuters, I think.
QUESTION: Ministers, in your joint statement, you mention your deep concern about North Korea because of the statement it issued last week. Can I just ask you why all of a sudden you're deeply concerned? Hasn't the intelligence community in the United States known for a long time that North Korea has nuclear capability? And they haven't been coming to the talks for such a long time, what's the difference? Is this an expression of impatience on your behalf?
SECRETARY RICE: The deep concern over North Korea has been there for quite a long time, in fact well before this Administration came into office. I think that's why there was an effort in 1994 to do something about the North Korea nuclear program. It was tried on a bilateral basis. Unfortunately, the North Koreans began to violate that agreement. And so we moved to a different format, the six-party talks, which we believe has the possibility to resolve this conflict, this difficulty with the North Koreans, in a peaceful way.
There's a path for the North Koreans to a different kind of relationship with the international community. It's a path that could include mutual security guarantees out of the six-party talks. It is a path in which the parties are prepared to talk about what the relationship might be with the North in the future on issues that are of interest to the North. It is a path that has been stimulated by the fact that President Bush has repeated several times that the United States has no intention to attack North Korea nor invade it.
So I think it would be a mistake to say that there is somehow a deeper concern today than there has been, but of course, the North Koreans are continuing to bring about their own isolation by not dealing with this problem. The international community has been concerned with this for quite a long time. It is really time for the North Koreans to take seriously that concern, return to the six-party talks, and begin to address the international system's concern.
FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: As Secretary Rice mentioned just now, it is not all of a sudden we see the insecurity or the problem increasing, as mentioned. It's been around for some time. We have seen developments into the six-party talks, but the North Koreans themselves declared their possession of nuclear weapons for the first time this time. Until now, until recently, they spoke more in vague terms and indirect terms, and this is the first time that they have declared openly.
In any case, our policy is to resolve the issue peacefully and that led to the six-party talks, and the six-party talks have been suspended, and we want to resume those talks as early as possible, because that is necessary not just for the security of Northeast Asia, but also from the perspectives of nonproliferation, and this problem goes against this international interest, and that is why we believe that the six-party talks should be resumed as early as possible, and the North Koreans should completely dismantle all their nuclear programs, including all aspects of the nuclear programs. And we decided to seek strongly the North Koreans in order to respond to this.
QUESTION: (Via translator.) Yes, from Japanese side, Chunichi Shimbun. The microphone is not on yet. With regard to the North Koreans, you say they should come back to the six-party talks as early as possible, but you said also dialogue and pressure, and I think you mentioned, Minister Machimura, you will seek cooperation on the part of the Chinese. Specifically, what sort of cooperation would you seek from the Chinese? And when exactly do you think you would expect the resumption of talks?
FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: This very day, I believe the Chinese Communist parties, I think the central liaison director of the Communist party, a man who was very high-ranking within the Chinese Communist party, I believe is headed for North Korea, and most likely -- this is only our speculation, but I think he will likely meet with Kim Jong-Il, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission of North Korea.
China has been providing assistance of various kinds to North Korea historically. China also has very close ties with North Korea, and geographically, it is very close. So we hope that the Chinese will serve the role not just as a mere moderator, but also as a player, actively work on the North Koreans.
Now, when specifically would we expect North Korea to return to the negotiating tables? At this moment, we do not have any certain -- any prospects as to when exactly they will return. But should we let the time slip by, then I think it will only worsen the situation, because I'm sure that the international community will -- may become tougher vis-à-vis North Korea, and I believe that before it happens, I think the early return of the North Koreans to the negotiating table would be of interest for North Koreans themselves, and I think they should be aware of that.
MR. BOUCHER: Go to John Carl of ABC.
QUESTION: We're seeing the latest statement out of North Korea that they don't only -- not only are they not going to back to the six-party talks, but they don't even want one-on-one talks with the United States. I'm wondering if they don't come back, what are the next steps? What is the United States prepared to do next?
And secondly, regarding China, how is it that the Chinese have been so ineffective so far during this long period of time in getting anything out of the North Koreans and even getting them back to the talks? Is it that China is not delivering a forceful enough message, or is that China truly doesn't have much influence with the North Koreans, as they've said?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, John, as to the first point, I don't think we offered one-on-one talks to the North Koreans, so I don't know what that was responding to. What is there is a forum called the six-party talks. And the North Koreans do have a path to a better relationship with the international community and I would hope they would take it.
We will, of course, have to look beyond if that day comes, but at this point, we believe that the international community is united in saying to the North Koreans that they should return to the talks. It's not just Japan and the United States that have said this to the North Koreans. The Chinese have said it, the Russians have said it, the South Koreans have said it, indeed the international community as a whole.
And so the North Koreans are the ones that are isolated in this, and they ought to return to those talks so that people don't have to contemplate other measures. They have a path ahead of them.
We appreciate the efforts of the Chinese. This is obviously a difficult matter. It would have been resolved before had it not been difficult. And the Chinese, as the Minister said, have apparently sent someone to North Korea. We would hope that there would be a message to the North Koreans of the kind that the Chinese have been delivering publicly and have told us privately, which is that they believe that not only should the North Koreans return to the talks, but they need to return to those talks knowing that it is the collective view of the other members of that body that there can be no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, that we are talking about a nuclear weapons-free Peninsula, Korean Peninsula.
There are other issues with the North Koreans, of course. We have been supportive of Japan's concerns about the abductions and will continue to be supportive of Japan's concerns about that. North Korea has a number of issues with many countries in the region. But right now, the best course is for them to return to the six-party talks and to see if they can address them once they have made a strategic choice to get rid of their weapons, their nuclear weapons. Everyone is telling them that a nuclear weapons Korean -- free Korean Peninsula -- is in everybody's interest, including in the interest of North Korea.
It's not an easy matter. We appreciate the efforts of the Chinese, and I assume the Chinese are delivering that message as we speak.
QUESTION: All right, the Japanese press. Yomiuri Shimbun, please. Question for Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Ohno. In the coming five years or so, if the Chinese military buildup continues, what sort of impact would that have on the security environment in East Asia, Northeast Asia? Would a Chinese military buildup turn into potential threat for the security?
And a related question, the Chinese military buildup and North Korean nuclear development, these are factors of instability for the region, and the -- are you thinking in terms of strengthening the deterrence of U.S. Forces in Japan, and would the strengthened deterrence be able to exist side by side with the issue of burdens on -- burdens of bases in Japanese local communities? There's the issue of Futenma Air Station relocation, and I wonder if you would engage in consideration of these factors as well.
DEFENSE MINISTER OHNO: Well, allow me to speak ahead of Secretary Rumsfeld. First of all, on China, today I talked about this. For example, the Chinese nuclear sub entered Japanese waters. Also, Chinese military spending has been growing by more than 10 percent per annum over the past 16 years or so. And also, for maritime research, we have to also watch Chinese maritime research activity as well.
So we should keep watch on China, but fundamentally, we should maintain friendly ties with that country. I believe that is the posture that we should maintain.
With regard to North Korea, it goes without saying that the nuclear issue, the missile issue, these are major factors of instability for our region, and also they would pose a great challenge to weapons nonproliferation.
So in the Asia-Pacific region, there persists these problems of instabilities or uncertainties, and vis-à-vis that situation, Japan and the United States should cooperate with each other in building on the core of Japan-U.S. security arrangements, and the U.S. maintain its presence in Japan. I believe the situation is serious, and therefore, the U.S. role is very important.
Now, what about the transformation issue? Building on our awareness of the security environment, the realignment of U.S. Forces structure in Japan is a basic we need to address. Our basic perception on this, there is no doubt about it, that the deterrence of U.S. Force Japan, as well as the reduction of burdens on local communities are matters that we have to give consideration to. And we discussed this in our meetings today.
Now, how are we to address the Okinawa issue and so on? The question of burden should be seen not just in terms of the specific amount of burden likely, the space that is taken in Okinawa in terms of square feet and so on, but also there are other invisible aspects. And by improving interoperability and other joint efforts, I believe we'll be able to find clues to the resolution of the issues. And I believe the resolution of these issues lie in greater cooperation between our two countries, and therefore, mutual cooperation, interoperability, I believe, will be very important items on the agenda we need to address.
On specific issues, we did not take them up because it is too premature at this stage, but you referred to Futenma Air Station. We did not specifically take up the Futenma Air Station question, but as I have been saying, and in fact there was a reference to this today as well, steadily implementing the SACO final agreement, I believe, should lead to the reduction of a burden on Okinawa.
DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, I'll just add a word about the Pacific. The United States, of course, is a Pacific nation, and we have close relationships with Japan, but also with the Republic of Korea and other nations in the region, Australia, India and others, just to mention a few.
It is correct that the People's Republic of China has been increasing its military capabilities fairly significantly. Our interest is in working with all the countries of the region in seeing that it is peaceful and stable, and that the relationships are constructive.
We have, we believe, important relationships with most of the countries in the region that we continue to develop and that continue to evolve. And our expectation is that the -- because of our cooperative arrangements and our alliances that there will be a network of relationships that will encourage peace and a stable part of the world there.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry, that's all we have time for.