Statement on the Passing of Filipino President Corazon Aquino
Press StatementHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DCJuly 31, 2009
I extend my deepest condolences to the Aquino family and all the people of the Philippines on the death of former President Corazon Aquino. Cory Aquino was beloved by her nation and admired by the world for her extraordinary courage after the assassination of her husband, and later, during her service as president. She helped bring democracy back to the Philippines after many years of authoritarian rule with a faith in her country and its people that never wavered. Like millions of people worldwide, Bill and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory.
Remarks on Former Filipino President Aquino’s Death
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DCJuly 31, 2009
QUESTION: Our president Cory Aquino just passed away, would you care to tell us your thoughts about Cory Aquino?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh she did? I didn’t know that. Oh I am so, so sorry. I wrote her a note a few weeks ago when I heard that she was so sick. I admired her greatly, she was a woman of courage who loved her country. She and her family sacrificed so much to try to give the people of the Philippines a better future and I think that she is an inspiration, not only to the Philippines but to people everywhere who believe in the right values and a positive future.
Archive for July, 2009
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged Corazon Aquino, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, State Department, The Philippines on July 31, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Prince Saud Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State, State Department, Switzerland on July 31, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Remarks With Luxembourg Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn Before Their Meeting
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateTreaty RoomWashington, DCJuly 30, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is a real pleasure and delight to welcome the former and present foreign minister of Luxembourg. With the recent elections and the new government, which has many familiar faces, including the prime minister, but also the foreign minister, we are delighted to have this chance to discuss a lot of issues that we are working on together. So I thank you so much for being here.VICE PRIME MINISTER ASSELBORN: Thank you. Thank you, Hillary, to receive me, it’s really an honor for me. I think we will speak about our bilateral relations. We are an important financial place – things are good. I think the cooperation between U.S. and Luxembourg is on a very high level. We will speak – I am one of the 27 foreign ministers in the European Union, so I’ll give you my appreciation about Iran, Balkan, Middle East.
But I wanted to tell you one sentence from your husband. It was for me, a very – a very good sentence. He said in Denver, United States, they must lead by the power of its example, not by the example of its power. And therefore, we want to help United States, we want to help you to close Guantanamo, because this was not an example. And therefore – we are a small country, but we have the will to help with other partners sponsoring training professional, professional training for detainees, lodging and so on. So we will do it.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. That means a lot to me. Thank you so much, Minister.
VICE PRIME MINISTER ASSELBORN: Yes, yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
VICE PRIME MINISTER ASSELBORN: Thank you.
Remarks With Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateTreaty RoomWashington, DCJuly 31, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, and thank you very much for being here. It is a pleasure for me to welcome His Royal Highness Prince Saud here back to the State Department, a building he has spent more time in than I have. (Laughter.) So it’s a delight and an honor.
I think it is so self-evident but bears repeating that Saudi Arabia has been a close friend and ally of the United States for many years. Our partnership is grounded in mutual respect and mutual interest. Our two nations seek to maintain an open and active dialogue on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges, including achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the two-state solution, ending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, confronting violent extremism, and encouraging economic recovery and growth.
Today, Prince Saud and I discussed ways we can broaden and deepen our partnership, including the continuation of the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Dialogue, something that was discussed between His Majesty the King and President Obama.
I thanked the Prince for the leadership that King Abdullah and his government has shown by championing the Arab Peace Initiative. The wide support for the King’s plan is very encouraging. But of course, we need to do more to realize the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security in two states, side by side.
And the United States is working very closely and intensely with the Israelis on the issues of settlements and easing living conditions for the Palestinians, and with the Palestinian Authority on improving security and ending incitement on the West Bank and in Gaza.
We have also asked the Arab states, including our friends in Saudi Arabia, to work with us to take steps to improve relations with Israel, to support the Palestinian Authority, and to prepare their people to embrace the eventual peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Saudi Arabia’s continued leadership is absolutely vital to achieve a comprehensive and lasting peace.
Prince Saud and I also discussed our other efforts to address regional security challenges. I want to underscore publicly what the Prince knows and His Majesty the King knows: The U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security is unwavering. We share concerns about the destabilizing role that Iran has played throughout the region and the continued expansion of its nuclear program and its support for terrorism. At the same time, we are working together to deny terrorists safe haven and access to funding, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I also appreciate His Majesty the King’s and the Prince’s efforts for Saudi Arabia’s leadership within the G-20 and our mutual response to the global economic crisis.
I am also personally very pleased by the steps that His Majesty the King is taking to implement reforms, including appointing the Kingdom’s first female official as deputy minister of education. The work that the King is doing on educational reform and judicial system reform and championing interfaith dialogue is very important. And I was excited to hear about the upcoming opening of the King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia for graduate study that will be focusing on the modern sciences.
So, Your Royal Highness, thank you. Thank you for your years of friendship, and thank you for making this visit and our commitment to continuing our dialogue. I look forward to working with you in the future on behalf of our nations and our common goals for the world.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Madame Secretary, thank you for your kind invitation and for the wonderful lunch that we just had. Frankly, I thought at one point that our meeting would be at a health facility, instead of the State Department. (Laughter.) I am glad to say that we have both recovered enough to face the media, and both know how dangerous that is.
To our friends in the media, I would like to say that our meeting was productive and fruitful. Our two nations have been friends and allies for over seven decades. We have seen the coming and breaking of many storms. Over time, our relationship has grown stronger, broader, and deeper. And our discussion today reflected the maturity of this relationship. It was frank, honest, and open, as discussion between friends must be.
Today, our two nations are working closely to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis, to encourage reconciliation in Lebanon, to stabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan, to combat terrorism, and to emphasize the need for Iran to adhere to its obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And we consult on many more political issues as well, as global economic matters, energy and the environment. We have a large commercial relationship that benefits both our people. As you can see, we have a long list of common challenges and opportunities ahead of us. And I can say that our common interests make it incumbent upon us to closely coordinate our efforts.
Given the large number of issues we deal with, our two nations established a Strategic Dialogue in 2005. The Strategic Dialogue was designed to institutionalize the relationship between our two relevant countries and it served its purpose well. Today, the Secretary and I discussed ways to enhance its productivity and to make it more relevant to the challenges our two nations face.
I would be remiss if I didn’t express our thanks and appreciation to President Obama and to Secretary Clinton for their early and robust focus on trying to bring peace to the Middle East. I expressed to the Secretary our view that a bold and historic step is required to end this conflict and divert the resources of the region from war and destruction to peace and development.
It is time for all people in the Middle East to be able to lead normal lives. Incrementalism and a step-by-step approach has not and– we believe– will not achieve peace. Temporary security, confidence-building measures will also not bring peace. What is required is a comprehensive approach that defines the final outcome at the outset and launches into negotiations over final status issues: borders, Jerusalem, water, refugees and security.
The whole world knows what a settlement should look like: withdrawal from all the occupied territories, including Jerusalem; a just settlement for the refugees; and an equitable settlement of issues such as water and security. The Arab world is in accord with such a settlement through the Arab Peace Initiative adopted at the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut which not only accepted Israel, but also offered full and complete peace and normal relations in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in ’67. This initiative was adopted unanimously by the Islamic countries at Makkah Summit in 2005.
Today, Israel is trying to distract by shifting attention from the core issue- an end to the occupation that began in ’67 and the establishment of a Palestinian state to– incidental issues such as academic conferences and civil aviation matters. This is not the way to peace. Israel must decide if it wants real peace, which is at hand, or if it wants to continue obfuscating and, as a result, lead the region into a maelstrom of instability and violence.
The question is not what the Arab world will offer. That has been established. But an end to the conflict, recognition, and full normal relations as exist between countries at peace. The question really is: What will Israel give in exchange for this comprehensive offer? And remember, what Israel is asked to give in exchange for peace, namely the return of the occupied territories, never belonged to it in the first place. Israel hasn’t even responded to an American request to halt settlements which President Obama described as illegitimate.
Allow me to conclude by saying that I was pleased to discuss the issues with the Secretary, and I appreciated hearing her views on it. I thank you, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
MR. CROWLEY: We’ll go to question with David Gollust of VOA.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I just – the foreign minister’s very strong opposition, obviously, to confidence-building measures before a comprehensive settlement, I wonder if that for you means that it makes it very difficult for success in this process because, of course, Senator Mitchell has made the search for confidence-building measures on each side as an interim step to a comprehensive settlement as something he’s seeking. Does this complicate your – the Administration’s efforts at peacemaking?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t think so at all. I think that the efforts we are undertaking are to create a negotiation that will lead to a comprehensive settlement in the interests of both the Palestinian and the Israeli people. There are many aspects to this. Some of them were mentioned – security, water, borders, refugees, Jerusalem. All of these have to be discussed and agreed to by the parties.
Our intention is to try to get agreement from the parties to be part of such a negotiation and to begin it, and to begin it with the intention of finishing it and resolving all of the issues in a comprehensive way. What the Arab Peace Initiative did, very importantly, was to obtain unanimous support, as His Royal Highness said, to the proposition there should be a two-state solution; that as a part of that two-state solution, there should be a recognition of Israel and relations with Israel.
We know that this is all in the process that has to be undertaken, and we are looking forward to seeing the parties sitting down at the negotiating table, supported not only by the United States, but by other nations led by Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Muslim nations that signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative.
QUESTION: You don’t see that as a setback?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, not at all.
MR. CROWLEY: Next question from Al Arabiya.
QUESTION: Thank you. Judging by what – judging by what we just heard, it seems that the differences between the United States and Saudi Arabia are fundamental on this issue, and it seems to me that the talks between President Obama and King Abdullah and the talks now are not narrowing the divide between the two – two divergent approaches. I mean, you talk about incremental measures, confidence-building measures, and the prince is talking about comprehensive approach in one fell swoop.
I mean, how – this has been – you have been at it for six months. I mean, this is for both of you: How are you going to reconcile these clearly divergent views?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t see it that way, and that’s what I just said. There is no substitute for a comprehensive resolution. That is our ultimate objective. In order to get to the negotiating table, we have to persuade both sides that they can trust the other side enough to reach that comprehensive agreement.
We also know that there are a series of issues that have to be resolved. As His Royal Highness said and as I have just repeated, you have to take those issues by issues, but within the negotiation for the comprehensive peace agreement. That’s not a contradiction. Senator Mitchell has a lot of experience in negotiations, and he knows that oftentimes the hardest part is getting people to sit down across from the table. When you listen to him and he talks, for example, about his negotiations in Northern Ireland, he finally got them to sit at a table, but it took about a year for them to talk to each other.
So what we’re trying to do here is to say, look, everyone knows there are certain issues that have to be agreed upon. We’re not starting with a blank slate. There are border issues that must be agreed upon for the Palestinian people to have a viable state. There are security issues that must be agreed upon for the Israeli people to feel that they can live side-by-side. That’s all part of the comprehensive agreement, but of course there are specific issues that will go into making up that comprehensive agreement.
QUESTION: Your Highness, if the Obama Administration gets a full settlement freeze, would your country or the Arabs do anything in return?
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Freeze?
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Well, of course, a settlement freeze Israel has refused. And this is why we believe that making conditions right for a settlement is not by making gestures. It is by delving into the real issues. As the Secretary has said, that is what will make peace. And remember, giving up settlement is not something that Israel is giving. It is giving right, but it is not theirs. I mean, it is obvious that the withdrawal from these settlements is not something to be (inaudible) for Israel, but an important first step to real negotiations on the real issues which separate the two people, and to make peace with them.
QUESTION: Samir Nader with Radio Sawa. Your Highness, did you hear anything encouraging from the Secretary or Senator Mitchell that will enable the Kingdom to take some steps to help the U.S. in its efforts?
And to the Secretary, Madame Secretary, are you considering lifting Sudan – removing Sudan from the list of state that supports terrorism?
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Of course (inaudible) is encouraging. I haven’t heard any discouraging remark that I could mention. And we are especially impressed by the President and the Secretary taking this issue right now at a time so early in the Administration. This is a positive step that we think is going to lead, hopefully, to a breakthrough in the negotiations. And the role of the United States, it is safe to say, is necessary in order to achieve any breakthrough in the negotiations. And since there is this serious intent and serious application to it, we think there is a chance for success.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your question, Samir, we have made no decision to lift the listing on the terrorist list of Sudan. As you know, there is a very intensive review going on within the Administration concerning our policy towards Sudan, but no decisions have been made.
MR. CROWLEY: Last question, Al Hayat.
QUESTION: Yes, hi. Joyce Karam with Al Hayat newspaper. Madame Secretary, my question to you is: Is the U.S. position still for a complete settlement freeze, or are you willing to take some exceptions here and there in East Jerusalem or some of the reconstruction that’s still going on?
And Your Highness, I want to ask you: What’s the Saudi position in case comprehensive negotiations resume? Do you want these negotiations to focus on the Palestinian-Israeli track, or do you prefer a multilateral approach that would involve also the Syrian and the Lebanese tracks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to your question, thank you. We are very deep into the discussions led by Senator Mitchell, and I don’t want to preempt or preview what he is doing. But we are working very hard to position the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to be able to sit down.
And we know there has to be some preliminary work done, including a number of issues, not just the one that you mentioned. But we feel like we’re making headway, and we are determined to do so in a matter of as short a period of time as possible. I can’t put a deadline on that; I don’t believe in that. But I think that Senator Mitchell returned from his latest trip with a clear idea of how best to get the negotiations started.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: And for the last part of your question, of course, you know the Arab peace plan talks about full peace in the Middle East, total peace on all aspects of – whether between Syria and Israel, Lebanon and Israel, or Syria (inaudible), and above and beyond that, peace with all the Arab country. And now, after it was accepted by the Islamic countries, with all the Islamic countries. That is what is offered (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
Remarks With Chief of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Federation Micheline Calmy-Rey
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateTreaty RoomWashington, DCJuly 31, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: This is my second meeting with the federal councilor, and I am delighted to welcome her to the State Department. Our first meeting was in Geneva. At that time, we discussed a broad range of issues, and today, we will, of course, be doing the same, both bilateral as well as regional and global.
We’re very grateful to the Swiss Government for the role that they play representing us in countries like Iran, serving to mediate longstanding issues between countries like Armenia and Turkey. And so we really welcome the involvement and support that the Swiss Government gives to so many important causes around the world.
And of course, today, it’s especially fitting that the federal councilor would be here. There has been an agreement reached in a litigation that was just reported to the court in Florida that confirms there has been an understanding between the Swiss Government and our government over the ongoing litigation concerning UBS. Our governments have worked very hard on this to reach that point, and so we’re very pleased that the announcement was made this morning.
MS. CALMY-REY: Thank you. I am very happy to be here today and to have the opportunity to discuss with State Secretary Clinton. The United States and the State Department are very important partner for Switzerland, and we are discussing the important international and bilateral issues, and we are very – of course, very satisfied today with the news of – concerning UBS, that an agreement in principle have been reached. So I’m very happy to begin my discussions with her. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you.
MS. CALMY-REY: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, do you still have outstanding issues about bank secrecy and tax evasion?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there’s been an agreement in principle.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged David Miliband, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, State Department, United Kingdom on July 30, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Remarks With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateTreaty RoomWashington, DCJuly 29, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone.
It’s a real pleasure to welcome once again my friend Foreign Secretary David Miliband back to the State Department. And today we had a substantive and far-ranging discussion about the wide range of challenges and opportunities we are facing together and how to build on our special relationship to advance our shared values and interests. I updated the foreign secretary on my recent travels to India and Thailand, and our just-concluded Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China. We reviewed recent developments in North Korea and Iran. I thanked him for the leadership that the British Government has been providing on issues like climate change, human rights, and the Middle East peace process.
We also talked at length about our common efforts in Afghanistan, and I commended the foreign secretary for the important speech he gave in Brussels earlier this week. His analysis of the way forward is very much consistent with ours, and we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of our common objectives.
I also want to state publicly what I mentioned to the foreign secretary, my admiration for the incredible courage, service, and sacrifice of the British troops working for stability and peace in Afghanistan. This has been a very challenging period for American and British forces alike, and for the American and British people who are standing behind them. Thanks to the bravery, skill, and sacrifice of these troops, we have made significant gains in the recent operations, but there remains much work to be done.
Both of our countries are still threatened by the same enemy, an enemy that has attacked London, New York, and Washington. We know they’ve attacked us in the past, and, unfortunately, we know that they plot against us even today. With commitment and resolve – qualities in great supply in both of our countries – we can succeed in confronting this enemy and achieving our goals. On this, as on so many other issues, our special relationship is a driver for greater peace, progress, and prosperity not only for our own people, but around the world.
So once again, David, I’m grateful for this opportunity that we had today in a series of conversations and meetings that we’ve enjoyed since I took this office to discuss joint solutions to our shared global challenges.
FOREIGN MINISTER MILIBAND: Well, thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be back in Washington. We have had really excellent talks today, deep and broad. I just want to touch on a couple of issues. The issue of Afghanistan and its relationship with Pakistan is obviously at the top of both of our agendas, and it’s a tough phase for all the countries that are in Afghanistan at the moment. But I want to be absolutely clear that we went into this together, and we will work it through together, because we are stronger together.
We are approaching a very important moment in Afghanistan, the first Afghan-led elections for 30 years, on August the 20th. Those elections need to be credible, and I think they will be especially important, because they are a chance to reaffirm that our purpose in Afghanistan is to support a credible, democratic Afghan Government. There is a lot of talk, rightly, about burden sharing within the coalition, but the greatest burden sharing must be between the international community and the Government of Afghanistan, which increasingly needs to take the lead, the security lead as well as the political lead, in shaping the future of that country.
The contract between the winner of the August 20th elections and the people of Afghanistan is the most important contract of all. The importance and centrality of the Middle East peace process is shown by the range of senior American diplomats and officials in the region at the moment, and we applaud the systematic and sustained way in which the Administration is engaged on this absolutely vital issue for all of our national interests.
On Iran, I think it’s very important to say that on the important nuclear question, the ball is in Iran’s court. And as soon as the new government is formed in Tehran, we look forward to that government addressing the clear offer, the clear package that was put to Iran some 15 or 16 months ago.
I’ll just mention briefly that we also touched on climate change, because I think both of us are clear that today and in the future, climate change will be a major foreign policy issue, and it’s going to be an issue that needs sustained international political leadership from foreign ministers as well as environment ministers, and that’s what we’re determined to offer.
Finally, with great sadness, I have to repeat the condolences that have been offered by my prime minister today to two families of British hostages held in Iraq. I can confirm that on July the 20th, the Foreign Office informed the families of Alec and Alan that it was very likely that their loved ones were dead. This is something that is based on credible information. It is putting the families, obviously, in a horrible position, but we thought it was essential that we continued the open dialogue that we’ve had with them over a traumatic two years.
This leaves one British hostage in Iraq. We are in contact with those who are in contact with the hostage takers. And all of our efforts are working to ensure the safe release of that hostage. Hostage taking is never justified. It belongs to a dark past in Iraq.
We call, as the hostages’ families did today in an incredibly dignified way, for the release of Peter Moore and for final clarity about the fate of Alec and Alan. We do not offer substantive concessions to hostage takers. We cannot do so. It would be the wrong thing to do. But the hearts of every British person will go out to those families today. Thank you very much, indeed.
MR. KELLY: The first question to Arshad Mohammed.
QUESTION: Foreign Secretary Miliband, you both spoke about the challenging time that it has been and you are obviously well aware of the increases in casualty rates. Are you confident that given the skepticism in the British population that you can retain sufficient popular support to work this through, as you said?
And Secretary Clinton, this is the most deadly month, or this will have been the most deadly month, for coalition forces since the war began nearly eight years ago. Do you believe that the U.S. Government could – one, has done enough to prepare the U.S. population for what may be more and more casualties to come, and secondly, could increase its commitments, if necessary, should you see your allies start to quail?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, I think that the British people understand the vital nature of the mission that’s taking place in Afghanistan. They know that Afghanistan was the incubator for global terrorism that struck with such deadly effect in September 2001. I think the British people will stay with this mission because there is a clear strategy and a clear determination on behalf of the United States and other coalition members to see this through.
The military side of the equation is essential. The sacrifice and effort and skill of the forces on the ground – British, American, but also from other countries – has been extraordinary over recent weeks. But we also know that a sustainable solution needs to be a political solution, and that is why we put such emphasis on a political track, reaching out to the Afghan population, a political strategy for the insurgency, but also a political strategy for the neighbors. And I think that is in lockstep with the strategy that’s been set out by President Obama and by Secretary Clinton. And what we need to make sure is that there is a sufficient and clear Afghan drive to provide the governance that that country needs at national and, critically, at provincial and district level.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Arshad, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life of our young men and women as they begin this military effort that is in accordance with the strategic review that the President ordered and whose conclusions he adopted. And we are grateful for the strong support that we have received from the British Government, and particularly, the bravery of the British troops who are fighting alongside our own.
The early reports from our commanders are encouraging – that there has been significant gains made in the areas where they are present. And we know that this is a challenge that is not going to be easily resolved in a short period of time. But we believe that we are pursuing a strategy, both military and civilian, that holds out promise for achieving our principal objective; that is, to destroy, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and their allies in the syndicate of terror that has, unfortunately, taken root in Afghanistan and spilled over into Pakistan.
I think the American people, like the British people, as David just referenced, know that we are seeking to uproot the enemy that we have been pursuing now since 9/11 in concert with our allies, and that this is a mission that is very much in the interests of the American people and the British people, as hard as it is. So I think the early reports are promising, but we know we have a long way to go.
MR. KELLY: Next question, Dan Dombey, Financial Times.
QUESTION: A question to both the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary, if I may. As the war in Afghanistan continues, how important is it to increase the size of the Afghan national security forces even beyond the levels that are currently projected so that those forces can step up in the fight against the Taliban and to secure populations? And how important is it to get more than the current level of international funding so that the world can be convinced that actually such an increase in size is sustainable over the medium and long term?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think your question goes to the heart of the matter. Our military strategy to clear, hold, and build requires holding, and it requires holding ultimately by the Afghan people themselves through the Afghan National Army and through a trained and well-deployed, professional police force. We have always seen this as our central goal for long-term success in Afghanistan. And the President, in his orders directing additional troops, included 4,000 trainers who will be arriving in September. So we see this as an absolute essential role for us and for our allies to play.
Again, we think that this is a good case for us to be able to make, not only for our own people but for others, that what we’re trying to do is to create the conditions in which Afghan people can have a more normal, ordinary life, going back to farming, going back to businesses – we’re seeing that in some of the territory that is being taken back by our joint military operations – and then to introduce the rule of law, particularly the use of a homegrown military and police force to consolidate the gains and to protect the people and to stand against the return of the Taliban and their allies.
FOREGIN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I strongly agree —
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the financial (inaudible)? Do you need more financing, more international commitments, to make —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have to get started on it. We have to get started on it. We’ve got a big commitment for training. We obviously have talked about it with not only those like the British troops and government who are so supportive, but those who don’t have troops on the ground but understand the importance of this. And I think that as we move forward, we’ll be able to make the case and actually produce the levels of commitment that are needed.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I strongly agree with that. The obvious point is that Afghanistan is not just a country plagued by an insurgency, but also by extreme poverty – one of the poorest countries in the world, an economy that so desperately needs a period of stability in order to grow. And I think that’s a further reason for the sort of comprehensive military, political, and economic approach that is at the heart of everything that we are doing, that the United States is doing, and that the whole coalition is doing.
And General McChrystal’s words that the test of success is not the number of Taliban killed but the number of the local population who are protected, I think gets to the heart of these issues of sustainability. And that is certainly what we are trying to achieve.
MR. KELLY: Charlie Wolfson, CBS News.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, in Iraq, can you talk about the U.S. policy towards the MEK in Iraq, and can you also talk about the events of yesterday and whether or not the U.S. has any responsibility towards the people in Camp Ashraf?
And for both of you, in Iran, next door in Iran, there are reports of abuse of political prisoners coming out of Iran and also reports of a fracture among the political leadership in Iran. Can you address those issues, please?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to the MEK at Camp Ashraf, we are urging restraint on both sides. The Government of Iraq has stated that the residents of Camp Ashraf will be treated in accordance with Iraq’s constitution, laws, and international obligations. The Iraqi Government has assumed security responsibility for Camp Ashraf and its residents, which obviously largely consists of MEK members, the full transfer of security responsibility from the coalition forces in Iraq to the Iraqi army forces occurred on February 20th, 2009. This is part of the turnover of responsibilities to a sovereign nation.
And although the U.S. Government remains engaged and concerned about this issue, it is a matter now for the Government of Iraq to resolve in accordance with its laws. And we are very clear that we expect that the Government of Iraq, now that it has assumed this security responsibility, will fulfill its obligations, to show restraint, will not forcibly transfer anyone to a country where such a transfer might result in the mistreatment or the death of that person based on their political affiliation and activities. But it is now the responsibility of the Government of Iraq.
With respect to the stories coming out of Iran concerning the abuse of political prisoners, we deplore that. We believe that it is imperative for the Iraqi authorities to release political prisoners, to treat them appropriately and humanely, and it is something that is very much telling, because their continuing detention and abuse of political prisoners certainly suggests that the political situation inside of Iran has not yet resolved itself.
And we are very much, as you’ve heard me say before, supportive of the people of Iran being able to express their opinions, being able to demonstrate freely and openly and engage in peaceful protests, for freedom of the press so that journalists are not picked up, detained, deported. And it’s part of the overall concerns that we have expressed for weeks now about what we’ve seen in the behavior of the authorities in Iran and the incredible courage of the Iranian people in standing up against what they view as infringements on their rights.
FOREIGN MINISTER MILIBAND: I think it’s important to say that ever since the elections, Secretary Clinton and I have been at pains to say that it is for the Iranian people to choose their government, but it’s for the Iranian Government to protect their people. And we have refused to fall into any trap that suggests it was for anyone other than the Iranian people to choose their government.
But equally, there are universal values, universal values that need to be stood up for, and obviously, we await further details of the alleged abuses. But it remains a signature part of our approach that without fear or favor, we do point to human rights abuse wherever it takes place. And the most recent Foreign Office Annual Report on Human Rights highlighted Iran as one of the countries of concern, and obviously, we’ve been looking with very great care at the latest revelations that have come out.
In terms of the situation within the government, I think that the world has seen a remarkable testimony to the strength and education and desire of the Iranian people for greater freedom. We’ve seen that in the run-up to the election day when the debate was passionate and engaged, but also since then. And I think it’s very important that we continue to say very clearly that the Iranian Government has responsibilities to the international community, which we want to see them uphold, but it also has responsibilities to its own people that its own people want to see upheld.
MR. KELLY: Last question, James Robbins from BBC.
QUESTION: James Robbins from the BBC. On Afghanistan, to both of you, please, you’ve outlined a comprehensive political and military strategy. Do you accept that there can be no guarantee of success? And to increase the chances of success, is it likely within the future, both countries – both your countries are going to have to commit further troops to Afghanistan?
And specifically to you, Madame Secretary, this morning in London, British judges who want to publish a summary of the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed were told in court that you personally have said that such publication would damage intelligence-sharing relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. So may I ask you, is that correct? And are you at all concerned that the judges think that justice would be better served if the material was published?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to comment on the last question. Obviously, the issue of intelligence sharing is one that is critically important to our two countries, and we have both a stake in ensuring that it continues to the fullest extent possible.
With respect to your first question, we are just at the beginning of this campaign. We’ve been in office for six months. One of the very first things that President Obama ordered was a complete comprehensive review of where we were. It won’t surprise you to hear that we thought that there were some problems with the approach that had been taken over the previous nearly eight years, and that we then set forth a very clear path forward as to what we believed would be in the best interests of our goals in Iraq.
We are in Iraq because we were attacked from – I mean, Afghanistan – we are in Afghanistan because we were attacked from Afghanistan. And we are obviously pursuing what we think to be a much better thought out, more comprehensive strategy. But we’re just at the beginning. As I said earlier in response to an earlier question, we think that there are some promising results from the military campaigns ongoing at great cost to our military, to the British military, and our other allies who are with us in Afghanistan.
But we’ve got an election to see through. We want it to be as fair, free, and legitimate as possible. It’s difficult to hold an election during a conflict. And we are attempting to assist, with the help of many, many countries and organizations, for the execution of that election. We’ll then have a government that we look forward to working with. We’ve taken no position. We are actively impartial in the election. And so we’re looking for the chance to actually implement the strategy.
The troops that the President ordered are not even all in Afghanistan yet. So I think some of these questions are kind of getting ahead of themselves. I mean, let’s just bear down and do the hard work that we are attempting together and try to see the results as they come.
FOREIGN MINISTER MILIBAND: I think that it’s important to remember that the biggest increase in troop numbers in the next few years is not going to be Brits or Americans; it’s going to be Afghans. And the heart of the strategy is to build up the Afghan security forces. And that’s why the training role as well as the combat role that Secretary Clinton has referred to is so important.
In respect of intelligence sharing, our two countries have a uniquely close intelligence-sharing relationship. I think I’m right in saying that the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee has said that that relationship saves British lives. It’s a relationship which is based on deep trust, as the Secretary has said. And a fundamental principle for both of our countries is that we don’t disclose publicly each other’s intelligence. And that is a fundamental principle of intelligence sharing between any countries, and it’s one that I think is of enormous benefit to both of our countries.
Thanks very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you want to say something about your trip to India last week?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I had a wonderful trip to India. Thank you.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Slovenia, State Department on July 29, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Remarks at U.S.-Slovenia Mutual Legal Assistance Protocol and the U.S.-Slovenia Extradition Treaty Signing Ceremony
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DCJuly 29, 2009
MODERATOR: The Secretary and Foreign Minister Zbogar will now sign Protocols of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification for the U.S.-Slovenian Mutual Legal Assistance Extradition Treaty.
(The agreement was signed.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very pleased to welcome the foreign minister here to the State Department. Many of us remember that the foreign minister was ambassador here to Washington on behalf of Slovenia, and he was a legendary distance runner, I’m told. He told me that he took a run this morning for old time’s sake. Well, there was great regret among the diplomatic community when he left, and now we’re delighted to welcome you back in your new position.
Slovenia is a valued ally of the United States. We cooperate on a wide range of issues, and our partnership enhances the security and prosperity of both nations. As members of NATO, we are working together to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan and to update our historic alliances to meet the challenges of today. As trading partners, we’re working to promote global economic recovery. And as democratic countries, we are working to stand up for responsible governance and human rights.
The minister and I reaffirmed our commitment to those basic values. We had a broad discussion on a number of issues that are of mutual importance. And today, we signed the Protocols of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification for the 2005 U.S.-Slovenia Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition Treaties. That’s why it took so long to sign, because it’s long. And we expect these agreements to enter into force shortly after related agreements between the United States and the European Union take effect.
These agreements between the United States and Slovenia on extradition and mutual legal assistance will give our police and prosecutors state-of-the-art tools to cooperate more effectively and bring criminals to justice on both sides of the Atlantic. They form part of a network of agreements that the United States has reached with countries of the European Union to mutually reinforce our law enforcement obligations.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with the foreign minister, and I am very glad to see him back in Washington.
FOREIGN MINISTER ZBOGAR: Thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. I am also very happy to be back in Washington. I had a great time. This is a great city. It’s a city of power, and it’s always great to be back. And I hope for many happy returns, and I hope for many joint projects that we’ll be working together, Slovenia and the United States, for the sake of people, our people, and for the sake of our alliances that we are in and for the sake of international community.
We all remember 1999 as a very important year for Slovenia, when you also had the visit of the first – the first visit of the American President to Slovenia and the First Lady. And I recalled the messages that we got at that time during that visit that we took very seriously, the messages that we should continue reforms to get into NATO and the EU, which we did, and to be more active on the Western Balkans, which we took very seriously, and I think we are as well.
We exchanged views on several issues. I think most importantly, of course, for us is our region, the region of the Western Balkans, where – which we want to see in the European Union, each and every country of the region, and the region that we’ll continue to work intensively to try to help them get ready and also to try to – and to work within the European Union to get the EU ready to accept them. So that’s the commitment that I can repeat today that we will do even more in the future.
I reconfirmed our commitment to our presence in Afghanistan, and in Kosovo we have many soldiers. We are a small country, but I think we have relatively big number, especially in Kosovo, but we are present also in Afghanistan. We are ready to add some civilian presence, some civilian projects to the military ones that we have in Afghanistan.
We also – you know, as a new minister I’m looking also to some new priorities, and I’m looking toward global warming and what can the small country do about global warming and climate change. And the issue of water, which Slovenia has plenty of but which is the reason for several wars and which is something that will be much less in the future because of global warming, is something that we’ll be focused in the future with some of similar countries of our size.
So I want to just reiterate our commitment to work with the United States, with our ally, on all the projects that we mentioned and other projects that we’ll be working in the future. Thank you very much for having me here.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Zbogar. Thank you so much.
FOREIGN MINISTER ZBOGAR: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And I did reminisce with the minister about our wonderful trip to Slovenia and how beautiful it was. And even in the rain on that memorable day, it just had an absolutely welcoming and gracious feeling to it. And I’m sure that the summer is beautiful. And that’s why we have to protect the planet.
FOREIGN MINISTER ZBOGAR: So we’ll have to get you in the summer, too.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Even better. Thank you.
QUESTION: Did you discuss about Croatia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Beg your pardon?
QUESTION: Did you discuss about Croatia and Slovenia situation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve talked about that. And obviously, the two prime ministers are going to be meeting on Friday, and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved to the benefit of both countries.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 28, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Closing Remarks for U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Bureau of Public AffairsSecretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, and Chinese Vice Premier Wang QishanEisenhower Executive Office BuildingWashington, DCJuly 28, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. We have just finished a very thorough, intense, and productive two days. Secretary Geithner and I were honored to co-chair the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and we have been delighted to host Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai and the entire Chinese delegation.
What has taken place over the past two days is unprecedented in U.S.-China relations. The meetings we have just concluded represent the largest gathering ever of top leaders from our two countries. The range of issues covered was unparalleled. And the result is that we have laid the foundation for a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st century.
Our governments released a joint statement summarizing our discussions. During our meetings, we spoke candidly about some of the world’s most difficult challenges. We agreed that further cooperation and action is needed to achieve global economic recovery, to promote stability in Northeast Asia, resume the Six-Party Talks, and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1874 to address ongoing threats of violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, to encourage Iran to live up to its international obligations, and to work toward peace and stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East.
We made progress in working toward the global nuclear security summit that President Obama has called for next spring. And I’m pleased to announce that we will be conducting U.S.-China talks on counterterrorism this fall. We agreed to a continuation and expansion of our military-to-military relations and to robust educational, cultural, scientific, and people-to-people diplomacy.
For our part, the United States was proud to reaffirm our participation in the Shanghai World Expo next year. And later this evening, we and our Chinese colleagues will participate in a dinner of American business leaders and citizens supporting that effort. In areas where we do not always agree, such as human rights, we had candid and respectful exchanges.
We also today, representing the world’s two biggest producers and consumers of energy, completed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy, and the environment. This MOU affirmed our commitment to reaching a successful international agreement on climate change and will expand our cooperation to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
These are just a few of the concrete discussions and achievements of this first Strategic and Economic Dialogue. It represents 30 years of progress, because in many ways, we are building on the work that has gone before and taking it to a new level. But sometimes, the most telling measures of progress are less tangible. Over the past two days, State Councilor Dai and I have spent many hours in discussion. We’ve had the opportunity to meet privately and to talk very openly between ourselves to try to understand each other’s point of view. And I know the same is true for Secretary Geithner and Vice Premier Wang.
Our delegations have spent hours in consultation and negotiation, and we’ve not been limited to just the usual topic or two. We’ve enlisted partners from across our government to work across departments and bureaus and agencies to tackle these difficult challenges that we are facing together. Climate change and energy security, for example, is an economic issue, a diplomatic issue, a development issue, an energy issue, an environmental issue, an agricultural issue, and a national security issue all rolled into one. And so it must be addressed in its full complexity. We have made a good start on that and we look forward to continuing it in the future.
This dialogue has established a new pattern of cooperation between our governments and a forum for discussion. It’s begun to develop a structure for moving forward on this range of issues. Now we know there’s a lot of work ahead, but we began this process at the beginning of the Obama Administration for a purpose, because we knew it would take time and effort and patience, and we are willing and eager to continue.
Sunday night, the state councilor and I and a few of our aides were having dinner, and in the course of what was a very relaxed and social occasion, we were discussing our families. And State Councilor Dai informed us that he had a new grandson. As we began talking, we realized that all that we were doing was really on behalf of our children and our grandchildren. I said that perhaps at the beginning of every government dialogue, we should all take out pictures of our children and our grandchildren and put them on the tables in front of us to be reminded of what was at stake in our high-level negotiations. As State Councilor Dai said, those photos would remind us of the task ahead and of our responsibility to move forward and of the future we are trying to build.
We just finished meeting with President Obama and he expressed his appreciation to President Hu for working to set forth this dialogue, starting at their meeting in London. We are committed to taking the next steps on this journey together. And I thank our Chinese colleagues for a very important beginning. It is now my privilege to introduce Secretary Tim Geithner.
SECRETARY GEITHNER: A few highlights on the economic front: I want to begin by just underscoring the importance of the actions China and the United States have taken together to help bring the world economy back from the edge of the most acute crisis we’ve seen in decades, and to begin to lay the foundation for financial repair and global growth again.
We reached agreement today on a framework to lay the foundation for more sustainable and balanced growth between our two countries and globally going forward. And that framework rests on four critical areas of cooperation. First, we agreed that we would undertake macroeconomic and structural policies to lay the foundation for a more sustainable and balanced trajectory of growth.
In the United States, this means raising private savings. We’ve already seen a pretty substantial increase in private savings. Our current account and balance has fallen sharply. And the President has committed that as we put in place conditions for a durable recovery led by private demand, we will bring our fiscal position down to a more sustainable level over time.
We are making very substantial investments in improving public infrastructure, energy efficiency, improving the quality of education, healthcare reform – policy changes that will help rebuild the American economy on a firmer foundation going forward.
For China, this means rebalancing towards domestic demand-led growth and increasing the share of consumption relative to GDP. Policies to enable adjustment of demand and relative prices will help lead to more balanced trading growth, greater development of the service sector and the shift away from dependence on exports and heavy industry will have a powerful effect, not just on rebalancing the global economy, but supporting the transition to a more green economy.
Second area of cooperation is in the financial area. We agreed to work to build more resilient, more stable financial systems. Our challenges in this area are very different. In the United States, we need to put in place much stronger oversight with much stronger constraints on leverage, more conservative capital requirements applied more broadly across our financial system, to bring markets that are critical to credit and innovation, such as in the derivatives area under a framework of oversight, to give the government better tools, stronger tools to deal with, manage, limit the damage caused by future financial crises.
China, in contrast, is moving towards a more market-oriented financial system. And it’s indicated in this – in our meetings today its intention to move forward with financial sector reform that’ll help better allocate credit in – to reinforce this shift towards domestic demand. In this context, China will, of course, bring about further liberalization of interest rates, domestic interest rates, to promote the development of new financial products, open new opportunities for foreign participation in the financial sector, including allowing foreign banks to underwrite bonds in China’s rapidly growing bond market.
Third area of cooperation is in the trade and investment area. We reaffirmed our very important commitment to open – an open, rules-based, multilateral regime for trade and investment. We reiterated our commitment to avoid protectionist measures to bring about a success – and to bring about a successful conclusion to the Doha round. China and the United States committed to treating firms with foreign ownership operating in our markets exactly as we do domestically owned firms when it comes to government procurement. We agreed to work together to facilitate Chinese accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, and China will increase the dollar threshold for foreign direct investments that must obtain central government approval.
Fourth and finally, China and the United States recognized the critical role of the international financial institutions in preventing future crises. The global economy has changed fundamentally since the Bretton Woods Institutions were created more than 50 years ago, and the global financial architecture has to adapt to reflect the new realities of this global economy.
So we have committed to work closely together to help reform these institutions, to make sure they have the resources to respond to future crises to help meet the economic and development needs of their members, and to bring about changes in the governing structure of these institutions to make sure China enjoys a level of participation that’s commensurate with its substantial economic and financial weight in the world.
We look forward to building on this framework of cooperation. We look forward to continuing to intensify the very substantial progress we achieved today on this broad framework for cooperation. And I want to thank in particular Vice Premier Wang for his leadership and for his dedication to make this a productive relationship for both of us. Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to Vice Premier Wang.
VICE PREMIER WANG: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the news media, good afternoon. Under the direct guidance of President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama, and through the concerted efforts of both sides, this round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues was a full success.
In the economic dialogue, the two sides focused on the main topic of the international financial crisis, acted in a spirit of cooperation, had in-depth discussion on strategic issues concerning the two economies, and produced many important results. The two sides recognized that at this crucial, critical time when the global economy is moving out of the crisis and toward recovery, to stimulate economic growth remains the top priority for China-U.S. cooperation. The two sides need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, stabilize financial markets, and work to restore economic growth and create jobs.
At the same time, the two sides should actively transform economic growth patterns focused on restructuring, step up cooperation in such areas as healthcare reform and development of the social security system, and promote sustainable economic development. The two sides stated that they will strengthen cooperation to jointly build a strong financial system to ensure financial security and stability in the two countries and the world at large.
The U.S. side pledged to monitor closely the influence of its monetary policies on the U.S. economy and on the rest of the world, and to have strong oversight of the government-sponsored enterprises to ensure that they are able to meet their financial obligations. The two sides agreed to inform each other of their disposal of impaired financial assets on a regular basis.
The two sides stressed the importance to take strong measures to raise the level of economic cooperation and trade, and improve its quality. The U.S. side pledged to facilitate exports of high-technology products from the United States to China. The U.S. side is willing to step up cooperation with the Chinese side to work toward recognition of China’s market economy status in an expeditious manner. The two sides will work together to support increasing investment in infrastructure, continue to advance negotiations on bilateral investment agreement, and enhance cooperation in trade finance.
China and the United States will work with the international community to implement the consensus of the G-20 summits in Washington and London, strengthen coordination, and ensure that the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh will deliver positive results. China and the United States will work together to promote the reform process of the international financial system and increase the voices and representation of emerging and developing countries.
The two sides stated that they are firmly opposed to protectionism in all forms and work for early success of the WTO Doha round negotiations on the basis of locking up the existing achievements. The two sides will see to it that the UN MDGs be met as scheduled. The success of the economic dialogue has lent fresh impetus to the development of the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century. Thank you. I’ve been speaking so fastly because I provided transcript and I want to save time.
To conclude, I wish to extend to Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner and the U.S. team that they lead my appreciation. And I want to thank, in particular, our friends from the media. Our dialogue, through your support, have been further advocated and you have helped us to put down some speculations. Any meeting in isolation of the media, its influence, will be greatly diminished. Talking about influence, there are positive ones and negative ones. There are accurate ones and sometimes not-so-accurate ones. It happens.
So with the help of the media, we are spreading information about what we are doing, and we need to bear the consequences and imperfections. I’ve been dealing with you – with the media for many years. Thank you for your support. Thank you.
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) I would like to provide a piece of news. Just now, President Obama met us and he gave a basketball to Vice Premier Wang with his signature, and Vice Premier Wang hit it well while it’s here. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Do a spin. (Laughter.)
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the press, I’m happy to meet you here. You all know that the China-U.S. S&ED – you know the story how it came into existence. That was decided by President Hu Jintao and President Obama during their meeting in London during the G-20 summit. They made the decision together to build such a mechanism. I think this is a continuation and development of the previous dialogues. It is also a creation.
How did the dialogues go? The three special representatives have said a lot and I would like to add a few things. I think the dialogues were successful. We discussed a wide range of issues except for going to the moon. Of course, we had our discussions openly, and I think the discussions are in-depth, broad, candid, and productive. What has happened proves and history will continue to prove in the future that the decision made by our two presidents to conduct such dialogues is absolutely right and important. Many years from now when we look back, we will understand better its importance.
In the future, I am looking forward to continuing our efforts together with the three special representatives with commitment and efforts of our two presidents to make our dialogues better. Of course, another important mission is to turn what we said into actions. This is more important.
And secondly, I wish to say that you can read the joint press release that is going to be provided very soon. The document talks about President Obama’s upcoming visit to China within this year. And on the Chinese side, we will work together closely with the U.S. side to make good preparations to ensure that President Obama’s visit will be made on schedule and will be very successful, that it will become a historic visit.
Thirdly, I wish to talk about, as you saw yesterday after the opening ceremony, President Obama made a very important speech. He talked about the China-U.S. relations. I suggest, my friends from the press, carefully read the script of President Obama’s speech. In the past half year since the inauguration of the new Administration, the China-U.S. relations have set off to a good start and it has enjoyed a sound momentum of growth. China is ready to work together with the U.S. to stay firmly committed to building a China-U.S. positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relations for the 21st century so that we can bring benefits to our two peoples and our two countries and also the whole world, and to our children and children’s children.
To ensure that our bilateral relationship will move forward on the track of long-term and sound development, a very important thing is that we need to support, respect, and understand each other, and to maintain our core interests. And for China, our concern is we must uphold our basic systems, our national security; and secondly, the sovereignty and territorial integrity; and thirdly, economic and social sustained development.
What I would like to say is that China and the United States, from the government, business communities, and to ordinary people, from the militaries and all walks of life, we must work together, and we can make China-U.S. relations enjoy an even more beautiful future.
Just now, as Vice Premier Wang said, the Chinese team is appreciative of what the American Government and our hosts have done. I would like to thank them for their gracious hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. Especially, I would like to thank Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner for the tremendous efforts that were put into the dialogues. It was not easy. There is such a great number of participants. We talked about so many topics and such a huge number of government departments and ministries were involved and the dialogues were so in-depth, and all these were unprecedented in the past three decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
And I also wish to thank everyone who cares about and supports the growth of China-U.S. relationship, including our friends from the press. You have done a lot. Vice Premier Wang said that the role of the media organizations is very important. I believe you strongly boost – you can strongly boost relations between our two countries and promote friendship and mutual understanding between the two peoples. Thank you very much.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner on July 28, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Joint Press Availability With Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
Press AvailabilityHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateSecretary of the Treasury Timothy GeithnerEisenhower Executive Office BuildingWashington, DCJuly 28, 2009
MR. KELLY: Can I ask you to take your seats, please? If we could have your attention, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner will take a few questions once we’re all settled. And the first question will go to Deb Solomon from The Wall Street Journal. QUESTION: Secretary Geithner —
MR. KELLY: Can you speak up?
QUESTION: How concerned are you about China’s focus on the U.S. budget deficit, and what types of assurances did you give them about our efforts here to bring it down?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: Not concerned. In fact, we’re in a very similar place. Again, in the face of this acute crisis we saw around the world sweep around the world last year, we have both put in place very powerful support for private demand recovery-type programs like you saw in the United States. China has done a very similar type approach. Our central banks have moved very aggressively to provide support, providing liquidity to markets.
That basic strategy, I think we agree, is the necessary path to recovery. But China, like the United States, understands that as we see recovery take hold, we’re going to need to reverse those exceptional actions. And so as China will do, we in the United States will move to bring our fiscal deficits down over the medium term, and we will work to reverse the other exceptional actions we’ve had to take to stabilize the crisis. I think we’re in a very similar position, shared strategy, much more in common than what separates on – us on broad strategy.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?
MR. KELLY: (Inaudible) from AFP.
QUESTION: Hi, Secretary Clinton. Both you and the President mentioned human rights as an area of some difference between the United States and China. I wondered how much – how integral human rights are to the Strategic Dialogue and what you actually talked about in the discussion, and specifically if you talked about the situation in Xinjiang.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Human rights is absolutely integral to the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. It is a part of our policy not only with China but with other countries. It’s bilateral as well as multilateral. We discussed a number of human rights issues, including the situation in Xinjiang, and we expressed our concerns. We obviously had some very good exchanges between ourselves and the Chinese about their perspective and ours, but it was certainly a matter of great interest and focus.
MR. KELLY: (Inaudible) Xinhua.
QUESTION: Secretary Geithner, I noticed that U.S. agreed to take consideration on the influence of its monetary policy. Could you elaborate just a little bit? And how do you comment on the specific outcome of this dialogue? Thank you.
SECRETARY GEITHNER: I think the most important thing we achieved today was to agree on this broad framework for policies and reform, both China and the United States, to help lay the foundation for a more sustainable, more balanced global recovery. We want to be very careful, as we work together to help move the economy – global economy – back from crisis to growth, that we don’t lay the seeds of future crises.
So as part of that – again, this is the critical thing – that as we move to raise private savings in the United States, as we move to bring down our fiscal deficit in the future, as we move to put in place a more stable, more resilient financial system in the United States, we need to see actions in China and in other countries to shift the source of growth more to domestic demand. Those are necessary complements; they have to work together. And I think that’s the most important strategic achievement here, and it’s critically important to the rest of the world. It’s not something that China and the U.S. can do on their own, but unless we do it, it won’t be possible for the rest of the world as well. So I’d emphasize that.
Now, of course, we both recognize that the policies we undertake in our own countries have big effects, significant effects, on the rest of the world. And we take the responsibilities that come with our role in the world very, very seriously. And we – this President of the United States, working with the Congress – will work very hard to make sure we build a stronger economy, a more productive economy, in the future. And then, as he said, once we are confident that recovery is firmly established, we will move to reverse these exceptional steps we’ve had to take to help address the crisis.
MR. KELLY: (Inaudible) Reuters.
QUESTION: Secretary Geithner, I believe you mentioned something about the U.S. savings rate going up recently. Do you think that the Chinese accept that as something that’s in the long term, that this is – that since the crisis we’ve now reached reach a point where Americans are going to be saving more? And I guess the second half of that thought is just do you believe that the Chinese will indeed buy more U.S. goods and become less reliant on the U.S. as an export market?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: I think that it’s very hard to know what the new equilibrium will be for the U.S. economy, but I think that we’re more likely to decide that these changes we’ve seen in private savings already are durable. And I think it’s more likely that you’re going to see private savings rate return to what was more typical for the U.S. economy over the preceding decades, and we’ll look back over time and view the last decade as anomalous and exceptional. That’s because I think the – we’ve learned some tough lessons as a country, and I think that the basic lesson of the importance of living within our means as both a country and as a – at the household level is an important, necessary lesson.
And I also believe that China will continue to move, as it has, to become more integrated into the world economy, more open. And as you saw them lay out today, they’ve laid out a very ambitious set of reforms to shift the sources of future growth away from the kind of heavy investment-intensive, also carbon-intensive, export-intensive sources of growth, towards an economy more reliant on services, more consumption. I think that is a necessary transformation.
And I think, again, if you look at China’s record, if you look at what China has achieved over the last 30 years, they have a remarkable record of letting out – laying out a path for ambitious reform and actually delivering on those commitments. So I think you should take these as enormously consequential objectives, not just for the United States, but for the world as a whole.
MR. KELLY: (Inaudible) CCTV.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, U.S. and China are two countries separated by two very different (inaudible). My question is what have you learned about China (inaudible) that you did not know previously, besides that State Councilor (inaudible)? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: That was pretty consequential. This has been a very rich experience the last two days. I think it’s important to build relationships between individuals as well as peoples and countries. I am very gratified by the positive commitment on the part of our Chinese counterparts to building those relationships, to achieving a level of what has been called strategic trust. And I come away from the last two days even more convinced than before we started that as open a relationship as we can achieve between the United States and China is in the best interests of both our countries and the world.
The level of sharing at a candid and deep level that we experienced over the last two days was unprecedented. And I think what you’ve heard from Secretary Geithner is that there is a lot of common ground. We are not the same. We have different histories and experiences and perspectives. We have different challenges in front of us. I mean, as Secretary Geithner said, I mean, part of our challenge is to save more and part of China’s challenge is to generate more demand for spending within the country.
But at root, I think we are pragmatic people. I think we set goals; we work to achieve those goals. I really am heartened by the positive tone of our meetings. And I think that laying this groundwork may not deliver a lot of concrete achievements immediately, but every step on this path to create confidence and understanding is a very good investment. And so what I’ve learned is that this Strategic and Economic Dialogue holds great promise.
MR. KELLY: And the last question to Mary Beth Sheridan from The Washington Post.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi, Mary Beth.
QUESTION: Hi, Secretary. Secretary Geithner talked about what for him was the most important thing that came out of these talks on the Economic Track, so I wondered if you could do the same on your track. And I also wondered if you specifically can talk about what came out of the conversations about the North Korean nuclear program.
SECRETARY CLINTON: One of the advantages that Secretary Geithner has is that he has very specific points to go over with his Chinese colleagues, and it’s all bilateral. Many of the hardest issues we discussed involve third parties and involve, obviously, regional and global challenges.
I would say three things. First, with respect to North Korea, State Councilor Dai has been very involved in North Korean policy in China for many years. He has a depth of understanding and appreciation for the difficulties of dealing with the North Korean Government. And we spent quite a bit of time talking in-depth about the Chinese perception both of North Korea but also of our interactions with them. And I found that very useful indeed.
I was also pleased that China shares our concerns about Iran becoming a nuclear weapons state. The potential for destabilizing the Middle East and Gulf is viewed similarly by the Chinese as it is by us if Iran, in its pursuit, triggers an arms race. And we had some very useful exchanges of information there.
And thirdly, we had many conversations in different settings on climate change and energy. And I think that the very clear description by the Chinese who were explaining what they are doing, which I’m not sure is as fully appreciated in our country as it needs to be – the kind of investments and the changes and the movement toward clean energy, and what they are willing to entertain and talk with us about – was an important step along the way toward Copenhagen.
There was much else that we discussed, but those three items come to mind.
QUESTION: Secretary Geithner —
MR. KELLY: Okay, thank you very much.
QUESTION: Six countries in six weeks, and you won’t take a question, please? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY GEITHNER: If the Secretary of State will allow me. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely.
QUESTION: Ma’am, with your gracious permission, thank you. I just wanted to ask you, we heard from Governor (inaudible) earlier saying that China would follow the United States in terms of exit strategies and withdrawing stimulus, that one of the signs that China would look for is when the U.S. starts to (inaudible). How do you address that, and is that appropriate?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: That seems about right to me. He said that in a private meeting, so that was an interesting way to say it. I think it just reflects the basic reality that in some ways we came into this earlier than anybody else. We’ve had a lot of adjustment already across the U.S. economy, so it’s more likely – largely, again, because of the strength of our policy response here – that we have a chance of emerging more quickly. And that will be a sign people look to. So that seems about right to me, I think.
Again, ultimately, we’ve got different challenges. And I’m sure the basic strategy we’ll each adopt in that context is going to be different on the fiscal and monetary policy side. Again, the basic importance of this is the recognition by both of us that things are going to have to change going forward. And if we’re going to make sure that, as I said earlier, we come out of this with a stronger foundation, a more balanced global economy, a more stable global economy, it’s going to require changes both in China and the United States, and that will shape our common strategy.
MR. KELLY: Okay, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State, tagged China, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S.-China Business Council on July 28, 2009| Leave a Comment »
Remarks at Dinner Hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council and National Committee on U.S.-China Relations
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateRitz-Carlton HotelWashington, DCJuly 28, 2009
Thank you so much, Carla, and thanks for your leadership in this undertaking as well as so much else. It’s wonderful to be here at the end of two very busy and productive days of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Secretary Geithner and I were privileged to co-lead this effort, and we were especially pleased that Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai were our counterparts. We believe that these very productive conversations have helped to lay the foundation for what both President Obama and President Hu called a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-Chinese relationship for the 21st century.
As part of this process, we are enlisting the full range of talent within our governments to tackle problems that spill over not just borders and oceans, but also traditional bureaucratic boundaries, which are sometimes the hardest to overcome, from climate change to trade and investment to poverty and disease.
Just as no nation today can solve the challenges we face alone, neither can government work in isolation. The issues are just are too varied and complex for that. So engaging the expertise, the experience, and the energy of those outside government – including the private sector, and all of you here tonight – is vital to our future progress.
I also am delighted that we are going to have very soon a new ambassador from the United States to China. Governor Huntsman, who will soon be – maybe even confirmed tonight – Ambassador Huntsman, is looking forward to working not only on behalf of our nation’s policies but really representing the American people to the Chinese people.
We want the entrepreneurs and the innovators in both of our countries to know that we’re behind their dreams and their efforts. We want people who are working to solve problems in research labs and on the front lines of innovation to know that we’re looking to support their efforts. Because we think public-private partnerships are a centerpiece of the important work that we are doing to build understanding and create new avenues of cooperation.
Now, I understand that Vice Premier Wang said a few words to you about the Shanghai Expo. (Laughter.) And I want to reinforce his message. The theme for the Expo, “Better City – Better Life,” will present a vision of a sustainable, healthy, and prosperous world in the 21st century. It’s anticipated that more than 70 million people will visit and more than 190 nations will participate. Six months ago, it wasn’t at all clear that the United States would be one of those 190 nations, but thanks to a number of you, we are on track to be able to do so. And I salute Vice Premier Wang for his leadership. He was, as some of you know, the chair of the committee for the Beijing Olympics, so if that is any indication of his organizational acuity, I think we can look forward to a very successful Shanghai Expo.
And the U.S. National Pavilion will be informative, educational, and interactive, showcasing American ingenuity, looking at how we can address together global challenges like climate change and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, mass transit, health, and economic development. We are delighted that a number of leading American companies such as GE and Pepsico, Chevron, Marriott, Corning, and others have signed on to be part of putting together this visionary pavilion that will showcase much of what is best about our country. There is, actually, a model of the Pavilion somewhere around here that I urge you to take a look at. This is shameless, I know, but that’s part of the job. (Laughter.)
We have formally signed a Participation Contract. We have a U.S. Commissioner General, Jose Villarreal. My Special Representative for Global Partnerships, Elizabeth Bagley, Ambassador Bagley, is here. We have now raised more than half the funds needed to begin construction. I have told both the Vice Premier and the State Councilor that, if necessary, I will personally build it in order to get it ready by the May opening. (Laughter.) Commerce Secretary Gary Locke recently traveled to Shanghai for the Pavilion’s groundbreaking ceremony.
So we are on task, as they say. And Ambassador Bagley, along with her deputy, Special Representative Kris Balderston, are here tonight, obviously more than willing to answer any questions.
Now, I mention this at some length because we feel very strongly that this partnership between China and the United States for the 21st century needs to be manifest in visible ways. Secretary Geithner, at the conclusion of his discussions with the Vice Premier, announced some very positive findings and commitments of moving forward on our economic recovery efforts. State Councilor Dai and I discussed, literally, every part of the world and have a very good understanding of how we can continue to work together.
But this is all about the future. And I’ve told this story before, but I want to end before I have the great privilege of introducing the next speaker. State Councilor Dai and I had a wonderful, relaxing social dinner Sunday night at the Blair House, a very small dinner where we spent time just talking about everything and getting to know each other better. It wasn’t about the business of two great countries trying to determine the best way forward for our people and the world, but it touched on what is important.
And what is important is that Councilor Dai had just had a new grandson. And he told me with that wonderful smile that lights up his face, and we were thinking about the significance of what we were to embark on for the last two days. And I suggested that before every meeting we bring pictures of our children and our grandchildren, because truly, that is what this work is all about. That is what should guide us and inspire us and chasten us with respect to the decisions that we make. So that is going to certainly be a principle of participation and commitment that Councilor Dai and I intend to pursue.
Because this is part of a new beginning. It is the culmination of a process begun decades ago, when Dr. Kissinger was instrumental in opening the door to the possibility that then came into fruition years, ten years, later of normalized relations. We were so constantly thinking of Henry Kissinger over the last days getting ready for this, because his work, his courage, the risk that he took, has led us in many ways to this evening.
And on a personal note, let me say that since taking this job, I’ve relied on the wise counsel of many of my predecessors, and Secretary Kissinger has been among the most generous and thoughtful with his guidance and advice. So once again, we are grateful that he is here with us tonight as we continue to work toward something that he saw on the horizon and convinced others that it was possible to see and move toward a stronger U.S.-China relationship. Please join me in welcoming Secretary – former Secretary Henry Kissinger. (Applause.)