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U.S. Department of State
96/07/22 Press Briefing en route Jakarta, Indonesia
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
(En route Jakarta, Indonesia)
For Immediate Release July 22, 1996
ON-THE-RECORD BRIEFING BY
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
July 22, 1996
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: First, let me say thank you all for making this
long trip with me. I appreciate those who stayed on board.
I haven't had a chance to comment on the success of Dick Holbrooke's
mission to Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. I met with Dick in the
Situation Room for about an hour just before winding up things on Friday
night, and then Dick called at home on Friday night and we had a long
talk as well. I am really pleased with the results of that mission. It
does make it possible for the election to go forward with the SDS party
freed of the leadership of Karadzic. It is very important, and this is
something Dick and I emphasized to each other, that the agreement
reached be faithfully implemented. It is something that you always have
to be mindful of when dealing with the Bosnia situation. So we will be
following it very closely to make sure that Karadzic lives up to his
promise to take himself completely out of the political life of Bosnia.
If that happens it would obviously be positive, but I do want to
emphasize this is a positive step forward -- it is not by any means all
that we desire in this situation, and we will be pressing forward on how
to get Karadzic out of Bosnia and we would like to see him in the Hague
before the War Crimes Tribunal.
In respect to the elections, we have a lot of work to do between now and
September 14 to makeant, new, growing institution for focusing on security issues in
the region. As we all know, the United States has five very important
treaties in this region and I will have a chance to at least touch on
each of them as I involve myself here.
Our relationship with Japan is in very good and healthy condition thanks
to the declarations that were reached on President Clinton's trip. The
situation with South Korea is in good shape, and we are working closely
together on seeking the "2+2" dialogue with North Korea and again
seeking to emphasize the importance of North-South dialogue.
In the Philippines, the President and I were there a year or two ago and
we will be there again this year for the APEC meeting in November. The
Thailand Foreign Minister, the new Foreign Minister; I will have the
opportunity to meet with for the first time. As you know, Tony Lake was
there emphasizing the continuing importance that we attach to the
Overall, the meeting of the ARF is an opportunity to emphasize the
security relationships in the Pacific. We will be talking with the
Philippine Foreign Minister about the upcoming APEC meeting there to
emphasize prosperity and trade. As you know, part of these meetings are
the post-ministerial conference after the ASEAN meetings and I want to
emphasize the trade side of it.
I will be having several important bilateral meetings which we can talk
more about another time. As you know, I will be meeting Yevgeniy
Primakov, the Russian Foreign Minister and Qian Qichen, the Chinese
Foreign Minister. We will be having a trilateral meeting with the
Japanese and Koreans, and I will also be meeting for the first time with
the new Indian Foreign Minister, whom I have not met before but look
forward to meeting with.
I am sure Winston has given you more details about each of those things.
This is a very valuable trip and I think it is very important for a
Secretary of State to be out here, reflecting the tremendous importance
of this region and welcoming the substance and authenticity these new
institutions are building here. I have said before that sometimes
Europe seems to have too many overlapping institutions, and the Pacific
area has the need for the kind of institutions that are being created
here. There are no better examples than the ASEAN Regional Forum and
With that brief beginning, I will open myself to your questions.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you are going to have a meeting tonight with
ASEAN foreign ministers at dinner. Are you going to discuss their very
warm embrace of Burma with them?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: First, I am not quite ready to agree with the
premise of your question. I saw the press story but I have not seen
exactly what was said. In any event, I will discuss Burma with them.
We are very concerned about the situation in Burma -- concerned that the
indication of additional strictures or repressive steps not prevent a
dialogue between the SLORC and Aung San Suu Kyi. It is an opportunity
for me and some of my colleagues, who I think feel like-minded about it,
to emphasize the importance we attach to progress in Burma in respect to
the political situation as well as in the narcotics front. We have, as
you know, important matters being considered in the Congress regarding
Burma and this gives an opportunity to outline our concerns and the
concerns I think others have -- the European Union passed a resolution a
few days ago expressing their similar concerns. So one of the things
that tonight's dinner will provide is an opportunity to emphasize this.
We have a number of options that will be before us that will not be part
of this meeting, but there are a number of options the United States
has, looking down the road. I think this will be an opportunity to
raise this subject, to let them know our views, to indicate the options
that we have, including the option of sanctions, which you know is being
considered as part of the legislation now up in the Congress.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have a question about the ASEAN Regional
Forum. What do you see is the importance of India joining? And do you
see any likelihood that this forum, if Pakistan was also to be included,
could become a forum where the India-Pakistan issue could some how be
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Well, the importance of India joining means that
there will be an opportunity for a dialogue with the new Indian
government on security issues. For example, I expect that there will be
conversations both in bilateral meetings as well as probably the larger
meeting about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. So I think it's just
an illustration of the value of having a security dialogue here in this
With respect to Pakistan joining, certainly it is a theoretical
possibility if they were to join there would be an opportunity for the
two countries to get together in this kind of forum. One of the things
that you frequently need is an umbrella that enables countries to get
together without one country or the other having to make some concession
in order to have the meeting. I think it is quite desirable that the
new Indian government has already reached out to the Pakistani
government, and I hope this can ensure a productive dialogue between
them as a longer term possibility. As you mentioned, it is something we
can look forward to.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, a question on Bosnia since you raised it.
Dayton left open the option in the elections that refugees could vote
either where they live now or where they used to live. But,
theoretically, you hoped and the emphasis was that they would register
where they live. There are reports that the Bosnian Serbs have enrolled
up to 125,000 Serbs from other parts of Bosnia in the Srpska. Is this
worrisome to you?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: First, Judd, I did raise Bosnia but Bosnia
always seems to come up so I did not have to raise it to make it fair
game. In the Dayton negotiations, I was personally involved in ensuring
that the refugees could vote in either place, that is where they reside
now or where they initially resided. That was very important because
the two parties had directly conflicting views about that and this
resolution was an important one. I have seen the reports that you refer
to Judd, and I just think it is something we will have to watch play out
as plans for the election get closer and we see how the voting patterns
are. I am not sure enough about the facts to be willing to make any
comment at the present time. It will be very important as we conduct
the elections to make sure that provision of the Dayton agreement is
fully respected and not distorted and not put to improper use.
QUESTION: When you meet with Mr. Primakov, will you bring up the
renewed fighting in Chechnya? Vice President Gore did not seem to have
much influence on that issue.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I will certainly bring it up and I hope our
raising it again will bring to their attention the importance of finding
a political solution to the problem. It is no less important now then
it was before that the killing be stopped there and a political solution
be found to the problem. I think we should never judge the question
"whether we raise it" by whether or not we get instant gratification.
It is important to continue raising these questions and hope over time
the effect of making our views known will have some resonance there.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on China. You will see Qian Qichen. Do you
have any travel plans to China right now?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Well, as you know, in my speech in New York I
emphasized the importance of exchanges at a high level as our relations
are improving and have improved. What I hope to do with the Foreign
Minister is to establish a framework for visits that will take place,
assuming there is another Clinton Administration -- I think this will
give us a useful opportunity to plan visits from now to the end of the
year but also to plan visits at the highest levels, including the Vice
President. If the Clinton/Gore ticket prevails in November, I hope this
meeting will enable us to take further steps toward some concrete
planning to develop a framework for visits for the remainder of this
year as we move into a new Clinton/Gore Administration, if that takes
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Fujii from Kyodo News. One question on North
Korea. Do you see any signs that North Korea might be accepting a joint
brief for the Four Party Talks? On the upcoming trilateral talks, would
you be discussing any possibility of easing sanctions on North Korea or
further food assistance? Thank you.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: There has been no acceptance yet by North Korea
of the briefing to which you speak. First, they have not rejected it,
which I think is a good sign. And, second, they have indicated that
might be possible if there were further steps taken by the United
States, South Korea, or the international community. I would say we are
in the course of a delicate and very important negotiation to try to
move toward a North-South dialogue on a "2+2" basis. In dealing with
North Korea, it is necessary to be both persistent and patient and also
to recognize they frequently agree only at the end of a protracted
period. You really have to be both patient and persistent and recognize
that we are dealing with a country where the government mechanisms are
THE PRESS: Thank you.
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