Zoellick Speaks at Press Roundtable in Japan

Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick
U.S. Embassy - Tokyo, Japan
January 23, 2006

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I'm pleased we can work this in. It's been a kind of busy day and a half or so. I wanted to come to Japan - this is part of the trip I'm making to Japan, and then tonight I'll be in China, where I'll be in Beijing and then Chengdu, and then I'm going on to Davos.

At the first stop, I stopped with our Pacific Command in Hawaii and had a good briefing and discussion with our military team there. The purpose of the visit was really to try to consult with some people that I've known for a long time and some that I'm just getting a chance to know, about the full range of issues: some on the security side, some on the economic side trying to get a sense of political developments with Prime Minister Koizumi planning to step down in September, trying to get a sense of what might follow that; how it relates to the economic reform topics. On the foreign-policy side, I was obviously interested in perspectives on China, and particularly the Chinese-Japanese relationship. We talked a lot about the six-party talks and security in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Depending on the meeting, we also had some discussions about developments in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq.

I'm having another session later today with the Foreign Ministry, where I may get into some other issues related to Southeast Asia Cambodia, Burma, and others. And then I also wanted to try to get a sense of the outlook for the Japanese economy, the ongoing reform process, and the Japan Post ongoing structural reform. So each meeting varied by the sorts of points of emphasis. And of course I had discussions in almost every meeting about beef. And just so we can deal with that one, I made clear I repeated the point that our secretary of agriculture has made about the fact that this was an unacceptable mistake, and that we have a commitment under the agreement with Japan about the beef that we brought in. And while we do not believe that this is a safety issue, because this was 20-month-old beef it was actually less than that that that is not really the issue. The issue is our obligation under this agreement to fulfill, and that I emphasized we took it very seriously. I know it's a great point of sensitivity in Japan. But Secretary Johanns, our agriculture secretary, launched an immediate investigation and stated that we knew we needed to report promptly to our colleagues in Japan. He's taken some actions already, including removing the Brooklyn firm that had the material as part of its package from the list of exporters. He's also taken some other steps in terms of strengthening the inspection system. And as part of taking this very seriously, my colleague, (USDA) Under Secretary J.B. Penn, is supposed to be arriving in Tokyo today to have further discussions on the topic. So, that gives you an overview, so why don't we just open it up?

QUESTION: (Tsutomu Ishiai, Asahi Shimbun): Mr. Secretary, is it possible to ask about the beef issue? As you mentioned ...

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I hope we're not going to have 40 minutes on beef, but anyway ...

QUESTION: (Tsutomu Ishiai, Asahi Shimbun): ... you need to have some investigation as well as some report. So do you have any idea how long it will take to complete the investigation and report? Do you have any idea that it will be done within a few months, or when?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I really don't. And I was traveling, because I stopped in the Pacific Command as the story first broke, and so I obviously have been closely informed about what Secretary Johanns and the Agriculture Department are undertaking, and I think that those questions are best directed to J.B. Penn and his colleagues as they come in. I really can't add much more in the way of details. What was, I think, important is that I emphasized that we consider this to be an unacceptable situation and one that is our responsibility to clear up and that we took it very seriously.

QUESTION (Tsutomu Ishiai, Asahi Shimbun): But do you think is it possible to regain a kind of confidence from the Japanese consumer after you take that kind of measure?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I think right now our focus has got to be on remedying the problem. I'm a believer in free and open markets, and I want to expand trade on both sides of the Pacific, and this is part of it. But right now we have to clear up the problem.

QUESTION (Yasushi Fujii, Kyodo News): Just to follow up on that, Mr. Secretary, in your view, what would be a good enough condition, or what would be good enough additional measures to satisfy the Japanese side for the resumption of the U.S.exports to Japan? And in your discussions with Japanese counterparts, did they give you any indication of what the benchmarks might be?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I think that depends on the investigation, which is not what I'm conducting. And I think it will be our Department of Agriculture that will have to determine, given the steps that have already been taken, if other steps are appropriate and in discussions with their Japanese colleagues. As for your second question, with my discussions with my Japanese counterparts, their emphasis has just been on the seriousness and importance of this, and again, I think in most of the conversations, I opened with this topic and made the points I just made to you, so they understand we take it seriously.

QUESTION (Yasushi Fujii, Kyodo News): At this point, you're not really sure what specific additional measures you might want to take?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I think that really is going to have to be directed more to our Department of Agriculture, and I don't know whether J.B. Penn will know by the time he's here or not.

QUESTION (Saki Ouchi, Yomiuri Shimbun): Mr. Secretary, on China and Japan, the relationship is quite strained now, with the prime minister's visit to Yasukuni. He may try to go again sometime this year, too. How do you look at the situation right now between Japan and China? And is the U.S.Government for the prime minister to go to Yasukuni?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Japan is an ally and a partner of the United States. China is an important country that is emerging and we are urging to try to play a role as a responsible stakeholder in the international system. As you commented, I think there has been an increase in tensions between China and Japan. But I also get a sense in both countries, since I've had a lot of conversations with the Chinese, that both countries want to try to have a constructive relationship. There are obviously enormously important economic ties. There are common interests related to energy security. They're working together with us and Russia and South Korea dealing with North Korea and the problems in the Six-Party talks. I believe there is a point of tension here, and what I have tried to suggest is that one way to defuse some of the tension on both sides is to have what is called in diplomatic parlance a "track two" effort, perhaps have historians of China and Japan, perhaps the United States, too, examine the historical situation in World War II and perhaps other periods as well. This is a suggestion I made in a speech I gave in September of last year about China. I learned that in the aftermath that Harvard Professor Ezra Vogel, who is actually rare in the United States he is an expert on China and Japan has actually created such a dialogue. There is another one going on at Stanford. So that may be a useful point.And here I think that, as I said in the speech, there are aspects in terms of China's historical record that a more open, dispassionate, transparent view can benefit all parties, not only dealing with the World War II history.

Beyond that, what I have been trying to suggest is areas where, again, one can focus on points of mutual cooperation and mutual interest, and I've mentioned some of those. And so I think that in the discussions I had with people inside and outside government - in addition to some of the government leaders, I met some opinion leaders I think that this is a topic that reflects issues beyond Yasukuni Shrine. I think it also reflects the fact of issues of nationalism in China and Japan. I think it reflects China's rising, sort of power. I think it also reflects some anxieties on both parties in the region. I think in looking at it, you have to look at a broader spectrum beyond the historical. I think it's a historical as well as a present, and if I would say from the U.S.perspective, we're trying to urge both parties to look at the historical record honestly and fairly and openly and appropriately, but also look to the future and not just the past.

QUESTION (Chiyako Sato, Mainichi Shimbun): Does the United States have an intention to intervene between Japan and China about the Yasukuni Shrine issue?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: No, I think where we are involved but I wouldn't call it intervention is along the lines that I've said in terms of just urging the sort of track-two historical discussion. But this is fundamentally an issue for Japan with China, and in some cases other countries, the topic of South Korea as well. Where we also are involved is, take the Six-Party talks, having discussions with Chinese and Japanese and some South Korean colleagues as well about how we try to advance that agenda. So we have a lot where we are partners and allies with Japan and believe there are possibilities for cooperative work with China as well.

QUESTION (Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Nihon Keizai Shimbun): On North Korea, are you somehow optimistic to resume that process some time very near future? And to do so, what kind of actions from your perspective should be taken by the DPRK, and to what extent do you think that the United States can be flexible, especially in terms of financial sanctions against banks in Macau?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I hope to learn more when I'm in Beijing, because obviously Kim Jong-il took an extensive trip into China, and I'm interested in learning from my Chinese colleagues about not only their discussions with Kim Jong-il but what that trip is signifying in terms of North Korea's possible interest in economic reform. I don't know exactly where Mr. Kim Jong-il is going, but it has a certain appearance to some of the stops that Deng Xiaoping took, and so if that is to signify a certain economic reform effort, I'll be interested in learning more about that.

Second, in terms of the defensive measures that you mentioned, I don't consider those sanctions. I consider those trying to stop illicit activities. I don't know a country that would just stand by if its currency is being counterfeited, or in this case if there is illegal narcotics or proliferation efforts. And so in that sense, the measures are designed for self-protection. But they may also convey to North Korea a sign that establishing an economy and a society on an illicit and illegal sort of income stream will not be a successful path. And that relates to learning more about the trip of Kim Jong-il, because if you look at the September Six-Party statement, in addition to the appropriate focus on denuclearization, it also talks about other elements related to economics and energy and about a peace regime on the peninsula.

And so I think one question that I will have and I will be trying to explore through our bilateral relationships with South Korea and China, but also through the Six-Party talks, is, where does North Korea want to go, if it doesn't want to have an illicit regime or if that's foreclosed? Is it interested in economic and political opening? Is it interested in improving humanitarian conditions within North Korea, the life of people there? I've seen some signs that China does not want to continually prop up North Korea, that it wants North Korea perhaps to take the path that China did in 1980. And so I want to learn more about whether that's a possibility. With the recognition that this is also very important to keep in mind - the lives of the North Korean people - so it's not just a question of whether one props up the economy but also whether there is a serious effort to try to sort of create openings, whether it be of a humanitarian nature or trying to deal with some of the fundamental human rights issues.

QUESTION (Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Nihon Keizai Shimbun): Just a quick follow-up. I've learned that the United States got some information that North Korea is doing the same kind of wrongdoing against Japanese yen notes in addition to U.S.dollars. Number one, could you confirm that? Number two, have you ever discussed this with your Japanese counterparts?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I have heard that there is counterfeiting of additional countries' currencies, and I just don't remember whether it was China, Japan, or both. But with all the countries that we work with, we talk about why we are taking these counterfeiting steps. And it wouldn't surprise me if you can counterfeit one country's currency, you might try another's.

QUESTION (James Brooke, New York Times): Sir, Kim Jong-il's visit to China kind of played out over almost a week. I was wondering if there were any attempts by Chris Hill or any other American official to meet with him. Access to Kim Jong-il is not very easy, but he was in Beijing. Did Hill ...

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I know of none. The only contact was the one that you saw where the Chinese asked Chris to meet the North Korean representative, the negotiating, and that was a meeting that took place. But that's all.

QUESTION (Anthony Faiola, Washington Post): On this track-two issue on the historical differences between Japan and China, who did you bring that up to in the Japanese government? And are you suggesting that this should be a government-to-government track-two issue, or this should be the purview of academics only?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I mentioned it before about 500 people in a speech, and it's gotten widely publicized, so that was where I first sort of talked about it.

QUESTION (Anthony Faiola, Washington Post): But have you talked to government officials about it directly?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: In Japan? I think I might have mentioned it along the way during the course of today. Again, in recognition, as these two questions asked, that it's clearly a sensitive issue, and this may be one way to encourage trying to deal with it. There was some report I might have read where actually there might have been some discussion about this in an earlier point after the speech and before I came, but I can't speak with specificity what if anything is happening on it.

QUESTION (Ryoichi Nishida, Sankei Shimbun): Turning to the Iranian issue, would the United States and European countries be able to come up with a compromise draft resolution which would be voted on in the IAEA's next board meeting? Do you think you will be able to come up with a compromise solution by which everybody - I mean all the member states - would be able to vote yes? And if so, what kind of sanctions do you envision as a result of such resolution that would allow all the member states to refer (it) to the UN Security Council?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Our focus is a little different, so let me approach the question by explaining this way. And it actually connects with some of the discussions I had here and will have in China as well. The goal is to stop Iran from having the nuclear fuel cycle process. So given the efforts that we are pursuing, first with the EU-3 and also with the Russians, Iran has not taken a cooperative approach. So what we have been doing in the past weeks, with the EU-3, with the Russians, and with others, is to explore how through the IAEA and through possible reference of different types to the UN Security Council, that we could get a good strong message to Iran about the dangers of going down the path of developing nuclear weapons capabilities.

And so what's going on right now is, what are the range of mechanisms to do that, from an IAEA reference, to the UN Security Council some have talked about a presidential statement at the UN Security Council. And so as President Bush has stated, if this is referred to the UN Security Council, that's not the end of diplomacy; it's in some ways the beginning of a form of diplomacy.

Now, while I've been traveling, I've seen some reports about "Is Iran more interested in a Russian solution or not?" In the time I've been here, I haven't been able to get the details of whether that is just general commentary or being followed through. But to connect it with the points that - in both Japan and China; obviously we think all countries should be concerned about an Iran that has said that Israel shouldn't exist, that denies the Holocaust, that is in the heart of a major energy-producing region of the world, and that has supported terrorism developing that nuclear capability. And it poses a threat not only in terms of security but in my view given the reliance of Japan, China and others on energy from the region it poses some danger to energy security over time. So what the process is to try to take, for example, earlier in the year, when the Russians were trying to develop further this notion that they had with the Bushehr plant about whether they could provide the fuel cycle, the enrichment capabilities, outside of Iran so that Iran could have civilian nuclear power without having the fuel cycle. The Iranians seem to reject that. Now at least again I'm relying, I've got to be careful here, on sort of third-party newspaper reports. That's an item of discussion. But where your question may have started with a presumption: I think if you look at the countries that are members of the IAEA board, I think we are in a pretty good posture about pursuing referral, but the question is how will that strategy relate to the real objective, which is stopping the Iranians from developing this, and that's what's going on right now, including with some of my colleagues working the issue directly.

QUESTION (Michiyo Nakamoto, Financial Times): Speaking of energy, the struggle over energy is another point of pressure between Japan and China. How concerned are you about this, and have you made any similar sorts of suggestions as to how it might be addressed?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I think it could be a point of contention, but it could also be a point of cooperation, in that the US, China, and Japan and for that matter South Korea if you step back and look at their real energy security interests, it's not going to be solved by, you know, one country necessarily being able to produce oil and gas from a particular location. It's going to be addressed by having a multiplicity of energy supplies, not just traditional oil and gas. It would be helped by having more oil and gas sources from different parts. It would be helped by having greater energy efficiency in dealing with the demand side, and that's a topic that I know that Japan has talked about with China. If you look at the Chinese energy uses, it's been very significant, related to each component of GDP, and the Chinese have been sensitive to this from the environmental side. And then there is forward cooperation on things like strategic petroleum reserves, which deal with prices, so in my discussions with the Chinese about energy security, those are the components that I've talked about, and they are the same components that are relevant for Japan, China, and the United States together. So I think there's points of cooperation on that, and another point of commonality of interest obviously deals with transit routes and sea lanes. And so there's been a process dealing with maritime security issues, working with Indonesia and Malaysia and Singapore in the straits. So those are all points where I think there are elements of cooperation.

Keep in mind, when you're talking about oil and gas, it's a global commodity. So even if one country gets enough, if others don't get enough, the price for that other country is going to reflect global supply and demand. And the other thing is, we are in a global economy, so let's just assume that country X has all the oil and gas that it needs, but everybody else didn't. But if everybody else didn't, the global economy is going to get in a hole pretty quickly, and all of a sudden the country that had the oil and gas isn't to have much to produce to sell, because the rest of the world economy is not going to be working. So it's a classic problem where you are really going to need international cooperation on this matter, and this is one where some of the things we've talked about with the Chinese in terms of developing nuclear capacity, some of the non-oil and gas, some of the clean-coal technologies, some of the things that we've discussed as part of the climate change initiative. We had a meeting just take place in Australia, where you've got China and Japan taking part, as part of the technology changes. So I honestly think that this is an area where we should be able to promote considerable common interests.

QUESTION (Yasushi Fujii, Kyodo News): Are you suggesting that the U.S.would not necessarily push for outright referral to the UN Security Council, when the board members meet February 2? And in your view, is it better to have IAEA board members or the two sides speak with one voice toward Iran?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I'm not suggesting anything. What I was trying to do was explain the context of this. You know, I try to keep up. It's been a weekend here quite a distance away, so I'm not up to the moment-by-moment kind of the drawing-room diplomacy of putting together the resolutions and the components. What I was trying to explain was, I wouldn't see this just as the resolution and the referral - tactics related to a goal, and I was trying to get a sense of the goal. So don't take it as changing any of the policy thrust. I'm trying to give you some sense of how I would examine where we're trying to go on this, which flows from what we've been doing all through the course of 2005, working with the EU-3 and with Russia in the process, and part of the aspects that I'll be discussing with China.

QUESTION (Andrew Morse, Wall Street Journal): May I ask you, in your dealings with China, do you plan to bring up trade issues, and if so, what trade issues do you want to bring up with your Chinese counterparts?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yes, I plan to discuss it's sort of broader than trade - I want to discuss the broader economic relationship between the two countries. And this has been an ongoing part of my discussion well obviously when I was U.S.trade representative, it was an active part of my life, but even in this component - I've tried to talk about it in a broader sense, related to, again, maintaining balanced global growth. So right now, China's having a growing global surplus, a very large bilateral surplus with the United States, which some believe may approach $200 billion this year. The United States has about a $700 billion current-account deficit. And so to try to maintain open markets, one needs to get a sense of how people need to believe it's a fair system for all participants. But that covers everything from consumption and savings to investment balance, because in the case of China, as you probably know, the savings rate is quite high. As developing countries go, it's really an outlier, with a much higher savings rate than other developing countries.

The United States, on the other hand, has a very low savings rate even lower than developed countries. Now I think part of that is and China has a very high investment rate, which had driven the GDP, but it really hasn't had a high consumption component, and this goes to trade balances as partly being a factor of relative growth and consumption. I think some of this is traceable to the fact that China doesn't have a safety net, so the safety net is highly related to saving for education, for health, for retirement. So there are aspects of the policy that I have talked about with the NDRC, the planning body, that do show up in their new five-year program, which they have put into draft but havent yet passed. So it ranges from that sort of discussion to exchange rates, which is another component of it, to other issues like intellectual property rights violations. So I don't plan to go through the detailed items in the way I did as USTR, but I will point, for example, to the importance of making progress at a JCCT meeting, which involves our Commerce Secretary and our Trade Representative. I believe this is scheduled for April of this year. So I will try, in my conversations, to emphasize the significance of this for both global and regional growth, but also the bilateral relationship.

QUESTION (Joe Coleman, AP): Just back to beef for a minute: Before you came here, before last Friday when the beef thing sort of blew up, the supposition was that the U.S.was going to be pushing for the category to be widened for U.S.beef to be allowed to come back into Japan. What's the status of that effort right now? Is it sort of put on hold? Is the U.S. dropping the idea of pushing the age limit up to 30 months for the time being?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I don't want to presume what J. B. Penn will be talking about in detail, but it would certainly seem to me that probably the primary topic is going to be making sure that we comport with the agreement that we have in place. As you may know, there are other countries that have taken up Korea has taken up to 30 months, for example, which we believe is an appropriate aspect. So I don't think it means that we've changed our view on what is a scientific basis, but sometimes you have to focus on the problem of the day, and as your question suggests, this is the problem of the day.

QUESTION (James Brooke, New York Times): Just to develop on that: After your meetings here, you're going to leave town with what kind of impression, in terms of Japan opening up to Japanese beef?

EMBASSY OFFICIAL: American beef?

QUESTION (James Brooke, New York Times): Yes, American beef

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Does this say something about the Japanese economy that it's not even open to Japanese beef? (Laughter).

QUESTION (James Brooke, New York Times): ...you've seen all these people ...

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I would say that the Japanese government wanted to convey the importance and seriousness of this issue and wanted the United States government to treat it in a similar fashion. That was the purpose of, first, Secretary Johanns' very quick approach on this, calling in the ambassador and trying to follow up on that, and sending J. B. Penn out here. Exactly where that will lead and when it will lead, I really can't say. I think it's too early to say.

QUESTION (Junko Tanaka, NHK): Another follow up on the beef issue. You mentioned that ...

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Its sort of a cyclical nature. We tend to do beef, and then we go back to Iran (laughter) ...

QUESTION (Junko Tanaka, NHK): You mentioned that it was not a safety issue, and the Secretary of Agriculture also used the same expression. For Japanese consumers, it's a safety issue, because from our point of view, the agreement was in place to ensure the safety, and there was a violation to that. How would you explain to Japanese consumers that it's not a safety issue?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, when countries impose blockages of trade based on health and safety issues, it's supposed to have a scientific basis. And yet at the same time, reflecting consumer sentiment, sometimes countries will say that they're going to apply a different set of approaches and standards to that. This would require a rather detailed rendition of the studies that have been done on BSE, and the studies on the only examples in Japan of some early tests, which we and others wanted confirmed by global authorities, which they were not confirmed, which raised the question of when BSE can first appear and what's the earliest age. And then it's a question of what sort of meats, and so in this case, I would think that the predominance overwhelming predominance of the scientific evidence is that for animals under 20 months and this animal, as I recall, was even much younger that even in the spinal cord, you don't have the prions develop.

But coming to your point, to deal with the consumer attitudes in Japan, we accepted an agreement that says we would only send beef in that was 20 months and under, and that it wouldn't include these materials. And so that is the agreement that we made, and that's the agreement that we need to fulfill. So the difference is that some of the coverage has sort of suggested that there is this dangerous product floating around. That's not a view that I accept. And I don't think that much of the scientific community in the world would accept it. But the core issue is, to deal with the commitment we've made with Japan, we need to follow the terms of that commitment, and that would mean that those materials would not be part of what we sent, so that's what we've got to do.

MODERATOR: We have time for one more question.

QUESTION (Masayuki Kitano, Reuters): Returning to North Korea, do you have any impression or sense of when the six-party talks might resume?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: All I know is that the Chinese have urged the North Koreans to resume them soon. I think there's been some month suggested I think early February. And that's certainly what we said we would like to do, and I don't believe we've had a response from the North Koreans.

QUESTION (Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Nihon Keizai Shimbun): Yes, a general question: There are people paying more attention to your September speech, in which you said China is a stakeholder. I would like to ask you about your basic concept of calling China as a stakeholder. What difference is there between the early days of the Bush administration, when President Bush called China a strategic competitor? What is the difference? What is the same? What is your basic concept? And do you expect Japan to deal with China as a stakeholder as well?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, the point of the speech was, in essence, to pull back and recognize that, I think for the United States and I believe for Japan as well although it's more appropriate for Japanese officials to say this that, you know, since the late 1970s, our goal has been to integrate China into the global system. And I was suggesting if you look at commodities markets, currency markets, intellectual property, UN Security Council, counterfeiting, whatever that we've succeeded. They are integrated into the system.

And so now the question is to say, integration for what purpose? And I've spent enough time in China and worked closely with Chinese to know that many in China are understandably focused on their internal development, which still poses many, many challenges. But I was trying to suggest in my discussions and in the speech that it is a sign of China's accomplishment that it was influential in the world system. And so I was urging it to play a role as a responsible stakeholder in the international system that had benefited it a great deal.

And if you take the sweep of 20th-century history, it was not a very good century for China until about 1980. And from 1980 to the present, it's been on the upswing, and it's been on the upswing in an international system that the United States, Japan, Europe, and others have contributed to. And so I've been encouraged in that I think the speech has prompted a debate in China about these very issues, and it brings us right back to some of the topics we're talking about. How should we view energy security? How should we view the role of Iran? How should we view North Korea?

Now, I hasten to add, this doesn't mean you're always going to agree. And we don't always agree with Japan, and Japan is an ally and partner of long standing; it's a fellow democracy. But it also gives you a framework for managing some of the disputes. And I guess this does apply to Japan as well as the United States.

When I look at the problems in the world and whether I look at Islamic radical terrorism, or whether I look at energy problems, proliferation problems, avian influenza problems, and imagine a world where the United States and Japan are working with China, or whether China is an opponent it's a very different scenario. And so what I try to encourage is those points of mutual cooperation, which I believe exist among all three countries. But recognizing there's a historical dispute that is sharply felt, and obviously there's also relations of Japan's and China's historical position. I dont mean that in the historical sense, but I've noticed another of my Japanese interlocutors giving me a 1,500-year timeframe. I like history, but that even takes me back a little too far. (Laughter.) And so, you know, some of this is going to be a relative strength, but again, I would like to try to point all three countries plus South Korea, I might add in the direction of working on these issues.

QUESTION (Tsutomu Ishiai, Asahi Shimbun): You pointed out that you plan to raise the broader issues, rather than single issues like trade. Among those issues, do you plan to raise the issue of human rights and religious freedom in China, and do you think it's a part of a related issue with trade?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, one of the topics that I've tried to have on the schedule and I think weve had is that I'm going to have a "rule of law" discussion with some NGOs, and I think this is an important area where China has an interest in developing its rule of law and judicial capacity. I've had some meetings with one of our justices of the Supreme Court - Justice Kennedy has taken an interest in this. And so I want to learn a little bit more from some of the NGO community about that, because I think, as you see, some of the problems in China and I noticed that Wen Jiabao was talking about the agricultural and rural communities and the loss of land and other issues. I think some in China recognize that the development of rule of law could be very important, in terms of rights and in terms of dealing with corruption. And so, at other times I've talked to in my last discussion, I talked extensively about religious freedom and other aspects as well. But for this sort of day and a half and then I'm also going to Chengdu, and I'll see the situation there, including some things on the environmental side, because I'm going to visit the panda research center. Thank you.