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U.S. Department of State
95/08/06 Interview: ABC-TV “This Week with David Brinkley”
Office of the Spokesman

 
 
 
 
                           U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                           Office of the Spokesman 
 
 
____________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                         August 6, 1995 
 
 
 
                             INTERVIEW OF 
                 SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                                  ON 
                ABC-TV'S "THIS WEEK WITH DAVID BRINKLEY" 
 
                  (Via Satellite from Hanoi, Vietnam) 
                           August 6, 1995 
 
 
 
MR. DAVID BRINKLEY:  Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for talking with 
us.  We're pleased to have you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you, David. 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  Here with us in the studio in Washington are George Will 
and Cokie Roberts.  Sam Donaldson, who is not with us today, is 
recuperating from surgery; and they tell us he's doing fine, feels good, 
and we expect him back here soon.  Now, Mr. Secretary -- 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's great news. 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  We think so.  Tell us what you expect to come out of this 
new relationship with Vietnam.  We'll find out about the Missing in 
Action, we assume.  There will be some sort of trade relationship.  Tell 
me what you expect to see. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  David, the last couple of days here have been, I 
think, both historic and moving.  It has been about both the past and 
the future.  Yesterday I concentrated on the remains and the POWs and 
MIA issues.  As you said, we sent home to their families four more 
remains from Vietnam. 
 
I spent time in the afternoon at the headquarters where the fine young 
volunteers from the armed forces continue to search for remains here -- 
a very difficult and a very dangerous job. 
 
I think that this normalization is going to give a new impetus to the 
search.  It's very interesting to me, David -- the Vietnamese officials 
I talked to volunteered the fact that what we've done would only enhance 
their cooperation.  They understood that remained our highest priority. 
      
Today I focused on the future.  I was there when the flag was raised 
over our Embassy -- a very historic and dramatic moment -- and then this 
afternoon I spoke to about 300 university students here, talking about 
our future and their future.  One of the interesting things, David, I 
spoke in English, and all the questions and answers were in English.  
There's a real lesson for us in that.  This country is clearly on the 
move, and I think it's one where there will be great economic progress. 
 
We didn't normalize for economic purposes, but that will be one of the 
dividends from it.  I had breakfast this morning with about 25 American 
businessmen who are here ready to be involved in this process. 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  Mr. Secretary, I understand now that there are only 55 
Americans missing in action and unaccounted for in Vietnam.  Is that 
number right as far as you know? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  There are so-called 55 discrepancy cases, David 
-- that is, cases where we had some indication that perhaps the pilot 
got out of the plane or we could not absolutely account for the fact 
that he may not have gone down with the plane.  We're working on those 
55 cases, and one by one they're trying to narrow them down. 
 
MR. GEORGE WILL:  Mr. Secretary, I know the State Department doesn't 
like to use the word "containment" with regard to China, but some people 
say the significance of our renewed relations with Vietnam is that it is 
a traditional rival of China -- China, which is making some people think 
aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and was making 
menacing tests of missiles near Taiwan. 
 
Can you tell us if containment is in some sense an objective of your 
trip there and if you are worried about this behavior on the part of 
China? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We've normalized with Vietnam because the 
President concluded it would best serve our interests, especially the 
interest in the POWs and the MIAs.  It's not directed against any 
country.  It's an indication of the United States' engagement in the 
Pacific. 
 
With respect to China, I had a good meeting with Qian Qichen, the 
Foreign Minister of China, in Brunei just before coming here.  We've had 
some difficult passages in our relationships recently, but I think that 
meeting restored some momentum to the relationship and I think it will 
give us an opportunity to talk about matters of the kind you mentioned.  
So I'm feeling somewhat encouraged on that front as well. 
      
MR. WILL:  With regard to Taiwan, could you state for us as clearly as 
possible what our position is?  As I understand it, it is that we 
believe in one China.  We acknowledge that Beijing thinks that Taiwan is 
part of China. 
 
Let me ask you this:  Would the use of force against Taiwan -- although 
we oppose any unilateral use of force -- would the use of force by 
Beijing against Taiwan be different in moral status or international 
legal status than the use of force by Lincoln against South Carolina, a 
breakaway state? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  George, both parties, I think, are determined 
that that matter shall be settled peacefully.  That's certainly part of 
the United States position.  It's part of the three communiques.  China 
and Taiwan have been meeting together, talking about matters; and I 
think the hope is that they'll resolve these matters between them. 
 
It is not a situation where we think force should be used, and we 
certainly hope it won't be.  The fact that the parties are meeting, 
discussing relations between them, I think is the best sign that they 
desire to resolve this in a peaceful manner.  Certainly, we strongly 
urge that. 
 
MS. COKIE ROBERTS:  Mr. Secretary, you said that there have been rough 
patches in the relationship with China, and clearly one of those is the 
detainment of Harry Wu.  As long as he is in jail, would you recommend 
to Mrs. Clinton that she go to China for the Women's Conference in 
September? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Cokie, let me say that that's a very important 
conference.  As you know, Madeleine Albright, our United Nations 
Ambassador, is going to be the head of our delegation there.  Mrs. 
Clinton has expressed a desire to consider going.  That's under 
consideration now.  There are a number of factors -- 
 
MS. ROBERTS:  But as the chief diplomat of the country, what would you 
recommend to her? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I don't think I want to give my recommendations 
to Mrs. Clinton on this television program, unfortunately, Cokie.  I'm 
sorry to disappoint you in that regard. 
 
MS. ROBERTS:  Too bad.  (Laughter)  Sorry about that. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  But we'll be discussing her trip when I get 
back.  As I say, there are a number of factors to be considered as to 
whether or not she goes.  I know she would like to go.  But it's an 
important congress, and we're going to be well represented in any event. 
      
MS. ROBERTS:  You are in Vietnam, and one of the -- you talked about 
trade being a bonus, and there are reports this morning that say it will 
be about a year before a trade agreement.  How much will human rights be 
an issue in coming to a trade agreement with Vietnam? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Certainly human rights is a very important 
issue.  I have talked about the human rights issue at all of the 
meetings I've had here with the leaders of Vietnam.  They understand 
it's a matter of concern for us.  We'll be addressing the trade 
agreement and MFN status in light of the congressional statutes, and 
we'll also be consulting with Congress on that issue. 
 
I think it's very much in the United States' interest to move forward in 
an economic relationship with Vietnam, but we're not going to ignore our 
other interests, and that is our interest in promoting human rights. 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  George, you've got about a minute. 
 
MR. WILL:  Mr. Secretary, in the former Yugoslavia, Croatia, which seems 
to have armed itself well in spite of the arms embargo, is now moving 
against the Serbs who have taken over part of its territory -- about a 
third of the territory of Croatia. 
 
The United States is said to be winking and nodding and giving them an 
amber, if not a green, light to this.  Can you tell us precisely what 
our position is about the attempt of the Croatian army to recapture this 
territory from the Serbs? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  George, I'd rather talk about what the facts are 
rather than about winks and nods and yellow and green lights.  The facts 
are that the United States has counseled restraint on the Croatians from 
the very beginning.  Our Ambassador has been working very hard to try to 
get the parties to agree.  Right up to the last moment, he thought there 
was a possibility of agreement. 
 
The Croatians have now gone forward with an offensive.  But we should 
remember how this began in this particular segment.  It began with a 
Serb offensive in Bihac.  The Croatians have responded.  Now we need to 
look at the facts the way they are at the present time. 
 
We certainly didn't want this to happen.  We didn't urge it.  But the 
facts may possibly give rise to a new strategic situation which turn out 
to be to our advantage. 
 
What we must remember is that this is not going to be settled on the 
battlefield.  What we do need is a negotiated settlement; and maybe 
these circumstances -- tragic as they are -- will provide a new basis 
for a negotiated settlement.  We're going to be working on that. 
      
MR. BRINKLEY:  Mr. Secretary, with no wink and no nod, thank you very 
much for being with us today.  A pleasure to have you.  We wish you 
luck. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  David, I think this is the first live feed from 
Hanoi, isn't it? 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  I don't know.  To be honest, I don't know.  It's our 
first.  Anyway, thank you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I was told that out here. 
 
MR. BRINKLEY:  Anyway, thank you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you. 
 
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