US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #88: Wednesday, 5/29/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:09 PM, Washington, DC Date: May 29, 19915/29/91 Category: Briefings Region: South Asia, Subsaharan Africa, Eurasia Country: China, USSR (former), Ethiopia Subject: Development/Relief Aid, Democratization, Human Rights, Trade/Economics (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[China: Under Secreary Bartholomew's Trip]

MS. TUTWILER: Two things that I can give you more information on than I had yesterday. You all had asked about Reggie Bartholomew's trip to China. I said yesterday I didn't have any dates. Those dates were worked out yesterday, and he will now be going June 17 and 18. He anticipates in the same trip that he's going to Beijing, adding Tokyo and Seoul. As you know, I said yesterday the purpose of this trip is to discuss non-proliferation and other security issues. This is something that had been in the works for many months. When Secretary Baker last met with the Foreign Minister of China here in this building, they discussed three trips. One was Ambassador Schifter's that I believe happened in December; another was Under Secretary Kimmitt's that was several weeks ago; and then Under Secretary Bartholomew's will be the last one.

[USSR: Economic Delegation Meetings with US]

Yesterday, I believe it was you, Ralph, who asked if I knew more about the Primakov and the other gentleman's meetings here in the building. There are no other meetings in this building other than the Secretary's this afternoon. However, Under Secretary Zoellick has been attending a meeting this morning that is at the White House, chaired by CEA Chairman Boskin. I believe it's about a 3 or 4 four hour meeting. As I believe has been announced -- I know Marlin talked about it yesterday -- the President will be meeting with these three envoys. I believe Secretary Brady will be meeting with them. And in Zoellick's meeting today, it was not only Zoellick and Boskin, but Under Secretary Mulford, and I don't know who else from the NSC attended that meeting.

[Ethiopia: Joint Declaration in London]

I have one statement I would like to make concerning Ethiopia. The United States welcomes the May 28 Joint Declaration in London on the Ethiopian combatants who have agreed to organize an all parties conference to select a transitional government no later than July 1, 1991. This decision reflects a commitment to a democratic process. We hope that Ethiopian political organizations will take advantage of this opportunity to help plan a pluralistic future for their country. We also welcome the decision of the EPRDF, who will establish an interim administration in Addis Ababa, to work with the existing administrative structures with the support of Ethiopia's dedicated and competent professional civil servants. The willingness of the EPLF authorities in Eritrea to maintain all existing economic linkages with Ethiopia will contribute the rapid stabilization of the region. The United States wishes to reiterate that the development of Ethiopia's great economic potential, can be assured only if the democratic process initiated by the combatants in London is fulfilled by a free and fair election within a reasonable timeframe. In the interim, the United States will continue to provide humanitarian relief for the Ethiopian people who continue to suffer the effects of extended civil conflict. That's it. Go, Ralph. Q Just a question on the China trips. MS. TUTWILER: On China? Q Yeah, on the series of trips. Does the Administration believe that completion of this round of exchanges -- high-level changes, I'll call them -- in any way sets the stage for a review of policy toward China, or is this more of an on-going series of exchanges? Is there some conclusion that will be drawn at the end of these three visits? MS. TUTWILER: I have never heard it expressed that way. This was something that our Government and their government discussed. I just cannot remember off the top of my head the last time the Foreign Minister of China was here. It was in that meeting -- Q The last time they met was in Cairo, I think. MS. TUTWILER: Right. They didn't discuss this then. This was all worked out the last time he met here in this building which, as I recall, was many months ago. Q The U.N. General Assembly was the last time. MS. TUTWILER: Cairo was before that. Anyway, I know because I was in the meeting. This is where it was discussed. It was agreed that there would be three separate visits. The one that would come first is Ambassador Schifter's. After all, he does human rights. That, as you remember, I believe took place the second or third week in December. I'd have to check the record on the dates. But there is no -- that I've ever heard expressed -- conclusion that all three visits would be drawn at the end of the visit. I just never heard it expressed that way. Q Does Secretary Bartholomew have, as part of his portfolio, the ability to discuss with the Chinese, not only non-proliferation issues, but the relationship of those issues to the President's desire to have Most Favored Nation status continue? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if Reggie [Bartholomew] will get into that subject or not, Ralph. To be honest with you, he is basically going there to discuss with his counterparts the subjects that I mentioned yesterday, which are, basically, in the basket of non-proliferation under, I believe, high technology issues, as I said yesterday, and overall in the sphere of his portfolio. Q You don't have anything there about what specific concerns the U.S. has with respect to Chinese exports of missile technology or nuclear technology, do you? MS. TUTWILER: No. There was one story about this yesterday, as I remember. Q (Inaudible) but you have said very little about what the Chinese have been doing. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. I asked yesterday and, no, the Department did not. Q The Department doesn't care to specify what our concerns are about China? MS. TUTWILER: I don't want to lead you to believe that Reggie is going based on some concerns. I don't believe that we've ever characterized it that way. He is going to discuss, as he does in any number of countries -- I said also on this trip, he's going to Japan and to Korea. He has made visits to this region before and to other regions. This is part of what he does. Q China sells missiles to Syria, most recently, and the Secretary has made a big stink about those missiles. Isn't that something that Reggie is going to raise with the Chinese as an issue of contention? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. But I don't want to inadvertently mislead you that there is something that has triggered this trip. This was decided a long time ago. Yes, he will be discussing our concerns in the portfolio that he manages here for the Secretary and for the Administration. And, yes, we have concerns that have been expressed. He will express them when he is there about nuclear, chemical and missile proliferation. Q If I could follow that. The U.S. -- MS. TUTWILER: Am I not getting it? Q No. Q The U.S. Government in the past has stated publicly -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me, Ralph? Q The U.S. Government has stated publicly in the past that it has heard Chinese statements about Chinese policy on proliferation. But the U.S. has not said publicly whether those promises -- those pledges, shall we say -- have been fulfilled to the U.S. Government's satisfaction. Can we draw the conclusion that because the U.S. is sending Bartholomew here on this high-level exchange that the U.S. is not satisfied with the compliance or with the carrying out of the promises the Chinese government has uttered in the past? MS. TUTWILER: Unless I check with Reggie, I cannot draw that distinction for you. As I said, this is something that was set months ago. There's not some event that has instantly triggered this visit. It is -- and I will repeat what I said yesterday -- his mission will be discussing with the Chinese government our serious concerns about nuclear, chemical and missile proliferation. He will also be discussing a broad range of security and arms control issues, including the global and regional security situation, the status of current arms control negotiations, and such bilateral security issues as high-technology trade, science and technology cooperation and defense matters. Q Primakov mission -- how long is that scheduled to go this afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: Secretary Baker's meeting? Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: I can't remember, John. Do you all remember (to staff)? At least, I'm sure, an hour. I believe it starts at -- what time (to staff)? When? Two-thirty? I honestly can't remember. Off the top of my head, I would imagine it would go 60 to 90 minutes. Q Do you expect the Secretary to walk him down to the street, after which he'll talk? MS. TUTWILER: No. As is consistent with protocol and the rules which were established before we got here, he normally only escorts heads of state or his counterparts to and from the building. As you know, he is having a photo op, which is an expanded pool coverage -- for which all of you, I believe, have been notified. So I'm sure that he will be more than happy to answer your questions at the beginning of this meeting. We don't plan anything with the Secretary at the conclusion of the meeting. Q Do you know when Primakov is meeting with the President? Is that tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if it is tomorrow or not. The last time I talked to Marlin, they had not set a time. I'll have to check for you. Q And do you know what the plans are for announcing an up or down on the request that Primakov is making? MS. TUTWILER: Well, that's the assumption -- that Mr. Primakov has come here with a specific request. My understanding -- as I said yesterday, I'm not aware that there is a specific question that he is coming to ask this Administration and ask the President when he meets with him. My understanding is that these are three envoys that President Gorbachev has sent here -- our understanding is to discuss Soviet economic reform overall, i.e., what they themselves are planning to do for themselves, what they need from the West. But as of this briefing, I am still unaware if there is a specific up or down question he's coming to ask. Q And does the United States have a proclivity, one way or the other, as to how it would view a request for aid from the Soviet Union? MS. TUTWILER: The President has answered this question as recently as yesterday, and I'll just stick to what he said on this any number of times. He has said this is an important delegation, that he looks forward to meeting with them, that he looks forward to listening to what they have to say. Obviously, we have said that we would like -- and the President said it yesterday -- to do what we can to encourage the road to reform and the continuing reform in the Soviet Union. But, I believe the last time he spoke on this, he said that he did not know of a specific request -- that he had not seen one or received one. Remember, there was a story earlier about a hundred million -- Q Billion. MS. TUTWILER: Billion -- excuse me, that's right -- billion request. The President said he hadn't seen one. Q Well, when the Secretary testified last week on the Hill, he seemed to indicate that U.S. aid would be conditioned on the progress of reform in the Soviet Union. Is that a formal position of the United States? MS. TUTWILER: I don't remember him -- Q That's what I'm asking. MS. TUTWILER: -- specifically stating it the way you have succinctly stated it, and I would like to check back on the record. But we have always said that, obviously, it matters to us and to many Western nations -- we're not in this alone -- that there has to be genuine reform -- economic reform, political reform. This specific mission is discussing economic reform. And it's my understanding, as I said earlier, it is not only what they are going to do -- I have to assume here; I mean the meeting is in two and a half hours -- that they are not only going to request what this Administration, this Government, consider doing, but it is my understanding that they are going to lay out for the Secretary and for the President what it is exactly they are planning to do. As you know, they've had any number of economic plans while we've been an administration, and so far they have not seemed to move rapidly down the road of economic reform. So this is my understanding, and they have been talking freely here to members of the press and had any numbers of meetings. I believe they had a meeting yesterday with a number of Congressmen and Senators. They are talking about serious economic reform now. So the Secretary is, basically, as I said yesterday, in a mode of listening to what they're coming with, what they have to say. I said -- wait one second -- Under Secretary Zoellick started this morning at 9:00 a.m. in a 3-to-4 hour meeting with other appointees, officials in this Administration; and he will, obviously, have a much better understanding of exactly what it is that they are here with. But he won't be back in the building until l:00 or l:30. Q It would, obviously, be most helpful to talk to the Secretary after the meeting than before it, since he would have heard the plan. And, as you know, protocol in this building is set by the Secretary. If he wants to come down, he certainly is a big boy; he can come down. But I gather the decision has been made not to. MS. TUTWILER: We have to be very careful in how we set -- Q I can't understand that. MS. TUTWILER: -- precedents. (Laughter.) I will certainly put in your request, as I always do. So you want to make a trade -- none at the first and then at the end? Q Absolutely. MS. TUTWILER: Let me ask him. Q Well, to ask, so we can understand what the plan is. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. I understand. Q You set the precedent on more than one occasion -- MS. TUTWILER: I know that. Q -- the most recent one being when he came down with Shevardnadze. MS. TUTWILER: No. I said that we do it with other people. I know. I'll ask. Q For whatever it's worth, along those lines, too, remember that the last time one of these opportunities was had, the Secretary made a point of responding to our questions by saying, "Well, we haven't discussed these issues yet. Maybe we can talk about it afterwards." MS. TUTWILER: We're just here to serve. Q I know that. MS. TUTWILER: I will see what I can do for you all. Q Still on Primakov though, if I may, I think we'd be remiss if we didn't ask this question, though I think we know what the answer is. Primakov, of course, played an important role in the Soviet Union's handling of the Gulf -- the denouement of the Gulf War. Is it likely the Secretary and Primakov might discuss the aftermath of the Gulf War, and perhaps even the Middle East peace process? MS. TUTWILER: Anything is possible, but I do not envision that that is what any large portion of the meeting would be spent on. I mean, obviously, if Mr. Primakov asked the Secretary to give him a quick readout on where we are exactly on the Middle East process, et cetera, of course the Secretary would do it. But, predominantly, it is my understanding -- and in the agenda paper that I have seen -- it is economics. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at l2:27 p.m.)