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Remarks on the situation in Algeria are included in the lead-off.

Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 18, 2013

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Ben Franklin Room here in the State Department. And of course, let me warmly welcome the Foreign Minister here for the first time in this new capacity on behalf of the new Government of Japan.Before we start, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Algeria. The United States extends our condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones in this brutal assault, and we remain deeply concerned about those who remain in danger. I spoke with the Algerian Prime Minister again this morning to get an update on this very difficult situation and to underscore, again, that the utmost care must be taken to preserve innocent life. We are staying in close touch with our Algerian partners and working with affected nations around the world to end this crisis.

More broadly, however, it is absolutely essential that we broaden and deepen our counterterrorism cooperation going forward with Algeria and all countries of the region. I made clear to the Prime Minister that we stand ready to further enhance the counterterrorism support that we already provide. We have been discussing this with the Algerian leadership both when I traveled to Algeria this past year in October specifically to discuss counterterrorism issues, and again when Deputy Secretary Burns visited as the head of an interagency delegation in November. As the Foreign Minister and I discussed, we must all remain vigilant in our efforts to combat violent extremism and terrorism around the world.

Now, when I became Secretary of State nearly four years ago, I broke with tradition and took my first overseas trip not to Europe but to Asia, because I recognized that America needed to reengage in the region where much of the history of the 21st century is being and will be written. And there was no question as to which country I would visit first on that trip. It was Japan. As I said when I arrived in Tokyo, our alliance with Japan remains the cornerstone of American engagement in the region.

After four years and many more trips across the Pacific, our countries enjoy unprecedented collaboration. We address regional issues from North Korea to those in ASEAN, we meet global challenges together from Afghanistan to Iran, and we worked to respond to the earthquake and tsunami. Our people have stood side by side, and we have strengthened this alliance which has endured for more than six decades.

So as my time as Secretary of State comes to an end, I want to thank the people and leaders of Japan for their partnership and commitment to this alliance. And I want to thank you, Foreign Minister, for a final opportunity to discuss our many shared concerns. And we had a broad-based, comprehensive discussion. We started down the list and kept going.

On North Korea we shared our joint commitment to strong action in the UN Security Council. I also assured the Foreign Minister that we would continue to support Japan’s efforts to return Japanese citizens who have been abducted by the DPRK. With regard to regional security, I reiterated longstanding American policy on the Senkaku Islands and our treaty obligations. As I’ve said many times before, although the United States does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, we acknowledge they are under the administration of Japan and we oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration and we urge all parties to take steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through peaceful means.

We also discussed how we can do more to strengthen our already strong alliance. We discussed base realignment issues. We both want to reduce the impact of our bases on host communities while maintaining the ability to defend Japan’s territory and people and preserve stability and security. We are confident that we can make progress on force realignment in Okinawa, including moving ahead with construction of the Futenma replacement facility.

We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan’s possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations.

We also covered an issue important to both of our nations’ people, the Hague Abduction Convention that allows parents to seek a lawful, timely, and just resolution when a child is abducted by the other parent. And we hope that there will be action in the upcoming session of the Diet to pass the necessary legislation.

Now, I am very pleased to announce that we have extended an invitation to Prime Minister Abe to come to Washington to meet with President Obama in the third week of February. And there will be a lot of work to do between now and then to ensure that this high-level summit is extremely successful for both of our governments and our nations. But again, Foreign Minister, thank you for making this very early trip here and for your continuing commitment to our alliance.

FOREIGN MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter.) Secretary Clinton, thank you for those words. If I may, allow me to make a few comments. Upon the kind invitation from Secretary Clinton, I have come here on my first visit to the United States after the change of government had taken place in Japan. At the outset, I would like to touch upon the abduction incident that occurred in Algeria, the hostage-taking of foreign nationals in Algeria.

First of all, prior to my meeting with Secretary Clinton, because of the arrangements kindly made by the security, intelligence brief was given to me on this incident. Upon receiving that briefing, I embarked upon the bilateral meeting, and on that occasion I told Secretary Clinton that first of all, Japan takes the position that terrorism is definitely intolerable and impermissible and explained the position of the Japanese Government that the Government of Japan has been requesting the Government of Algeria to place utmost priority on ensuring the safety of the lives of the hostages.

We have been conducting collection of information and the Secretary and I agreed that the Japan and the United States will continue to collaborate in all areas, including information collection. We expect that we will continue to seek the cooperation of the United States in various areas pertaining to this incident. Having been able to directly discuss the issue with the Secretary to confirm that our positions are aligned was extremely valuable.

And in the meeting, we mainly discussed the foreign policy of the Abe Administration. I explained the foreign policy and security policies to Secretary Clinton and conducted candid exchange of views on the direction of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

While the security environment is becoming ever more challenging in the Asia Pacific, in order to ensure regional peace and stability, the Government of Japan recognizes that close Japan-U.S. cooperation in all areas is indispensible. The new government positions the strengthening of the bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the cornerstone of our foreign policy. In light of such view, we welcome the strategy of the United States of placing focus on the Asia Pacific. Secretary Clinton and I confirmed the necessity for Japan and the United States to cooperate closely to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Further, as was already mentioned by Secretary Clinton, we received the invitation for Prime Minister Abe to visit the United States during the third week of February. We truly hope that at the Japan-U.S. summit will clearly manifest the importance of an even stronger Japan-U.S. relations and we confirmed the necessity to accelerate preparations on both sides of the Pacific.

On the security front, Japan is prepared to fulfill our responsibility along with the United States for the peace and stability of the Asia Pacific. While reinforcing Japan’s own defense capabilities, in order to further upgrade deterrents presented by the Japan-U.S. security regime, we shall promote the Japan-U.S. security and defense cooperation in wide-ranging areas, and I have conveyed this strong determination of Japan to Secretary Clinton.

On the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the new Japanese administration intends to follow the currently existing Japan-U.S. agreement and maintain deterrents while at the same time reducing the impact on Okinawa. Both Japan and the United States will expedite the work to come up with a plan for consolidation of facilities and areas in Okinawa. Such fundamental concept was also explained by our side to Secretary Clinton.

And on the economic front, Secretary Clinton and I confirmed the importance of promotion of free trade and investment and cooperation in such areas as energy. On TPP, I explained the view of the new government and the debate ongoing currently in Japan and confirmed with the Secretary that we will maintain close contact on this matter.

Further, on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, first of all, with regards to China, the Japan-Sino relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships for our nation. The Abe Administration intends to respond from a broad perspective towards promotion of mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interest to China, and I conveyed that policy of Japan to the Secretary.

Further, while Japan will not concede and will uphold our fundamental position that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan, we intend to respond calmly so as not to provoke China. I conveyed to Secretary Clinton that Japan very much values the commitment shown by the United States over the Senkaku Islands based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the commitment that the United States will go against any unilateral action that will infringe upon the administration rights of Japan.

As for Japan’s ties with the ROK are concerned, I indicated our determination to further deepen our relationship with South Korea, taking the opportunity of birth of new governments in both Japan and South Korea.

On North Korea, we confirmed that close collaboration be continued between Japan and the United States, as well as between Japan, United States, and South Korea. Specifically referring to the missile launch last December, we agreed to continue with our close cooperation so that the United Nations Security Council takes effective measures as expeditiously as possible.

Further, I explained to the Secretary how seriously the new administration is taking with the abduction issue, and sought continued understanding and cooperation by the United States. Secretary Clinton responded by saying that the United States supports the resolution of the abduction problem.

Syria, Iran and other global challenges were raised at the table, and we confirmed the necessity to continue close collaboration on these issues as well.

Thank you for your kind attention.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two questions today. We’ll start with CNN. Jill Dougherty, please.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you. We know that there are U.S. citizens being held hostage in Algeria. Is there anything that you can please tell us more specifically about their condition, their status? How confident are you that you can get them out?

And there’s significant criticism coming from this Administration and from others, the Europeans, about what some are referring to as a pretty brutal operation. You had no advance notice of that operation either before it started, as far as we understand. Should Algeria have accepted military help from the United States to carry out this mission?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, when I spoke with the Prime Minister again this morning, I urged the utmost care be taken in the protection of the hostages, Algerian and expatriate foreign hostages. He made clear that their operation was still ongoing, that the situation remained fluid, that the hostages remain in danger in a number of instances. But in interest of their security, I am not going to provide any further details at this time.

As I said yesterday and at the beginning here today, this is an extremely difficult and dangerous situation. No one knows better than Algeria how ruthless these groups are. After all, they fought a very terrible war against them for a number of years, with great loss of life. So we are staying in close touch with our Algerian partners and working with affected nations like our Japanese friends around the world to help end this crisis.

But let’s not forget this is an act of terror. The perpetrators are the terrorists. They are the ones who have assaulted this facility, have taken hostage Algerians and others from around the world who were going about their daily business. And it is absolutely essential that while we work to resolve this particular terrible situation, we continue to broaden and deepen our counterterrorism cooperation, something that the Foreign Minister and I discussed at some length. It is not only cooperation with Algeria, it is international cooperation against a common threat.

And that’s one of the reasons why I went to Algeria in October, why we have been working with a number of the countries in that region to help them improve their counterterrorism capabilities. It’s why I launched the Global Counterterrorism Forum. We will not rest until we do as much as we can, alone and in concert with our partners, to restore security to this vital region and to bring those who would terrorize and kill innocent people to justice.

So we are going to follow this very closely and we are going to do everything we can, working with our partners, to help resolve it. And then when finally we have brought that to a conclusion, working with others, we have to look to see what more needs to be done in order to protect everyone from these ongoing threats from these very dangerous extremists.

MS. NULAND: Last one today, from (inaudible) Matsumura from Yomiuri Shimbun, please.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) I have a question to Secretary and Ministry. China is becoming ever more active in Senkaku Islands and the surrounding area. The missile launch by DPRK also manifests the ever more challenging situation and security environment in the region. In order to enhance the alliance between Japan and the United States, how do you intend to overcome the pending issues between the two countries, such as Futenma relocation, The Hague treaty, and TPP? And how do you intend to utilize the gains from this foreign ministerial meeting to the future of these two – the relationship between the two countries?

FOREIGN MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter) Then if I may take the floor, first of all, first and foremost, the security environment in the Asia Pacific region is becoming ever more challenging and difficult, and in order to ensure the peace and stability of the region, we not only need to closen ties in the areas of economy and security, but in all areas such as culture and people-to-people exchange to reinforce Japan-U.S. alliance.

On the security front, it is necessary that we further uplift the level of deterrence under the Japan-U.S. security regime. We will coordinate with the strategy of the United States, placing focus on the Asia Pacific to further enhance cooperation in this area.

On the economic front, both Japan and the United States place importance on promotion of free trade as well as cooperation in the area of energy. And today, I was able to confirm the importance of these points with Madam Secretary. On TPP, I have utilized this opportunity to communicate to Secretary Clinton the views be held by the new administration. We confirmed that Japan and the United States will continue to keeping close contact as we tackle this issue.

Further, on the security front, if I may add one other point related to security, on Futenma, Futenma should never become a permanent base. So under the policy of maintaining deterrence while at the same time reducing the impact on Okinawa, we will work together towards the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, based upon such policy.

Further, the following point was confirmed with Madam Clinton, and the signing of the Hague Convention is of great importance. The Government of Japan is intending to go through the necessary procedures for early signing of the treaty. By taking steady steps towards the implementation of these measures shall lead to further reinforcement of the Japan-U.S. relationship, and that, in turn, I believe, will lead to the stability and prosperity of the totality of the Asia-Pacific region.

On the occasion of the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States, we truly hope that his visits will be extremely productive in covering all of these areas, and Japan and the United States will continue to closely collaborate.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will echo what the Minister said about the very extensive agenda that we will be working on to prepare for the summit meeting between the two leaders. There are so many issues of bilateral, regional, and global importance where the United States and Japan work together, cooperate, and we will have a full review of all of those important matters.

As I said at the outset, we certainly discussed the Senkaku Islands today. And I reiterated, as I have to our Chinese friends, that we want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue, and we applaud the early steps taken by Prime Minister Abe’s government to reach out and begin discussions. We want to see the new leaders, both in Japan and in China, get off to a good start with each other in the interest of the security of the entire region.

And we have also, as I said earlier, made clear that we do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculations that would undermine the peace, security, and economic growth in this region. So certainly, we are hopeful that there can be an ongoing consultation that will lower tensions, prevent escalation, and permit China and Japan to discuss the range of other issues on which they have important concerns.

Thank you all very much.

MS. NULAND: Thank you all.

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Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York City
September 28, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Welcome, all of you here, and thank you for coming. As you can tell, we have a lot of people and a very, very small room. But we are with two close allies united by so many common interests and values. This is the fourth meeting that we’ve had in the past two years, including most recently this summer on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Our three nations share a strong interest in the peaceful, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We will discuss today what further steps we can take toward that goal. We will also discuss how every nation in the region has a responsibility to work to resolve disputes peacefully, lower tensions, promote regional security and stability.

Our alliances with Japan and the Republic of Korea are cornerstones of peace and prosperity in the region and each of these countries represent an enormous success story about what can happen when nations are focused on peace and stability and giving more opportunities to their own people and developing good relationships with their neighbors. We will maintain close cooperation between the three of us. That is a top priority for the United States, and I’m delighted to be here with my friends and colleagues. Both ministers, Minister Gemba and Minister Kim, are people with whom I work closely, and I look forward to our discussion today.

Thank you.

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Remarks at the Top of a Meeting with Korean Foreign Minister Kim and Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Peace Palace
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
July 12, 2012

Thank you very much, Mr. Kim. And it’s a great pleasure to meet with my colleagues and friends, Foreign Minister Kim and Foreign Minister Gemba. I thank Foreign Minister Kim for hosting this meeting.

We began the three-way consultations two years ago in Washington. And we met again in Bali last year. And representatives from our three countries have met dozens of times in between. These consultations give us a chance to take stock of current regional and global challenges and opportunities, and to chart together a future for our trilateral partnership. So, I am very pleased we are convening again in the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Since we last met, as Foreign Minister Kim has said, we have addressed unexpected challenges, including the death of Kim Jong Il, and North Korea’s recent missile launch in violation of United Nations resolutions. These events prove the importance of this trilateral framework, and the need to keep strengthening it. We share values and interests, as our joint statement reflects. As three democracies with a common vision on how to promote peace and prosperity, we all have a deep stake and a great responsibility to work together to strengthen and update a rules-based order for the Asia Pacific. This trilateral cooperation is about our shared future, and it is about how to deliver the greatest benefits to people in our three countries and across the region.

To translate these gatherings into results for our people, we need to bring even greater order and structure to this three-way partnership. So we welcome the newly framed steering committee, steering group. And I look forward to our consultation today and to our continued efforts to build even deeper connections among our three countries. Thank you, Foreign Minister Kim.

 

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Meeting with Embassy Staff and Their Families in Tokyo

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Tokyo, Japan
July 8, 2012

It’s great to see all of you. I just saw some beautiful children in the room next door. And I wanted to start by telling you how much I appreciate the opportunity to come by and thank you for all that you do every single day, starting with the Ambassador. Thank you so much for your leadership here in Japan and the team that you work with. I am grateful for what each and every one of the members of this mission do on behalf of this extraordinarily vital relationship.

It’s been a challenging year-plus for Japan. And I just had an opportunity to meet with some of the young people who are part of the Tomodachi Generation, and the ties between our countries, I don’t think, have ever been stronger. And the extraordinary outpouring of support from our civilian workforce, a whole-of-government effort plus our military, in responding to the earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear plant meltdown has demonstrated more than any words could how essential it is that the United States and Japan have the kind of deep and strong partnership that we have.

Thanks to your efforts, we are not only working on our bilateral relationship in all of its comprehensiveness, but also regional and global issues, whether it be North Korea or Iran, increasing trade and investment, even exploring areas such as missile defense and cyber security. And as we look at the 1,000 Japanese students who will travel to the United States this summer as part of the Tomodachi initiative, we can see the future of our relationship.

When I last here shortly after the triple disasters, Japan was just beginning to rebuild and recover. Many of the team that was here had been working extraordinarily long hours under very difficult circumstances, plus volunteering for relief and recovery. Many of you were traveling to the places hardest hit, but now we can see the debris has been removed, the roads have been rebuilt, and you continue to volunteer at retirement homes or painting houses, really building those personal relationships that are at the root of any other kind of partnership.

The United States has proven to be a good friend, and this Embassy has certainly proven to be a good neighbor. I want to thank not only our Foreign Service and Civil Service officers here, plus everyone from every other agency and department of our government posted here, but all of the Foreign Service families. I know some had to leave; and difficult that was, but I thank you for your own sacrifice and commitment. And I also want to thank the locally employed staff, because after all, you were directly affected by what happened last year and we could not run any embassy anywhere in the world without our locally employed staff. Secretaries come and go. Ambassadors come and go. But the locally employed staff remain as the nerve center and the memory bank of all that has gone on before.

We appreciate what you’re doing back in Washington. Certainly, I think we were very proud of the high level of performance that we saw in the wake of the disasters here. And on behalf of President Obama and myself and all that serve in our government back home as well as the American people, thank you for what you did, thank you for what you’re doing, and thank you for really creating the kind of future that will bring our relationship to an even stronger plane. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Marines and a family at the United State’s Chief of Mission Residence in Tokyo, Sunday, July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

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Remarks at the Tomodachi Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Tokyo, Japan
July 8, 2012

Well, I am excited to be here with all of you, and I thank you for being part of the Tomodachi Generation and for the work you are doing with each other and between the young people of Japan and the young people of the United States. There is no doubt in my mind that the way Japan has demonstrated resilience and determination after the terrible earthquake and tsunami is a great indicator of what the future for the Tomodachi Generation can be.

There is a great deal of work to be done in the world today, whether you are in the Foreign Service or you are studying or you have some other dream that you are pursuing. And experiences like what you went through with your losses, the tragedy that afflicted so many thousands and thousands of your fellow Japanese citizens, gives you a perspective on what is important in life that can be extremely useful for yourselves personally, for your country, and for the world.

I was very pleased to be able to come to Japan shortly after the disasters. And working with the Ambassador and the excellent team here at the Embassy, and the United States military and the private sector of our country, and many, many American citizens worked to support Tomodachi and provide an understanding of what Japan had gone through and what now the United States Government and the American people could do to continue working with you.

So exchange programs like the one you will be going on, reconstruction projects, the kind of personal assistance that some people still need because they lost so much, is part of what Tomodachi does. But even more than that, it is a statement of commitment and concern between our countries that is about the future, and particularly about the future of young people.

The United States and Japan are allies. We are partners. But we have a special responsibility to keep creating a better world, not just for ourselves but for those who have so little and who need so much. Today I spent at the Tokyo Conference that the Japanese Government has done an excellent job in preparing and holding today. And Japan has been very generous to Afghanistan, a country far away, over the last 10 years, because there was a commitment by the Japanese Government and people to help someone else in need. And Japan historically has been very generous with aid and support to people who were suffering.

When the disaster of the earthquake and the tsunami and then the nuclear plant meltdown happened, it would have been very easy for Japan to say we can’t continue helping anybody else because we have so many needs ourselves. But as we heard today at the conference, Japan did not stop helping Afghanistan and other people, even while you had to do so much for your own citizens. I think that is the spirit of Tomodachi, and I think Japan has set a great example for the world.

So I was proud last year to come and support Tomodachi, and I am very proud to be back here today to hear from two of your members, but to know, from what I have been told, so much more about what each of you is doing. And I feel very positive – optimistic – about the future of Japan because of the young people and your response to the need that your country had and what you’re doing to build a better future for yourselves and for people not only in Japan but even around the world, to build bridges of understanding, and I think the Americans who are part of the Tomodachi initiative, because that’s what it’s going to take to build the kind of world that we need to have in the 21st century – much more understanding, much more connectivity and communication, more mutual help and efforts on behalf of each other.

So it’s a great honor for me to be here, Ambassador, and to see the continuation of what you have achieved with Tomodachi. And I hope that it will keep going for many, many, many years to come. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks at Afghan Civil Society Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Prince Park Tower Hotel
Tokyo, Japan
July 8, 2012

Let me welcome this wonderful group of men and women from across Afghanistan who are here as part of the Tokyo Conference. We are very pleased that we have the benefit of your experience and your views, and I look forward to our conversation. I want to thank Ambassador Marc Grossman for helping to organize this meeting. Ambassador Grossman is our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he has been very focused on making sure that the voices of the people are heard, not just the government. Because we know that any lasting peace, any economic development, the opportunities that we have been discussing here at the Tokyo Conference, are only possible if civil society is there to advocate for them.

I also am pleased that Ambassador Ryan Crocker could join us from Kabul. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. Also with us is Ambassador Melanne Verveer, our Special Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, and Don Steinberg, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. And I am particularly looking forward to hearing from our two representatives of Afghan civil society, Samira and Hiyatula, in a few minutes.

I want to hear how you believe we can do more to work with you to support open and accountable governance, economic opportunities, and social equality and inclusion. And I want particularly to hear about the challenges that you see ahead. The United States is committed to helping the Afghan people and the civil society groups that you represent, among others, to work toward a secure, independent, and democratic future.

But as we transition to Afghan-led security across your country, we want to make it clear that being strong, sovereign, and independent does not mean being alone. We want to continue to stand with you. The Strategic Partnership Agreement that our President signed in Kabul in early May that is now fully in effect provides a long-term framework for our relationship, sending a clear signal that America’s support will endure. And it outlines the basis for our extensive cooperation over the next decade in fighting violent extremism, strengthening democratic institutions, and protecting human rights.

We have also been very clear – and we just finished a meeting between the Afghan Government and the Pakistani Government – about Afghan-led reconciliation, that it can only happen with groups and individuals who sever ties to al-Qaida, renounce violence, and pledge to abide by the Afghan constitution, including its protections for women and minorities. Reconciliation cannot, must not, come at the expense of the gains you have made in the last 10 years. So we want to be sure your voices are heard. We want to stand up for your rights and we want to condemn extremism and any kind of abuses that affect people and particularly women in Afghanistan.

We also want to support a free press and journalists who hold governments accountable, report the facts about what is happening, and exchange ideas so that better decisions can be made. We also wish to support constitutional and transparent parliamentary and presidential elections. And for us, when we talk about Afghan-led, we don’t mean just the government. We mean the Afghan people.

So with that, let me ask you, please, to translate before we come and hear from our representatives, and then turn it over to all of you.

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Remarks With Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Iikura Guest House
Tokyo, Japan
July 8, 2012

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to commence the press conference with Minister Gemba and Secretary Clinton. First of all Minister Gemba will speak, and then Secretary Clinton will follow.

Minister, the floor is yours.

FOREIGN MINISTER GEMBA: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I would like to make my initial statement. Today, in the time available during the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, I was able to exchange views thoroughly with Secretary Clinton on matters not only about Tokyo Conference itself, but also the follow-up of our Prime Minister’s recent visit to the U.S., ASEAN-related foreign ministerial meetings due next week, the Asia Pacific situation including North Korea, and the challenges such as Iran.

First on Afghanistan, substantive discussion is being developed in this Tokyo Conference, which makes me feel that combined with the outcome of the NATO Chicago Summit meeting which has been led of the United States – led by the United States, a way could be paved for the independent and sustainable nation building of Afghanistan during the transformation decade in both security and development aspects.

I have shared this perception with Secretary Clinton and confirmed that we will continue to partner and collaborate closely so as to ensure the follow-up on the outcome of the Tokyo Conference, such as the concepts of our mutual commitment and regular review process going forward. So we will continue to have close collaboration between the two countries.

Next, on Japan-U.S. relations, we confirmed that with a view to deepening that U.S. alliance, U.S.-Japan alliance, befitting the 21st century, we will solidly follow up the outcome of our Prime Minister’s recent visit to the U.S..

On U.S. Forces realignment, Secretary Clinton and I, based upon the joint statement from the recent 2+2 meeting, confirmed to accelerate our works so that certain outcome can be achieved by the end of this year on questions such as: one, relocation of Marines in Okinawa and Guam; two, return of the land south of Kadena; and three, improvement of the training facilities in Guam and Northern Mariana in order to concretize Japan-U.S. dynamic defense cooperation. We also reconfirmed to work continuously on Futenma Air Station relocation to Henoko.

On the question of Osprey, I have sought the continued cooperation from the U.S. side regarding the further provision of information on the accidents. Prompt and sufficient information provision is something that I have requested for U.S. cooperation, so that not only the people of Okinawa but the Japanese citizens at large can feel reassured on the safety question, to which Secretary Clinton gave us her understanding.

On Iran, I explained our position once again that we support the EU3+3 approach towards the peaceful, diplomatic solutions of the issue, and we promote collaboration of international community based on the approach of dialogue and pressure. Japan wishes to continue our efforts to closely coordinate with the U.S. and the international community.

Asia Pacific: We exchanged our views on the Asia Pacific situation. In particular on DPRK, once again we confirmed to maintain close coordination between Japan and U.S. and among Japan, U.S., and South Korea.

So that is all for my initial remarks.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Minister. Secretary Clinton, the floor is yours.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister Gemba, and I am delighted that we had a chance to have a broad, comprehensive discussion. I want to begin by congratulating the Government of Japan for the excellent preparation and execution of the Tokyo Conference. As the Minister said, here we have agreed that we need a different kind of long-term economic partnership, one built on Afghan progress in meeting its goals, in fighting corruption, in carrying out reform, and providing good governance.

After intensive effort with the international community, Japan has announced that $16 billion has been pledged to support Afghanistan’s development over the next four years – more than enough to meet the World Bank’s estimated requirements. And we thank Japan for its generous pledge.

For our part, the United States will be working with Congress to provide assistance at or near the levels of the past decade through 2017, both to help secure Afghanistan’s gains and to protect the already considerable investment that the United States has made not only in financial terms but in the sacrifice of our men and women in the last decade.

We must ensure that the transition is irreversible and that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for international terrorism. Just as we met in Chicago three months ago to safeguard Afghanistan’s security future, today we have charted a way forward on Afghanistan’s economic requirements. So I believe that we have really made a good commitment to putting Afghanistan on a path to economic self-sufficiency. As Afghan capacity and revenues increase, our contributions can decline.

We emphasized key factors about the role of the Afghan Government and people in stepping up to meet the challenges that they have ahead of them; the role of the international community to support its commitments and to do so within the Tokyo Framework of Mutual Accountability; the role of the neighbors to work together to build a prosperous, interconnected zone of commerce and trade across South and Central Asia; and the role of the private sector in helping bring investment, training, and jobs.

This morning I also had the opportunity to meet with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar to discuss our many shared interests, including the fight against extremism and terrorism; a successful resolution to the Afghan conflict; promotion of civil society and democratic institutions; and greater economic and trade opportunities.

Later today Foreign Minister Khar and I will join Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul when we convene the first minister-level Core Group meeting among the three countries. We will reaffirm the Core Group’s goal of enhanced cooperation in support of an Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and jointly we will reiterate our call for the armed opposition to abandon violence and enter into a dialogue with the Afghan Government.

The Foreign Minister and I also discussed a range of bilateral and regional concerns. We are looking forward to both attending the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia, where we will have an opportunity for a trilateral meeting with the Republic of Korea. Among the items to be discussed there will be pressing Pyongyang to meet its international obligations. I reaffirmed the United States commitment to Japan’s defense and security. We’re moving forward on the vision that we laid out in April on the future of our alliance. We’re addressing new challenges on the high seas, in space, and cyberspace.

And I want to say a word about the issue that the Minister raised with me concerning the Osprey aircraft. Meeting our security requirements requires the right equipment, including military aircraft. And I understand and appreciate the concern raised here in Japan, and in particular on Okinawa, about the Osprey. The United States cares deeply about the safety of the Japanese people, just as we care deeply about the safety of the men and women in the U.S. military. And we will work closely with our Japanese partners to ensure that any American military equipment brought into Japan will meet the highest safety standards. And I assured the Minister that when the investigation is complete, the results will be shared with Japan.

We also discussed the opportunity to strengthen our economic relationship, and the United States welcomes Japan’s interest in the Trans Pacific Partnership, which we think will connect economies throughout the region, making trade and investment easier, spurring exports, creating jobs. The TPP is just one element of our increased focus on the Asia Pacific, but it is important that we recognize that the Japanese-American relationship is really at the cornerstone of everything we are doing in the Asia Pacific. We are not only treaty allies; we are friends and partners with common interests and shared values.

When I leave Japan, I will be traveling to Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, where I will deliver a common message: The United States is a partner in the Pacific working not only to promote security, but also to create greater economic opportunity, support democratic reform, spark innovation, and strengthen the ties between and among our people.

Finally, to turn briefly to another part of the world, yesterday the people of Libya went to the polls to choose their representatives for the Libya National Congress, and we congratulate them on this historic milestone. After more than four decades of authoritarian rule, men and women from every corner of Libya are beginning to determine their own future. And it will be the will of the people, not the whim of a dictator.

But of course, now the hard work really begins to build an effective, transparent government that unifies the country and delivers for the Libyan people. And the United States stands ready to assist Libyans in their transition to a free, democratic Libya at peace with your neighbors and where every Libyan has a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential.

So again, thank you, Minister. And I appreciate greatly our very strong consultation and partnership.

MODERATOR: Questions. If you are designated, please identify yourself by stating your name and affiliation. Proceed to your questions. First, the Japanese media.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. Nishida from Mainichi newspaper company. I have questions to both of you. During the meeting you have exchanged views regarding regional situation. Tough security situation continues in Asia, so I have a question about that. As you mentioned, in a couple of days ARF ES/EAS-related meetings will be held in Cambodia. Major theme will be South China Sea related issues. During your conference, what kind of discussion did you have? Also between ASEAN and China, legally binding Code of Conduct is something which is being debated. So between Japan and the U.S., the collaboration is taken in certain approaches. May I have comments from both of you?

MODERATOR: First of all, Minister Gemba.

FOREIGN MINISTER GEMBA: Thank you very much, Mr. Nishida. Your question was regarding the situation pertaining to South China Sea. United Nations has a Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as other related international laws. We must be abided by the international laws and then we should be making rules. I think it’s very important to do the rulemaking in accordance to international laws. It’s a basic thinking.

On top of that, through dialogue, in a peaceful way we must resolve the problems. That is the basic thinking I have. Based upon that thinking, I discussed it with Secretary Clinton. Among others, as you indicated, COC, Code of Conduct, was included in our discussion. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s important to reiterate what the Minister said. We believe that we have a national interest, as every nation does, in the freedom of navigation, in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded, lawful commerce in the South China Sea. And therefore we believe the nations of the Asia Pacific region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve their disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without conflict.

We want to see all parties with claims – whether they are land or maritime claims – pursue them in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. And we urge progress between the ASEAN nations and China on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. And certainly when we go to Cambodia for the ASEAN Regional Forum, both the Minister and I will be urging that progress be made on such a Code of Conduct.

MODERATOR: U.S. media.

QUESTION: Yes, Brad Klapper from Associated Press. In an interview he gave today, UN mediator Kofi Annan conceded that his Syria peace plan was failing. Yet just a couple days ago, you were still trying to pressure Assad into implementing the ceasefire and the plan for political transition. Do you have any hope left, any at all, that Assad might do these things? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bradley, I think what Kofi Annan said should be a wakeup call to everyone, because he acknowledged that there has not been movement by the Syrian regime in accordance with his six-point plan or the more specific communiqué out of Geneva’s Action Group meeting.

And therefore the parties, principally the government, have to ask themselves: What is the alternative? The violence is increasing. June was the deadliest month for the Syrian people in terms of the thousands of Syrians killed and injured. There are 1.5 million displaced people within Syria. There are tens of thousands of refugees crossing the border. There’s already been an incident affecting Turkey because of military action by the Syrian Government. There was just yesterday an unfortunate incident across the Lebanese border. There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defense of themselves and in going on the offense against the Syrian military and the Syrian Government’s militias.

So the future, to me, should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime: The days are numbered; and the sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there’s a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region.

So I think Special Envoy Annan was admitting the obvious, that as of today he’s not been able to convince the Syrian Government and those supporting it to wake up and recognize the path they are on, but that there is still time. And as we saw with the recent high-level defection, with the increasing numbers of defections, the sand is running out of the hourglass. And we want to make clear to the Syrian regime that they need to be willing to end the violence and start the serious business of a political transition.

MODERATOR: Japanese media, please.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Kikwaji from Nippon Television Network. Now, Osprey is something that I want to ask you. Minister Gemba and Secretary Clinton, my question is to both of you. Accidents happened, one after another, so mainly in Okinawa but elsewhere too there is a call for the revision of the plan. So other than information provision, Minister Gemba, did you ask for any concrete measures? As of now, do you think that deployment of Osprey is possible?

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, this question. This may affect the Japanese relationship with the U.S.. How do you see the implication and the impact, and is there any plan for information provision? Minister Gemba first.

FOREIGN MINISTER GEMBA: Thank you very much for your question, Mr. Kikwaji. A question regarding Osprey. As I said earlier on, in Iwakuni and in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan, a lot of people are showing very harsh reaction regarding the deployment of Osprey. I was very frank about it and I conveyed this point to Secretary Clinton.

Having done so, we have coordinated and collaborated until the very last of possibilities. It is a fact that we have done the closest coordination that we can do, and still the reaction is very harsh. That is what I told Secretary Clinton about. And later on, Secretary made – referred to it. She said that situation that should give reassurance to the Japanese people, the information would be provided which will reassure Japanese people. Especially the local people have serious concern. In order to remove any possible concerns, what is needed? We have to consider what is possible that we can do in order to remove any worries. That is something that we wish to seriously study. It is – situation is serious, so I was very frank about this with Secretary Clinton.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me reiterate that the United States cares deeply about the safety of the Japanese people and we will take every measure to ensure that any equipment brought to Japan for Japan’s defense by the U.S. military meets the highest safety standards. Overall, the MV-22 Osprey has an excellent safety record, and we believe that basing it in Okinawa will significantly strengthen our ability in providing for Japan’s defense, performing humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and other duties as a key ally.

But in recognition of the concerns that the Minister has just described, the defense ministries of both of our countries have agreed that they will wait until the results of the safety investigation are presented to the Japanese Government and confirmed, because it is very important to the United States that Japan shares our confidence in the safety of the Osprey. So we will work to ensure that the Japanese Government is satisfied that the Osprey is safe to fly in Japan.

MODERATOR: In the interest of time, last question from the U.S. media.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. Jo Biddle from AFP. Following your meeting with Foreign Minister Khar, how confident are you that the United States and Pakistan have put aside the difficulties that we’ve seen in the relationships – in the relationship over the past year? And more specifically, could you tell us how you believe that the reopening of the Pakistan border posts will help in counterterrorism efforts? Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. As I said, we had a very broad-ranging, constructive discussion as a follow-up to our recent work in resolving some of the disputes around the opening of the lines of communication in Pakistan. We are both encouraged that we’ve been able to put the recent difficulties behind us so we can focus on the many challenges still ahead of us. And we want to use the positive momentum generated by our recent agreement to take tangible, visible steps on our many shared core interests.

First and foremost, we focused on the necessity of defeating the terror networks that threaten the stability of both Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as interests of the United States, along with our allies and partners. And we discussed Afghan reconciliation efforts and the importance that both the United States and Pakistan support this Afghan-led process. So I am pleased we will have a chance to discuss that trilaterally later this afternoon and look toward how we can better coordinate our efforts. We also discussed economic support for Pakistan and the goal of moving toward more trade than aid as part of our economic relationship.

So we discussed a number of important issues, and obviously there’s a lot of follow-up work that has to be done. I’ve said many times that this is a challenging but essential relationship. It remains so. And I have no reason to believe it will not continue to raise hard questions for us both, but it is something that I think is in the interest of the United States as well as the interest of Pakistan.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen of the press. This completes the joint press conference of Minister Gemba and Secretary Clinton. Thank you very much.

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