Press Releases: Remarks on U.S.-China Relations

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Dean Nasr. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Vali for a while. When I was in the Senate, he was a very valuable advisor, and I can remember coming down to the State Department and meeting with him and with Richard Holbrooke and others in the early days of working on what was then called AfPak – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and particularly Afghanistan. So Vali, thank you for your journey. Thanks for imparting your wisdom here at SAIS.

And thank you all very, very much here at SAIS for allowing me to come here today to share a few thoughts with you about this special relationship with China, an important relationship. And I’m happy to be here, staring at a lot of mobile devices. (Laughter.) It’s a whole new world out there. I’ll tell you, when I ran for president in 2004 I never saw this barrage of rectangular devices facing you when you were talking. (Laughter.) It was usually just one, and it was the opposition guy, listening to everything you said in order to get you into trouble, if you didn’t get yourself into trouble.

Anyway, I’m getting ready to leave in a very few hours – in fact, I go directly from here to the airport – on a typical Secretary of State journey – to Paris this evening, meetings tomorrow, then to Beijing, to Muscat, discussions on Iran nuclear program, then back to Beijing for bilateral meetings with the Chinese Government, then back to somewhere, perhaps Washington, but at this moment, with a lot of things in the air, it’s hard to say. So it’s nice for me to get a chance before I take off to talk substance with all of you and to talk about a critical issue before I depart.

This school was founded during World War II by Paul Nitze and Christian Herter, both of whom I’m very proud to say were from Massachusetts. (Laughter.) They could – they had a great skill, those of you who have read about them, to see that even then, the world was going to be a fundamentally changed place after World War II and that foreign policy makers would need to change with it, not just to keep pace but to set the pace, to express a vision, to be able to see over the horizon and define how the United States would stay strong and lead and join with other countries, increasingly in empowering those other countries. And we did with the Marshall Plan, which as many of you may know, was unpopular at the time, but succeeded in rebuilding whole nations, creating democracies, and setting a new direction.

The world has continued to change in the 70-plus years since, almost certainly in ways that Herter and Nitze could only have dreamed of. And it has changed, I might say, for the better, despite the headlines and the challenges of religious, radical extremism and terrorism. It has nevertheless changed for the better in large measure precisely because of the careful and creative analysis that these men so believed and hoped would, in fact, shape a world that is more free, more prosperous, and more humane. And despite the headlines and places of tension, the world is, in fact, those things.

The great American philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predications, especially about the future.” (Laughter.) He really said that. (Laughter.) While I am reminded that speculating about the future is obviously always risky, there are two predictions that I am very certain about. The Asia Pacific is one of the most promising places on the planet, and America’s future and security and prosperity are closely and increasingly linked to that region.

Back in August, when I was returning from a trip to Burma and Australia, I delivered a speech at the East-West Center in Honolulu about President Obama’s rebalance towards the Asia Pacific and the enormous value that we place on longstanding alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines and our bourgeoning relationships with ASEAN and countries in Southeast Asia. In that speech, I outlined four specific opportunities that define the rebalance, goals if you will.

First, the opportunity to create sustainable economic growth, which includes finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is not only a trade agreement, but also a strategic opportunity for the United States and other Pacific nations to come together, to bind together, so that we can all prosper together. Second, powering a clean energy revolution that will help us address climate change while simultaneously jumpstarting economies around the world. Third, reducing tensions and promoting regional cooperation by strengthening the institutions and reinforcing the norms that contribute to a rules-based, stable region. And fourth, empowering people throughout the Asia Pacific to live with dignity, security, and opportunity.

These are our goals for the rebalance. These are the objectives that we are working to pursue. And we are working together with our allies and our partners across Asia. And these are the goals that the President will discuss with other leaders next week at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing and also at the East Asia Summit that follows in Burma.

The goal of the rebalance is not a strategic initiative to affect one nation or push people in any direction. It is an inclusive invitation to join in this march towards prosperity, dignity, and stability for countries. I can reaffirm today that the Obama Administration is absolutely committed to seeing through all of these goals.

But there should be no doubt that a key component of our rebalance strategy is also about strengthening U.S-China relations. Why? Because a stronger relationship between our two nations will benefit not just the United States and China, not just the Asia Pacific, but the world. One of the many very accomplished alumni of this school is China’s Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, and we’re delighted that he’s here today. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for being here with us.

Ambassador Cui spoke at SAIS about one year ago and he described the U.S.-China relationship as, quote, “the most important as well as the most sensitive, the most comprehensive as well as the most complex, and the most promising as well as the most challenging.” All of those attributes are true, but I would respectfully add one more to that list: The U.S.-China relationship is the most consequential in the world today, period, and it will do much to determine the shape of the 21st century.

That means that we have to get it right. Since President Obama first took office, that’s exactly what he has focused on doing. What he has worked to build over the past six years and what we are committed to advancing over the next two as well is a principled and productive relationship with China. That’s why he and I have both met each with our Chinese counterparts in person dozens of times. It’s why President Obama hosted the Sunnylands summit last June, shortly after President Xi took office. It’s why a couple of weeks ago, I invited Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and the ambassador and others in his delegation to my hometown of Boston, where we spent a day and a half together charting new opportunities for our bilateral relationship. And it’s why I will join the President in China next week on what will be my fourth trip to the country since I became Secretary of State less than two years ago.

The sheer size of China and its economy, coupled with the rapid and significant changes that are taking place there, means that our relationship by definition has vast potential. As two of the world’s major powers and largest economies, we have a profound opportunity to set a constructive course on any number of issues, from climate change to global trade, and obviously, we have a fundamental interest in doing so. For that reason, our relationship has to be carefully managed and guided – not by news hooks and grand gestures, but by a long-term strategic vision, by hard work, by good diplomacy, and by good relationships.

It’s important to remember that not too long ago U.S.-China ties were centered on a relatively narrow set of bilateral and regional matters. But today, thanks to focused diplomacy on both sides, the leadership President Obama and President Xi have displayed, our nations are collaborating to tackle some of the most complex global challenges that the world has ever seen. And we’re able to do that because together our nations are working closely in order to avoid the historic pitfall of strategic rivalry between an emerging power and an existing power. Instead, we’re focused on the steps that we need to ensure that we not only coexist, but that we cooperate.

America’s China policy is really built on two pillars: Constructively managing our differences – and there are differences – and just as constructively coordinating our efforts on the wide range of issues where our interests are aligned. Now make no mistake, we are clear-eyed about the fact that the United States and China are markedly different countries. We have different political systems, different histories, different cultures, and most importantly, different views on certain significant issues. And the leaders of both nations believe it is important to put our disagreements on the table, talk through them, and manage and then work to narrow the differences over time. And these debates, frankly, don’t take place in the spotlight, and much of what we say usually doesn’t end up in the headlines. But I assure you that tough issues are discussed at length whenever our leaders come together.

And when we talk about managing our differences, that is not code for agree to disagree. For example, we do not simply agree to disagree when it comes to maritime security, especially in the South and East China Seas. The United States is not a claimant, and we do not take a position on the various territorial claims of others. But we take a strong position on how those claims are pursued and how those disputes are going to be resolved. So we are deeply concerned about mounting tension in the South China Sea and we consistently urge all the parties to pursue claims in accordance with international law, to exercise self-restraint, to peacefully resolve disputes, and to make rapid, meaningful progress to complete a code of conduct that will help reduce the potential for conflict in the years to come. And the United States will work, without getting involved in the merits of the claim, on helping that process to be effectuated, because doing so brings greater stability, brings more opportunity for cooperation in other areas.

We do not agree to disagree when it comes to cyber issues. We’ve been very clear about how strongly we object to any cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets and other sensitive information from our companies, whoever may be doing it. And we are convinced that it is in China’s interest to help put an end to this practice. Foreign companies will invest more in China if they can be confident that when they do their intellectual property will be safeguarded. Chinese markets will be more attractive to international industries if China shows that it’s serious about addressing global cyber concerns. And China’s own industries will only prosper if they are generating their own intellectual property, ultimately, and if their government enforces the rules fully and fairly for everybody. The United States is committed to using an open and frank dialogue to help build trust and develop common rules of the road on those pressing economic and security challenges.

And we certainly do not agree to disagree when it comes to human rights. The United States will always advocate for all countries to permit their citizens to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution. That’s why we’ve spoken out about the situation in Hong Kong and human rights issues elsewhere in China, because respect for fundamental freedoms is now and always has been a centerpiece of American foreign policy, and because we have seen again and again that respect for rule of law and the protection of human rights are essential to any country’s long-term growth, prosperity, and stability, and to their respect in the world.

Let me be clear: The United States will never shy away from articulating our deeply held values or defending our interests, our allies, and our partners throughout the region. And China is well aware of that. But the relationship between our two countries has developed and matured significantly over time. Our differences will undoubtedly continue to test the relationship; they always do, between people, between families, between countries. But they should not, and in fact, must not prevent us from acting cooperatively in other areas.

So what are those areas? Where are the great opportunities? Well, it starts with economics. Thirty-five years ago when diplomatic relations began between the United States and China, trade between our two countries was virtually nonexistent. Today, our businesses exchange nearly $600 billion in goods and services every single year. Our mutual investments are close to $100 billion. You read a lot about American businesses going over to China. Well, let me tell you something. The truth is that today, even more Chinese businesses are setting up shop in the United States. And we welcome that. In fact, we do a lot to encourage Chinese investment here, while our embassies and consulates in China are simultaneously doing great work in order to identify opportunities for American companies over there.

Even as U.S. and Chinese businesses compete in the marketplace, we each have a huge stake in the economic health of the other. And the fact is that the world as a whole has a huge stake in the economic vibrancy of both China and the United States. That is why we’re focused on enhancing trade and investment between our countries, including through the ongoing negotiations of a high-standard bilateral investment treaty. Established rules of the road that do more to protect businesses and investors on both sides of the Pacific will help both of our economies to be able to continue to grow and to prosper. One recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that if we’re able to open up trade and investment significantly, our countries could share gains of almost half a trillion dollars a year.

So let me underscore: Our aligned interests are more than just economic and cooperation is more than just commercial. As China pursues interests well beyond the Asia Pacific, there is both opportunity and necessity to coordinate our efforts to address global security concerns. Our shared efforts to respond to the global threat of climate change are a perfect example. The UN climate report that was released over this last weekend is another wakeup call to everybody. The science could not be clearer. Our planet is warming and it is warming due to our actions, human input. And the damage is already visible, and it is visible at a faster and greater rate than scientists predicted. That’s why there’s cause for alarm, because everything that they predicted is happening, but happening faster and happening to a greater degree. The solutions are within reach, but they will require ambitious, decisive, and immediate action.

Last year in Beijing, State Councilor Yang and I launched the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, which is already engaged in pilot projects, policy exchanges, and more. We raised the climate change issue to the ministerial level so that we would be dealing with it on an ongoing high-level basis. And we’ve also been engaged since then in constant discussions aimed at ensuring that the global community can do everything possible to be able to reach a successful, ambitious climate agreement when we all meet in Paris next year. In February, we announced plans to exchange information and to discuss policies to develop respective plans to strengthen domestic emissions targets for the 2015 UN climate negotiations, what I just referred to. And by the way, we’ll be meeting shortly in Lima, Peru as the lead-up to this particular meeting next year in Paris. So there’s a lot of work going into this.

Next year, countries are supposed to come forward with their stated goals. And we hope that the partnership between China and the United States can help set an example for global leadership and for the seriousness of purpose on those targets and on the negotiations overall. If the two countries that together are nearing 50 percent of all the emissions in the world, which happen to be also the two largest economies in the world – if they can come together and show seriousness of purpose, imagine what the impact could be on the rest of the world. The United States and China are the two largest consumers of energy, and we are the world’s two largest emitters of global greenhouse gases. Together, we account for that roughly – it’s about 45 percent and climbing, unfortunately.

So we need to solve this problem together. Why? Because neither one of us can possibly solve it alone. Even if every single American biked to work or carpooled to school or used only solar panels to power their homes – if we reduced our emissions to zero, if we planted each of us in America a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what? That still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world. And the same would be true for China if they reduced everything and we continued. We would wipe out their gains; they would wipe out our gains. Because today, if even one or two major economies neglects to respond to this threat, it will erase the good work done everywhere else.

Never before has there been a greater urgency to countries around the world coming together to meet what is not just an environmental threat but an economic threat, a security threat, a health threat, and a security threat because we will see refugees in certain parts of the country displaced by vast changes in the ability to grow food, the ability to receive water, and the ability to survive, and that will change the nature of security and conflict in the world. That’s the reality of what we’re up against. And that’s why it is so imperative that the United States and China lead the world with genuine reductions that put us on a path to real progress.

The good news is that our shared responsibility to address climate change brings with it one of the greatest economic opportunities in history. With shared responsibility can come shared prosperity. The solution to climate change is as clear as the problem itself. And it’s not somewhere out there, pie in the sky, over the horizon, impossible to grab ahold of; it’s staring us in the face. The solution is energy policy. It’s as simple as that. Make the right choices in your energy policy, you solve the problem of climate change.

Guess what? You also happen to kick your economies into gear. You produce millions of jobs. You create economic opportunity unlike any that we have ever known, because the global energy market of the future is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known. Between now and 2035, investment in the sector is expected to reach nearly $17 trillion. The market that made everybody wealthy in America – everybody saw their income go up in the 1990s, and the greatest wealth in the history of our nation was created in the 1990s. It was a $1 trillion market with one billion users. The energy market is a $6 trillion market with four to five billion users today, and it’s going to grow to maybe nine billion users over the next 30, 40, 50 years. Think of that. Seventeen trillion dollars is more than the entire GDP of China and India combined. And with a few smart choices, together we can ensure that clean energy is the most attractive investment in the global energy sector and that entrepreneurs around the world can prosper as they help us innovate our way out of this mess and towards a healthier planet.

And none of this will happen if we don’t make it happen. How our two countries lead – China and the United States – or don’t lead on climate and clean energy will make the difference as to whether or not we’re able to fully take advantage of this unprecedented economic opportunity and whether the world is able to effectively address climate change and the threat that it poses to global security, prosperity, and health.

Our cooperation also makes a difference when it comes to nuclear proliferation. We are very encouraged by China’s serious engagement on the Iran negotiations as a full partner in the P5+1, and we’re very hopeful that working more closely together the United States and China will ultimately bring North Korea to the realization that its current approach is leading to a dead end, and the only path that will bring it security and prosperity is to make real progress towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Our cooperation there also can make a difference.

It can also make a difference in countering violent extremist groups like ISIL, which seek to harm people in every corner of the globe. And it can help in bringing stability to places like Afghanistan, where today we are partnering to support political cohesiveness and prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. We welcome China’s role as a critical player in the Afghan region. And just last week, in fact, President Ghani, our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman, and President Obama’s counselor John Podesta all traveled to Beijing to participate in a conference focused on supporting Afghan peace and reconstruction.

And as we’ve seen recently with the Ebola epidemic, China has also shown that it is prepared to take on a bigger role in addressing international crises – including those that emerge far from Asia, even those on the opposite side of the globe. We’re very grateful that China has committed more than $130 million to date in aid and supplies to help address the Ebola crisis. And last week, China announced its plans to dispatch a unit from the People’s Liberation Army to Liberia to help manage the crisis. That’s global leadership, and it’s important, and that cooperation with us is more than welcome.

We all need to do more, and fast. But the kind of support from China that we’ve seen is critical, and it speaks to China’s understanding of global interests and responsibilities. The fact is that among the major threats and crises that face the world today, there really isn’t one that couldn’t be addressed more effectively with expanded U.S.-China cooperation.

But as State Councilor Yang and I discussed earlier this month in Boston, with China engaged more and more on the global stage, our cooperation can also be used to seize opportunities for change and for growth, like the many opportunities for development in Africa, Central America, and other parts of Asia. And we talked about that in Boston, about the possibility of the United States and China cooperating on specific development targets.

There are countries across these regions where both China and the United States are already deeply invested. If we double-down on coordinating our assistance and development work, if we ensure that our approaches are complementary and coordinated, we can bring more communities into the 21st century faster, we could help millions of families lift themselves out of poverty, we can give more people across the world the tools and the data to shape their own future. And as we help more countries to make the transition from foreign aid to foreign trade, we’ll all benefit in terms of economic growth, expanded export markets, job creation, and ultimately, the stability and the prosperity and the dignity that comes from that. Beyond that, as these regions become more prosperous, believe me, they’re going to become more stable. And that, in the end, means we can all be more secure.

The bottom line is this: The United States and China comprise one quarter of the global population. We make up one third of the global economy. We generate one fifth of the global trade. And when we are pulling in the same direction on any issue, we can bend the curve in a way that few other nations on Earth can accomplish.

Between governments, we’re doing more than ever in order to ensure that that is the case. Jack Lew, our Secretary of Treasury, and I meet regularly with our counterparts in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China. Today, although we have more than a hundred different bilateral dialogues on everything from trade to transportation, we are, in fact, focused at the highest level on a regular basis.

But I’ll tell you, if this relationship is going to live up to its full potential, government-to-government cooperation alone is not enough. We have to continue also to deepen our people-to-people ties. A recent poll indicated that Americans view China less favorably than they did just a few years ago, and vice versa; Chinese view us less favorably. So obviously, we need to do more to connect our peoples and to make sure that we’re communicating effectively between each other so that we are communicating to our peoples effectively. We need to build on the sense of common purpose and camaraderie that can be essential to sustaining our relationship for decades to come. And that is the logic behind the dialogue on exchange that I co-chair with China’s Vice Premier Madame Liu.

One of the best ways for us to improve our connection is by expanding the student exchanges – I just stopped and met with a bunch of students who have been part of the exchange here from SAIS, and we all – I hope you’re all aware of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong initiative. Today, more students from China study in the United States than any other foreign country, and we are actively investing in ways to expand study abroad opportunities for American students in China, because we recognize that nothing brings about a common understanding more than effectively getting the chance to live in another country, see the world through another lens, and forge friendships that can last for decades.

I’ll just tell you very quickly the number of foreign ministers that I interact with very regularly in the Middle East and elsewhere, proudly sit in front of me and talk to me about their graduate school or undergraduate school experiences in the United States. It has lasted with them forever, and it helps them and us to be able to work through difficult moments.

Let me take this opportunity to note that this is not an earthshattering new principle I’ve just articulated. It is something that SAIS has long understood. You’ve had an international campus in Nanjing for nearly 30 years, and it focuses on everything, from facilitating student exchanges to all the prospects of business and relationships in the future. And as a result, its students are better prepared than most for the globalized world that we live in. But believe it or not, there are a lot of places that don’t take it for granted the way you do, for whom this would actually be a new enterprise, even now in 2014.

So I want to thank David Lampton and the others as SAIS for their leadership on this effort. Ultimately, the United States and China need to find more ways to interact at more levels of government, across more sectors and among more people who live in all the corners of our nations. And these connections will help us to understand each other better and to forge a better relationship going forward. They’ll help us work through our differences, and these connections will ultimately erase the misperceptions and stereotypes that fuel mistrust, and these connections will help us pull in the same direction and take advantage of the unique opportunities our countries have to help each other and ultimately to help the world.

We don’t underestimate – I certainly don’t – the complexity of the world we’re living in today and the sensitivity of this challenge that we face. The path to a productive relationship between the United States and China has seen its bumps, and it may see more. But the fact is that it has never been more important to us to be able to continue down the path that we are on. Our two nations face a genuine test of leadership. We have to make the right choices in both Washington and in Beijing.

In many ways, the world we’re living in today is much more like 19th-century and 18th-century global diplomacy, the balance of power and different interests, than it is the bifurcated, bipolar world we lived in in the Cold War and much of the 20th century. This is a new bursting on the scene of new powers. But guess what? They’re doing the things we wanted them to do. At least 15 of today’s donor countries giving aid to other countries were only 10 and 15 years ago recipient countries of aid themselves. And we welcome the growth of these nations to their global responsibilities and to the assumption of increased global ability to make a difference.

But it’s more complicated. When other countries have stronger economies and when there’s more competition for goods and services and for market share, it’s a more complicated world. And with the release of sectarianism and radical religious extremism and other things that have come with this transformation and confrontation with modernity, we all face a more difficult, complex diplomatic path.

But it is clear that coming from the different places we come from, China and the United States, we actually do have the opportunity as two leading powers to find solutions to major challenges facing the world today. And if we can cooperate together and help show the way, that will help bring other nations along and establish the norms for the rest of the world. We have an opportunity to demonstrate how a major power and an emerging power can cooperate to serve the interests of both, and in doing so, improve the prospects for stability, prosperity, and peace around the equator, from pole to pole, throughout this world we live in.

Maybe that’s a lofty objective; I don’t think it’s too lofty. I think it’s easy to say it in a speech, yes – a lot harder to produce it. But it will be in the doing of it, in the quality of our dialogue, in the persistent search for solutions to issues large and small, in the determination to manage the differences and find the big places to cooperate, and in order to seize the opportunities when they arise, that will provide the real measure of failure or success in this approach.

When he was in the twilight of his life, Paul Nitze was asked about the extraordinary contributions he had made to the Marshall Plan, to NATO, to the U.S.-Soviet relations. He didn’t brag, he didn’t boast, he just said: “I have been extremely lucky. I have been around at a time when important things needed to be done.”

There has never been a demand more than there is today for important things to be done. I hope that the United States and China – who are both blessed with great strength, with ample resources, with extraordinary people – can do important things now and can do them together. And I hope that as we come together in Beijing in the days ahead, as we work together in the months and years to come, that we are going to meet that charge and live up to the standard that Paul Nitze said, not just when he founded this school but when he lived his life.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

#WEWANTCHANGE: Five issues, five voices

IPI launches campaign highlighting challenges to press freedom worldwide VIENNA, Oct 30, 2014 – Criminal defamation laws, the imprisonment of journalists, violent attacks on journalists, endemic impunity for such crimes…

Washington Ideas Forum

MODERATOR: But now let me now introduce Secretary John Kerry. There’s a spot on the State Department’s website that shows a running log of everywhere Secretary John Kerry has traveled. He’s logged well over 300 miles – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan, Lebanon – a testament to the complexity and challenge of his charge.

There is another side to Secretary Kerry not widely known. It’s said of Washington politicians that they are there for you when they need you – not so Kerry. Despite his schedule, he’s the first to call a bereaved family, as he did the Bradlees last week. He’s the first to go to a friend or staffer’s bedside at the hospital. He’s the first with small kindnesses. At age 70, when many of us will be resting on whatever laurels we’ve accumulated, dandling our grandchildren, Secretary Kerry is still spending most of his waking hours serving his country.

Let us now cover some of those 300 miles with the – 300,000 miles – (laughter) – with The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons.

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Margaret. (Applause.) Secretary Kerry, we have a lot of ground to cover in 20 minutes, and I thought I would start with —

SECRETARY KERRY: We do, on one of the most uncomfortable sofas I’ve ever sat on too.

QUESTION: Yeah. (Laughter.) That is duly noted.

SECRETARY KERRY: Truly.

QUESTION: Duly noted. I don’t know how you could talk about that from the Senate chairs you had, but I understand.

SECRETARY KERRY: Okay.

QUESTION: Let’s start with – I feel like we need to start with page A1 of The New York Times today, where Mark Landler went through – and to put Mark Landler’s article in context, it’s a very interesting profile of the national security decision-making process and the players in it. And if you contrast it with just a few years ago when you had Hillary Clinton, you had Jim Jones and Tom Donilon, you had various other players in the Department of Defense, that there seemed to be – they were all on the same page. You never saw people speaking off-script.

And I’m really interested to – you were described in there as someone that wasn’t as tightly tethered to the White House, and I’m interested in what your comments on the national security decision-making process are right now.

SECRETARY KERRY: I think it’s extremely effective, and this is a Chatty Cathy town, where – (laughter) —

QUESTION: But it seems to have become more Chatty Cathy than it was a few years ago.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’m not going to – I mean, I don’t want to get – look, we have much more important things to talk about than that. This is – there’s always people who make a business out of really trying to, I think, gossip and tear things down who may be on the outside who don’t have an ability to necessarily be in the loop of what’s happening.

But I will tell you that the coordination and relationship between Susan and me and Dennis and the team is as tight as I’ve ever experienced. Susan was over at my house the other night. We spent three and a half hours at dinner going over the world, working on things. I have not – I don’t think I’ve missed a national security meeting or a principals meeting, as we call them, even when I’m on the road. If it’s midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning, I’m on the VTC dialing in to Washington.

So I don’t think it’s a very accurate portrayal, and I don’t think it’s particularly important to spend a lot of time on it. I think we are more engaged in the world than we have ever been. We are more strategic.

QUESTION: It’s a more confusing world, a more —

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s a much more complicated world. It’s —

QUESTION: What does your dashboard look like? What does the dashboard of the Secretary of State look like when you see, from Asia to Africa —

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it looks more like an airplane panel. It’s sort of – (laughter) —

QUESTION: Yeah.

SECRETARY KERRY: — both sides. Look, I’m not complaining about it. It’s – I think what is happening is, frankly, the result of years of things we’ve advocated and worked towards. And yes, it’s a confusing and difficult moment. But I don’t think we should be intimidated by it. I think we need to embrace it and envelope it and capture it to the best of our ability, and we’re working to do that.

I mean, there’s an enormous amount of – the workings of the State Department – and I saw a couple folks here who have been there – it’s like an iceberg. You see the top whatever percentage, 20 percent or something like that. There’s a huge amount of daily enterprise and monthly, yearly strategic engagement that you don’t see, and that, frankly, doesn’t get written about.

An example of that – I mean, Afghanistan is not on the front pages, but I will tell you that our efforts to work the election, to know that the election was the critical transition moment, began the day I came in and even before when I was a senator. And as I came in, we worked the relationship so that, as things got difficult, I was able to go over and work with Dr. Abdullah and work with Dr. Ghani and pull the thing together. And so we have a sustainable policy in Afghanistan, where there’s now a unity government and something that nobody thought was possible. That was a strategic outcome.

Iraq similarly – it’s not an accident we have a new government in Iraq. And the President was absolutely correct to hold off getting immediately committed to the ISIL effort until we knew we had a government in Iraq that we could work with. And we knew that wasn’t Maliki, but the United States couldn’t just crash in and say, “Hey, you’re out. Here are the guys that are in.” That’s not our – it would be playing into all of the worst stereotypes that have brought us to the difficulties we’re living with today.

So we put in place a clear strategy, working with all of our friends in the region, particularly the Sunni because the Sunni countries have been so angry about the way Maliki was building a Shia army and linking to Iran and creating a sectarian divide. And that’s why it was dysfunctional. So we worked first to get the Sunni speaker to decide not to run again, to get another person who could run quietly behind the scenes.

QUESTION: Sounds like a lot of micro work.

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s a lot of micro work. And our Ambassador Steve Beecroft and our Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk, who practically lived over there during this period, did an extraordinary job of diplomacy. And we worked it. I went over. We worked with Barzani in Erbil to get him to commit, because the Kurds were angling towards independence, to stay with it. We got a Kurd president of the country. Once you had a Sunni speaker and a Kurd president, it was possible to get a new prime minister. And even Sistani – Ayatollah Sistani’s comments that were very much critical to moving Maliki were —

QUESTION: So let me —

SECRETARY KERRY: — came out of a coordinated effort.

QUESTION: Yeah.

SECRETARY KERRY: The bottom line is the Iraqis made the final choice. We couldn’t. So —

QUESTION: And we can check that off as perhaps a success at the moment. I remember some years ago I was in your committee room when you were chair of the Foreign Relations Committee or – with Richard Lugar. I don’t remember who was ranking and who was chair, but you were both cool on either sides. And David Petraeus was testifying —

SECRETARY KERRY: You mean —

QUESTION: — on Afghanistan.

SECRETARY KERRY: — compared to today’s Senate, we actually talked to each other.

QUESTION: Yeah. Yeah. You talked to each other. You seemed to get along. And on this day, David Petraeus was testifying in his ISAF role as head of Afghanistan, and you and Richard Lugar quizzed him about whether what we were doing in Afghanistan fit within a strategic framework for the United States, where our strategic interests were furthered. And both you and Senator Lugar made the point that there was a big difference between being in the silo of Afghanistan and what the other broader strategic issues are.

And I’m interested in whether we’re running the risk, when we think about national security today, of chasing rabbits and forgetting what the – how does Iraq and Iraq solvency fit a strategic plan? How does Afghanistan fit the strategic plan, ISIS – where does it fit within the kind of broad strategic —

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s very straightforward.

QUESTION: Yeah.

SECRETARY KERRY: And let me say to everybody that we’re living – the Cold War was easy compared to where we are today. And the immediate post-war period —

QUESTION: Is Putin trying to make it easy for you again, bring it back?

SECRETARY KERRY: I hope not. (Laughter.) That’s a different – no, because he’s doing it very differently and in a way that’s very challenging to the ability to be able to avoid conflicts and begin to harness the energy of the world and move in a similar direction.

The world we’re living in today is much more – look, a lot of countries have economic power today that they didn’t have in the last century. We wanted that. We have about 15 nations today that 10 years ago were aid recipients from the United States. South Korea is an example. Today, South Korea is a donor country, doing what we’ve urged countries to do, which is accept global responsibility.

So now you have more countries with more economic power in a globalized world, and they’re feeling their oats. They’re going to automatically react and say, well, wait a minute now, do we really want the behemoth United States, superpower of the world, telling us all the time what we have to do? And so you have to approach these things a little bit differently. It requires more diplomacy. It requires more dialogue. It requires more respect for people, more mutual interest finding. It’s much more of the world that Henry Kissinger describes in his wonderful book, Diplomacy, where he talks about state interests and the balance of power.

And we’re much more, in many ways, back towards the latter part of the 19th century or even 18th century in dealing with countries. Countries are flexing their muscles and standing up for their own interests and they have some greater economic independence and ability to do it. And then you see the BRICS – Brazil, China, India – standing up and saying – Russia – we want something – a different access, in a sense.

So we have to work harder at it. And my warning to the Congress and to the country is, really, this doesn’t come for free.

QUESTION: Are we getting —

SECRETARY KERRY: American power needs to be projected thoughtfully and appropriately, but if we’re not – I’ll give you an example. Prime Minister Modi from India came here the other day. He came after going to China and going to India – going to Japan, both of whom gave him double-digit numbers of billions of dollars for infrastructure development. China, I think, did 30 billion; Japan did somewhere similar —

QUESTION: How did we do?

SECRETARY KERRY: — but more. We couldn’t even do a $1 billion loan guarantee, the United States of America.

Now everybody here ought to be shocked by that. We are behaving like we’re the richest country on the face of the planet. We’re still critical to everything that happens in the world. And we are not sufficiently committing the resources necessary to do what we need to do in this world.

QUESTION: So you’re saying American power in the world is living on fumes from the —

SECRETARY KERRY: No, it’s not. We’re doing better than that. And if you look at what we’ve done, look at – we are leading in everything we’re doing in the world. This narrative about the United States disengaging and the President not being committed is just – it’s one of the reasons why I’m here today, because —

QUESTION: But there’s a difference between the argument about disengagement and then going to Brazil, Russia, India and talking to leaders and sensing their doubt in America; that’s a different thing. There’s a doubt out there. It’s palpable.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, but —

QUESTION: How do you fix that?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it all came out of one thing, which is somewhat confounding, which was sort of the Syria issue and challenge at that moment. But people seem to be thinking that it’s wiser to bomb for a day and a half and do some damage than it is to get all of the chemical weapons out of a country. We did the unprecedented. We got 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons out of the country and destroyed.

QUESTION: I seem to recall —

SECRETARY KERRY: So that Israel is, in fact, safer today.

QUESTION: I seem to recall that was your idea. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it was shared with a number of people, but let me just make – I want to make a point that I think is key to all of this. You have a world in which masses of numbers of young people – 65 percent of countries throughout Africa, through the Middle East, South Central Asia, et cetera – have populations under the age of 30, 35; fifty percent under the age of 21; and down you go. If these kids are left to no devices or their own, which is what’s happening, madrasas will fill their world, radical wahabi/salafi extremism of one kind or another, something is going to come along and say the world is disappointing you and we’re a better alternative. How else do you get young kids to strap themselves in a suicide vest and think things are better on the other side? But that’s happening.

And the fear I hear from my counterpart foreign ministers in many parts of the world is that that void is not being filled by the West or others. We talk about democracy, we go out and we extol the virtues of our way of life, et cetera, but are we backing it up?

QUESTION: There’s an absence.

SECRETARY KERRY: Are we doing what’s necessary to bring power and electricity so they can share the wealth? And the other thing is, all of these people have mobile devices. They’re all in touch with everybody in the world, all the time, 24/7. They know what’s going on in the world. But they don’t see themselves being able to reach it or reaching it.

And I thought always the dream that America touched people with the most was their ability to be able to reach the brass ring. We have to help them do that more, and that’s a long-term strategy. Other people – I’ll tell you, I’ll share a conversation. The foreign minister of a country in Africa – big country, has a 30 percent Muslim population – and when we went out to dinner, he let his hair down with me and he said, “We’re frightened.” I asked him, “How are you dealing with this Muslim population?” He said the extremists have a strategy. They come in and pay money in poor areas of town, get the young kids, take them out, indoctrinate them, then they don’t have to pay the money anymore. Those young kids become the recruiters or the emissaries or the, unfortunately, the implementers of some policy.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: And – but what he said to me that was most important is he said they’re disciplined and they don’t have a five-year plan, they have a 30-year plan. Now, we don’t even have a five-year plan. So we’ve got to get our act together, and that’s what the President is trying to say. That’s what he said at West Point when he talked about the focus on terrorism —

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY KERRY: — that’s what the President is saying in our TPP, our engagement with Asia – the rebalance with Asia, the TTIP – 40 percent of the global economy in Asia, 40 percent of the global economy in Europe and the United States – we’re focused strategically on how do you play the long game here?

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY KERRY: And the long game is raising the standards of trade, opening up more trade —

QUESTION: So do you think we’re playing the long game in Asia and the short game in the Middle East?

SECRETARY KERRY: No, I think we’re playing a long game in the Middle East. I mean, if you – if you – if we – you asked earlier what’s the importance of Iraq —

QUESTION: Josh Earnest came out and made an interesting comment about the U.S.-Israel relationship where he said that relationship transcends individual leaders. It was a very interesting comment.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, but —

QUESTION: So what’s the long game? In a case like Israel, there’s been a lot of talk. Jeffrey Goldberg, my colleague, had a —

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I read the article.

QUESTION: — a spicy word, “chickenshit” thrown out there. But I think the broader question is: What is the American long game in an arena that keeps ripping itself apart.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, the long game, as everybody knows from the investment I made much of last year, is to find a way to bring the parties to make peace in the Middle East. We still believe it is doable, but it takes courage. It takes strength. You have to be prepared – both sides have to be prepared to compromise in order to do it.

Here’s what I know, and I think all of you know this viscerally and intellectually. And I’ve asked this question of people in the Middle East. One of the great challenges for Israel is, obviously, not to be a binational state. It wants to be a Jewish state. To be a Jewish state, you clearly have to resolve the issue of two states. If you don’t, and you were a unitary state and people have equal rights to vote and participate as citizens, is Israel going to have a Palestinian prime minister? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Not going to happen.

So therefore, what is the solution here? How do you move forward? And what we’re trying to do is evenhandedly and hopefully thoughtfully strengthen Israel’s ability to be free of rockets – not strengthen; to make it free of rockets, to end this perpetual conflict in a way that provides for the complete security of Israel, which has a right, totally, to be free of tunnels coming into its country, terrorists jumping out of a tunnel with handcuffs, with tranquilizer drugs, guns next to a kibbutz – that’s – no country would tolerate that.

QUESTION: Do you think it’s time for you or the President or someone to be a little bit more evocative in terms of defining what you think a deal would like (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: No, I think we need to work quietly and effectively, and we condemn anybody who uses language such as was used in this article. That does not reflect the President, it does not reflect me. It is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging, and I think neither President Obama nor I – I’ve never heard that word around me in the White House or anywhere – I don’t know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted in things. But they make life much more difficult, and we are proud of what we have done to help Israel through a very difficult time.

President Obama is the person who committed to Iron Dome. He made it happen. President Obama has consistently been – he was supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself in the recent – obviously, in this recent war. But at the same time, the President wants to try to nurse the parties together to resolve these differences.

Now, in Iraq, if we didn’t get engaged, I don’t know where ISIL would be today. Maybe in Baghdad; there’d be a hell of a war going on there for sure. Iran may move in even more so to protect the Shia interests in an 80 percent Shia country. What would happen then with Assad and deterioration if ISIL commanded even more territory, it would be a – it already is unprecedented as a terror group in the amount of land, money, and assets that it controls. And it has already threatened Europe, the West, others directly.

So you have no choice here. You have to engage in a way – now, I think we’ve engaged thoughtfully. We built a coalition that for the first time ever has brought together five Arab countries that have actually dropped bombs in Syria against Sunni extremists – unprecedented.

QUESTION: I didn’t think it was possible, actually.

SECRETARY KERRY: Unprecedented. And we are carefully trying to nurse this forward so the Iraqi army does the fighting. The Iraqi army comes back, but not an army that represents one person or one sect; that has a national identity and can bring the Shia – the Sunni tribes in Anbar to the table to reclaim the country. Yesterday in Amiriyah we made some gains – in Zumar, a city south of Mosul, they took it back. This will be slow, it will take time. We’ve been honest with the American people and the world. It’s not going to happen overnight. But it is the best way to push back against religious extremism, and we have united all of the countries in the region in that endeavor. We are flying airplanes into Syria, and Syria’s not trying to shoot them down. We are targeting ISIL; we are trying to build a force that can have an impact on Assad’s decision making so we can get back to a table where we could negotiate a political outcome, because we all know there is no military resolution of Syria.

So that’s where we’re trying to get back to, and we reached out to the Russians. There have been conversations with Iranians, conversations with the Saudis. We’re trying to pull people together.

QUESTION: We’re at the end of our time. There’s so many topics – your views on Assad and his survivability, and others. But I just want to finish – and we really are out of time – but on Iran. If I was thinking about Walter Isaacson’s book on you, which he no doubt will write. He wrote “Kissinger” – we’ve seen Walter up here. He wrote the book, “Kissinger.” If he was writing the book “Kerry” and the opening chapter – I’m interested in whether that entails a deal you helped put together on Iran or not. Yesterday Susan Rice gave a deal a 50/50 chance, which was somewhat higher than I thought it might have. But I’m interested in what happens if a deal with Iran is not achieved. What does the world look like in your world if we don’t go that way? Because it seems then there isn’t a Nixon-goes-to-China moment out there to sort of recreate the sense that America can re-sculpt the global international system.

SECRETARY KERRY: No, we’re living in a very different time. As I said, nations are more developed, they’re more assertive, and it’s not a moment like that. But that doesn’t make diplomacy any less important. It’s in fact more important in many ways, because we don’t have the bipolarity that existed for those 70 years or so. We are working in a very different format. I think the first I’d urge Walter Isaacson if he actually wanted to do that is don’t write the first chapter right now. (Laughter.)

But my – look, I – I’m directly involved, obviously. I’m negotiating face to face with Minister Zarif.

QUESTION: But what odds do you give it?

SECRETARY KERRY: I don’t. I’m not going to give it odds. As I said to the President recently, I’m not going to express optimism; I’m going to express hope —

QUESTION: Okay.

SECRETARY KERRY: — and I think achieving it is critical. But I will say this to everybody: We’ve set a very clear standard. There are four present pathways to a bomb for Iran – the hidden so-called secret facility in a mountain called Fordow, the open Natanz enrichment facility, the plutonium heavy-water reactor called Arak, and then, of course, covert activities. We’ve pledged that our goal is to shut off each pathway sufficient that we know we have a breakout time of a minimum of a year that gives us the opportunity to respond if they were to try to do that.

We’re – we believe there are ways to achieve that. Whether Iran can make the tough decisions that it needs to make will be determined in the next weeks, but I have said consistently that no deal is better than a bad deal. And we’re going to be very careful, very much based on expert advice, fact, science as to the choices we make. This must not be a common ideological or a political decision. And if we can do what we’ve said, what the President set out in his policy – the President said they will not get a bomb. If we could take this moment of history and change this dynamic, the world would be a lot safer and we’d avoid a huge arms race in the region where Saudis, Emiratis, Egyptians, others may decide that if they’re moving towards a bomb, they got to move there too, and obviously it’s a much more dangerous world. And that is not a part of the world where you want massive uninspected, unverified, nontransparent nuclear activities. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

QUESTION: Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary of State John Kerry. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all. Thanks very much.

Secretary’s Remarks: Press Availability With German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: (Via interpreter) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted that so much have come, and we’re delighted to be able to welcome my American counterpart, the American Secretary of State. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to him.

Well, I’m delighted that you have come to this press conference. We’re delighted to be able to welcome my American colleague, American Secretary of State, here in Berlin. Dear – I’d like to tell you, dear John Kerry, welcome back to a place here in Berlin where a younger John Kerry used to live many, many years ago right in the times during the Cold War, right in the neighborhood of the Iron Curtain, where he used to live – the city he used to live.

I’m very delighted that we not only are able to hold bilateral talks, but I’m delighted to be able, at this truly historic place, that we’re able to meet here, which used to be like a focal point of – for the Cold War for many decades. During our tour of the Berlin Wall, we just remembered and reminded ourselves that 100,000 people fled at great risk; 138 people died here in Berlin at the Berlin Wall. And it is tragic that up to this day, we don’t even know just how many people have died during – or have been killed or assassinated during their flight across the border. There’s a research project going underway, which hopefully will give us clarity whether we – there – we have to mourn 600 or 700 or a thousand people who lost their lives. To convey this to a younger generation of people who have been born after the fall of the wall is our joint responsibility, and this is why we are delighted to have been able to have this opportunity to talk to students from Berlin and Brandenburg, a generation of people who cannot envisage or imagine that 25 years ago, this wall not only divided the city of Berlin but also separated friends from each other and tore families apart.

We are delighted that we’re able to say, 25 years on, 25 years ago, the division of Germany was overcome and the division of Europe was overcome 25 years ago. And dear John, let me explicitly state all of this would not have been possible without the unconditional support provided to us by the U.S. It would not have been fathomable or feasible, and we will never forget what the Americans did for us.

What we have worked on and fought for hard in the past decades and – is at risk these days. Even if the conflict in Ukraine does not make headlines in German newspapers anymore, we still know that this conflict still bears enough explosive potential to pose a serious threat to the peaceful order in Europe so many people have fought for so hard. And this is why – and this is our responsibility, the responsibility of our generation. This is what we told the young people and the young students. This is why it is our responsibility to prevent a new division in Europe from happening. We have to work hard and make a serious effort that the tedious first steps since the Minsk agreements, that tedious steps are actually being implemented. We must succeed with all our might and possibilities to making sure that Ukraine’s integrity and unity is safeguarded, that we help protect the borders with the help of drones, and that the buffer zone that has been agreed upon between Russia and Ukraine leads to a situation that fighters and heavy arms will be finally withdrawn from this zone, from this territory.

The conflict in Ukraine is only a small indicator towards the fact that the people are right when they say the world seems to have come out of kilter these days. Unfortunately, we’re not only faced with the conflict in Ukraine. In various meetings in the past days, but also last night, we talked about the situation in the Middle East, and we talked about steps that are necessary. Now, I think it was right and good that we together – the United States and Germany – work towards forging an international alliance in the fight against ISIS in order to prevent the further advance of this terrorist group and further contain the advance of this group.

We are also lending a contribution towards weakening ISIS militarily, and we hope that we’ll make progress in Iraq. We’re going to make progress in Iraq – I’m sure of that – if our military aspects are also embedded in a political solution, and this is why we are both happy that we – that it was successful that an inclusive government under the inclusion of Kurds and Sunni was possible. This is very promising and we hope that the Sunni people who have sided with ISIS can be won back gradually in order to fight against Islamist terrorism.

We’re faced with the same situation in Syria. Aside from military measures, we have to forcefully and make a great effort to make sure that aside from military activities, there is also a path towards a political solution. We support the new Special Envoy of the United Nations de Mistura.

Once again, dear John, a very warm welcome to Berlin. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to be here at this historic site. I’m also delighted that we had the opportunity to talk last night and took the time to discuss the situation in the world, which is worrying, indeed, and that we’re able to talk about the situation and we’re able to agree on joint steps forward. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Vielen Dank, mein Freund. Thank you very, very much, Frank. It’s a great privilege for me to be here. And I am extremely grateful for your partnership, for your personal friendship, for the leadership that Germany is providing, and particularly for the initiative that you, as a foreign minister, are undertaking on a number of difficult issues. And we in the United States are deeply appreciative for Germany’s important role at this moment.

(Via interpreter) America and Germany have a long history of cooperation for fighting for freedom, for peace and for prosperity. It’s a great pleasure for me to be here today and to renew our commitment to our relations with Germany, and we look forward to continuing to build upon our long history.

Let me further say that this is very moving to be here outside this wall, in this city, at this moment of time. And it is particularly special to not just be here 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and all that that symbolizes, but this city, obviously, as Frank said in his opening comments, means something to me on a personal level. The time I spent here as a kid when my father was in the Foreign Service touched me significantly. And obviously, when I was living here, a unified Germany was still decades away. I was 12 years old at the time, very curious about East Berlin, and I exercised the privileges of a diplomatic passport to one day ride my bicycle through the checkpoint into East Berlin. And literally, as a young child, I saw the difference. I felt the difference. I actually noticed it. And it frightened me enough that I turned back fairly quickly to come back into the American sector. It was a difference between hope and despair, between light and darkness. You noticed it in the absence of people, in the color of the clothing, in the atmosphere. And it was the difference also, obviously, between freedom and oppression, people who were given a chance to make something of their lives and people who were denied that chance.

So I just had an opportunity to walk through the Berlin Wall Memorial into the no man’s land, where lives were lost, a gulf that was much greater than its distance in feet and yards, meters. Some of the people I walked through there with today, some of the young people, were around the same age as when I lived here, but all of them born into a post-Cold War world. And they all have had the opportunity to grow up in a Germany that is unified and peaceful and prosperous. So this was a perfect way to, ahead of time – not that far ahead, but a few days ahead – to mark the 25th anniversary of the day that the wall came down.

Today, there are pieces of that wall in every corner of the globe and in a handful of cities in the United States. It is in South Korea. It’s in Argentina, in Spain, in Luxembourg, in Bulgaria, in South Africa, in Italy, Canada, Australia. Truly, parts of this wall and what it symbolizes and its coming down are in countries around the world to inspire people.

So it is there also to remind us of the struggle that took place here decades ago, and to remind us that freedom for people living in places like Germany and the United States that we enjoy today – the ability to choose our political leaders, the ability to dissent, the ability to criticize, to say what we want, to pursue whatever opportunities we desire – these freedoms are still being threatened in too many parts of the world. And they are even being threatened right here in Europe.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine needs to end. And that is why we have worked together with Germany very closely, in lockstep with Chancellor Merkel, whose leadership we appreciate greatly, and Foreign Minister Steinmeier, who’s undertaken diplomatic initiative after diplomatic initiative in order to try to resolve this peacefully. We are grateful for their strong leadership and their partnership, as I said, and we hope that Russia, with whom we do not seek conflict, with whom we would much rather be working together to deal with the problems of the world – we hope that Russia will understand how seriously the world takes the efforts to cross the lines of sovereignty and independence of a nation.

At the same time, the United States is also very grateful for Germany’s contribution towards the diplomatic resolution, the meetings with President Putin, with President Poroshenko in Milan. And together, the United States and Germany and our partners are working hard to ensure that the Minsk protocol is fully enacted.

Germany’s leadership has also been important to NATO efforts to bring about a Europe that is whole and free and at peace. But the fact is that U.S.-Germany cooperation extends way beyond the borders of Europe, and we value their support in the global effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, where Germany has provided critical military and humanitarian assistance. We value their support in the ongoing negotiations with Iran, where we are consulting on a regular basis, and where Germany is a vital P5+1 member. We certainly value their support in fighting the Ebola outbreak and enhancing our global health system. And the United States is committed to intensify every aspect of our engagement on Ebola, and we call on our international partners to do the same. We are deeply appreciative for the contributions that Germany has made to date – their monetary contributions as well as their plans to create their own medevac capabilities.

I think it’s safe to say that in many ways, the city of Berlin has become a symbol of our transatlantic relationship. What happened here 25 years ago and over the course of many years – and I’m grateful for Frank’s expressions of gratitude to the United States, because we’re proud of having stood together with freedom-loving people – but all of that is a reminder of what we can accomplish together. It’s also a reminder, as the young people who were with us earlier said, of what people can do – not the government, but what people can do when they have the courage and the determination to do so.

So again, let me thank Foreign Minister Steinmeier, Chancellor Merkel and Germany for your enduring friendship, for your partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work with you for many years to come. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We now – yeah. Before the ministers head to their next appointment, we have two questions each side. And I would say the American friends start, right? Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Matt Lee of the Associate Press.

QUESTION: Good morning. Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask you about Iran, the nuclear talks which you just referenced, and then I have a very brief other question. On Iran, is it the Administration’s intention to go for a deal that – to avoid Congress, to cut Congress out of the loop on this? There seems to be a lot of concern on the Hill that this is what’s going to happen, and I’m just wondering if that’s the way the Administration intends to go.

And then I’d like to ask briefly, both of you, about the foreign fighter and ISIL question. You saw there was some American teenagers picked up here in Germany, and I’m just wondering if you think that this – that enough is being done to stop the flow of the fighters coming in, and if not, what more needs to be done? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Do you want me to go?

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. Matt, let me – I really want to make this very, very clear, because I read a story the other day that suggested exactly what you said. And let me just begin by saying, as you know, as everybody in the United States knows, or most people, I spent 29 years in the United States Senate. And I have too much respect for the process of the Congress, the rights of the Congress, and the importance of the relationship between the Executive and the Congress, the Legislative Branch, to ever suggest that there would be any credibility to this notion there’s some thought of going around it; on the contrary. We are completely engaged in a regular series of briefings. I’ve been talking even during the break to senators about our thoughts with respect to the Iran negotiations, and I personally believe, as does the President, that Congress has an extremely important role to play in this, and Congress will play a role in this.

So on sanctions, what we’ve merely said to people is that – and we’ve said this in public testimony as well as in private conversations – that in the first instance, we would look to suspend sanctions, which the President can do, simply because that’s the necessary way to proceed with respect to the negotiations themselves. But that does not in any way write Congress out of the process or suggest that, in the end, Congress isn’t going to have a vote or do something with respect to this. We anticipate hearings, we anticipate a significant amount of back-and-forth, we certainly will be briefing as we go forward in the next weeks, and we look forward to serious and deep congressional engagement in this effort.

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: And the youngsters?

SECRETARY KERRY: With respect to the foreign fighters? We think everybody in the world can do more with respect to foreign fighters, ourselves included, and that’s what we’re doing. Germany – we’re very, very grateful to Germany for their cooperation with us on this particular instance of some young folks who were traveling. And it’s under investigation now, Matt. Our folks are looking at the causes and impacts very carefully. I don’t want to violate any of that process, so it’s important not to comment on the why and wherefore of this except to say that this is an example of good cooperation between us and the increased vigilance of law enforcement on this issue of the movement of people from one country to another.

But let’s let the story unfold a little bit so people understand exactly what happened here before we comment further.

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: (Via interpreter) Allow me to give you my perspective on both questions. On the topic of Iran, well, I have been dealing with the Iran talks for 10 years now in various capacities. Between 2005 and 2009, I intensively participated in each phase of discussions. In my second term in office as foreign minister, I am also involved in this.

We could have had this deal much earlier, but we’re not talking about just any deal, no. What we’re talking about is a political agreement that gives us the guarantee that Iran is not capable of gaining access to nuclear arms, and this is the only criterion that is important here. And according to this responsibility, our responsibility – and also are responsibility with regard to the Middle East, Israel, ourselves, our peaceful order in the world – and according to this responsibility, we are going to act and analyze together when the conditions are met.

As far as foreign fighters are concerned, it’s not that easy. Even by cooperating more closely in the field of the security services, it is not easy to control the movement of these young people so that those who have the – who want to go and fight and to actually prevent these from going there. Tens of thousands of young people have been traveling to Turkey each year, and we don’t know whether those who are going on vacation to Turkey – we don’t know whether there are people among those people who have different objectives to travel to the region. As my colleague, Mr. Kerry, just said, it is important that the security services, police forces are cooperating, the American and the German forces are cooperating, but we also need this cooperation between Germany and Turkey. Hundreds of young people traveling to Turkey have been held because we assumed that they were making their way to the battlefield.

But it is clear, despite an increase of cooperation between the authorities, we have not been successful to prevent these young people from traveling to these battlegrounds. The security forces are making an effort, but it is a very difficult task in light of the mobility of these young people – the young people who are enjoying this mobility, because there is a freedom of mobility in our countries.

MS. PSAKI: David Brunnstrom from Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I wondered if I could ask: You’re here 25 years after the Berlin Wall came down. How confident are you that you can avoid a new Cold War growing over Ukraine? What are the prospects at the moment for the talks there?

And looking at a surviving Cold War frontier, North Korea, can I ask the Secretary, was there any quid pro quo for the release of the U.S. citizen there, and what it will take for the others to be released? And is there any prospect of a resumption of talks?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me begin with the last part of the question, and then I’ll come back to the Cold War issue. No, there was no quid pro quo, and we are very concerned about the remaining American citizens who are in North Korea, and we have great hopes that North Korea will see the benefit of releasing them also as soon as possible. We’re in constant touch with their families. We’re working on their release. We’ve talked to Chinese and others, and we have a high focus on it. But just two days ago, three days ago, I had State Councilor Yang Jiechi with me in Boston for a day and a half. We had long talks about North Korea, the commitment of China and the rest of the Six Parties – five parties to the denuclearization of the peninsula and the denuclearization of the regime.

We hope to get back to talks, but we need some indication from Kim Jong-un and the regime that they are, in fact, prepared to talk seriously about the central topic of the talks, which is the issue of denuclearization. We do not want to return to talks just for the sake of talks. We’ve been there before. We’ve been through this routine. We’ve entered into agreements and we’ve provided food aid and done other things in the aftermath of those agreements, and notwithstanding, those agreements have been broken, and the march towards their nuclear program has continued, in fact, with greater level of threat than before.

So we have raised this issue with the Chinese, with the Russians, with others. We are cooperating. I want to thank the Chinese, who have taken measures, additional measures in the last year, to try to send a very clear message to the North Koreans that this is unacceptable to the Chinese, unacceptable to the world.

So we hope that the dynamics can develop in the next weeks, months perhaps, where we could get back to talks. And the United States is absolutely prepared to do that. We’ve said from day one that if North Korea wants to rejoin the community of nations, it knows how to do it. It can come to the talks prepared to discuss denuclearization. And the United States is fully prepared – if they do that and begin that process, we are prepared to begin the process of reducing the need for American force and presence in the region because the threat itself would then be reduced.

On the subject of the Cold War, Frank and I talked about that last night and we actually talked about it with the kids this morning right over here by the wall. One of the kids asked us, “Do you think we’re going to be heading towards another Cold War?” And the question itself, frankly, is a question I wish I didn’t have to hear. None of us want another generation growing up with the foreboding sense of a Cold War. None of us want to see another generation see the resources and the efforts of nations diverted from building governments and societies and providing opportunity, and diverted into the mutual action and reaction that comes with a Cold War.

So we are very, very hopeful – and that is why Germany and the United States and others have been engaged in such robust diplomacy – we are very hopeful that we can avoid that. And it’s certainly our primary mission to try to do so. We want to see a respected Ukraine that is independent and sovereign. We would like to see a Ukraine that could even serve as a bridge between Russia and Europe, and this could become not a competition against each other but a competition together to see who can do a better job of developing their economies, of trading, of building stability and of meeting the threat of extremism and radical religious extremism that threatens everybody.

So that’s our hope. I think the Minsk Agreement provides a very clear roadmap for how we move to avoid confrontation, to have an off-ramp that can ultimately result in the lifting of sanctions and hopefully the rebuilding of a more productive relationship. And I think Germany, the United States, the rest of Europe, most of the world shares that hope.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I have a question to both of you. Mr. Kerry, you talked a lot about the Middle East. Israel is also part of the Middle East. In Israel and around Israel, there are many people who voice the concern that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution is closing, and closing quickly. How do you assess this? How big is your concern?

And my second question: You talked a lot about November 24th, the opportunity for a conclusion of nuclear talks with Iran. What’s your assessment? If there is a solution in this field, does this actually make peace negotiations more difficult in Jerusalem if negotiations with Iran are successful? So far, Prime Minister Netanyahu voices concern because he doesn’t believe that Iran is serious.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I have many times said, and sometimes even been criticized for saying it, that there’s a real challenge in terms of trying to fulfill the aspirations of peace in the region by achieving two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. Obviously, we have opposed settlement policy in the West Bank, and with each new settlement there is a growing challenge – with each new settlement in the West Bank specifically, there is a growing challenge to what we call the peace map to how you might achieve the lines of that state.

But our hope is and remains – and the United States remains deeply committed to trying to work for that peace. Israel needs and deserves to have full assurances regarding the security of the Israeli people. No people should live with rockets raining down on them in the tens of thousands. Nobody should have tunnels coming up into their villages with the potential of kidnapping citizens. Seeing a terrorist jump out of a tunnel with tranquilizer drugs and handcuffs would challenge any nation on the planet.

By the same token, Palestinians deserve the right to have rights protected, to have a state and a life that is defined by the rights that are afforded them. And that is a challenge, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. I know that Prime Minister Netanyahu is considering possibilities for how one might proceed forward; so is President Abbas. And my hope is that it will be possible to get back to a negotiating table because that is the only way to resolve the issues that stand in front of us.

The current situation – the status quo – is unsustainable. President Obama said that in his United Nations speech. I have said that many times. I think most people understand that in order to avoid the challenges of a binational state and the challenges of further deterioration, it is important to try to find a way to negotiate. But I think we’re best when we try to work quietly at that, and that’s what we’re doing now, and we will continue those efforts, and obviously we understand the urgency of it.

With respect to – the second part of your question was on the —

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: Iran.

MODERATOR: The impact of —

SECRETARY KERRY: Yes, the talks. Let me – I’m not going to get into predicting possibilities or rank where we are. I will express hope, not optimism – hope that we can bridge the gaps that still exist. Both sides have negotiated in intensive and serious and respectful ways. They, I think, understand what is needed here, and let me be clear about what is needed. There is a fundamental reason why we are having these negotiations. It is because the United Nations Security Council voted a set of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program based on the unanswered questions about where that program was going. So Iran has a very simple task, really. All it has to do is prove to the world through its transparency and accountability that its program is indeed peaceful. There are four major tracks to the potential of an Iranian bomb, and each of those four tracks needs to be clearly unattainable – and that’s what we are working to achieve – with a breakout time that is sufficient for the world to be able to respond, should that occur.

And I’m not going to get into the details because we’re not going to negotiate publicly. I think that’s a mistake. But I will tell you that we’re hopeful. We’re working very hard. And the Iranian team is tough, they’re knowledgeable, they negotiate hard, but they’ve also been negotiating seriously. And we will continue over the course of the next weeks with hopes that we can achieve what I think the world would like to see, which is a reduction in the possibility of further conflict and the clear path to a non-nuclear Iran, which everybody is seeking.

FOREIGN MINISTER STEINMEIER: (Via interpreter) When I elaborated on the criterions that are necessary for successful talks with Iran, I also talked about Israel. Aside from regular needs for security, aside from peace in the world, we also know that, of course, Israel has a vital interest in making sure that there is no threat posed to Israel’s security in any way. We all know that. And once again, let me reiterate there will not be a negotiated result that – a result to the negotiation that leads to Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons. At the same time, let me endorse what John Kerry just said. The illusion that some people in Israel have that the status quo is the best possible option is deemed by myself, and I think John agrees, is an illusion. After the third war in Gaza, I said the most dangerous thing is for us to actually get back to the status quo ante between – go back to the time between the second and the third war in Gaza.

Those are saying that – faced with the negotiations in Cairo are expecting a sustainable ceasefire to come out from these negotiations in Cairo. We will not have sustainable ceasefire if Cairo offers the foundation for the returning to the negotiating table with regard to a two-state solution. I think this is where we need to get, and I think that in the long run, I think this is the only option in order to provide for security and peace for both sides – for Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East.

And let me add one more thing. I am extremely grateful to John Kerry for knowing about all these difficulties. I’m grateful that he has not lost his energy and effort and enthusiasm to bring success to what has not been happening in the past year, and we will support you Mr. Kerry.

Chair’s Statement of the 10th Asia – Europe Meeting – Milan, 16-17 October 2014

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Speech by President Herman Van Rompuy at the closing session of Asia – Europe Business Forum…

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Arms Control and International Security: 69th United Nations General Assembly First Committee General Debate

As Delivered

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Congratulations, Ambassador Courtenay Rattray, on your election as Chair of the First Committee during its 69th session. The United States pledges to support your leadership and the work of this committee. We are sure that together we can make this a session that puts us on the right path for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon).

As we begin our work, it is important to remember why we are here. We are, as I have said many times, travelling on a long and difficult road. We are facing obstacles – today more clearly than in years past – that slow the pace of progress. We press ahead, because we know that only by continuing our committed, serious work on reducing the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction can we achieve safety and security for generations to come.

That is what motivates and guides U.S. policy. That is the sentiment behind President Obama’s 2009 speech in Prague. That is what we sincerely hope guides the path of every nation represented here. While we have accomplished much over the past five years, we have no intention of diverting from our efforts to reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons, increase confidence and transparency, strengthen nonproliferation, and address compliance challenges.

Mr. Chairman, on this last point, let me stress that compliance with global agreements is an essential part of international peace and security. That is why the United States is once again sponsoring its triennial resolution on “Compliance with nonproliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments,” which seeks to strengthen the global consensus on this topic. We welcome maximum co-sponsorship and support, and hope that it will be adopted without a vote.

Mr. Chairman, we should view the challenges that face us today as a potent reminder that our work is more important than ever. First and foremost, we must all provide unyielding support for the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, the NPT.

Achieving a successful RevCon in 2015 is a priority for the United States. We encourage all parties to join with the United States to advance realistic and achievable objectives. The NPT binds nations to a common interest in preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons use. The challenges to the NPT are real, but the treaty is far too important to fail or be held hostage to impractical demands or political agendas that will not command consensus.

Some question U.S. support for nuclear disarmament. This is a mistake. We remain firmly committed to Article VI of the NPT and to achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. The United States has made clear our readiness to discuss further nuclear reductions with the Russian Federation, but progress requires a willing partner and good environment.

The United States will continue to make it clear that arms control regimes and their corresponding nuclear reductions have served the world well for more than 40 years. The United States and Russia, of course, have special responsibilities to protect and preserve those regimes, as our countries still possess over 90% of the global nuclear stockpile.

A critical part of this regime is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The United States is deeply concerned about Russia’s violation of its obligations under this landmark treaty. We believe that the INF Treaty benefits the security of the United States, our allies, and Russia. For that reason, we urge Russia to resolve our concerns, return to compliance, and ensure the continued viability of the Treaty.

Now is the time to move forward, not back to postures reminiscent of the Cold War. Despite these challenges, the United States and Russia continue to implement the New START Treaty successfully. When we complete implementation, deployed nuclear weapons will be at their lowest levels since the 1950s. This translates to an 85% reduction to the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile from its Cold War peak. That is indisputable progress in disarmament.

As we consider future reductions, our focus must be on responsible measures that can be trusted and verified. We will learn from our past experience – successes and disappointments – and continue to move ahead with each step building on the last. Actually, perhaps we do ourselves a disservice when we think about disarmament as a metaphorical ladder – one that must be climbed in a linear fashion. Perhaps we are better off thinking in terms of how creeks and streams connect to form rivers. Over time, those mighty rivers are irreversible; they cut through massive and seemingly impenetrable stone on the way to their final destination. In those terms, one can see how the myriad of tasks in front of us will connect to each other and steadily but surely form an irreversible path towards disarmament.

There is no way to skip to the end and forgo the hard work of preparing for the technical and political disarmament challenges that lie ahead. For example, we can all acknowledge that verification will become increasingly complex at lower numbers of nuclear weapons, while requirements for effectiveness will increase. All of us – every nation here – should be devoting ample time and energy to address this challenge right now. As a start, I recommend reviewing the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s recent research on future verification mechanisms, and encourage everyone to attend our October 14 side event on the topic.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is continuing its engagement with the P5 on the issue of disarmament. Collectively, we have created a consensus NPT Reporting Framework, first demonstrated at this year’s NPT PrepCom, and we continue to work on a P5 Glossary that will increase mutual understanding. Ongoing P5 work on critical Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) inspection techniques will help enhance that Treaty’s verification regime.

The United States is pleased that the United Kingdom will host the sixth annual P5 conference early next year. I want to stress that speed is less important than results in this process. The regular interactions and cooperation that are happening now is the foundation on which future P5 multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament will stand.

Patience and persistence is needed from all parties both among and beyond the P5. That is why the United States is interested in engaging non-nuclear weapon states in order to increase transparency and engagement in the disarmament process. Such collaboration can help us ensure the nearly 70-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons continues forever.

As we consider the agenda for the 2015 RevCon, it is important to focus on all three pillars of the NPT. The United States will seek a balanced review that addresses each.

Ensuring NPT safeguards are upheld and nuclear energy remains in peaceful use are no less important to disarmament as future nuclear reductions. Treaty violations should never be tolerated and demand our attention. That is because NPT pillars are mutually reinforcing and implementation of each is a shared responsibility.

Mr. Chairman, as we approach the 2015 RevCon, the United States will be focusing its efforts on a number of other issues. We will be supporting legally binding assurances against use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in the context of Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty Protocols. We were pleased to sign the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in May. We will continue to work with ASEAN toward signature of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty Protocol. Bringing into force the protocols of all five regional zones is a top priority.

Along with our P5+1 partners, the United States will continue to seek concrete, verifiable steps to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

The United States is eager to launch negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) – an agreement recognized to be a vital and necessary step in multilateral nuclear disarmament. Nations that continue to block these negotiations should consider how their actions increase nuclear dangers and impede nuclear disarmament.

This year, through a resolution from this body, and under Canada’s leadership, a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on FMCT was convened. It is our hope that the GGE and its final report will finally break this impasse and allow us to proceed with the negotiation of this important treaty.

The United States will continue to create the conditions that will help us ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz have both recently emphasized the need for this Treaty to finally enter into force.

While we are focused on CTBT ratification in the United States, we call on the seven other Annex 2 States to complete their ratification processes without delay. The time for action is now. The United States asks that all CTBT Signatories continue their commitment to support an effective, operational, and sustainable verification system for the Treaty. We also look forward to participating in the upcoming CTBT Integrated Field Exercise in Jordan.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is also focusing on the long-term sustainability of space. We believe irresponsible behavior in space, such as the testing or use of debris-generating ASAT systems, threatens the security, safety, economic well-being, and space science activities of all nations. We are pleased that the report from the UN GGE on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures for outer space activities was endorsed by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly. It provides a valuable roadmap for practical, near-term solutions, such as an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

On the subject of conventional arms control and disarmament, the United States recently announced that we will not use anti-personnel landmines (APL) outside the Korean Peninsula, nor will we assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention. We will also undertake to destroy APL stockpiles not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea. The United States will continue our diligent efforts to pursue solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow us to join the Ottawa Convention. At the same time, we are proud to be the world’s single largest financial supporter of humanitarian mine action.

We are also pleased that the Arms Trade Treaty will enter-into-force before the end of this year. As a signatory, we are working with Mexico and other interested States in pursuit of a successful first Conference of States Parties that will lay the groundwork for a Treaty that lives up to all of our expectations.

I would like to thank all those here who aided in the effort to remove chemical weapons from Syria. Through an unprecedented collaboration of nations and international organizations, we collected, removed, and ultimately destroyed 1,300 tons of chemical weapons and precursors from Syria. Very serious issues with Syria still must be resolved, including the reports of systematic use of chlorine gas in opposition areas. The fact remains that through cooperation, the international community was able to significantly reduce the threat posed by chemical weapons in the region. The framework we developed can serve as a guide for future WMD nonproliferation cooperation.

In sum, it is not enough to have the will to pursue nonproliferation and disarmament; we have to have a way to pursue nonproliferation and disarmament. We will require all the tools we have available: diplomacy, law, science, technology, economic cooperation, and more. We will have to eschew needless arguments, vanity, and political games. We will need the courage and the tenacity to keep chipping away at this problem, day after day, month after month, year after year.

It will not be easy. Just as there is no single solution to our global fight against violent extremism, no single initiative, no matter how noble or well-intentioned, can end the threat from weapons of mass destruction by itself. In both cases, we must commit ourselves to active and engaged cooperation, and, most importantly, we must seek the cooperation and support of people outside of these walls, and outside of our capitals. The global public must both understand the significant humanitarian impacts of weapons of mass destruction and the achievable way we can reduce and then eliminate them.

We are under no illusions – we know there is disagreement on the right path ahead. Instead of focusing on what divides us, I would again ask everyone to remember why we are here and what we are charged with doing. We can and must reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction. By focusing on our mutual commitments to the NPT and other established international agreements, we can succeed.

Mr. Chairman, we must succeed and the United States is ready to do its part.

Thank you.

57 students to receive scholarship from UK universities

By Chung Hyun-chae The Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK), an educational charity owned by 11 British universities including the University of Bradford and Sheffield Hallam University, launched a scholarship…

Joint Declaration

Ottawa, Ontario
22 September 2014

At the invitation of His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, the President of the Republic of Korea, President Park Geun-hye, undertook a State Visit to Canada from September 20 to 22, 2014.

During the State Visit, Prime Minister Harper and President Park underlined the robust bilateral relationship. They agreed that sustaining the prosperity, security and quality of life of citizens in each of our countries requires a strong economy.

President Park and Prime Minister Harper celebrated the signature of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and Korea, an historic initiative that will strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both countries and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Korean and Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers. The FTA is an ambitious, state-of-the-art agreement, covering virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-Korean trade, including trade in goods and services, investment, government procurement and intellectual property, as well as labour and environment cooperation. The leaders reaffirmed their mutual commitment to have the Agreement enter into force as quickly as possible.

The friendship between Canada and Korea has deep roots. Leaders welcomed the vigorous development of the bilateral relationship in recent years and acknowledged that it is time to raise it to a new level. To this end, they have undertaken to develop a new Strategic Partnership that will enhance cooperation based on the shared values of democracy, market economy, respect for human rights and rule of law. This Partnership will lay out a strategic direction for stronger relations in key areas of common interest including energy and natural resources, science, technology and innovation, and Arctic research and development.

As an element of this Strategic Partnership, leaders have undertaken to deepen exchanges and coordination and seek opportunities for more extensive cooperation on bilateral issues as well as global and regional issues, including global governance, prosperity, peace and security.

The leaders reaffirmed their desire for sustainable peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as envisioned in the Trust-Building Process initiated by President Park. In this regard, expressing grave concern over the continued ballistic missile launches by North Korea and its threat to conduct another nuclear test, they urge North Korea to refrain from any further provocative actions and abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including its uranium enrichment program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Further to this, Prime Minister Harper expressed his support for President Park’s initiative for peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula, which would contribute to promoting regional and international peace and prosperity. Prime Minister Harper and President Park also expressed concern over the continued deterioration in the human rights situation in North Korea and valued the international community’s attention to this issue, including the report recently released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The leaders also emphasized the significance and role of regional dialogue and cooperation as a means of building trust in Northeast Asia, while Prime Minister Harper reaffirmed his support for President Park’s efforts to enhance peace and security and noted her recent efforts through her Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative.

In the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Korea and Canada on Development Cooperation signed in 2012, Prime Minister Harper and President Park agreed to make concerted efforts in contributing to the achievement of new development goals beyond 2015, recognizing that maternal, newborn and child health remain one of the key priorities.

Sharing the view that Canada and Korea, like-minded countries on many global issues, need to coordinate closely and take concerted action to address regional and global challenges, the two Leaders agreed to continue to further strengthen the existing ties of cooperation through multilateral fora such as the United Nations, APEC and the G20. Also, taking note of the increasing role of both countries in addressing global challenges of today, they agreed to share relevant experience and expand bilateral cooperation in this regard.

The two Leaders expressed continued appreciation for the growing exchanges between the peoples of the two countries, which have played an important role in the development of bilateral relations. President Park, in particular, reiterated her gratitude for the support and sacrifice of the Canadian people during the Korean War.

President Park’s State Visit to Canada this week follows the visit of Prime Minister Harper to Korea in March 2014. As strong economic partners, leaders were also pleased to witness the signature of the Open Skies air transport agreement and the signature of an MOU concerning Cooperation in the Field of Forestry. Given their common interest in innovation, the Leaders welcomed work on a memorandum of understanding on energy technology and the announcement of the intent to develop an Agreement on Science, Technology and Innovation that could be leveraged to increase people-to-people connections and industry collaborations in strategic areas of mutual interest.

As Strategic Partners, the Leaders look forward to a new era in bilateral relations.

President Park thanked Governor General Johnston and Prime Minister Harper for their warm hospitality during her State Visit to Canada.

IAEA and FAO Honour Achievements in Radiation-Supported Plant Breeding

Press Release 2014/22

24 September 2014 | Awards honouring teams of scientists who have helped increase food security by using radiation to breed better crop varieties were presented today by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Mutation breeding, which uses radiation to mimic natural plant mutation events, is a well-established method that enables plant breeders to work with farmers to develop variations of rice, barley, sesame and other crops that are higher-yielding and more resistant to disease.

The awards were initiated by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to celebrate successes achieved so far and promote the development of further sustainable crop varieties. The Joint Division – a strategic partnership between the IAEA and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – supports countries in their use of the method.

“Through the use of plant mutation breeding, nuclear techniques help to create new strains of plants with characteristics that allow them to resist disease and thrive under harsh conditions, such as high altitudes and saline soils,” Director General Amano said at an award ceremony at the IAEA headquarters, where he handed certificates to representatives of the countries of award recipients.

“The development of new varieties of food crops will be increasingly important in the future as the world tries to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.”

The following scientists and teams were selected for Outstanding Achievement Awards:

  • Peru: Cereal and Native Grains Research Program (Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina)

    Mutant breeding helped Peru tackle the harsh conditions its farmers face at high altitudes. The improved mutant barley and amaranth varieties produced, thriving at altitudes of up to 5 000 metres, provide seven million farmers in the Andean region with more food and income.

  • China: Team of Radiation Mutant Breeding (Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

    The team has released 17 mutant varieties, including eight rice, five wheat and four barely cultivars. Three of the mutant wheat varieties have been planted on more than 30 million hectares and generated more than 30 billion Yuan RMB (about US$ 4.9 billion) of socio-economic benefit.

  • Bangladesh: Dr. Mirza Mofazzal Islam (Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture)

    Nine mutant varieties of fibre jute, vegetable jute, mungbean and chickpea with improved yield and quality traits were released and widely accepted by farmers for cultivation. The mutant varieties have increased yield from 20 to 45 per cent compared to other existing crop varieties. The area where these mutant varieties are cultivated is increasing.

  • Indonesia: Plant Breeding Group (National Nuclear Energy Agency)

    Mutant breeding has benefited hundreds of thousands of farmers and millions of consumers in Indonesia. The Group’s research led to the release 20 mutant rice varieties, one of which has produced an estimated total income of USD 2 billion. The mutant rice varieties make up 10 per cent of the total rice varieties registered.

  • Viet Nam: Agricultural Genetics Institute (Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

    Rice and soybean mutant varieties have vastly improved farmers’ livelihoods: One top mutant rice variety created almost US $540 million in additional value compared to older varieties. Soybean mutant varieties increased income by a third for almost 3.5 million farmers.

The following were selected for Achievement Awards:

  • China: XYW Rice Team (Institute of Nuclear Agricultural Sciences, Zhejiang University)
  • India: Plant Mutation Breeding Team (Bhabha Atomic Research Institute)
  • China: Wheat Mutation Breeding Team (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Pakistan: Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission)
  • China: Genetics Breeding Team of SIAE (Sichuan Institute of Atomic Energy)
  • Viet Nam: Institute of Agricultural Sciences for Southern Viet Nam (Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences) and Centre for Nuclear Techniques (Viet Nam Atomic Energy Institute)
  • Afghanistan: Mr. Sekander Hussaini (Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan)
  • Thailand: Rice Department, Bureau of Rice Research Development (Department of Agriculture)
  • Brazil: Research Group: Use of in vivo and in vitro induced mutation in plant breeding (CENA, IAC, IAPAR, EPAGRI, ESALQ, UNESP, Centro de Melhoramento Genético do Fumo)
  • Republic of Korea: Radiation Breeding Team, (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute)
  • Egypt: Mr. Abdel Shafy Ibrahim Ragab (Nuclear Research Centre, Atomic Energy Authority)
  • Sweden: Ms. Udda Lundqvist (Nordic Genetic Resource Centre)
  • Viet Nam: Phuong Tan Tran and Cua Quang Ho (Department of Agricultural and Rural Development)
  • Cuba: Ms. Maria Caridad González Cepero (National Institute of Agricultural Science)
  • Yemen: Mr. Abdulwahid A Saif (Agricultural Research and Extension Authority)
  • Malaysia: Malaysian Nuclear Agency
  • Republic of Korea: Rice Research Division (National Institute of Crop Science, Rural Development Administration)
  • Sri Lanka: Department of Agriculture

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has successfully tackled a range of agricultural problems since its establishment in 1964, including global freedom from rinderpest, the eradication of the tsetse fly on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, and water-saving agriculture in seven African countries.