QUESTION: Welcome to the Philippines, Mr. Secretary. Thank you for joining us today.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It's great to be with you. Thank you.
QUESTION: I want to begin with last night. Why the meet with President Duterte? What did you guys talk about?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We talked about the important relationship between our two countries across a broad spectrum. There's a rich, deep, proud history between the Philippines and the United States. We want to continue that. That's important for both of our nations' economies, it's important for the security of our two countries. A broad range of issues. It was very kind of President Duterte to take a few minutes and spend it with me last night. I really appreciated it.
QUESTION: In your one-on-one meet with President Duterte last night, you said, We got your back in the South China Sea. Mr. Secretary, what did you mean by that? How exactly does the U.S. have the Philippines's back?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, look, in lots of ways. It begins with the agreement that we've entered into, right. We have a mutual defense agreement between our two countries. It lays out a very � set of specific requirements, and requirements on both countries � not just the United States to support the Philippines, but each country has its responsibility for its own security as a first and principle matter. And so that's what I meant. I wanted him to understand that. This history, the risk that's presented by China's continued encroachment to free and open navigation and the threat that it presents through the militarization of these island reefs, these rocks, is real, and I wanted President Duterte to understand that we value these shipping lanes, we value the Pacific, we value the capacity for countries to make sovereign decisions. And we're going to make sure that every country in the region has the opportunity to do that. And I wanted to tell President Duterte that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you brought up the issue of the Mutual Defense Treaty. Our very own defense secretary has brought it up, I think it was last year, the need to maybe revisit the MDT to see if we could strengthen it, maintain it, or even scrap it, to make sure that it's still relevant. Do you feel that the Mutual Defense Treaty, Mr. Secretary, is still relevant? And if it's not, what do you think should be amended in the MDT to make it more relevant?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, it's a very important document, to be sure. And we should all always � every country � when we have long historic relationships that are grounded in a document or a multilateral organization, we should always make sure that they are fit for purpose, that they serve modern times. It's appropriate to look at every agreement and see if it still works.
I know there's a debate here in the Philippines about this, there's a bit of a debate inside the United States too. Here's what I know: The two countries will move forward together and that's the most important thing that I know we'll come through this process.
QUESTION: We've got to talk about Hanoi, Mr. Secretary. The summit ending abruptly, Chairman Kim wanted all the sanctions lifted in its entirety, you wanted more from him, he was not prepared to do that. But is there a concern, Mr. Secretary, that North Korea may be using the U.S., sort of stringing you along to gain legitimacy? And what would make you walk away from the talks for good?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, first of all, I hope the talks continue. When we left yesterday, it was in that vein. Each side had agreed that there was clearly more conversation to be had. I hope we can continue the dialogue that we've now had for, goodness, almost a year.
This is a long problem. This is an intractable problem. It is very complex. And so it should be unsurprising to the world that it's going to take multiple throws to get it right. We're committed to it. President Trump is committed to it. He told Chairman Kim that yesterday. We didn't quite get as far in this summit as we would have hoped. I think the North Koreans felt the same way. I think they would have hoped we could get farther too. But we made some progress, and that's a good thing for the world.
Remember these aren't American sanctions that Chairman Kim asked to be lifted. They are UN Security Council resolutions voted on by every member. We need to make sure that we get what Chairman Kim committed � the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And when we do, when President Trump's vision for this is completed, and frankly what the world is aching for as well, there'll be a stable, peaceful Korean Peninsula and a brighter future for the North Korean people as well.
QUESTION: Here's the thing, Mr. Secretary. No matter how the President performs in the global arena, there is an issue back home, as you know. There is an issue that's attacking the credibility of U.S. President Donald Trump. You have his former lawyer calling him a racist, a con man, and a cheat. Do you think that Cohen's testimony is going to affect the standing of President Trump in the international stage as a credible world leader?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No.
QUESTION: That's it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. I mean, I was with the President while the testimony was taking place. President Trump has the authority that comes with being the President of the United States and his capacity to understand how to solve problems, how to address these important issues on behalf of the American people to ensure that America is secure, his first mission, and in the process of doing that build out alliances and partnerships all across the world to make sure we keep Americans safe, and in doing so keep people in other places and regions safe as well.
QUESTION: Both the Philippines and the U.S. are signatories to the Paris accord on climate change. The Philippines, as you know, is a leading voice in the fight against climate change of vulnerable nations. You have President Duterte going on record saying Trump should honor the Paris accord.
If President Trump, Mr. Secretary, does not want to take responsibility for what scientists are calling a global catastrophe that will have immense security implications, can the President just listen to a recent Pentagon report which says, The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions, operational plans, and installations. Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, let me begin by saying I've not seen a single relationship � great friends and partners like the Philippines � where there weren't disagreements about how to approach problems. This is one of those cases. President Trump made the decision that the nonbinding commitments in the Paris agreement weren't the right approach.
We are determined � the United States through innovation and technology from 2000 � I think it � I'll have the years wrong. We were the only country, the only industrial country to reduce its actual carbon footprint. That's the outcome that President is looking for. Agreements only matter insomuch as they deliver actual results. President Trump concluded that the cost of that agreement was borne irresponsibly on the United States of America; that other countries, including China, which is growing its carbon emissions at an enormous rate, had no mandatory requirements. These were the reasons that President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
QUESTION: And final question, Mr. Secretary. Let's talk about U.S. President Trump calling the � what he calls the impending defeat of ISIS. The President has said this will happen soon, but the defeat is just a physical caliphate of ISIS. As you know, there have been reports of foreign ISIS fighters coming in to the Philippines, merging with local terrorists that have pledged allegiance to ISIS. What is the U.S. prepared to do in helping the Philippines in its own battle against terrorism, and do you see Asia as the next battleground?
SECRETARY POMPEO: There is no doubt the President understands that the defeat of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria is an enormous accomplishment but isn't the end of the threat from radical Islamic terrorism. And the United States has led the world in combating that. We will continue to do so. We've done it here. We've supported the Philippine people and the Philippine armed forces and local law enforcement all in an effort to share information, intelligence, resources, so that we can keep the Philippine people safe from this threat.
I expect that threat will continue, and you should know that the United States commitment to fighting that wherever we find it, whether it's in Asia or in Africa � we have ISIS in Africa as well � the United States is committed to defeating radical Islamic terrorism, and we'll certainly do that alongside the Philippine people here.
QUESTION: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you so much for joining us.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, ma'am. Wonderful to see you.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you for your time.
Source: U.S. State Department.