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Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld and Indonesian Minister Juwono Sudarsono in Indonesia

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 06, 2006 09:00 AM EDT
MIN. SUDARSONO:  I'd like to say that we would like to express our deep sympathy to the victims in Yogyakarta and Central Java.  The American  Marine service's superb and timely and effective assistance in -- (inaudible) -- so that it did not (restrict ?) other ongoing rescue efforts on the ground.  We deeply appreciate that and we wanted to convey it to the government of the United States.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Thank you very much, Mr. Minister.

 

            The minister and I had visits in Washington last year, and also I had a visit with the president in Washington, and was very pleased to be able to be here today to meet again with the president and with the minister and discuss Department of Defense issues of interest to both of our countries.

 

            Certainly we bring the sympathy and condolences to those that -- the families of those who have lost their lives in the earthquake, and are pleased to be able to provide some assistance and work with the Indonesian government and the other countries that have been assisting in the relief efforts.

 

            We -- the United States and Indonesia have, as you know, reestablished normal military-to-military relations, which I believe is a very good thing for our country and for both of our countries.  The ability for our militaries to work more closely with each other is clear when one thinks of what took place in the tsunami or what took place with respect to the earthquake and the need to know each other and to be able to communicate well with each other and understand each other when there's a disaster of that type.

 

            I certainly appreciate the hospitality that you and the president have shown us today and for our delegation.

 

            I'd be happy to respond to a few questions.

 

            Q:  The United States -- The New York Times.  The United States has advanced the idea of the Proliferation Security Initiative as a means of interdicting suspected WMD on the high seas.  The Indonesian government has expressed concerns about this -- (inaudible) -- to do with the notion of sovereignty.  What is your assessment of the Proliferation Security Initiative?  What are your concerns about it?  What alternative ideas does Indonesia have for maritime security in this area?

 

            MIN. SUDARSONO:  We understand the United States’ position on the PSI in the light of the events of September 11th, 2001.  But we also -- certain aspects of that framework -- (inaudible) -- concern about sovereignty over our territory.  So we have discussed with the president this afternoon, with Secretary Rumsfeld.  And the president has indicated -- (inaudible) -- the foreign minister and myself to take a deeper understanding -- (inaudible) -- the issue.  Perhaps we can agree on a limited framework of cooperation on an ad hoc basis rather than a multilateral, permanent structure of the PSI.  But that's to be taken under consideration by the minister for Security Affairs with the foreign minister and myself.

 

            Q:  (Not translated.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  My understanding is that the Department of Defense of Indonesia and the U.S. embassy here and the Department of Defense in Washington have had discussions and that that matter -- those matters with respect to spare parts and supplies have been worked out and are either in process or soon to be in process.

 

            Is that roughly your understanding, Mr. Minister?

 

            MIN. SUDARSONO:  (Off mic.)

 

            Q:  (Off mike.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm sorry, I didn't understand the question.

 

            Q:  (Off mic.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I've lived so many years that the idea of making a commitment in perpetuity, when we have a Congress and a free political system in the United States, gives me pause.

 

            I can say that the United States has established fully normal relations with -- military-to-military relations with Indonesia, and that the process of seeing that that relationship evolves and develops is under way.  We -- I mean, just to put it right up on the table, we do have a Congress, and there are times when the Congress proposes amendments or restrictions.  And sometimes we prevail in the executive branch, and sometimes the Congress prevails.  So it would be not possible for any individual to give you the kind of a commitment or assurance that you seem to be seeking.  But I can tell you that the full intention of President Bush and Don Rumsfeld and the United States is to develop our relationship with the government of Indonesia from a military-to-military standpoint in a manner that's comfortable to the people of Indonesia and to the people of the United States. 

 

            Q:  (Name off mic) -- with the Los Angeles Times.  Mr. Minister, could I ask you a question?  You have been quoted a couple days ago in essence warning the United States it should not impose the way it conducts its war on terrorism on Indonesia because it could lead to a backlash.  Can you please expand on that a bit?  Were you talking about the PSI there, or just exactly what you were discussing there, please?  Thank you.

 

            MIN. SUDARSONO:  I mentioned to Secretary Rumsfeld that the United States has a $12 trillion economy, so that by virtue of that, you are very powerful and (inaudible) right across the globe.  The sun never sets on the -- (inaudible) -- American GIs.  So in the application of security, including anti-terrorist laws and anti-terrorist measures, it's best that you leave the main responsibility of anti-terrorist measures to the local government in question and not to be insistent -- overly insistent about -- (inaudible) -- arising from your perception about terrorism.

 

            It's important for us because as the largest Muslim country, we are very aware of the perceptions or misperceptions that the United States is overbearing and overwhelming in every sector of life -- (inaudible).  So I was telling the secretary just recently, a few minutes ago, that because the United States a very powerful economy and a powerful military, that's led to misperceptions and sense of threat by many groups right across the world, not just Indonesia.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  If I might just make a comment on that.  The points the minister's making are not unreasonable at all.  And as a result, when the war on terror began, the members of the press corps from the United States will recall that our position from the very outset has been that we wanted the cooperation of other countries because it is a global problem, to the extent that those countries felt comfortable doing it.  And as a result, we never -- I never, I should say, have indicated to any country that they should do something that they were uncomfortable doing.

 

            We have, as a matter of fact, not even announced to the world what other countries were doing, and we've left to those countries the ability to tell the world what they're doing in a way they want to tell the world.  And as a result, the global war on terror now has a coalition that's probably the largest coalition in the history of the world of some 80 or 85 nations that are cooperating.  They are sharing information.  They are working together in -- each in their own way, each in a way that's comfortable from their history, their backgrounds, their circumstance.  And it strikes me that the minister is correct, that each country has a different history, a different circumstance, a different population and a different government, and it's necessary to allow that degree of flexibility so that they can participate in a way that they feel comfortable with and not feel imposed upon.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, I'm (Michael ?) from a Russian Novosti news agency.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm sorry.  It must be late in the day, but the mic isn't perfect, and I can't understand you.

 

            Q:  I'm (Michael ?) from Russian Novosti news agency.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Greetings.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, it was reported that a short time before your arrival here you have said that you do not personally believe that all countries in the world should be exactly like the United States.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm sorry.  I don't understand that.

 

            Q:  It was reported a short time before your arrival here that you have stated that, in your personal view, you do not believe that all countries in the world should be exactly like the United States.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Uh-huh.  If you're saying what I think you're saying --

 

            Q:  (Off mic.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  It'd be better without the mike.

 

            You think I was quoted as saying that all countries should be like the United States?  Is that what you said?

 

            Q:  (Off mic) -- that you do not personally believe that all the countries in the world should be just like the United States.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Of course not.

 

            Q:  (Off mic.)

 

            (Laughter.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'll answer the first part that I guess was for me.

 

            I'm a realist.  I mean, one looks at the world, and we recognize that the United States of America today is not what it was 50 or 100 or 200 or 400, 300 years ago.  It's a different place, and it evolves and our system evolves and our values have evolved and our circumstance and our -- the -- that is to be expected.  I think it's totally unrealistic for people to think that the rest of the world is going to be a mirror image of them.  And I just don't believe that.  I never have.

 

            And I think that the -- the only thing I would add to that that I think is fair is that each country is going to do that which it decides is in its interest, and each country, when it does that which it decides is in its interest, is going to have to live with the reality that the rest of the world is going to see what they believe in their interest and is going to make judgments about what they've decided is in their interest, and behave to them in a way that reflects those judgments.

 

            For example, if a country decides it wants to invite investment into its country and it creates an environment that's hospitable to investment, investment will flow in because the rest of the world has a vote; they'll decide where they want to make their investments.  Conversely, if a country decides they want to behave in a way that dissuades people from wanting to invest in their country, then they will pay the penalty for that -- if they think it's a penalty -- and they'll weigh that against their behavior.

 

            And I think that's a very different thing from lecturing people about how to behave or how to conduct themselves in some manner.  I think it's more simply an observation of reality.  And, I mean, I've had discussions with many people about this and I think that -- for example -- another example, right now the government of Iraq is forming, and they're going to make judgments about what they're going to do.  And they're a country that's going to want the support from other nations so that they can have debt relief; they're going to want the support from the United Nations.  And their conduct, what they do, the decisions they make will affect the judgments that will take place in the United Nations, and they'll affect the judgments that will take place in the countries that they're seeking debt relief from.

 

            So we all live in a world where we're not an island, we interact continuously with other nations politically, economically.  And that's the world we live in.

 

            MODERATOR:  Last question, please --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Wait, the minister had a question.

 

            MIN. SUDARSONO:  Yes.  The defense force (is considering) purchase of Sukhoi plane -- (inaudible) -- in case, as mentioned earlier by the reporter -- (inaudible) -- purchasing Sukhoi by two years, to 2009.  At the same time, we are revising some of our F-16s that have been grounded but are now being revised and retrofitted because of the -- (inaudible) -- after the restrictions were lifted as to that.

 

            MODERATOR:  Last question.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, next week an alleged terrorist, Bashir, is being released.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm really having trouble hearing.

 

            Q:  Next week an alleged terrorist, Bashir, is going to be released from prison here in Indonesia.  (Off mic) -- and are you concerned about it?  And also -- (off mic)?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I don't recall -- (off mic).

 

            Q:  Do you have concerns about -- (off mic)?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm not knowledgeable enough to express concerns or the absence of concerns, because I don't know precisely what's going to happen.

 

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