[Also participating in the briefing was Frank D. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.]
Capt. Doubleday: The Secretary is here today to release a very important report. He has a brief opening statement, after which he'll take questions.
We'd like to start with questions on the report, then if there's sufficient time we'll take questions on other subjects.
Following that, Frank Kramer is here to provide a little more detail on the report.
Secretary Cohen: As Mike has just indicated, today I'm releasing the Defense Department's fourth East Asia Strategy Report. Like the three previous reports, it reaffirms the United States' commitment to Asia. It reaffirms our determination to maintain approximately 100,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in the Asia Pacific. This presence helps us to shape events, to respond to crises, and to prepare for an uncertain future.
The report reaffirms our network of alliances with Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines. And it reaffirms our commitment to comprehensive engagement with China. It also reaffirms our commitment to the expansion of democracy throughout the region.
Asia is not as confident as it was in 1995 when the Department of Defense issued the last East Asian Strategy Report. The economic difficulties and concerns about the developments in North Korea have created uncertainty throughout the region, and in view of these changes it's important to stress the continuity of America's commitment remains unchanged.
Stability rests on the foundation of economic growth and military security, and the policies that are outlined in this report are designed to keep that foundation strong.
As Mike indicated, we have Dr. Kramer, Dr. Campbell here to give you some detailed briefings following this opening presentation, and I will entertain a few questions pertaining to the report itself, and then perhaps a few questions on other subjects.
Questions on the report?
Q: Secretary Cohen, when we talk about security in the East Asia Pacific region with the continuing threat of missiles, missile technology from North Korea, there's been some discussion about whether or not the Navy's theater-wide missile program ought to get more funding because it could be used by Japan to help increase defense of the Japanese islands.
Is there any consideration of shifting more funds into that system in order to develop that sea-based system a little sooner?
Secretary Cohen: As you know, we have at least five systems that are currently under active research and development. We will try to utilize all of these systems to come up with the appropriate system for the defense of our forward deployed forces and for the defense of our allies. There's no decision at this point as to which system will be used.
We are working with the Japanese government. We are exploring with them ways in which they can cooperate with the United States in helping to conduct this research and development for the best system that would be desirable for the region.
Q: Is there any evidence that North Korea is preparing to conduct another missile test like the one in August?
Secretary Cohen: I wouldn't want to comment on any intelligence aspects. We follow it very closely, and should further tests be conducted we will, of course, respond appropriately.
Q: This report was conducted against the backdrop of a major crisis, a financial crisis in Asia over the last year and a half. Are there any themes in this report that might calm, in some respect, the crisis? Any kind of connections whatsoever?
Secretary Cohen: What we've tried to demonstrate by our presence -- it's not only the military presence, it's not only the security that it represents, but it's a multidimensional presence that we have. In the middle of the booklet, for example, you'll see a day in the life of PACOM -- all of the things that we do on a regular basis all the way from humanitarian types of endeavors, dealing with economic catastrophes, fire fighting in Indonesia, etc. All of that designed to show number one, we have a commitment to the region and we are committed to maintaining stability, and with stability comes the prospect of the economic revitalization of being more likely. When you have that instability it's much more difficult for the economic recovery to take place.
So we think that through our presence and through the multiplicity of activities that we have, that that contributes not only to the security and stability but also gives a sense on the part of the countries in East Asia the realization that the United States is committed in the long term to its prosperity and stability.
Could I came back to, Jamie, your question about North Korea.
We are going to continue to urge restraint on the part of the North Koreans as far as the missile testing is concerned. The most recent tests in August, the one that appeared to be a launching of a satellite, has caused great consternation in the region so we're going to continue our dialogue with the North Koreans to see if we can't promote greater restraint on their part.
Q: Sir, what do you consider to be the most outstanding achievements in the way of furthering the security strategy by the visit of President Clinton to Japan, to Korea, especially with regard to those issues of missiles and the like?
Secretary Cohen: I think the President by his official visit to Japan reaffirmed the strong basis of not only our friendship with our alliance, the relationship the United States has with Japan really forms the cornerstone of our security arrangement throughout the region.
So to go to Japan to conduct talks with the Prime Minister was very important to reaffirm that we'll continue to work with Japan, the economic difficulties they're having, but we're going to try to work with them as well understanding that Japan's economic recovery is also going to be critical to the recovery throughout the region.
With respect to South Korea, we also see there that the presence of the President to reaffirm this dual approach -- on the one hand engaging North Korea; at the same time making very clear that we have a strong military deterrent, that we intend to keep very strong, will serve as the basis for the security of South Korea and throughout the region itself. So the combination of the strong deterrent plus the willingness to engage, indulge in active engagement policy, we think holds the best promise for maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Q: The report said that the 1994 agreed framework deflected a military confrontation in Korea. Would the failure to get access to that underground site and the collapse of that agreed framework bring the situation back to that point of a possible military confrontation?
Secretary Cohen: We think that the agreed framework has been successful to date, to the extent that it has been complied with.
Again, questions have been raised as to whether there has been full compliance. Those questions have to be resolved. The United States does not intend to pay tribute, to pay compensation in order to carry out a verification of an agreement, but we think that the agreement, to the extent that we are aware today, it has been successful in containing the growth and development of a nuclear capability on the part of the North Koreans. If that agreement has not been complied with, if there have been any activities undertaken by the North Koreans that would in fact undermine that agreement, then it certainly poses a very serious threat to the region and calls into question the ability to maintain the agreed framework.
Q: How high, though, is your suspicion that if the agreement has been circumvented by that underground...
Secretary Cohen: I don't think it's helpful to try to qualify or quantify how high the anxiety level is. I think it's important to say that there have been serious questions raised. Those serious questions have to be resolved. Unless they are resolved, then that will, in my judgment at least, call into question the viability of the agreed framework.
Q: Mr. Secretary, a few months ago the assessment of that facility was that whatever it was, it really wouldn't be on-line for several years. It was a massive burying in rock and so on. Is there anything in the current assessment that changes that time frame into a more urgent question of nuclear capability?
Secretary Cohen: I think that even though the questions concerning that particular site may change over the long term into something much more than it is today, it would be important for us to determine at this point what the intent and what the capability of that underground facility would be. What the intent of the North Koreans and its capability ultimately would be.
It would seem to me not to be a prudent course to wait until the facility is completed and then ask for inspection and then find that it's something inconsistent with the agreed framework. So I think it's important to answer the questions now rather than waiting any extended period of time.
Q: The forces that are committed to keeping an eye on Saddam and so forth, is it... Should diplomacy not work out, does the United States still have the strength and still have the forces to reinforce those that, and keep an eye on North Korea? Are you short of what you need? It took awhile to get things to the Gulf.
Secretary Cohen: We have in place in the Gulf enough capability to carry out any military option the President might decide would be required, so we don't have any hesitation to state that we have enough forces on hand. They can be reinforced as we saw very quickly, should that be needed. We have enough forces to serve as an adequate deterrent, a very strong deterrent elsewhere. So I don't have any questions of that capability.
Q: It hasn't taken long for Iraq and the U.N. inspectors to have some tension over documents which now Iraq says doesn't exist. How long are you going to let this kind of a situation go on before you decide that Iraq is not complying with the free access for U.N. inspectors?
Secretary Cohen: You may recall that back in February I indicated that there were at least two facets to cooperation on the part of the Iraqi government. On the one hand they had to allow free and unfettered access to the UNSCOM inspection teams. Secondly, they had an affirmative duty to produce documentation as to their past activities. I believe that Chairman Butler has done exactly the right thing by asking for the production of these documents so that he and the other inspectors can make a determination of what level and volume of chemical and biological and indeed even nuclear materials Iraq had on hand prior to the Gulf War in order to make a determination, according to their own statements now which have changed several times, from denying they had any such chemical or biological agents to an admission that they had substantial volumes of it.
So what he is trying to determine is whether or not what the Iraqis claim they have done has in fact been carried out.
When, for example, were these chemicals or biologicals destroyed? Where, under what circumstances, what records were made of the destruction efforts? All of that would be, I think, critically important to determining whether or not the Iraqis in fact are cooperating with UNSCOM so it can lead to a determination that they are in compliance with the Security Council Resolutions.
I think this is one aspect of it. The inspections will need to continue, and those inspections in combination with the production of documents will be, in my judgment, evidence as to whether or not the Iraqis intend to comply with their obligations or whether they intend to resist them.
Q: They're saying they're not going to turn over those documents.
Secretary Cohen: Well, they haven't quite said that yet. They had made a statement that some of them don't exist and others aren't relevant, and others have been destroyed. I think that we will have to continue to see the insistence on the production of those documents and a clarification of if documents were destroyed who destroyed them, under what circumstances, when, where, etc.? I think a lot of questions have to be asked and answered before there can be any resolution as to whether or not they are "cooperating."
Q:...free and unfettered access, Mr. Secretary? It sounds as though already you have not gained free and unfettered access. Documents is part of that free and unfettered access, already they are not complying. So already the United States... A week ago the U.S. said if we don't get free and unfettered access we'll go back in.
Secretary Cohen: There are two aspects to the free and unfettered, as you pointed out, but the free and unfettered are consistent with the existing resolutions and also with the memorandum of understanding negotiated by Kofi Annan last February. That was one aspect in terms of where the inspectors could go. The production of documents also is a part of it, and as I indicated, that is of equal importance at least in my judgment, in terms of whether or not they are fully cooperating.
To the extent that they fail to do that, and to the extent that they limit the ability of the inspectors to go where they feel they have to go to determine whether any such chemical or biological, indeed even nuclear activity is taking place, then that would certainly manifest a lack of intention to cooperate.
Q: Can Iraq violate both aspects? Are you saying...
Secretary Cohen: A combination of either. I think we have to look at the full spectrum of their level of cooperation. It could be the denial of access to sites that they have already agreed that the UNSCOM inspectors could have access to; it also could involve a failure to produce documentation; or a combination of all of the above.
Q:...avoid air strikes simply by claiming that whatever documents the U.N. wants don't exist or were lost?
Secretary Cohen: I'm not going to comment on what would involve or precipitate air strikes. I think it is up to Iraq to fully cooperate with UNSCOM. A failure to do so certainly leaves open the option of whether or not the President would order a military option in the future.
Q: On another subject, if I may. The German government is now pressing that NATO make a major reversal of policy and declare no first use of nuclear weapons. In connection with that, the New York Times is reporting, the report's been around for a long time, the United States would like, the U.S. military would like to unilaterally cut nuclear weapons even if START II isn't approved because we simply can't afford the budget crisis to maintain them.
I wonder if you'd comment on those two issues.
Secretary Cohen: Since we have the new German Minister of Defense coming tomorrow perhaps we could discuss the new German position as far as the strategic doctrine is concerned for NATO. It is our position that this doctrine is viable. It's something that is integral to the NATO strategic doctrine. We think it makes sense and there's good rationale for keeping it as it is. That we have reduced our nuclear stocks rather dramatically, certainly at the theater level, and even at the strategic level under START I, hopefully coming down to START II levels as soon as the Russian Duma ratifies START II.
We think that the ambiguity involved in the issue of the use of nuclear weapons contributes to our own security, keeping any potential adversary who might use either chemical or biologicals unsure of what our response would be.
So we think it's a sound doctrine. It was adopted certainly during the Cold War, but modified even following and reaffirmed following at the end of the Cold War. It is an integral part of our strategic concept and we think it should remain exactly as it is.
With respect to the issue of nuclear levels, Congress of course has mandated that we maintain our nuclear levels at the START I levels until such time as the Russian Duma ratifies START II. We are, pursuant to congressional direction at least, exploring a variety of options which even according to the New York Times this morning, a report that was filed with Congress last spring was "a highly classified document." We intend to keep it at that level for the time being.
Q: Do you personally believe that it would be viable to unilaterally cut U.S. weapons given the budget constraints on the cost of maintaining these thousands of...
Secretary Cohen: As I've indicated before, it is costly to the United States to maintain those levels. It is more costly to Russia to maintain those levels. That is the reason why we have tried on each and every occasion to persuade our Russian counterparts it's in their interest as well as the United States to ratify START II as quickly as possible so we can reduce the levels down to the START II levels and then move on to START III.
Q: Have you or any other Pentagon official quietly recommended to the Administration that there be consideration of unilateral cuts as the New York Times story reports?
Secretary Cohen: I can't comment whether anyone has recommended such a proposal. We're looking at a variety of options in terms of how we deal with the issue of maintaining START I levels consistent with the congressional mandate.
Q: One small question, going back to Iraq, the carrier battle group ENTERPRISE is due in the Persian Gulf within the next 24 hours, there to relieve the EISENHOWER, but there's going to be an overlap the way it looks. Are you going to leave both carrier battle groups there for the foreseeable future? If so, how long?
Secretary Cohen: It's my intent at least at this point to have the normal rotation of the EISENHOWER and the ENTERPRISE.
Press: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
Capt. Doubleday: This is Secretary Frank Kramer next.
Secretary Kramer: This really is to follow-on for any of you who would like to have further questions. Charlie asked me specifically to do this, so I thought I'd come up and do it.
Q: On the missile defense issue, essentially we've talked to the Japanese for a couple of years now. Are we really any closer to getting an agreement? And roughly what time frame are you now projecting for...
A: The Japanese government has now said that they want to proceed forward. We have to decide exactly what we're going to do together. So what you've had is a decision announced publicly that they will want to work forward on some aspects of research, and that's as far as we've gone.
Our own programs, as you know, are as the Secretary said in a state of review, so it's not as if they can't plausibly be involved.
Q: There's a Navy proposal for a theater wide issue. Initially at least, a fairly low funding level, I think $15 million this year and then $50 million next year. Are you basically endorsing that? What's the thinking on that?
A: I'm sorry. Are you...
Q: Bringing the Japanese into that R&D..
A: Are we endorsing bringing the Japanese... We're endorsing working with the Japanese. They're going to have to decide what they want to work with us on, and obviously it will have to make sense in the context of our overall review. We're in the process of having those discussions.
Q: The financial crisis has made it more difficult for some East Asian countries to buy arms that they were interested in. Has that concern made some of them more interested in military to military contacts with us, and relying a bit more on what we have to offer?
A: I think one of the things that this report shows is that we've had enormous changes over I'd say the last three or four years. There was a time maybe four years ago when those countries weren't sure whether we would stay. We have made very clear to them that we do want to stay, and they've made very clear to us through things like the Defense Guidelines, the declarations with Australia, the Korean [security] statements, that they want us to stay even after a change in Korea, that we're there for the long, long term. So the mil to mil aspect and the defense to defense aspect has been important and growing even before the financial crisis.
The financial crisis, I think, just adds to their desire that we be a factor for stability. As the Secretary said, if you have stability it gives you a better basis to grow your way out of the problem that they're facing.
Q: Are you getting any feelings that Malaysia will be more difficult here in the next coming few weeks or months after the speech last week?
A: The Vice President made the speech. That was a speech that the President would have delivered. I think we've made clear our views on the situation, and it's sometimes necessary to state firmly your views.
Q: A question on the North Korean (unintelligible). So what's your current understanding on missile deployment in North Korea.
A: I'm sorry?
Q: Missile deployment in North Korea.
A: I'm not sure...
Q: Do you know the missiles, do you think North Korea has finished their deployment of No Dong, and how about Taepo Dong?
A: Obviously the Taepo Dong launch was a matter of concern. The Secretary said that if there was another launch it would be a continued matter of concern.
Our situation with North Korea is the following. Not only do we have the problem with the underground facility, we also have the problem with the missiles and they do provocative things like they did a few, about a year and a half ago I guess it was, with respect to the submarine infiltration. The question is whether or not North Korea in the overall is going to act as one of the community of nations or is it going to continue to threaten its neighbors. So it's the recent combination of events that has really raised lots of questions as well as the specific problems with respect to the Agreed Framework.
Dr. Perry has been appointed the coordinator to review all this. He'll report back to the President. And we'll obviously take account of it as we go forward.
Q: I wanted to follow up on. With regard to the underground facility specifically, there has been quite a bit of talk about pulling out, the West pulling out of the Framework Agreement. I wanted to ask what's the status now? Will there be more talks, more attempts to reach out to the North Koreans to gain access for inspection of that underground site? And when, in a step wise, procedural wise fashion, would the U.S. seriously then be considering a pullout of KEDO?
A: I think the Secretary made it fairly clear. We think it's important to resolve now the questions that this underground facility raises. We're obviously not going to pay a penny in order to do that. They need to demonstrate that they are in compliance with KEDO. Pardon me, with respect to the Agreed Framework.
With respect to how precisely we go forward, that's one of the very reasons that we have Dr. Perry to undertake the review. He was here in Washington last week, he'll be here this week, and we'll go forward. It's just premature to try to give you a time frame.
Q: The U.S. and China have different opinions regarding (inaudible) regarding the Taiwan issue in terms of the arms sales. Do we have any (unintelligible) it will produce future conflict between China, the U.S., and why?
A: I think the answer to that is that we, in terms of our relations with respect to China, have been very clear on what we do. The President, for example, went to China. He reiterated our policy. He was the first President to mention publicly in China the Taiwan Relations Act. We will comply with the requirements under that Act. We will also comply with agreements with the Chinese as exemplified by the so-called Three Communiques.
One of the important things, I think, is for us not to have our relations with China dealt with only through the prism of Taiwan. There are many overall compatible and very important interests, and this report actually lays them out.
The Chinese benefit greatly, for example, from an overall circumstance of security and stability in the region. They've been able because of that to develop and grow. They need trade, they need investments, and they're not going to get that without a stable region. They have a common interest with us on stability in the Peninsula.
They have said they are in favor, for example, of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We're working with them in the four party talks and otherwise.
So the bottom line, my answer to you is that I think we will be able to meet the requirements that we need with respect to Taiwan, but do it in such a way that we're able to continue to develop our relations with China.
Q: Have you already established a naval station with the Japanese government about the creation of the carrier based on Yokosuka? Would you deploy a carrier by nuclear powered carrier there?
A: No, I don't think we have a decision... No, we haven't.
Q: Can I ask what the goal of the Agreed Framework to North Korea is? (unintelligible) the collapse of North Korean (unintelligible)? And do you consider any change in the threat to North Korea with regard to recent threats?
A: First of all, the fundamental strategy we have in the Korean Peninsula is one of deterrence. We have worked with South Korea for a long time now, more than 40 years, and through a combination of the efforts of the South Korean governments [sic] and their own people, and the United States involvement there, South Korea has grown and prospered in a way that could only have been hoped for a long time ago. We want to continue that. We want to continue to have South Korea grow and develop. We have every confidence that South Korea will work its way out of the current financial problems, and we will continue to use the U.S. forces there as well as the possibility, if necessary, that there would have to be more in order to maintain deterrence and allow South Korea to grow.
With respect to North Korea's recent overall activities, that raises serious questions for us. It raises questions in the context specifically of the Agreed Framework, but it also raises the question why would a country that wants to have good relations undertake so many acts such as the missile launch, which has obviously raised great difficulties in Japan, and we're very sympathetic to those, and we're going to work with the government of Japan on those.
Whether we change our strategy or not is specifically what we will look at in terms of Dr. Perry's review, but we will maintain the aspect of deterrence.
Q: Is it true what the commentators say that the Defense Guidelines with Japan will not be really operational until Japan passes the necessary implementing legislation? If that's the case, what has Japan done (inaudible)?
A: I'm sorry. What has...
Q: What has Japan done in this regard?
A: The guidelines themselves are operational. I don't know how many people have actually read them. It's worth taking a look at.
What the guidelines do is they create an ability for the U.S. and Japan to work in the context of the current situation that we find in the Asia Pacific as opposed to the old guidelines which were there to deal with the Soviet Union.
There are particular aspects with respect to how we would like to be able to operate in Japan that we need the legislation for. But the guidelines themselves contemplate and allow a certain amount of planning and work to go forward. They focus the Japanese Defense Agency on a different role. So although we're not able to do everything without the legislation, for example using some civilian facilities would be an example. We're able to do a lot without the legislation. So there has been a major change.
Q: Let me try the growing alliance between China and Russia. As accentuated just this day with a hospital visit by the Chinese leader to Mr. Yeltsin in Moscow. We hear of a growing military or security alliance.
Is this a concern to the United States and its security strategy for the region?
A: No, it's not a concern. Let me talk about that.
First of all, a hospital visit is hardly a matter of concern. It is the case, however, and I wouldn't use the word alliance, but it is fair to say that the two countries do cooperate.
If we're going to have stability and security in the region, and if you look even at the map there, Russia is obviously an Asia power as well as a European power. China is the world's largest developing country and is one of the factors of continuing change in the region. We need to have the major countries of the region have good relations.
For the most part, for example, the Chinese and the Russians having largely at least settled their border disputes, that's a positive factor.
Russia has a great many difficulties right now, as you're all aware. It is not as involved in Asia as it could be. There's a section in this report which I commend to you which encourages that Russia be more involved; and another section in the report where we talk about multilateral relationships and so-called minilateral relationships, and we will try to work with the Chinese and the Russians as well as with others to help develop an overall security framework.
Q: The deployments to the Persian Gulf. Sending those forces over there has apparently resulted in a shortage of airlift and so forth. For example, the people going to Honduras are going by ship instead of by air. Those kinds of things.
Is there any evidence that we're running out, that we would run short of stuff and people should it be necessary to rush reinforcements to deal with the Korean contingencies?
A: We are configured to do two regional engagements, major theater wars, etc. One of the constraining factors on us always is lift, and if we, as we do in our current operations, we don't just have the lift sit by, we are using it for lots of things. If we actually got into two war time or almost war time situations, we'd have to prioritize what we would use the lift for. But I think you know as well as anyone else, every reporter here who follows the Pentagon has said lift is a key factor for us and we need to just pay a lot of attention to how we use it.
You probably ought to direct the technical aspects of your question to the J4 or the Chairman, but as a general proposition with the right kind of prioritization, we think we can do both. We do a lot of analysis on that. We couldn't do both and do everything else that we do at the same time.
Q: In your report there is a small blurb on Y2K issues.
Q: Is that a concern for air operability in the coming years?
A: Sure. For the year 2000.
What we need to do, and we've done a lot here, and some of the countries have done a reasonable amount and some have done very little. We want to get them to focus on it so that their systems are capable of operating in the new millennium. It just takes a certain amount of effort. So yes, it is.
John Hamre was in Korea and Japan a few months ago, I want to say about the October time frame, and raised these very issues.
Y2K for us is a worldwide issue, just as much with the Asian countries as with anyone else.
Q: Have the reports of the Chinese building more structures in the Spratleys drawn any concern from the Pentagon? Or are we still officially hands-off in terms of territorial disputes?
A: I think that a number of our allies and friends have commented on that. We think so far that the ASEAN countries have done very well in dealing with that with the Chinese. Obviously we are not in favor of any aggressive development that would undercut the stability of the region, but we think the countries right now are working on it reasonably well.
Q: The Japanese have talked about discussing their relations with the U.S. and China, military relations, in a kind of triangular way. Talk about the triangular...
How about any interest, does the Pentagon have any interest in doing that?
A: First of all it's important to remember that Japan's our ally. As this report says, it's the most important ally that we have in the region. So we have many, many many relations with the Japanese including having forces in Japan. We have three, three star commanders in Japan and the like.
So when you talk about how we would discuss our relations with the Japanese you have to start from the base that this is our most important ally, and we have a full spectrum of discussions.
Would we be interested in a trilateral discussion? As one part of those, there have been some discussions, artificial discussions, and I think it's still at the so-called track two level, that seems a good way to go. But that is a tiny part of the overall. I didn't want to have the implication of the question suggest that that's the way we'll do it in the overall.
Q: In this report you're discussing expanding the network of defense cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, Japan, Korea, (inaudible), already existing defense cooperation arrangements. Don't you think it's more difficult to engage China if you expand people making that kind of effort? Because it may look like containing China from the China side.
A: The short answer to your question is no. The long answer is the following.
Our strategy, which we explain to China as well as to anyone, is to enhance stability and security in the region. To do that, we need to have close relations with the countries of the region. That includes the countries of Southeast Asia. We want to develop those relations as much as we want to develop anywhere. We also want to develop relations with the Chinese. So in Southeast Asia, for example, Deputy Prime Minister Tan was here last week, if I recall correctly, and we signed formally the agreement to use the Changi Pier for U.S. carriers, and it allows us to have greater cooperation with Singapore.
We likewise have, when it's ratified, a new Visiting Forces Agreement with the Philippines. We have very close relations with the Thai. We are redeveloping our relations with Indonesia.
At the same time, we have worked very hard with the Chinese. We have started significant and formalized dialogues. Walt Slocombe, who is the Under Secretary for Policy was in China in October. The President has been there a number of times. And so what we're doing is we're seeking to reach out to all the countries in the region in such a way, in accordance with the strategy that we have, a strategy of engagement that lets us engage and develop those kind of relationships and makes the use of violence not one of the factors for the region, and then allows the region to go forward and develop politically and economically and culturally.
Press: Thank you very much.