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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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Mme. Secretary released four independence day messages today. I only post these when there is some added significance.  We want and need Pakistan and India to get along, and we need Pakistan to work together with Afghanistan.   We also want Korea and Japan to get along, but they are having a tiff.  Congo – their crisis is internal.  Here are the messages in alphabetical order.

Republic of Congo’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 13, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Republic of Congo as you celebrate 52 years of independence this August 15.

Our two countries have enjoyed a close friendship, working together on many issues from improving transparency, to combating trafficking in persons, promoting environmental stewardship, and enhancing regional security.

I want to send my deepest condolences to the Congolese people for the explosions in Brazzaville in March this year that resulted in loss of life and property and the displacement of thousands of citizens. We look forward to the return of all internally displaced people to safe and permanent homes. And we remain committed to supporting the Republic of Congo in its efforts to make that a reality.

As you celebrate your independence day, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. We look forward to working together to ensure peace and prosperity for all people in the Republic of Congo.

India Independence Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 13, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Republic of India as you celebrate your Independence Day this August 15.

Through my many visits to India, I have been impressed with the creativity of the Indian people, the richness of your culture, and the resilience and strength of your democratic institutions. From the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi to independence in 1947 through today, India continues to stand as a beacon for the world of the power of nonviolence and the promise of democracy. The United States stands side by side with India in a strategic, indispensable partnership built on our shared democratic values and fundamental belief in the entrepreneurial spirit. Our governments and our people will continue to work together to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century, laying the foundation for continued peace and prosperity in Asia and around the world.

As you celebrate this special day with family, friends and loved ones, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend.

Republic of Korea Independence Day

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 13, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Republic of Korea as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this August 15.

The United States and the Republic of Korea share a long history of friendship and cooperation based on common values and interests. From combating regional and global threats, to strengthening our economies, to enhancing people-to-people ties between our two nations, we are working together toward a better future for both our countries and the world.

As you celebrate this important day with family, friends, and loved ones, know that the United States stands with you as an ally and friend. To Korean people all over the world: I wish you the very best on this special day and in the year to come.

Pakistan Independence Day

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 13, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this August 14. Since 1947, Pakistan has persevered in the face of immense challenges to build upon the democratic ideals of your country’s founders. Today, we take time to honor your sacrifices and renew our support for a stable and secure Pakistan for generations to come.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah dreamt of a vibrant, self-reliant Pakistan – a goal we all share. As Muslims around the world reflect upon the meaning of community and sacrifice during this holy month of Ramadan, the United States celebrates the hardworking Pakistanis who strive to fulfill Jinnah’s vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.

And here is a picture just for the heck of it.   This is from the evening she arrived in Ghana.  I never had a chance to post it, and I knew people here would love it.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is introduced to Lordina Mahama, wife of Ghana President John Dramani Mahama, and their daughter, in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. On Friday Clinton will attend the funeral of Ghana’s late President John Atta Mills. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

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Japan’s Children’s Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 4, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Japan as you celebrate Children’s Day this May 5th.

Across Japan we have witnessed the strong bonds of family and friends that have been a guiding light through your recovery from last year’s unprecedented disaster. Americans have been inspired by the bravery and resilience of the Japanese people, and admire your commitment in creating a better future for your children. During this time of rebuilding and renewal, the United States stands with you.

On this important day dedicated to our children and their future, know that the United States is committed to the peace and security of both our nations. We are working to create a tomodachi generation of young people who will be our future leaders. Let us redouble our efforts to strengthening the ties that bind us as we work to build a peaceful and prosperous world for our children.

Korea’s Children’s Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 4, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the children and families of Korea on Children’s Day this May 5th.

As parents and children spend this day strengthening the ties of family, we reflect on the important steps that Korea has taken to promote the welfare of children and future generations, from investing in education to promoting a cleaner environment. The United States fully supports the Republic of Korea’s role as a global leader in these and many other areas. And we are committed to building a global partnership with Korea so that children in Korea, the United States and all over the world can enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future.

On this special day dedicated to our children, I thank Korea for its leadership and partnership as we work to realize our shared vision for a better world. Know that the United States stands with you as a partner and a friend.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Korean FM Kim , posted with vodpod

Remarks With Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 9, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Well, good morning, and welcome to the State Department. It’s always a pleasure to have Foreign Minister Kim back in Washington. And I also have the honor of greeting incoming Ambassador Choi, who presented his credentials at the State Department this morning. I look forward to working with him as well.We have been consulting very closely and coordinating on a range of issues now for several years. And the reason is obvious: Korea is economic, political, and strategic leader, not only in the Asia Pacific, but around the world. That’s why President Lee speaks of a global Korea, and it’s why the United States and Korea are building a global partnership.

Today, once again, we discussed ways that we are strengthening our alliance, which is a lynchpin of America’s strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific. We spoke about our recent diplomacy with North Korea. And I want to be very clear: Any effort by anyone to drive a wedge between the United States and the Republic of Korea will fail. We consult closely on all aspects of our diplomacy. This will not change.

The minister and I also discussed the importance of coordinating closely with Japan, and we asked our teams to hold a trilateral meeting soon.

Of course, we went over the recent agreement by the DPRK to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment. The North also agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities, and to confirm the disablement of the five-megawatt reactor and associated facilities. This is a modest step in the right direction, and we will be watching closely and judging North Korea’s leaders by their actions.

We also discussed the United States’ announcement that we would provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance for the most vulnerable populations in North Korea. Our team just met in Beijing with North Korean officials to discuss the administrative details of this program, and we are working to move it forward soon.

This is an important time for our critical partnership. In just six days, our free trade agreement will take effect, opening up new opportunities for jobs and commerce between our people. We believe that this agreement will create tens of thousands of jobs in both of our countries. And later this month, President Obama will travel to Seoul for the Nuclear Security Summit, where we will continue our efforts to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands.

So on these and all the other issues on which we work together, I want to thank the foreign minister for another very productive meeting. Thank you, sir.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I thought we weren’t going to do English. I thought we were just going to do Korean. Yeah, thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no no. You’re not going to translate me. We’re just going to translate the minister.

INTERPRETER: Great, great.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I would’ve stopped between – I would’ve never have subjected you to that. (Laughter.)

MR. KIM: (In Korean.)

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: (Via interpreter) Good morning, everyone. I would like to express my special gratitude to Secretary Clinton for her invitation and warm hospitality. Today, as Secretary Clinton just mentioned, we had a very fruitful consultation on a wide range of issues. The ROK-U.S. alliance, considered to be in its best ever shape, has been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia for the last 60 years based on our common values and convictions, namely free democracy and market economy.

Secretary Clinton and I both recognized that the ROK-U.S. strategic alliance has been broadening and deepening itself since the adoption of our joint vision for the alliance in 2009, and we reaffirmed that our strategic alliance will be expanding its role in dealing with the issues on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as well as global issues on the basis of our common values.

With regard to the North Korea nuclear issue, I reaffirmed my government’s position that we welcomed the result of the U.S.-DPRK discussions that took place in Beijing last month, and appreciated the close ROK-U.S. coordination that was intact throughout the dialogue process between Washington and Pyongyang. Furthermore, we shared the view that the outcome of the recent Beijing discussions is a meaningful first step towards resolving the North Korea nuclear issue, and underscored that faithful implementation of the necessary measures such as moratorium on Yongbyon nuclear activities and the return of IAEA inspectors is important. Secretary Clinton emphasized that there will not be a fundamental improvement of relations between Washington and Pyongyang without an improvement of inter-Korean relations. And we both agreed that dialogue should be promoted and relations should be improved between the two Koreas.

I mentioned that North Korea’s recent denunciations of the South are an attempt to render influence on the elections and the domestic politics of the ROK, and that they have relevance to North Korea’s own internal situations. Secretary Clinton shared this view and we agreed to continue our close communication on this situation within North Korea. Secretary Clinton and I agreed that continued coordination between the ROK and the U.S. will be the single most important factor in the coming discussions on the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, and we agreed to communicate closely at each level through channels such as the ROK-U.S. summit meeting that is scheduled to take place during the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Also, the KORUS FTA, which will take effect next week, has upgraded our alliance to a higher level. Secretary Clinton and I agreed to cooperate toward early realization of the tangible benefits that KORUS FTA will bring to us, such as job creation, expansion of trade, and sharpening of our competitiveness. We also agreed, based on such a comprehensive strategic alliance and going beyond the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, that the ROK and the U.S. will further strengthen our cooperation in global issues such as nonproliferation, including the Iranian nuclear issue, nuclear security, terrorism, development cooperation, human rights, and environment. In particular, we are working together for the success of the second Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul this month, building upon the accomplishments we had at the last Washington summit.

Furthermore, Secretary Clinton and I shared the view that for a sustained development of the relationship between our two countries, support from the people of both nations is vital, and that both governments will make active efforts to this end. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister.

MS. NULAND: We have time for two questions today. We’ll start with Mr. Choi from KBS.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My name is Choi Kyoosik from KBS. My question goes to Secretary Clinton with regard to the North Korean refugee issue. With regard to the situation that is going on in China, there are concerns arising in the international community. The Chinese Government considers the North Korean defectors as economic migrants, and they are repatriating them with – regardless of how they enter China. I would like to ask Secretary Clinton if the U.S. Government considers the North Korean defectors as refugees under the international agreements, and also I would like to ask if – what are the short-term and long-term policies of the U.S. Government with regard to this issue.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Let me begin by saying that the United States shares the concerns by both the government and the people of the Republic of Korea about the human rights situation in North Korea and the treatment of North Korean refugees. We urge every country to act according to international obligations. And those international obligations regarding the treatment of refugees are prescribed in the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and the 1967 protocol.

We believe that refugees should not be repatriated and subjected once again to the dangers that they fled from. The treatment of North Korean refugees is an issue on which we have ongoing engagement with our partners, both in Korea and in China. We had Ambassador Davies raise our concerns about the North Korean refugees detained in China with senior Chinese officials when he was last in China in February. And we urge all countries in the region to cooperate in the protection of North Korean refugees within their territories. We continue to work with

international organizations in order to protect these refugees and to find durable, permanent solutions for them.

MS. NULAND: Last question. ABC, Luis Martinez.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Do you want – does she want to translate – I think yeah. I think our young woman here will translate me.

MS. NULAND: Okay.

QUESTION: I’ll just (inaudible) ask question. Okay.

MS. NULAND: Well, each –

PARTICIPANT: (In Korean.)

MS. NULAND: This is our last question. ABC, Luis Martinez.

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, Madam Secretary, as part of your discussions today, did you discuss a waiver on the Iranian oil sanction that are upcoming? And Madam Secretary, what is the progress of the talks with Japan on the similar waiver? And if I could ask – also ask you about – are you both optimistic that the Six-Party Talks will actually resume?

And switching to Syria, Madam Secretary —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Wait a minute. (Laughter.) I think two questions is your limit today. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay, Madam. Well, if I could, just a brief one on Syria: Four generals have defected to Turkey today. Is this a sign that the Assad regime is unraveling?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. It’s Friday. (Laughter.) I want to begin by saying we are deeply gratified by the support that we have received from the Republic of Korea in building a global coalition to pressure Iran to change course. And we share the concerns of our Congress that the international community needs to take even stronger steps to stop the flow of cash to the Iranian regime from its oil sector. In that context, we have been working very closely with the Republic of Korea on ways that it can look for alternatives to Iranian oil and oil products.

Our goal is simple. We want the Iranian regime to feel the full weight of the international community from these measures, and to demonstrate unequivocally to them that the world is united against their efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. No country understands the threat of nuclear weapons from a neighbor better than the Republic of Korea.

And so we are continuing our very close, expert engagement. We’re not only talking with our friends like the Republic of Korea, but also oil producing partners about boosting production to shore up price stability and offer alternative avenues of supply. And I would be the first to say, we recognize the difficult decisions and even the sacrifices that we are asking from other countries in order to increase this pressure on Iran. Reigning in a dangerous government is not easy. That’s why we are so closely cooperating with respect to our approach toward North Korea, but also with our unified international approach toward Iran. We’ve got to stay united, and we have no better partner and ally than our friends in Korea. And so I think we will just continue our work together. We’re making progress and I think that is our assessment at this time.

With respect to Syria, we continue to hear about defections. There were reports today of four generals defecting. We continue to urge the Syrian army not to turn their weapons against their own people – defenseless civilians, women, and children. We continue to urge the international community to come together to take action; first, to provide humanitarian relief; and second, to work toward a political transition that would have a change in leadership to one that would respect the rights and dignity of the Syrian people.

I’ve made several calls today regarding the upcoming Arab League meeting in Cairo. I talked with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a few days ago about our hope that Russia will play a constructive role in ending the bloodshed and working toward a political transition in Syria, and I will be following up and meeting with him in New York on Monday. So we have an intense effort going on, and we are supporting the Arab League and their continuing leadership.

Thank you.

QUESTION: (In Korean.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t have a way to translate that. Thank you.

QUESTION: Okay.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We can provide a Korean readout to any Korean reporter.

FOREIGN MINISTER SUNG-HWAN: (Via interpreter) As for our Republic of ROK as well, we are participating in the sanctions on Iran, and we’ll keep discussing the specific measures to do that as well in the future. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all for your patience and have a good weekend.

 

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Secretary Clinton to Travel to Berlin, Seoul, and Tokyo

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Acting Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 11, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Berlin, Germany, April 13 to April 15. Secretary Clinton will join foreign ministers from NATO and partner countries for an informal NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting. They will meet separately with Operation Unified Protector and ISAF partners to discuss Libya and Afghanistan as well as counterparts in the NATO-Georgia Commission, the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the NATO-Russia Council. While in Berlin, the Secretary will attend a memorial service for Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke at the American Academy in Berlin and receive the Walther Rathenau Prize for outstanding contributions to international understanding and cooperation.

The Secretary will continue to Seoul, Republic of Korea from April 16 to April 17. The Secretary will meet with President Lee Myung-bak as part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance and to discuss cooperation on regional issues.

Secretary Clinton then will visit Tokyo, Japan, on April 17, to show the United States’ support for the people of Japan and to highlight our long-standing commitment to the alliance. While there, Secretary Clinton will meet with Prime Minister Naoto Kan and with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and other Japanese senior officials. The Secretary also will meet with Embassy staff in Tokyo to express her gratitude for their services and support during this crisis.

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Remarks at Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

National Convention Center
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 23, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well good afternoon everyone. Today I complete my fifth trip to Asia since becoming Secretary of State. Yesterday, I arrived in Vietnam and I was honored to be here to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the normalization of our diplomatic relations. The day before, I was in Seoul, my third visit to Korea as Secretary. Together, Secretary Gates and I have sent the strong message that 60 years after the outbreak of the Korean War the U.S.-Korea alliance is strong, helping to underwrite peace and security and create the conditions for economic growth throughout the region.
And now I’ve just completed two days of intensive consultations with my ASEAN colleagues and with the other partners who have come here to pursue a common endeavor: strengthening security, prosperity, and opportunity across Asia.
Yesterday, I participated in the annual U.S.-ASEAN post-ministerial meeting where we discussed my country’s deepening engagement with Southeast Asia and the opportunities we see ahead on so many fronts – from expanded trade investment, to greater cooperation on peace and security, to joint efforts to confront transnational challenges, like climate change, human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, and so much else.
And today I’ve joined the annual meeting of the larger ASEAN regional forum to continue and expand our discussions. As I stated when I attended this forum last summer in Thailand, the Obama Administration is committed to broad, deep, and sustained engagement in Asia. And as I discussed in a speech in Hawaii last fall, we are focused on helping strengthen the institutional architecture of the Asia Pacific.
Over the last 18 months we have signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, announced our intention to open a mission and name an ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta, and held the first U.S.-ASEAN summit. And we have pursued new sub-regional efforts like our new Mekong Delta partnership.
To build on that progress I conveyed to my colleagues our interest in engaging with the East Asia Summit as it plays an increasing role in the challenges of our time. And I announced that President Obama had asked me to represent the United States in an appropriate capacity at this year’s EAS in Hanoi to continue a process of consultations with a view toward full American participation at the presidential level in 2011. Through these consultations we will be working with EAS members to encourage its development into a foundational security and political institution for Asia in this century. The President also looks forward to hosting the second U.S.-ASEAN leaders meeting in the United States this coming autumn.
Today we discussed a number of urgent challenges including North Korea and Burma. I encouraged our partners and allies to continue to implement fully and transparently UN Security Council Resolution 1874, and to press North Korea to live up to its international obligations. I also urged Burma to put in place the necessary conditions for credible elections including releasing all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, respecting basic human rights, and ceasing attacks against their ethnic minorities. And as I said in our meetings today, it is critical that Burma hear from its neighbors about the need to abide by its commitments, under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to fulfill its IAEA safeguards obligations and complies with Resolutions 1874 and 1718.
We also discussed a number of other important topics: climate change, trading and economic integration, democracy and human rights. And I took the opportunity along with a number of my ASEAN and ASEAN Regional Forum colleagues to set forth my government’s position on an issue that implicates the security and prosperity of the region, the South China Sea.
I’d like to briefly outline our perspective on this issue. The United States, like every nation, has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members or ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community.
The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various territorial disputes without coercion. We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant. While the United States does not take sides on the competing territorial disputes over land features in the South China Sea, we believe claimants should pursue their territorial claims and the company and rights to maritime space in accordance with the UN convention on the law of the sea. Consistent with customary international law, legitimate claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features.
The U.S. supports the 2002 ASEAN-China declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea. We encourage the parties to reach agreement on a full code of conduct. The U.S. is prepared to facilitate initiatives and confidence building measures consistent with the declaration. Because it is in the interest of all claimants and the broader international community for unimpeded commerce to proceed under lawful conditions. Respect for the interests of the international community and responsible efforts to address these unresolved claims and help create the conditions for resolution of the disputes and a lowering of regional tensions. Let me add one more point with respect to the Law of the Sea Convention. It has strong bipartisan support in the United States, and one of our diplomatic priorities over the course of the next year is to secure its ratification in the Senate.
So this was a very full agenda with candid and productive discussions of critical issues. The theme of this year’s ministerial was: Turning Vision into Action. And I think that’s the perfect summary of what we’re trying to do through these institutions. We have a shared vision and ambitious goals. But as always, the truest measure of our success will be at how well we turn our vision into action by making concrete consistent progress for our goals for a better future. And so it is now time for us to get to work and for me to take some of your questions.
MODERATOR: We have time for a few questions. The first is from Ms. Ha from VTV.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Hillary Clinton. My question is that what is your comments about how the South China Sea or East Sea issue was brought about in the AF this year, and into the – the way how to deal with this issue (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I think that 12 participants raised the South China Sea and general maritime navigation and claim issues in our discussion. Because if you look at a map of this region, there are many countries that are increasing their trade, their commercial maritime traffic. There is a lot of activity. This is some of the busiest sea lanes in the world, and there’s a concern that we all abide by the international rules in order to determine how to proceed and certainly, the 12 participants including the United States, that raise this issue would want to see the application of the principles agreed to previously by ASEAN, the existing international laws and regulations and the custom of how all these countries in this region can share this common space of the oceans. And I thought it was a very productive conversation.
MODERATOR: The next question is from Mark Landler of the New York Times.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I wonder whether I could ask you to take a step back at the end of this trip. In the past, we – you’ve been in countries that represent American wars past, present, and one hopes not future. But I’m wondering as you go home, whether there’s a common thread or a lesson from Vietnam, South Korea that can be applied to our current and very difficult campaign in Afghanistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope that some time in the future, Afghanistan is doing as well as South Korea and Vietnam are. The extraordinary economic progress, the strengthening of institutions that we’ve seen over the last 60 years in South Korea, and certainly the last 35 years in Vietnam, are encouraging to anyone who hopes for the best for Afghanistan. But I think you also recognize that this is hard work, that it takes a lot of patience and persistence.
The history of democracy and prosperity in South Korea was one that was very hard fought, not only the Korean War, but years and years of trying to overcome the difficulties of establishing democratic institutions that would be strong enough to really get rooted in society, of overcoming all kinds of challenges. And as I said yesterday in a speech that I delivered here in Hanoi, one of the lessons that are very important for all of us is to see how 15 years after the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam, 35 years after the end of a war, the partnership and cooperation between the United States and Vietnam is increasing by the day.
I travel all over the world as some of you travel with me now. And one of the biggest challenges I face as Secretary of State are the many places in the world today that cannot overcome their own past, cannot put aside the pain and the anguish of the conflicts and disappointments, the oppression, and despair that they experienced or their grandparents experienced.
So both South Korea and Vietnam are very important models for other countries around the world. And I certainly expressed, in Afghanistan, my hope that Afghanistan will be able to build a stronger government, deliver results for the people, demonstrate that democracy can work, provide an inclusive society with a growing economy, and overcome its legacy of war and conflict as well.
MODERATOR: And our last question from Elise Labott of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. You talked today a little bit about North Korea’s – your concern about North Korea’s nuclear program and today the North Korean, threaten, I quote, “physical response” to your planned exercises with South Korea. Are you worried about an escalation? And as you talk about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, you’ve raised concern today about Burma’s nuclear ambitions and it’s trying to seek a nuclear weapon. You have some very protracted negotiations with South Korea over civil nuclear programs. Are you concerned that all of this activity will spark an arms race in Asia where other states feel that they’re going to have to develop a nuclear program to keep up? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, the threat of a nuclear arms race is one of the greatest dangers facing the world today. As I said in my participation during the ASEAN Regional Forum, we regret and condemn the actions of North Korea, the belligerence, the provocation, the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan, the destabilizing effect that that has in Northeast Asia, the proliferation of both conventional arms and nuclear technical knowhow. Because we do consider it to be a very serious problem, not only in Northeast Asia, but unfortunately, consequences throughout the rest of the world.
Yet at the same time, and I have said repeatedly and said again today, the door remains open for North Korea. If they are willing to commit themselves as they did five years ago in 2005 to the irreversible denuclearization that would make the entire Korean Peninsula, not just the South, but the North as well free of nuclear weapons, we are willing to meet with them. We’re willing to negotiate, to move toward normal relations, economic assistance. We want to help the people of North Korea. We would love for them to have the same opportunities that the people of South Korea have been able to enjoy during the last 60 years.
So it is distressing when North Korea continues its threats and causes so much anxiety among its neighbors and the larger region, but we will demonstrate once again through our military exercises as we did when Bob Gates and I visited in Seoul together two days ago – that the United States stands in firm support of the defense of South Korea and we will continue to do so.
But we of course would welcome the day when there is peace on the Peninsula and when the leaders of North Korea are less concerned about making threats and more concerned about making opportunities for all of the North Korean men, women, and children. I would very much like to see that come to pass and, as I say, we stand ready to do so. But under these circumstances, it appears unlikely that we’ll be able to make any progress in the near term.
MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming.
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Joint Statement of ROK-U.S. Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Korean War

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 21, 2010

Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and the Republic of Korea issued on July 21, 2010, in Seoul:

ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan and Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates met in Seoul on July 21, 2010, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which gave birth to the ROK-U.S. Alliance.

The Ministers reflected on the shared sacrifice and dedication to defend freedom and democracy during the Korean War, and acknowledged that the ROK-U.S. Alliance has promoted peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in Northeast Asia, and has evolved into a strong, successful and enduring alliance.

They also noted the historic significance of the Joint Vision for the Alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America adopted by the two leaders in June 2009 and pledged to continue to advance alliance cooperation bilaterally, regionally, and globally.

The Ministers reaffirmed the mutual responsibilities and steadfast commitments of the two countries founded on the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, which has served as the bedrock of the allied partnership. They committed to maintain a robust combined defense posture capable of deterring and defeating any and all North Korean threats, including through recently announced bilateral plans to conduct a series of joint military exercises over the coming months in the ROK and off the east and west coasts of the Korean Peninsula. They also pledged to develop the alliance’s vision for future defense cooperation.

In support of their Presidents’ recent decision, the Ministers also decided to complete a new plan, Strategic Alliance 2015, by this year’s Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), including the transition of wartime Operational Control (OPCON) to the ROK military in December 2015. The transition of wartime OPCON is to proceed through close coordination between the two countries to sustain and enhance the Alliance’s combined defense posture and capabilities.

The Ministers welcomed the UN Security Council Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2010/13) on July 9, 2010 condemning the attack by North Korea, which led to the sinking of the Cheonan. They shared the view that such an irresponsible military provocation poses a grave threat to peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the region. The Ministers urged North Korea to take responsibility for the attack. They also called upon North Korea to refrain from further attacks or hostilities against the ROK and underscored that there would be serious consequences for any such irresponsible behavior.

The Ministers urged North Korea to abandon all its nuclear programs and its pursuit of nuclear weapons in a complete and verifiable manner, and to demonstrate its genuine will for denuclearization with concrete actions. They also urged North Korea to improve human rights conditions and living standards for its people in cooperation with the international community.

Building on the June 2009 Joint Vision, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broaden and deepen the scope of Alliance cooperation. They shared the view that growing political, economic, social, scientific, technological, and cultural bilateral cooperation will increase the mutual understanding and respect between our citizens on the basis of common values and trust. They also committed to work together more closely and comprehensively at the regional and global levels.

Reaffirming the utmost importance of the KORUS FTA, they pledged to work towards ratification as discussed by the two Presidents in Toronto last month. They also pledged to work towards a new ROK-U.S. Agreement for Cooperation on Civil Uses of Atomic Energy in a mutually beneficial way in order to meet the challenges of climate change and energy security in the future.

Furthermore, the Ministers welcomed the close mutual cooperation on a wide range of issues within regional frameworks including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and committed to work closely together to further promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region. They also discussed the Northeast Asia regional security environment and ways the Alliance can evolve to address new challenges in this dynamic region.

Meanwhile, the Ministers exchanged ideas about ways to meet the global challenges of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, financial crisis, transnational crimes, climate change, epidemic disease, energy security, and promotion of green growth, and decided to continue joint efforts in this regard. They also exchanged views about how development assistance can increase stability and security, and decided to increase coordination of development assistance programs around the world to help achieve our shared goals.

The Ministers shared the view that they would draw on the lessons learned through the rebuilding of the ROK in the decades following the devastating Korean War to strengthen cooperative efforts for stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and around the world. The U.S. side welcomed the ROK’s sending of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to Afghanistan, and the ROK side reaffirmed its determination to support security, governance, and development in Afghanistan. They also welcomed ROK-U.S. coordination and cooperation in other areas including the efforts to combat piracy near the Horn of Africa and peacekeeping efforts in Haiti.

The Ministers noted the two countries share mutual views on how to face global challenges, as evidenced by the United States previously hosting the Nuclear Security Summit and the G20 summit, and the ROK hosting these events in the future.

The Ministers concurred that today’s Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting was very productive and useful, and decided to hold foreign and defense officials’ meetings at the deputy minister/assistant secretary level. They also pledged to continue to develop the existing ministerial consultations of Strategic Consultation for Allied Partnership (SCAP) and Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and to consider holding further Foreign and Defense Ministers’ meetings, as necessary.

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