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Condoleezza Rice Press Availability in Beijing

Press Availability in Beijing

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Beijing, China
July 10, 2005

SECRETARY RICE: I'm very pleased to be here in Beijing, the first stop on a trip that will take me through Thailand, Japan and South Korea as well. I have had very good talks this morning with Foreign Minister Li, with Premier Wen and with President Hu. I will leave here to have further talks with State Counselor Tang.

We have covered a range of issues, of course. We have talked about security issues of common concern, counterterrorism. We've talked about the welcome news that we will resume six-party talks, an important first step in trying to deal with the nuclear weapons program of North Korea, and to try and establish a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

I've also had the opportunity to talk with China's leaders about our economic and trade issues. The JCCT is here, and so those issues will be explored in greater detail by people like Secretary Gutierrez, who is already here in Beijing. I understand that USTR Trade Representative Ambassador Portman will be arriving later. And so there will be further economic issues.

We've also had an opportunity -- I had an opportunity to raise questions of human rights and religious freedom, to raise a few individual cases, but also to encourage China's leaders to work with us toward a resolution of some of the structural issues in human rights and religious freedom and to ask that China reach out to, in particular, the Dali Lama, a man who is, for Tibet, a man of considerable authority and considerable moral authority, but who really is of no threat to China.

And so we've raised a number of issues. It's been a very good set of discussions. I look forward to my discussions, of course, this afternoon with State Counselor Tang, who will soon depart for Pyongyang.

Thank you very much, and I'm now happy to take questions. I'll take one from our press corps first.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, KCNA said last night that North Korea interpreted Secretary Hill's comments at dinner as a retraction of your outpost of tyranny remark. Is that correct? Have you retracted that assessment of the North Korean regime?

SECRETARY RICE: I think everyone knows our views of the North Korean regime, and I can tell you exactly what Assistant Secretary Hill said last night. He repeated the remarks that have been made to the North Koreans when the New York channel was activated, remarks that I myself have made, that we recognized as a matter of fact that North Korea is a sovereign state, that we are -- that, as the President said a couple of years ago when he was in South Korea, we have no intention to invade or attack North Korea. And that we look forward to making progress in the six-party talks because we must all be dedicated to a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. That's precisely what Assistant Secretary Hill said and, I assume, that's precisely what the North Koreans heard.

QUESTION: Hi. I'm from China National Radio. Actually, I work with China Business Radio, which is the second channel of China National Radio.

And after 9/11, antiterrorism has become a global issue of concern. But, unfortunately, everyone knows what happened on July 7th in London. My question is, how can United States learn from this tragedy? How is United States immediately adjusting its policy of cooperation with China against terrorism? For instance, is United States strengthening its present cooperation with China or other states? What other steps will United States take? Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much. Since September 11th, we have had a very active multilateral counterterrorism coalition of which China is clearly a part. We have had very good cooperation in counterterrorism, law enforcement, intelligence sharing.

The kind of thing that happened in London on July 7, a terrible tragedy for the people of London, for the people of Great Britain, and for the people of the world, the kind of thing that happened simply reminds us that the terrorist threat is a very serious and difficult one to fight. Because I know that, like the United States and like China, Great Britain has been actively engaged in hunting down terrorists, has been actively engaged in intelligence sharing and law enforcement activities to try to break up plots the terrorists have had.

The problem is, it's a kind of unfair fight on the defense, because on the one hand we have to be right 100 percent of the time; the terrorists only have to be right once, as was demonstrated in London.

And so, we will intensify our cooperation. I think that the tragedies, like the one that happened a couple of days ago, are simply a reminder to us that we have to stay vigilant and stay on the offensive. The United States has done a great deal to try and improve the security of the homeland, security of our transportation system, as I know that China has and as Great Britain has. But, again, it's not an easy fight when the terrorists only have to be right once. It also is the reason that we need very much to press forward to root out terrorism wherever it is and to create an atmosphere in which the ideology of hatred that drives this kind of extremism can be countered with ideologies of hope and freedom.

And so we have a broad agenda. I think our activity and our cooperation has been very, very strong, but we should take every opportunity we can to reinforce it.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, if the United States didn't offer any new incentives to encourage the North Koreans back to the talks, did the Chinese, the South Koreans or any of the other parties offer inducements?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, this has been a period of pretty intensive diplomacy for at least the last six weeks to two months, in which there have been multiple contacts between various parties to the six-party talks to try and encourage the North Koreans to restart those talks. I can't speak to any specifics of discussions that have taken place. To my knowledge, the message has been the same to the North Koreans from all of the parties, which is that we need to get back to the talks, that there is a clear -- there are clear proposals on the table.

I know that the South Koreans, for instance, have talked about how they might help to meet North Korean energy needs. But they have put no time table on that or any sense of when that might be possible. But it shows the North Koreans that there is a path ahead if they wish to take advantage of the six-party talks.

I know, too, that there have been efforts on our part, on the part of the Russians, the South Koreans and especially on the part of the Chinese -- and I think the Chinese have played a very active role -- to show the North Koreans what the path ahead might look like.

When we were asked for clarification on some of the statements that I made when I was in Asia, for instance on sovereignty, the North Koreans asked us to come to the New York channel. We did that, we were able to tell them that. They said they were interested in returning to the talks. They asked if we would meet them to receive a date for the talks and to talk about modalities for the talks. We said that we would do so in Beijing under Chinese auspices, and that's what took place last night with Assistant Secretary Hill.

So there has just been a tremendous flurry of diplomatic activity from all the parties to the six-party talks. I believe that the North Koreans understand that the goal now is to get back and to make progress.

And let me just say one other thing. It's a very good thing that we're going back to the talks the week of July 25th. But it is only a start. It is not the goal of the talks to have talks; it is the goal of the talks to have progress. And so I'm hopeful that in the discussions that will take place with the North over the next couple of weeks up to the start of the talks that that message will be clear.

QUESTION: Thank you. I have two questions. The first one is, North Korea has presented they are willing to establish diplomatic relations with the United States. But they still haven't got a response from the U.S. according this question. And my question is, when will United States decide to establish diplomatic relations with North Korea?

My second question is that in the leader forum of Shanghai Corporation Organization, two central Asian countries have asked the American Army withdraw. But there is one country, that is Afghanistan, refused to sign the convention. And my question is, what will American government plan to -- in order to keep -- keeping U.S. soldiers in central Asia?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you have made the point that I would have made. The one country that said that the United States should stay in Afghanistan was Afghanistan, which I think, since Afghanistan is sovereign, since Afghanistan, in fact, has an elected president who was elected freely and fairly, then the relationship that we have with Afghanistan is with that government.

I might just note that it is, of course, the United States along with others who liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, which was terrorizing the people of Afghanistan and which has given now an opportunity to the Afghan people to build a better and democratic future.

There is still a fight going on in Afghanistan. The United States and others are training Afghan forces. The Afghan army is coming along, its numbers are coming along, its capability is coming along. We are training them in counterterrorism matters. But there is still a lot of terrorist activity in Afghanistan, as has been witnessed by the multiple security incidents that have taken place over the last several -- several months since the spring thaw came. And so it is our understanding that the people of Afghanistan want and need the help of U.S. armed forces.

I might just mention that, of course, NATO is there as a part of the International Security Assistance Force, so it is not just the United States; there is a multilateral security presence, international security presence in Afghanistan. But the terrorists still have to be defeated in Afghanistan, and we're helping the Afghan people to do precisely that.

As to North Korea, we've made very clear that the issue now is for North Korea to make the strategic choice to give up its nuclear weapons programs. And, again, this is not just the concern of the United States; this is the concern of all of North Korea's neighbors. All of the members of the six-party talks are -- I should say five of the six are proceeding from the point that there has to be a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans also said last night in their statement that they affirm that the purpose of these talks is to get to a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. So let's do that and we will see what else comes. But the nuclear program has to be dealt with.

QUESTION: Thank you. Two questions. First question is do you have any comments on the announcement from the Italian government that they are withdrawing Italian troops from Iraq? And my two question -- second question is about the CNOOC-Unocal deal. I'd like to know whether you talked about this with the Chinese leaders in your meetings here. I know you probably cannot comment on the case for conflict of interest, but can you tell us who is representing the State Department in the commission for investment in the U.S.?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, well the CFIUS process has not yet been convened but will be convened. You're right, I am recused on this issue and I therefore have not had discussions with Chinese leaders about that issue.

As to the Italians and Iraq, the Italian government and the Italian people have done a great deal thus far to help the Iraqis secure their freedom, to help the Iraqis secure themselves against terrorism. I might just note that a little while ago, Italy lost some of its Carabiniere in an attack on them and yet when they asked for volunteers, they got many times more in terms of volunteers than were already there. So Italy is doing its part.

And the President and Prime Minister Berlusconi have talked about this, talked about it when the President was last in Italy. And to the degree that Italy needs to make some adjustments to its troop presence, it is doing so in accordance with and in coordination with the multinational force planning effort. So there is no diminution of Italy's devotion and dedication and commitment to seeing this work through in Iraq. And Prime Minister Berlusconi has made that very clear.

I might note too that Italy is very involved in the training of Iraqi security forces. And after all, the most important task that we all have before us now is to train the Iraqi security forces so that Iraqis can take care of Iraq's own security.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY RICE: It has not been convened yet and so I don't know at this point who will represent us.

QUESTION: Thank you. Nicholas Kralev of the Washington Times. Chinese officials in Washington and in Beijing have expressed unhappiness in the past few weeks and months about the way the United States looks at China as a threat, particularly militarily and particularly by the Pentagon. Was that raised by Chinese officials in your meetings and what did you tell them? Does the United States consider China a serious threat?

SECRETARY RICE: In fact, I raised the issue with the Chinese about military balance, issues of military balance. The relationship with China and the United States is a complex one. These are big and complex countries. The -- China is in the midst of an enormous transition domestically. This entire region is in the midst of a major transition as a result of that. And our goal is to see the rise of a China that is a positive force in international politics. China will be and is a force in international politics. The question is what kind of force will it be, and we believe that there is every opportunity for it to be a very positive force.

In terms of our relationship, there are many extremely positive elements. I still think that this relationship has great momentum. It still has more positives than negatives. It is a relationship that has improved dramatically over the last several years. Our trade relations, while they are not uncomplicated and while the Chinese economy is transitioning in ways that are sometimes problematic for the American economy, it's still a very healthy, robust and active economic relationship.

We've talked just now about the counterterrorism cooperation, we've just talked about Chinese-U.S. cooperation with others in the six-party talks. We are working together in the United Nations. We've finally managed to move forward on Sudan. So we have a number of issues that we are working very well on.

There is no doubt that we have concerns about the size and pace of the Chinese military buildup. And it's not just the Pentagon. I've made clear to people that this is a view held by the U.S. government. That does not mean that we view China as "a threat." We just take note of the fact that there is a significant military buildup going on, that it is concerning, that we have concerns about the military balance and, of course, that the United States continues to modernize its own forces so that we can continue to be a force for stability and peace in this region.

That the relationship is complicated, that there are some elements of it that are troubling, that is obvious. We talked about economic issues. One of the points that I emphasized quite a bit with the Chinese leadership, in particular with Premier Wen, is the importance of the safeguarding of intellectual property rights. The Chinese economy is big and getting bigger. And the rules-based WTO framework into which China has entered is the only way to assure that an economy of this size has a good effect on the international economy as a whole.

We have never had a zero-sum view of the international economy. A growing Chinese economy is a good thing. It needs to do so within the context of rules.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, as you know, the Taiwanese government has urged Beijing to discuss with them the issues of (inaudible) export to the mainland and (inudible) during your talks with Chinese leaders, have you called on them to move in that direction? Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: We have discussed Taiwan, of course, and I have restated the American position, long held, that we have a one-China policy and that we adhere to the three communiqués, three joint communiqués. I also mentioned that, of course, we have obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it is Americans' desire that there be no unilateral changes to the status quo by either side. And that means that we don't support unilateral moves toward independence by Taiwan, we've made that very clear. It also means that we are concerned about the military balance, and we'll say to China that they should do nothing militarily to provoke Taiwan. And so the United States has a long-held policy here. We are adhering to it.

Now, we do think that cross-Straits contacts are a good thing. And to the degree that the Chinese government has been engaging in those cross-Strait contacts, we think it's good. We would hope that that would extend to contacts with the elected government of Taiwan, because that would be also very good. It can only improve to have people in contact. Taiwan and China have very robust economic relations, obviously important relations. And so we encourage as much contact as possible.

Thank you very much.

2005/T11-3

Released on July 10, 2005

ENDS


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