Ambassador Schieffer Addresses Japan National Press Club
July 20, 2005
MODERATOR: May I introduce the speaker to you, officially? Of course, our official version of his biography is well known to all of you, so I will not go over that today. He is originally from Texas, in the United States, and he has originally worked for the business world and has turned diplomat since. And he is of course very friendly, and they are acquainted with President Bush based on their mutual trusting relationship. His predecessor was Ambassador Baker, Ambassador Mansfield, as well as former Vice President Mondale, and all the Ambassadors. Most of them seem to have come from Washington, mainly, but Ambassador Schieffer is a businessman coming from Texas and he is well-versed in business affairs, as well. And because of that, President Bush really feels a great sense of friendship and a sense of deep trust vis-a-vis Ambassador Schieffer.
And can I just tell you one more point about Ambassador Schieffer? I understand that he has toured around Japan quite a bit already. As far as most recent developments are concerned, when the Emperor and Empress made a visit to Saipan, Ambassador Schieffer accompanied Their Majesties and visited various spots at Saipan. He is very energetic and very active Ambassador indeed. He makes lots of formal visits, so I hope Ambassador Schieffer was saying that he is planning to visit Japan on a personal basis with his family.
As you may know, if you have served as an American correspondent, the CBS Evening News anchorman, Mr. Bob Schieffer, is the elder brother to Ambassador Schieffer. So I should not speak loud, but probably I think he knows how press people are apt to act. Lastly, he is related to a personal side of mine, as well. Of course, he has served as president of the Texas Rangers for a long time. And during that time, his team had won, and he demonstrated himself as a good president of a baseball team. And I envy him very much, because I am associated with one baseball team of Japan, so I hope that, rather than the beef issue, I hope the baseball issue can be the issue that Ambassador Schieffer can devote more attention to.
The Ambassador has a good friend of his who is Ambassador to New Zealand, Mr. Charles Swindells, who is here with us today. Ambassador Swindells ... can I recognize him? Thank you. He is from Oregon, and he is a good friend of Ambassador Schieffer. Very close friend, so he has come here to join us today at the luncheon, and I thank him for his presence. Well, that's it for me as far as introduction of the speaker is concerned, so may I give you the floor, sir, Ambassador.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you very much. It's a great pleasure for me to be here. I must tell you, however, that I was a little bit concerned that Ambassador Swindells asked for the translation here, so that he could understand my Texas English.
Six months ago today, President Bush took the oath of office for the second time as President of the United States. For the last four-and-a-half years the President has given me the opportunity to serve my country as an Ambassador of the United States - first in Australia and now in Japan. During that time, I have had a chance to view history from a front-row seat. Most of the time it has been an exhilarating experience, but some of the time it has been quite frustrating because America is so often misunderstood in what we are trying to do in the world.
Today, I want to share some thoughts with you on those last four-and-a-half years and where I think they will lead in the future. President Bush came to office at a time of enormous change. Two strong currents were already redirecting the tide of history. A new world order was emerging that reflected the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the ascendancy of India and China to the first rank of nations. A new world economy was emerging that reflected the impact of globalized marketing and manufacture. Dealing with the consequences of those two historical trends - an emerging world order and a globalizing world economy - were expected to be the main focus of American foreign policy in the first Bush administration. And they were - for almost eight months. Then 9/11 happened and everything changed. September 11th has become one of those galvanizing moments in history that marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. For Americans, pre-9/11 became the old world, post-9/11 became the new world.
To understand American foreign policy in the future, it will be necessary to understand the traumatizing impact September 11th had on the American psyche. I was in Washington on September 11th. The day before, I had accompanied Australian Prime Minister John Howard to meetings with the President and the Secretary of State in the Oval Office and the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. To see the White House being evacuated the next day, with smoke rising above the Pentagon, is something that I will never forget. Neither will any other American. The images of those planes slamming into the World Trade Center and those buildings collapsing onto the street will be seared in the minds of this American generation forever. No President, whether it is this one or the next, will ever want another 9/11 to happen on their watch. Each will take whatever actions are necessary to prevent the nightmare from recurring. Virtually every issue of American foreign policy for the foreseeable future will be viewed through the lens of 9/11.
To us, everything looks different now. Every assumption of military, political and economic policy is being examined to see if it makes us more or less vulnerable to the threat of terrorism. Sometimes the rest of the world criticizes America for putting so much emphasis on terrorism, but we believe that the threat posed by terrorists is as much a threat to civilization as it is a threat to America. If terrorists are allowed to achieve success by killing school children in Russia, or Australians in Bali, or Arabs in Morocco or Spaniards in Madrid, then civilization itself will be diminished, and we will slip into the abyss of a new Dark Age.
The unfolding investigation of the London bombings reminds us once again that terrorists can plan their attacks in one country, train for them in another and execute them in a third. Transnational terrorism is a global problem and it will demand a global response. No nation can choose to sit on the sidelines. Every nation, whether it is the United States, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, France or Japan, has a stake in the outcome of this struggle, and the more we act together the better our combined chances of success.
We must, however, recognize that terrorists present a different threat to our security than we have traditionally faced in the past. At the height of the Cold War, the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia faced the Soviet Union in a conventional sense. Large armies faced large armies. We knew where they were. They knew where we were. With terrorists you do not know those things. You do not know where they are. All you know is that they are prepared to maim and kill innocent victims.
When we thought about strategies to deter the Soviet Union, we made an underlying assumption that rational human beings would want to avoid Armageddon. With terrorists you can't make that assumption. Provoking Armageddon is more likely to be their objective than avoiding it. You cannot deter suicide bombers by threatening them with death. You can deter them by disrupting their networks, intercepting their communications and cutting off their means of support. That means we have to have good intelligence. The more we know about the terrorists, the more information we share, the better we will be able to piece together the next point of attack and prevent it.
Our militaries must be prepared to adapt to this new threat environment. Now, don't get me wrong. Conventional threats to our security did not go away with the terrorists' attacks on September 11th. We will still need a conventional military to deter conventional threats, but we will also need a military capable of responding to the unconventional threats posed by terrorists.
In this new era, all of us must also understand that military and intelligence agencies are not the only institutions that will protect the security of our citizens. Our first line of defense may well be customs agents, immigration officials and coast guards. Ordinary police and law enforcement agencies will need to play a vital role as well. When the Soviet Union had millions of men deployed across Europe, we didn't need law enforcement agencies to tell us when they were going to move. When terrorists can live in our own hometowns or cities across the world, law enforcement agencies may well make the critical difference in whether an attack succeeds or fails.
But the security of a new world order will not depend solely on the force of arms or the quality of intelligence or the effectiveness of law enforcement. Ideas and ideals still move people. The experience of 9/11 brought America back to an age-old truth. Freedom works. In an address to the National Endowment for Democracy President Bush said, "Sixty years of western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the price of liberty."
The President said, "... We believe that freedom - the freedom we prize - not for us alone, ... is the right and capacity of all mankind."
In his Second Inaugural Address, the President amplified on that theme when he said, "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our time is the expansion of freedom in all the world. ... Our goal ... is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way."
The road map for American foreign policy in the next three-and-a-half years is in that speech. But in reading it through you must understand what the President was saying. We are not embarked on a crusade to impose democracy on the world. We have decided, however that the risks of democracy are far less than the risks of tyranny. We are prepared to invest in the building blocks of democracy - education, transparency and tolerance - because we know that literate, informed and open societies inevitably make the choices that lead to peace. We know that change carries some risk, but we also believe that refusing to change carries more.
How then will this new post-9/11 American foreign policy affect our relationship with Japan? First of all, we realize more than ever the value of having friends in the world. The United States has been attacked, criticized and misunderstood as much in recent years as in any time in my memory. The fact that Japan has stood by our side as a friend and ally has meant much to Americans. We know you share our belief that democracy and tolerance matter. And your willingness to be at our side in places like Afghanistan and Iraq means more than you will ever know.
When you are a part of the effort made by the international community in the Indian Ocean, you are not just providing fuel for the ships of freedom, you are helping to tip the balance of democracy toward the people of Afghanistan. When you help with the reconstruction of Iraq by sending forces to Samawah, you are not just helping people devastated by tyranny and war to get fresh drinking water, you are sending a powerful message to terrorists that the progress of humanity will not be held hostage to the thuggery of terrorism. These things matter because they show not only the United States but the whole world that Japan is prepared to speak with a louder voice, a voice that is determined to have a democratic, peaceful world ruled by law.
Americans, now more than ever, realize the importance of multilateral approaches to the solution of international problems. In North Korea and Iran we have urged the international community to take steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, because we fear these weapons could be used by nation-states or terrorists to harm us or our allies. The fact that we have joined together as active participants in the Six-Party Talks with North Korea is proof that you understand that this is a regional and international problem more than just an American problem. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to the peace and stability of the world. The more we can act together to oppose it, the safer our world will be.
Both the United States and Japan recognize that it is time to reform the United Nations. The postwar/Cold War?era is over. A new era has begun and the United Nations should reflect it. The United States and Japan share a common belief that it is time for Japan to join the United Nations Security Council. We have at times talked about achieving that goal in different ways. We hope that the people of Japan understand our position. We want Japan to be on the Security Council and we want the United Nations itself reinvigorated by reform. All of us - the United States, Japan and the international community at large - need a United Nations that can debate the great issues of the day. But more importantly, we need a United Nations that can act - a United Nations that can follow words with deeds, a United Nations that tyrants will fear and free men and women will follow. It is time for Japan to be on the Security Council. It is also time for the United Nations to play a greater role in the promotion of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.
Asia is today one of the most dynamic areas of the world. More than half of the people of the world already live here. The six largest militaries in the world meet here. It is a continent of hope and achievement, but it is also a continent of change and uncertainty. The United States is not an Asian nation, but we are a Pacific nation just as we are an Atlantic nation without being a European nation. We have been a contributor to the peace and stability of Asia and the peace and stability of Europe. We think we can continue to make a contribution when others think of us as part of the solution in Asia, not part of the problem. The United States learned between two world wars the disastrous consequences of trying to isolate itself from the rest of the world, and we don't want to make that same mistake again. We will continue to think of ourselves as both a Pacific and Atlantic nation.
Japan occupies the unique position of being either the beginning of the East or the end of the West. With one foot firmly planted in Asia and the other firmly planted in the West, Japan can speak with wisdom and effect to both sides of the world. When the United States and Japan speak together, they can be a tremendous force for good in the world.
Right now, we are in discussions on the posture of our military forces in Japan. We hope you understand that we are looking at those discussions from a strategic point of view. Those forces have an importance to the United States and Japan that must not be overlooked. While the Cold War has gone away, traditional threats and terrorism have not. American forces in Japan the last 60 years have guaranteed the peace of Japan and contributed to the stability of the region. While we understand that those forces are a burden on the people of Japan, we hope the people of Japan understand that they are a burden on us as well. As lovely as Japan is, the young Americans stationed here would just as soon serve their country by staying in America. And despite the Host Nation Support that Japan contributes to their success, it would still be cheaper for America to keep those troops at home. The reason we are willing to bear the burden of having those troops overseas is the same reason you are willing to bear the burden of having them stationed here in Japan - their presence keeps the peace. We must both keep that in mind as we negotiate their status.
Much of what I have talked about so far revolves around the political and security threats facing our two countries. But security comes as much from the prosperity of our economies as the effectiveness of our weapons systems. A prosperous, growing world economy will give us a much greater chance for peace. The United States and Japan have both realized the genius of free markets. We have built the two largest economies in the world. We have delivered to our citizens greater wealth and prosperity than any two nations in history. But we can do more.
When we look at the world economy together, we should recognize how great our influence can be. That was the essence of what Secretary Rice was saying when she talked about linking our two aid programs. Already the United States and Japan contribute half of the development dollars coming out of G-8 countries. If we coordinate those efforts, we can make a powerful difference in the future infrastructure of the world. Schools, roads, water, sewage and environmental safeguards are the building blocks of prosperity. And prosperity is the key to future stability. The more that we arm people with knowledge and the means to compete in the marketplace, the less we will need to worry about the arms they might carry on a battlefield.
But dignity and human understanding cannot be bought with the dollars of the market place or protected only with the weapons of the military. Over the last sixty years the United States and Japan have forged a unique and lasting friendship. We have gone from being the worst of enemies to the best of friends. It has not always been easy. Good men and women on both sides of the Pacific have been required to show vision, wisdom and tolerance. We have seen two vastly different cultures embrace the same universal values. They are the values that changed America. They are the values that changed Japan. And they are still the values that can change the world. May we always be faithful to their purpose, and may we always have the courage to act in their behalf. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Well, thank you so much for the excellent speech, Ambassador Schieffer. Now let's open the question-and-answer session. As was mentioned by Ambassador Schieffer in his talk, I see that there are many things which you wanted to ask him about, so I would like to ask Mr. Haruna, first of all, to ask Ambassador Schieffer a question.
QUESTION: Well, thank you. Then, allow me to ask you, first of all, a few sets of questions. Let me turn our eyes, first of all, to Iraq. Particularly by the end of this year, the limit will be reached for the Japanese SDF forces to leave, sort of, but as far as the Japanese public is concerned, we are not sure; when will it be that the stability would come back to Iraq? We cannot allow our SDF forces to remain there forever. That's a sentiment shared by the Japanese public in general. We hope that the Iraqi situation can be stabilized as soon as possible, and a constitution is being drafted now, and we are interested in knowing about what will happen afterwards, what will be the foundation for Iraq from now on, and so forth. There are so many uncertainties still out there in Iraq, so how would you see the overall situation in Iraq at this time?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I agree that there are many, many uncertainties in Iraq, and I wish that I could sit here today and tell you when they will be resolved. I think that we are at a critical point in Iraq. We're in the process - the Iraqis are in the process - of writing a constitution and electing a government, as a result of that Constitution, and hopefully that will occur at the end of this year. And when that happens, you will have a democratically elected government in Iraq. That is a milestone for that part of the world, and we have always felt that if you could establish a democracy in Iraq, it would have a transforming effect - not only on Iraq, but the whole of the Middle East. And I think that that's what President Bush was trying to say in his address to the National Endowment for Democracy. Democracy works, and it works its magic when it's allowed to be practiced.
Now obviously, you have to have stability. People have to be able to exercise their rights and go about their daily business without fear of being bombed or killed or maimed by terrorists. And we have a big job ahead of us there, but we believe that over this next year, that the further training of Iraqi forces will stabilize the situation to a degree that all of us can go home, in some due time. I wish I could tell you when that day was, but I don't know the answer to that, and no one in the world knows the answer to that. But if we go home without finishing the job - if we go home without Iraq having a fair chance to be a functioning democracy - then the consequences of that failure would be enormous, and I think that we would pay the consequences of that for many, many years to come.
QUESTION: Does that mean that the SDF might be able to come back to Japan by the end of this year? How do you see the prospect of that?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, I think that whether the SDF can come back or not is going to be a decision that the Japanese government has to make. I don't think the work in Iraq is going to be finished by the end of the year, and I don't think that the international community is going to be finished with their part of the task of helping to rebuild Iraq, but this is a decision that the Japanese government has to make.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Now let's talk about U.N. reform, particularly the Security Council. That's my next question. As mentioned by Ambassador Schieffer in his talk, Japan aspires to become a member of the Security Council, and I think the United States supports Japan on that. But in reality, there are debates going on inside the U.N. The U.S. Administration is saying that Japan is now working together with the G-4, but the U.S. is opposed to the resolution jointly submitted by the G-4, inclusive of Japan. So having observed that, the Japanese people are saying that maybe in real terms the U.S. is not that eager or keen to have U.N. reform, so I would like to ask you, what is the real intention of the U.S.?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: The U.S. is very anxious to have U.N. reform. And we believe that that reform should be across the board, and not just reform on the U.N. Security Council. We think that things like the management of the U.N. and the ability of the U.N. to function as an organization are very important reforms that need to be addressed. In fact, we think those reforms could be addressed before we talk about the makeup of the Security Council.
But having said that, the question for us is not whether Japan should be on the Security Council or not - we've answered that question over and over, and we strongly believe that Japan should be on the Security Council. Japan is the second-largest economy in the world. It's the second-largest contributor to U.N. dues. It has proved over 60 years that it is a good citizen in the international community, and it deserves to have a place on the Security Council. But the reform that takes place in conjunction with that has to be a reform that makes the United Nations itself a better organization that can better respond to the great issues of the day. We need a strong United Nations, and it would be to the detriment of all of us - regardless of who wound up on the Security Council - if at the end of that reform we wound up with a United Nations that was less able to act in the world, that was less able to be a source of strength for democracy. And that's what makes this such a difficult issue right now. If we could get a situation where it was a simple vote up or down on whether Japan would be on the Security Council, we would vote for that in a minute. But unfortunately, it's not that simple, and we hope that we can work out, with all of the parties involved, reforms that will make the United Nations the institution that all of us want it to be.
QUESTION: In reality, though, the resolution is submitted and Japan - in the form of G-4, along with Germany, India, and Brazil - proposed that resolution. But will you support Japan's membership if this resolution is proposed in a different form? You are against this proposal because it came in the G-4 form.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I don't think that there is anything sacrosanct about a particular proposal. To support Japan doesn't mean that we have to support only the resolution that's been put forth by the G-4 group. The African Union has a different resolution that they're quite enthusiastic about. It does different things than the G-4 resolution does. We have concerns about both, and what we hope that we can do is to listen and discuss with friends and allies and others what U.N. reform needs to be. And out of that discussion can come a general agreement that we can go back to our respective governments and say, "We have a stronger United Nations as a result of this reform." That's what we're after. And what I think we have to very careful of is that we don't get into arguments over whose proposal it is, or pride of authorship arguments over who's proposed what. The proposal of things is not the important thing; it's the resolution of them. And that's what we have to work hard to see: that the U.N. can attain the status that it needs for the 21st century.
QUESTION: On the 26th, next week, the Six-Party Talks will be held once again on the North Korean issue. I have a question to you on that. Well, Ambassador Schieffer, at the Six-Party Talks, what kind of achievement would you like to see there?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I think it's a very positive thing that the Six-Party Talks are about to start again. Having said that, we have to be very careful that just the resumption of those talks does not become an end in itself. The talks need to produce something. We've had, I think, three rounds of talks already, and they have produced nothing. What we are determined to do is to have a round of talks that will produce results, and the results have to be, at the end of the day, that North Korea does not have nuclear weapons. That's the thing that the five parties, apart from North Korea, have been trying to say to the North Koreans: that it is not in anyone's interest - including your own - for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. Now these are going to be tough negotiations; this is a tough problem. But the United States firmly believes that the more the five parties and the international community speak with one voice on this issue, the better chance we have of resolving it diplomatically, and that's the goal of all of this.
QUESTION: Japan has the issue of abductions vis-a-vis North Korea, and an LDP representative mentioned earlier that Six-Party Talks without discussing the issue of abductions is useless. How do you feel about this kind of comment?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I think the abductee issue is an issue that is understandably very close to the heart of the Japanese public, as it is to the people of America. We have great sympathy on this matter. I mean, I have said before, but the thought of having a 13-year-old child who sits at the dinner table with you one night, and the next day that child is gone, because they have been abducted - that is just something that breaks your heart. And we understand that. And the issue of nuclear weapons is not the only issue that the United States has with North Korea. There are all sorts of issues, and the abductee issue is one of those that we have great concern about. But we hope that this dialog that we're beginning can accomplish many things and hopefully lead to a stable, peaceful region of the world. But the first thing we've got to do is to get nuclear weapons off the Korean Peninsula, and if we're not able to do that, I think we're going to have a difficult time doing anything else in the process.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Well, about the transformation of U.S. troops, you talked about that in your talk too, Ambassador Schieffer. Well, there are burdens that are being shouldered by Japan, on this. Particularly, looking at the reduction of the U.S. forces in Okinawa, do you think that is possible or not - because that is one of the main concerns that we have. You have been traveling around Japan recently, and I am sure that you have visited some of the U.S. bases here in Japan, too. So do you think it is possible for the U.S. troops to cut down on the scale of the bases held in Okinawa?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I think that we can reduce the number of troops that are stationed here. I think that we can change the footprint of how they are deployed. I think all of those things are possible, and we're in the process of trying to talk about them and try to reach common ground on that. But I think we also have to realistically understand that the forces here have a real strategic importance: strategic importance to the United States, strategic importance to Japan, and strategic importance to the stability of this region. And we must keep that uppermost in our minds. We cannot allow the discussions to be discussion on real estate or on numbers per se or whatever. We can reduce the number of troops here; we can change the footprint. But what we don't want to do is to send the wrong message. We don't want to have a reduction in capability of the forces that are deployed here. Because if we did that, that could have consequences that nobody would want.
QUESTION: Thank you. A very difficult issue is BSE. Importing U.S. beef, as to whether it is possible or not; maybe this is my personal question. The USG appears to be using rational, scientific persuasion. However, a second BSE cow was found, and the Japanese public wants the comfort given by 100% testing. They want psychological comfort rather than scientific rationale. That's what the Japanese public wants. What do you feel about this?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, I'm not sure exactly what the Japanese public wants. You would be a much better judge of that than I would be. But I think that we get into dangerous territory when we move off scientific, objective analysis. We want the testing program to be based on science. There is no desire on the part of the American Government or the American public to have beef in Japan that would be cause for worry to the Japanese consumer. It's just not what we're about. We understand the concern of the consumer, that they want safe beef. That's what our objective is, too: to deliver safe beef to this country. And we're going to do everything possible that we can to do that. Now I think it's important to recognize that that second case that you talk about on BSE was an animal that was older than any animal that we would have in the food chain. In other words, that animal was never slaughtered, would never have gotten to a supermarket in the United States or supermarket or grocery store in Japan. It just wasn't going to happen, because of the rules that are in place. It was not part of the food chain. It would have gone to some end like making candles, or something like that. It just wasn't a part of the food-chain supply, and we have to remind people of that. Because the notion that somehow that animal could have gotten to Japan is a just a false situation. And I can understand people's concern, but the rules in place kept that animal from being a concern - or should keep that animal from being a concern to the Japanese public. And we can't let emotion rule on this issue. It's just too important. This is an issue that is important in the United States, and it's important in Japan. And we just need to keep coming back to the science answer to the question. And I think if we do that, both our publics can take great comfort.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Well, Ambassador Schieffer, I know you are a great fan of baseball, and I see that you have visited the Japanese ballparks, too. And at the end of this week, the Japan Series is going to be held, and I think you are going with your friend, Ambassador Swindells, to the All-Star game. Of course, Japan and the U.S. have had a good exchange over baseball. And looking at the Japanese baseball teams here, they do have their own sets of problems and issues, but as you view it in front of Mr. Takihana - maybe I'm being impolite - but I hope you will be very frank and candid in giving baseball teams in Japan good advice from you. Anything from you, Ambassador?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I would only pass on to you the advantage of a story that we used to tell in baseball. If you want to become a millionaire in America, start out as a billionaire and buy a baseball team. (Laughter.) These are difficult businesses to run because you pay big salaries to players, and then you watch them when they're hurt and not on the field. And it gives you kind of a knot in your stomach. It doesn't make you feel good. But the reason people come to the games is because they don't know how they're going to come out. And it's a long season every year, and a lot of things happen that you don't expect to happen, but the beauty of the game is that it brings people back year after year because it is always a game of hope. And it is a game that you go to virtually every day, and if the home team wins, you feel good; and if the home team loses, they play tomorrow. And that to me is the beauty of the game. And it is much easier for me to enjoy that beauty of the game when I don't have any money involved in the outcome. But my heart goes out to you; it's a tough business, but it's a fun business.
QUESTION: That means you didn't make any money with the Texas Rangers? (Laughter.) Thank you very much. I'm going to return the microphone to Mr. Takihana. Thank you very much for the series of questions. We are ready to accept floor questions. Please raise your hand and state your name and organization before you ask your question.
QUESTION: Steve Herman from Voice of America. There was a meeting in Seoul last week among the United States, South Korea, and Japan to coordinate positions for the Six-way Talks; and you talked today about the five countries having a united front going into those talks, along with the international community. I'm wondering, in light of statements that have come out of Seoul and Tokyo after that meeting, if you can assure us that there is a harmonized view - specifically, the Japanese statement that's been coming out about a desire to denuclearize North Korea, not only military programs but also civilian nuclear programs. Does the United States share that view, and can anything like that possibly be verified in the future if there is an agreement?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to make a comment on that particular, on that last point. These are pretty sensitive negotiations, and I think that we have to let them take their course. I think that the five parties are speaking with one voice. That doesn't mean that they don't come to problem with slightly different perspectives. When you talk about the Chinese position, you have to recognize that China has immigration problems - or potential immigration problems - that the other parties don't have. Russia has a different, slightly different perspective because of the array of forces that it has in Asia. South Korea has a slightly different position because they're immediate neighbors, and that gives them a slightly different perspective. Japan is a neighbor. It also has the additional issue of abductees. The United States has a slightly different perspective than all of the other countries do, but all of those five countries have the same interest, and that interest is a nuclear-free North Korea. Because if North Korea was allowed to have nuclear weapons, it could be a direct threat to all of the five parties and would destabilize the region, in our opinion. And I am convinced that no one wants to do that. And because there is that common ground, I think that we approach North Korea with one voice. Now that doesn't mean that it's a simple negotiation or that there are not going to be a lot of different things that are talked about or options that are put forward or what not. Bu I think that, at the end, the problem will not be whether the five parties are speaking with one voice; the problem will be whether or not North Korea is willing to forgo nuclear weapons. If North Korea is willing to forgo nuclear weapons, then the rest of it will fall in place, in my judgment.
QUESTION: I'm a critic on international affairs, and I was on the editorial board of Nikkei. My name is Nirasawa, and I would like to thank Ambassador Schieffer for his wonderful speech today. Well, I know that you are a very good friend of President Bush. Not as a public figure but in your a capacity as a private person, please describe to me what kind of man President Bush is on personal basis. And my next question: there is association between Japan and New Zealand and Japan and Australia, and I serve on the board of that council. I went to Australia about eight times, and I like Australia very much. You have served as Ambassador to Australia as well as now as Ambassador to Japan. So, with regard to Australia and Japan, how do you deal with these two countries? What are the impressions that you have about Japan and Australia? Anything that comes to your mind.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I appreciate very much your asking me about President Bush on a personal basis. One of the real frustrations I've had over these last four and a half years is the inability of the President Bush I know to come across in the public. I think that he is often - very often - misunderstood. He is a person of enormous warmth and a person with a deep character. If he is your friend, he is always your friend. And he is a politician that - and I've been around politicians most of my life - has more personal friends than any politician I have ever known. Many of his friends, maybe even most of his friends, are not in politics or don't really care all that much about politics. But he's the sort of fellow that when your son is going to school, he'd ask about him. If your wife is sick, he'd ask about your wife; and he doesn't do it a perfunctory sort of way. He does it because he's interested in it. And many times when we get together, we don't talk about the problems of the world; we talk about our families. And I don't think that I have a better friend in the world than George Bush, and I hope he thinks of me in that same way. And I hope that, as time goes on, the world community will begin to understand George Bush and will begin to see that warm, caring person that I know him to be.
With regard to Australia, the thing that strikes me, having served in Australia and watched the Australian political process over the last four years or so, is that so many of the values that we believe are important in the world are the same values that Australians feel are important in the world. And as I serve here in Japan, I see the same thing again. I think sometimes we see all the problems that exist in the world, and we wonder if we're making any progress. And we forget to kind of give ourselves a pat on the back. This world is a dangerous place, but it's a lot better world than it used to be, because the idea that people can choose governments and criticize governments and change governments is an idea that is sweeping the world. And in places like Australia and Japan and America, we have embraced those values. And they have made a difference in our society. I think there is great opportunity for Australia, Japan, and the United States to do more together. The United States has a wonderful relationship with Japan, perhaps the best relationship the United States has ever had with Japan. The United States has the best relationship it's ever had with Australia. And I don't see any reason why Australia and Japan can't have the same kind of relationship with each other that they have with the United States. I think that is a worthy goal that all of us ought to strive for, and I hope to be of some help in that. And if I can be, I'm anxious to help any way I can.
QUESTION: My name is Kanehira of TBS. Our station is associated with CBS, where your brother broadcasts, and I watch his news every day. Having said that, my question concerns the bombings in London. It was a very shocking event, but because of the fact that the group - the culprits - had British passports, grew up in England, and were an Islamic terrorist group, some people, even within Great Britain, say it was because of the Bush administration's and Blair administration's support of the Iraq attack? What do you feel about this kind of comment?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, the United States hadn't been in Iraq when September 11th happened. I think we have to recognize that we can't choose not to be targets of terror. We can't raise our hand and say, we don't want to be a terrorist target. The terrorists are the ones that choose their target. And I think it has little to do with what we do in Iraq or in other places around the world in the battle against terrorism. This is a philosophy that wants to stop the West and the progress of civilization in its tracks. And if it is allowed to do that, then I believe we will enter a new Dark Age. We just cannot allow people to advance a political cause by killing schoolchildren in Russia, or going into a subway in London, or a subway in New York, or a subway in Tokyo to make their political point. If we allowed people to do that, then there is no stopping the terrorism that I think would follow. And there's no question that this is a difficult time, but it is a time that I believe if we stick together and we act together, we have a much better chance of ending this threat than if we somehow split apart and say, "Well, that's not my problem, that's the Americans' problem" or "That's not my problem, that's a British problem" or "That's not my problem, that's the Israelis' problem," or "That's not my problem, that's the Spaniards' problem." If you look at terrorism, it has visited all over the world for various causes. None of those causes justifies killing innocent people, and that's the thing that I think we need to continue to remind our citizens, whether they're Japanese or American or citizens of the world. We just cannot allow terror to win if we are going to have a civilized world.
QUESTION: I'm Suzuki from TV Asahi. Allow me to speak in English, Mr. Ambassador. My question is also about the President's view on North Korea's human rights abuses, because I believe his view on everything as far as the world affairs is concerned. The President recently met with a North Korean defector, Mr. Kang, who is known as the author of the book "The Aquariums of Pyongyang," for about 40 minutes in the Oval Office. And Mr. Kang was later quoted by The New York Times as saying, "I felt that he (meaning the president) agreed with me in that the human rights issue was more important than the nuclear issue." First, Mr. Ambassador, do you agree with Mr. Kang's assessment of the president's view? And then, the United States House of Representatives recently adopted a resolution condemning the DPRK for the abduction of Japanese and South Korean nationals as acts of terrorism and gross violations of human rights. How is the Bush Administration going to deal with the human rights abuses in North Korea, including the abduction issue, and is there anything that you, as the United States Ambassador to Japan, can do to help solve the abduction issue? Thank you.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, I think as regards Mr. Kang and the president's conversation, I'm going to leave that up to them to characterize what they said and who said what; I obviously wasn't in that conversation. But I will say this: the president has great compassion for people and very strongly believes that democracy and tolerance protect human rights and the rights of people in society. And he grieves for those who are persecuted for their political views or religious views. I think, again, that when you talk about the Six-Party Talks with North Korea, you have to understand that the beginning is the nuclear-weapons issue. That issue has to be addressed. And if that issue is not resolved, then it seems to me that nothing else is achievable. But just because that one issue will be resolved doesn't mean that we wouldn't continue to have concerns about human rights and about things like abductions. They're just not what a mainstream nation should be involved in doing. And I think we recognize that nuclear weapons are not the end of the process but are certainly the beginning of the process and must be dealt with first. But it's not the only issue that I think is on the table. What can I do? Well I've met with the abductee families and I've told them that I would like at some point in time to actually go to the hometowns of some of the abductees and to visit them and to be able to see the beaches where they walked and that sort of thing, just to get a feel for the situation. But also to try to carry the message to those families that America cares about their family members that were abducted, and that we want them accounted for. We also want to make it crystal clear that that kind of conduct is just unacceptable. You cannot have a situation in which one government goes and abducts the children of another country and everybody accepts it. That's not progress, and we certainly are not going to be a part of that.
QUESTION: Saki Ouchi from Yomiuri Shimbun. Two questions if I may. First on Iraq, one of the reasons why the Japanese government is trying to extend the troops to stay in Iraq is that they would not want to have the relationship between the United States damaged. What do you think will be the effect if Japan decides to not extend the Self-Defense Forces stationed in Samawah at year's end. And my second question is, there are some commentaries from Asian countries that the fact that Dr. Rice will not be visiting the ASEAN+3 is taken by Asian countries as the U.S. not putting more emphasis in the region even though you said the United States is a Pacific nation. We understand that Dr. Rice is now in Africa and the Middle East, but would you like to make some comments on this, thank you.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Let me say first, on her inability to attend the ARF Conference. She is not not attending because she's trying to send some message that the United States is downgrading its interest in Southeast Asia. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have really made great strides in that part of the world in the last few years, and we're interested in continuing that. If you look at Singapore, for instance, we've done a free trade agreement with them. We're in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement in Thailand. We've re-established the military-to-military programs with Indonesia. We applaud the fact that President Yudhoyono came to power in a peaceful election and I think that Indonesia is not given the credit that it really should be given for that election. It was the first time in history that a direct election of the president was held. It went off with little to no violence. And the incumbent lost. And agreed to accept the verdict of that election and left office. And while we think things like that in Japan and the United States are ordinary and expected, that was not ordinary in Indonesia, and we ought to be mindful of that and we ought to be praiseworthy in the process that Indonesians went through. The Prime Minister of Vietnam recently came to the United States, was in the Oval Office, met with the President. That's the first time that a Vietnamese Prime Minister has come to the United States since the end of our war with Vietnam. Those are all very positive things. I think that the fact of the matter is that Secretary Rice has been on the road constantly since she's been Secretary of State and I think the practical effect of it was when ARF was going to be held, she was coming back from another trip and was on her way to still another. And I think she just kind of ran out of days in the calendar to fulfill those responsibilities. But Ambassador Zoellick is going to go there. He's the Deputy Secretary of State, he's a man of enormous capacity and intelligence and he will ably represent the United States at that important forum. And I hope the people there will recognize that the United States appreciates that part of world and wants to play a great role in that part of the world, and can hopefully be a positive force in that part of the world. And what was the first part of your question?
QUESTION: The relationship between U.S. and Japan, if Japan decides to pull out the troops, would there be any damage?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, I'd prefer not to answer a hypothetical question like that. I'd prefer not to answer that for many reasons. But I think that in the end, Japan has to make the decision as to whether Japan will be there. But having said that, the United States is enormously appreciative of the fact that Japan has been there. We know that that was a threshold to cross for the Japanese government and for the Japanese people. It's not an easy thing for them to be there. But we think that their contribution is making a difference. And it is a contribution that they can proudly say they're making on behalf of the international community, not because the United States is there, but because the international community has an interest in a democratic Iraq. And all of us have to do things that we would prefer not to do from time to time and we are so appreciative of the fact that the Japanese have chosen to bear part of that burden out there, and we think it's a wonderful thing.
QUESTION: I'm (inaudible) of Jiji Press. I think we have been concerned about the risk of North Korean nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists. Now do you think such concerns have been renewed by the terrorist attacks in London or by the fact that the terrorists are still very active?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Well, without responding specifically to North Korea, let me just answer that question on the issue of proliferation. Proliferation was of enormous concern to us before 9/11. But we tended to think of it in terms of nation-states holding nuclear weapons and what they would do if they had those nuclear weapons. What 9/11 did was to change our perspective, in my judgment. And what we realized was that proliferation can be an issue of the gravest danger because it's not just dependent upon nation-states. Those nation-states could either give or sell the technology of nuclear weapons to terrorists and that prospect makes proliferation an even greater issue today for the United States than it was before 9/11. We have to be cognizant of that and we have to realize that a nuclear device in the knapsack of those bombers in London is a possibility. And if there were a nuclear device or so-called "dirty bomb" that was exploded in London or New York or in Japan, it would do incredible damage to our societies and to our way of life. And we have to be cognizant of that, and that's why I think proliferation issues have become even more important to the United States now than they were before.
QUESTION: Wakamiya of Asahi Newspaper. The nuclear issue is the focus of the world and next month, it is going to the sixtieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. That is an important juncture for us. And upon this opportunity, are you going to Hiroshima or Nagasaki and send some message to the world? Is that an idea of yours?
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I don't think I'll be able to go to Hiroshima this year. I was invited to go. But I did want to go to Hiroshima to pay my respects, and I did that a couple of weeks ago. I laid a wreath at the memorial and I went by to see the mayor and he asked me to sign his book there. I did and I was pleased to do that. And the inscription I left in that book was that "all men and women of goodwill everywhere, come to Hiroshima to mourn the tragedy of war." I think we all need to remember that, and I know that August 6th is a very significant date in this country and it will be a date of reflection for me while I'm serving here in Japan.
MODERATOR: Maybe this is going to be the last question for today. Anyone?
QUESTION: Saeki of NHK Broadcasting Corporation. Let me ask you one thing about the possible East Asia Community because sometimes, U.S. officials have been saying that in the new framework, U.S. should not be excluded. In your opinion, what kind of a framework or the process the United States should be involved, and what kind of a framework should be appropriate or acceptable for the United States. Thank you, sir.
AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: I don't think that it's really the United States' place to dictate what the form should be or whatnot. I think what the United States is trying to say and what I tried to say in my speech, is that we have interests in Asia just as we have interests in Europe, and we think that we have contributed to the peace that exists in Europe now and into the building of the architecture of peace that exists in Europe. And we think we can play that same role in Asia. It doesn't mean that we're an Asian nation. But we are a Pacific nation. And if we're thought about as part of the Asian community in that way, as we were thought about as part of the European community in that way, then we think things can work out well for everybody. But what the final form of that would be, we're open to discussion. What makes us uncomfortable is the idea that somehow others would want to exclude the United States from Asia. And I think that if the United States was excluded from Asia, then that would not be a positive thing for any place in Asia.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ambassador. Many difficult questions were asked and I appreciate your forthright answers on behalf of the Press Club. I thank you. All the journalists of the Japan Press Club are going to give you a memorabilia for this speech. This is a trivial gift but I hope you'll like it.