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DoD News Briefing: Defense Guidelines Review

Presenter: Defense Guidelines Review
September 23, 1997

Dr. Campbell: Good morning. Let me just say a few things if I can, and then I'll be happy to take some questions.

In Asian Pacific security issues and other broader Asian issues, the fall of 1997 will be an extremely busy time. Next week Secretary Cohen, Secretary Albright, their Japanese interlocutors, the new Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Obuchi, the head of the Japanese Defense Agency, will meet in New York for the culmination of now almost two years of work on the revision of the U.S./Japan Defense Guidelines which provide the framework for how the United States and Japan will work together in peace and in times of stress.

In addition, of course, in October, President Clinton will be hosting Jiang Zemin in Washington for the summit between the United States and China. Secretary Cohen will also be visiting Asia in November for a very long trip both to Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. And of course currently we are in the midst of intense deliberations between the United States, Japan, Korea and China on the questions in terms of next steps on the Korean Peninsula.

So it's an extremely busy time, but we're here today to talk primarily about the Defense Guidelines Review in New York that's taking place next week.

Let me just describe briefly what it is. The Defense Guidelines are, again, a little bit like the software of the U.S./Japan security and political arrangement. They provide guidance for our political leadership and for our military planners in terms of roles and missions about how the United States and Japan would respond in a crisis -- both a crisis that challenges Japan and a crisis in the surrounding arena, the surrounding area.

In many respects, although it has not gotten much attention in the United States, the Defense Guidelines -- if you believe as I do that the U.S./Japan security relationship has been the fundamental sort of touchstone, the framework for our forward presence and thereby our ability to preserve peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region. If you believe that, then I think it's true to say that this Defense Guidelines Review, in many respects, is the Asian corollary of NATO expansion. It is a very important strategic innovation in Asia and we believe that it continues to make, it will make the U.S./Japan security and political partnership relevant for the 21st Century. I'll be happy if there are questions that go into detail of what the U.S./Japan Security Guidelines mean, but I think with that as sort of a general overview, I'll be happy to just answer whatever I can.

Q: They're going to sign the agreement next Tuesday, right?

A: Issue the agreement, right.

Q: Well, the agreement has now been made. Can you just give us, maybe, the four top concrete things on what Japan...

A: Let me also just indicate to you as is often the case in these situations, we're not quite done. Many of our weekend plans are on hold. We will, of course, continue to work, but we will be complete on Tuesday.

The Defense Guidelines, first of all, provide a framework, as I indicated, for the United States and Japan to work together again in peace or during war. A very large percentage, perhaps 90 percent of what the Defense Guidelines is, is a clarifying statement from Japan to the United States about what Japan would do in a crisis in terms of providing rear area support to the United States. Let me give you a sense of what motivated this process of definition.

Both during the Gulf War, and then again during the 1993 nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, there was some significant doubt about what the United States could expect, and indeed, what Japan could expect from itself in terms of how it could respond, how it could assist the United States in the process of responding to a crisis in Asian Pacific security. So about 90 percent of what the Defense Guidelines do is provide the United States and the Japanese political leadership with a greater sense of clarity about what can be expected in terms of rear area support. What that means is how we would use airfields, ports, security in rear areas.

At the same time, I need to highlight to all of you, as we began this process there was a very broad and wide realization in both the United States and Japan that a key to preserving peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region was that Japan would continue to abide by its peace constitution and would refrain from considering using military force in an offensive way. So Japan will continue to abide very strictly and indeed, without any debate, to the very basis of the peace constitution.

The second aspect of Defense Guidelines is that there will be situations in a regional crisis, for instance, in which Japan would, it would be possible for Japan to consider to do operations that would support the United States, where the United States and Japan would work together. Let me give you a couple of examples, if I can.

We might find ourselves in a situation where mines might be placed in certain places in or around Japan. Japanese minesweepers now would be able to operate in international waters to support freedom of navigation to clear sea lines of communication. To date, that has been a difficult legal and constitutional matter in Japan, and we are hopeful that the Defense Guidelines will provide the framework for Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces to undertake those missions.

Furthermore, Japan has a tremendous capacity to patrol sea lines of communication with their aircraft in international waterways, so they will be able to undertake greater maritime patrols potentially during a crisis.

Furthermore, because both American and Japanese citizens are, in many places, together in Asia, we would contemplate working together to evacuate our non-combatants from situations under duress.

These are areas of cooperation that we believe are supportive of the goal of creating and maintaining peace and stability and they do not threaten other countries in the Asian Pacific region.

The last five or so percent, I know this is detailed, but at least it will help you get a sense of what this is about. The last five or ten percent of the Defense Guidelines are that in the last few years Japan has increasingly, as an expression of its own foreign policy, decided to support various UN activities. For instance you have Japanese self defense forces in the past serving in Goma, Zaire; in water purification in Mozambique; in the Golan Heights; in Cambodia. Now these are small-scale exercises, but they indicate a very responsible and very responsive role that Japan seeks to play in the international community supporting UN operations.

Our goal is when Japan decides, again as an independent act of its foreign policy, to be involved in these UN operations, that the United States would take steps to assist them. Provide information, perhaps transport water, so that we could cooperate better on the ground to make those operations more effective. So we think that's also an important element of the Defense Guidelines Review.

Let me also conclude with just one point. The most important part of this process has been not just the work we've undertaken among our bureaucracies and military folks, but in explaining, in explicating what this has been about in a variety of arenas. First, domestically in Japan.

One of the very valuable legacies of this process over the last two years, a very intensive review of security matters, is that two years ago you could pick up a Japanese newspaper, or every Japanese newspaper and not find one article on security. It was verboten, really, to address sensitive security issues. One of the things that we've managed to accomplish is that security is now widely debated, widely discussed and widely reviewed among the Japanese reading and viewing public. That has been a very positive process, because as Japan has worked through these very complex issues, we have, we the United States and Japan, have arrived at about the same place in terms of what we think makes sense in terms of next steps.

But also importantly, I think as you all know, Japan has taken steps with the United States and alone at explaining what this process is about in the region, because there are still, as you all know, enduring concerns about Japanese military issues in the Asian Pacific region, and Japan has taken very real steps to make this process completely transparent both to our friends in Korea, in China, and in Southeast Asia.

I apologize, that's a very long answer to a very short question. I'll try to do better next.

Q: ...didn't seem to me to be the answer. You said that these Guidelines will make it hopeful now that Japan will so and so. We would contemplate working together.

Do these Guidelines say Japan, in fact, is prepared to clear mines, prepared to go in and evacuate people? Does it say that specifically and commit them to doing it or simply open the door to possibly doing it?

A: Let's be clear here. We're talking about two issues. We're talking about being able to plan for accomplishing certain missions. The Defense Guidelines does that, and we will be able to work together on a variety of different missions and I've gone through some of those things in detail. But both the United States and Japan do not say how we will respond in a particular situation. Defense Guidelines gives political leadership in Japan and the United States options for how to respond. Things that we did not have in the past. It's not like a program where it necessitates Japan's actions, but it does provide us with the capability to give to our political leadership the options which they can decide to take or not take. It's not something that automatically comes into play, but it's something that gives us the capacity to respond if there's the political determination to do so.

Q: It's not a treaty.

A: No, it's an agreement.

Q: Does this agreement give the option for the U.S. and Japan to cooperate in the defense of South Korea? And secondly, in defense of Taiwan as has been suggested by some reports in the press?

A: Those are two detailed questions. Let me try to answer them both if I can.

The basis of our relationship is the 1960 Mutual Security Treaty between the United States and Japan. The Defense Guidelines Review is not geographic in scope. It is, in fact, an agreement which specifies and clarifies roles and missions for both the U.S. and Japanese political leadership, so we have a greater sense of what and how our two armed forces could respond in a variety of situations. I want to underscore the variety of situations. This is not simply how the United States and Japan could respond to a major conflict. This is how we could respond to an increase, for instance, in refugees. This is how we could respond in the Asian Pacific region to an urgent demand to deliver food assistance to a particular country.

In terms of, I think you've all focused very closely on some of the remarks that we've heard emanating from Beijing concerning the Defense Guidelines. We have taken extra steps to explain to China specifically what the Defense Guidelines Review is about and what it's not about. First of all, this is not a mechanism to contain China. This is a mechanism to assure that the institution that has provided the basis for peace and stability and, by association, a period of unparalleled Chinese prosperity, to allow that relationship to continue into the future.

We've been very clear with China that no two countries have a greater interest in positively engaging China as the United States and Japan. Furthermore, no two countries have a greater interest in seeing the Taiwan situation addressed peacefully than the United States and Japan. We expect that situation, that process to be conducted peacefully, and that is our goal and ambition. We believe that, for instance, the summit most recently between Prime Minister Hashimoto and President Jiang Zemin goes a long way to increasing trust and transparency between the people of Japan and the people of China.

Q: If there were a crisis on the Taiwan Strait would U.S. forces in Japan and Japanese forces take part in that?

A: As you understand, we never respond to that kind of hypothetical question. We stand by our commitments, the three communiques in the Taiwan Relations Act. Our goal and expectation is that the process of dialogue across the Taiwan Straits will be peaceful, and we urge both sides -- both Taiwan and the PRC -- to refrain from provocative actions -- either diplomatically or militarily, exercises or diplomatic actions that undermine trust. We also believe that the most prudent and positive step that could be taken is direct communications, a reestablishment of the cross-Strait dialogue between Taiwan and the PRC.

Q: Could I get a little bit more down to earth here on this? Because it's not really clear...

A: I thought I was already pretty down to earth here. (Laughter)

Q: I'm sorry, but really... You're talking about guidelines, but are these specific in terms of saying... You were talking about the use of airfields or ports or security in areas. Does this guideline get into those issues at all?

Q: Does it say what airfield might be added to what's done now?

Q: ...cover a contingency in Korea. That was an issue that came up the last time.

A: Exactly. What the Defense Guidelines does is it allows military operators and political discussions between the two countries to provide those assurances from a variety of different airfields and ports. So the goal of the Defense Guidelines...

Q: Is to provide assurances?

A: Assurances for how the United States could use various ports, facilities and airfields in the time of a crisis in the Asian Pacific region. That's what the Defense Guidelines is designed to do, right.

Q: I thought you said it didn't commit them to do it. Does it or doesn't it?

A: We're talking about two separate things. We expect Japan to... The Defense Guidelines Review provides political authority in both countries, a variety of options about how we would respond in a crisis, how we would respond together, in terms of rear area support we expect assurances from the government of Japan about what fields, what ports, what facilities we can count on, that we can count on in an emergency.

Q: Do the Guidelines name these...

Q: What assurances...

A: No. But let's be clear...

Q: It allows them to promise in the future that they might do this? I'm looking for the narrow.

A: I'm trying to answer this for you, okay?

In terms of how we might respond in terms of a regional situation, the Defense Guidelines provides the government of Japan and the government of the United States with options in terms of how we might respond in a regional situation, right? Abiding by the Japanese....

Let me finish, ma'am. I'm doing my best to answer your question. I'll try to do my best.

In terms of sticking with the constitution as it is described. In addition, we believe the Defense Guidelines will provide to the United States clear assurances and clear understandings about the kinds of rear area support that we would get in the event of a crisis in the Asian Pacific region, and we expect a high degree of specificity in terms of airfields, ports, facilities, and a whole variety of rear area support. That agreement, that understanding will not be a couple of pages, it will be hundreds of pages, literally. And that's not in this particular agreement. That's for our military planners to do. But what this gives the government of Japan authorization to provide to us assurances about what specific airfields, how we would use ports, how Japan would provide assurances of security at these ports, and so we're very comfortable with what we're going to receive from Japan in this respect.

Q: So this agreement does not, in effect, lay out the specifics of which airfields could be used at such and such. It provides an open door to future agreements that will lay this out. Is that... I'm trying to figure out what's on the piece of paper that you're going to sign next week. That's all.

A: That's a very good question. The first part of the question is it does provide assurances that Japan can give us these kinds of agreements about these ports and facilities. Much of that work will be part of how the United States and Japan develops our response scenarios to a variety of situations. That's obviously a very sensitive issue. We won't go say we'll use this port here and this airfield here, but we feel that we'll have a high degree of confidence that Japan will be able to support us in this way.

A2: Just to kind of help clarify...

Q: Also, in terms of how you mentioned the issues of minesweeping and that sort of thing. Again, it won't go into that specificity but it will...

A2: As Dr. Campbell said, this document provides the framework for how we're going to do this defense cooperation...

A: This is Lieutenant Colonel Sakoda.

A2: ...between the U.S. and Japan and it provides that political authority. Heretofore, that authority to do planning is not in place, so with this understanding that these are the generic areas, without regard to a specific scenario, without mention of a third country, what are the areas where the U.S. and Japan can begin considering contingencies for the region are spelled out in this document. So it's generic. It's not with specific mention of a scenario, but with this framework we can begin to do those kinds of things like planning, considerations for contingencies. So it's a big first step, but it's something that hasn't been in place until now.

A: You can think of it as political authorization for military and bureaucrats to actually lay down specific response scenarios to a whole host of potential situations.

A2: There are several next steps, and I mention this just to make it a little bit more clear how this fits into the bigger scheme. The next steps need to be the consideration for how we're going to develop plans. What are the contingencies that we want to begin to think about. That track will continue.

But of course anywhere along the way a political determination needs to be made, and that's the thing that's going to make the big decision about are we going to be committed to do this, that and the other thing.

So with regard to your question of commitment, that's a political commitment that's above and beyond the framework of the document.

Q: Can you explain why the Japanese government needs those political authorizations to do things like contingency planning or...

A: I'm sorry, repeat the question one more time.

Q: Why it is that the Japanese government needs the political authorization to do these things.

A: As you're probably aware, the interpretation of the Japanese constitution is extremely important, almost a sacred trust in the Japanese government. So any issue, any possibility of the use of the maritime self defense forces or the air forces or the ground self defense forces has to be looked at very carefully about whether that can be allowed under the framework or the interpretation of the constitution.

To date in, for instance, the scenarios that I've laid out for you -- the Persian Gulf War during the 1993 nuclear crisis, we essentially saw Japan unable to respond to what it would be able to do. That inability is based on the difficulties in terms of interpreting the constitution and the legacies, the legislative framework that surrounds the constitution. What Defense Guidelines is an attempt to do, as Colonel Sakoda indicated is to be specific about what particular areas we think, number one, would assist U.S. forces in the response to a crisis. Number two, would provide for peace and stability. Number three, would not violate the spirit or the text of the Japanese constitution. So this entire process has not only been a legal and constitutional process, it's been an operational military one, and it's been a political one as well. So it has been, I think to you all, you can think gee, this sounds awfully modest, but in fact, the process working on a variety of different levels with the legacy in Japan has been extremely important. Explaining it to the region, developing consensus in the Japanese political parties about what's doable and explaining to the public that this does not violate the constitution and this is conducive to a further partnership with the United States.

Q: The agreement that will be signed Tuesday gives us the opportunity to negotiate from the assurances, but there is still no guarantee that come a specific crisis at this point, after Tuesday, there will be still no specific guarantee that we can use any specific Japanese facility. That will yet to be determined after Tuesday's signing.

A: That's correct.

Q: You said that until these guidelines there had been significant doubts. How could you characterize what these guidelines will do to those doubts? Will they expel them completely? Will there be some doubts left? How would you characterize the effect of these guidelines?

A: Let me get back to the previous question if I may, though. We have tried to create this framework whereby we will begin to immediately lay in process planning discussions about how we would respond to a variety of scenarios in the Asian Pacific region. Again, this is a first step. It's a major first step, so we have to build on it. So the Defense Guidelines is not the end of a process. It really is the beginning of a process where we are really, fundamentally viewing about how the United States and Japan would respond, potentially respond, in a variety of crises. Now we don't also lay out exactly how we would respond in a crisis.

Your point, Bill, about whether this will remove or eradicate concerns in the region. My general sense is that as I've gone around Southeast Asia and in China and in Korea -- in Southeast Asia and Korea there is a much greater appreciation and understanding that the goal here is to revitalize and continue the use of Japan's security alliance, and there's a realization that this framework provides for a continuing U.S. presence in the region -- something that essentially all countries in the region have at least an ambivalent interest in seeing continue into the future. Some countries have a strong interest in seeing that continuing into the future.

I think it would be fair to say that China will continue to have concerns and we will continue to work aggressively to explain, to explicate, to make this process as transparent as possible. I will also say that it is our goal to increase perhaps first and attract to what we call in Asia sort of a semi-official world, greater dialogue between the United States, China and Japan. I think there is a much greater appreciation that for there to be true peace and stability in Asia it's not important simply that the United States has good relations with Japan and the United States has good relations with China. That third leg of the triangle -- good relations, transparency, greater trust between Beijing and Tokyo is also critical. So we think that the Defense Guidelines provides us an opportunity to begin to talk about security issues and try to make it clear to China that this is a process designed to make our partnership with Japan viable, but it is not anti-Chinese. Indeed, it is motivated by a goal to have a continuing American presence and partnership in the region.

Q: Regarding American forces in Japan. Are you saying that up until this document there were no assurances on the part of the Japanese government that we could use these ports, these airfields, in times of crisis? I just don't see that there's a real significant change here.

A: Let's be clear here. We have used these facilities regularly on a variety of occasions, and we have asked for the ability to use these in crises and we have received those commitments from Japan. But in some instances, all that has involved is the United States leaving the bases and using the bases as sort of a jumping off point. What we are talking about now are in a major crisis, for instance, or a major humanitarian situation, we might need to use more facilities in Japan, right? Perhaps some civilian facilities and others. That's critical that we have those kinds of assurances, our ability to respond in terms of a crisis.

A2: Let me add a couple of things. I see several looks of disbelief that this is a significant step. What you can't do or what you shouldn't do is look at this from the perspective of the U.S., U.S. laws, the U.S. Constitution, and if you do, then obviously those things don't apply to Japan.

What is unique with regard to Japan is, Japan in its constitution forswears the sovereign right to wage war. That is something that we're trying to respect through the process. So respecting that, Japan's constitution and Japan's decision in the constitution that forswears the sovereign right to wage war, we're trying to find what are the areas that we can have defense cooperation. That's what the Guidelines are all about.

We have forces in Japan and bases there and Japan supports that actively in a lot of different ways. But the Guidelines now provide an active way for Japan's defense to cooperate with us for not only the defense of Japan, but for regional contingencies. So the perspective that you have to bring to this is Japan's perspective of the constitution and its domestic constraints.

Q: Mr. Campbell, is it safe to describe these Guidelines as at least in part, making it so Japan will play a larger "military" role?

A2: I would say a larger security role, yeah.

Q: You say Japan has shown a willingness to, indeed, play a greater military role, to follow up on this political authorization that's going to be signed.

A2: That's right.

Q: It's already a part of their political and the military will.

A2: This guideline is not only military, but also civilian, active roles.

A: Can I also say this is, we believe, is a responsible step. It's not an irresponsible step. It's not a step that's designed to send concern to the region. It's designed to provide Japan with responsible roles and missions in a crisis.

I think the point that Sak made that's critical here is that we have used these bases for years. When we think of the support that Japan has given the United States, it's far and away the most generous support for U.S. forces forward deployed of any country in the world. It works out approximately to about $100,000 a year for every soldier, sailor and marine that is stationed in Japan. That's extremely significant. That will continue.

The ability for us to deploy from these bases, to use these bases, will continue. But as Colonel Sakoda says, it does two other things. It talks specifically about what responsible roles Japan can play to support us and work with us, but in addition, in a crisis where more facilities might be necessary, we hope to get assurances from Japan what those facilities would be, how they would provide security for those facilities, and how they would work with us to get that kind of clarity.

Q: Does this do anything to the Status of Forces agreements or the burdensharing relations?

A: No. We're very satisfied. We have a very strong host nation support, and we continue to expect that, and we're indeed, very grateful for that support.

Q: There was some debate in the Japanese (inaudible) about reducing the level...

A: There will be a very small... We've worked with the Japanese government to elongate some programs. There will be a small reduction in the (inaudible). There's tremendous pressure on the Japanese budget. But what we have made clear to our Japanese friends and interlocutors is that the support, the host nation support that Japan grants the United States is not simply a fiscal issue. It is a strategic issue and indeed, it undergirds our commitment in the region as well.

Q: When will the actual contingency planning begin, that next step that you were talking about?

A: I think we will begin informal planning and informal discussions about this in the next several months.

Q: [What is the relationship between the United States and the Guidelines...]

A: Many of you may know our former Assistant Secretary of Defense Joe Nye, working closely with Ezra Vogle and others in 1994-1995, believed that during a period of trade friction that the United States was focusing too much on the issues that divided or caused tension in our two countries -- trade frictions, economic concerns -- and not enough on the issues that united us, that brought us together. So the Nye Initiative was designed to begin a process to look carefully at how important the U.S./Japan strategic and political partnership has been in the past and can and will be in the future. That process began in earnest in 1995. We have lived through a variety of difficult situations such as the tragic rape on Okinawa. As part of this process of course we have looked carefully at how we can begin to give land back to the Okinawan people and to restrict some of our operations on Okinawa.

The security declaration last year that was signed in April between Prime Minister Hashimoto and President Clinton stated clearly that this partnership was important. It would continue to be important. And that we would work, again, on these issues that surround the security relationship like the Defense Guidelines. So it was in April that we formally began this process of review. This is the culmination of that, in a sense, of 18 months. So what you have to think about this like is a relay race. There were others in Japan that began this process by saying we need to think carefully about our relationship, we're taking it for granted. It's much more important than either of our countries understand occasionally or acknowledge. That baton was handed to Ezra Vogle, Joe Nye, they ran with it for awhile. Others take the baton. This is the next step in that process. So we see this as part of a continuation. And again, it's not an end point as some of you have, as we've tried to make the point clear. It sets the stage. It provides the political authorization, the legal authority, and indeed, the public support in Japan and the region for the United States and Japan to continue to work together and to be more clear about what we expect from one another in the event of a crisis that challenges our interests, our security in the Asian Pacific region.

So Secretary Nye is, in many respects, the godfather or the inspiration behind much of the work that we're undertaking.

Q: The Mike Pillsbury testimony yesterday. He said that, about the unfriendly character of certain Chinese military writings. Do you agree with that? Is that a cause for concern for you?

A: Let me just say that I think one of the things that's extremely important for all interlocutors between the United States and China to make clear is that the United States considers itself to be an Asian Pacific nation. We are an Asian Pacific nation if you look at our trade flows, our immigration patterns, our strategic engagement. That fact is born out.

To the extent that there is a debate in China about whether Americans are welcome in the Asian Pacific region, China needs to understand that any statements that suggest that we are not welcome or that indeed, that our forward deployed forces are somehow unsettling, we think has a very negative impact in the debate in the United States. So one of the things that we are seeking from China is a greater understanding that we're going to be around for awhile.

I think Secretary Armitage says it best -- we're here to play and we're here to stay. That's our goal, and we want China to understand that. Our presence is not aimed at China. Our presence is aimed at preserving peace and stability and we're going to continue to play that role. We want very much for China to understand that and not to take steps to undermine it.

Q: Has Japan decided to buy or cooperate with us on an anti-missile system such as the THAAD or to buy their own from another source to protect themselves from North Korea?

A: Japan is now in the midst of an intensive review of what its options are in terms of ballistic missile defense. The United States has worked closely with Japan to provide them with as much information, details, and perspective on these matters to help them make that decision. They have not arrived at a conclusion about how they want to proceed, and it's our role to basically explain to them what we're going to do because we're moving ahead with our own programs, and to explain what we think the role and rationale for such a system, and to expect Japan to make its own decision in due course, which we expect in the next several months.

Press: Thank you.