Posts Tagged ‘Futenma’

Well, in the run-up to the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the photogenic SOS was off-camera today.  P.J. Crowley’s press briefing gives us some further insight into her day.  Here are some snippets.  I know it is P.J.’s briefing, but knowing the readers here, you are probably  in need of a Hillary-fix, so I suppose no one will mind that instead of P.J.’s picture, I have embedded a few featuring his lovely boss – this one.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 2, 2010

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Several things to talk about before taking your questions. In about an hour’s time, the Secretary will meet with Indian Education Minister Kapil Sibal as we begin to get into – engaged in the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue. And they’ll discuss U.S.-Indian cooperation in higher education and increasing our people-to-people ties. Education is a key component of our partnership with India, a key to meeting the demands of the 21st century economy.


Also today, the Secretary a while ago met with 17 civil society activists from the Middle East and North Africa, the Leaders of Democracy Fellows. This is a program under our Middle East Partnership Initiative, or our MEPI. It’s a three-month program that the U.S. provides to young civic and democratic reform leaders from the region. They have an opportunity to complete academic coursework at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and complete a professional assignment with a political, nongovernmental, or public policy organization here in Washington. And this year’s cohort is a diverse group representing Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.

With the SOS busy behind the scenes, P.J. provided the only statements regarding events … um… The Event … in Japan yesterday and its implications (or not) in relation to the agreement Secretary Clinton managed to get last week in Japan.

QUESTION: With the Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama resigning yesterday over the Futenma issue, he apologized for not being able to handle this issue very well. So that the two governments just made an agreement last week, right? So the U.S. is kind of involved in this political situation. So how do you see this political change in Japan, and what kind of influence will you get?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we respect the Japanese political process and Prime Minister Hatoyama’s decision. We will work closely with the Government of Japan and the next prime minister on a broad range of issues. And I think today the chief cabinet secretary stated that the Futenma agreement will be respected, given that it is a government-to-government agreement, and we share this expectation.


QUESTION: According to a recent poll, 80 percent of Okinawan people opposed to this relocation to Camp Schwab. And as you know, as I said, the Japanese prime minister resigned because of this. So it’s not supported by the Japanese people. So how can you still say it’s political – still politically sustainable?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we value the U.S.-Japan security alliance. We think that the presence of U.S. forces in the region, including in Japan, is of tremendous importance and of value to both of our countries. We – and I think that’s – the importance of our presence in the region and the U.S.-Japanese alliance is underscored by current tensions in Northeast Asia. So we have, we believe, reached a fair resolution that sustains the alliance. We understand the burden that this places on the Japanese people. As part of our agreement, we have pledged to do everything that we can to help manage the impact that this has, particularly on the people of Okinawa. This will be something that we continue to work closely with the Japanese Government, but as we indicated, we think we’ve reached a resolution of this relocation plan and we will work with Japan to carry it out.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) considering the prime minister has resigned in response to this agreement, don’t you think this has damaged the alliance, this agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, I’ll leave it to the prime minister to explain the circumstances under which he felt it important to resign. And our alliance is about much more than just the future of Futenma. But this is an important issue, but it’s only – it’s one of a number of – wide range of issues and common interests that the United States and Japan share. We will continue to work on this program with the Japanese Government.

QUESTION: As you said, there has been an agreement on Futenma, but there are no – the elections are now planned for July, I think, in Japan. Do you feel that the issue might come back during the campaign?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that’s one of the reasons why we worked closely with the government over a number of months. It was a very thorough review. Everyone went back over all of the details, and I think the Japanese Government came to reaffirm that this new plan, a modification of the plan that it inherited, was the best way forward. We think we’ve – with some technical details still to be worked out, we think that this is the best way forward and we’re going to continue to work this with the Government of Japan.

So those are some notes from the day. Tomorrow promises to be busy, exciting, and LONG! I will do my best to keep you posted. Hillary will host a big state dinner. I wonder what she will wear? (We LOVE the midnight blue gown.)

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If there are people who find the silence deafening, there are some reasons why we are not hearing from Hillary Clinton on the subject of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

First and foremost, she is not POTUS.  People should not complain about her not doing something they failed to hire her to do.  In 2007 and 2008, Hillary told us of many things she would do if we hired her.  I, personally, voted to hire her,  but she did not get the job!

Second, she has been a little busy lately:

  • The Japanese decided NOT to press us to move the Futenma base thanks to her.

  • She managed to get a U.S.A. Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo built, staffed, opened.

  • She has been trying to convince China to support a strong North Korea sanction.
  • She has been supporting our ally, South Korea.

  • She spent the better part of a week getting Hamid Karzai back under our tent and away from the Taliban.
  • For the past month, she has been the leader of the U.S. delegation to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

This conference ended about a half hour ago, and her meeting this morning with Ambassador Rice had everything to do with her position as chief of that delegation since that Treaty hit some rough spots, and we still have no news of whether the final draft was approved.  Read about that here.

UN nuclear conference gets last-minute draft statement

**UPDATE** The State Department just posted the highlights of the adopted treaty document.

Now directly prior to attending the opening of that conference, she appeared on Meet the Press and she did speak about offshore drilling then.   You can see her remarks on video at that link.  However, since that appearance she has been a bit busy doing the job she DID get, and doing it very well.

So if she’s silent on the Gulf disaster (in fairness, her State Department has conferred with Cuba about this,  and I am certain the subject came up during President Calderon’s visit, also) so what?  What do people expect her to say?  The guy who got the job should be acting on that.  Speeches and comments are one thing.  Actions speak best.

CORRECTION:  She did address the spill in her press availablitity yesterday with Sri Lankan External Minister Peiris.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you. So many eyes today on the oil spill, and we know there have been some offers of assistance from other countries. From where you stand, from your perspective, do you want more offers of assistance? And are you disappointed that more hasn’t been accepted by the United States and the oil company, as so many people in the United States are clamoring for more booms, et cetera? And also, what message do you have to America’s neighbors who may experience the ill effects of the spill? 

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charley, the United States Government is working every second of every minute to mitigate the effects of this terrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We are very grateful for the generous offers of assistance that we’ve received from 17 countries and the European Union, including the European Maritime Safety Agency, the environment unit of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United Nations Environment Program, and the International Maritime Organization.
Countries from all over the world have offered general assistance and then some have made very specific offers, including experts in various aspects of oil spill impacts, research, and technical expertise and equipment, including booms, dispersants, oil pumps and skimmers. And we are very thankful for all of these efforts. The U.S. Coast Guard, which is the lead agency in the U.S. Government’s response efforts, continues to monitor developments, evaluate specific needs, assess offers of assistance, and determine our response.
While no offers of direct material assistance have been required by the United States Government thus far, we have accepted and are grateful for assistance in the form of notification regarding the spill sent by the International Maritime Organization to its member states and coordination of EU offers of assistance. And BP has accepted boom and skimmers offered by the governments of Mexico and Norway in coordination with the Unified Area Command. We are in very close, constant communication with other countries that border the Gulf.
This is just a terrible environmental disaster and we are working very hard with all of our partners to try to contain it, prevent further damage. But because of the extraordinary nature of this particular disaster, it is taking some time to fully bring to bear all of the material that is needed. But as the President said yesterday, this is the highest priority from the President on down to every federal government representative that is in the Gulf trying to work to mitigate the impact. But we are, as I said in the beginning, very grateful for the concern and the offers from our partners and friends around the world.

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