SECRETARY CLINTON:Good afternoon, everyone. It is a great pleasure for Secretary Panetta and I to welcome Foreign Minister Rudd and Defense Minister Smith and the entire Australian delegation, our friends and our partners, here today. I must say, on a personal note, it’s a special pleasure to see my friend Kevin Rudd back on his feet, serving his country, and making this important journey to be with us here today.
We have come to San Francisco to celebrate 60 years of the U.S.-Australia alliance in the place where it was born. Here at the Presidio Golden Gate Club back in 1951, in the month of September, our predecessors signed the treaty that cemented the ties between our nations. Today, we reflect on that history, celebrate the vision of those who brought our alliance to life, and chart a common path forward together. And as we announced earlier this week, President Obama will be visiting Australia in November to commemorate this important milestone and to advance our alliance.
For 60 years now, each new global challenge has brought with it a new cause for cooperation with Australia and an ever stronger partnership grounded in our shared values. And that is exactly what happened 10 years ago. When America was attacked on September 11th, just days after the 50th anniversary of our alliance, Australia invoked the treaty to come to our defense.
In the decade since, Australia’s men and women have fought alongside our own, just as they have in every major conflict since the First World War. In Afghanistan, Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to our mission. In Libya, Australia now provides 10 percent of the international humanitarian budget. So from cyberspace to food security, Australia makes vital contributions to global security, stability, and well-being. And we greatly appreciate their efforts.
As Pacific powers, the United States and Australia are committed to working together to seize the opportunities of a fast-changing Asia- Pacific region. Our alliance has provided a context for the region’s dynamic economic growth by underwriting peace and security and promoting trade and prosperity. The detailed joint communiqué we are releasing today reflects the full range of our shared interests, values, and vision from maritime cooperation to joint development projects to building stronger ties with India to promote democracy and prosperity in the Pacific Islands.
We are working to encourage trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and through APEC, whose leaders the President will be hosting this fall in Hawaii. Together, we are strengthening regional institutions like the East Asia Summit and ASEAN. And as Secretary Panetta will explain, our military relationship is deepening and becoming even more consequential.
One country of particular shared concern is Burma. In recent weeks, we have seen some welcome gestures from Burma’s Government. It’s important for us and for others to try to understand better what is unfolding in Burma today. Our new special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, has just returned from his first visit to the country, one that included productive meetings with both the government and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Frankly, we have serious question and concerns across a wide range of issues, from Burma’s treatment of ethnic minorities and more than 2,000 prisoners to its relations with North Korea. Still, we welcome the fact that the Burmese Government has launched a dialogue with Aung Sun Suu Kyi and begun to speak of the need for important reforms. But just yesterday, Burma added 10 years to a prison sentence of a 21-year-old journalist. So I would urge the Burmese Government to follow its words and commitments with concrete actions that lead to genuine reform, national reconciliation, and respect for human rights.
The ties between our nations are as close as any in the world. Our peoples and our governments overwhelmingly support our partnership. And although Australians have taken over the Oscars, the Tour de France, and now the U.S. Open, our affection for your country remains undiminished. (Laughter.) The communiqué we have produced today is forward-looking and action-oriented, and it reflects our confidence in this alliance and in what our two countries can and will accomplish together.
So today we celebrate 60 years of a strong, steady alliance. We honor those who fought and sacrificed to sustain it, and we recommit ourselves to continue to work closely together as allies and friends to make good on its full promise for many years to come.
Secretary Panetta. I think – Foreign Minister Rudd.
FOREIGN MINISTER RUDD: Thank you very much, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Panetta. Both Stephen and I have appreciated the hospitality here in San Francisco, and at this 60th anniversary of the alliance which shares our two countries. It is good that we reflect on why we have this alliance. Sixty years is no small span of time. If you’re a student of military history, there are few alliances in history, in modern history, which have outlasted that span of time. And so we should ask ourselves why is that so in the case of this alliance between our two great democracies.
I think the answers can be found in the extraordinary ties between our two peoples. The answers can also be found in the fact that between us we are among the world’s oldest continuing democracies, and therefore at the deepest level we share common values. No one can overestimate the importance of the sharing of common values. Of course, we share common interests as well in the complex challenges which confront us today in the international community. But the reason that we have endured these 60 years, and, I believe, have a long span of time ahead of us yet in this alliance, is because we are fundamentally anchored in a common view of what is important in the affairs of the world.
As Secretary of State Clinton just mentioned, we’re reminded just recently of the importance of those values. Ten years ago, we saw the horrendous attacks on innocent Americans and citizens from across the world here in the United States on September 11. We in Australia were shocked then, as we remain shocked now, at such a callous act. It cut deep into the hearts of Australians. They saw, they felt, and we knew we were as one. That sentiment remains alive 10 years later. For our friends in America, I sense very closely and acutely that the feelings of that day are still very close, though a decade has now elapsed. It is a salient reminder of our common challenge based on our common values, to deal robustly, comprehensively, and globally with the challenge of terrorism today. And that’s one of the reasons we cooperate together at this great alliance between Australia and the United States.
In our discussions today, we have covered a great scope and a great span. We’ve reviewed our engagement across the Asia-Pacific region. This region of ours, the Asia-Pacific – the waters of the Pacific we see out here off the coast of San Francisco. This region will be the center of gravity for global economic growth, for global security for the half century to come. And it is in our combined interest, therefore, to ensure that this Pacific century is indeed a Pacific century. And therefore, that must be based on not just the sharing of values but concrete cooperation in the hard areas of foreign policy and national security policy, and that is what we have reviewed again today: our engagement with China and the countries of Northeast Asia, including the Republic of Korea and Japan; in Southeast Asia, our common engagements with countries there, including Australia’s nearest neighbor, the Republic of Indonesia, now a welcome member of the family of democracies; our common engagement across the Indian Ocean and South Asia, and our relationship, of course, important that it is, with India.
We focused also on regional challenges, and the nuclear program being adopted by North Korea is one which profoundly concerns our two countries and profoundly concerns the Government of Australia. More broadly of course, we also reviewed our common interests in the Middle East. The peace process, the recent changes underway in Egypt, in Libya, and we follow with great, great concern the continued and systematic abuse of human rights and the killing of innocent people in Syria.
The Secretary just mentioned Burma. I would endorse wholeheartedly her remarks. When I visited Burma myself just a couple of months ago, I emphasized there to the regime that if they wish to engage international community comprehensively, then the first and foremost requirement is to deal with the state of democratic conditions within their own country and the absolute imperative of the release of prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners in that country. We welcome recent signs from the Burmese regime that they are open to such a dialogue, but like the United States, we proceed cautiously and we would call on the Burmese regime to talk concrete steps to manifest to the world at large that they are serious about that country becoming a democracy without the threat of imprisonment for those who impose – those who pose, in the regime’s view, a threat to them.
Finally, this is a significant AUSMIN conference. It is significant because we have also addressed new challenges of a global nature for the future. Here I refer in particular to the challenges represented by cyber security. What we are doing today in the statement that we’ve released, in separate joint statement on cyberspace is underline that this is a new area of operational engagement between ourselves and the United States in this critical area which affects governments, businesses, and citizens the world over, the region over, and in our countries individually as well.
I’ll draw in particular attention to the reflections and the statement contained within the joint statement on cyberspace. It says, and I quote: “We” – that is the Governments of Australia and the United States – “recognize that cyberspace plays a growing role in ensuring national security.” Mindful of our longstanding defense relationship and the 1951 security treaty, our governments share the view that in the event of a cyber attack that threatens the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of our nations, Australia and the United States would consult together and determine appropriate options to address the threat.
This represents a new dimension of our lives, an important dimension given the realities we face in this 21st century. One cyber attack can cripple an economy for hours and days on end. Let there be no doubt, cyber attacks are not only attack on governments, they can cripple businesses, and Australian businesses are not immune. We know that Australian businesses have already been the subject of cyber attacks. And if it’s a big enough economy, it would have reverberations throughout the world. Like terrorism, it’s a battleground that is fought unconventionally, often without a known enemy. That is why it critical that this become a formal part of our alliance deliberations and committed cooperation in the event of such attack in the future.
If I could conclude by saying this: We in Australia look forward to the upcoming visit by President Obama to Australia. Any president of the United States is a welcome guest in Australia. We look forward very much to that visit, we look forward to making the President welcome in our country, and it constitutes, in our view, a further symbol and signpost of the significant relationship which expands not just across the foreign policy and security sphere, which we have dealt with here, but across the full breadth of the engagement between our two great democracies. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Kevin. Leon?
SECRETARY PANETTA: I’d like to join Secretary Clinton in extending a very warm official welcome to Minister Rudd and Minister Smith and all of our Australian colleagues and thank them for traveling all the way across the Pacific to join us in marking a very historic event here at the Presidio. It’s a real pleasure for me – personal pleasure for me to be able to participate in my first Australian-U.S. ministerial, and all the more so because it gives me an opportunity to show off my home state of California and this great city of San Francisco to these dear friends.
The depth and breadth of discussions we’ve had here today really do confirm for me that the United States has no closer ally than Australia. Sixty years after the signing of the ANZUS Treaty here at the Presidio, we come together again today and affirm this alliance, affirm that it remains strong, and that we are determined to deepen our security cooperation even further to counter the threats and challenges that we face in the future.
With that goal in mind, we discussed today the efforts of the Bilateral Force Posture Working Group, the United States and Australia working together, which has been making steady progress in developing options for our two militaries to be able to train and operate together more closely, including more combined defense activities and a shared use of facilities. This work to strengthen our alliance’s presence and posture in the Pacific reflects a reality we all recognize: security and prosperity of our two great nations depends on the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
We also discussed, as has been pointed out here, a whole range of efforts to enhance cooperation in emerging domains such as space and cyberspace. The joint statement on cyber released today sends a very strong signal about our commitment to work together to counter and respond to cyber attacks. I’ve often mentioned this is the battlefield of the future, and our ability to work together is extremely important to the challenge of being able to counter this very significant emerging threat.
As we work to build on these new areas of cooperation, American and Australian forces continue to fight together in Afghanistan as they have in every major conflict over the past century. I expressed to Minister Rudd and to Minister Smith and all of our Australian friends that were gathered here the deep appreciation of the United States Government and the American people for their very strong partnership in these efforts, and for the considerable sacrifices Australian troops and their families have made during this time of war.
Over the past decade, and indeed for the past 60 years, we have gone into battle together and we have bled together because of the shared values and the deep bonds between our people. We are both immigrant nations, and that creates a very strong bond between the United States and Australia, particularly for this son of immigrants. As we mark the 60th year of our alliance, I have no doubt that if we continue to work together hand-in-hand, we can build a better and safer and more prosperous future for our two countries.
DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. I thank you and Secretary Panetta for your warm hospitality and for our very productive meeting today. I’m very pleased to be here to mark the 60th anniversary of our alliance, an alliance between Australia and the United States which was forged in the battle for Australia, the battle in the Pacific, in the Second World War. And to mark that, later this afternoon I’ll lay a wreath at the USS San Francisco Memorial. But out of that battle in the Pacific in the Second World War, in 1951 came our formal alliance. And for 60 years, that alliance has been the indispensible bedrock of Australia’s strategic security and defense arrangements.
The people, our predecessors, who wrote and signed the alliance would not have envisaged that 10 years ago yesterday, the alliance would be formally invoked for the first occasion in the face of international terrorism against a non-state actor, not against another nation-state. And today, we formally record as one of our resolutions from AUSMIN that cyberspace and an attack on the United States or an attack upon Australia in cyberspace could itself invoke the treaty. This tells us that the treaty, which we have both respected over that 60-year period, is a living document that moves with the times, as it did 10 years and 1 day ago, in the aftermath of September 11th.
Can I also indicate that the discussions we’ve had today also deal with other challenges for the future – our cooperation in space and space awareness, our cooperation in ballistic missile defense. In addition to those productive discussions, as Secretary Panetta has said, we’ve done further work on the joint working group that we’ve established 12 months ago in Melbourne on the United States Global Force Posture Review. And we received a report from our offices, work on that Global Force Posture Review is ongoing. But we are looking at increased joint exercises, increased joint training, increased joint operations. As I’ve put it colloquially in Australia, more ships in, ships out; more planes in, planes out; more troops in, troops out. We have further work to do, but we regard this work as very important.
As Secretary Panetta has said, we also spent some time dealing with Afghanistan, yet another of the conflicts that the United States has been involved in where Australia has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States. We remain committed to the transition strategy. Australia’s assessment is that in Uruzgan province, where we are, we will effect transition before the end of 2014. We’ve also started discussions about what contribution Australia can make in the post-transition Afghanistan, whether that’s special forces, whether that’s training, whether that is institutional building, development assistance, capacity building.
Secretary Panetta and I also discussed issues of budget constraints and capability, in particular the very good cooperation that we are seeing in a very important project for Australia, our new submarine project. And I’m gratified to Secretary Panetta for the ongoing cooperation that Australia is and will receive so far as work on that project is concerned for 12 new submarines.
We also spoke about the joint strike fighter and the need to ensure that the joint strike fighter is delivered on schedule. I’ve made the point in Australia and in the United States before that we are keen to ensure that there is no gap in our capabilities so far as our air combat capacity is concerned in Australia.
So today, we’ve dealt with the range and the array of shared interests that Australia and the United States have, including the fact, as the foreign minister has said, we regard very much this century as the century of the Asia Pacific, where political, strategic, economic, and military influence moves to our part of the world. The rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the ASEAN economies combined, the emergence of Indonesia as a global influence, and the ongoing economic prowess of Japan and the Republic of Korea. So all of these issues we have dealt with in the context of an alliance between two nations, an alliance between friends, which has served us well for 60 years and will continue to serve us well into the future. Thank you.
MS. NULAND: We have time for four questions today, two from each side. First question to Reuters, Arshad Mohammed. Please.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, are the U.S. officials and the EU officials and former Prime Minister Tony Blair making any discernable progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue? And can you conceive of a way to give the Palestinians a non-member state status at the UN while curbing or restricting their ability to go to the ICC or the ICJ? In other words, is there a way to give a nod toward statehood for the Palestinians but to prevent some of the deleterious consequences that could flow from that status, in your view?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, as I said on Tuesday, we believe strongly that the road to peace and two states living side by side does not go through New York; it goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah. And it is our absolute conviction that we need to get the parties back into negotiations on a direct face-to-face basis and that they have to be at that negotiating table working through the framework that President Obama laid out in May. That remains our focus. We are absolutely committed to pursuing that. As you know, Dennis Ross and David Hale are back in the region, having been there as well just a few days ago. We are working closely with a range of international partners, and we intend to keep our attention where we think it needs to be, which is how we can try to convince both sides to do what must be done in order to bring about a resolution of the issues between them, and that’s going to be certainly the core of all of our efforts for the next several days.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to get into specifics, because a lot of these are very sensitive conversations that we are all having, and I don’t think it would benefit the decision-making for me to be speaking prematurely. I cannot give you the odds on how successful our entire effort will be, but I think there is certainly a growing recognition among not only the parties and the region, but beyond, that there is no real answer to all of these concerns that we share, other than negotiations on the tough issues, like borders, like security, and other matters that can only be resolved – and will not be resolved if some other route is taken at the United Nations.
MS. NULAND: Next question, Brad Norrington, The Australian.
QUESTION: Could I direct this question to Defense Secretary Panetta and Defense Minister Smith? Could you detail how Australia is going to see a considerably increased number of U.S. ships, aircraft, and personnel? And is the boosted U.S. presence in Australia likely to involve existing facilities or new facilities?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Stephen, you want to start?
DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: Well, we’ve been working on the Force Posture Review for the last 12 months. In Melbourne, at AUSMIN 2010, we established the joint working party. Then-Secretary Gates and I made the point that a lot of work needs to be done. But we were looking, and both Secretary Gates and I repeated this at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in July, from memory, that we were looking at opportunities for further exercises together, further training together, the possibility of pre-positioning stores and equipment in Australia for purposes of humanitarian relief and disaster assistance and potentially greater access to ports and our facilities. We’ve come to no final conclusions. We’re very pleased with the progress that our offices have made, and we are pleased with the progress of discussions today.
But we’ve got more work to do. There are a range of things that we’re not envisioning. We don’t have United States bases in Australia. We have joint facilities, and they’ve been established for some time. They perform a very important function. And we’ve had those joint facilities since the mid 1980s. So we’re not looking at additional or new facilities; we’re looking at the sharing of current facilities. And I’ve made the point in Australia, whilst we regard this very much potentially as an extension of work we already do, good work we already do, it will in an operational sense be the single largest potential change to the day-to-day working arrangements of the alliance since the establishment of those joint facilities. But no decisions have been made. When to come to finalize our deliberations, obviously decisions will be made and announcements made in due course. But we are pleased today with the work that our officials had done, both civilian and military, and pleased with the progress of discussions today.
SECRETARY PANETTA: Obviously, I concur with what Minister Smith said about our discussions. I think the thing to understand is that we are in negotiations on what that force posture would look like. Those discussions are continuing, and our goal is basically to build on a very strong relationship that we’ve had throughout the years. We’ve done exchanges, we’ve had these exercises together. This is something we’ve done pretty much in the past, and our goal here is to try to strengthen that relationship as best we can so that we can send a clear signal to the Asia Pacific region that United States and Australia are going to continue to work together to make very clear to those that would threaten us that we are going to stick together.
MS. NULAND: Next question, Dan Deluce, AFP.
QUESTION: Yes. To Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta, given that the two U.S. hikers were not released, despite the promise of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, what do you think that says about his role and the power relationships inside that regime, and how does that affect your efforts to try to curtail that country’s nuclear program?
And Secretary Panetta, do you share the view that a U.S. – that some kind of military strike on Iran’s program would merely delay that program?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by perhaps providing a little context. We continue to hope that the two young Americans will be released as part of a humanitarian gesture by the Iranian Government. We have seen in the past some delays that have occurred after decisions were announced, so that – at this point, we are not at all concerned, because we have received word through a number of sources, publicly and privately, that the decision will be executed on and that we will see their return to their families.
So I’m not going to speculate on what the reasons are or what it might mean or might not mean, but I’m going to count on the Iranian Government fulfilling the announcement that was made by the leadership of the country, and hope that it can be expedited and we can see their release very soon.
SECRETARY PANETTA: And I, again, concur with Secretary Clinton’s description of that situation. I mean, it’s very difficult for us to try to speculate as to the differences and battles that are going on in the political leadership within Iran and to really understand just exactly what the nature of that is. Our goal here is to try to get these hikers released, and we’ve been assured that steps will be taken to make that happen, and we hope that does – that is the case.
With regards to the broader question on Iran’s nuclear capability, we remain very concerned, very concerned, about their efforts to develop a nuclear capability, and we have indicated our concerns directly to the Iranians, and we have indicated that it is important for them if they want to become part of the international family that they have to take steps to stop progress in that area. And I’m not going to talk specifically about what steps we would or would not take in order to make sure that doesn’t happen.
MS. NULAND: One last question. Ben Potter, Australian Financial Review.
QUESTION: This is a question for Secretary Panetta. Will the U.S. be able to fulfill its side of the agreement envisaged by the – what you’ve discussed and announced today regardless of Defense budget outcomes from the current talks, both in terms of personnel, existing equipment, and acquisitions of expensive new equipment projects on which interoperability depends?
And also for Secretary – Minister Rudd – I’m sorry – how do you plan to reassure Beijing that this is not somehow directed at them, given – especially given Secretary Panetta’s strong statement a few minutes ago about people in the region better look out?
SECRETARY PANETTA: With regards to the budget situation, I think, as I’ve made clear, that – even with the numbers that have been presented to us by the Congress – that we believe that we can implement those savings in a way that protects the best military in world and that maintains our strength in dealing with all of the threats that we have to deal with in the world. And that’s particularly true with regards to the Asia-Pacific region. My goal is to make clear that the United States will always maintain a very strong presence in that part of the world and that we will fulfill our commitments to Australia and all of our allies in that part of the world in order to make very certain that the countries in the Asia-Pacific region understand that we’re there to stay.
FOREIGN MINISTER RUDD: On the second half of your question, I think it’s important to recognize the fundamental principal here which is the long term prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region rests on continued strategic stability of the Asia-Pacific region. The question is how is that stability to be maintained in a post-war period? And the answer is the strategic presence of United States. It has been the underpinnings of what we have seen unfold. And if I look particularly at the extraordinary economic growth levels that have occurred in China, by the countries in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia and now South Asia in recent decades, it’s because of the continued U.S. strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
I think the second point is this, that there is nothing particularly novel about U.S. forces using Australian facilities. I think that’s been the case since 1951, under the terms of this alliance, and then if we flick back another decade or so to 1941. There have been U.S. troops, U.S. aircraft, there have been U.S. ships using our facilities since year dot of our strategic cooperation, and probably going back to the days of the Great White Fleet in 1907, 1908. But there’s nothing new under the sun. In terms of the further negotiations between officials, I simply reinforce the comments made before by Stephen Smith.
I think the last thing about the future of the region though, is we have a common regional interest in establishing a wider sense of security community across Asia and the Pacific. That is why we, and our friends the United States, but also countries right across East Asia, including China, have supported the inclusion of the United States and Russia at the upcoming East Asia Summit. That will have on it, obviously, a significant discussion of regional political and security questions, as it should. And the overall objective there is to bring about a greater common sense of security between the various countries of our wider region – greater transparency, greater mutual trust, expanding confidence and security building measures, the sorts of things the Europeans were working on something like 35 years ago or more. Frankly, in the Asia-Pacific region where we’ve started from very little of that, we have an opportunity now to build on that. So for those various reasons I believe our communications with our partners in the wider region should present no difficulty at all.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
China’s Religious Believers Beginning to Meet Social Needs
Despite years of government ambivalence and hostility, China’s religious communities are emerging as a strong force for meeting the country’s social welfare needs. This can be attributed to both the growing popularity of religion and increasing official support. In 2007, Chinese social scientists estimated that the country has 300 million religious believers, including approximately 100 million Buddhists, 70 million Protestant Christians, and 20 million Muslims. In 2007, Chinese president Hu Jintao pledged that the Communist Party would “bring into play the positive role of religious personages and believers in promoting economic and social development.” A year later, when a massive earthquake hit Sichuan Province killing an estimated 69,000 people and leaving over 4.8 million homeless, an unprecedented number of citizens, including many religious believers, volunteered and donated money to relief efforts.
The U.S. Recognizes the Chinese Government’s Support
In the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report and at our embassy and consulates in China, the U.S. Government recognizes the positive impact of faith-based aid and the critical role that the Chinese government has played in supporting its growth. Faith-based aid groups are at the forefront of meeting traditional and emerging needs that have accompanied rapid economic, social, and demographic change. In Sichuan, the staff of the Office of International Religious Freedom met an earthquake survivor who was especially grateful to a state-sanctioned Christian charity, the Amity Foundation, for sending volunteers who worked for over a year helping residents rebuild their neighborhood. Throughout the country, faith-based aid groups are also providing education and healthcare services.
Religious Restrictions Limit Faith-based Aid
However, current limits on religious freedom constrain the capacity of unregistered religious groups to provide social services. They cannot rent or purchase property, hold bank accounts, or hire employees. Over the past year, several groups have reported increased government interference with their religious activities. Authorities detained several Catholic bishops for refusing to participate in ordinations not sanctioned by the Vatican, prevented house churches from meeting, forcibly removed an estimated 300 monks from the Tibetan Buddhist Kirti monastery, and prevented Uighur Muslims from observing their beliefs, including going on hajj and wearing headscarves. These actions run counter to the significant steps China has taken over the last few decades to increase protections of religious freedom and to encourage some religious groups to play a larger role in society. Recently, a group of more than a dozen house church leaders petitioned the National People’s Congress to expand religious freedom for all. They emphasized that only a “multi-ethnic, multi-religious country [will] be able to form a peaceful civil society, bring about social stability, ethnic solidarity, and the nation’s prosperity.”
The U.S. Encourages China to Protect Religious Freedom
Religious freedom is a universal human right and fundamental concern of the United States. It is part of our engagement with all countries, including China. Religious freedom also has pragmatic benefits like the empowerment of faith-based service. At the rollout of the 13th Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, Secretary Clinton reaffirmed that when governments respect religious freedom they help make a country “more stable, more secure, and more prosperous.” Strengthening religious freedom will not only benefit U.S.-China relations, it will also create a firmer foundation for Chinese society.
Emilie Kao is the East Asia Pacific Team Leader in the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Madam Clinton, I’d like to take this opportunity, special opportunity, to welcome you and your delegation in Tanzania and yourself in our radio station, Radio Free Africa. We broadcast through East Africa and all over the Great Lakes countries. Let me introduce myself. I’m Baruani Muhuza.
My first question, I’m going to start with about the U.S. trade approach for Africa. Do you see Chinese interest as inherently incompatible with your interest in this continent?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first thank you for giving me this opportunity to be interviewed. I appreciate being on this network.
With respect to your question, we do not see the Chinese commercial and diplomatic interest in Africa as inherently in conflict with U.S. interest. We both have a long history in Africa. We were neither of us colonial powers, so we have a different set of relationships throughout the continent.
But I have raised questions about ensuring that as any company, whether it’s an American company or a Chinese company or an Indian or a Brazilian – any company that does business in Africa I hope adheres to the highest standards of how workers are treated, how the environment is protected, how the benefits from the investments are not just going to the elites in countries but more broadly spread across the population.
Because I think it’s important at this stage of African development, with African countries really beginning to show great growth, that it be sustainable, that companies don’t come into Africa, just take natural resources, and leave nothing behind. Let’s leave paychecks behind. Let’s leave small-and medium-sized businesses behind. Let’s live a rising standard of living behind. And that is certainly the objectives that President Obama and I have for our involvement in the continent.
QUESTION: Yeah. I know while you were in Zambia you had put it that you want to work closely with China and you have begun a dialogue with them, a dialogue, of (inaudible) activities in Africa. Do you have the same submission in this continent?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we are trying to determine is can we work together, can we cooperate on development programs. I’ll give you an example. We learned that in one country we were building a hospital, and China was building a road, but neither of us knew what the other was doing, so the road did not lead to the hospital. So we think that if we better coordinate and share information what we are doing could perhaps be of more benefit to the people of the countries in which we are working.
And I think there are many ways that there are international standards that should be adopted, for example, in extractive industries, in mining, in agriculture, so that all companies from all countries are held to a high standard that will benefit Africa. We don’t want to see a new form of colonialism in 21st century Africa.
QUESTION: And Madam Secretary, now I’d like to ask you about the issue of climate change, especially for Africa. How does the U.S. help the developed countries, where the days are numbered to the next conference, which will be held in Durban, South Africa?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re looking forward to the Durban conference. And one of the reasons we are is that at the last conference in Cancun, Mexico, the international community adopted the establishment of what is called a Green Fund. That will be a fund for developed countries to put resources in to help developing countries deal with climate change. So we want to see the fund fully established by Durban. We want to see it begin working by Durban. So we’re hoping that we’ll see a big step forward at the climate change conference in South Africa at the end of the year.
QUESTION: Madam, last week the Government of Southern Sudan called for end military intervention over and the confrontation (inaudible) forces loyal to its military, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA, and the Northern Sudan armed forces in border state of South Kordafan. What is your opinion on that about the whole Sudan’s crisis from Juba, Darfur, and now this Abyei.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first we have to do everything we can to prevent an outbreak of violence and a renewal of the conflict that ravaged Sudan, both North and South, for so many years. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed by both the North and the South in 2005, sets forth a framework that needs to be followed. There are continuing questions and differences between Khartoum and Juba. But I hope that the leaders who are meeting today in Addis Ababa with Prime Minister Males of Ethiopia and former-president Thabo Mbeki, who is the AU envoy, will sit down and begin to talk over those differences.
There does have to be a border set between the North and the South. Abyei’s future has to be decided. Determining how the oil will be handled – there are many remaining questions. But we know that if the president of Sudan, President Bashir, will sit with soon-to-be-president Salva Kiir with people from Africa who care about resolving these conflicts, there’s a way forward, and that is what we are pushing from the United States.
QUESTION: Let me finish. But there is some complaints about rather than acting decisively the African Union, AU, courted to pressures from outside the continent and voted for UN Security Council Resolution Number 1973, which authorized military action in Libya. To you Madam, how did you receive this point compared to your clear message that Qadhafi must go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I think that the African representatives on the Security Council, which are South Africa, Gabon, and Nigeria, made their own decisions. They looked at the facts very carefully. They listened to the people of Libya who were scared that their own leader was going to hunt them down like rats, which is what he had said. They consulted with the Arab League, which took a very strong position asking for – in fact, demanding – United Nations action.
So I think the three African countries made a very careful analysis and decided that we could not stand by and watch Qadhafi’s tanks and airplanes and military personnel destroy and kill so many thousands of people. The opposition has been proving itself worthy. They started off with no military at all. They’re doing much better. They are forming an inclusive governing council. So I think that the decision that Nigeria, Gabon, and South Africa made, based on their own experiences – they brought their own experiences to the Security Council – was the right decision.
Now, we all want this to be resolved peacefully, but in order for it to be resolved peacefully Mr. Qadhafi must agree to a ceasefire and quit his attacks on his own people. I mean, this is like the most elementary expectation of a leader, and unfortunately, he has not agreed to do that. So we will continue with Arab countries and NATO and other countries to protect civilians.
QUESTION: Thank you very much and welcome again in Tanzania.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much for your thoughtful questions.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.
Friday will mark twenty-two years since the violent suppression of protests in and around Tiananmen Square on June 3-4, 1989. The United States joins others in the international community in urging China to release all those still serving sentences for participating in the peaceful protests. We ask the Chinese government to provide the fullest possible public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, and to cease the ongoing harassment of those who participated in the demonstrations and the families of the victims.
We encourage China to protect the universal human rights of all its citizens, including those who peacefully express political views. We also renew our call for the release of all those detained, forcibly disappeared, or placed under house arrest in recent months as China has taken actions that are inconsistent with universally recognized rights. As Secretary Clinton has said, “when China lives up to [its] obligations of respecting and protecting universal human rights, it will not only benefit more than one billion people, it will also benefit the long-term peace, stability, and prosperity of China.”
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for inviting me today. It’s my pleasure to be able to testify today on religious freedom, democracy and human rights as embodied in the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002. On behalf of Undersecretary of State Maria Otero, the Administration’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, I can tell you that the Department of State is aggressively implementing the provisions of the Act.
The Administration’s goals are twofold: to promote a substantive dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives, and to help sustain Tibet’s unique religious, linguistic, and cultural heritages. The Administration at all levels – from the President, Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary Otero, Assistant Secretaries Campbell and Posner, to myself – has urged the Chinese Government to engage in a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama that will achieve results. We remind the Chinese government that the vast majority of Tibetans advocate non-violent solutions to Tibetan issues and genuine autonomy – not independence or sovereignty – in order to preserve Tibet’s unique culture, religion and its fragile environment. Regrettably, the Chinese government has not engaged in a substantive dialogue with the Tibetans since January 2010.
The U.S. government believes that the Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner for China as it deals with the challenge of overcoming continuing tensions in Tibetan areas. The Dalai Lama’s views are widely reflected within Tibetan society, and command the respect of the vast majority of Tibetans. His consistent advocacy of non-violence is an important factor in reaching an eventual lasting solution. China’s engagement with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interests of the Chinese government and the Tibetan people. We believe failure to address these problems could lead to greater tensions inside China and could be an impediment to China’s social and economic development.
Another critical avenue for implementing the Act is our support for non-governmental organizations that work in Tibet and assist Tibetan refugees in the region. Both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International
Development (AID) support cultural and linguistic preservation, sustainable development and environmental preservation in Tibet and Tibetan majority areas, as well as Tibetan refugee communities in other countries, through numerous programs. In addition, the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration continues its long-standing support for Tibetan refugees through ongoing support to non-governmental organizations as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In fiscal year 2010, $3.5 million was provided to support reception services, education, healthcare, and water and sanitation for Tibetan refugees in South Asia, including new arrivals from China. Under Secretary Otero recently visited our programs in India and Nepal where we assist Tibetan refugees, and where we are actively seeking ways to strengthen Tibetan refugee settlements.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s India Mission expects to issue an award for a new $2 million, two-year program to support Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal, and Bhutan in July 2011. The new program will support the development of organic agriculture for selected Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal, and Bhutan; and build a workforce among Tibetan youth remaining in the settlements. USAID anticipates the program will result in increased economic opportunities which will encourage youth to remain in the settlements, strengthen community ties, and preserve cultural and linguistic traditions.
We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China and in particular in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas. Recent regulations restricting Tibetan language education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and the arrests of prominent non-political Tibetans reflect the difficult human rights situation there today.
Religious restrictions in Tibetan areas have dramatically worsened in recent years. Discriminatory religious policies exacerbated tensions between Han Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists and triggered the 2008 riots that claimed the lives of Han and Tibetan civilians and police officers. Chinese authorities control Tibet’s monasteries, including the number of monks and nuns and interfere in the process of recognizing reincarnate lamas. Monks and nuns are forced to attend regular political “patriotic education” sessions which sometimes include forced denunciations of the Dalai Lama. . Reports state that as many as 300 monks were forcibly removed from Kirti again in April of this year, and paramilitary forces still have the monastery on lockdown. To date, we have no further information about the welfare and whereabouts of those monks that were removed.
The effects of China’s Tibet policies are well-documented in the separate Tibet sections of the State Department’s 2010 International Religious Freedom Report and the 2010 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in China, released by Secretary Clinton on April 8. Our reports state clearly that the Chinese government represses freedom of speech, religion, association and movement within Tibet and routinely commits serious human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings and detentions, arbitrary arrests and torture. Our reports also reference the forcible return of three Tibetans to China from Nepal in June 2010, the first confirmed case of forcible return of Tibetans from Nepal since 2003.
The Administration’s engagement on human rights issues in Tibet is high-level and consistent. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have spoken on these points directly to Chinese officials many times, including to President Hu during his January 2011 visit to Washington. The President and Secretary Clinton met with the Dalai Lama in February 2010, and the Secretary raised Tibetan issues directly and at length during the 2010 and 2011 Strategic and Economic Dialogues with China. Undersecretary Otero has met with the Dalai Lama four times since October 2009, and with his special envoy, Lodi Gyari, nine times in the past twelve months. Other senior officials have engaged Mr. Gyari as well.
During the April 2011 Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing, Assistant Secretary Posner and I raised our concerns about China’s counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas of China, reiterated our call for a resumption of dialogue, and raised specific cases. We were joined in that effort by then-Ambassador Huntsman, who visited the Tibetan Autonomous Region in September 2010. The U.S. Mission in China has made visiting Tibetan areas and engaging on human rights and religious freedom in Tibetan areas a top priority. While in Beijing in April, we met with United Front Work Department, which handles Tibet policy for the Chinese Government, and pressed the Chinese to set a date with Lodi Gyari for the next round of talks. We also met with Minister Wang Zuo’an from the State Administration of Religious Affairs. Separately, we provided to Chinese authorities a comprehensive list of individuals from across China who have been arrested or are missing; that list included many Tibetans, including six cases that we specifically mentioned in our meetings.
Our goals – to promote a substantive dialogue between the Chinese Government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama, and to help sustain Tibet’s unique religious, linguistic and cultural heritages – are designed to further the intent of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and create a more stable and more prosperous Tibet where Chinese authorities recognize and foster internationally recognized human rights. In furtherance of our goals, we have, since 2005, made the establishment of a consulate in Lhasa a priority. We continue to press the Chinese government to answer our request, while we reiterate our long-standing interest in regular and comprehensive access to Tibetan areas for international diplomats, journalists and non-governmental organizations. The State Department offers Tibetan language courses at our Foreign Service Institute and our staff at Consulate General Chengdu includes Tibetan speaking staff. In addition, we are working to translate our human rights and religious freedom reports into the Tibetan language. These measures reflect the Administration’s continuing commitment to fully and effectively implement the Act, so that Tibet’s unique culture and environment are preserved and allowed to prosper in the 21st century.
QUESTION: Madam, the annual dialogue is over, so what can you tell us what we accomplished this time?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Mr. Yuen, let me start by expressing deep appreciation for these dialogues. For the last three years, as you know, we have held them – two in Washington, one in Beijing – next year we will be Beijing again. And there are very specific outcomes, agreements that are signed, particularly on promoting scientific research, on improving our cooperation in everything from clean energy to agricultural productivity. On the economic side, similarly, a lot of progress in making sure that Chinese businesses in the United States and American businesses in China have a chance to invest and compete.
But in addition to the specific outcome, what I am particularly pleased about is I believe we have developed greater understanding of one another and more trust. Ever since President Obama came into office, he and I have said that we support China’s successful rise. We think a successful, thriving China is good for the United States. We will have differences and disagreements. We are two very different people, and we have different histories. But overall, I think we have charted a very positive path forward.
QUESTION: You – I watch you at the – on the opening day, your speech. You keep on saying that we have to build up the mutual trust between our two countries. So after this meeting, after the two previous meeting, do you think we already build up those kind of trusts you’re trying to achieve?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I believe we have. And I think from the comments of my Chinese counterpart, State Councilor Dai Bingguo as well as Secretary Geithner and Vice Premier Wang, we all feel that we have delved into these issues quite deeply. And we have been willing to express to one another what we don’t understand – Why do the Chinese people feel this way; why do the American people do that?
And during the course of my extensive meetings in the strategic track, I think we have crossed a bridge so that we are willing to discuss at great length difficult, sensitive matters. In fact, for the first time ever, we had a special meeting that included military and civilian officials talking about strategic security issues. We don’t want misunderstanding and miscalculation. Where we have a difference, we want to be very clear about that difference so that there’s no confusion. And I think that creates a greater level of both understanding and trust.
QUESTION: So this morning I read all the major newspapers in this country. Essential to them, and I think as well as in China – they all focus on this is first time the military ranking – high-ranking military office meet each other. Is this a special meaning for us in the future?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s a very important development, because we want to be sure that as our governments on the civilian side take the time to really listen to each other, we do the same on the military-to-military side. We know that China has such tremendous potential, not just economically but also militarily. And we want to avoid miscalculation there as well. From the report that State Councilor Dai Bingguo and I received from the two leaders of the strategic security dialogue, it seemed as though they had quite a satisfactory conversation. It’s just a beginning, but one has to start somewhere, because we want to make sure that there are no surprises, there is an understanding of the positions that each of us takes, and where there can be cooperation we pursue it.
For example, one of the issues we’re beginning to discuss is with respect to disasters. We’ve had some terrible natural disasters in East Asia, earthquakes in China, Japan, New Zealand, flooding, terrible storms. And one could perhaps argue that the disasters are more intense because of changes in weather patterns. So how do we jointly plan on that? And I think both of use a combination of civilian and military resources.
SECRETARY CLINTON: So here’s an area where perhaps we can cooperate.
QUESTION: How about the (inaudible) of military exercise? Are we going to have – in the future, we have agenda or schedule to make the joint military exercise together?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think certainly that could be on a future agenda, that there would be an opportunity to discuss that. But we had to start, and I think that was a good start today.
QUESTION: So for the past few years, I keep on listen – watching your speech. You’re always trying to convince Chinese people and government that United States not going to contain China. From your experience when you talk to those Chinese officials, are they being convinced by this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there’s a lot more understanding and confidence in our intentions and our action. State Councilor Dai Bingguo and I had a very interesting conversation, because he was explaining to me some of the many reasons why he believes that China should not fear the United States and why the United States should not fear China. I agree with that. But we are both large, complex countries, and we have many voices and many interests. We know that China has done a tremendous job in the last 40 years in lifting people out of poverty. We think that’s good for us, so we want to see that continue. At the same time, we want to see China’s economic system and its market become more open.
So we talk about that, and I know China doesn’t want to do anything that in any way interrupts the peaceful rise and the development of the Chinese people. But we make the case that opening up one’s market will actually benefit people. Well, so we have our point of view; the Chinese express their point of view, but that should not be viewed as any kind of interference from either side. We want to just put out all of our observations, and each country is, of course, always having the right to choose one’s own course.
We talk very, very openly about the problems that we’ve got in our economy and our political system that we have to pay attention to, and why, when we have economic problems, there is naturally going to be some concern on the part of some Americans about China’s economic success. So we try to make sure that everybody understands the different point of view.
QUESTION: In the past few years in that program, I was convince – try to convince the Chinese people, saying that criticize always come from good friends. You don’t think, this president is my good friend; I don’t try to criticize him, I don’t – I just want to – so we’re basically – so did you try, from your part, to convince Chinese people, hey, look, I am – you’re a good friend, so I criticize you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think you’re right. I think that if you are indifferent to someone, you don’t even worry about that person. You could care less. You don’t want to have anything to do with them. I am very committed to our relationship, not only our government-to-government relationship but, even more importantly, our people-to-people relationship. And I think it’s gone in a very positive direction in the past years.
But at the same time, we have internal opinions, values, interests, just like China does. So we will say we’re not always going to agree, and we do have some questions and some criticism, which we’re happy to share with you in the hope that you will better understand us and maybe it will give you some ideas.
And I remember my first trip to China as Secretary of State. It was in the midst of the financial crisis. And Chinese friends had many critical things to say about our regulatory system, our economic system. And it was good not to pretend otherwise but to say, how did this happen, why did this happen, what are you going to do to fix it. So we’ve had, I think, a very good and friendly exchange.
Now, sometimes the media paints it as something other than part of the ongoing dialogue. And what I have told Americans is we will, for example, raise questions about human rights, but that doesn’t prevent us from working on critical issues that will determine the quality of life that people lead. How do we keep our economies growing? If the United States and China don’t cooperate, the world will suffer. How do we deal with climate change? How do we deal with energy? How do we deal with all of these issues – food security, clean water – which are critically important to the people that we both represent? So it’s not either/or. It’s a combination. It is, as both President Hu Jintao and President Obama said, we want a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship.
QUESTION: I remember when once I read an article from your New York Times. It says you consider China as a banker, banker of United States. So you always trying to make this banker build up a closer relationship between United States and the banker. So for the past years, do you think we approach closer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. And I remember when I said that. It was back in my campaign for president. And that was a criticism of my own government and my own political system; that when my husband left the presidency, the United States had a balanced budget and a surplus, and we were on a path to financial independence. For many reasons, at this point in time, we are deeply in debt, we run big deficits, and it’s deeply disturbing to many Americans.
So what I was pointing out is that we had, in effect, not just to China – we have Japan, European, we have many countries that have faith in the American economy and have bought American debt, but I prefer that we be more independent. I think it’s a better path for a nation. That’s not a reflection on our respect for China or Japan or Europe or anyone else.
So that was actually a criticism of my own country, but I think you are right to point out that we have worked hard in the Obama Administration to avoid what could have been an awkward relationship, where we were in a very difficult economic position and we did owe a lot of money to China, and we did have to figure out how to get the global economy going. And I really give both President Hu Jintao and President Obama a lot credit, because it could have been easy for Americans to overreact or for Chinese officials to say well, we’re not going to work together. But instead, they rose above the politics in both countries and they provided great leadership. And now, we are on the brink of moving away from the worst of the financial crisis which, if we had not worked together, could’ve become another Great Depression.
QUESTION: Right. One of the obstacle bothers our relationship is Taiwan –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: — arm sales to Taiwan. And recently, before I come here, I read an article from the – a Taiwanese newspaper saying that they are going to give up the compulsory military service in – and replace with the enlisting system, so they give money. It’s fund – allocated money into that system now, so they want to delay maybe two or three years to purchasing these weapons or the military equipment from United States. What this shows to you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not aware of that recent report, but we are committed to a one China policy. And in our dialogue, I expressed respect for the way that China has been creating more positive feelings and more cross-strait economic and other activities so that the relationship between China and Taiwan, it appears, is on a much better basis. And what we have continued to stress is that we want to see an improvement in China-Taiwan relations, and it is important for both sides to work together. But our position has always been based on the three communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, and it has not changed and it will not change.
QUESTION: And, for example, the people in Taiwan, including Ma Ying – President Ma Ying-jeou said that according to their constitution, they’ve been already independent. They don’t have to declare independence anymore. So in this case, what’s your position, in the U.S. position?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Our position is still the one China policy, and it will remain that. Now, we don’t take a position on Taiwan elections or Taiwan political statements. That’s for the Taiwanese people. But we do believe that the more there can be cooperative arrangements, like the recent economic agreements that were reached between Taiwan and China, the better that is for everyone.
QUESTION: One last question I want to ask you, otherwise my female audience will complain. (Laughter.) They keep on asking me, said if you have chance to ask Mrs. Clinton – how do you balance your public life, a good politician, and your private life as a wife and first lady or mother of Chelsea?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is a difficult question for any woman to answer, I think, Mr. Yuen. I think that the truth is that we all balance in our own way, and it depends upon what stage of life you’re in. I will be very honest with you in saying that it would have been impossible for me to do this job if my daughter were not already an adult and now a very happily married young woman. I could not have been away as much if I had had small children. You just have to try to balance where you are in your life.
And for young women with children, I often tell them that their most important job, once they have children, is the raising of their children. I am a strong supporter of women being able to work in the workplace and being able to make good decisions for themselves. I would like to see both of our countries do more to help more women in the workplace.
But women in my lifetime have certainly seen their opportunities expand. More young women are now in positions that had never been held by women before, so more young women will be working to balance their family responsibilities with their outside requirements, whether it’s in the workplace or in some other academic or athletic or entertainment pursuit.
And I guess the final thing I would say about that is I’m a very lucky person because I have been able to practice law, to be a law professor, to be a fulltime volunteer when my husband was president, to be a senator, to be a secretary of state. And I have a great commitment to helping more women have the opportunity to make the best decisions for themselves. And one of the aspects of the dialogue is this new women leadership program that we have started, so that I will be meeting with a large number of women leaders from China and women leaders from the United States. And when women in positions of responsibility get together, we often talk about what are the tricks for balancing family and work. And I know how lucky I am that I’ve had these opportunities, but I want more women, particularly young women, to have the same choices.
QUESTION: But do President Clinton and Chelsea complain you don’t give them more time?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my husband’s pretty busy too, and my daughter is very busy, so we find as much time together as possible. We have a home in New York where we love to spend time together. We were just together over the past weekend for Mother’s Day. We talk on the phone, we email a lot. And I had the wonderful experience last summer of working on my daughter’s wedding. So I will, when I retire from this position, have much more time. But right now I work for as much time together as I possibly could schedule.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. It’s wonderful to talk with you. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, this is Hillary Clinton.
QUESTION: Hello. Good morning, Secretary Clinton. This is Hu Shuli, Editor-in-Chief of Caixin Media. Thank you so much for giving me the precious time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: You are very welcome. I’m delighted to talk to you.
QUESTION: Great. I’m here with my colleague, Huang Shan, the International Editor of Caixin Media. Should I start now?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, please.
QUESTION: Okay. First, congratulations on getting bin Ladin.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: After his death, what change we should expect in U.S. global strategy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that our efforts against terrorism are going to continue, and we discussed these with our Chinese colleagues during the 3rd Strategic and Economic Dialogue here in Washington. This is a problem that everyone must remain committed to eradicating, and the United States is pleased that we have a good partnership with many countries around the world.
We will be working to build the strength of individual nations like Afghanistan to be able to combat terrorism on their own, and we will work to support others of our friends like Pakistan and African countries to be able better to withstand the pressures of extremists.
QUESTION: It seems to us the U.S.-China relations took a positive turn after September 11th, partly due to the common mission in fighting terrorists. Now bin Ladin is dead, will that incur more challenges in bilateral relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so. I think that having been successful in taking steps to finally bring bin Ladin to justice is a very important milestone, but unfortunately, there are still too many people who feel that they can bring about change through violence, who seek to impose their ideology or their value system on others. So although this was an important accomplishment, it is not the end of our challenges from terrorism, and we’re going to continue to work with partners around the world to combat the violence that terrorists impose.
QUESTION: So you don’t feel that would be – make – incur more challenges in this case, right?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you, Hu Shuli. I couldn’t hear you.
QUESTION: So you don’t think that bin Ladin’s death will incur more challenges in bilateral relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to China, I certainly do not.
QUESTION: Okay. But also, there’s a common – some side of that that the ties that bind the U.S. and China are deepened today, but the scope of shared interests is narrower. What do you think on it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that we have broadened and deepened our relationship. Our goal has been to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship in which both of our nations have a very open and honest dialogue about areas where we agree and areas where we do not agree, because we think that’s going to produce more understanding and build cooperation.
So I believe that our relationship now is very solid. We are addressing so many issues together. At our just-concluded dialogue, we had many government officials from both nations, plus business leaders, plus women leaders and scientists and academics, and it was a very thorough discussion on everything from energy – clean energy to agricultural productivity to increasing people-to-people connections like more American and Chinese students studying in the other country.
QUESTION: Okay. Based on what you described and what we learned about the recent S&ED, how would this new Strategic Security Dialogue between military leaders function, and how would the consultation in Asia Pacific affairs work?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to the Strategic Security Dialogue, I was very pleased that we held it for the first time this year. And it was both civilian leaders and military leaders from both of our countries sitting down across the table from each other, talking about difficult, sensitive issues. We will have differences, but what we don’t want are misperceptions, misunderstandings, and miscalculations. That’s dangerous. And therefore, we want to have as much dialogue on strategic security issues as possible, and this year we got off to a very productive start. We anticipate continuing it. I think both sides thought it was useful. And so we’re pleased by this first session.
With respect to the Asia Pacific region, both China and the United States are Pacific powers – China, on the east and the United States on the west. We both have very important interests and relationships throughout the Asia Pacific region, and we want to begin talking about how we can better understand each other, cooperate with each other, solve problems with each other. All of that will be to the benefit of both of our two countries and also to the other nations in the region who want to see China and the United States being productive together. I think it’s fair to say that with the many nations in the Asia Pacific region, they are hopeful that China and the United States will settle any differences peacefully, that we will work together on important goals like preventing or responding to disasters. So I think that it’s going to be a very positive development, and it was an idea that the Chinese side suggested and we’re happy they did.
QUESTION: Okay. Going forward, how can U.S. and China prevent some thorny issues from derailing the relationship, such as human rights?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to recognize that we are two different nations based on history and experience and perspective, so we are not going to see the world the same way, we’re not going to agree on everything. That would make it very boring, I believe. So what we best can do is honestly express our opinions. Nothing is off the table, nothing is hidden; everything is to be presented and discussed. And that’s what we’ve been doing.
And so certainly from our perspective, we believe that human rights is of important interest and it’s a value of the United States. We will continue to raise it and we will listen to our Chinese partners’ responses. We will encourage progress in this area. And we think it’s very valuable to make sure that the relationship is strong and stable so that when we have areas of disagreement, which we certainly will have, that we continue our talking and our working together despite that.
QUESTION: How do you define the path of U.S.-China economic relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we have made great progress together. I personally believe that had it not been for cooperation between the United States and China, the world could have had a terrible great depression again. I think because Chinese and American leaders acted responsibly and cooperatively, we avoided that, and the world economy is slowly recovering from the very difficult times that existed when President Obama came into office.
So I believe that our economic relationship is deepening and broadening. Yesterday, we had a lunch with leading American and Chinese business leaders, and they were very open in describing to our leadership and the Chinese leadership what they thought was working and what needed to be improved. I like the level of very clear discussion and the ideas of solutions, which I think is always the best way to approach problems.
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks, Secretary Clinton. This is Huang Shan, International Editor of Caixin Media, so I’m honored to ask the last question. So the last question is simple. With respect to North Korea and Iran, did Chinese actions meet your expectations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we discussed both of those at length, as you would certainly expect, because they are serious problems. China and the United States have the same goal: We do not want to see the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula or in the Middle East. I appreciate the work that China has done with the United States in the United Nations to impose sanctions on both countries, and we are working to implement those sanctions. There is always more to be done, but we’ve made progress together.
And we are particularly focused on working with China to prevent further provocation and nuclear weapon development in North Korea. That would be extremely dangerous. So we work hard on it and we are committed to the same goal, and we must make progress together.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for time spent.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you both very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I want to begin by thanking our Chinese colleagues, led by Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai and the entire Chinese delegation for a productive and comprehensive dialogue between us. And I also, along with Secretary Geithner, want to thank everyone on the American side, not just those from the State Department or Treasury but indeed from across our government. The unprecedented level of involvement and the extraordinary work that has taken place since our last S&ED in Beijing was truly impressive.
The Strategic and Economic Dialogue continues to grow broader and deeper. It reflects the complexity and the importance of our bilateral relationship. And we have covered a lot of ground together, and I’m happy to report we have made a lot of progress. The list of agreements and understandings reached is quite long. We have seen concrete progress on a wide range of shared challenges, from the energy and environment to international trade and security. For example, there is now a new partnership that will bring U.S. and Chinese companies and universities together. Those which are developing innovative environmental technologies will now be working bi-nationally and with local governments and NGOs to promote sustainable development projects such as next generation batteries for electric cars, and new clean air and water initiatives. Already, Tulane University in New Orleans and East China Normal University are collaborating to improve the conservation of wetlands, and we have seen many other examples.
We are also laying the groundwork for potentially significant future collaboration on development, from working together to innovate and distribute clean cookstoves and fuels to strengthening public health systems in developing countries. And our people-to-people programs continue to expand, most notably our “100,000 Strong” Student Exchange Initiative, which has already raised the stated goal of dollars to go along with the very generous Chinese Government support for 20,000 American students because all of us are committed to increase more people-to-people interactions and opportunities. Now, I am well aware that these specific and very substantive partnerships may not produce major headlines, but I think they do reflect our shared commitment to translate the high-level sentiments and rhetoric of these diplomatic encounters to real world benefits for our citizens, our countries, and the wider world.
Just as important, although perhaps even harder to quantify, are the habits of cooperation and mutual respect that we’ve formed through these discussions. We believe that to keep our relationship on a positive path, as foreseen by Presidents Obama and Hu, the United States and China have to be honest about our differences and address them firmly and forthrightly. At the same time, we are working together to expand the areas where we cooperate and narrow the areas where we diverge. And we are building up a lot more understanding and trust. So we discussed everything, and whether it was something that was sensitive to us or sensitive to them, all the difficult issues, including human rights. And we both have made our concerns very clear to the other. We had candid discussions on some of our most persistent challenges, from addressing North Korea and Iran to rebalancing the global economy.
We agreed on the importance of cooperating in Afghanistan to advance common goals of political stability and economic renewal. We established a new U.S.-China consultation on the Asia-Pacific region, where we share a wide range of common interests and challenges. And for the first time in these dialogues, senior military and defense leaders from both sides sat down face to face in an effort to further our understanding, to develop trust, and avoid misunderstandings that can lead to dangerous miscalculations. This new strategic security dialogue is a very important step forward, and we think it will add immeasurably to our bilateral relationship.
As we have discussed these issues and as we have committed to keeping the relationship moving forward, we have some milestones ahead of us. For the first time, President Obama plans to participate in this year’s East Asia Summit. And Vice President Biden will travel to China this summer, continuing our discussions on the full range of shared regional and global challenges. And he hopes to return the hospitality by welcoming Vice President Xi Jinping to Washington at a later date. I look forward to seeing our Chinese partners at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Indonesia, and both the President and I and the Secretary are greatly anticipating the United States hosting APEC in Hawaii.
Now, those are just a few of the highlights. But day to day, at every level of our governments, we are working hard to build that positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship that our two presidents have asked for. This is the long, hard, unglamorous work of diplomacy. At our plenary sessions that State Councilor Dai and I chaired yesterday, there was a dizzying array of issues that we are working on together, and I felt very satisfied because that was not the case two years ago. And I anticipate that we are going to see further progress, because we want to realize the full promise of our partnership, and we very fervently hope to leave a more peaceful and prosperous world for our children and our children’s children.
So let me again thank our Chinese friends for making this long journey and for working as we move forward on our journey together into the future.
Now, I am pleased to turn to my colleague and partner, Secretary Geithner.
SECRETARY GEITHNER: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Let me outline the highlights of our discussions on the economic side.
We had a very comprehensive discussion about a full range of economic issues between us and facing the global economy. As always, we reviewed the major risk and challenges to our – to growth domestically in China and the United States, and we talked about the major risks and challenges on the global economic front. We talked about the investment climate in both countries. We talked about energy policy, financial reform – very comprehensive discussions. And we benefited on the U.S. and on the Chinese side from an exceptionally talented and very senior delegation of financial exports – experts, members of the cabinet, regulators, et cetera. And that’s very important.
Now, our three key objectives on the U.S. side were: first, to encourage the ongoing transformation of the Chinese economy away from its export-dependent growth model of the past to a more balanced growth strategy led by domestic demand; to encourage China to level the competitive playing field between U.S. and Chinese companies, both in China and around the world; and to strengthen our engagement with China on financial reform issues in both countries.
And we have made very, very significant progress in our economic relationship over the past two years. Our exports to China reached $110 billion last year and are growing about 50 percent faster than our exports to the rest of the world. And those exports are all the things Americans create and build – from agriculture, all sectors of manufacturing, services, and advanced technology – and they support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the United States.
Now, overall, we are seeing very promising shifts in the direction of Chinese economic policy. First on the exchange rate, since last June, as you know, the Chinese currency, the renminbi, has appreciated against the dollar by more than 5 percent, and at an annual rate of about 10 percent when you take into account the fact that Chinese inflation is significantly faster than that in the United States.
We hope that China moves to allow the exchange rate to appreciate more rapidly and more broadly against the currencies of all its trading partners. And this adjustment, of course, is critical not just to China’s ongoing efforts to contain inflationary pressures and to manage the risks that capital inflows bring to credit and asset markets, but also to encourage this broad shift to a growth strategy led by domestic demand.
China has outlined in its Five-Year Plan a comprehensive set of reforms, again, to shift its growth strategy away from one relying on exports to domestic demand. China has joined a broad commitment with other countries in the G-20 to put in place mechanisms to reduce the risk that we see once again the emergence of large, external imbalances that could threaten future financial stability and future economic growth.
This process is going to take time, and of course, it’s going to require a sustained effort of reform. But of course, it’s essential to the future health of the global economy and the trajectory of future growth in China. Again, we’re seeing progress here, too. If you just step back from and look, China’s current account surplus as a percent of GDP peaked at about 10 percent before the crisis. It’s now around 5 percent, and of course, we’d like to see that progress sustained.
This brings me to the third area, the third area of focus in our discussions, which is how to create a more level playing field. In our meetings over the last few days, we’ve seen some very important steps towards that goal, and let me just review a few of them. First, China committed to making long-term improvements in its high-level protection of intellectual property rights and enforcement regime to strengthen the inspection of government software and use at all levels of government. And this will help protect U.S. innovators as well as Chinese innovators in all industries, not just in software. And I think that’s very important.
China also confirmed that it will no longer employ government procurement preferences for indigenous innovation products at any level of government. And this is important to make sure, of course, that U.S. technology, U.S. firms, can compete fairly for business opportunities in China.
China has committed to increased transparency, requiring government authorities to publish regulations at least 30 days in advance, so again, that U.S. firms, all foreign firms, have the chance to see those informations – see those regulations in draft and they have the opportunity for input just as their Chinese counterparts do.
China and the United States, recognizing the importance of transparency and fairness in export credit policies, have agreed to undertake discussions on export – on the terms of our respective export credit policies. And this is important, of course, because China, by some measures, is the largest provider of export credit on – in the world.
And finally, we’ve been discussing with the Chinese authorities the important objective of how to make sure that companies in China that compete with state-owned enterprises are not put at a broader disadvantage.
The final focus of our discussions on the economic side was China’s ongoing financial reforms to create a more open, more flexible, more dynamic, more developed financial system. And these reforms, which are designed to increase the returns to savers, to further develop China’s equity and bond markets, and to expand opportunities for foreign financial institutions in China are very important and very promising, not just, of course, in expanding opportunities for U.S. institutions but also reinforcing this broad shift in strategy by the Chinese Government towards a growth strategy led by domestic demand.
Now, when President Hu visited Washington in January, President Obama described the evolution of our relationship as – quote – “a healthy competition that spurs both countries to innovate and become even more competitive.” And of course, just as China faces significant economic challenges at home, we have our challenges in the United States, too. And we are working very hard not just to repair the damage caused by this financial crisis, but to make sure that as we restore fiscal sustainability, as we return to living within our means as a country, we’re making sure we preserve the capacity to invest in things that are going to be critical to the future strength of the American economy. And I can say, based on the strength of our conversations and the strength of this emerging relationship, that this economic relationship with China is – will continue to grow, continue to deepen, and continue to provide tremendous opportunities for both nations. And you see today concrete, tangible signs of progress on both sides that underscore that commitment of both our presidents.
In conclusion, I just want to end where Secretary Clinton began, which is to thank the delegations on both sides, both the American and Chinese participants in these discussions. They brought a directness and candor and, frankly, greater openness than we’ve seen in the last two years, and I think that is very welcome. And I want to express my personal gratitude to Vice Premier Wang for his leadership in these discussions, and to compliment him for the very substantial changes he’s already been able to bring about. Thank you very much.
VICE PREMIER WANG: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the press, under the guidance of President Hu Jintao and President Obama and thanks to the joint endeavor of the both sides, the third round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues has been a great success. The essential mission of our economic dialogue is to implement the important agreement reached between the two presidents during President Hu Jintao’s recent state visit to the United States this past January and to implement the building of China-U.S. comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership.
We had in-depth discussions of our overarching strategic and long-term issues in bilateral economic cooperation, and arranged a host of win-win outcomes. Particularly, Secretary Geithner and I signed a China-U.S. comprehensive framework promoting strong, sustainable, and balanced economic growth and economic cooperation. Under the framework, the two countries will carry out an expanded, closer, and a more extensive economic cooperation. We agree that in today’s extremely complex economic environment, our two nations should further step up macroeconomic policy coordination and communication, and contribute to steady and sound economic growth in both countries.
We discussed the implications of European sovereign debt crisis, the nuclear leak disaster triggered by Japan’s earthquake, the turbulence in the Middle East for the global economy, and we highlight the international community should work together to ensure strong and a sustainable world economic recovery, to effectively advance the reform of global economic structure, to gradually build a fair and a reasonable international economic order.
The two sides agree that in a transformation of our respective growth models and economic restructuring, we will use respective strength and expanded cooperation in railway, power grids, and other infrastructure programs, and in clean energy, green economy, and science and technology innovation, and expand bi-national and the corporate exchanges and cooperation.
We highlight our commitment to build a more open trade and investment system. The United States commits to accord China fair treatment in a reform of its export control regime, relax high-tech exports control towards China, and to consult through the JCCT in a cooperative manner to work towards China’s market economy status in an expeditious and a comprehensive manner. And the two sides will strengthen cooperation in bilateral investment treaty negotiation and strengthen cooperation in IPR protection, food safety, and product quality. We will advance Doha round negotiations and reject trade and investment protectionism.
We also had in-depth discussions of financial cooperation and agreed to strengthen information-sharing and cooperation regarding the regulation of systemically important financial institutions, shadow banking, business, credit rating agencies, the reform of remunerations policy and combating illegal financing, and to jointly advance international financial architecture reform. The United States welcomes Chinese financial institutions to invest in America and to recognize China’s enormous progress in capital adequacy ratio, comprehensive consolidation supervision, and the other regulatory aspects. The United States commits to further enforce strong supervision of government-sponsored enterprises and to make sure they have enough capital to fulfill financial obligations.
Knowing oneself and each other is an important prerequisite for cooperation. In the economic dialogue, we increased our mutual understanding, expanded consensus, and arranged outcomes. This will give a strong boost to the growth of the China-U.S. comprehensive partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
I thank you, everyone, and I would like to thank Secretary Geithner and Secretary Clinton and the U.S. team for all the work you have done for a successful economic dialogue. Thank you.
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the press, it’s a great pleasure to meet with you once again. The China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues have already completed its third round. For each and every round, we invite friends from the media to come here to draw a successful conclusion, so I’d like to thank you. This round of dialogue was held as President Hu Jintao paid a successful state visit to the U.S. earlier this year. The two sides agreed to build a China-U.S. partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
I want to tell you the following: First, on the strategic track, Secretary Clinton and I focused on the agreement of our two leaders and exchanged views on how to build a China-U.S cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. We had in-depth and practical exchange of views.
Our dialogue covered many issues, including China-U.S. bilateral relations, major issues internationally and regionally, and we had a good conversation. We agreed that we must act in accordance with the spirit of the China-U.S. joint statements, work to increase our strategic mutual trust, enhance exchanges at higher levels, have closer dialogue on international and regional issues, and to further increase our people-to-people exchange.
We issued an outcome list of the strategic track which covered energy, environment, science, technology, transport, forestry, and climate change cooperations. I said we had a good conversation, and I did not mean that we agreed on each and every issue. However, after each round of dialogues, we successfully expanded our mutual understanding and increased our mutual trust and enhanced our cooperation, and this has added to our confidence of further developing our bilateral relations in the future.
Secondly, both of us agreed that we must increase our strategic mutual trust and deepen our practical cooperation. The U.S. had reaffirmed that it welcomes a strong, successful, and a prosperous China that plays a greater role in international affairs, and it does not seek to contain China. It respects China’s interests. And both sides reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful – the Chinese side reaffirmed its commitment to the road of peaceful development, and will not challenge the United States interests.
A China-U.S. strategic security dialogue is a very important outcome of this dialogue. We agreed to hold this dialogue within the framework of the Strategic Dialogue, and held its first round of meeting this morning, and the China-U.S. strategic security dialogue will continue to be held in the future. We also talked about further deepening our bilateral cooperation and fostering new areas of cooperation and make our – the pie of our common interests bigger and more tasteful.
Thirdly, we agreed that we will work together in the Asia-Pacific region so that we can better coordinate with each other and better interact with each other in the Asia-Pacific. We agreed that Asia Pacific is broad enough to accommodate the interests of China and of the United States. We must work together in this region, work together with other countries in this region to uphold peace, stability in the Asia-Pacific and to promote the sustained prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and achieve the common development of all countries in this region so that the Pacific Ocean will become a peaceful one. We agreed that we will set up a consultation mechanism for Asia-Pacific region.
Fourthly, we both agree that we must work globally and respond to international as well as domestic challenges. Recently, there have been new and important changes in the international situation. For China and the United States as two influential countries, it is important that we have more consultation, coordination, and cooperation in order to promote and safeguard peace, stability, and the prosperity of the world. I wish to tell the friends from the media that the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, since its inception, has played a very important role in enhancing our mutual trust, coordinating our position, and promoting our mutually beneficial cooperation. China is ready to work with the U.S. side to further grow and make good use of this S&ED dialogue and mechanism so that it can better serve China-U.S. relations. On how to make use of this mechanism, I think we are open to the good suggestions and proposals from the friends of the media.
To conclude, like Vice Premier Wang Qishan, I would like to thank Secretaries Clinton and Geithner as well as colleagues and staff from China and from the U.S. for your hard work to ensure the success of this round of dialogue. I wish to thank the U.S. side for your thoughtful arrangements and to thank you, friends, from the media for your interest in this dialogue. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Beijing next year and continue our dialogue. Thank you. (Applause.)
Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Co-Chairs of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue
The President and the U.S. delegation met today in the Oval Office with China’s Special Representatives to the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. They exchanged views on a broad range of economic, security and other issues of importance to both countries. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to building a cooperative partnership that is comprehensive in scope, cooperative in nature, and yields positive achievements that benefit our people. They agreed that concrete actions by both sides are needed to build such a partnership. The President encouraged China to implement policies that support sustained and balanced global growth as well as a more balanced bilateral economic relationship. They also discussed ways to advance our common nonproliferation objectives, including working together to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, to meet its international commitments and to avoid destabilizing behavior. The President underscored his preference for a diplomatic solution to both challenges. The President raised U.S. concerns about the current human rights situation in China, and underscored his support for the universal rights of freedom of expression and worship, and of access to information and political participation.