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Rice Interview With Yuko Ando of Fuji Television

Interview With Yuko Ando of Fuji Television

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Tokyo, Japan
March 19, 2005


QUESTION: What is your ultimate goal as Secretary of State for striving for the world security? And will you tell the most important and imminent issues right now?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the overall goal of American foreign policy is to bring about a balance of power that favors freedom. That means to recognize that we face an ideology of hatred that can really only be swept away by liberty and freedom and the spread of liberty and freedom. Because when human beings are permitted the dignity that comes with being able to say what you think, to worship as you please, to educate your children, both boys and girls, then there is not the kind of atmosphere for hatred that caused the terrorism that we experienced on September 11th, or that other countries including Japan have experienced.

In terms of immediate issues, we of course have many new opportunities as democracy is spreading. We were all impressed by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Now, what is happening in the Middle East, the Palestinians have voted and Iraqis have voted and Afghans have voted. And we have an obligation as people who are fortunate enough to live in democratic circumstances, to help others realize the same democratic future.

QUESTION: Regarding North Korea, what are the prospects of future Six Party Talks? Are you still optimistic now to expect North Korea will be back at the table?

SECRETARY RICE: The Six Party Talks are a reliable way to deal with the threat posed by the nuclear weapons program of North Korea. And it is a reliable way to deal with it because it involves North Korea's neighbors. The North Koreans wanted very much to make this an issue between the United States and North Korea. But of course it's also a problem for Japan and for Russia and for South Korea and for China. And we do need more intensive efforts on the part of all, particularly China, to convince the North Koreans that if they want a better path in the international system, if they want to gain assistance in the international system, if they want to be able to make a better life for their people, then they have but one choice, and that is to give up their nuclear weapons program. And at that point, there will be a path to better relations worldwide.

QUESTION: Just you mentioned the nuclear weapons, they declared the position of nuclear weapons and they are still building a nuclear facility, and even producing the plutonium. And so the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea has become a reality for us. We're the neighbors, okay? Is there anything more for the U.S. to do to cope with this kind of threat?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have good partners in helping to cope with the problem. Obviously, on the Korean Peninsula, we have a deterrent in the fact that we have an alliance with South Korea. In the region more broadly, of course, we have a defense alliance with Japan. So we are able to cope with this.

But the character of the North Korean regime is an issue. And I know that sometimes the North Koreans would like to change the subject. But everyone knows that a state that involves itself in illicit activities, that abducts innocent citizens of a country like Japan and then lies about it for decades, that -- whose own people are starving because the North Koreans are so isolated, these are issues for all of us, particularly for democratic countries. We have to be willing to talk about this.

But life could be so much better for the North Korean people if the North Korean regime would throw out its nuclear ambitions.

QUESTION: You mentioned North Korea is not easy, last night, so that means you share the feeling of frustration that we feel towards North Korea. But should we take much stronger measures to cope with North Korea?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, at this point, we can still make the Six Party Talks work if everybody will really rededicate themselves to making the Six Party Talks work. But you are right that the North Koreans are difficult and in their February 10th statement in which they suddenly decided to declare not only do they not want to deal with the talks, but they were a nuclear weapons power, they should realize that they are just increasing their own isolation. It is not as if many of the aspects of North Korea's relationships around the world are moving forward. They had hoped a few years ago for normalized relations with Japan. That is not happening under current circumstances. They had hoped for and we had talked about a different kind of relationship with the United States; that is not happening. So the North Koreans are isolating themselves, they are not reaping the benefits of what could be very valuable relationships for them. And we have to hope that sooner or later they see that that is not a wise course.

QUESTION: Is there anything more for China to do to put pressure on North Korea?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I will leave the diplomacy to the Chinese and what kind of leverage they think they can use. But obviously, when President Hu and President Bush met, each time that they've met, and really even before that when the President met with President Jiang Zemin, the Chinese and we, the United States, agreed that there had to be a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula.

And so yes, China, which has a tremendous interest in a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, really does need to convince the North Koreans that it is time to deal with this problem. And I hope they will use whatever means that they can to do that.

QUESTION: You mentioned about abduction of the Japanese people. And it's very difficult for us to imagine that North Korea will change their behavior by any means. So shouldn't we take a lot stronger measure to cope with North Korea today?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, again, you have the support of the United States on the abduction issue. We raise it. We are not quiet about it. For so long, I think there was too much quiet about it. And so you have the support of the international community about what is really a terrible practice that was remarkable that it could go on.

It just speaks to the fact that in addition to the nuclear issue, there are many problems with the North Korean regime. Illicit trade in arms, in counterfeit, counterfeiting of currency, so we have a long road ahead before there would be anything that resembled a more normal relationship with North Korea. But the first thing is to deal with the near-term threat of their nuclear programs. And I do believe that if we mobilize and if we continue to have a unity of purpose and unity of message, that the North Koreans will eventually realize that they have no other choice.

QUESTION: Talking about the beef issue, then. How serious is the beef issue now?

SECRETARY RICE: The beef issue is very serious because it is unfortunately a step back from the increasing openness of markets that we have seen. We believe in safety of the food supply. Americans want to eat safe beef. But there is a global scientific standard here, and we need to make sure that it is that and not some kind of exceptional set of processes that are leading to the ban on American beef. And it's gone on for quite a long time. And it's extremely important to our relationship that we resolve this and resolve it quickly, very quickly.

QUESTION: Are you going to urge Japanese government to set an immediate and concrete date to open the market?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the important thing is that we resolve it very, very soon. It has really gone on a long time. We have talked to our Japanese counterparts, it looked like it was close to resolution and then it doesn't quite get resolved. It's really important because, not just in the Executive Branch, but also in the Congress in the United States, this is becoming a real issue. And we don't want it to spiral into or to expand into something else. It needs to be resolved.

QUESTION: I see. I should ask a final question, as time flies here, about yourself then. As being Secretary of State, it must be tough.

SECRETARY RICE: No, it's actually wonderful. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You must make a series of tough decisions and just so much pressure on your shoulders. Are you enjoying your position?

SECRETARY RICE: I am, I'm very much enjoying my position. It's a challenging time, but it's also a great time. I was just in Afghanistan where Japan, of course, joins us in helping the Afghan people. I had never been to Afghanistan, even though for the last three-and-a-half years, I've thought daily about Afghanistan. And to see this young democracy, struggling, a very poor country, where people are very excited and vibrant. They have a lot of challenges in Afghanistan, but it reminds you what freedom can do.

And those of us who are fortunate enough to be part of that process here in the 21st century need to remember that there was a time in the 20th century after World War II when new democracies were being born like Japan and throughout Europe. And we need to remember that because difficult decisions were made, because people sacrificed at that time, we now sit here in a vibrant, energetic, economically prosperous and free Japan. And those of us who are fortunate enough in the United States or in Japan to enjoy democratic freedoms have a responsibility to those who are now trying to emerge in democracy because in terms of human dignity there is nothing more important than living in freedom.

QUESTION: All right, thank you.

2005/T4-15

Released on March 19, 2005


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