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Secretary Rumsfeld Press Availability En Route Elmendorf AFB

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
November 18, 2003
Rumsfeld: They’re all sizes and shapes and ages and services and it’s really a delight.  And then (inaudible) a feeling about themselves and what they’re doing and what they’re capable of and those people doing that the maintenance on the engine and the ones getting prepared to – I forget what the word is but when the helicopters (inaudible).  It’s interesting and they were really good at it. (Inaudible).  It’s interesting I enjoyed that.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)

 

            Rumsfeld:  {Laughter}.

 

            I’ve got nothing to report.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible) every word spoken (inaudible).  Well I had to file a story while you were (inaudible) said that you made a comment about that you hope that in your lifetime that the Korean peninsula be reunited and at that point there would be no need for U.S. troops on the peninsula.  Could you elaborate on that point?

 

            Rumsfeld:  What would happen (inaudible) role of forces if the peninsula were reunited in some way and I said I hope and pray that that would happen one day and that those people up North would have a vastly better life and obviously if that threat were removed then the security situation on the peninsula would be (inaudible) different and you would not have to be (inaudible) United States would have to be (inaudible) for potential (inaudible), they might have forces there for other reasons.

 

            Q:  You’re not saying that there would be no need for US forces there?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No, I’m saying that the role they play as it concerns (inaudible) peninsula were united would have (inaudible).

 

            Q:  Answer to the question about spies (inaudible) casual (inaudible) 5 years a so.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Really (inaudible) the last 2 or 3 years.  Remember Hansen and a woman in DIA and (inaudible) that was no small stuff and it’s been going on my entire life back to the Rosenbergs.  (Inaudible) realistic that they’re things that are impertinent and people (inaudible) for whatever reason all the change (inaudible).  Whether for money or to be self-important we find that a (inaudible) maybe they’re (inaudible).  Certainly with a (inaudible) free country of this leadership people are going to be thinking about spying for money or (inaudible) and we need to be more careful and the punishments fast and (inaudible) it’s just something we have live with.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well I suppose maybe both, I don’t know what – I’m not a lawyer I don’t know what laws but really there have to be penalties for spying, (inaudible) spying because (inaudible) and it’s a shame that people (inaudible) spy but I didn’t feel that I was being spiteful about it, I was being realistic.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible) they’re (inaudible), they’re stability.  How (inaudible) do you think they are to pressure, economics, diplomatic and military (inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well one certainly has to hope so.  I mean I think that (inaudible) to get with the countries in the region to try to break the initial pressure (inaudible) try to moderate their behavior.  It’s a close society, there’s a lot we don’t know, I saved an article somewhere here where I saw this week about the (inaudible) underground, there are people who are living ground (inaudible) they would want to be people who have been selected to live underground (inaudible) and they’re canteen (inaudible) a whole host of things underground.  And if we drag them we break the chain and so that is as we all know that’s one of the things that make knowing what’s happening in that country (inaudible) spies and giving out information about how to deny and deceive us.

 

            The fact that so much is taking place underground with a country like North Korea, they’ve gone from global communications to fiber optics and that has made it more difficult.  They do a lot of things that make it hard to know.  I got opinions but I’m not going to spread them out for the world to see.  I think that eventually, eventually there will be pressure.  We know that pressure works, we know that you can put so much fear into people you can maintain yourself, your regime and power for decades and it is possible to subjugate people semi-permanently.  We also know nothing is forever in life and at a certain point things can happen (inaudible) changes we face, seeing dramatic shifts in countries just in the last 20 years where they’ve gone from here to there.  Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but it is a heartbreaking thing to look at those satellite photos of the differences in the Korean peninsula.

 

            Q:  Secretary I’d like to ask you briefly about Guam.  It seems given the fact that (inaudible) whatever, it’s just that Guam seems a likely place for a buildup (inaudible).  What do you think?  Do you think there’s a probability that an increased (inaudible) from Guam?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well they already had a very significant (inaudible) and clearly it is (inaudible), it’s US territory, the people there are hospitable to the United States military.  There is room for expansion, how we’ll end up as we go through this (inaudible) I just wouldn’t want to pretend that I had prejudged it because I haven’t been able to.  I tell you get all those people and they start talking to all the possibilities as to what you might do, you can’t know that.  At some point you have to look at costs  Then you have to look at cost or places where there’s a great big infrastructure or where you got a country like – some country that (inaudible) that’s (inaudible) that’s helpful.  And of course places like Guam (inaudible) there’s a lot of elements that go into it.

 

            Q:  One assumes that this is true but you would do this thing with a specific kind of reasoning (inaudible) or it will all be (inaudible) together?

 

            Rumsfeld:  You can’t make the decisions and somebody look at all the pieces and go through the process with our friends and allies and new friends and look at how those things might be arranged.  You have to talk to enough of them that you see what’s possible and get a sense of how it might fit and then you have to talk to Congress and then you have look at cost, and then you have to look at timing.  And it will never look like it is announced in one fell swoope, it will look like it’s rolling out over time inevitably simply because it has to there’s no way you can get all those (inaudible) to (inaudible).  But on the other hand if the (inaudible) when you’re done have to fit together with the right – make the right fabric.

 

            Q:  You just finished a trip to Asia your first as Defense Secretary in this Administration?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I was in Australia no it’s not my first trip.  No I’ve been to Asia before.

 

            Q:  Can you sum up the trip for us (inaudible) change your mind?  Did (inaudible) want anything?  Did you feel that it was successful (inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No I would say it was successful.  I think that the – first of all, it is important that the United States and Secretary of Defense maintain the relationships in this part of the world that are decades old and is important to us and important to the region.

 

            Second, I always gain something by being able to go out and keep things to myself and given the efforts for making on our force posture and footprint having these things clearly in my mind as I worry through them with others is a big help to me.

 

            Third, I think that when you got so many wonderful young men and women in uniform who are out there serving our country so well it’s important that you let them know that you recognize that and appreciate it.

 

            And last, I can not be one of those to (inaudible) to deliver a deliverable or to receive a receivable, those are the kind of things that gets done in the normal order of things so I’m not someone who looks for (inaudible) say well, this that and the other thing.  But I feel very good about my visit to Tokyo with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister and the Defense Minister (inaudible) I can see them continuing on a path that I’ve been watching and admiring over many, many years while being engaging in the world and increasingly in a manner that’s appropriate to their (inaudible) and their values.  And having a country that is – have the second largest gross domestic product and have democratic values that has an increasingly capable military, and playing a larger role in the world (inaudible) us.  A democratic country and they’re good friends of ours so I encourage that.  And especially the alliance we have with South Korea is so amazing when you go around that country and see what’s happened in 25 or 30 years for everyone, it is a thrilling thing to see that free people can do and what people who are – people have a good fortune (inaudible) and in a stable environment and money is a power and money does not go where there’s danger and uncertainty and accepted in very, very, very high return.  And people are places where they make their investments and (inaudible) aware that people in that country are making investments in that country, I’m glad that country (inaudible) and that’s a wonderful thing for the Korean people and very good for the region.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I had a very good meeting the President.  We had good discussions, I’ve met him before and I think as I (inaudible) I think his comment that he would like to see South Korea somewhat more self sufficient (inaudible) is a correct direction and that’s good directional leadership in my view.  The country has a population twice the size of North Korea as a (inaudible) on the face of the earth and obviously industrious talented people and they have the ability to as they are assume additional security responsibilities.  As I said to him no country and the United States (inaudible) all of us rely on others as we obviously have to and when one looks at our coalition and our relationships, our alliance.  But then beyond that (inaudible) is a good thing and I (inaudible).  They have been very cooperative with respect to the inspections that are beginning with respect to forces and adjustments.  I think that we have (inaudible) for us and not be (inaudible) impact (inaudible) intrusive and incredibly densely populated areas (inaudible).

 

            Q:  What did you see (inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  What did I see (inaudible)?  I see young men and women who are proud of what they’re doing and believe that what they’re doing is important and that have a confidence in themselves that they feel they’re well trained, they feel they’re disciplined and they feel good about that.

 

            Q:  What did you see?

 

            Rumsfeld:  {Laughter}.

 

            Q:  Good way to end.  Thank you Mr. Secretary.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Thank you.