DoD News Briefing: Dr. Joseph Nye, ASD for International Security Affairs
Monday, November 6, 1995, 11 a.m.
Dr. Nye: I just wanted to give a readout on the Secretary's trip and explain how it fits in the larger context of the East Asian strategy that we've been pursuing. As you know, when we published the East Asian strategy Report last February, we explained that we had several strands to the strategy: to reaffirm our alliances for a post-Cold War period, to maintain forward-based troops at approximately 100,000, to establish regional dialogues including engagement with China. We've had a year-long initiative and I would argue that this is very much on track. The Secretary's trip has indicated that things are exactly where we want them to be.
Indeed, if somebody had looked back two years ago and asked what would you expect in the year 1995, with the commemoration of World War II, a socialist-led coalition government in Japan, trade disputes, then the terrible case of rape in Okinawa, one would have expected that things would be in quite bad shape. In fact, I think you can make an argument that the situation is in quite good shape.
Let me describe the situation in terms of each of the stops of the Secretary's trip. In Seattle on the way out, the Secretary gave a quite comprehensive speech on China, stressing the importance of engagement with China and mentioned that we will be continuing the defense dialogues that had started in his visit over -- just over a year ago.
In Japan, there were two major things that the Secretary did. One was to put the Okinawa problem behind us -- or, at least, put it in a format where it would not burden the President's trip -- and to work on preparations for the President's Summit. In Okinawa, there were three pieces to that. One is in addition to his apologies -- there was the language which had already been achieved about implementation of the Status of Forces agreement relating to custody, where the Japanese can, in special cases request custody immeDIETely in rape and murder instances.
The second is he announced that of the 23 issues that have been agreed upon in 1990 for resolution relating to Okinawa bases, there were ten that were still unresolved. Thirteen had been resolved; ten are unresolved. He agreed that we and our Japanese counterparts will resolve the remaining ten by the end of this calendar year.
Third, he agreed to establish a special action committee which would be under the rubric of the SCC -- the so-called Two-Plus-Two mechanism -- to look at the problems of adjustments in both numbers and procedures related to American troop presence in Okinawa, and that this would report within a year after the meeting. There's still some details of that that have to be worked out and the final details will be announced by the President and Prime Minister on November 20th when they hold their Summit in Tokyo. But the details are not anything that's going to disrupt the movement of this special committee.
On the other major objective that he had -- which was preparing for the President's Summit... The President's Summit with Prime Minister Murayama on November 20th will be the culmination point of this year-long initiative. And the key thing there will be a security declaration that the two leaders will sign, which will basically reaffirm the security relationship for a post-Cold War period.
The Secretary not only met with Prime Minister Murayama and foreshadowed some of this declaration with him, but he also met with at least a dozen or more DIET members, including MITI minister Hashimoto who's president of the LDP, as well as General Secretary of the LDP, Koichi Kato and others.
So, there were a number of other politicians with whom he met. So, essentially, what he did was prepare the way for a successful summit declaration which we expect occur on November 20th.
In Korea, the final stop of the trip, there had been a number of concerns that had arisen about the Status of Forces Agreement in Korea and questions about whether we would make adjustments there. And the Secretary announced that we would begin talks with the South Korean government -- the Republic of Korea government -- on November 27th and that we would proceed on two tracks simultaneously: a longer track to look at revisions of the Status of Forces Agreement in general; and a fast track to look at procedures relating to custody -- in which we undertook to study ways in which the Korean procedures could be adjusted to be comparable in terms of the language and also in the treatment of American servicemen.
In addition, the Secretary met in what's called the SCM -- or the Security Consultative Mechanism -- which is an annual mechanism where the defense ministers of the two countries meet. Last year, it was in Washington. This year, it was in Seoul. And that was a successful meeting in which they agreed upon a number of items to increase readiness in terms of the forces on the Korean peninsula.
Also turned to the long-term future and inaugurated discussion of the importance of the U.S./Korean relationship for the long-term future and to be consistent with the types of discussions we've been having with Japan that we'll be carrying out with China in terms of filling out that overall East Asian Strategy Report that I mentioned.
So all in all, I think the Secretary was very pleased with the trip. He accomplished the objectives that he had. And we think that our East Asian strategy is on track and that, contrary to reports of concerns that things have been thrown off, we expect a successful summit on November 20th in Tokyo and a successful culmination of this strategy that's been going on for the past year.
So, let me stop there and ask if you have any questions. Yes?
Q: I have a few questions. On the ground rules, do we have to say who we're from? My name is Holoway from the [inaudible]. Do you see the protest arising the rape incident in Okinawa as the thin end of the wedge, and do you fear this could lead to the eventual scraping of the security treaty with Japan? And secondly, do you see any parallels between what's occurring in Okinawa and what occurred in the Philippines which led to the eventual removal of the U. S. military presence in the Philippines?
A: No, I don't see that in either. I think the answer would be no to both questions. The Okinawa rape incident was a truly unfortunate incident. What I was struck about during this visit that the Secretary made was the fact that Japanese politicians still see the importance of the U.S./Japan security relationship for long-term stability of the region and that, while we need to make adjustments -- and the Secretary stated our willingness to make adjustments -- to relieve some of the burdens on the people of Okinawa from the U.S. force presence there, that it was by no means a questioning of the overall security relationship. And on the contrary, the point of the declaration on November 20th between the President and the Prime Minister will be to reaffirm that. So, I would argue that no, I don't see this as a thin end of the wedge. I regard it as something which has alerted us to the need to move more quickly on some of the procedures that were already underway to relieve some of the burdens on the people of Okinawa.
And the Secretary indicated a willingness to adjust force levels on Okinawa within the larger context of the same force levels within Japan as a whole. And also to adjust procedures such as safety, noise abatement and other such things. So, I regard it as a success. I mean, the incident, of course, was a tragic incident, but I regard the ability to contain this and to adjust procedures so that it does not lead to the type of questioning of the overall security relationship. I think the Secretary was successful on that during his trip and therefore, I don't think it's at all like the President of the Philippines. Yes?
Q: Could you give us an idea on some of the other preparations or what else you hope to get completed by the Summit?
A: The security declaration will refer to a number of things that have occurred during the past year. One, which is particularly notable, was the signing of a new -- of a special-measures agreement on host nation support. And this will be referred to in the security declaration. It's being submitted to the Japanese DIET, probably this month or early next month. And it provides for Japan to increase its host nation support and the Japanese support will be in the range of $5 million -- $5 billion
dollars a year for five years which is a very impressive level. That represents about 70 percent of the cost of keeping the U.S. troops in Japan. So, that will be referred to -- I mean, that agreement will be referred to.
In addition, during the past year, we've had discussions with Japanese about regional and global issues. The regional issues include questions of how we see the future strategy for the region as a whole, how the Japanese planning will be similar to the planning that went into our East Asian Strategy Report. We've had discussions of how our forces can provide services to each other so-called Acquisition and Cross Services Agreement -- which will probably be submitted to the Japanese's DIET sometime next year. We've had agreements about peacekeeping operations and humanitarian operations under the U.N. where Japan has now undertaken three such operations, with a fourth one planned the fourth one being Golan Heights -- and procedures where the United States could be of assistance to the Japanese's as they move in that direction.
So, there's been a whole series of things that have been accomplished during the year. These will be referred to in the security declaration. Some of them are complete. Some of them still need action by the Japanese DIET. That will be after the declaration. Yes?
Q: Will there be any change at all in the activities of American troops -- of their families' restrictions -- in Okinawa in any way less -- is it going to be less evident byour local population there in Okinawa?
A: Well, there was a day of reflection which was essentially to increase culture sensitivity. There also had been some changes in terms of time when people were have access to alcohol and things of that sort. But overall, I don't expect that -- other than the changes that were announced some time ago, I don't expect other new changes. Yes?
Q: I have a question not directly to do with the trip, but is to do with the East Asian strategy that you're discussing. Has the U.S. government begun discussions yet with China on continued U.S. Navy access to Hong Kong after Hong Kong reverts to China [inaudible]?
A: Not in such terms. I mean, we've had ship visits to China. We had a visit to Qingdao last spring before the disruption of the military dialogue that was created by the Leigh, Li Teng-hui visit. I will be going to China next week. I don't have that as a particular agenda item. But, I would think that ship visits, in general, to Chinese ports would include Hong Kong which was one of the -- which will be, in the future, a significant Chinese port. Yes?
Q: Mr. Secretary, could you tell us what you expect to achieve in China during your visit given the strained relations between two countries over the last few months?
A: Well, we are -- as Secretary Perry said during his visit to China last October -- October a year ago, and repeated in his speech in Seattle last Monday -- we're interested in engagement with China on an comprehensive engagement of a broad series of fronts and part of that is a military-to-military dialogue. That is something which we hope will increase transparency, as in the Secretary's terms, in which we explain to China what our intentions and strategies are and they reciprocate.
This general philosophy is to keep this dialogue going and to increase transparency, because in situations where people don't understand what the other side is up to, they make worse case assumptions which lead them to arms races and to a growth of suspicion which make everybody worse off. So, that's the overall philosophy.
Within that context, what I will want to be discussing are ways in which we can implement that: what side of regular military-to-military visits and dialogue can we further to enhance our transparency overall. Yes?
Q: What is the timetable on the reallocation of the U. S. forces in Okinawa and Japlan mainland?. Are discussions on Dr. Perry's trip cover when they expect these things to happen? And on ancillry question, with the restricitons on Marine activities in Okinawa, particularly, live fire training -- thing like that -- doesn't that need become less valuable to us if we can no long do that kind of training?
A: Well, there's a difference between when the committee will meet and make recommendations and when they will be fully implemented. The recommendations should be done and reported to the SSC -- or the so-called Two-Plus-Two within a year after they begin. And the beginning will be announced at the time of the summit. But notice that some things can be done quickly and some take quite some time. Things to be done quickly are things which are adjustments in procedures. But, when you ask to adjust bases and you have to construct an alternative facility, then obviously, it takes more time to implement.
So, distinguish between how long it takes the committee to meet and report and recommend and how long it will take to implement. On the specific question of the live fire, that's one which we've already been working on, and it should be possible to rearrange the live fire to other ranges. And so, I don't think that's going to reduce the value of the bases. I mean, that's one of the ones that's already been under discussion and it has moved pretty far along. Yes?
Q: Since you've opened discussions with Korea and Japan regarding the changing of Status of Forces Agreement so that you turn over any serious criminal cases -- men and women -- before they've been officially charged, are you willing to open up similar discussions with all other nations of the world where you have a Status of Forces Agreement to make them comparable?
A: No, let me -- let me make clear that what was opened up in what was changed in Japan was not the Status of Forces Agreement itself: it was implementation procedures which are handled in side letters. And what the side letter that we agreed with the Japanese was, that we would, under special cases when the Japanese requested, we would be willing to hand over people who are alleged to have committed crimes of murder and rape if the Japanese had a strong material interest. That is a -- it's not in the Status of Forces Agreement itself. It's an implementation procedure.
What we're doing in Korea is two different things. One is we're looking at that same type of custody case in which special -- in a committee that will meet on a fast track and, whether that needs to go into the status of forces opening or whether it can be done in a similar side letter with assurances is something that really has to be discussed.
Q: Will it be entertained within changing side letters or other implementation procedures with other nations of the world?
A: What I imagine that if other countries raise it, we would deal with it, yes. Some countries already have that type of treatment. So, it varies by different countries. But, the answer is that if people raise it, we'll discuss it with them.
There's a second point -- about Korea -- lest I misunderstand you. The Koreans have raised a number of other issues relating to environmental effects, and so forth, of the presence of U.S. forces that do involve the opening of the Status of Forces Agreement itself. And what the Secretary agreed to in Korea was two different things. One is on the issue of custody which has allowed us to what we did in Japan in the side letter. That will be done by the special fast track committee. On these larger questions of labor costs and how you handle labor disputes and on enviroments -- some of the other things the Koreans raised -- we've agreed that we will set up a committee to review that and see whether we need to open the whole Status of Forces Agreement for that. So, there are two different things that happened in Korea. Yes?
Q: You mentioned that the Secretary met with the MITI Minister. Has there been any progress on easing the Japanese restrictions on re-exporting the military technology?
A: That didn't arise and wasn't discussed it all. What.. The Secretary met with MITI Minister in his capacity as president of the LDP in an informal, private meeting, and it was really to discuss the whole question of the strategy towards East Asia. And he was looking into the questions of, or discussing the questions of, the future of the U.S. relationship with Japan and the security areas, but we didn't get to that type of detail at all.
A: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Q: Some of the people we talked to -- military people, U.S. military people we talked to -- were really apprehensive about the United States going into a parallel arrangement on custody as we are doing with the Japanese because of their policies of detention, preventative detention, their interrogation habits vis-a-vis suspects in serious crimes. When you talked to the Koreans, will these sort of concerns be raised?
A: Yes, the language that was used in the press release in Korea, which had been carefully worked out at the Secretary's meeting with the Prime Minister, says we will have these talks on the basis of comparability of both the language and of the treatment of U.S. personnel. So essentially, it means that we will work with the Koreans, in the committee that will meet, to assure that the language is comparable in terms of how the procedures are handled, but also that the resultant treatment of the U.S. service people will similar -- be comparable, which will mean things like access to lawyers and other such things. Thank you.
Press: Thank you.