MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Obviously, we are very mindful of emerging tragedies in the region. Obviously, the Secretary this morning on behalf of the United States offered condolences to Burma for the damage caused in Rakhine State by Cyclone Giri and our embassy there is standing by and has already offered assistance to the Burmese Government.
And likewise, in Indonesia we are watching carefully unfolding events regarding not only the earthquake yesterday that produced a tsunami this morning, but also now the volcano that has erupted at Mount Merapi. And again, we are standing by to provide whatever assistance the Government of Indonesia may require in the coming days. And the Secretary will have these thoughts in her mind as she departs tomorrow for an extended trip to the region. And here to go through details of what the Secretary hopes to accomplish is our Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Thank you, P.J., and good – I guess it’s good afternoon. Good afternoon, everyone. If I can, let me take you through the details of this trip. It’s a very complicated and, frankly, lengthy trip. And I’ll go through all the schedule details and then I’m happy to take any questions on any of the substantive aspects of the upcoming trip.
First of all, it is Secretary Clinton’s sixth major trip to the region; seventh if you include the shorter trip that we took to Hawaii and then had to turn back for the Haiti tragedy last year. This trip has many stops and it is intended to send a strong message of U.S. engagement on a range of issues – strategic, political, multilateral. We’ll be dealing with some of the key institutions that are evolving in Asia and also economic and trade as well.
Secretary Clinton sets off tomorrow morning. Her first stop will be in Hawaii where she will have some preliminary discussions with our commanders in Hawaii – Admiral Walsh, CINCPACFLT, and Admiral Willard, our Commander of U.S. Forces in the Pacific. She will be meeting later tomorrow afternoon for a substantial intense interaction with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Maehara from Japan. At that session, we will review all aspects of our bilateral relationship, every – all the areas of coordination and consultation ranging from recent security developments to prospects on the economic and trade front. After that session which will be staged there in Honolulu, we will have a press availability – a joint press conference for the two foreign ministers.
The following day, Secretary Clinton will be giving a major address on U.S. strategy, accomplishments, and the way forward in the Asia-Pacific region. This, she will present to a collected group, a consortium of organizations that have been brought together by the East-West Center. This is her second major speech on Asia since the one that she gave in January which articulated the key features that the United States would – that would inform our strategy in terms of our multilateral approach to institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. This speech will talk about areas where we intend to focus our activities in the upcoming period, including high-level diplomacy with our allies and partners, the preparations for President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington in the early part of 2011, steps to prepare for both the G-20 in South Korea and APEC in Japan, and also recognition that at the economic level 2011 is emerging as a very consequential, in many respects, make-or-break year for the United States.
The speech will be a few high-level visitors that the Secretary will huddle with and then we will depart Hawaii. We will stop in Guam. In Guam, the Secretary will meet with U.S. forces and troops that are stationed in Guam or are moving through. She will also have a bilateral meeting with the governor and also representatives from Guam there on the base. From there, we will proceed directly to Hanoi. In Hanoi, the Secretary will represent the President – special representative to the President – to the East Asia summit meeting that is underway. Secretary Clinton will make a presentation as a guest of the chair on October 30th.
Before that, in the morning, she will have a series of high-level bilateral meetings, including with President Lee Myung-bak, also a meeting with the new foreign minister, other high-level meetings with Russian counterparts, Indian interlocutors. And in the morning, she will have a meeting with all her counterparts on what we call the Lower Mekong Initiative, which is a collection of states that all share the Mekong River as part of its heritage. And we will discuss next steps associated with our assistance and the program for cooperation that links the Mississippi with the Mekong, two of the world’s great rivers.
From Hanoi, we will travel to Hainan Island, where Secretary Clinton will have a meeting with her counterpart in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, State Councilor Dai Bingguo. At that session, we will review the various issues in the U.S.-China relationship, make sure that we’re making adequate preparations for both the upcoming G-20 meeting, APEC, and particularly for the session that will take place in January when Hu Jintao will visit the United States, or in early part of 2011.
From there, we will proceed to Cambodia. In Cambodia, Secretary Clinton will do a variety of stops, both to highlight civil society projects, other issues in which the United States is deeply engaged, like the Peace Corps. We will have high-level meetings with the foreign minister, with the prime minister. We will have an opportunity to review the tragedies that have befallen Cambodia in the past through the visits to the genocide museum, perhaps interactions with counterparts on the ongoing trial there about the Khmer Rouge period.
At every stop, the Secretary will highlight both political and economic interactions, a desire to promote U.S. exports and see a more forward engagement on economic matters. I should have said in Vietnam, in addition to the multilateral meetings that will be taking place. The Secretary will meet with the Vietnamese leadership about a range of issues of closer coordination between the United States and Vietnam. This follows on from the Secretary’s visit this last summer to Hanoi as part of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
From Cambodia, we will go to Malaysia – again, both these countries, the first visit for Secretary Clinton. In Malaysia, the Secretary will have an opportunity to interact with Prime Minister Najib and his key cabinet on a range of issues. Few countries have come as far in terms of our bilateral relationship as the one between the United States and Malaysia; enormous progress on a range of issues – proliferation issues, political coordination, and strategic dialogue. And I think you will see the flourishing U.S.-Malaysian relationship on full display.
From Malaysia, the Secretary will make a number of stops that we, unfortunately, had to cancel after the tragic earthquake in Haiti forced her to postpone that trip, so we will be stopping in Papua New Guinea. Obviously, Papua New Guinea is a – there’s been enormous petro finds, natural gas and the like, but there are important issues on the island of biodiversity, issues associated with the status of women, and also questions associated about how the current government plans to manage this tremendous windfall that will be coming to the people of Papua New Guinea through this massive find of petroleum and natural gas.
From Papua New Guinea, we will proceed directly to New Zealand. The Secretary, while in New Zealand, will reaffirm, really, a recommitment to a relationship that has not received as much attention over the course of the last 25 years between the United States. And Wellington – there, we will issue the so-called Wellington Declaration which will underscore our desire to see U.S.-New Zealand relations return to a significance in terms of coordination on a range of issues – nonproliferation, politics, climate change, how we work together in the Pacific Islands. And we, of course, are very grateful for the work and support that New Zealand has provided us and other nations in Afghanistan.
From – in New Zealand, she will visit both Wellington and Christchurch and looks very much forward to interacting with Prime Minister Key. From there, we will go to Australia – Australia, our anchor of our relationship in the Pacific, underscoring strong, political, and security ties there. She will be with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for what we call our AUSMIN meetings. There, in Melbourne, she will have an opportunity to interact intensively with new Foreign Minister Rudd and also meet new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, along with Steve Smith the new defense minister for Australia, who she has worked closely with when he was foreign minister. A whole range of issues in terms of coordination on Asia-Pacific security issues, coordination on some trade-related issues, and on issues in South Asia.
On the way home, we will stop in American Samoa. And here, I just want to underscore that we often talk about stepping up our game in the Asian Pacific region. In that formulation, the A gets a lot more attention than the P, the Pacific. You will note on this particular trip that the Secretary will be stopping in three Pacific islands – American Samoa for a quick meeting there on the way home. And I must say that the Secretary and the State Department is very grateful for the encouragement and support that we’ve gotten from Congressman Faleomavaega in terms of our overall desire to increase our assistance and our overall engagement with the Pacific islands.
So as you can see, it’s a very diverse trip. It covers our engagement with the multilateral institutions of Asia that are evolving – the great important powers of Northeast Asia, high-level diplomacy with Japan, with China, with South Korea. A lot of the key emerging states in Southeast Asia where we have had, frankly, only infrequent visits in the past, the Secretary very much looking forward to those stops.
This will be the longest trip of her tenure to date. And I think with that, I’ll just open it up for any particular questions. Yeah.
QUESTION: Can we start with China? You – China was not on the itinerary when the trip was originally announced last week, why – two questions: One, why do you feel that it is necessary to make this last-minute addition of China? Two, as you’re well aware, there have been a series of disputes with China – not just with the United States but also, quite vividly, with its neighbors – obviously, the fishing vessel – the Japanese fishing vessel, the South China Sea issue which flared in – at – in July.
To what extent do you expect to see continued conflict or dispute over those kinds of issues? Or do you feel that they have begun to abate, particularly in advance of President Hu’s visit here and the desire to perhaps quell some of those tensions before he comes?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Let me take the first question first and then I’ll get to the second question, and thank you.
First of all, at their last session, Secretary Clinton and State Councilor Dai Bingguo agreed that their – both sides needed to take opportunities for more informal diplomacy, more regular consultations on a range of issues during stops and interactions in Asia and elsewhere during multilateral meetings. We had been in discussion with Chinese friends for some time about a possible interaction between State Councilor Dai and Secretary Clinton. I think State Councilor Dai had contemplated a trip to Vietnam and then, for a variety of scheduling purposes, Chinese side thought it would make more sense for a visit, a quick visit, to Hainan.
So this is not new. We had planned on a high-level interaction between Secretary Clinton and the Chinese all along. And so the question was whether that would take place in Hanoi or elsewhere, and I think in the last couple of days, we’ve indicated that we were prepared to have that meeting elsewhere. If you look back at the earlier guidance, even though it only mentions the stop in Vietnam, I have spoken about the fact that in Vietnam, the Secretary would be having high-level meetings with a range of countries, and I included China in that. So we’re looking forward to that meeting. I think it’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s, in many respects, just a convenience for Chinese friends in particular.
Look, I think both sides fully recognize both the significance and the importance of President Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit to the United States, and we are seriously engaged in high-level diplomacy to ensure that this trip and the preparations in advance for it go smoothly. And I think we all understand the stakes involved and the importance for a positive, constructive and, frankly, a relationship with a degree of confidence between the United States and China going forward. So we understand the importance of that, and we’re working hard to ensure that we can bring that visit successfully to pass.
It is also the case that new National Security Adviser Donilon and key players for the National Security staff will be meeting with Chinese interlocutors in the summits in Northeast Asia as well, following the Secretary’s interactions.
QUESTION: So you’re not looking to make waves, then?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think I just – my statement pretty much stands for itself. We believe it’s very important to have a strong, constructive relationship with China. Both sides recognize that. I think most everyone in Asia appreciates the need for a cool-headed, constructive diplomacy between the United States and China in the current environment.
QUESTION: Can I ask you a couple of logistical things very briefly, the first one being who chose Hainan Island for this? I mean, I think the last time that this island figured in American consciousness at all was when they were holding a spy plane of ours and a crew. Are they going to show off the hangar and are they – (laughter) --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Hainan Island is, as you know well – since you’re such an expert on Asia generally, you know how close it is to Vietnam. It is one of the sights of the major forum, the Boao Forum that takes place there on a regular basis. In fact, it is rapidly approaching sort of the status of kind of the Asian Davos. I think we have many diplomatic engagements there. I think it’s entirely appropriate to have --
QUESTION: Well, I wasn’t suggesting – it wasn’t inappropriate. But they were the ones – I mean, it’s just a convenience issue, because --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: It is a convenience issue, yeah.
QUESTION: Okay. And then on the Cambodia stuff, I have two. One, you didn’t mention her stop in Siem Reap. I’m just wondering why. But also, on substance in Cambodia, there’s quite a bit of problem about this debt from the Lon Nol era.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: Do you expect any kind of resolution there?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: First of all – and I apologize – I’m frankly not sure how one handles the down days. So I think that day is particularly – the Secretary’s going to do a lot of – have a lot of private time. So I did not mention it directly, but we will be stopping in Siem Reap. And we do not yet have indications of whether there will be a schedule that day, so we will, of course, update you as that develops. But we will be stopping there, yes. Thank you for that.
And then in every meeting I’ve had with Cambodian friends, the issue of the war debt has come up. I expect that we will have further consultations on this when we meet, and – the two sides. And I think they will raise it with the Secretary.
QUESTION: Right, but do you expect – can we expect – for some kind of movement or kind of resolution?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think I just – I think better to – just – to just leave it at that, and so we’ll – certainly, as we get there and as we want to brief after, we’ll let you know how – where those issues stand. But I would expect – this is an issue in our bilateral relationship. I expect that Cambodian friends will raise it, yes.
QUESTION: On India (inaudible), who is the Secretary meeting in Vietnam, and what are the issues she intends to discuss with Indian --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I’m not sure. Frankly, I just heard earlier today that there would possibly be a meeting with the Secretary. Look, we have stated very clearly that the United States welcomes and supports India’s growing role as an Asian Pacific player. We have seen recently a very important initiative between India and Japan that basically launches a more strategic relationship between the two sides.
We have told the Indians that we want to work together on coordination on the East Asia summit. And so one of the things that the Secretary will be talking with Dai Bingguo, with Foreign Minister Maehara, with President Myung-bak and the new foreign minister and also with members of the Indian team is what our – what’s our thinking about – as it’s evolving and maturing on next steps associated with the East Asia summit.
So I think that’s what I can give you. I’m sure we’ll have more to talk about. But obviously, we’re also trying to regularize and intensify our overall diplomacy with India going forward.
QUESTION: And secondly, when the Secretary is in the region, Burma will be headed for an election, which you would say is not a (inaudible) election. Would that be an issue once she meets the Asian leaders of Vietnam, Cambodia?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I expect that Burma will come up in all of our sessions, yes. And clearly, we are highly focused on the upcoming election and other potential steps inside the country, including the possible release of Aung San Suu Kyi. And I think you will expect to see statements and interactions from the U.S. side, both the Secretary of State and obviously the upcoming trip of the President of the United States to Asia as a whole.
You and then back, yes.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Since Secretary will be visiting India right after this long visit – long trip to Asia.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: The President will be visiting.
QUESTION: No, I mean – so she will not be on the India trip?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I really – I can only speak for this trip.
STAFF: I’ll take (inaudible).
QUESTION: Okay. One of my question is now here – other than discussing the ASEAN and during this trip will – she will be discussing as far as outside ASEAN, like Iran or Afghanistan and the problems in the region because of next door.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Yeah, thank you. One of the things that we’re finding increasingly in almost all of our interactions in Asia is that the perspectives, views, and engagement of Asian countries is extending far beyond Asia’s borders, and we will in all of our sessions, have discussions about Afghanistan and particularly grateful for the support that we’ve received from countries like Japan, Australia and New Zealand in that overall effort. We’ll be talking about piracy issues in the Arabian Gulf. We’ll be talking about where we stand on the overall financial sanctions associated with Iran and the next steps associated there. I expect a broad discussion about climate change and the next steps associated with energy security. So I think, as you rightly indicate, in each of these sessions there will be a bilateral component and there will also be some discussion of international security as well.
QUESTION: Can I just quickly --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: Because –
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: No, let me take a few more.
QUESTION: -- smaller nations are having fear from China, like Japan even, because tensions are going on. What U.S. is doing about that to protect them or their interest in the region?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Look, as I’ve said, the United States wants very much a strong productive relationship with China. We’re seeking to intensify our dialogue on a range of issues. We’re also working closely with a number of states in the Asia-Pacific region, most prominently to underscore the U.S. strong commitment to remain an active engaged diplomatic, political, security, and economic player in the Asia-Pacific region going forward (inaudible).
Nice to see you.
QUESTION: Just in addition to Dai Bingguo, can you give any meat to these rumors that she might be meeting with Wen Jiabao while she’s in the region? Is that a possibility?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I don’t – she will definitely be part of the East Asia summit for both the dinner and the following meeting. Wen Jiabao is the representative from China, we understand. I would imagine that they will have an interaction in the context of the East Asia summit, yes.
QUESTION: Is this a bilat?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think probably – this is a very small meeting, so I think it’s more likely in that context, yeah.
QUESTION: Thank you. I’m reading an article by Washington Times saying that Obama Administration’s China policy team right now is divided into two groups. And you are listed as --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Sad and --
QUESTION: Sad and disappointed – (laughter).
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Sad and disappointed. I’m -- (Laughter.)
QUESTION: And I just wonder – my question is: Are you really disappointed with the outcomes of engaging with China in the past one year and a half and right now are seeking a more balanced relationship with the Asian countries? And secondly, I have read the reports that President Hu Jintao will come to Washington, D.C. in the midst of next January. Do you have any updated information?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I don’t. On the timing, I would give – I would refer you to the White House for specific statements. Look, all I can tell you in terms of the Asian Pacific team, it is among the most cohesive, engaged groups of people I’ve ever worked with, very productive discussions on all initiatives that we’ve been involved with.
I will tell you that some of my best friends, people I work the most closely personally, are part of this group. I think that the discussion of this kind of division is wrong, is incorrect, and myself, as a person, I think of myself as quite optimistic, generally, and open. (Laughter.) And so I would highlight, instead, a team that is working very hard, in a very cohesive fashion together, not the disunity. I think that’s totally incorrect.
QUESTION: Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Hi, Josh.
QUESTION: You mentioned India and Japan cooperation, and one of the things they’re cooperating on is countering China’s near monopoly on what some people call “rare earth minerals” or “rare earth elements.” I’m wondering what’s the State Department’s view on China’s use of its control over these materials for diplomatic or political purposes, and what will the Secretary’s message be when meeting with her Chinese and also with her Japanese and Indian interlocutors on this issue?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: First, I think we will be seeking to have a dialogue and listening to what we’ve heard in the region generally about this particular debate and, frankly, trying to clarify; there have been a lot of reports, and I think to date, not a lot of clarity about what’s actually transpired. So we’re looking to understand more deeply the nature of some of these allegations and disputes.
And I think, as you know, there have been efforts inside the U.S. Government to do some detailed assessments. Those are conducted in other agencies of the U.S. Government – I believe the Department of Energy. I don’t really have much more to say on this other than we recognize that this is going to come up in all of our bilateral interactions. I think as a matter of policy, the United States wants to see an open, free market on these critical components that play such an important role in the – sort of the electronic industries of the 21st century.
QUESTION: If I could have a quick follow-up.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Sure. Please.
QUESTION: You were in Korea a few times recently and I’m assuming you were consulting about what is known about the succession of North Korean leadership. Did you learn anything, any insights?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Not much more than what has been discussed in public about the various promotions and the distribution of military honors and generalships. But beyond that, I think this is not something that is going to reveal itself overnight. It’s going to take a substantial period of diplomacy, interaction, and consultations with friends and allies, and that’s exactly – we expect that one of the issues that will come up in all of our stops is an opportunity to exchange views about what we are witnessing in terms of developments inside North Korea. And we will try to maintain very clear coordination and discipline on our overall approach to prospective diplomacy with North Korea.
QUESTION: Do you think you can meet President Obama’s deadline until the G-20 Summit next month in Seoul for – to conclude talks for the Korea FTA?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I’m not going to say anything further beyond what I said at the Peterson Institute on that matter. Thanks.
QUESTION: Also, what do you think –
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: You guys are masters at the follow-on. (Laughter.) I had kind of forgotten this, because I don’t -- so –
QUESTION: Okay, my – another question is: What do you think of South Korea’s plans to introduce the pyroprocessing technology for spent nuclear fuel?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Let me just say that that’s an issue that – of ongoing diplomacy between the two sides, very technical, and we’re working closely to ensure that there is an understanding of what expectations are – not only the United States, but other authorities associated with this going forward.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) that, you mentioned that Asian countries want to see cool-headed diplomacy between U.S. and Taiwan. So before President --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: U.S. and China.
QUESTION: Yes, that’s true. (Laughter.) Sorry.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Taiwan as well. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Yeah. Maybe I will – and what do you expect to achieve before President Hu Jintao came to the – come to the U.S., or you want to overcome what kind of obstacle issue? And second question is: Minister Wang Yi came to visit you last week. I wonder if your arms sales to Taiwan and the (inaudible) are mentioned during the discussion. Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I’m not going to characterize the meetings directly with Wang Yi, the visitor from China. I will say that the United States stated very clearly that we welcome the positive trends and dialogue across the Taiwan Strait, wanted that process to continue and to deepen, and we look forward to a process of dialogue developing between Taiwan and China that was at a pace that was acceptable to the political environment inside Taipei, Taiwan.
QUESTION: And the first question about Hu – before Hu Jintao’s visit, what kind of achievement or the problems that the U.S. want to work out with China?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Look, I think there’s going to be a very broad agenda. I think everyone understands that this is a very consequential trip for the president – President Hu Jintao to the United States. And we will have a very detailed agenda of issues that we’re going to work on, ranging from energy security to the Korean Peninsula to other issues in Asia as a whole. So we understand the stakes and how important it is.
I’ll take one last question. Yeah.
QUESTION: I also had a question on the Korean Peninsula. Secretary Clinton will have a chance to meet with partners in Six-Party Talks. I just want to ask you: How will she utilize this opportunity to make a better environment to resume the talks? And secondly, U.S. has been urging that South and North Korea should have some sort of reconciliation steps to make dialogue possible. So recently, we see some specific steps and positive progress between two countries. So are we getting closer to the resumption of the dialogue? How do you assess this movement?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I – first of all, I think, as we’ve said, we have welcomed some of the preliminary steps that have taken place between the North and the South. And one of the things that Secretary Clinton will want to discuss with her Korean counterpart and also with the president is Korean views on the way forward associated with both their direct diplomacy in North Korea and also the prospects for the resumption of Six-Party Talks. I think we have stated very clearly and categorically what our position is in terms of what we need to see. It is also the case that we are extraordinarily closely linked with South Korea in our overall strategy, and I think we’re just looking forward to this next step in terms of the Secretary’s interactions to make sure that we go forward together.
QUESTION: The Hanoi stop is just very brief, right? A couple hours?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: About three or four hours, yeah.
QUESTION: So how long – how much – so does that – do we leave Hanoi earlier and get to – or do we just arrive in Siem Reap that much later?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think a little bit later. But it’s not that much later. It’s only an hour flight. It’s about an hour and five minute flight, 10 minute flight from Hanoi to Hainan. We can do all the details of that later. So –
QUESTION: Can you do one quick one on the economics? You said that – you described 2011 as sort of a make-or-break year. You also talked about how the Secretary is going to make points about improving – enhancing the prospects for U.S. exports and so on. That immediately – forgive me – leads us to currency, which is the Treasury’s bailiwick and not yours. But to what extent do you expect her to be addressing that issue, or will she leave that entirely to Mr. Geithner and his team?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think there is an expectation that for macroeconomic policy, that those issues are dealt solely and exclusively with the Treasury Department. Our primary focus is a recognition for if we are to be successful on an export strategy with upcoming APEC year, East Asia Summit. We have a lot of moving pieces and it’s important for the United States to put forward the best possible steps on this broader economic and trade agenda.
Thank you all very much.
QUESTION: Thank you.