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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

24 September 1997

TEXT: SENIOR U.S. OFFICIALS BRIEF ON U.S.-JAPAN DEFENSE TALKS

(U.S.-Japan security goal is to make force unnecessary) (3600)
New York -- The ultimate goal of the U.S.-Japan security and political
relationship is to shape the political environment in such ways that
the use of force is actually not necessary, according to a senior U.S.
official.
In a background briefing for reporters September 23, the official
noted, however, that the new U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines go much
further and try to specify three particular kinds of areas in which
the United States and Japan could conceivably cooperate together.
"Perhaps 80 to 90 percent of the Defense Guidelines are assurances
that the government of the United States is seeking from the
government of Japan in terms of how the United States and Japan would
work together in a crisis. Specifically, those areas in which Japan
would provide support, use of facilities, other kinds of things that
would allow the United States to conduct its mission more effectively
-- that's number one," the official said.
"Number two," the official said, "we've also tried to articulate clear
areas where Japan can assist the United States in a crisis in areas
that do not violate its constitution. ~And those are specified very
clearly in the document. We're talking about situations such as mine
sweeping in international waters, enhanced surveillance operations,
the potential for intercepting contraband on the high seas, and also
dealing with the evacuation of refugees. Those of specific missions
that the United States and Japan have identified that are both
valuable to the United States and also can be conducted without
violating the Japanese constitution."
The third and final area, the official said, is that Japan increase
its participation in United Nations operations and peacekeeping
situations. "We've seen Japanese involvement in Cambodia, in Goma, in
Zaire. Currently Japanese troops are serving on the Golan Heights and
also in Mozambique," the official said. These are small scale
activities but they indicate Japan's desire to be a responsible member
and player in the UN arena. And the United States wants to take steps
-- when Japan decides it's in its interest -- to support these
operations that the United States will suppo~rt Japan, either with the
provision of assistance, information or intelligence to allow those
operations to move forward on the ground~."
Following is the transcript of the briefing:
(begin transcript)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: ~~Both sets of ministers and the
secretaries started with good statements. We'd be happy to take any
questions you have.
Any questions?
Q: Can you tell us anything more about the comprehensive planning
mechanism, the bilateral coordination? Is this going to be a permanent
body, an actual building or place that it's located or --~
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: First of all, we will -- I think as my
colleague indicated in our private meeting before --~ we believe that
this is an important process today -- an important first step, but
that the next steps are as important and that we will need to keep up
the momentum. The next step in this process will be a meeting at the
working level, among the people who think about the mechanisms of the
U.S.-Japan political and security relationship. And at that time, we
will begin to sit down and think about the appropriate institutions
that are necessary in order to ensure that the Defense Guidelines
become a reality.
Some of those things that we might look at would be some kind of
comprehensive planning mechanism which would allow for more in~-depth
coordination and cooperation among our military officials, both in
Japan, U.S. forces Japan, CINCPAC, and also Japanese self-defense
forces.
Furthermore, we will look and consider the possibility of some sort of
joint, consultative or crisis coordination center, which the United
States and Japan potentially would man in the event of a crisis, to
allow further coordination between the two sides. Those, pits the
mechanisms that are already in place that allow for very close
coordination and cooperation between the United States and Japan, we
think will allow the Defense Guidelines to move ahead.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I really don't have much to add to
that, except to say that our concentration up until now has been on
producing defense guideline, and now that we've done that, we can
begin to work on the implementing details~.
Q: Yes, I think we understand that this is supposed to be situational,
not country specific, but in all due respect, the language of the
hand-out we've been given really gives very little sense of just how
things would operate. Can you give us any specificity at all? I mean,
this says things -- make effort to prevent further deterioration of
the situation while initiating --~ I mean, this is basically
gobbledy-gook, with all due respect.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: First of all, I think you're -- there
are a number of section of the Defense Guidelines. The section that
you're referring to indicates how important it will be for the United
States and Japan to take steps at an early stage in a crisis,
diplomatically, to try to prevent that crisis from escalating.
Clearly, the ultimate goal of the U.S.-Japan security and political
relationship is to shape the environment, to shape the political
environment in such ways that the use of force is actually not
necessary, right?
But the Defense Guidelines go much further and try to specify three
particular kinds of areas in which the United States and Japan could
conceivably cooperate together. About 90 percent -- perhaps 80 to 90
percent of the Defense Guidelines are assurances that the government
of the United States is seeking from the government of Japan in terms
of how the United States and Japan would work together in a crisis.
Specifically, those areas in which Japan would provide support, use of
facilities, other kinds of things that would allow the United States
to conduct its mission more effectively -- that's number one.
Number two, we've also tried to articulate clear areas where Japan can
assist the United States in a crisis in areas that do not violate its
constitution. ~And those are specified very clearly in the document.
We're talking about situations such as mine sweeping in international
waters, enhanced surveillance operations, the potential for
intercepting contraband on the high seas, and also dealing with the
evacuation of refugees. Those of specific missions that the United
States and Japan have identified that are both valuable to the United
States and also can be conducted without violating the Japanese
constitution.
And the third and final area is that Japan, as Secretary Cohen
indicated, is increasingly participating in United Nations operations
and peacekeeping situations. We've seen Japanese involvement in
Cambodia, in Goma, in Zaire. Currently Japanese troops are serving on
the Golan Heights and also in Mozambique. These are small scale
activities but they indicate Japan's desire to be a responsible member
and player in the UN arena. And the United States wants to take steps
-- when Japan decides it's in its interest -- to support these
operations that the United States will suppo~rt Japan, either with the
provision of assistance, information or intelligence to allow those
operations to move forward on the ground~.
So, I think most of those issues are spelled out fairly clearly in the
Defense Guidelines.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL~~~: Let me --~ I'm not sure I can turn
gobbledy-gook into the kind of specificity you'd like but if you --
Q: I don't expect you to say that this tells how the two countries
would plan --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION ~~OFFICIAL: If there was a situation developed
future, you know, I mean, whether it's 15 miles off the coast of Japan
or 1,500 miles of the coast of Japan -~- if it's something that the
Japanese are concerned about with regard to their peace and stability
and it's something where we have shared interests to resolve that
situation, then consultation will be conducted to see just what kind
of cooperation will take place.
And with regard to trying to plan for some of those things, as my
colleague has mentioned, some of the areas where we probably will
conduct more robust planning than we have in the past -- a lot of that
will be in the area of logistic support; in the area of
communications, cooperation, intelligence sharing and those sorts of
broad categories of cooperation.
Q: The Japanese Government is now planning to send some officials to
China and South Korea and other surrounding countries to explain this
final report of guidelines. Do you, on the United States side, have
any plan to send the officials to those countries to explain this
final version of them?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION ~OFFICIAL: That's ~actually a diplomatic
question, and I'll let my collea~gue take that.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think the initial step will be
for both the Defense Department and the State Department in Washington
to brief officials of the Japanese embassy -- of foreign embassies.
That's step one.
I think one of the things we have to consider is whether we would like
to send -- whether it's necessary to send people to areas, or to
countries in East Asia and the Pacific region. As you know, after the
release of the interim report, my colleague and other officials from
the United States Government did visit a number of countries,
including China and Korea, and discussed the guidelines with them. So
we'll just have to see.
I would just say that we -- as you think about next steps, as my
colleague has indicated -- as you think about next steps, the
important thing to realize about Defense Guidelines is it takes on
many planes~. And the question that you asked for is the public, the
open plane~. And I think we both recognize that the fact that this
process has been conducted in a transparent way has assisted in its
understanding in places like South Korea and Southeast Asia.
And I think we've begun to make some inroads in China. I myself will
be in China in the next two weeks and I have planned to have
discussion with my counterparts on these issues. I think Secretary
Albright has indicated that tomorrow in her -- excuse me, this
evening, in her meeting with the Chinese foreign minister, that this
will be an issue of discussion. And I think you can imagine that the
Japanese Government has indicated that they, too, will send officials
to the region.
I don't think that this is something that's going t~o stop. I think
it's something that we're going to continue to brief on. And I have
found that the more we make the process, our goals and ambitions
clear, the more understanding that we're receiving in the region~.
Q: Is it clear from the Japanese side, who's going to participate in
the planning -- actual, detailed planning? The reason I ask is there's
always been a degree of sensitivity from the Japanese side as to how
much leeway to give the uniformed~ people to conduct detailed planning
without the presence of or the great degree of involvement by the
civilian side. The U.S. doesn't seem to have that kind of
sensitivity~. So, who's going to participate from the Japanese side in
this detailed planning?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: As my colleague already said, we have
a very robust -- set of robust plating mechanisms in place already
that have served us well in the past and will continue to serve us
well.
The issue, really, is the requirement to broaden the representation
within the Japanese equivalent of our interagency and I would have to
characterize that as still work in progress. Those planning
mechanisms, as my colleague said, will be developed in the immediate
aftermath of the Defense Guidelines approval, which is the next couple
of months~.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION ~~~OFFICIAL: And just to build on what my
colleague said, it's not only a civil-military issue in Japan, it's a
civil-civil issue between sort of federal or central agencies and
local ones, I think, as described today in The Wall Street Journal.
And so the issue of how Japan responds in a crisis is a very complex
constitutional, political and operational matter. This is an important
first step, but it is by no means the last step. And in fact, I think
in many respects, our next several meetings will be as critical in
terms of determining what's necessary as we go forward.
Q: Today's new guidelines do not include any specific region or any
other countries as an objective. Do you know, then, the very serious
discussions inside the major camp whether it does include a specific
region, particularly Taiwan Straits? Was there any discussion in
today's two-plus-two meeting on this issue?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll take a first crack and then my
colleague will perhaps follow up.
Let me first say that the United States and Japan have very consistent
policies in regard to the Taiwan Straits, and in regard to our larger
engagement policy towards China. As both of our foreign ministers have
said on numerous occasions, no two countries have a great interest in
positively engaging China than the United States and Japan. And to the
extent that China has benefited from the peace and stability that has
been a consequence of the U.S.-Japan security partnership over the
last 25 years, then they also have an interest of the maintenance of
this relationship.
We believe that the three communiques~ and the Taiwan~ Relations Act
serve as the critical foundation of our diplomatic engageme~~nt
between the United States, the PRC and Taiwan both the United States
and Japan, as I indicated, have a one-China policy and we expect that
the situation, the process of dialogue across the Taiwan Straits will
be conducted peacefully.
Let me also indicate that both the United States and Japan believe
that the best possible next steps across the Taiwan Straits are for
the beginning again --~ the restart of the cross~-Straits dialogue
that would include both political and security matters; and that both
Beijing and Taipei refrain from provocative actions that could
unsettle the balance, and those provocative actions could either be
military or diplomatic.
SENIOR AD~~MINISTRATION ~~OFFICIAL: I really don't have anything to
add to that.
Q: During your talks in this past one year, I'm sure you had a
discussion about the collective security issue. Was there any -- what
was that -- was there that kind of issue taking place? And what was
the do you have the feeling that the Japanese side have some kind of
evolution or some kind of change in the --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION~ OFFICIAL: Well, that really is a question for
the Japanese side, I think. I me~an, what I think is absolutely clear
is that we have said that we -- the guidelines discussion took place
within the framework of Japan's current constitution.
Q: When you meet with the Chinese Contingency this afternoon -- the
Chinese foreign minister --~ I think the Secretary is expected to have
a meeting with him. How are you proposing to mollify the Chinese
Government's disappointment with the new alliance that was sort of
applauded today by the two Secretaries? This is obviously going to
come up, and what will you all -- how will you deal with this?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION~~ OFFICIAL: First of all, I just -- there was
one of the questions that was asked at the press conference was,
aren't these two process -- the process of diplomatic engagement
between the United States and China and the process of revitalizing
the U.S.-Japan security and political partnership --~ aren't these two
goals inconsistent? And the fact is that they are entirely consistent,
and they actually support a long-term American strategy in the
Asian-Pacific region.
We believe that it is in our interests and in Japanese interests, as I
indicated, that China play a strong, responsible role in the
Asian~-Pacific region~. And we encourage that.
We also want to underscore that the U.S.-Japan political and security
relationship is not some new kid on the block~. We have a long history
behind us, and it is a history of promoting peace and stability. And
that track record has been critical -- it's been critical for the
United States; it's been critical for Japan. However, it's also been
critical for other states in the region, including China. And what we
are trying to do is to acknowledge that the security environment of
the Cold ~War period has changed and that it's important for
institutions to remain relevant.
It must adapt, these institutions must adapt to new conditions. And
that's exactly what the U.S.-Japan security and political partnership
is trying to do -- respond to new challenges, new security challenges
in the post-Cold War world.
If we did not respond to those challenges, then this alliance that has
been so valuable in the last 40 or 50 years, would lose relevance
rather than gain it into the 21st century.
Q: I guess what is happening then would be to convince or assure China
that you're just refining something that's, like you said, that's been
on the works for a number of years~. You're not changing a policy or
ganging up on China~.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, I think one of the things that
bears in this is the terms of reference that were issues last Summer,
and that is we said that security treaty is what it is and remains
what it is. So, I mean, it is on that basis. I mean, it's not a new
alliance, it's a old alliance and we are working, as my colleague
said, to update it.
SENI~OR AD~MINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I also think, as my colleague has
underscored, both the United States and Japan, perhaps, are -- for
both countries -- the highest order of importance over the next
several months is for both countries to improve their relationships
with China. Prime Minister Hashimoto ackno~wledged that when he was in
Beijing~ that was a critical goal of Japanese foreign policy. And it's
no secret that the United States government considers the upcoming
summit, which -- and President Clinton -- of the most important kind
of foreign policy event.
We think, again, that both goals -- strong, engaged partnership with
China alongside the long-standing strategic partnership between the
United States and Japan -- is in everyone's interest. Indeed, we think
for there to be overarching peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific
region that increasingly there has to be more lines of communication
and more trust and transparency among the three great nations of the
Asian-Pacific region -- the United States, Japan and China.
Q: In answering the question on Taiwan, you didn't address
specifically whether the issue -- whether Taiwan itself came up in the
meeting today among the leaders. Can you talk a little bit about that
and give us a flavor for it, if it in fact did?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think what I described is almost
precisely how both sides addressed the issue.
Q: So, obviously Taiwan itself was discussed and then there was sort
of a restatement of U.S. policy.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION~~ OFFICIAL: In fact, no. In fact, we talked
about China in terms of our mutual commitment~ to the three
communiques, Taiwan's Relations Act -- in that regard, yes.
Q: Concerning the section in the guidelines that discusses the
enforcement of economic sanctions, it indicates that Japan could
participate in accordance with UN resolutions. Now, does that mean
that Japan can only participate under those circumstances? For
example, just if China, for example, were to veto a UN resolution
regarding economic sanctions, does that mean Japan could not
participate? Concerning certain ships, I'm talking about.
SENIOR AD~MINISTRATION~~~~~ OFFICIAL: Let me ask my colleague in a
second to answer this, but let me make a very -- I think very general
but important point about the Defense Guidelines. Defense guidelines
allow for the bureaucrats and the officials of the two sides to
generate options, to generate possibilities in terms of a variety of
responses to crisis in the Asian-Pacific region. These then give
political leadership in both countries options for how to respond. Our
problems in the past have been that we have not had those options and
that sometimes we have not been able to react as swiftly to the fast
changing events of the Asian~-Pacific region.
This does not necessitat~e political decisions in either Washington or
Tokyo~. So the kind of question that you ask if very situational, and
it's hard to judge what the consequence of that would be in advance.
And also, I would just urge you that it's not the responsibility of
the United States to make that kind of call. It's the responsibility
of the governme~nt of Japan.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION ~~~~~~OFFICIAL: I think the only thing I add
from our view of the world is, the answer is, it depends. And it
depends on what the interests are, the concern, the threat, where's
the situation coming from with regard to these sanctions you're
talking about and is it in our mutual best interest to cooperate. ~And
that's for Japan to determine --
Q: I guess I was asking you if, in the discussions, the Japanese side
had explicitly, forcefully said to you, we can only participate in
searching ships if there's a UN resolution that allows it. Did that
message come through to you hard and clear?
SENIOR AD~MINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No.
Any other questio~ns?  Thank you very much.
(end transcript)
 




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