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Secretary Rumsfeld Enroute to Singapore

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 02, 2005
Secretary Rumsfeld Enroute to Singapore

            Rumsfeld:  -- number of countries for sure several of the Singapore officials, the [inaudible] Minister, [inaudible], the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister with Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Mongolia, and probably several others at the margins of the various meetings and functions.

 

            The advantage of these forums, it seems to me, is that it has the strength of being inclusive and some organizations of course have limited membership. Here countries are invited and for the most part they come and they're able to listen to each other and hear each other talk in front of each other and that's a healthy, good thing.  Europe has NATO which serves in a major way in that function, but Pacific countries I think see this as a very good opportunity.

 

            We may be going to Norway, up to Stavanger, the NATO Joint Headquarters, Combined Headquarters up there; Brussels.  This is the I think now once a year formal Defense Ministerial meeting.  I met with Jaap de Hoope Scheffer, the Secretary General, yesterday or the day before in preparation for it.  The countries that will be there will include not just NATO countries but the Partnership for Peace countries.  I'll have a number of bilaterals there and undoubtedly with the Belgian Prime Minister, as I recall, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom has a new Defense Minister, Portugal who has a new Defense Minister, and very likely several others.  Then at some point we'll end up at Anderson after it's all over.

 

            That's all I have to say.  I'd be happy to respond to some questions.

 

            We're going to pass out copies of my remarks to the conference in advance on an embargoed basis, so you'll have that at some time.  I think it's pretty well finished.

 

            Press:  What issues are most important to you to discuss [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  We'll give you the speech, but the region of course and the Pacific countries are enormously important to the United States.  If you think of the changes that have taken place in the region and the number of countries which now have free political systems and the number of countries which have relatively free economic systems and the success a number of those countries have had is [inaudible].  It's a region of growing importance in the world and it's important to the United States to be engaged with these countries.

 

            The only way to do it at the present time is on a bilateral basis or multiple bilateral basis.  [Inaudible].  The countries have a number of common problems that they worry about.  They're worried about terrorism, they're worried about piracy, they're worried about how defense capabilities evolve in the region.

 

            Did we decide that India was coming or wasn't coming?

 

            Voice:  It's not looking like it is.  [Inaudible]

 

            Rumsfeld:  I see.  And of course there are any number of countries that we have very close relationships with.

 

            What else?

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Probably most in response.  Our policy is what it is and it is well known.  The President has set it out and it is where it is. It's policy that they're reviewing and [inaudible] as North Korea makes statements or makes announcements or does or doesn't get involved in the six-party talks.  But the Department of State and the White House are in frequent contact with the other countries of the six-party talks.  I don't know that I'll be doing much discussing about that with these other [inaudible].

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, insofar as we're all concerned about proliferation.  That will be a topic.  North Korea's one of the world's leading proliferators of ballistic missile technologies and potentially nuclear technologies.

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Those decisions are made by the President.

 

            Press:  Have you seen anything [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No.  I read all that and I look at the intelligence and I look at [inaudible].  I'm not going to repeat what they say because then somebody looks for daylight between how you say it and what somebody else says, and it's not my business.  I don't do intelligence.

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?  -- South Korea.  The military [inaudible] organized exercise.  Can you talk about [inaudible] the military [inaudible] possible North Korean [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No. You asked me if I would talk about it and the answer is no.

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  [inaudible].

 

            Press:  Anything you can [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Those are all decisions for the President.

 

            Press:  Beyond North Korea do you have any messages or anything [inaudible] security initiative?  I know you've done a lot in this region of the world.

 

            Rumsfeld:  We have, and it's important and it will be a subject of discussion.

 

            Press:  Anything new on that?

 

            Rumsfeld:  You'll get a copy of the speech, but I don't know what you consider new.  It is something that's important; it's something that involves the cooperation of many countries, [inaudible].  And clearly the countries in this part of the world when you think of the amount of traffic [inaudible] in this part of the world it's important.

 

            Press:  [inaudible] evolving security [inaudible] basic needs with these countries, how do you see [inaudible] India, [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  India clearly is a major power in the world.  It's the world's largest democracy.  It has a democratic political system as well as a free economic system.  It has a lot of very well educated industrious people, and it's an important country.

 

            We have what I would characterize as an excellent relationship with India.  From a military to military standpoint it's improved and strengthened every year over the past four and a half years [inaudible].  When I first came in February of '01 [inaudible] National Security Advisor of India [inaudible], and now we have met regularly since and the military to military aspect of our relationship has been very much leading the other aspects of the relationship which is [inaudible].

 

            We're finding many things that we cooperate on.

 

            With respect to the People's Republic of China, it is what it is.  It's a big country with a rapid growth rate and a defense budget that's growing apace with their economy, and they are a major weapon purchaser in the world, largely from the Russians and some other countries as well, and they've been deploying a great many ballistic missiles in ships and other military capabilities over three years now.  They have an economy that is, as they've opened it up it has developed more energy.  Their political system has [inaudible] and I suspect that over a period of some years there will be a tension there.  The freer economic system which is necessary for the kind of growth they want and feel they need requires an openness that is not fully consistent with a less free political system.  The tension will grow as they move through the years.  The hope of all free countries is that other countries will have free systems -- political and economic -- because that offers the best opportunities for their people.  To the extent that the People's Republic of China [inaudible] a freer political system, they will be a considerably more successful country and a more influential country in the world.  To the extent they fail to do that there will be pressures against their economy, it will grow less fast, and it will be a less influential country.

 

            Press:  What about the report [inaudible] China's military?  Do you expect that to be released in the next --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sometime in the period ahead.  We talked a bit about it in here earlier today. 

 

            Press:  What about [inaudible]?  There are estimates that the number of missiles now that China has pointed at Taiwan is [inaudible].  There are some analysts who say that the balance of power is beginning to deteriorate against Taiwan.  Are you concerned that that's a growing source of instability in that part of the world?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Our position is the same as it's been.  It's a law and public pronouncements.  We expect whatever happens[inaudible] between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan will be peaceful, and it's important that both sides understand that that's our position, and I think they do.  Condi Rice, the Secretary of State has commented on it, [inaudible] has commented on it, [inaudible].

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No.  I think it's important for countries in the region to have good relationships with each other. 

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Military, politically, economic.

 

            Press:  How would you rate U.S. and Chinese military relations?  Are they [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  -- to China sometime later this year [inaudible]. We think port stops have [inaudible] on various [inaudible].  They were growing, as I recall, prior to the EP3 situation which was the main setback.  The [inaudible] in military to military relations, and time's passed and they're evolving again which I think is appropriate for the times.

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  A discussion of global posture would certainly very likely come up.  We are in the bilateral [inaudible].

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?  -- years ago.  [Inaudible] core issue for when you think about [inaudible].  But [inaudible].  So do you think it's still likely or [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Without referring to the specific dates, which I won't get into, I'm kind of old fashioned.   I like for countries to make announcements about themselves themselves rather than [inaudible].  But we feel our discussions with Japan on our [inaudible] in East Asia have been moving along well.  It's all in the light of [inaudible].  We may have an agreement on [inaudible], but [inaudible].

 

            Press:  [inaudible].

 

            Rumsfeld:  And I am specifically not talking about any specific --

 

            Press:  I know, I know.

 

            Press:  [inaudible]?  -- basing in the area, [inaudible].

 

            Rumsfeld:  I am sure, I am not [inaudible] discussions [inaudible].  The entire set of relationships, aspects of the relationship and [inaudible] and they've been going on for many many months, and these things are complicated and will be worked out in an appropriate manner [inaudible]. 

 

            Press:  The war on terrorism is going to be --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sure. 

 

            Press:  What will you have to say about that?

 

            Rumsfeld:  We'll keep you informed.

 

            Press:  One of the [inaudible].  You talked about [inaudible].  [Inaudible] five or ten years [inaudible].  Do you have any [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  It's pretty clear where it's going.  [Inaudible] the relationship [inaudible] strengthened as we go through [inaudible].  With respect to China it's not particularly clear which way they're going, [inaudible] the tension I characterized between the nature of their political system and the nature of their economic system. 

 

            Obviously to the extent that both continue and move towards freer political and freer economic systems, the relationship between the People's Republic of China and the rest of the world will be much closer.  To the extent their political system causes their economic system to be less free, they will be less of a factor in the world and would have fewer relationships in the world which would be too bad.

 

            I think everyone recognizes the desirability of, as I said, if you look from space on the world, and ask which countries are doing the most for their people, the most prosperous and happy and fulfilled and successful from an economic standpoint are the countries with free political and free economic systems.  [Inaudible]. 

 

            In China there are a lot of people and they've got a relatively low GDP per capita.  And it would be a shame for the people of China if that country conducted its political and economic matters in a way that they did not have those opportunities and freer systems [inaudible] to permit [inaudible].

 

            All right, folks.

 

            Press:  Thank you.