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U.S. COMMITMENT TO AISA UNCHANGED
- Subject: U.S. COMMITMENT TO AISA UNCHANGED
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 07:44:00
Copy List Suppressed for Security of the Subscribers
23 November 1998
TRANSCRIPT: COHEN SAYS U.S. COMMITMENT TO ASIA UNCHANGED
(U.S. will maintain 100,000 personnel in region) (6850)
Washington -- Defense Secretary Cohen says the continuity of the U.S.
commitment to the Asia-Pacific region "remains unchanged" with plans
to maintain 100,000 U.S. military forces there as a way to ensure
stability in the region.
At a November 23 news conference to release the Defense Department's
East Asia Strategy Report, Cohen said such a military presence in the
region "helps us to shape events, to respond to crises, and to prepare
for an uncertain future."
The fourth edition of the report is entitled: "The United States
Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region." Cohen said it
reaffirms the U.S. network of alliances with countries such as Japan,
South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
The 68-page report also reaffirms the U.S. commitment to
"comprehensive engagement with China" and to the expansion of
democracy in the Asia-Pacific region, the secretary said.
In his assessment, Cohen observed that Asia is not as confident
economically or militarily as it was in 1995 when the Pentagon last
released its East Asia report. He attributed this to both recent
economic difficulties in the region and uncertainties related to North
Korean military developments.
Stability in the region relies on economic growth and military
security, Cohen noted. "We are committed to maintain stability," he
added, because instability makes economic recovery "more difficult."
Asked about U.S. policy related to the Korean Peninsula, Cohen said
the United States is actively pursuing a dual engagement policy of
providing a strong military deterrent in South Korea while at the same
time engaging North Korea in a dialogue and urging that country to
show restraint with respect to ballistic missile tests.
Asked about the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, Cohen said it
has been successful "to the extent that it has been complied with."
Serious questions about the degree of compliance "have to be
resolved," he emphasized, lest they "call into question the viability"
of the agreement. Further, he said, it is important to determine the
intent and capability of North Korea's underground facility now and
not wait for any extended period of time.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Franklin Kramer, who joined Cohen at the news conference, indicated
that any possible change in U.S. policy toward North Korea would be
influenced by a review currently being conducted by former Secretary
of Defense William Perry.
Kramer also made several observations related to the Year 2000 (Y2K)
computer problem and Asia -- a subject which is raised in the new
report. Some countries in the region have done "a reasonable amount"
to fix the Y2K problem, he said, while others "have done very little."
U.S. officials want these nations to focus on the software and
computer chip problem "so the systems are capable of functioning in
the new millennium."
While Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre raised the Y2K issue during
a trip last month to Japan and South Korea, Kramer stressed that "Y2K
is a worldwide issue. (It is) just as much an issue with the Asian
countries as with anyone else."
With respect to Russia's role in the Asia-Pacific region, Kramer
observed that Russia is as much an Asian power as a European one,
given its geography and other interests. It is important, he added,
for major countries in East Asia to have good relations to ensure
stability. Russia could be more involved in the region, he said, a
subject which the 1998 East Asia report addressed. It states, for
example, that "Increasing Russian engagement may help relieve
historical tensions and resolve several longstanding disputes that
have plagued the region."
During the news conference, Cohen also answered questions unrelated to
the report, particularly on Iraq's behavior and on NATO's future
On the latest confrontation between UN weapons inspectors and Iraq, he
said: "We have to look at the full spectrum of their (Iraq's) level of
cooperation." Failure by Iraq to provide access for UNSCOM inspectors
to sites that Baghdad had previously agreed could be inspected, or
failure to produce documentation, or a combination of all of the
above, Cohen explained, leaves open the possibility "that the
president would order a military option in the future."
Questioned about Germany's recent suggestion that NATO declare a new
policy of "no first-use" of nuclear weapons, Cohen said: "We think
that the ambiguity involved in the issue of the use of nuclear weapons
contributes to our own security, keeping any potential adversary who
might use either chemical or biological (weapons) unsure of what our
response would be." It is a sound doctrine adopted during the Cold War
"but modified and reaffirmed following the end of the Cold War," he
said, stressing that it is integral to the alliance, and there is
"good rationale" for keeping it as it is.
Following is the transcript of remarks by Cohen and Kramer:
(Also participating in the briefing was Frank D. Kramer, Assistant
Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.)
Secretary Cohen: Today I'm releasing the Defense Department's fourth
East Asia Strategy Report. Like the three previous reports, it
reaffirms the United States' commitment to Asia. It reaffirms our
determination to maintain approximately 100,000 soldiers, sailors,
airmen and Marines in the Asia Pacific. This presence helps us to
shape events, to respond to crises, and to prepare for an uncertain
The report reaffirms our network of alliances with Japan, Korea,
Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines. And it reaffirms our
commitment to comprehensive engagement with China. It also reaffirms
our commitment to the expansion of democracy throughout the region.
Asia is not as confident as it was in 1995 when the Department of
Defense issued the last East Asian Strategy Report. The economic
difficulties and concerns about the developments in North Korea have
created uncertainty throughout the region, and in view of these
changes it's important to stress the continuity of America's
commitment remains unchanged.
Stability rests on the foundation of economic growth and military
security, and the policies that are outlined in this report are
designed to keep that foundation strong.
We have Dr. Kramer, Dr. (Kurt) Campbell here to give you some detailed
briefings following this opening presentation, and I will entertain a
few questions pertaining to the report itself, and then perhaps a few
questions on other subjects.
Questions on the report?
QUESTION: Secretary Cohen, when we talk about security in the East
Asia Pacific region with the continuing threat of missiles, missile
technology from North Korea, there's been some discussion about
whether or not the Navy's theater-wide missile program ought to get
more funding because it could be used by Japan to help increase
defense of the Japanese islands.
Is there any consideration of shifting more funds into that system in
order to develop that sea-based system a little sooner?
COHEN: As you know, we have at least five systems that are currently
under active research and development. We will try to utilize all of
these systems to come up with the appropriate system for the defense
of our forward deployed forces and for the defense of our allies.
There's no decision at this point as to which system will be used.
We are working with the Japanese government. We are exploring with
them ways in which they can cooperate with the United States in
helping to conduct this research and development for the best system
that would be desirable for the region.
Q: Is there any evidence that North Korea is preparing to conduct
another missile test like the one in August?
ANSWER: I wouldn't want to comment on any intelligence aspects. We
follow it very closely, and should further tests be conducted we will,
of course, respond appropriately.
Q: This report was conducted against the backdrop of a major crisis, a
financial crisis in Asia over the last year and a half. Are there any
themes in this report that might calm, in some respect, the crisis?
Any kind of connections whatsoever?
A: What we've tried to demonstrate by our presence -- it's not only
the military presence, it's not only the security that it represents,
but it's a multidimensional presence that we have. In the middle of
the booklet, for example, you'll see a day in the life of PACOM
(Pacific Command) -- all of the things that we do on a regular basis
all the way from humanitarian types of endeavors, dealing with
economic catastrophes, fire fighting in Indonesia, etc. All of that
designed to show number one, we have a commitment to the region and we
are committed to maintaining stability, and with stability comes the
prospect of the economic revitalization of being more likely. When you
have that instability it's much more difficult for the economic
recovery to take place.
So we think that through our presence and through the multiplicity of
activities that we have, that that contributes not only to the
security and stability but also gives a sense on the part of the
countries in East Asia the realization that the United States is
committed in the long term to its prosperity and stability.
Could I came back to, Jamie, your question about North Korea.
We are going to continue to urge restraint on the part of the North
Koreans as far as the missile testing is concerned. The most recent
tests in August, the one that appeared to be a launching of a
satellite, has caused great consternation in the region so we're going
to continue our dialogue with the North Koreans to see if we can't
promote greater restraint on their part.
Q: Sir, what do you consider to be the most outstanding achievements
in the way of furthering the security strategy by the visit of
President Clinton to Japan, to Korea, especially with regard to those
issues of missiles and the like?
A: I think the President by his official visit to Japan reaffirmed the
strong basis of not only our friendship with our alliance, the
relationship the United States has with Japan really forms the
cornerstone of our security arrangement throughout the region.
So to go to Japan to conduct talks with the Prime Minister was very
important to reaffirm that we'll continue to work with Japan, the
economic difficulties they're having, but we're going to try to work
with them as well understanding that Japan's economic recovery is also
going to be critical to the recovery throughout the region.
With respect to South Korea, we also see there that the presence of
the President to reaffirm this dual approach -- on the one hand
engaging North Korea; at the same time making very clear that we have
a strong military deterrent, that we intend to keep very strong, will
serve as the basis for the security of South Korea and throughout the
region itself. So the combination of the strong deterrent plus the
willingness to engage, indulge in active engagement policy, we think
holds the best promise for maintaining peace and stability in the
Q: The report said that the 1994 agreed framework deflected a military
confrontation in Korea. Would the failure to get access to that
underground site and the collapse of that agreed framework bring the
situation back to that point of a possible military confrontation?
A: We think that the agreed framework has been successful to date, to
the extent that it has been complied with.
Again, questions have been raised as to whether there has been full
compliance. Those questions have to be resolved. The United States
does not intend to pay tribute, to pay compensation in order to carry
out a verification of an agreement, but we think that the agreement,
to the extent that we are aware today, it has been successful in
containing the growth and development of a nuclear capability on the
part of the North Koreans. If that agreement has not been complied
with, if there have been any activities undertaken by the North
Koreans that would in fact undermine that agreement, then it certainly
poses a very serious threat to the region and calls into question the
ability to maintain the agreed framework.
Q: How high, though, is your suspicion that if the agreement has been
circumvented by that underground...
A: I don't think it's helpful to try to qualify or quantify how high
the anxiety level is. I think it's important to say that there have
been serious questions raised. Those serious questions have to be
resolved. Unless they are resolved, then that will, in my judgment at
least, call into question the viability of the agreed framework.
Q: Mr. Secretary, a few months ago the assessment of that facility was
that whatever it was, it really wouldn't be on-line for several years.
It was a massive burying in rock and so on. Is there anything in the
current assessment that changes that time frame into a more urgent
question of nuclear capability?
A: I think that even though the questions concerning that particular
site may change over the long term into something much more than it is
today, it would be important for us to determine at this point what
the intent and what the capability of that underground facility would
What the intent of the North Koreans and its capability ultimately
It would seem to me not to be a prudent course to wait until the
facility is completed and then ask for inspection and then find that
it's something inconsistent with the agreed framework. So I think it's
important to answer the questions now rather than waiting any extended
period of time.
Q: The forces that are committed to keeping an eye on Saddam and so
forth, is it... Should diplomacy not work out, does the United States
still have the strength and still have the forces to reinforce those
that, and keep an eye on North Korea? Are you short of what you need?
It took awhile to get things to the Gulf.
A: We have in place in the Gulf enough capability to carry out any
military option the President might decide would be required, so we
don't have any hesitation to state that we have enough forces on hand.
They can be reinforced as we saw very quickly, should that be needed.
We have enough forces to serve as an adequate deterrent, a very strong
deterrent elsewhere. So I don't have any questions of that capability.
Q: It hasn't taken long for Iraq and the U.N. inspectors to have some
tension over documents which now Iraq says doesn't exist. How long are
you going to let this kind of a situation go on before you decide that
Iraq is not complying with the free access for U.N. inspectors?
A: You may recall that back in February I indicated that there were at
least two facets to cooperation on the part of the Iraqi government.
On the one hand they had to allow free and unfettered access to the
UNSCOM inspection teams. Secondly, they had an affirmative duty to
produce documentation as to their past activities. I believe that
Chairman Butler has done exactly the right thing by asking for the
production of these documents so that he and the other inspectors can
make a determination of what level and volume of chemical and
biological and indeed even nuclear materials Iraq had on hand prior to
the Gulf War in order to make a determination, according to their own
statements now which have changed several times, from denying they had
any such chemical or biological agents to an admission that they had
substantial volumes of it.
So what he is trying to determine is whether or not what the Iraqis
claim they have done has in fact been carried out.
When, for example, were these chemicals or biologicals destroyed?
Where, under what circumstances, what records were made of the
destruction efforts? All of that would be, I think, critically
important to determining whether or not the Iraqis in fact are
cooperating with UNSCOM so it can lead to a determination that they
are in compliance with the Security Council Resolutions.
I think this is one aspect of it. The inspections will need to
continue, and those inspections in combination with the production of
documents will be, in my judgment, evidence as to whether or not the
Iraqis intend to comply with their obligations or whether they intend
to resist them.
Q: They're saying they're not going to turn over those documents.
A: Well, they haven't quite said that yet. They had made a statement
that some of them don't exist and others aren't relevant, and others
have been destroyed. I think that we will have to continue to see the
insistence on the production of those documents and a clarification of
if documents were destroyed who destroyed them, under what
circumstances, when, where, etc.? I think a lot of questions have to
be asked and answered before there can be any resolution as to whether
or not they are "cooperating."
Q:...free and unfettered access, Mr. Secretary? It sounds as though
already you have not gained free and unfettered access. Documents is
part of that free and unfettered access, already they are not
complying. So already the United States... A week ago the U.S. said if
we don't get free and unfettered access we'll go back in.
A: There are two aspects to the free and unfettered, as you pointed
out, but the free and unfettered are consistent with the existing
resolutions and also with the memorandum of understanding negotiated
by Kofi Annan last February. That was one aspect in terms of where the
inspectors could go. The production of documents also is a part of it,
and as I indicated, that is of equal importance at least in my
judgment, in terms of whether or not they are fully cooperating.
To the extent that they fail to do that, and to the extent that they
limit the ability of the inspectors to go where they feel they have to
go to determine whether any such chemical or biological, indeed even
nuclear activity is taking place, then that would certainly manifest a
lack of intention to cooperate.
Q: Can Iraq violate both aspects? Are you saying...
A: A combination of either. I think we have to look at the full
spectrum of their level of cooperation. It could be the denial of
access to sites that they have already agreed that the UNSCOM
inspectors could have access to; it also could involve a failure to
produce documentation; or a combination of all of the above.
Q:...avoid air strikes simply by claiming that whatever documents the
U.N. wants don't exist or were lost?
A: I'm not going to comment on what would involve or precipitate air
strikes. I think it is up to Iraq to fully cooperate with UNSCOM. A
failure to do so certainly leaves open the option of whether or not
the President would order a military option in the future.
Q: On another subject, if I may. The German government is now pressing
that NATO make a major reversal of policy and declare no first use of
nuclear weapons. In connection with that, the New York Times is
reporting, the report's been around for a long time, the United States
would like, the U.S. military would like to unilaterally cut nuclear
weapons even if START II isn't approved because we simply can't afford
the budget crisis to maintain them.
I wonder if you'd comment on those two issues.
A: Since we have the new German Minister of Defense coming tomorrow
perhaps we could discuss the new German position as far as the
strategic doctrine is concerned for NATO. It is our position that this
doctrine is viable. It's something that is integral to the NATO
strategic doctrine. We think it makes sense and there's good rationale
for keeping it as it is. That we have reduced our nuclear stocks
rather dramatically, certainly at the theater level, and even at the
strategic level under START I, hopefully coming down to START II
levels as soon as the Russian Duma ratifies START II.
We think that the ambiguity involved in the issue of the use of
nuclear weapons contributes to our own security, keeping any potential
adversary who might use either chemical or biologicals unsure of what
our response would be.
So we think it's a sound doctrine. It was adopted certainly during the
Cold War, but modified even following and reaffirmed following at the
end of the Cold War. It is an integral part of our strategic concept
and we think it should remain exactly as it is.
With respect to the issue of nuclear levels, Congress of course has
mandated that we maintain our nuclear levels at the START I levels
until such time as the Russian Duma ratifies START II. We are,
pursuant to congressional direction at least, exploring a variety of
options which even according to the New York Times this morning, a
report that was filed with Congress last spring was "a highly
classified document." We intend to keep it at that level for the time
Q: Do you personally believe that it would be viable to unilaterally
cut U.S. weapons given the budget constraints on the cost of
maintaining these thousands of...
A: As I've indicated before, it is costly to the United States to
maintain those levels. It is more costly to Russia to maintain those
levels. That is the reason why we have tried on each and every
occasion to persuade our Russian counterparts it's in their interest
as well as the United States to ratify START II as quickly as possible
so we can reduce the levels down to the START II levels and then move
on to START III.
Q: Have you or any other Pentagon official quietly recommended to the
administration that there be consideration of unilateral cuts as the
New York Times story reports?
A: I can't comment whether anyone has recommended such a proposal.
We're looking at a variety of options in terms of how we deal with the
issue of maintaining START I levels consistent with the congressional
Q: One small question, going back to Iraq, the carrier battle group
ENTERPRISE is due in the Persian Gulf within the next 24 hours, there
to relieve the EISENHOWER, but there's going to be an overlap the way
it looks. Are you going to leave both carrier battle groups there for
the foreseeable future? If so, how long?
A: It's my intent at least at this point to have the normal rotation
of the EISENHOWER and the ENTERPRISE.
Press: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
Capt. Doubleday: This is (Assistant) Secretary (of Defense for
International Security Affairs) Frank Kramer next.
Secretary Kramer: This really is to follow-on for any of you who would
like to have further questions. Charlie asked me specifically to do
this, so I thought I'd come up and do it.
Q: On the missile defense issue, essentially we've talked to the
Japanese for a couple of years now. Are we really any closer to
getting an agreement? And roughly what time frame are you now
A: The Japanese government has now said that they want to proceed
forward. We have to decide exactly what we're going to do together. So
what you've had is a decision announced publicly that they will want
to work forward on some aspects of research, and that's as far as
Our own programs, as you know, are as the Secretary said in a state of
review, so it's not as if they can't plausibly be involved.
Q: There's a Navy proposal for a theater wide issue. Initially at
least, a fairly low funding level, I think $15 million this year and
then $50 million next year. Are you basically endorsing that? What's
the thinking on that?
A: I'm sorry. Are you...
Q: Bringing the Japanese into that R&D..
A: Are we endorsing bringing the Japanese... We're endorsing working
with the Japanese. They're going to have to decide what they want to
work with us on, and obviously it will have to make sense in the
context of our overall review. We're in the process of having those
Q: The financial crisis has made it more difficult for some East Asian
countries to buy arms that they were interested in. Has that concern
made some of them more interested in military to military contacts
with us, and relying a bit more on what we have to offer?
A: I think one of the things that this report shows is that we've had
enormous changes over I'd say the last three or four years. There was
a time maybe four years ago when those countries weren't sure whether
we would stay. We have made very clear to them that we do want to
stay, and they've made very clear to us through things like the
Defense Guidelines, the declarations with Australia, the Korean
(security) statements, that they want us to stay even after a change
in Korea, that we're there for the long, long term. So the mil to mil
aspect and the defense to defense aspect has been important and
growing even before the financial crisis.
The financial crisis, I think, just adds to their desire that we be a
factor for stability. As the Secretary said, if you have stability it
gives you a better basis to grow your way out of the problem that
Q: Are you getting any feelings that Malaysia will be more difficult
here in the next coming few weeks or months after the speech last
A: The Vice President made the speech. That was a speech that the
President would have delivered. I think we've made clear our views on
the situation, and it's sometimes necessary to state firmly your
Q: A question on the North Korean (unintelligible). So what's your
current understanding on missile deployment in North Korea.
A: I'm sorry?
Q: Missile deployment in North Korea.
A: I'm not sure...
Q: Do you know the missiles, do you think North Korea has finished
their deployment of No Dong, and how about Taepo Dong?
A: Obviously the Taepo Dong launch was a matter of concern. The
Secretary said that if there was another launch it would be a
continued matter of concern.
Our situation with North Korea is the following. Not only do we have
the problem with the underground facility, we also have the problem
with the missiles and they do provocative things like they did a few,
about a year and a half ago I guess it was, with respect to the
submarine infiltration. The question is whether or not North Korea in
the overall is going to act as one of the community of nations or is
it going to continue to threaten its neighbors. So it's the recent
combination of events that has really raised lots of questions as well
as the specific problems with respect to the Agreed Framework.
Dr. Perry has been appointed the coordinator to review all this. He'll
report back to the President. And we'll obviously take account of it
as we go forward.
Q: I wanted to follow up on. With regard to the underground facility
specifically, there has been quite a bit of talk about pulling out,
the West pulling out of the Framework Agreement. I wanted to ask
what's the status now? Will there be more talks, more attempts to
reach out to the North Koreans to gain access for inspection of that
underground site? And when, in a step wise, procedural wise fashion,
would the U.S. seriously then be considering a pullout of KEDO?
A: I think the Secretary made it fairly clear. We think it's important
to resolve now the questions that this underground facility raises.
We're obviously not going to pay a penny in order to do that. They
need to demonstrate that they are in compliance with KEDO. Pardon me,
with respect to the Agreed Framework.
With respect to how precisely we go forward, that's one of the very
reasons that we have Dr. Perry to undertake the review. He was here in
Washington last week, he'll be here this week, and we'll go forward.
It's just premature to try to give you a time frame.
Q: The U.S. and China have different opinions regarding (inaudible)
regarding the Taiwan issue in terms of the arms sales. Do we have any
(unintelligible) it will produce future conflict between China, the
U.S., and why
A: I think the answer to that is that we, in terms of our relations
with respect to China, have been very clear on what we do. The
President, for example, went to China. He reiterated our policy. He
was the first President to mention publicly in China the Taiwan
Relations Act. We will comply with the requirements under that Act. We
will also comply with agreements with the Chinese as exemplified by
the so-called Three Communiques.
One of the important things, I think, is for us not to have our
relations with China dealt with only through the prism of Taiwan.
There are many overall compatible and very important interests, and
this report actually lays them out.
The Chinese benefit greatly, for example, from an overall circumstance
of security and stability in the region. They've been able because of
that to develop and grow. They need trade, they need investments, and
they're not going to get that without a stable region. They have a
common interest with us on stability in the Peninsula.
They have said they are in favor, for example, of a nuclear-free
Korean Peninsula. We're working with them in the four party talks and
So the bottom line, my answer to you is that I think we will be able
to meet the requirements that we need with respect to Taiwan, but do
it in such a way that we're able to continue to develop our relations
Q: Have you already established a naval station with the Japanese
government about the creation of the carrier based on Yokosuka? Would
you deploy a carrier by nuclear powered carrier there?
A: No, I don't think we have a decision... No, we haven't.
Q: Can I ask what the goal of the Agreed Framework to North Korea is?
(unintelligible) the collapse of North Korean (unintelligible)? And do
you consider any change in the threat to North Korea with regard to
A: First of all, the fundamental strategy we have in the Korean
Peninsula is one of deterrence. We have worked with South Korea for a
long time now, more than 40 years, and through a combination of the
efforts of the South Korean governments (sic) and their own people,
and the United States involvement there, South Korea has grown and
prospered in a way that could only have been hoped for a long time
ago. We want to continue that. We want to continue to have South Korea
grow and develop. We have every confidence that South Korea will work
its way out of the current financial problems, and we will continue to
use the U.S. forces there as well as the possibility, if necessary,
that there would have to be more in order to maintain deterrence and
allow South Korea to grow.
With respect to North Korea's recent overall activities, that raises
serious questions for us. It raises questions in the context
specifically of the Agreed Framework, but it also raises the question
why would a country that wants to have good relations undertake so
many acts such as the missile launch, which has obviously raised great
difficulties in Japan, and we're very sympathetic to those, and we're
going to work with the government of Japan on those.
Whether we change our strategy or not is specifically what we will
look at in terms of Dr. Perry's review, but we will maintain the
aspect of deterrence.
Q: Is it true what the commentators say that the Defense Guidelines
with Japan will not be really operational until Japan passes the
necessary implementing legislation? If that's the case, what has Japan
A: I'm sorry. What has...
Q: What has Japan done in this regard?
A: The guidelines themselves are operational. I don't know how many
people have actually read them. It's worth taking a look at.
What the guidelines do is they create an ability for the U.S. and
Japan to work in the context of the current situation that we find in
the Asia Pacific as opposed to the old guidelines which were there to
deal with the Soviet Union.
There are particular aspects with respect to how we would like to be
able to operate in Japan that we need the legislation for. But the
guidelines themselves contemplate and allow a certain amount of
planning and work to go forward. They focus the Japanese Defense
Agency on a different role. So although we're not able to do
everything without the legislation, for example using some civilian
facilities would be an example. We're able to do a lot without the
legislation. So there has been a major change.
Q: Let me try the growing alliance between China and Russia. As
accentuated just this day with a hospital visit by the Chinese leader
to Mr. Yeltsin in Moscow. We hear of a growing military or security
Is this a concern to the United States and its security strategy for
A: No, it's not a concern. Let me talk about that.
First of all, a hospital visit is hardly a matter of concern. It is
the case, however, and I wouldn't use the word alliance, but it is
fair to say that the two countries do cooperate.
If we're going to have stability and security in the region, and if
you look even at the map there, Russia is obviously an Asia power as
well as a European power. China is the world's largest developing
country and is one of the factors of continuing change in the region.
We need to have the major countries of the region have good relations.
For the most part, for example, the Chinese and the Russians having
largely at least settled their border disputes, that's a positive
Russia has a great many difficulties right now, as you're all aware.
It is not as involved in Asia as it could be. There's a section in
this report which I commend to you which encourages that Russia be
more involved; and another section in the report where we talk about
multilateral relationships and so-called minilateral relationships,
and we will try to work with the Chinese and the Russians as well as
with others to help develop an overall security framework.
Q: The deployments to the Persian Gulf. Sending those forces over
there has apparently resulted in a shortage of airlift and so forth.
For example, the people going to Honduras are going by ship instead of
by air. Those kinds of things.
Is there any evidence that we're running out, that we would run short
of stuff and people should it be necessary to rush reinforcements to
deal with the Korean contingencies?
A: We are configured to do two regional engagements, major theater
wars, etc. One of the constraining factors on us always is lift, and
if we, as we do in our current operations, we don't just have the lift
sit by, we are using it for lots of things. If we actually got into
two war time or almost war time situations, we'd have to prioritize
what we would use the lift for. But I think you know as well as anyone
else, every reporter here who follows the Pentagon has said lift is a
key factor for us and we need to just pay a lot of attention to how we
You probably ought to direct the technical aspects of your question to
the J4 or the Chairman, but as a general proposition with the right
kind of prioritization, we think we can do both. We do a lot of
analysis on that. We couldn't do both and do everything else that we
do at the same time.
Q: In your report there is a small blurb on Y2K issues.
Q: Is that a concern for air operability in the coming years?
A: Sure. For the year 2000.
What we need to do, and we've done a lot here, and some of the
countries have done a reasonable amount and some have done very
little. We want to get them to focus on it so that their systems are
capable of operating in the new millennium. It just takes a certain
amount of effort. So yes, it is.
John Hamre was in Korea and Japan a few months ago, I want to say
about the October time frame, and raised these very issues.
Y2K for us is a worldwide issue, just as much with the Asian countries
as with anyone else.
Q: Have the reports of the Chinese building more structures in the
Spratleys drawn any concern from the Pentagon? Or are we still
officially hands-off in terms of territorial disputes?
A: I think that a number of our allies and friends have commented on
that. We think so far that the ASEAN countries have done very well in
dealing with that with the Chinese. Obviously we are not in favor of
any aggressive development that would undercut the stability of the
region, but we think the countries right now are working on it
Q: The Japanese have talked about discussing their relations with the
U.S. and China, military relations, in a kind of triangular way. Talk
about the triangular...
How about any interest, does the Pentagon have any interest in doing
A: First of all it's important to remember that Japan's our ally. As
this report says, it's the most important ally that we have in the
region. So we have many, many many relations with the Japanese
including having forces in Japan. We have three, three star commanders
in Japan and the like.
So when you talk about how we would discuss our relations with the
Japanese you have to start from the base that this is our most
important ally, and we have a full spectrum of discussions.
Would we be interested in a trilateral discussion? As one part of
those, there have been some discussions, artificial discussions, and I
think it's still at the so-called track two level, that seems a good
way to go. But that is a tiny part of the overall. I didn't want to
have the implication of the question suggest that that's the way we'll
do it in the overall.
Q: In this report you're discussing expanding the network of defense
cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, Japan, Korea, (inaudible),
already existing defense cooperation arrangements. Don't you think
it's more difficult to engage China if you expand people making that
kind of effort? Because it may look like containing China from the
A: The short answer to your question is no. The long answer is the
Our strategy, which we explain to China as well as to anyone, is to
enhance stability and security in the region. To do that, we need to
have close relations with the countries of the region. That includes
the countries of Southeast Asia. We want to develop those relations as
much as we want to develop anywhere. We also want to develop relations
with the Chinese. So in Southeast Asia, for example, Deputy Prime
Minister Tan was here last week, if I recall correctly, and we signed
formally the agreement to use the Changi Pier for U.S. carriers, and
it allows us to have greater cooperation with Singapore.
We likewise have, when it's ratified, a new Visiting Forces Agreement
with the Philippines. We have very close relations with the Thai. We
are redeveloping our relations with Indonesia.
At the same time, we have worked very hard with the Chinese. We have
started significant and formalized dialogues. Walt Slocombe, who is
the Under Secretary for Policy was in China in October. The President
has been there a number of times. And so what we're doing is we're
seeking to reach out to all the countries in the region in such a way,
in accordance with the strategy that we have, a strategy of engagement
that lets us engage and develop those kind of relationships and makes
the use of violence not one of the factors for the region, and then
allows the region to go forward and develop politically and
economically and culturally.
Q: Thank you.