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Condoleezza Rice With Japanese Foreign Minister

Press Availability With Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Tokyo, Japan
July 12, 2005


FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (Via interpreter)It is a great pleasure to welcome Secretary Rice to the Foreign Ministry. It is the fifth time that we are meeting since the beginning of this year. In the beginning, I would like to express -- to strongly denounce the heinous act of terrorism which occurred in London on the 7th of July and I would also like to convey sincere condolences to the victims and family members and also the UK Government.

We discussed many issues that we face today; however, in the beginning, I conveyed my sincere appreciation for the U.S. Government for the warm regard it showed (inaudible). Concerning North Korea, specifically, the nuclear issue and (inaudible) the abduction issue, we know that the six-party talks will resume sometime soon and I conveyed my appreciation for the efforts of the United States and (inaudible).

Especially concerning the six-party talks, we agreed that it was important that (inaudible) concrete progress be achieved in the next talks and also that it was important for the North Koreas to (inaudible) serious manner and also a constructive manner and that it will continue to be the importance that the three countries -- Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea -- stay closely coordinated with each other. And also we agreed that sometime in the latter half of this week we will hold trilateral consultations on this issue in Seoul. Mr. Director General Kim Sook and Mr. Hill and others would participate in this meeting.

Also on the abduction issue, I explained the current situation, and Secretary Rice has pledged her strong support and understanding on this issue.

We also discussed United Nations reform and reached a shared view that United States -- or United Nations must be reformed, not only the Security Council reform but in also other areas, a broad range of areas such as human rights, peace building and also Secretariat reform. And on Security Council reform, we are seeing various proposals being put forward. Some are in the process of being put forward right now. We agreed that Japan and the United States were able to continue our discussions with a view to achieving reform of that organ so that we can make sure that it's going to be effective. And also, Secretary Rice expressed once again the U.S. support for Japan's permanent membership in the Security Council.

On bilateral issues, we agreed that we would continue our active discussions and accelerate our discussions on force structure review of U.S. Forces Japan. On BSE, I explained our situation that Japanese experts were considering this issue and because of the importance of this issue, it is important that we see (inaudible) address the issue (inaudible) possible resolution of this issue.

Also, we discussed about the strategic dialogue between Japan and the United States at the ministerial level and we agreed that, subject to coordination of our schedule, we would like to meet on the margins of the UN General Assembly, which will be in September, and that will be at the ministerial level between Japan and the United States.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Foreign Minister, for the hospitality here. Obviously, Japan and the United States share a broad and deep friendship and values, and it's always good to be here.

We did have very good discussions on a range of issues. On bilateral issues, as the Minister said, we talked about the importance of the ongoing (inaudible) of our -- of the force posture, the alliance, because we want the U.S.-Japan defense alliance to be modern and ready for the concerns and the challenges of the 21st century. We have a strong relationship and we are (inaudible).

I was very pleased to hear the Minister's update on the situation concerning our beef/agricultural exports to Japan and thanked him very much for their efforts to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

The Minister and I talked about a number of issues internationally of common interest, about the situation in Iraq, of course, where Japan is making an extremely important contribution to the humanitarian conditions there and to the future of a democratic Iraq.

And of course, Japan is a forward ally in the war on terrorism and we talked about the importance of the continuation of that war. We've just seen that while we're making progress in the war on terrorism, it's still not won. The horrible events of London are a reminder that we face a determined enemy and that we ourselves must be even more determined so that they will not believe that they can disturb or destroy our way of life.

And of course, our hearts continue to go out to the people of Great Britain, the people of London, as they try and deal with the aftermath of this terrible event, to the families of the victims and to those who are trying to recover.

We did talk about UN Security Council reform and UN reform more broadly. We agree on the need for broad reform of the United Nations. I reaffirmed to the Foreign Minister our support for a Japanese seat on the UN Security Council. Of course, the United States does not oppose the candidacy of any state at this point, but we are concerned that there be enough time in the discussions of Security Council reform that this very important issue has been given due consideration and that we have gotten as broad a consensus as possible.

Finally, we had an extended discussion of the soon-to-resume six-party talks. We are both hopeful that these talks will be successful. We talked about the importance of the North Koreans making a strategic choice and coming to the talks ready to negotiate seriously. There, of course, is a proposal on the table. We would hope to have some response to that. The United States -- and I know Japan -- we are absolutely willing to negotiate seriously. We are prepared to roll up our sleeves and to do everything we can to make these talks a success.

I was able to brief the Minister on my conversations in Beijing. I am now going on, of course, to Seoul. Mr. Hill, our negotiator for the six-party talks, has been in discussions with his counterparts. There will be a trilateral discussion between Japan, South Korea and the United States. So there is a great deal of activity that will precede the start of the six-party talks, but what we really need is a strategic decision on the part of the North that they are indeed ready to give up their nuclear weapons because without that these talks cannot be successful.

And I, finally, as the Minister said, did note that the United States continues to support strongly Japan's efforts to get a favorable resolution on the abductee issue.

Well, thank you, Minister, and I look forward to continuing our strategic dialogue in New York.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) from (inaudible) Shimbun. I would like to ask both Ministers concerning a question concerning six-party talks. North Korea has (inaudible) talks. As Foreign Minister Machimura mentioned, it is necessary to achieve (inaudible) concrete progress in the next round of six-party talks. What kind of progress do we need in order for us to consider these talks a success?

Second, there is a slight difference in policy of South Korea and the policy of Japan and the United States. Will Japan and the United States be able to make accommodations to these policies so that the three countries can coordinate?

Number three, if the six-party talks does not proceed well, is there a prospective of raising this issue in the Security Council? And also, is there a possibility that the abduction issue will be raised in the six-party talks?

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: Concerning the six-party talks, of course, there is the issue of the dismantlement of North Korean nuclear program and also the missiles issue and also humanitarian and human rights issues, including the abduction issue. These are all issues that have to be discussed in the six-party talks and (inaudible).

Concerning policy coordination with Japan and the United States and South Korea, of course, I think I touched on the importance of (inaudible) policy coordination and also that later in this week we are having trilateral consultations so that we can actually coordinate our policies.

Concerning the worst-case scenario (inaudible) the six-party talks, we are at a point at which the six-party talks is about to be resumed and so I don't think that it is appropriate for us to discuss the worst-case scenario when we are actually trying to go into the talks to have good results.

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, I would only add that we have, in fact, had very good coordination with the South Koreans. I met just last week with the Unification Minister. He was again in Pyongyang. We believe that we are all in complete agreement that the North Koreans have to give up their nuclear weapons programs. There is obviously an inter-Korean dialogue between the North and South. We have supported that. But I believe that we all have the same goal and, in fact, we will shortly get together to discuss how to best achieve that goal.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, do you think the six-party talks is an appropriate venue for discussion on the abduction issue? And secondly, as you are aware, the South Koreans have announced a generous donation of food aid and other forms of assistance. Do you believe this undercuts your position heading into the talks?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, the South Koreans' decision to respond in particular to the really miserable humanitarian situation of the North Korean people does not in any way undercut talks. In fact, the United States recently granted 50,000 tons of food assistance to North Korea. This is a humanitarian disaster that's happening there and people ought to be responding to it.

I do think that everyone recognizes that whatever else is on the table, the real issue is: Are the North Koreans going to come forward and give up their nuclear weapons program and are they going to use this opportunity that is about to take place to make a demonstration, a firm demonstration of their commitment?

And secondly, while the principal goal of the six-party talks is to resolve the nuclear issue with North Korea, we have never made any secret of the fact that we think that there are other issues that will also have to be resolved. The missile proliferation will eventually have to be resolved. Conventional forces will eventually have to be an issue. And certainly humanitarian and human rights issues will have to be an issue. The nuclear issue is the one that is pressing us as we return to the talks, but we have always supported Japan's desire to get this resolved and make clear that we believe that the future of the relationship with North Korea has got to resolve a variety of issues.

Let me just add that when the nuclear issue is hopefully resolved, then I think we will be able to look at what the future holds in the broader context.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My name is Hujino from NHK. I would like to ask a question first to Foreign Minister Machimura concerning United Nations Security Council reform. The G-4 is of the position that it will put its resolution, their resolution, to the vote around the 20th of July. My question, first question, is I think Secretary Rice has asked the Foreign Minister that we should take the time to discuss this resolution before we put this to the vote. Were you able to obtain the understanding of the United States on the G-4's position that this resolution would be put to a vote on the 20th or around the 20th of July? And if so, were you able to obtain the understanding of the United States on this issue?

And number two, I would like to ask a question for Secretary Rice. How do you evaluate the G-4 resolution and their position that they want to put this resolution to the vote as early as possible? And in the event that it is put to a vote, what would be the U.S. response?

And in addition to this, I would like to ask a question about Iraq. I understand this was discussed between the two ministers today. My question is to Secretary Rice. What is your expectation on the role to be played by Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Iraq? I understand the special measures law for their dispatchment will reach a deadline by December this year. What is your expectation on their activity past this deadline of December?

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (Via interpreter) Yes, since we are running out of time, I would like to give you a short answer. We are scheduled to hold a G-4 foreign ministers meeting on the 17th, Sunday, this week in New York and I think an African representative will be attending this meeting. So we will be discussing how to proceed with the G-4 framework resolution at this meeting. But the current position of the G-4 is that we would wish to put this resolution to the vote sometime around the 20th of this month. However, we are seeing the formulation of an African resolution and we may be seeing a formulation of a consensus group resolution as well, so we are seeing very fluid situations, so in this kind of a situation we would like to continue to keep in close contact, close consultation with the United States on this issue.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, I will just add that it is indeed a fluid situation. Obviously, we support Japan and we have -- for a Security Council seat, and we have said that we support UN expansion. But we do believe that there is much work to be done, particularly on broader UN reform as well, and so we will keep in close contact with our Japanese colleagues on this issue. We believe that the opportunity to discuss these matters and to see it in the context of broad UN reform is an extremely important principle.

And as to Iraq, the Japanese people have been of steadfast support to the Iraqi people. It is, of course, up to the Japanese Government to decide what its further contribution can and will be.

QUESTION: Sonni Efron, L.A. Times. Yes, I'd like to ask both ministers about the issue of remittances from Japanese residents to North Korea. In the context of the United States seeking to impose more restrictions on proliferating countries, including financial restrictions, Secretary Rice, I wonder whether you would welcome the Japanese Government restricting transfers to North Korea.

And Minister Machimura, in this context, I wonder whether if the abduction issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, the Government of Japan would also consider moving toward restricting those financial transfers or whether your government sees this as a humanitarian issue that should not be politicized in the context of the six-party talks.

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Let me just say that the Minister and I have not discussed this issue today. The executive order to which you are referring was aimed at entities and companies that are facilitating the proliferation trade and I think at this point that is what we are trying to cut off. We trust very completely our Japanese colleagues in the efforts that they are making in North Korea both to deal with the very difficult plight of Japanese citizens who may be there and to deal with the security issues that North Korea poses. And so I am very confident that Japan is doing all that it can and will be willing to do all that it can to deal with the security threat from North Korea. We have no differences on this matter.

FOREIGN MINISTER MACHIMURA: (Via interpreter) Yes, we are of the basic position we have been taking -- doing whatever we can to deal with the nuclear and other proliferation activities by North Korea and we would like to continue to do so together with the United States. This is our basic position.

With regards to the presidential order concerning proliferation activities, we are not fully aware of the content of this order, so we would like to study the order, obtain some information and then discuss what we can do, forward-lookingly discuss what we can do in order to cooperate.

And I think this is an entirely different issue with how we deal with the abduction issue. And on the abduction issue, as Prime Minister Koizumi has always been saying, our policy that we will deal with the issue according to dialogue and pressure has not changed at all.

Thank you very much.

2005/T11-7

Released on July 12, 2005

ENDS


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