Friday, Sept. 7, 2001 - 11:33 p.m. EDT
Staff: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the latest in our series of roundtables with important officials of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Today I'm pleased to introduce Peter Brookes -- that's Brookes with an "e" in it, by the way. We have some biographies in the back, if you like. He's the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. He's been a staff member in the House, he's worked at the CIA, he's worked at the State Department. He's a Navy pilot with more than 1,300 hours in the EP-3; Navy intel work also. And now deputy assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Brookes: Okay, thank you very much. Thank you all for coming. I see some familiar faces out there in the audience. It's good to see you all again. Apologize for my sunburn. I just came back from some vacation in Mexico and I didn't use the sunscreen as well as I should have.
I will just talk for a few minutes. I think that the captain has kind of talked about my background. I think he's pretty well covered it. I am the deputy assistant secretary responsible for East Asia, which is basically the same sort of portfolio that previous Fred Smith had and Kurt Campbell had before that: Burma south to Australia, north to China, Japan, and encompasses a good part of Asia. It does not include South Asia. So it's basically the same portfolio as it was before.
This afternoon I'm going to be leaving with Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz for San Francisco for the 50th anniversary of the commemoration of the Peace and Security Treaty with the Japanese.
Next week, next Tuesday, I will be traveling to Asia, making my first trip to Asia in this capacity. I will be going to Hawaii first to visit Pacific Command. I will follow that up with some travel to Japan, where we will hold what we call mini SSC, which is a Security Subcommittee, which is leading up to the Two Plus Two later on this month. I will follow that up by traveling to Korea. I guess today's a Korean holiday, is that right? And I will hold some bilateral talks there as well, the Policy Review Subcommittee, which is known as the PRS, and participate in the next round of negotiations on the SMA, which is the Special Measures Agreement, or the host nation support. Then I'm going to come right back, and for the SSC, which is the ASD (Assistant Secretary of Defense) level.
Mr. Rodman will hold some talks with his Japanese counterparts. That's -- that date has not been set yet, but we're looking at that Friday of -- let's see -- the date's going to escape -- the 22nd, maybe --
Staff: Is that the 21st, maybe?
Brookes: -- the 21st is a Friday. And then that weekend we will probably hold our two-plus-two talks -- Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, with their counterparts from Japan. That has not been set. So it's going to be a busy two weeks, a lot of work in Northeast Asia, and on the road a bit. So this would be my first trip out there.
I've been here -- I reported aboard in mid-July, so I think I'm in my seventh week now. I'm very happy to be here. It's quite an honor to be given this position. And -- but the truth is, I don't know everything yet. I don't think I'll ever know everything, but I certainly -- there's a lot of questions that I may not be able to answer for you sufficiently, just because of being new.
Like the captain said, my -- I just previously served on Capitol Hill, where I was the principal adviser for East Asian affairs for Chairman Ben Gilman, who moved off and was replaced by Henry Hyde.
I think I know about half of the people in here personally, so I hope you'll all be friendly.
Anyway, I think, with that, I will turn it over to you for question-answer. I guess you have me for another 50 minutes. And how do I -- do I just pick somebody? Is that how we do it? Oh, you're the moderator.
Q: No, I'm not.
(Cross talk, laughter.)
Brookes: You get the first question.
Q: I'm not the moderator.
Brookes: You get to be first. The dean. It's -- okay. Well, then at that -- I guess what I should do is speak for 45 minutes, only give you 15 minutes of questions. But I've kind of run out of things to say, and I'm also from New York, so I speak fast. So I guess I could have stretched this to a half an hour. But why don't we go ahead? Why don't you go ahead?
Could you identify yourself? Because I don't -- I know some of you, but I don't know all of you. That would be great. So when I see you in the future, I can recognize --
Q: Charlie Aldinger with Reuters.
Q: Just a couple of questions. Number one, have you heard -- the U.S. embassy in Japan said today that -- in Tokyo said today they have had some -- as they say, credible reports of possible terrorist attacks against U.S. military forces in Japan. I was wondering if you knew anything about that at all, any --
Brookes: No, I had not heard that. I had not heard that at all. I don't know. Maybe we can get back to you on that, but I just -- I've not heard that this morning. [See the State Department press briefing http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2001/index.cfm?docid=4848 for more information.]
Q: (Off mike.)
Brookes: Okay. Can we take time? Now will you guys take that as a -- want me to do it that way? Okay.
Q: Did you fly EP-3s off of China?
Brookes: Actually, back in the Cold War days, I flew EP-3s out of Atsugi, Japan, from 1986 to 1989. And my early training was as a Soviet specialist.
I went to the Defense Language Institute, where I studied Russian. And I spent most of my time flying off the former Soviet Union. So -- excuse me?
Q: Sakhalin Island?
Brookes: Vladivostok, you know, that sort of thing at that time. The Soviet Pacific Fleet was the largest Soviet fleet at the time, and that's what I spent most of my concentration on. We didn't spend much time flying off of China at that time. The relationship and the situation was much different.
Q: I note you speak Russian. How about your Chinese? Do you plan on taking Chinese?
Brookes: No. I speak Russian, I speak a smattering of a couple other languages, German, Polish. I have some -- had some Japanese when I lived there. But no, I do not plan to study Chinese at this time. It's obviously a very important language and a language of growing importance, but I think my duties are going to keep me pretty busy for the time being. I've got a lot of studies here as well.
Q: Maybe one last one. Do you have any plans to visit China any time soon?
Brookes: I do not have any plans to currently visit China at this point.
Q: (Off mike.)
Brookes: As far as my trip planning right now is this first trip out to Asia. So we're taking it one step at a time. But no, I do not currently have any plans to visit China.
Q: Will you visit during the next year?
Brookes: I've visited China many times in the past. I'll wait for direction from the undersecretary or assistant secretary as to where he would like me to visit. And if there's important business there, we obviously would do that.
Okay, we've got -- right here.
Q: Could you tell me some aspect of your department review on the United States forces in South Korea? For example, are there some possibility for you to reduce the number of Army in South Korea?
Brookes: I'm not aware of -- are you talking about the QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review) issue? That has not been completed yet. That is due to the Congress on 30 September by legislation. I am not aware of any force reductions in Korea. I think the important thing that I could share with you -- because I've not been briefed on this -- is that our commitment to Asia, our commitment to peace and stability in Asia and our capabilities will remain at such a level that will allow us to address all of the issues that we need to address in the region. But I'm not aware of any force reductions, talk of any force reductions in Korea. And I've not been privy to the QDR, which is not complete yet, so I really don't have an answer. But our commitment and our capabilities will remain such that we can address all the contingencies that we've been able to address in the past.
Q: If you will allow me one more.
Brookes: Do we do one follow-up? Is that the -- okay.
Q: I'm sorry, I didn't say my name. My name is Ju (sp) from Chosun Daily. One thing is, do you have any new information about new developments or deployment of North Korean missile -- (off mike)?
Brookes: No. I do not get into, you know, operational intelligence matters, but I'm not aware of anything. Obviously, we're very concerned about the North Korean threat, the conventional forces as well as the missile forces and as well as the proliferation of forces, but I have nothing new for you on as far as missile deployments in North Korea.
Q: Otto Kreisher, Copley News Service. Kind of in the same vein, there's been talk that the new strategic focus is shifting from Asia towards -- or shifting from Europe towards Asia and there may be some reallocation of forces. You've looked at -- talked about beefing up in Guam or other -- or new bases in -- (inaudible) -- in Australia or anything like that. Have you been read in on that, and what's the prospect?
Brookes: No, I think you asked that same question to Peter Rodman, is that right? (Laughs.) I don't have anything new for you than what -- than I think what Peter has said about -- Peter Rodman, who is the assistant secretary (for International Security Affairs), has said about that. I've not been read into anything along that line.
Obviously, I think Asia is of increasing importance to the United States and to U.S. interests and, you know, we will do what's required to, you know, protect and promote our interests in the region. But I'm not aware of anything. I apologize.
Q: Hi, Peter. Nadia Tsao with the Liberty Times. The first question, that we have heard so many times that the U.S. is going to move their troops from Europe to Asia. And could you just give us, you know a clear idea what's now in the U.S. mind, the deployment of troops in Asia?
And a second question just that Mr. Armitage, last time when he visited Australia, he seemed to propose a forum that would get Australia, Japan and Korea involved with the U.S. and try to get those countries to play a more important role in regional security. But after that, there is some explanation from the Pentagon and also State Department saying that this is maybe not a security forum because there is a protest from Beijing, we have heard. So could you tell us what's going on here? And will you discuss that during this trip with Japan and Korea?
Brookes: Regarding troop allocation, reallocation from Europe to Asia, I'm not aware of that at all. As I said, the QDR has not been completed yet, and I'm not aware of any movement along those lines. I know there has been some stuff in the press, but I can't substantiate anything along those lines. I'm sorry.
Regarding the talk about Japan, Australia and the U.S., the first time I heard about this was during the AUSMIN meeting, the Australian ministerials, which Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld attended in Australia in July, early, early -- or mid July, mid to late July. I don't think that this has -- this would just be a forum for three countries that are very interested in Asian issues to discuss issues of mutual concern, you know, potentially something along the lines of Indonesia. I don't necessarily see it has to be a security forum or the beginning of any sort of alliance. But I think that any three countries could get together to discuss issues of mutual concern, and obviously Japan, the United States and Australia, have common values and are like-minded on a number of issues, and I don't see anything wrong with us getting together to discuss those sort of issues.
And I understand -- I don't know if Korea was actually mentioned. I think, obviously, Korea would certainly be welcome to any sort of discussions we would have about regional issues.
Q: Will you discuss that during your trip?
Brookes: I might. I may bring that up. I think that would be something -- I wasn't at AUSMIN, so that's maybe something that would be, you know, an appropriate thing to bring up with my Japanese counterparts and take their minds on that issue.
Q: Hi. Mark -- (last name inaudible) -- with U.S. News and World Report. A question on missile defense. Last weekend there was a report that the United States would be willing to allow the Chinese to increase their nuclear arsenal if the Chinese would acquiesce to the United States building a missile shield. Since then, there's been some maybe clarification, back-pedaling, whatever, from the White House on this issue. I'm wondering whether you can clarify what the administration's position is on this issue?
Brookes: I was on vacation. And I think Jeff can provide you with the -- you know, what we've said. But I think that that's categorically untrue. I don't know where that -- I don't know where that came from, and I think we've said that -- we have a statement to that effect. I was -- like I said, I was away for five or six days, and I guess it came out in the New York Times article over the weekend. But I understand that to be categorically untrue, and I think that we could provide you with the Pentagon's statement on that. So I don't -- there's nothing more to really say about it. [See White House statement http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010904-16.html for more information.]
Q: Hi. My name is Dan Sagalyn from NewsHour. I have two questions. Do you believe that it's in the U.S. national interest for China to have a secure second retaliatory strike capability?
And when Megawati from Indonesia comes in a couple of weeks, what are you going to be offering her in terms of U.S.-Indonesian military- to-military relations?
Brookes: Regarding -- I think that the second-strike capability is probably beyond my ability to answer that question. I don't consider myself to be necessarily a nuclear expert. That would probably be best directed to somebody in ISP (Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy), which is our -- the people that are involved in the nuclear side of the house. So I would probably -- I apologize, but I'd probably refer you to them.
Megawati is coming; she's coming on the 19th through the 21st to Washington. We are -- I think it's important for the United States to engage Indonesia on the mil-to-mil basis, and we're actually talking about how we should go forward with that at this point, so I don't have anything for you right now. But we are working with the interagency and talking about how we should move forward.
I think the secretary has said that it is important for the United States to engage Indonesia military to military, but we have to obviously take into account what's in our interest, and obviously -- as well as legislation on the Hill. There has been a number of pieces of legislation and some of it is still in effect, such as introduced by Senator Leahy, that we have to take in effect that proscribes us from some things. So we are moving forward at the interagency level trying to decide how we should engage the Indonesian military.
Q: Do you want the legislation to change? Are there things you want to do that you can't because the legislation says you can't?
Brookes: That's not quite clear right now. Off the top of my head, if I remember the Leahy legislation is that it prohibits IMET (International Military Education and Training) with Indonesia. You know, we're looking at that sort of thing. There's a possibility of E-IMET, there's other things. But obviously we're going to work very closely with the Congress to make sure that we're in concert with their interests and desires and what's in U.S. interests. But this is something that we're obviously looking at.
Things are so busy in Washington, it's hard to get too far ahead of things. But she's coming in a couple of weeks, and there's a very active dialogue going on right now regarding how we'll proceed.
Q: Is the defense minister coming with her, and will he come over here?
Brookes: I think the defense minister is coming, but I can't be sure. I'd have to direct you to the State Department or to the Indonesian Embassy. But I think --
Q: Well, if he does come, would Secretary Rumsfeld meet with him? I mean --
Brookes: We've not had a request. So at this point, I do not know.
Q: My name is (inaudible) Jiji Press, Japanese news agency. Could you specify what will you talk with Japanese counterpart about missile defense program during your stay in Japan next week?
Brookes: Actually, I won't be in Japan till late next week, and I've actually not formulated exactly what I'll talk to him about. I think our cooperation -- we've had past cooperation with the Japanese. I think that future cooperation is important. But this is obviously something that the Japanese have to decide for themselves. They have a whole host of issues that they -- you know, their constitution, their own defense budget, their own national security interests that they have to address.
We obviously would welcome additional contributions by the Japanese to the missile defense issue, especially our research and development, and the cooperation we've seen in the past, and obviously welcome additional contributions by the Japanese to the alliance.
Q: My name is Ogata (sp) and I'm a correspondent of Japanese news agency, Kyodo News. The U.S. Navy right now is looking how to pull up the vessel from the sea in Hawaii, the Ehime Maru right now. And it seems that the procedure was getting delayed. But what's your perspective? Do you think that -- initially -- (inaudible) -- shore in mid-September. What is your expectation --
Brookes: You know, that's kind of a Navy question. You know, I have not really been dealing with that generally. I would have to direct you to -- you know, direct you to the Navy in that respect. I'm not -- I mean, it's a very tragic event, obviously, and I knew that there were some recovery operations, but that's not something I'm dealing with. The Navy, I believe, is dealing with that, so I would direct you to them.
Q: Jason Sherman from Defense News. Earlier this summer there was a report from the Rand Corporation on U.S. policy in Asia that called U.S. policy for the last 10 years "unnecessarily ad hoc" and "lacking both the strategic context and focus." Do you agree with that assessment? And if so, what does this administration plan to do different from the last administration?
Brookes: Well, that's kind of -- that kind of goes beyond my purview because that talks about diplomatic issues, it talks about economic issues, as well as security issues.
And I'm very parochial because I care about Asia, so obviously -- I don't know if I would necessarily -- I didn't see that -- I saw the book. I did look at it. I'm not sure exactly what context that was in. But I think that we are becoming acutely aware of the rising importance of Asia on a diplomatic front, on an economic front. We have increasing trade out there. And obviously, security. I mean, some of the -- our more potential military flashpoints exist in Asia. I mean, Korean peninsula, the Taiwan Strait. I mean, I don't do South Asia, but the nuclearization of South Asia between India and Pakistan. These are obviously things that we have to be concerned about.
I don't want to minimize what goes on in Europe, you know, in Kosovo or in the Balkans or anything else because I'm not an expert on that. But from my perspective, I think there are increasing security interests in Asia, and I think that the United States has to attend to those. I think that's the purpose of the QDR or the defense planning guidance and the QDR, and I think that we are -- the United States is -- I think what maybe they're talking about is consistency. Is that what it is? I mean --
Q: The report dealt strictly with Asia, the one that I'm referring to. But I hear you.
I wonder if I might ask a follow-up to the question that you just answered really to Japan. Last fall before the election, Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye issued a report, along with a number of other experts on Japan, calling for a number of ways in which U.S. and Japan might revitalize the security alliance. What specific missions, roles or activities would you like to see Japan take beyond the 1996 revised security guidelines that were laid out?
Brookes: I don't have any specific list of things for you now, but I think that's part of what my job is here. I mean, we're under everything -- I'm the new guy in the job, this is a new administration, the team is in place now. I think Doug Feith and Peter Rodman and I came about the same time, and Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld were holding down the fort for a long time, and we're looking at all of these issues. I've been here seven weeks, and that's certainly something that we're doing.
And I think our alliance and our relationship with Japan is going to be a priority. But I don't have any specific laundry list there. I know Rich Armitage very well and respect him, and all the people that put that report together, and there were some great ideas in there, some grist for the mill. And I think we're looking at all of those issues and deciding how to move forward.
But at this point right now, I want to get -- take the Japanese mind. I think, you know, we obviously -- like I said, we would welcome greater contributions on the part of the Japanese. But in the same sense, the Japanese have to do that at their own pace and what they feel comfortable with and within their constitutional capabilities. I know there is a debate in Japan, and I hope to -- about the constitution, Article 9, collective self-defense -- and I hope to get a better feel for that on my visit out. That's one of the things you really can't get from Washington. One of the important things that you have to do by travel is going out there and talking to a broad range of people about these issues.
But at this point I wish I could -- I don't have a laundry list for you as to, you know, where we would -- where we should go, but I consider that part of my charter for every country that's in my responsibility, is to try to figure out -- you know, maybe in six months I hopefully would be able to give you a better idea. But I know it is a priority of this administration, I know it's a priority of this building, and it's something that I have to look at and I will report out on it.
Let me get Charlie back there.
He's been very patient, and it feels like he's been ignored.
Q: Okay. Charlie Snyder of the Taipei Times. Peter, can you give an update of where the administration is in Taiwan arms sales, both in fulfilling the commitments made in April and preparing for the next round, whenever that might be?
Brookes: Well, I think, as you know, we're out of the round business with regard to Taiwan arms sales. I think there's a desire to treat Taiwan like a more normal nation in terms of arms. The president has said we're not going to do this April-November standard sort of system of them proffering or telling us what they want in April and us responding in November. We're going to treat them like other countries.
The president obviously made a decision during the last round, which was we did it kind of the same way when we responded -- I'm sorry. Actually, it's November they ask us. In April we respond. So in April the president did give the go-ahead for a significant number of weapons systems.
Now the United States offers these, but the Taiwanese have to decide to buy them. For instance, in 1992, the Taiwanese were offered the Advanced Combat System -- the Enhanced Advanced Combat System, EACS, and they turned it down, which was an air defense system. We've offered them certain things this time around that they can decline. They have their own national security process. They have their own national security budget. They have a legislature that plays a role. They have a president who plays a role. And so right now we have offered these things to the Taiwanese, and I think we're, you know, waiting to hear from them.
But we're getting out of the November-April cycle, and we're going to treat them more like a normal country -- and I can't say that I'm an expert on that whole process; I'm trying to become that way -- in that they would make a letter of request to us, and then we would respond to that. So it doesn't have to be April-November. It will be very straightforward and more normalized.
Obviously, this is a new administration, and we're looking at how to -- you know, how to move ahead on that as well. So -- but I think we're out of that. But I don't have any specifics as far as buys or anything along that line. So --
Q: Jay Chen, Central News Agency, Taiwan. On missile threat to Taiwan, how seriously do you view or does the Bush administration view the situation there? And if the buildup of ballistic missiles, you know, along the southeastern China coast near Taiwan continues or even intensifies, how would you propose to help Taiwan cope with the threat?
And one other follow-up, if I may. In what -- can you give us an update on the review on mil-to-mil exchange with the PRC?
Brookes: Yeah. Regarding the Chinese missile threat, I think Secretary Rumsfeld hit the nail on the head, I think in Bill Gertz's column this morning -- I don't know if it was elsewhere -- but you know, this is -- this expresses a seriousness of purpose on the part of the Chinese. He was referring to the ICBMs.
But obviously any missile buildup, whether it's North Korean, whether it's Chinese, the United States would view with concern. A missile buildup is obviously, you know, a threat to peace and stability. And the question is, what is the political intent of a missile buildup?
You know, threat comes from -- in my easy matrix is, you know, capabilities and intentions. You know, military force is an expression of political will. So the question here is, why? I mean, there's a certain bit of opaqueness as to why -- I mean, we can speculate, we can divine, we can guess as to what this -- what the reason for this is, but obviously we view it as a concern. The buildup of any armed forces is obviously a threat to peace and stability, and the United States would view that as a concern.
Obviously, taking it one step further, the United States has certain defense obligations as stipulated under the Taiwan Relations Act. And I think that, you know, we take that very seriously and so does the Congress.
Q: The --
Brookes: Oh, I'm sorry. Mil-to-mil? Okay. That's something that -- another thing, like Jason mentioned, is something that, you know, we're looking at. One of the taskers I have is to develop a policy for how to proceed on this. They're still being addressed on a case-by-case basis. But that's one of the things I'm doing, is working on developing a policy, a criteria that, you know, we can use within the building to evaluate our military-to-military relationship with the Chinese. But I don't have any -- don't have anything. We obviously have to take into account there's been some legislation on this as well. I was even involved in some of that legislation a number of years ago. And so we have to look at what Congress has -- at markers Congress has laid down for us as well.
Q: Can I have a follow-up, please? (Off mike.) Russian President Putin has been known to (inaudible) North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to extend the military assistance to North Korea. What is your comment on that? I have one other question for you.
Brookes: What is my comment on whether the Russians would provide support to --
Q: Yes, assistance, military assistance to North Korea. And I have one other question for you. When will the United States start arms reduction talks with North Korea? Do you have any scheduled?
Brookes: I'll take the first question. I think the ball really right now is in North Korea's court. The administration has basically said we'll meet you any time, any place, to discuss anything. And I think we're waiting for a response from the North Koreans. We did have a bit of a response towards the South, which I think is terrific. The opening of ministerial talks between Pyongyang and Seoul, I think, is really, you know, a positive step. I hope the North Koreans are sincere about it. But I think, you know, we have been very open. We said we'll meet with you any time, any place.
We do consider the conventional threat to be significant. I think the conventional threat is tied to the missile threat, which is tied to, you know, the potential of a nuclear threat from North Korea. I think Mr. Wolfowitz described it as a fuse on a bomb. You know, once you light the conventional threat, you know, as escalation goes up, it moves along the fuse, and then maybe you see the missiles, and then you see, you know, if there is really a nuclear threat, you see that, you see that issue, and then that's the big explosion. So I think that's a great analogy. So the conventional threat is obviously of significant interest to us, and I think that's something that has to be addressed. And I think it is something that can be addressed between us and our South Korean allies towards the North, but the conventional threat is significant.
Regarding President Putin, I'm not a Russian expert, but obviously I'm familiar with Kim Jong Il's visit to Russia. I would hope that the Russians would have encouraged him to visit Seoul to begin a dialogue that -- perhaps that could be true, maybe Jiang Zemin contributed to that as well. But, obviously, we don't want to see any greater militarization of the Korean peninsula. I think it's kind of a tragedy that North Korea spends so much money on its military when its people are hungry and when perhaps it should be directed towards economic development.
Q: (Off mike.) So did they talk anything about Korean peninsula issue?
Brookes: I don't know. I didn't participate in those talks. I don't know if our PAO folks know anything about that, but I did not participate in those talks, so I have no idea. I'm sorry.
Yeah, back there.
Q: Yeah, I'm blanking on the name of the talks, but later on this month, U.S. and Chinese officials are going to be getting together on Guam to talk about maritime and air security. Can you sort of give us some details as to what they're going to be talking about?
Brookes: Well, they've got a great briefing that we've given some points to PAO, which will probably flesh out. But they're actually starting in a couple of days. I think the Chinese and U.S. sides will actually meet 13, 14 September. It's called the SMMCA, which is a Special Military Maritime Consultative Agreement. But this is a special one. This was agreed to, I believe, in April during the height of the EP-3 crisis. This is not the normal MMCA, this is a special one. This will be led by our J5, the Policy and Plans, the Rear Admiral out there in Hawaii (at the U.S. Pacific Command).
I think that we laid it out for you. I don't know if I can really tell you any more because nothing's happened yet. But the idea is to address and prevent these sort of issues from happening in the future. An interesting aspect of it is distress entry. In other words, if a plane is in distress, can it -- how can it enter, you know, another country's airspace? So this is something that they're going to deal with and try to move beyond the EP-3 incident that occurred, tragically, earlier this year.
Q: Can I follow up on that, several questions. Given what you just said about treating Taiwan more like a normal country in terms of arms sales, is there any other area -- given President Bush's statements earlier on this year talking about being willing to do all it takes to defend Taiwan, are there any other areas on defense cooperation you plan on to treat Taiwan more as a normal country?
Brookes: Well, we have annual talks with them. That's something that -- I don't think that's new, but we have annual talks where we talk about regional security issues. But this is one of the things that we're looking at. Based on the president's vision and the president's guidance, these are things that we're obviously looking at and working at with the interagency.
One of the things -- you remember that we've just put our team in place over here at Defense. Defense obviously plays a very big role in that, so we're working with our counterparts at State and NSC that have given some thought to these issues. But I don't have any specific deliverables at this point to share with you, other than what I said about the arms sales and we have our annual talks where we talk about regional security issues.
Q: Yes. Hitoshi Omae of Nikkei newspaper, Japanese daily newspaper. Sort of logistic questions in Japan and Korea.
Do you have dates in the two countries and do you have the name of the counterparts you talk to?
And a question to the two-plus-two: Would that be in New York or in D.C.? And what will be the major topics discussed?
Brookes: Let's see. The first part -- you want to know when I'm going to Japan?
Q: Yeah, the --
Brookes: I don't have a calendar in front of me, so let me -- in fact, I can do this for you. I think Monday the 17th is when the mini-SSC is. And then the following week -- the following, I think, Wednesday in Korea is when the PRS is. I don't know what the date is off the top of my head.
Q: The 26th, maybe?
Brookes: The 26th?
Q: No --
Brookes: No, no. It can't be. It's got to be like --
Staff: (Off mike) -- the 13th.
Staff: (Off mike) -- from 11 to the 13th, and the 13th to the 17th.
Brookes: Okay. Yeah. So the -- the mini-SSC in Japan is the 17th, and I believe the PRS is the 26th of -- is it the 26th? I guess so. No, it can't be.
Staff: No. You're due back here the 21st --
Brookes: The mini-SSC is the 17th, and I think it's the 19th, the -- and then the PRS is the 19th. It is that same week.
So -- I'm sorry. SSC -- I mean -- I'm sorry. The two-plus-two?
Q: Do you have the name of the counterparts in Japan and Korea?
Brookes: That's going to be Masuda.
Q: And --
Q: Who's in Korea?
Q: Who's the counterpart in Korea?
Brookes: I think -- well, we're not sure who the Koreans are going to -- I understood it would be General Kim.
Q: General Kim.
Brookes: Does that make -- is that right?
Q: Do you have a full name? There's so many Kims. (Laughter.)
Brookes: You know, I don't have his -- I've never met him before. He's from the MND (Ministry of National Defense).
Brookes: Right. Right. Right. Or it could be -- it might be -- you know, it's either Mr. Masuda or Mr. Shuto (sp) for the mini- SSC.
Q: (Off mike.)
Brookes: But the mini-SSC will be -- we'll take that. Yeah, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be confusing you.
Q: (Off mike) -- South Korea?
Brookes: I assume it is. Yeah, I've never done these before, so I haven't experienced it.
The mini-SSC is State Department and Defense Department and JDA (Japan Defense Agency) and MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and in Korea it's just defense talks. So that's -- yeah, we should probably just take that question. I'm sorry.
Q: And the two-plus-two?
Brookes: Two-plus-two -- it's not clear whether it's going to be in New York or Washington at this point, and we're trying to figure out where all the principals are going to be. So we're -- that's what -- we're working on that right now.
Q: And the major topics in the two-plus-two is missile defense cooperation or --
Brookes: We're still -- as you can imagine, we're still working with our Japanese counterparts to come up with the agenda. A lot of these things go right down to the last moment about what's going to be on the agenda, and I probably shouldn't share anything with you until we have agreement on the other side. That would be the polite thing to do.
Q: Yes, I am -- my name is Choi (sp). I belong to the South Korean -- (off mike). I would like to follow up a question. The South Korean government said that in terms of the conventional weapons, they will initiate -- hold negotiations with North Korea, and the American -- (off mike) -- or a little bit set back from that issue. And what do you think about the South Korean government's remark on that?
And the other thing is the QDR is still working on (sic), and if the QDR is completed and the QDR is related to the number of U.S. troops in South Korea?
Brookes: I'm sorry. I didn't get your second question.
Q: Yes. The QDR is -- included some U.S. troops reallocation in the world from -- (off mike) -- from Europe to Asia, focusing on Asia. And then the -- I think that you're putting some weight more on the South Korea and Asia. Then the number of U.S. troops is linked to the number of the U.S. troops in South Korea.
Brookes: Hm. Let me answer the first part. I think that on the conventional forces, I know in theory -- I'm not sure exactly what our policy is right now regarding that, but I don't think you can argue with success. If Seoul were to be successful in developing -- reducing conventional forces or the threat from North Korea, I mean, I don't think anybody would -- could argue with that.
Obviously, I feel that the United States and Seoul should move together on this issue, but I don't know exactly if we have a policy whether Seoul should take a lead or the United States. The important thing is that we address the problem. And there is a significant threat from North Korea. I think that our CINC has said out there that the threat is deadlier than it has been in the past.
So there -- and like I said, that analogy before, about the fuse -- you know, the conventional forces are something you should deal with. And I don't think it's appropriate that the North Koreans are saying that this is something that we should not address.
But as to who takes the lead, I think the important thing is to be successful. But I do not know what the current viewpoint is regarding that.
Q: And the second question?
Brookes: Oh, yeah.
Q: Yeah. (Off mike) -- I mean, the troops reallocation is --
Brookes: Oh, I'm sorry. You asked -- I'm sorry. I didn't --
Q: -- U.S. troops -- (off mike) --
Brookes: I'm not aware of any troop reallocations. I've just not been -- I've not been briefed into that issue. And I think that's somebody -- for somebody else to brief you on.
But I think the important thing is that in theory we're -- the United States is wedded to its -- you know, its commitments to Asia. It understands the importance of Asia to us on an economic and a security front and a diplomatic front. And it's important that the United States retain its capabilities to deal with the challenges in the region. So I think its commitment and capabilities in theory that will remain the same.
But I have no idea about force structure changes. So that's for somebody else. And like I said, my understanding is that the QDR is not complete, and that will be something for people more knowledgeable than I to brief you about.
Q: Peter, just --
Brookes: Oops. I got the gentleman behind you. I got --
Q: Kenji Sobata with NHK, Japan Broadcasting. You said it's up to the Japanese government what decision to make on missile defense.
For example, the Japanese government hasn't, you know, made its view too clear on the possible amendment of the -- (inaudible) -- ABM Treaty. So I'm just wondering at the upcoming Two-Plus-Two meeting if the U.S. side will at least urge the Japanese side to provide more full-fledged support for the U.S. missile defense?
Brookes: I don't have an answer to that question because we haven't completely -- you know, my talks -- and we're still working on my agenda. My talks -- there's three steps to the Two-Plus-Two; there's the mini SSC, and then there's the SSC, which is at the assistant secretary level. And these are feeders into the Two-Plus-Two process. So I don't have an answer for you at this point.
Obviously, one of the reasons I'm going to Japan is to talk about these issues and see how the Japanese feel about them and where they're at and where we can move forward. We obviously appreciate Japanese cooperation in the past and would welcome their cooperation in the future, as well as additional contributions to the alliance. Obviously, missile defense is something that's important to the United States. So I'll hopefully have some good discussions out there with my MOFA and JDA counterparts about where they are. And the ABM Treaty is an interesting issue that I hadn't really thought of that I will add to my questioning out there and see how they feel about it.
Q: Yeah, coming back to the China missile buildup. It seems like U.S. cannot persuade China to actually slow down the missile buildup. As Secretary Rumsfeld said, China will do whatever it should or it wants to do. So is that the only option for U.S. or the countries in this area, like Taiwan and Korea, to build their own missile defense capability? Or we can -- you know, or U.S. is going to propose other negotiations or forum that could talk with China on this -- you know, this new number of increased missiles?
Brookes: I think we're looking at this broadly. And there is obviously a concern that an arms buildup by any country, you know, could lead to an arms race. And I think it would be greater transparency on the part of the Chinese regarding why this missile buildup is ongoing is something that would be important not only for the United States, but other regional players, such as Japan and South Korea, Taiwan. So I think it's really important for us to get a feeling on that. But I think we're looking at trying to figure out how to deal with this. But I think the secretary, you know, laid it out pretty clearly yesterday as to what his views are, and I support those views.
Q: Yes -- (name inaudible) -- with Broadcasting Corporation of China. Do you have anything on the PLA seminar over the weekend? I notice that you were invited.
Brookes: Oh, no, I won't be able to attend. I think it begins tonight. I've been asked to go with Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz to San Francisco for the Japanese commemoration. So I'll be with him in San Francisco.
Q: So who else will go from DOD?
Brookes: Who else will attend?
Brookes: I think that (DoD desk officer for Taiwan) Mark Stokes is going to attend, Major Stokes.
Q: Okay. How much will the discussions -- because such seminar has been held annually, once a year. How much will the discussions and conclusions of seminar like this weigh in the DOD report on the Chinese military readiness, because the topic -- the agenda is on the (POA ?) -- (inaudible).
Brookes: You know, I don't know because I haven't been here before, in this position before.
But obviously I think it's important that there is, you know, a vigorous and rigorous discussion of this issue by some very knowledgeable people. I have attended this conference before and I think it's hosted now by the Army War College and AEI and Heritage. But there's a broad -- you know, there's broad views within that group of scholars and practitioners, and they all write papers that we all read. But I'm not -- you'd have to ask who was in the job before me as to how that weighs into any reports that DOD has done. I just don't know.
Q: Could I have one final follow-up, if I may?
Q: Could you please update the status of the DOD report on Chinese military readiness?
Brookes: I'll have to take that as a question. I'm not sure if that's a current requirement or not. I'm not aware that we're working on one. I know in the past there has been legislation that required reports, but I'm not aware -- actually, I'm not aware of that legislative requirement, so I'll have to take that. It's a good question. You believe that there is one, that there is a congressional report required?
Q: Required by the Congress.
Brookes: Required by the Congress? So I need to look into that. I actually don't know the -- I don't know the answer.
Q: In June that was required.
Brookes: Well, that was before I was here, so maybe that's -- hopefully, it's done. (Laughter.) So that I don't have to do it. But like I said, I didn't come here till July. Now I'm starting to break out in a sweat, like, you know -- (laughter) -- that I didn't do something.
Q: Peter, Keith Costa, Inside the Pentagon. When you were on Capitol Hill, you were a proponent, or the committee was a proponent of increased reporting requirements, particularly because of distrust with the Clinton administration. So, building on this question here, I was wondering if you're finding any of those requirements onerous in your new position, which ones you find onerous? (Laughter.) Is there a movement to maybe wash out some of these reports, given, you know, Rumsfeld wants to ease some of the reporting requirements on the department?
Brookes: I have not had to deal with a report since I've been here, so -- but that's something we're looking into. I know the secretary has said there's a lot of reporting, and you guys have probably written about it. I know earlier this year in some of his testimony he said that there was quite a bit of -- I heard a number of 900 reports? These guys know. I have not -- maybe I'm overdue with one, I'm not sure. I'll have to check on that.
But obviously, I think it's important to keep the Congress informed. They're obviously an important part of our government and of our governance. And so, having come from the Hill, I have a healthy respect for their interests in what we do, and I think they have a right to ask for reports from the executive branch, so -- in that respect. But obviously -- yeah?
Q: But you did say you are looking at the issue? Or if there is any movement to take a second look at the number of reporting requirements that maybe your shop is dealing with?
Brookes: We're not currently -- we're not currently doing anything in that respect, but I know that there is -- I'd have to defer you to the PAO people. I think the secretary has talked on this in the past. And like I said, I'm not aware of any, other than this other one that I'm going to have to check into, of significant reporting requirements that affect Asia -- my office at this point.
Let's see, who hasn't asked a question. I think we're going second time around. Okay.
Q: Thank you. Secretary Rumsfeld has already visited Europe and Russia, but in Asia and the Pacific region, he only visited Australia. Do you have any idea when he will visit Japan and other countries?
Brookes: No, I don't have any information at this time. I just don't know.
Q: Peter, just a follow-up on the question of missile buildup. You said that any kind of a missile buildup in Asia had the potential to destabilize the region. And there was a national intelligence estimate last year that came out that said if the United States were to build a missile defense system, one possibility would be that China could increase its nuclear arsenal, which in turn could lead India and then Pakistan to arm. I'm wondering whether you think that is a credible possibility and whether you're taking -- the administration is taking this into account in its calculations on missile defense.
Brookes: Well, I can't speak for the administration, obviously, because it's more than me. And I am familiar with that. I think the decision to move ahead with a missile buildup is the Chinese. I mean, they've been involved in a missile buildup or the development of missiles long before missile defense was being discussed. I mean, this goes back six, eight years. And they've been involved in these programs for quite some time and their buildup has been over that. So I fundamentally believe that, you know, the threat to peace and stability is missiles, not missile defense. I don't think missile defense, you know, threatens anybody.
So obviously, I'm sure that when that report came out, which was the previous administration, you know, I'm sure they took it into account. In fact, I'm sure that they probably asked for it, asked to be looked at. I'm not sure if that's being looked at -- I'm not sure if that's being looked at again, if there's another, you know, study being looked at. But obviously, I would certainly take into account in my calculations anything that the intelligence community would advise me about.
Q: And just a quick follow-up. So then any decisions from India or Pakistan -- I know this isn't your --
Q: -- (inaudible word) -- but any consequent decision would largely be because of a Chinese buildup but not because ultimately of a U.S. missile defense. I mean --
Brookes: I can't speak for the Indians. I can't speak for the Pakistanis. I can't speak for the Chinese. But I could follow that -- that would be my series of logic. But I can't speak for them what their interests are.
Q: When you are going to talk to South Korean counterpart in PRS in South Korea, will you deal with some issue of South Korea's missile procurement?
Brookes: I don't know. Like I said, that agenda is being developed right now and we don't have an agreed agenda yet from the South Korean side. So I don't know if that would be -- if that would be addressed. That's an issue I probably should look into and become more --
Q: Are you preparing for annual SCM between South Korea and the United States?
Brookes: Are we preparing?
Brookes: I believe that that usually takes place every year in November. That's my understanding. And I think -- believe that we intend to hold those talks this year. I don't think we have a specific date yet or a specific agenda. And the PRS is part of the process of getting to the annual defense talks in November. So this is what we're doing.
But we're working right now with our South Korean counterparts to develop an agenda for the things we do want to discuss while I'm out there.
Q: As you would know, Peter, a couple of weeks ago there was a column saying that you were actually quitting your job. Well, the fact that you're here looks like an emphatic denial. Could you comment? (Laughter.)
Brookes: I think it was saying I was being fired, I don't think it said I was leaving. (Laughter.) So I think -- I think the fact that I'm sitting here before you, the fact that I'm going with the deputy secretary tonight to San Francisco, the fact that I'm going on a two-week swing to Asia should be evidence of the fact -- I assume I have the full faith and backing of this building.
But I wasn't quitting; I don't think that was it. I think it was something else.
Q: John Liang with InsideDefense.com. You said before that you didn't foresee any reductions in force level in Korea as a result of the QDR. Are there -- what's the gamut of what they're looking at as far as how to keep your security commitments in Korea?
Brookes: I'm sorry, I want to make sure -- I don't have any insights into the QDR. I don't want to mislead anybody. But I'm not aware of any talk along those lines. The QDR has to be -- it has to be finished, and so please don't take anything I said here as giving you some sort of indications, because I've not been briefed on it.
So, that said, give me the second part of your question?
Q: Actually, that was the main part of it right there.
Brookes: Yeah. I don't have any insights into the QDR. I've not been briefed on it. I know they're working very hard to meet the congressional deadline, and then we'll -- hopefully we'll all -- you'll get a great briefing from somebody who is ultimately knowledgeable about it.
Q: You said that you think the U.S. should treat Taiwan like a more normal country, and you talked about having meetings once a year with them on military to military, arms sales. What else do you want to do? Besides that, what else do you want to do to treat Taiwan like a more normal country?
Brookes: I think we're -- I do have some personal ideas, but I don't have the agreement of the interagency, and it would be probably inappropriate to throw -- I know you'd love it, but it would probably be inappropriate for me to throw out some things that I'm thinking about. I really would like to consult with my counterparts at the State Department and NSC. I'm sure they have some good ideas. So I don't have any -- like I said, about even with Japan, I don't have a laundry list to throw out here, and hopefully at some point we'll be able to talk about that sort of thing. But, you know, I have some ideas, but I think we need to flesh them out with our counterparts, not only in the building, you know, people in the building, but also in the interagency.
Q: Can I follow on that? Tina Chung with Chinese Television from Taiwan. So do you think in your capacity, would you be able to visit Taiwan?
Brookes: I'm not aware -- I think that the policy in the past would probably preclude me from visiting Taiwan. And I think at this -- I have no plans to visit Taiwan at this point. I think that's something that we have to consider. That's basically -- there's no legislation -- my understanding, there's no legislation. But I think in the past there has been a -- I think a cut-off at the 0-6 level, and I'm not sure if the administration plans to change that or not.
Q: But you wouldn't rule it out?
Brookes: Would I rule out visiting Taiwan? If the secretary or somebody directs me to visit Taiwan, I will do as the secretary asks me to do. So -- but there hasn't been any talk of that at this point.
Yeah? Is that enough? That's a long time. (Laughter, cross talk.)
Thank you very much.
Q: Thank you.