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U.S. Department of State
95/07/28-Christopher: US National Interest in Asia-Pacific
Office of the Spokesman 
                            U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            Office of the Spokesman 

For Immediate Release                           July 28, 1995 
                              National Press Club 
                                Washington, D.C. 
                                 July 28, 1995 
(Introduction of Secretary Christopher.) 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Bud, thank you very much for that nice 
introduction.  It was so substantive that I think you've made probably 
most of the points that I intend to make today.  (Laughter)  I will, 
nevertheless, continue. 
As you say, tomorrow I depart on my sixth trip to Asia as Secretary of 
State.  First, I go to Brunei for the annual meeting of the ASEAN group 
-- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  Then I go to Malaysia to 
meet with that country to try to strengthen our ties with a country of 
increasing importance.  Then to Cambodia, whereas Bud says I'll be the 
first Secretary of State to visit since John Foster Dulles, and have a 
chance to reaffirm our support for the efforts of the people of that 
country to overcome what is a very tragic past.  And then to Vietnam, 
which is a trip that I greatly look forward to, to have an opportunity 
to carry forward the normalization that President Clinton announced in a 
very farsighted way the other day, and also to continue to pursue the 
high priority that the President has given to getting the fullest 
possible accounting of information with respect to the POWs and MIAs. 
Over the past half century, I have personally witnessed many of the 
historic changes that have swept the Pacific.  As a teenager, I moved to 
Los Angeles and watched California build links between the Far West and 
the Far East.  As a young ensign in the U.S. Navy in World War II, I saw 
the Asia-Pacific region devastated by four years of war.  As a young 
negotiator in the textile talks in Japan in the early  
l960s, I saw firsthand the region poised for a very rapid economic 
growth.  And now as a still-young (laughter) -- well, almost -- 
Secretary of State, I see a region with extraordinary potential for 
prosperity, stability, and democracy. 
This hopeful turn of events would not have come to pass without the 
indispensable role played by the United States.  After World War II, 
America's leaders understood that a secure and prosperous Asia was vital 
to our national interest.  Our military presence promoted stability.  It 
gave nations in the region a chance to build thriving economies for the 
benefit of all. 
The transformation of the Asia-Pacific region that has taken place since 
World War II is truly breathtaking.  In the space of half a century, 
nations that were among the oldest outposts of colonialism are now among 
the newest frontiers and most successful exponents of capitalism.  
Underdeveloped, largely rural societies have moved to dynamic modern 
economies offering broad opportunities to all the peoples of their 
These economic miracles are increasingly associated with the spread of 
political freedoms and vibrant social societies.  As a result, we are 
turning the seas and skies that once divided us into channels of 
communication and cooperation. 
The trade and investment dollars that stream between Asia and America 
create jobs and propel our economic growth.  Our nation, I should 
emphasize also, has been enriched by millions of Asian Americans imbued 
with the values of education and hard work and family -- values that are 
just as important to Americans as they are to Asians -- and with it a 
stream of marvelous Asian students in our universities, probably the 
most numerically largest, and in many ways the most successful, of our 
foreign students in our universities. 
On the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, American 
leadership in Asia remains as essential to our security and prosperity 
as ever before.  With the end of the Cold War, the political landscape 
in Asia is undergoing really profound changes.  Nowhere is this more 
apparent than in the largest powers in Asia -- Russia, China, and Japan.  
So in this time of great uncertainty and change, a stable U.S. presence 
seems to me to be increasingly important, and that is why President 
Clinton has renewed and reinforced our commitment to be and remain a 
Pacific power. 
Our strategy in the region recognizes the new opportunities and 
challenges that are posed by the post-Cold War world.  Fortunately, this 
region is now remarkably free of conflict.  But while no major power 
views another power as  
an immediate military threat, there is a considerable danger that age-
old rivalries could be rekindled. 
There is also the problem that the dynamic economic growth that is 
spurring integration is at the same time creating new tensions, as there 
is a competition for resources and markets.  With the growth of those 
markets and those economies and with new technologies have also come the 
spread of weapons of mass destruction.  There has also come the 
emergence of very ugly networks of narcotics suppliers as well as very 
severe pressures on the environment from the growing economies. 
No single nation in the Pacific can confront these complex challenges 
all on its own.  Certainly they can best be met  through a community of 
nations acting together -- a very diverse community, to be sure, but one 
that's increasingly linked by shared values as well as shared interests. 
The leadership of the United States will be essential to bringing that 
community of the Pacific to life.  To ensure a peaceful and prosperous 
Asia-Pacific for the 21st Century, we've adopted what I describe as a 
four-part strategy. 
First, we will maintain and invigorate our core alliances with Japan, 
Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand. 
Second, we're actively pursuing a policy of engagement with the other 
leading countries in the region, including -- and, perhaps, especially 
including -- our former Cold War adversaries. 
Third, we're building a regional architecture that will sustain economic 
growth, promote integration, and assure stability over the longer term. 
And, fourth, we're supporting democracy and human rights, which serves 
our ideals as well as our interests. 
Let me tell you a little bit about each of those four points. 
Our strategy begins with our core alliances because we understand that 
security must come first.  Our military presence remains the foundation 
for stability and prosperity in a region where the interests of four 
major powers intersect.  This military presence is our first line of 
defense.  It safeguards our allies.  It protects our economic interest.  
And it reassures a region that is still troubled by historical 
antagonisms.  That's why our security presence in the Asia-Pacific 
region is so broadly welcomed.  I've really been struck over and over 
again by how often countries in the region are anxious to hear us say 
we're going to remain a Pacific power, and we'll remain in the region. 
Our Administration's bottom-up review of U.S. defense policy at the 
beginning of our Administration confirmed the continuing need for a 
forward deployed presence in Asia, and hence the United States is 
committed to maintaining approximately l00,000 troops in the Pacific -- 
the equivalent of how many we plan to maintain in Europe. 
America policy toward Asia begins with Japan.  The United States/Japan 
partnership is the very cornerstone of our engagement in the 
Asia/Pacific region.  Fifty years ago, the United States made a 
strategic choice to help Japan rebuild.  Today our democratic, our 
alliance with the democratic and prosperous Japan is one of the real 
successes of the post-war era. 
Our challenge now is to assure that the next five decades with Japan are 
as effective and prosperous as the last five decades have been. 
I'm struck by how few Americans know that we are maintaining 47,000 U.S. 
troops in Japan, and that's in addition to the men and women in the 
Seventh Fleet.  Their presence is no cold-war anachronism, as soon 
commentators have recently claimed.  On the contrary, these American 
troops, which are stationed in Japan, are a very wise investment in the 
future security of the region.  They provide a stabilizing presence for 
all the nations of Asia. 
Last November, the United States and Japan launched a new dialogue to 
renew and enhance our security ties.  I'm pleased to have been part of 
that, as the Defense and Foreign Ministers of our two countries are 
examining very important issues like the interoperability of our forces 
which, of course, are enhanced when Japan purchases our U.S. weapons 
systems which, fortunately, they so often do. 
This new dialogue is also concentrating on such things as host nation 
support under which Japan provides 70 percent of the cost of our 
presence in Japan, another fact that is really not very well known to 
the American people.  And we are deepening our global cooperation which 
has been very valuable, as Japan has begun to participate in 
peacekeeping endeavors in such places as Cambodia and Mozambique and 
In the post cold war world, we feel that Japan is in a position to take 
on even greater responsibilities than in the past, and that is why we 
are supporting Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the U. N. 
Security Council. 
Together we are doing a number of important things already.  For 
example, supporting reform in Russia, peace in the Middle East, and 
stability in Haiti.  And together we are addressing complex global 
issues like unsustainable population growth, AIDs and pollution through 
what we call our common agenda.  And so, working together, what we have 
done together, makes us feel that Japan can even do more to take its 
place as one of the great countries in the world. 
As the two largest economies in the world, America and Japan also share 
a responsibility to uphold the goal of open trade and to support the 
international financial system.  Our Administration has consistently 
sought to open Japan's markets, a role that we have taken because we 
know it will benefit American businesses and American workers, as well 
as Japanese consumers and the rest of the world. 
Under the U.S./Japan economic framework, we have reached sixteen new 
agreements that expand our access and the access of the rest of the 
world to Japan's markets -- sixteen agreements just since we have been 
in office in the last two-and-a-half years. 
Last month, as you know, we concluded an important agreement with Japan 
that will widen the access to Japan's markets for autos and auto parts, 
and last week we resolved a dispute over air cargo. 
While each of these sixteen and, I guess, now eighteen agreements are 
important in themselves, we also need to work to implement the 
agreements, so they aren't just agreements on a shelf but are 
implemented in the market place, and that will be crucial for the United 
Our relationship with Japan is a multifaceted partnership.  It will 
achieve its broadest potential when all of the elements are strong -- 
strategic and military, diplomatic and political, and economic, as well. 
Let me turn now to Korea. 
It is really a great tribute to the Republic of Korea that our 
longstanding military and security alliance has now become a mature and 
important complete partnership.  Yesterday President Clinton and 
President Kim Young Sam of Korea unveiled a Korean war memorial that 
pays tribute somewhat belatedly to the shared sacrifice that sealed our 
alliance more than 40 years ago. 
Now that South Korea is a vibrant democracy, as well as a valued trading 
partner and a trusted comrade-in-arms, our relationship is stronger than 
ever before. 
The U.S. security commitment to South Korea, which is demonstrated by 
the 37,000 American troops who are stationed there, a somewhat better 
known statistic, that security relationship and our commitment to them 
remains unshakable.  Over the last two years, our determined diplomacy 
has put the North Korean nuclear issue on the road to resolution. 
The agreed framework between the United States and North Korea has 
frozen North Korea's nuclear program.  When this is fully implemented, 
the framework will eliminate entirely their dangerous nuclear program. 
As North Korea carries out its obligations under the framework, it can 
begin to develop more normal relationships with United States and the 
other nations of the region. 
But I'd have to say that any major improvement in our relationships with 
the North can come only with progress in relationships between the two 
In this context, recent talks between the North and the South on 
supplying much-needed rice to Pyongyang are a really quite hopeful 
development.  The resumption of a broader dialogue between North and 
South, especially a dialogue on the issue of a nuclear-free peninsula 
offers the only really meaningful hope for reduced tensions and ultimate 
reconciliation on the peninsula. 
The second element of our Pacific strategic is our policy of engagement 
with the other leading powers of the region, and, as I said, including 
especially our former cold-war adversaries. 
In that connection, of course, few nations are able to play as large a 
role in shaping Asia's future as is China.  With its vast population, 
its geographic reach, its rich history of cultural influence across 
Asia, its growing military power and its new economic dynamism, China is 
just unique. 
As we shape our policy and as we conduct our diplomacy with China, we 
must not allow short-term calculation to divert us from pursuing our 
long-term interests. 
I need not tell this sophisticated and experienced audience that we are 
going through a period of difficulty in this important relationship. 
One immediate cause of China's concern is that the recent private visit 
of Taiwan's leader, Lee Teng-hui, to his alma mater of Cornell, 
represents a shift in our approach to China. 
Let me say that this concern is unwarranted.  The private visit by Lee 
Teng-hui was a special situation, and a courtesy consistent with 
American values and opinion.  It did not constitute a shift in our 
policy toward China and Taiwan. 
The United States has not and does not intend to change its longstanding 
one China policy.  In this moment of difficulty, it's more important 
than ever for China, Taiwan and the United States to focus and reflect 
on the shared interest we have in maintaining the continuity of this 
It is a policy that especially and emphatically is in the interests of 
all of us together. 
Over 20 years ago, the United States and China made the strategic choice 
to end more than two decades of confrontation.  Since then, six American 
Presidents, both Democrats and Republicans alike, have pursued a policy 
of engagement with China that has served and is serving the enduring 
interests of everybody, United States and all the others in the region. 
The policy of engagement reflects the fundamental understanding that our 
ability to pursue significant common interests and to manage significant 
disinterests, would not be served by any attempt to isolate or contain 
China.  We do not intend to try to do so. 
The wisdom of this historic judgment of engagement has demonstrated time 
and again that our ability to work together on key challenges of 
regional and global importance will be best manifested by being engaged; 
by working together on such issues as the North Korean nuclear issue 
where China was of some help; and on the extension of the Non-
Proliferation Treaty where we worked together at the United Nations. 
The virtues of this policy of engagement have also been demonstrated by 
the benefits of our success together in Cambodia, as well as the 
launching of the new regional security dialogues under the ASEAN 
Since 1972, the basis for our engagement has been our one China policy.  
We have consistently followed the basic principles developed in the 
Shanghai Communique of 1972, the 1979 Communique establishing diplomatic 
relations, and the 1982 U.S.-China Communique on arms sales. 
Pursuant to these vital documents, we recognize that the Government of 
the PRC is the sole legal government of China.  We acknowledge the 
Chinese position that there is  
but one China, and that Taiwan is part of China.  We reaffirm that we 
have no intention of advocating or supporting a policy of two Chinas or 
one China/one Taiwan. 
This policy has produced enormous benefits for the United States as well 
as for China and Taiwan.  It has helped to keep the peace, and it has 
helped to fuel prosperity on both sides of the Strait, and it is 
certainly helping to propel Taiwan's flourishing democracy. 
Just as we look to the continued strengthening of the U.S.-China 
relationship, we also expect that the unofficial ties between the 
American people and the people of Taiwan, pursuant to the Taiwan 
Relations Act of 1979, that those ties will also thrive. 
The United States, China and Taiwan share a strong responsibility to 
pursue policies that foster continued stability in the region. 
Managing our differences with China on Taiwan and other issues does not 
mean downplaying their importance.  For example, on human rights we 
still have profound disagreements.  We will continue to promote 
universally recognized human rights in China as well as elsewhere. 
We also have serious concerns with respect to the proliferation of 
weapons of mass destruction.  Today such weapons and their delivery pose 
the greatest threat to global security.  As a nuclear power, China, just 
as the United States does, has special responsibilities.  Since the 
outset of our Administration, we've made the case to China that curbing 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is in the overriding mutual 
interest of all of us. 
We're concerned particularly about arms transfers to volatile regions 
like South Asia and to rogue regimes like Iran.  The best way we feel to 
resolve these concerns is through dialogue between the United States and 
China, and that is why I urge China to resume our discussions on non-
proliferation matters. 
Just as we have a mutual interest in holding the spread of weapons of 
mass destruction, we also share with China an interest in assuring 
regional stability.  As China seeks to modernize its military forces, 
greater transparency about its military capabilities and its military 
intentions could do a great deal to reassure its neighbors. 
Our differences with China are an argument for engagement, not for 
containment or isolation.  Neither the United States nor China can 
afford the luxury of walking away from our responsibility to manage our 
differences.  China has as much interest in maintaining constructive 
relationships as we do. 
Let me say that China can take an immediate step to help restore a more 
positive atmosphere with the immediate release of American citizen Harry 
Moving on to another subject and area, I look forward to meeting with 
Foreign Minister Qian Qichen of China in Brunei when I go there this 
weekend.  I'll be meeting with him on August 1.  I intend to discuss 
with him at that time the fundamentals of our relationship, to reiterate 
the continuity of our policy, to address candidly our areas of agreement 
and disagreement, and to seek to restore the positive momentum in our 
relationship that marked the earlier period.  A strong, stable, open and 
prosperous China can be a valuable partner for the United States and a 
responsible leader of the international community. 
A week from tomorrow I will arrive in Hanoi.  Since taking office, 
President Clinton has made his top priority with respect to Vietnam the 
fullest possible accounting of our prisoners of war and those missing in 
action.  We have been encouraged by the results of Hanoi's recent 
cooperation during the months we've been in office. 
We're convinced that normalizing relations is the best way to keep up 
this momentum and to achieve further results.  That is why after a 
decade of war and two decades of estrangement the President made his 
courageous decision to establish diplomatic relations between our two 
Let me add that I have been personally inspired by the opportunity to 
work with the elected leaders of both parties, including Senator John 
McCain and Senator John Kerry and Senator Bob Kerrey and Representative 
Pete Peterson to bring about this normalization and to help close a very 
bitter chapter in our nation's history. 
Closer engagement with Vietnam is in America's interest in many ways, in 
addition to the POW and MIA issue.  We can work together to promote 
economic reform, to focus on the rule of law, human rights, regional 
peace and stability, and to pursue areas of common interest, like the 
fight against narcotics trafficking. 
Similarly, engagement with other leading nations of Asia is crucial to 
our interest in that burgeoning region.  Indonesia, Malaysia and 
Singapore are dynamic countries from an economic standpoint which can 
make important contributions to regional stability and thus are very 
important parts of our dialogue in Asia. 
In the long run, however, despite the advantages of these bilateral 
contacts, we need to build mechanisms of cooperation on a multilateral 
basis to assure that the current favorable environment will endure.  
Thus, the third element of our strategy is to build a sound architecture 
for regional cooperation. 
The creation of the ASEAN Regional Forum is an important initial step in 
this process.  This forum reflects what might be called the ASEAN way of 
doing things:  consultation, consensus and cooperation.  We see this 
forum and the emerging security dialogue in northeast Asia as crucial 
supplements to our alliances and to our forward military presence in the 
Asia-Pacific region. 
Next week in Brunei, I'll join my colleagues from 17 Asia-Pacific 
nations and the European Union for the second meeting of the ASEAN 
Regional Forum.  We'll be discussing security challenges such as the 
North Korean nuclear issue and the importance of freedom of navigation. 
In this connection, let me emphasize that we've consistently urged the 
claimants to the resources in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea 
to resolve their differences through dialogue and not through any 
military confrontation. 
These important but nascent efforts to build mechanisms for security 
cooperation in Asia complement the remarkable economic integration that 
the nations are in the process of achieving through APEC.  These 
significant accomplishments are attributable in no small part to 
President Clinton's vision in convening the first ever APEC leaders' 
meeting two years ago in Seattle.  Then last year in Bogor in Indonesia, 
the APEC leaders committed to achieve free trade in the Asia-Pacific 
region by the year 2020.  And this year in the Osaka meeting of APEC in 
November, leaders will turn this historic vision from the Bogor 
Conference into a blueprint for action, a blueprint which should set 
forth the shared principles, specific goals, and a process for achieving 
them by 2020. 
The fourth and final element of our strategy is our steadfast support 
for human rights and democracy.  Just as open markets and open sea lanes 
promote prosperity and security in the Pacific, so do open societies.  
Business people in Shanghai and in San Francisco may speak quite 
different languages, but they agree that enterprise survives and thrives 
best when ideas and information are freely exchanged. 
The experiences of many democracies across the region tell us that 
accountable government and the rule of law are the bedrock of stability 
and prosperity. 
On the other hand, the experiences of countries like Burma and North 
Korea tell us that repression only entrenches poverty.  Open societies 
do make better neighbors.  History shows us that the greatest threats to 
security in the Asia-Pacific region have come from governments that 
flout the rule of law at home and reject it abroad. 
On human rights issues, every nation must find its own way, consistent 
with its history and culture.  But at the same time, all have a 
responsibility to meet international obligations and to respect the 
standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  America will 
continue to champion human rights in the movement toward open societies 
and we'll do so without arrogance but also without apologies. 
In this connection, we'll continue to assist countries that are 
embracing democracies -- new democracies such as Cambodia and Mongolia -
- to assist them in the development of their political parties, to try 
to advise them on the development of their political institutions. 
In Burma, the efforts of the United States and the international 
community have helped to lead to the recent release of the imprisoned 
opposition leader, distinguished Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.  
We welcome this step, but we believe that its true significance will 
depend ultimately on whether or not it represents a real movement toward 
the restoration of democratic government. 
I might say we're particularly interested in seeing movement toward an 
accountable government in Burma since it is the world's largest supplier 
of heroin. 
In sum, my trip to the region, starting tomorrow morning, will advance 
the four key elements of our Asia-Pacific strategy:  reaffirmation of 
our alliances, engagement with Asia's leading powers, construction of an 
enduring mechanism for regional cooperation, and support for human 
rights and democracy.  Taken together, these elements will advance our 
broad-ranging interests in a region that is so vital to both our 
security and prosperity. 
Together with our Asian friends, we've traveled an enormous distance 
since the end of the war in the Pacific half a century ago.  American 
leadership and American engagement have been absolutely essential on 
that great journey.  It will be no less so as we seek to shrink the 
distances that separate us and to create a promising Pacific future that 
all of us can profitably and securely share. 
Thank you very much. 
(Sustained applause) 
MODERATOR:  Now comes the hard part, Sir, the questions.  Let's start 
with Hanoi.  How will you proceed if the move in Congress to block funds 
for an Embassy in Vietnam succeeds? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Now comes the interesting part.  I don't expect 
it to succeed, frankly.  I think there is bipartisan support for the 
farsighted step that President Clinton took.  I believe that when the 
matter actually is focused on in Congress, they will recognize that the 
time has come to put our relationships with Vietnam on a new and better 
basis.  They'll understand, as the President did, as I recommended, that 
our chance to improve our situation with respect to the POWs and MIAs, 
to move even beyond the favorable results we've already had, will be 
enhanced by normalizing our relationship, and that there are other 
important values to be promoted:  relationships with respect to human 
rights, the rule of law, cooperation on narcotics trafficking, as well 
as economic cooperation. 
I believe in this very strongly and firmly, and I think that the 
Congress will too.  I was struck by the strong bipartisan support that 
there was when the President made the announcement at the White House. 
QUESTION:  Let's move on to Taiwan.  Do your remarks mean that the 
Clinton Administration will prohibit President Lee of Taiwan to visit 
the United States again? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  No.  The answer is that it will not.  As I said, 
his visit was a special circumstance.  It was an unofficial visit.  It 
was a private visit, and it was, I believe, the first time that he's 
been here in the United States.  I think that it's important to 
understand the fundamental difference between the official relationship 
that we have with China and the unofficial relationship that we have, 
pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act, with Taiwan. 
This carefully calculated, carefully drawn set of relationships has 
served all the parties very well.  There's been great prosperity in 
Taiwan and a strong move towards democracy, and in China there has also 
been considerable economic progress and prosperity. 
The policy that I outlined in my remarks today is a regime that has 
served all of the parties, all the elements very well, and we should 
maintain it.  We should carefully preserve it. 
QUESTION:  In the light of China's recent military exercise off the 
northern coast of Taiwan, is China a threat to its neighbors, and has 
the U.S. made any contingency plan pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act 
should China invade Taiwan? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As I said in my remarks, I think that it's 
desirable for peace and stability in the region for Taiwan and China and 
the United States to continue to follow the policies laid down in the 
three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.  They have served all 
the parties very well, and I think that one of my main subjects of 
discussion with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen of China will be to 
emphasize that the United States has not changed its policy.  We're not 
embarking on a new policy.  The existing policy is working very well and 
for the interest of all parties. 
We think that there is no basis for threats between the parties.  As a 
matter of fact, one of the things I'd like to emphasize here today is 
the importance of China and Taiwan working out the problems together.  
There have been discussions between them.  Those discussions should 
continue.  That's the way to resolve those problems, in dialogue and in 
QUESTION:  One more question on Taiwan.  A committee on the Hill is 
scheduling hearings on U.N. membership with Taiwan.  In your view, does 
Taiwan qualify for U.N. membership, and will the U. S. support such a 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  No easy questions today, are there?  (Laughter)  
Membership in the United Nations is based upon, as I understand it, 
statehood, and United States will not support Taiwan's membership in the 
United Nations under current circumstances.  That would be not 
consistent with the remarks I have made today, not consistent with the 
three communiques which I have summarized here, and, of course, which 
are well-known. 
QUESTION:  Will the Clinton Administration order additional sanctions 
against China for supplying missile technology to Pakistan and Iran? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As I mentioned in my remarks, we are concerned 
about proliferation issues, and we are certainly concerned about it as 
they relate to South Asia.  We monitor it very carefully and very 
At the present time, although there is a fairly large body of evidence, 
we do not think there is the evidence there that would justify the 
imposition of sanctions.  But I want to assure all that we feel an 
obligation to keep this matter  
carefully under review and to follow and comply with the law in this 
QUESTION:  You called for the prompt release of Harry Wu.  What's your 
interpretation of the tape that was released by the Chinese Government?  
Is this a sign that having been humiliated and forced to confess, will 
he now be released, and how long are you prepared to wait for his 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, with respect to the tape, it appears to 
have been a tape which was made by the Chinese, and I think we can all 
have some understanding of the conditions under which such a tape might 
have been made by Harry Wu.  So I think there ought to be some 
skepticism about all the statements that are made on the tape. 
I don't think it is very useful here to treat this matter in a 
legalistic way.  Harry Wu is a United States citizen, and we think that 
the most positive contribution to our relationships would be if China 
would promptly release him.  We are urging his prompt release and I hope 
it will happen in the near future, although I don't want to make any 
predictions on that score, nor would I want to set any kind of a 
QUESTION:  How concerned are you that Japan's banking crisis could 
mushroom into a worldwide financial crisis? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's a good question for the Secretary of the 
Treasury.  (Laughter)  Where are you, Bob Rubin, when I need you?  Not 
here, I guess. 
I'm not an expert on Japan's banking situation.  I do know it is a 
matter of concern.  You well remember, it was not too many years ago 
when the United States was concerned about the banking situation that 
arises when there are many property loans and the property turns out to 
be overvalued.  The United States banks have come through that in a very 
strong way.  I think our banking system has been strengthened by the 
steps that were taken at that time; and in my non-expert capacity, I 
would say that I hope that the Japanese banks will make a similar 
adjustment to the problem that faces them at the present time. 
QUESTION:  Moving to Bosnia -- you knew you wouldn't get away without a 
few on Bosnia. 
Is the United States covertly helping or encouraging Muslim nations to 
supply arms to the Bosnian Government? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The United States is not, underline not, 
covertly supplying arms or supporting the supply of arms to the Bosnian 
Let me say a few words by way of explanation.  Under the Nunn-Mitchell 
Amendment to a recent statute, the United States no longer is in a 
position to enforce the United Nations embargo.  At the same time, we 
are obligated by our commitment to the United Nations and our statutes 
to honor that embargo. 
So while we are not actively enforcing it any longer, pursuant to an Act 
of Congress, at the same time, we will honor it and we are not, to 
repeat myself, covertly supplying arms or taking steps to support arms.  
Stories in that respect are not accurate. 
QUESTION:  After last week's decision to protect the safe area of 
Gorazde with airstrikes, the Bosnian Serbs predictably shifted their 
offensive to other areas.  Will the allies use airstrikes to protect 
Sarajevo and other safe areas? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  When we met in London last week -- that is, the 
Foreign Ministers of the l6 countries involved in this, the troop-
supplying countries and other involved -- the most direct threat at that 
time was to Gorazde.  It looked like it would be the next target for the 
Bosnian Serbs.  It was the third of the enclaves; indeed, at that time 
threats had been made by General Mladic that he would take Gorazde.  So 
I think it was natural for us last Friday -- and was it only a week ago 
that we met in London? -- that a decision was taken that if there was an 
attack on Gorazde it would be met resolutely by an air campaign, and we 
took a number of steps that would make such an air campaign possible. 
We also at that time though recognized that there might be threats to 
other enclaves, and we talked at that time about applying the Goradze 
techniques to the other enclaves.  When NATO acted last Tuesday, I 
believe it was, they indicated that they felt the Gorazde techniques 
could be adapted to the other enclaves.  They're all slightly different; 
they all face slightly different threats.  You look at Bihac and you see 
the five various vectors of force that are coming in on Bihac at the 
present time -- obviously quite a different thing than drawing the line 
at Gorazde. 
Early this morning I talked to Secretary General Willy Claes of the 
United Nations as to the progress that they were making in applying the 
Gorazde techniques to the other safe areas.  He told me that the 
military experts had substantially completed their work.  He assured me 
that the  
Military Committee would be meeting over this weekend to consider the 
recommendation from the military experts -- that is, the NATO military 
experts -- on how best to apply the Gorazde techniques to Bihac and 
other safe areas, and that the North Atlantic Council was available to 
meet next Monday on that subject. 
So I can tell you that NATO is moving resolutely to consider the other 
safe areas and how the new Gorazde procedures might be applied there.  I 
can also tell you that it won't be simple but that there's a 
determination to ensure that the Serb advance is met by the new 
techniques, the new resolution that was decided on last Friday in 
QUESTION:  Thank you.  We're running very close on the time, but let me 
ask you one quick question. 
When will the Mideast signing take place, and when will Syria sign on to 
the peace process? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  You mean just a couple of simple questions. 
QUESTION:  Yes, just a simple question.  (Laughter) 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I assume the first question refers to the 
signing of the second phase of the Declaration of Principles between 
Israel and the Palestinians.  Those discussions were nearing a 
conclusion when I think they were somewhat knocked off track by the 
suicide bombing in Tel Aviv -- another desperate effort of those who are 
trying to derail the peace process. 
The parties are going back into negotiations after a brief hiatus for 
mourning the, I believe it was, six who were killed.  They're going back 
into negotiations next Monday.  They have some difficult issues yet to 
resolve, but my information is that they are relatively close to 
resolution; and I hope they'll conclude them soon and there could be a 
signing in the near future. 
They've quite understandably taken the position that with the complexity 
of the issues -- trying to apply what basically were the techniques of 
Gaza and Jericho to the rest of the West Bank -- that that has turned 
out to be a very difficult exercise -- the redeployments, the election, 
and the broadening of the powers to all of the West Bank.  It's more 
important to get it right than it is to do it on any deadline date. 
I hope the signing will be soon, but I particularly hope that it will be 
done in a way that resolves the problems and ensures that they can move 
forward from that point. 
With respect to the Syrian track -- that was the other part of the 
question, wasn't it, Bud? 
QUESTION:  Right. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:   The two parties have got some very difficult 
security issues before them now.  The two Ambassadors may be meeting in 
the very near future to begin to address those issues.  The two Chiefs 
of Staff, as you know, met here a couple months ago; and those were, I 
think, meetings that moved the process forward. 
Rather than giving you too much detail, let me just emphasize that I 
think both parties are serious about making progress.  They're big 
decisions for both parties.  They reflect their fundamental security 
issues.  I think they both also understand that the clock is ticking and 
they need to accelerate their process. 
(VOA transmission terminated.) 
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