THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Santa Monica, California) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release February 23, 1995
PRESS BRIEFING BY WINSTON LORD, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
Loews Santa Monica Hotel Santa Monica, California
8:20 P.M. PST
MR. MCCURRY: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The President of the United States of America has just completed an excellent one-hour meeting with the new Japanese Prime Minister. I should start at the outset by saying this the fifth Japanese Prime Minister who has served the Japanese government since President Clinton has been President. But to clarify something that Ambassador Mondale said earlier, President Clinton -- this is the fourth Japanese prime minister he has met. As Ambassador Mondale said earlier, Prime Minister Miyazawa, Prime Minister Hosakowa, Prime Minister Hata, Prime Minister Murayama, and Prime Minister Hashimoto have all served during the tenure of President Clinton's service as President of the United States.
President Clinton never met Prime Minister Hata in his formal role as Prime Minister. He, of course, on many occasions had an opportunity to see Mr. Hata when Mr. Hata served as Foreign Minister -- to clarify that point.
At the conclusion of this one-hour meeting Ambassador Mondale shared a private moment with the President Clinton -- said, well, that was a 10 strike. And the President said, absolutely a 10 strike. It was a meeting that reflected a very warm, cordial, and I believe, personal relationship between the President and Prime Minister who now clearly feel comfortable calling each other by their first names.
The notetaker for the meeting this evening was Ambassador Winston Lord, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. And I'm delighted to turn the podium over to Win.
AMBASSADOR LORD: Let me run through this quite quickly because I know you're all on tight deadline. The meeting lasted an hour. As Mike has already told you, it was genuinely an excellent meeting both in terms of the personal rapport between the two leaders and the substance of their discussion.
The President was very appreciative of the fact that the new Prime Minister flew all the way over here to meet with him. The most immediate purpose of the meeting was certainly served, namely the establishing of personal bonds. They had met each other casually before, but this is the first time they had a chance to hold their discussions. And it's clear that you have two strong leaders -- the President specifically said how he thought this was good for both countries to have two strong leaders, indeed.
The focus, of course, was on our bilateral relationship, which both agreed there is no more important one in the entire world. And it's important not only for our two countries and two peoples, but for the region as a whole and, indeed, for the world. And their discussion reflected these themes.
The President, of course, said he was very much looking forward to his April visit to Japan, and the Prime Minister assured him of a warm welcome. They discussed many areas. The Prime Minister discussed his own plans for his own country, including deregulation and strong growth, both which will be good not only for Japan, but for the United States and for other major economies. He specifically mentioned a changing in some of their regulations on housing, which should be of significant benefit to American exports and interests. I don't have all the technical details, you can get that from the Japanese, but essentially it will be a performance based standards and this will make a significant difference.
They discussed the security relationship and there will be a reaffirmation of our very strong security ties when the President visits in April. I think you will look forward to a security declaration at that time. Of course, the Okinawa question is an important one and both sides agree that we would make strong efforts to make progress on that issue. They did not get into details today, but both pledged efforts on that question.
On the trade issues the President noted, as he had earlier today, the very encouraging progress we've made under the agreed framework and elsewhere -- not only the macroeconomic steps that the Japanese have taken, but the fact that together we've reached some 20 agreements in the past three years. I think you're familiar with the trade figures. I can give those if you wish, but the Japanese global trade surplus and the surplus with the United States are both declining. Our exports are going up very fast, indeed. For example, 80 percent of those areas we've been negotiating and something like 40 percent overall -- I don't have the exact figures, but I think the President mentioned that earlier today.
There was also mention of our common agenda, cooperation on areas like the environment and terrorism, which the President underlined of increasing importance to the world and our two nations. So our relationship has this global dimension to it, as well.
Finally, there was discussion of some regional security issues where we have close cooperation and common interests. For example, in Korea where the Prime Minister again welcomed the progress that we've made under U.S. leadership on the nuclear accord and the fact that the North Korean program has been frozen out a year and a half. The Prime Minister specifically said that Japan is going to help out with respect to the funding of KEDO, this international organization that is carrying out the negotiations with North Korea on the lightwater reactor.
Again, that's the Korean Economic Development Organization, that's K-E-D-O, and it's -- Korean Energy Development Organization, which consists -- the leading countries being the U.S., Japan and South Korea. Many others have joined and also given financial and political support. It's negotiating with North Korea that has some short-term funding difficulties. And, again, I'll let you go to the Japanese for details, but the Prime Minister gave a very significant offer. He said the Cabinet had approved some additional money for that just yesterday.
They also talked about China and the fact that we both want good relations with China; that there are some challenges; that we should cooperate closely to try to work constructively over China. And both agreed that it was important to have a reduction of tension in the Taiwan Straits and an appeal to both sides for moderation.
Let me just check my notes in case there was anything else. With respect to the atmosphere, as I said, it was an immediate rapport, first name basis at the end; and exchange of photographs. As you may know, the Prime Minister is an accomplished photographer and he presented one of his photographs to the President. The President in turn gave him the gift of a photograph. The Prime Minister is also a kendo martial arts expert and a mountain climber, so there was a great deal of personal rapport as well.
I think we can go to your questions.
Q Did the President --
Q What's the connection?
AMBASSADOR LORD: No, no, I don't want to exaggerate. The only thing that specifically came up was the exchange of photographs. That was the only exchanges that took place. We had no martial arts -- it was a very friendly meeting, I hasten to add. I'm just giving you a little more biographical material. But I'm glad you gave me a chance to clarify the record on that. They neither climbed mountains, nor engaged in martial arts.
But I would say they're looking forward to the summit, with respect to mountains, in April -- (laughter) -- and that they believe that we need a very close martial security relationship -- (laughter) -- for the stability of the region, as well as the benefit of both our countries. So that's why I was invoking those images. Okay.
I think those are the highlights. I'm just looking through my notes. I'll be glad to take any questions that any of you might have.
Oh, I should mention -- I'm sorry -- on the trade front, in addition to the good news, the President did, of course, make it clear that there is still unfinished business. And so we have to build on the positive record that we've established, but the President made it very clear there's a lot of unfinished business, and he specifically mentioned four sectors of interest to us, which are semiconductors, insurance, film industry, and civil aviation.
I'm sorry -- yes?
Q Okinawa -- did that just come up in passing, or was it dealt with -- how long?
AMBASSADOR LORD: I would just say a few minutes. It's a very important issue, of course, for both our countries. the President indicated he knew this was an important issue for Japan and for the people of Okinawa and for the Prime Minister, and he pledged our best efforts to make progress on that issue. And they both agreed that they should work on this issue, looking toward the President's visit and beyond the President's visit. But they did not get into any specific details -- no discussion of any specific steps, just the common determination to work on this issue.
Q Well, what does that mean, make progress on that issue? Does that mean redeploy U.S. forces there?
AMBASSADOR LORD: Well, we have agree d -- as you know, we set up a special action committee that I chair along with a colleague in the Defense Department, which is now looking, together with the Japanese, at our presence in Okinawa. So this will mean -- at least we're aiming toward such things as consolidation, perhaps relocation, perhaps less intrusiveness in terms of noise and other aspects. But again, we did not get into any details today.
The President did indicate that we intend to maintain roughly our current levels of forces in the Pacific and in Japan. And the Prime Minister made it very clear that the American military presence in the Asia Pacific region serves the stability not only of our two countries, but of the entire region.
I might also add, it just came to mind that the Prime Minister particularly praised the President for his Bosnia policy and the willingness to deploy American troops to implement the accord. He said, this kind of American leadership was reassuring to the peoples of the Asia Pacific region, and indeed, around the world.
Q About Bosnia, did he offer to contribute to the reconstruction of Bosnia?
AMBASSADOR LORD: He didn't offer in this particular meeting, but it's well-known that the Japanese are contributing to the Bosnia reconstruction effort. They're on one of the steering committees. And I might add that Japan is sending personnel to the Golan Heights and contributing to the Middle East peace process. They're contributing in many U.N. peacekeeping operations. This is one of the reasons we support them strongly for --to be a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. So Japan is stepping up to its global responsibilities.
Q Did they discuss the exchange rate at all?
AMBASSADOR LORD: No.
Q What was Prime Minister Hashimoto's response when President Clinton brought up the four trade areas?
AMBASSADOR LORD: Well, I think, again, I'd rather have the Japanese present their position. I think it's fair to characterize it as a recognition by him. This is an important part of our agenda. Yes, we have made progress, but there's still more work to be done, and we should treat it very seriously. It's a key part of our agenda.
Q Recognition by who -- the President or --
AMBASSADOR LORD: By both sides. Both sides recognize that this is an important part of the agenda. Both take some satisfaction in the progress that's been made. But I think there's a mutual agreement that there is unfinished business. As I said, the President specifically mentioned these four areas. But he also welcomed the Japanese plans and the Prime Minister's plans for the growth of the Japanese economy and the deregulation of that economy, which is also very important not only for Japan, but for our interests as well.
Q Did the President seek some kind of progress in trade issue by April, before he visits --
AMBASSADOR LORD: He didn't get into specific discussions like that. We do believe we should continue to make progress in the coming months.
Q Pictures of what? Photographs of what were exchanged?
AMBASSADOR LORD: Okay. I think -- you've got the details? Okay. This art expert, Mr. McCurry.
MR. MCCURRY: Thank you. Prime Minister Hashimoto, as many know, is a professional-quality photographer. He presented the President with a lovely port sunrise landscape that he, himself, took using a special filter process that he has pioneered himself as a photographer -- a photograph that he was very proud of.
The President, knowing of his love of photography presented to the Prime Minister a Richard Crisler photograph of rocks that -- from the American Southwest that have some Native American etchings, ancient Native American etchings -- a beautiful black and white landscape photograph of rocks from the Southwest containing Native American etchings.
Q You said that the Prime Minister's photo was --
MR. MCCURRY: Crisler, C-r-i-s-l-e-r, I believe it's Richard Crisler, Jr.
Q Mike, can we assume that the Prime Minister's photo was on Fuji film and the President's was on Kodak? (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: It's perhaps the opposite, reflecting the Japanese interest in ensuring that a proper inquiry is made into the current status of competitiveness in American photographs in that market.
Q Okay. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: I was making oblique a reference to an OECD inquiry of competitiveness in the Japanese film industry, which I believe that they -- their own Japanese fair trade commission is looking into competitiveness.
Q Can I change the subject for one second for the Secretary to China and what is the latest about a recommendation from the Secretary and from the State Department on possible sanctions against China?
MR. MCCURRY: No, you may not and I'll be the spokesman on that issue. There's nothing new to report on that.
Q What's the very significant offer on KEDO? Can you tell us, is it $19 million?
AMBASSADOR LORD: Again, let me give you a little bit more on the KEDO offer. Again, I prefer this coming from the Japanese, but I think it's fair to say that he indicated that they would give $19 million to KEDO as a special fund and the organization can draw against that fund for collateral purposes to help out whatever expenses KEDO has. But for more details, I'd prefer you go to the Japanese -- but it was a very welcome step.
This will certainly solve the near term funding problems with respect to the shipping of heavy fuel oil to North Korea. But, generally, we still have a problem over the long run on KEDO funding. This short-term problem came about because our funding for heavy fuel oil, for which we take the lead, has been hung up in the budget debate in the Congress. And until we can get a waiver to break loose our funding of $22 million, we have a short-term problem on heavy fuel oil shipments. This will get us over that problem for the next few months, at least.
However, we still are going to our European and Asian and Middle East friends and asking for greater financial contributions over the long run. We believe this is an accord that's in the global interest and global nonproliferation interests and we're looking for more countries to sign up. And we have had some success. We're looking for more help from our European, Asian and Middle East partners.
Q What is the Japanese contribution with regard to the long run?
AMBASSADOR LORD: The long run, we've been using adjectives, namely, you know, significant. The South Koreans make the biggest contribution on the lightwater reactors, but the Japanese -- I don't believe specific figures have been unveiled, but it's very large, indeed, and it's, I think, fair to say, you know, in the seven-digit category.
Q Was there anymore comments on Buchanan's tart remarks earlier today? Any discussion to that, outside of what they said --
AMBASSADOR LORD: I think I'll leave it at what was said in the press opportunity.
Q Is that a yes? Did they talk about it, or not?
MR. MCCURRY: The only reference to it was as they began the meeting the President told the U.S. delegation about the exchange at the photo opportunity because they hadn't had an opportunity to hear it. That was, I believe, the only exchange.
Anything more for Winston before he takes his flight out of here?
Q -- President call Hashimoto by Ryu or --
AMBASSADOR LORD: No, just Ryu -- Ryu and Bill. It was very friendly from the beginning, but by the time they got to the end of the meeting they mutually agreed that they certainly should be on a first name basis from here on out. And it was a very easy, immediate rapport.
MR. MCCURRY: That's ended the seventh time, I believe, that you and I have briefed in tandem like this late in the evening.
Let me just wrap up the rest of the evening. The President was taping his weekly radio address after this meeting and prior to going out to dinner. The subject is his school uniform manual that he will talk about more tomorrow at the event in Long Beach. The President then planned to go to Malibu with Chief of Staff Panetta and one or two other staff people, to have dinner at the home of David Geffen, who has celebrated earlier this week his 53rd birthday.
It's a dinner with about a dozen guests. I would describe most of them as being active in the entertainment industry and just about all of them are either trustees or managing trustees of the Democratic National Committee. I've given your pool the complete list of those attending and Mr. Panetta will confirm that they all actually showed up for dinner. But they are names that are well-known -- Sid Sheinberg, Lew Wasserman, Mr. Geffen's partners in the Dreamworks venture, folks like that who are well-known certainly in Democratic fundraising circles. Although this is not a fundraiser this evening, since each of these individuals have been heavily involved in fundraising on behalf of the party.
Anything else before we shut down for the evening? Yes, sir.
Q -- the trading issue -- did they talk about the recording issue, sound recording rights?
MR. MCCURRY: -- statutes? Oh, intellectual property rights.
AMBASSADOR LORD: This is a very important area. It did not specifically come up in this conversation. The President mentioned these other four areas, but we have an interest in the sound recording as well, as you know.
Q He didn't mention --
AMBASSADOR LORD: Well, we didn't get -- we had an hour's meeting with translation, and there were a lot of subjects we discussed. So I would not read into anything the fact that he didn't mention it. It's an important issue for us.
Q Mr. Lord, the people outside seemed to be very interested in whales -- the people outside the hotel. From the two sides were whales or dolphins discussed?
AMBASSADOR LORD: This did not come up. However, there was, as I said, some discussion of the fact that increasingly the two countries are cooperating on global issues. This was not specifically mentioned. As I said, the environment was mentioned and terrorism as two examples as part of this common agenda where we've reached so many agreements, and you're going to see even more when the President goes in April.
Q Was the Japanese --
AMBASSADOR LORD: The Prime Minister did refer to his problem on that front. But that, of course, is a Japanese issue.
MR. MCCURRY: Okay, we've got the radio address advance text embargoed until tomorrow that is still to do. And then, otherwise, we are shut down and have a full lid except for what -- with the exception of the travel pool, for the evening. Adios.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 8:35 P.M. PST