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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

May 7, 1998
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for this
opportunity to speak to you about U.S. security interests in the
For half a century, America's military presence and engagement has
been the basis for stability in East Asia. That stability has been the
key to the region's remarkable economic growth -- a prosperity in
which the American people as well as those of the region have a direct
national interest. Our interests require that we continue that
engagement in the future.
In January, I accompanied Secretary Cohen on his visit to Asia, at a
time when Asia had entered a period of financial crisis -- a crisis
which has security implications as well. As he met with leaders
grappling with this period of turmoil, which emerged so swiftly and
unexpectedly, he sought to assure them that the American commitment to
the region will continue now and into the future, serving as an anchor
of stability in times of economic, as well as security, challenge.
As Secretary Cohen said, we returned with a renewed appreciation of
two fundamental truths. The first is that Asia is a region of great
and growing global importance economically, politically, and
strategically. Even in this crisis, the sense of dynamism survives.
The second is that Asian leaders want the United States to be involved
during this crisis and especially to maintain its strong security
presence in the region. They value American engagement in good times
and bad.
There is a basic interplay between security and economic development.
Peace and security are, as others in the Pentagon have said before me,
the "oxygen" that permits economic development to occur. What Asians
have accomplished in the atmosphere of peace and stability is truly
amazing and very much to their own credit, but we must recognize our
role in providing the peace and security.
Security is even more important in times when nations must take the
tough decisions to surmount economic problems than in times of easy
prosperity. In this time of financial crisis in the region it is even
more important for us to continue to recognize the stabilizing role
that only America can play. We have a continuing interest in adhering
to four basic strategic tasks: We must maintain the vitality of our
bilateral alliances and friendships. We must maintain our forward
presence to ensure stability. We must promote a stable, sound, lasting
relationship with China, recognizing that both countries have a
fundamental interest in regional and global peace. And we must seize
the opportunities offered by multilateral fora -- organizations like
the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Northeast Asian Cooperation Dialogue
-- which advance transparency, resolve tensions, and improve
confidence between regional powers.
The U.S. government is working, diplomatically and through the
economic agencies, to help see that the financial crisis will be
resolved quickly and that the new economic structure that emerges will
be more open, more democratic, and more sound. With American
leadership, these results are certainly possible. At the same time,
beyond the necessary connection between security and prosperity, the
United States obviously has a great number of direct security
interests and challenges in the Asia-Pacific. Let me highlight the
following concerns:
-- Asia remains a concentration of powerful economically competitive
states with the world's largest militaries, some of which are nuclear
-- American alliances, built on undeniable mutual interests during the
Cold War, are facing new challenges and priorities for
-- Ancient rivalries, set aside in times of prosperity, may re-emerge
in times of distress.
-- Relations between nations with competing territorial claims are
already showing strains; unresolved claims to disputed small insular
areas and boundaries may prove especially dangerous.
-- Deep-seated ethnic tensions could increase perceptions of unfair
economic burdens; political turmoil and social unrest could result.
-- Key nations in the region are going through periods of fundamental
political, social, and economic transition.
-- Several nations in the region have active programs for nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons and the means to deliver them, which
are of concern both in themselves, and for their proliferation
In short, the current economic crisis reinforces the fundamental,
longstanding strategic policy the U.S. has pursued for decades. Now
more than ever the United States has an interest in helping to keep
the peace and maintain stability.
Indeed, we now have an opportunity to strengthen American leadership.
The talk of American decline, so prevalent to a visitor to Asia just a
few years ago, is noticeably silenced now. The region's leaders are
looking to America. We have an opportunity to work with Asia's leaders
to resolve long-standing sources of instability and head off potential
future problems.
The Quadrennial Defense Review reaffirmed America's strategic
commitment to remain forward-deployed in the region. Specifically, we
intend to maintain approximately 100,000 troops in the region, and
have committed the necessary resources in our long-term defense
planning. Our forward-deployed posture supports our strategy of
engagement in the Asia-Pacific region that we pursue through our
bilateral alliances and security relationships, our participation in
interlocking multilateral security fora, and our strategic engagement
of China.
There is very broad support in Asia for that presence and recognition
by key countries, notably Japan and Korea, of the need to continue to
host those forces in bases in the region. We have, of course, an
obligation to manage the inevitable problems our presence causes for
local communities, but there is every reason to be confident we will
continue to have the necessary access and bases to support our forward
All of the major powers in the region are, in their different ways,
undergoing major transformation. It is in the U.S. interest to remain
engaged and to help ensure that these transformations unfold in a
positive way and that these nations adopt policies that support
regional stability and security.
1. China. China is passing through a profound economic transition as
it moves from a command to a market economy -- and as a generation of
leaders schooled in the age of Mao yields, there will be political
change as well. China, by reason of size alone, is a dominant factor
in Asia. But it need not dominate or threaten its neighbors. The U.S.
has a profound interest in that transition, and in particular in the
new China being a constructive partner in international relations --
not a force for instability.
To that end, we seek a steady and sustained engagement that can help
shape that transition in positive directions. The United States does
not fear China, nor do we view China as an adversary. Rather, the U.S.
seeks to encourage China to step forward as a responsible and
cooperative great nation -- a nation that preserves its unique
identity and works to advance its own interests, but is more open on
security matters and more respectful of the rule of law; a nation that
adheres to international norms in its own affairs, including basic
human rights; a nation that plays a constructive international role
and respects the corresponding standards, including peaceful
resolution of disputes, the control of weapons of mass destruction,
and respect for freedom of the seas. And a nation that joins us in
rejecting a zero-sum attitude toward security by recognizing the
common interests we all share in a stable environment that ensures
security and promotes prosperity.
Just as economic growth and stability in China contribute to a
prosperous and stable Asia Pacific, so, too, does regional stability
create a favorable environment for China's economic development. In
this regard, it is important to note that Chinese economic development
is dependent on stability not only in the Asia Pacific region, but
also in the Arabian Gulf -- the source of a significant share of
energy imports by China and neighboring countries whose economies are
interwoven with China's. Any disruption of the flow of oil from the
gulf would clearly have a damaging effect on China's economy. And
should that disruption occur through the use of weapon technology
provided by China, it clearly would also have a damaging political
effect on China's relations with many countries around the world,
including the United States.
Among the most important agreements reached by Presidents Jiang Zemin
of China and Clinton during their summit in October concerned Chinese
assurances regarding exports of cruise missiles and nuclear
technology. Those assurances were re-affirmed to Sec. Cohen during his
visit. Given China's stake in Gulf stability, it is in China's own
self-interest to fully implement those assurances, as well as earlier
statements regarding WMD-related transfers, in order to ensure that
stability in the Gulf and Southwest Asia is not imperiled. Through
these assurances and other agreements, the October summit between
Presidents Clinton and Jiang gave great hope that our two nations can
work together in a variety of ways toward our common goals of
stability, security and prosperity. We remain alert to confirm that
China is abiding by the commitments it has made in the
nonproliferation field.
In the security realm, our two nations have already taken several
steps to increase mutual confidence and decrease miscalculation:
exchanging military personnel, and conducting reciprocal ship visits;
adopting procedures for U.S. Navy ships to continue to call in Hong
Kong ports; and, last month at the first-ever Sino-American defense
talks, signing an agreement to share information on humanitarian
exercises. During his visit to China, Secretary Cohen signed a
Military Maritime Consultative, Agreement which will both help avoid
incidents at sea and create a venue for dialogue between operational
naval officers. Such engagement gives hope that China is willing to
work with us to our mutual benefit and the benefit of the entire
I would also note that American interests and the interests of entire
region are best served if China also has good relations with Japan,
Korea and Russia, and if those countries have good relations with each
other. Good bilateral relations among the nations of Asia complement
our efforts; they do not threaten them.
U.S. Policy Toward Taiwan. The policy of the United States toward
Taiwan and the PRC is aimed at preserving peace and stability in the
Asia-Pacific region. Our strategy includes comprehensive engagement
with the PRC in an effort to bring China firmly into the international
system as a responsible participant and maintaining our obligations
toward Taiwan as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act. The Taiwan
Relations Act (TRA) of 1979 and the three joint Communiques form the
basis of U.S. policy regarding China, including the Taiwan issue. They
have been followed by successive administrations of both political
parties. Our premise is that an adequate defense in Taiwan is
conducive to maintaining peace and security while differences remain
between Taiwan and the PRC.
We take our obligation to assist Taiwan in maintaining a self-defense
capability very seriously. We do so not only because it is mandated by
U.S. law in the TRA, but also because it is in our own national
interest. While our arms sales policy aims to enhance Taiwan's
self-defense capability, it also seeks to reinforce regional
stability. We do not provide Taiwan with capabilities that might
provoke an arms race with the PRC or other countries in the region. We
understand that as long Taiwan has a capable defense capacity, the
environment will be more conducive to peaceful dialogue, and thus the
whole region will be more stable.
Let me now call attention to an aspect of the August 17, 1982, joint
Communique between the United States and the People's Republic of
China that is extremely important. At the time the Joint Communique
was issued, we made it clear that our statements were premised on the
expectation that the PRC would seek only a peaceful resolution of the
Taiwan issue. In that connection, we are encouraged by the recent
resumption of cross-Strait talks. A constructive and peaceful
Taiwan-PRC dialogue serves the interest of all the parties and is a
major element in achieving long-term regional peace and stability.
2. Japan. The U.S.-Japan security alliance played a critical role in
the Cold War and in fostering regional peace, stability and
prosperity. The sense of security it has fostered for Japan and
Japan's neighbors has propelled an economic tide that lifted millions
of people throughout Asia, promoted democratic development throughout
the region, and created a vast new market for America and the rest of
the world.
A strong U.S.-Japan security relationship will be as important to
Asia's future as it has been to its past. Both sides, and indeed
nations throughout the region, recognize the alliance as critical to
their interests of regional peace and stability. To this end, the U.S.
and Japan have taken a series of steps to reaffirm, update and
strengthen our alliance following the end of the Cold War.
In September 1997, the U.S. and Japan completed revisions to the
Guidelines for U.S.- Japan Defense Cooperation to ensure that we are
prepared for today's challenges -- from peacekeeping and humanitarian
relief to responding to regional contingencies, including developments
on the Korean peninsula. For the first time, Japanese political
leaders have explicitly authorized provision of rear area support to
U.S. forces engaged in the region to meet regional challenges. In
direct support of U.S. Forces' activities, Japan will provide
logistics supplies and services (including equipment, parts, fuel,
transportation, repair and maintenance), medical supplies and
services, security, communications, additional ports and airfields,
and port services. Japan will also cooperate in responding to a crisis
by providing assistance in surveillance, search and rescue, maritime
interdiction, minesweeping, air and sea space management, and
intelligence. The Guidelines enhance predictability and therefore
efficiency in our bilateral operations, and have promoted regional
confidence in the continued vitality of our alliance.
The Guidelines will be implemented, including by changes in Japanese
domestic legislation, within the terms of the Japanese Constitution.
They do not automatically commit the U.S. and Japan to any specific
action given an event in the region. The decision on whether to
respond and how to respond will be made by both of our governments at
the time of a crisis, depending upon the nature of the crisis and how
each of our national interests are affected. The Guidelines do,
however, provide the basis of the advance planning necessary for
cooperation to be possible, once it is decided on.
The strong U.S.-Japan security relationship is exemplified in Japan's
hosting of some 47,000 U.S. troops. Japan pays nearly $5 billion each
year to support stationing of these forces on their soil. This
translates into about $100,000 per year for every soldier, sailor,
airman, and marine serving in Japan. Meanwhile, the U.S. military
recognizes its obligation to be a good guest. In that connection, we
remain committed to the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO)
process and implementation of the SACO Final Report, including the
relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a new, sea-based
facility off Okinawa. The SACO Final Report includes 26 provisions, 12
of which have already been achieved, that are intended to reduce the
footprint of the U.S. military on Okinawa while fully maintaining our
operational capabilities.
3. Korea. The security alliance between the United States and the
Republic of Korea (ROK) serves as the foundation on which all U.S.
diplomatic, defense, and economic efforts on the Korean peninsula
rest. Without a strong, close bilateral security relationship, the
U.S. could not protect its significant interests on the peninsula and
in Northeast Asia. That alliance also serves to bolster security and
stability as ROK copes with its financial crisis -- so far with great
courage and long term perspective, and considerable initial success.
We cannot say when and we cannot say how, but change will come to the
Korean Peninsula. We are working on several fronts to enable change
there to be peaceful and orderly. The substantial deterioration in
North Korea's economic conditions has inevitably affected its military
forces; nonetheless, they are still capable of inflicting terrible
destruction on South Korea, especially with artillery, missile, and
chemical weapons. And North Korean leaders might miscalculate that a
military adventure could somehow ease, or divert from, their problems.
As ROK goes through what is in some sense its first real democratic
transition, the US-ROK security alliance will remain focused on
deterring renewed hostilities on the Korean peninsula as long as a
threat to the ROK exists. In these uncertain circumstances, the ROK
and U.S. have consulted closely and are prepared for a wide range of
challenges. The combined military forces of the United States and
Republic of Korea continue to enhance their capabilities to deter and,
if necessary, defeat aggression. In response to the continuing threat,
both the U.S. and ROK are modernizing their military equipment, with
significant upgrades in armor, artillery, attack aviation,
counterfire, and pre-positioned stocks. Also, to sharpen its
readiness, the Combined Forces Command is always refining its vigorous
program of exercises, field training, and computer simulations. While
the South Korean military will need to bear its share of the austerity
measures needed for ROK to overcome its financial problems, the new
administration of President Kim Dae Jung has made a strong commitment
to maintain ROK's defense capability, and its contribution to the
costs of U.S. presence.
The strong US-ROK deterrence posture has contributed to recent
diplomatic breakthroughs on the Korean peninsula. In particular, the
1994 Agreed Framework, which froze the destabilizing nuclear weapons
potential of the North's nuclear complex at Yongbyon, defused the most
immediate source of tension and deflected what could have been a
military confrontation with North Korea. Almost four years after it
was negotiated, more than 8,000 spent fuel rods have been canned. IAEA
oversight of the facility continues. The reprocessing plant at
Yongbyon has stayed closed down, and the reactor, which was capable of
producing enough plutonium annually for several nuclear bombs, has
been shut down. We continue to have concerns about North Korea's WMD
potential, both for its own use and for export, but the scale of the
problem has been significantly contained by the Agreed Framework.
In this connection, I want to underscore the importance of the U.S.
continuing to provide funding for KEDO -- which is a necessary
precondition for attracting broader international support and
confirming the commitment of Japan and ROK to pay for the light-water
The steadfast US-ROK security commitment has also helped create an
opening to pursue the Four Party peace proposal, North-South dialogue,
and other issues of concern, such as missile proliferation and the
recovery of Korean War remains.
Looking to the future, the U.S.-Korean alliance will continue to
promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific
region as a whole, even if the direct threat from the North were to
4. Indonesia. Indonesia, as the world's fourth most populous country,
and the world's largest Muslim nation, a model of religious tolerance,
the dominant member of ASEAN, and an influential participant in the
ASEAN Regional Forum and APEC, is poised to achieve even greater
influence on the world scene. In the security arena, as in political
and economic arenas, we share important, broad interests -- stability,
prosperity, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Indonesia is
highly respected as a responsible international actor. Jakarta has
exercised leadership on regional security problems such as Cambodia
and the South China Sea, has a long tradition of supporting UN
peacekeeping operations, and has been heavily involved in global
disarmament efforts. Its vast span of thousands of islands form a
gateway between the Pacific and Indian Oceans and straddle some of the
world's most critical sea lines of communication.
The Indonesian armed forces are remarkably modest in size given the
country's size and stature. Indonesian defense spending over the years
has been consistently low compared to its neighbors and its purchases
of major defense systems have been limited. This reflects budgetary
constraints as well as the largely inward-looking orientation the
armed forces has maintained since Indonesia's independence. Our
cooperation with the Indonesian military, in training activities and
through the acquisition of U.S. defense systems, enhances
interoperability, which is important in missions such as peacekeeping
and disaster relief.
We foresee a continued growth in our mutual security interests, and
view Indonesia as an increasingly important and constructive strategic
actor. The U.S. is also working with Indonesia to curtail its
financial crisis by carrying out financial reforms.
At the same time, the U.S. has real concerns about the Indonesian
government's economic and human rights policies. Failure to open the
political process and abuses of official power are not only wrong in
principle, they gravely undercut the investor confidence necessary for
Indonesia to overcome its economic difficulties.
Human rights problems remain an important factor in our defense
relationship. In the past several years, in the aftermath of the 1991
Dili incident and 1993 turnover in the military leadership, we have
seen signs of improvement in the military's approach to human rights
and evidence of greater professionalism in the armed forces. We have
noted greater sensitivity and awareness of the military's
shortcomings, and more of a commitment to address these problems.
Still, the human rights picture is clearly mixed.
The tensions raised by the country's economic problems have increased
the potential for problems in this respect. We are particularly
troubled by allegations of military involvement in the disappearances
of students and other political activists, and are concerned by the
potential for student demonstrations to turn violent. We have a strong
interest in seeing the Indonesian military manage the current
situation with restraint and we have strongly and repeatedly conveyed
this view to officials in Jakarta.
As a component of our extensive and beneficial bilateral relationship,
a good working relationship with the Indonesian defense establishment,
cooperating in pursuit of our mutual security interests as well as
addressing areas of difference, is very much in the national interest
of the United States. An Indonesian military that is professional and
respected in the region and with which we cooperate operationally
serves our interests in both in preserving regional stability and in
encouraging better human rights practices. Our bilateral military
activities with Indonesia, while not extensive, have incrementally
increased in recent years. Combined with our other bilateral defense
activities in the region, they offer a good foundation for the
continued long-term U.S. military presence -- a low profile presence
that ASEAN advocates.
We are, however, taking special care to ensure policy review of all
U.S. activities with the Indonesian armed forces, especially in light
of the unsettled conditions in the country.
5. Russia. Adding to our considerations for long-term stability and
development in the Asia-Pacific region is Russia's ongoing transition
from a post-Soviet country to a modem nation. Our interests in Russia
as a partner among the other Asia-Pacific countries include:
-- Preventing the redevelopment of a conventional threat in the region
as a result of changes in Russian intentions or capabilities,
-- Developing bilateral and multilateral channels responsive to U.S.
goals and influence,
-- Promoting the development of democratic, free market societies,
-- Promoting regional stability, thereby permitting international
access to emerging markets and resources, and
-- Preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the
means for their delivery.
-- Encouraging Russia to play a constructive role in the region.
Russia must make significant political, economic, and military changes
to ensure it becomes a reliable partner in the Far East. These changes
may take generations to resolve, dictating that our strategy with
Russia be aimed at the long-term and remain focused on our interests.
Our defense relationship with Russia should be a catalyst for the
necessary defense and military reforms.
Given the current state of the Russian military, Russia poses no
immediate military threat to its neighbors, nor does it perceive
threats from them. It seeks strategic relationships with China, Japan,
and Korea and as it pursues its own self interests, we expect Russia
to reach out for more cooperation with its neighbors in the Far East.
Far from seeing a threat to U.S. interests in that cooperation, we
welcome it, as a step toward Russia being a constructive partner in
the region.
There is no question that Russia's development, given its contiguous
border with China and North Korea, and its long-standing differences
with Japan over the "Northern Territories," can and will affect the
regions' future. We believe that our continued attention to and
cooperation with Russia during its period of transition plays an
instrumental role in defining an important element of the region's
overall strategic stability, including preventing the emergence of a
regional hegemony, facilitating a peaceful evolution on the Korean
Peninsula, reaching full normalization of Russo-Japanese relations,
and working toward a fuller, integration of Russia's Far East Pacific
region into the overall Asia-Pacific economic structure. A modem,
economically prosperous, and secure Russia will be a net contributor
to the security of the region.
6. Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is an increasingly important partner
and facilitator of the U.S. forward presence through such activities
as port calls, repair, training and logistics support. Much has been
achieved in recent years to enhance our access, and we look forward to
building on this cooperation in the future.
a. Emergence of multilateral frameworks. Multilateral frameworks for
discussion and cooperation have in a few short years become an
important, and permanent, feature of the regional security structure
for Southeast Asia especially. The United States is actively engaged
in a variety of overlapping multilateral channels such as the ASEAN
Regional Forum, the so-called ARF; the sub-regional
confidence-building efforts, such as the trilateral dialogues between
the US, China and Japan, and the US, South Korea and Japan; and the
conferences on practical security cooperation and groups formed to
address specific problems from Cambodia to the Four-Party Talks on the
Korean Peninsula.
Over the last 30 years, ASEAN has developed into a multifaceted power
center in its own right, one that is integral to the entire
Asia-Pacific. ASEAN has also distinguished itself by tackling such
issues as Cambodia and the South China Sea, facilitating region-wide
dialogue through the ARF and by serving as a powerful example for the
region and the world. Indeed, three decades of solving problems,
reducing tensions and working cooperatively for mutual benefit bodes
well as ASEAN confronts the challenges of today.
Some would like to see multilateral security dialogues and cooperation
replace bilateral relationships as the primary feature of regional
stability in the coming era., The United States views these
multilateral mechanisms as important, and having a greater role to
play in the future. But we also believe that they will be successful
only if they are built upon the foundation of solid bilateral
relationships and a continued U.S. forward presence in the region.
That is why the United States will not support efforts that
intentionally or otherwise constrain our military posture or
operational flexibility efforts that would only undermine, rather than
contribute, to the region's security.
Given the high stakes involved, security architectures, even more than
financial architectures, must be built on a solid foundation, if they
are to provide protection in times of turbulence.
b. Singapore. Defense relations with Singapore are excellent. Driven
by geography and size to be highly attuned to global and regional
defense and political trends, Singapore has been Southeast Asia's
leading advocate of a continued U.S. military presence. Singapore
actively searches for ways to keep us engaged, whether in multilateral
institutions like the ASEAN Regional Forum, or by expanding U.S.
military access opportunities in Singapore. Well before we entered
negotiations with the Philippines in the early 1990s to renew our
basing presence at Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, Singapore
offered to conclude an access agreement with us that would help
disperse our physical presence as well spread the political
responsibility of hosting U.S. forces. The 1990 Access Memorandum of
Understanding has been instrumental in sustaining our post-bases
presence in Southeast Asia. With fewer than 200 U.S. personnel
permanently assigned to Singapore, we conduct a variety of naval and
air training events, most notably, fighter aircraft deployments from
Northeast Asia or the U.S. approximately six times per year. A naval
logistics unit -- Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific --
relocated from Subic Bay at the time of our military withdrawal from
the Philippines assists in fleet support and coordinates bilateral
naval exercises in Southeast Asia. Recently, Singapore continued its
forward-looking engagement effort by offering to construct a
long-planned new pier to accommodate a U.S. aircraft carrier, which
will greatly facilitate carrier visits. The closeness of the
relationship has contributed to complementary access arrangements for
Singapore forces in the US. Since a shortage of training space at home
has led Singapore to train extensively abroad, the U.S. hosts
permanent Singapore F-16 fighter and CH-47 helicopter training
detachments, with an additional training detachment planned for
Singapore's newly purchased KC-135 tankers.
c. Philippines. The US-Philippine security relationship has
substantially recovered from the strains caused by the decisions that
led to the withdrawal of U.S. military bases in 1991-92, and our
defense ties with this treaty ally are now positive. We have gradually
established a post-bases relationship that is consistent with our
activities with other friendly nations in the region -- exercises,
ship visits, exchanges, and policy dialogues. The January 1998
conclusion of a Visiting Forces Agreement, which lays out the legal
status of U.S. defense personnel temporarily in the Philippines in
connection with official duties, will, once ratified by the Philippine
Senate, facilitate expanded military cooperation. Familiarity,
cooperation, and interoperability are important ingredients of a
strong alliance, and we will work to solidify our security partnership
in the coming years. Despite lingering suspicion in the Philippines
that the U.S. is seeking to re-establish a military foothold, we are
not seeking bases, and we are comfortable with developing the defense
relationship in ways and at a pace comfortable to the Philippines.
d. Thailand. The US-Thai relationship serves our worldwide strategic
interests. Our security relationship is all the more important as
Thailand copes with the current economic problems. Thailand has been a
consistent supporter of the U.S. presence in Asia, and a strong
participant on our side of global issues such as counter proliferation
and counter narcotics policies. The Thai military has worked to seal
the country's northern border and deny access to Thailand by Burmese
traffickers. Thailand's close coordination was essential to the
success of "Tiger Trap," a joint international heroin investigation
conducted through 1994 and 1995 which targeted the Shan United Army
(also known as the Mong Tai Army) under the leadership of Khun Sa.
(That army disintegrated in the face of a late December 1996 action by
the SLORC against Khun Sa's headquarters.)
The bilateral relationship with Thailand has facilitated U.S. access
that has enabled us to move quickly to trouble spots in the Persian
Gulf on two recent occasions. The relationship has afforded the U.S.
unparalleled refueling and transit arrangements that have impacted on
our ability to operate, or signal our potential to operate in
neighboring trouble spots (as in the case of Cambodia in July 1997,
when Thailand facilitated a U.S. task force readied for a possible
Noncombatant Evacuation Operation).
Bilateral training arrangements and other forms of US-Thai cooperation
enhance this relationship, and strengthen its strategic relevance.
Cobra Gold remains an important mutual training opportunity that goes
far towards enhancing interoperability. Cobra Gold has assumed growing
importance as a training opportunity in the midst of changes in
Southeast Asia. The Thai military places a high value on IMET because
of the contribution such training makes to educating professional
military leaders, equipping Thai officers with superior technical
capabilities, and improving interoperability between our two
militaries. The War Reserve Stockpile Agreement, which dates from
January 1987, has been important because it provided no cost munitions
storage sites, provided Thailand with munitions to meet their
requirements via pre-planned FMS case sales drawing from US-titled
munitions, and contributed to increased readiness in Southeast Asia.
Thailand has been a reliable partner and a good friend. Our support in
its economic difficulties is an important element in the Thai
government's ability to deal with its economic problems. In that
connection, I want to express our appreciation for Congress' funding
of the U.S. Marine Corps' assumption of the Thai F-18 purchase, which
had to be canceled as part of that country's austerity measures.
Thailand's relevance to Southeast Asian security issues, and
willingness to participate in regional solutions to critical problems
make this a strategic relationship.
e. Cambodia. Cambodia is again at a crossroads. Unfortunately,
Cambodia has had nothing but crossroads to traverse since 1993. While
it had done reasonably well in terms of preserving internal peace,
abiding by the principles of the Paris Agreements, and hewing to a
basically democratic course until July 1997, the rules were changed by
the actions which unseated the First Co-Prime Minister, Prince Norodom
Ranarith, whose party, FUNCINPEC, won the most seats in a United
Nations-supervised parliamentary election in 1993.
Today, the intersection of the disintegration of the Khmer Rouge in
the remote escarpment in northern Siem Reap Province, and the
scheduled July election, present Cambodia, and Cambodia's friends with
a range of challenges, and opportunities.
The U.S. views the implosion of the remnant Khmer Rouge organization
under Ta Mok, and the government-engineered defections of whole units
of Khmer Rouge combatants, as critically important developments. The
Royal Cambodian Government pursued the goal of dismantling the Khmer
Rouge, through the judicious application of military force,
inducements to split the leadership from its rank and file, programs
to integrate Khmer Rouge soldiers into post-1993 Cambodian life, and
legislation aimed at circumscribing the possibility that the Khmer
Rouge as a group could claim a role in Cambodia's future. The formula
was essentially correct, and has now borne fruit. The Khmer Rouge has
dwindled in size to near irrelevance,, and fatal leadership rivalries
contributed to the diminishment of this brutal force.
The United States strongly supports establishing an international
tribunal to hold the most senior Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for
their ghastly deeds during 1975-79. We are working with friends and
allies in the area, participants in the Paris Peace process, and
contributors to Cambodia's post-1993 well being to accomplish this
through the United Nations Security Council.
As a principal contributor to the Paris Agreements, the United States
has clear interests in helping Cambodia toward a more stable, peaceful
and fruitful moment in its history, and we intend to contribute to
efforts to conduct an election that is free, fair, and credible.
The U.S. supported the coalition government that resulted from the
1991 Paris Peace Accords and the elections in 1993. The attempt to
oust the first Prime Minister effectively overturns the results of
those elections, which means it inevitably undermines the basis for
US-Cambodia relations. Specifically, our bilateral assistance program
was suspended and placed under intensive review, except for some
humanitarian and democracy assistance, and demining -- including
assistance to the Cambodian Mine Action Center. For DoD this meant:
-- IMET students already in CONUS were allowed to continue their
studies. This involved 14 students.
-- The student scheduled to participate in Asia Pacific Center course
in August was told not to come.
-- FMF support for RCAF engineers was suspended.
-- The Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDR) contributions to the RCG-run
Khmer Rouge Defector Program will be suspended.
-- A halt to provision of equipment and security assistance
The suspension will remain in effect through July 1998, at which time
we expect an election to be conducted.
The extent to which the election is reasonably free, fair, and
credible will determine future decisions on aid. The Department of
Defense will respond to a decision to restart assistance by
dispatching another CINCPAC Assessment Team to measure the needs and
requirements, and engage the military leadership in discussions aimed
at taking stock of the impact of our humanitarian military assistance
programs dating from 1993.
f. Vietnam. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), and a key player in the ASEAN Regional Forum on security
issues, Vietnam plays an increasingly important role in Southeast
Asia. We have kept the first stages of U.S.-Vietnamese security
relationship purposefully modest in pace and scope, and focused on
enhancing mutual understanding. We have three key principles guiding
us in this start-up phase of the security relationship:
-- The fullest possible accounting for POW/MIA cases will continue to
be the most important issue in our bilateral relationship.
-- The security relationship must be deliberately and carefully
phased, kept to modest goals at the outset, and calibrated to develop
in tandem with the overall relationship, in a manner that serves our
mutual interests.
-- The security relationship must be transparent, leaving no
possibility that our intentions will be misunderstood by any country
in the region.
The U.S. has a range of other critical regional security interests
that could profitably be addressed through normal, routine contacts
with the Vietnamese military. Our goal is to develop a frank and
serious dialogue with Vietnam about such issues. To this end, we have
carried out a set of modest initiatives, including high level visits,
assignment of a Vietnamese Defense Attache to Washington DC, and
enhanced contacts between military specialists.
In September 1997 the U.S. and Vietnam agreed to another set of modest
steps in the defense and security relationship for 1998, including
Vietnamese participation in USPACOM-sponsored multilateral conferences
and seminars involving regional military officials; the visit to
Vietnam of a U.S. Senior Colonels delegation (which took place in
March 1998); a U.S. National Defense University visit to Vietnam
(scheduled for May); a visit to the U.S. by a vice defense minister
(tentatively scheduled for October 1998); and a late year visit to
Hanoi by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
Affairs (tentatively set for December 1998).
The scheduled October 1998 visit to the United States by Vice Minister
of Defense Tran Hanh will represent an important event in the start-up
relationship with Vietnam. It is the first official visit since the
end of the war is Vietnam by a senior general officer representing the
Defense Ministry, and with the later visit of the Assistant Secretary
of Defense (ISA) in December, will offer an opportunity to demonstrate
our commitment to developing a frank and serious dialogue with Vietnam
about regional security issues of mutual concern. Finally, the visit
by General Tran Hanh represents an important opportunity to drive home
the continued importance of the POW/MIA issue to the United States.
7. Australia and New Zealand. For over 50 years, Australia and the
United States have developed a mature, dynamic, mutually-beneficial
strategic partnership which is well-suited to meet regional and global
challenges. The U.S.-Australian alliance serves as one of the most
productive partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond. Our
bilateral relationship, fortified by the sacrifices made in five wars
fought together, side by side, will continue to play a vital role in
ensuring peace and stability in the region, and around the globe.
We share a vision of the Asia-Pacific region where our alliance,
rather than fading in importance after the Cold War, is even more
critical to maintaining security and stability in an increasingly
important and still uncertain part of the world. Indeed, our alliance
provides a firm southern anchor for security in this region, a strong
foundation upon which successful economic, diplomatic and cultural
initiatives can continue to be built.
Our overall relationship with New Zealand is warm, and New Zealand
continues to make welcome contributions to multilateral efforts,
including sending troops to participate in the recent military buildup
in the Gulf. However, our defense relationship remains constrained
because of their 1986 anti-nuclear legislation. This legislation would
require action by the U.S. inconsistent with our Nuclear Capability
Non Disclosure Policy as well as not allowing U.S. Navy nuclear
powered ships to enter New Zealand ports. Its passage resulted in a
set of Presidential Guidelines for conducting our restricted military
to military and intelligence sharing relationship. The goal of our
policy is to carry on limited contacts, and make clear that unless New
Zealand addresses the nuclear legislation issue, our mil-mil
cooperation, and indeed the active development of our alliance, will
be sharply curtailed. The issue is precedent setting and how it is
handled sends signals to the rest of the region and friends and allies
around the world. The ball is in New Zealand's court.
Our strategy is a long-term one. It is designed to help shape the
Asian environment over the long term even as Asia changes and passes
through economic crises. We are, and we will continue to be, an Asian
power, because we have vital interests in Asia. Our national interests
-- economic, military, political and strategic -- dictate that we
continue the forward presence and active engagement in Asia that their
protection requires.
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