Joint Press Availability with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara
Secretary of State
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much. We just had a very comprehensive, far-ranging discussion on many issues of concern to the United States and Japan, and I want to thank my colleague and counterpart, the foreign minister. It is a pleasure to be back in Hawaii and an even greater pleasure to be hosting the foreign minister here in Honolulu. I appreciate very much his willingness to take the long trip from Japan to be here.
And it is a fitting venue to continue the productive discussions that I began with the foreign minister in New York last month. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our alliance, which was forged at the height of the Cold War. At the time, President Eisenhower described the indestructible partnership between our two countries, and time has proven him right. The world’s geopolitical landscape has shifted many times since then, but the partnership between the United States and Japan has endured because it is based on deep friendship between our people, on mutual respect, and on common goals and values.
This alliance is the cornerstone of American strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific. It has helped both countries prosper and weather economic storms. It has underwritten peace and security, and it has allowed us to cooperate on a range of global issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, climate change, combating violent extremism, and I’m grateful that we are the two largest contributors to reconstruction in Afghanistan.
We are also cooperating on the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea and Iran. Last month, the United States welcomed the sanctions that Japan imposed on Iran. They underscored the resolve of the international community to support a global sanctions regime aimed at countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Joining likeminded nations around the world, Japan has emphasized the message that Tehran must meet its international responsibilities.
The foreign minister and I consulted on base realignment issues and the replacement facility at Futenma. The goal of our two governments remains unchanged: Both countries want an arrangement that is operationally viable and politically sustainable. That means the United States will reduce the impact of our bases on host communities while at the same time maintaining the capabilities that we need to meet our commitment to defend Japan and the Japanese people and the security of the region. We look forward to working with the Government of Japan to build local support for a final plan for the replacement facility.
The foreign minister and I also discussed Japan’s leadership role as host of APEC 2011. As you know, the United States will be hosting APEC in 2012 – or in 2011, so we are working closely to coordinate our agendas. The President is looking very much forward to being in Japan for the APEC meetings.
We are looking beyond our governments, touching on joint efforts to increase people-to-people connections, especially student exchanges, and we are looking also to build on what we signed just recently, a memorandum of understanding for an open skies agreement. Under this initiative, airlines rather than governments will decide which cities to serve, establish flight schedules, and set fares.
Finally, the foreign minister and I discussed among other issues one that is of particular importance for parents and children in both countries. The Japanese Government is taking steps toward ratifying the Hague Convention on International Parental Child Abduction and enhancing parents’ basic visitation rights. I am encouraged by this progress.
So I thank the minister for a two-hour meeting that was in-depth and very focused on deepening and broadening our relationship. I look forward to continuing to work with him, and I am confident that together we can help to improve the lives of the people of our countries as well as the larger region. So with that, let me turn it over, please, to the foreign minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER MAEHARA: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. Well, both of us later on actually will be meeting again in Hanoi, but I believe it is quite meaningful that we have been able to have this meeting for two hours here in Hawaii to engage in wide-ranging discussions to strengthen Japan-U.S. relations and to engage in this very fruitful discussion. And I believe this, I believe, was very good for not just Japan and the United States but for the further stability and development of the region as a whole.
If I could give you the gist of the Japan – or the purpose of the Japan-U.S. foreign ministers meeting is that here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, we were able to discuss a firm commitment of the United States for the political and security conditions in the Asia Pacific and as the United States will be participating in East Asia Summit we, Japan and the United States, were able to show that we will remain in close coordination with each other on political and security matters in the region and together we’ll work on various matters. And we were able to discuss specifics of these, so it was quite fruitful.
The second point I would like to make is that, as the Secretary mentioned earlier, this year Japan is the chair of APEC and next year the United States will take over the chair. And we were able to exchange views in preparation for the Japan-U.S. summit meeting to take place. And I think in that respect as well we had a very fruitful meeting. And as I mentioned earlier, as the two countries remain closely coordinated on – for the peace and prosperity of the region, I think we confirmed that it will be very important to engage mutually in various discussions.
Now, earlier Prime Minister Kan and President Obama had a meeting in New York on security – on the three pillars of security, the economy, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. And they agreed that they will build a Japan-U.S. alliance, strengthen bilateral economic dialogue, and promote partnership on high-speed railways and clean energy and so on, and also maintain close coordination with each other to promote mutual understanding and exchanges at various levels. And especially with regard to Japan-U.S. security cooperation, in the consultations so far on deepening the alliance we have engaged in discussions on security environment assessment and on cooperation in very specific areas, and they confirmed to further strengthen such endeavors.
And I also stated to Secretary Clinton that we should like to engage in deeper consultations in order to realize a smooth bilateral cooperation for the defense of Japan and in the case of contingencies in areas surrounding Japan. And also I explained – I gave an account of the ongoing discussions in Japan for the purpose of formulating the basic policy concerning comprehensive economic partnerships.
President Obama’s visit to Japan on the occasion of the APEC meetings in Yokohama will be a good opportunity for the two leaders to confirm the specific direction of the deepening of Japan-U.S. alliance at the leaders level, and we confirmed to further accelerate our preparations for the success of this visit.
We also engaged in candid discussions on UN Security Council reform, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, and agreed to further step up Japan-U.S. cooperation on a broad range of issues. I look forward to having – meeting with Secretary Clinton as often as possible and engaging in further discussions and build up close cooperation with each other and together with us would like to build up stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Arshad Mohammed of Reuters.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology today issued a statement saying that they will not use rare earth elements as a bargaining tool. Do you have any reaction to that in particular? Did you raise the issue or did you discuss the issue of rare earth metals with the foreign minister? Do you plan to raise it when you meet State Councilor Dai Bingguo in – on Hainan Island in a couple of days? And do you regard the rare earths issue as what may be the latest in a series of examples of Chinese, perhaps, bullying behavior towards its neighbors, and is there anything that the United States and Japan should try to do to insulate themselves from such behavior?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the foreign minister and I did discuss the issue of rare earth minerals. These are elements that are critical to the industrial production not only in Japan and the United States but in countries around the world. I hadn’t heard about the Chinese statement of today, but I would welcome any clarification of their policy and hope that it means trade and commerce around these important materials will continue unabated and without any interference.
At the same time, because of the importance of these rare earth minerals, I think both the minister and I are aware that our countries and others will have to look for additional sources of supply. That is in our interests commercially and strategically; it makes sense because these are rare, by definition, but they are present in other countries. And this served as a wakeup call that being so dependent on only one source, disruption could occur for natural disaster reasons or other kinds of events could intervene. So we welcome the Chinese statement that it will resume normal trading in these materials, but I think the entire world has to seek additional supplies in order to protect the important production needs that these materials serve.
MODERATOR: Our next two questions will be from Mr. Deguchi of Kyodo News.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) Deguchi with Kyodo News Service. First a question for Secretary Clinton, and this is about security. Recently – this is about Senkaku Islands, which has (inaudible) spat between Japan and China. And I wonder if the security treaty between Japan and the United States will be applied.
And also, this region, and I believe the Japanese Government has stated time and again that the alliance has played an important role for the security of the region, but Japan’s (inaudible) report has continued (inaudible) for the past ten years. Would you expect the level of Japanese support to remain at the same level or increase?
A question for Foreign Minister Maehara in the economic area. You have to date spoken positively about Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership, so-called TPP. Having had a meeting today with the U.S., which has already announced its participation in TPP, could you tell us your thoughts at the moment?
And an additional question for Secretary Clinton. Would you welcome Japan’s participation in TPP talks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say clearly again that the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This is part of the larger commitment that the United States has made to Japan’s security. We consider the Japanese-U.S. alliance one of the most important alliance partnerships we have anywhere in the world and we are committed to our obligations to protect the Japanese people.
And the host nation support is one of Japan’s key contributions to this alliance that has helped to maintain stability and security in East Asia for decades. The U.S. and Japan negotiating teams met for the second time this month to discuss the host nation support arrangements between the two governments, and these discussions are proceeding in a very positive and constructive manner.
FOREIGN MINISTER MAEHARA: (Via interpreter) I understand there was a question about TPP. As I have been saying for some time, in this growing world we have this outstanding technology and products that are the culmination of such technologies, and if we are to more broadly sell these technologies and products, we need to reduce tariffs as much as possible, in other words, engage in as free as possible trade, because that will be very important for Japan itself.
At the same time, as the chair of APEC this year, in interest of achieving the Bogor Goals and also in the interest of achieving liberal trade amongst APEC participating countries as a whole, it is very important for us to try and figure out the way towards that goal. Now, if we are to participate in TPP, we will need to work out coordination – it will be very important to work out coordination with each and every participating country in TPP. With Chile, Peru, or Singapore, Japan already has agreements, free trade agreements and we’re negotiating one with Australia. And with United States, most important country not just political and security but in economic areas as well, together with the United States we shall – we have been able to confirm that we will cooperate with each other. And to that end, we will therefore in the government, with the ruling party at the core, would like to finalize Japan’s policy ahead of APEC meetings.
MODERATOR: Mark Landler, New York Times.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We would encourage and welcome Japan’s interest.
MODERATOR: It’ll come on automatically.
QUESTION: A question for both of you. You’ve mentioned you talked about the Senkakus issue. You mentioned that you talked about the rare earth issue. I’m wondering whether this doesn’t in some way add up to a recognition that the landscape that you talked about at the beginning, the security landscape in Asia, may be changing in a more fundamental way with China both economically, politically, and militarily playing a bigger, more muscle-flexing role than it has historically. And if that’s the case, do you need to think more creatively about what to do about security alliances in the region? I just wonder whether that was part of the discussion today.
And then more specifically, Madam Secretary, to follow up on Arshad, do you plan to bring up the rare earth issue specifically with Minister Dai? Would you be asking him for clarification?
And then lastly, the decision to add Hainan – you know I always ask three. (Laughter.) The decision to add Hainan Island at the last minute to your itinerary, do you worry at all that it risks sending a signal of acquiescence on the U.S. side that you’re going to meet the Chinese on their turf at their request? Is that the kind of signal that’s appropriate to send at a time like this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think that the security environment is always evolving. The security environment of 2010 is not the security environment of 1960. Part of the durability of our alliance is that we have evolved over time without losing the core commitment that exists between the United States and Japan to support the stability and the peaceful cooperation in East Asia that has proven so successful for countries, including China, to take advantage of the opportunity to become more prosperous and to improve the lives of their people.
But this core alliance between Japan and the United States is absolutely imperative when it comes to what we can expect in terms of shaping the security environment, and we intend to not only remain committed to it but make sure that it keeps up with the demands that it faces.
Now, the relationship between Japan and China is a key relationship, and we want that relationship to be a positive one. And we encourage the kind of dialogue that is going on between Japan and China. Prime Minister Kan met with Premier Wen in Brussels. They will both continue the dialogue in the future. We’ll all be together in Hanoi. So I think that this is part of the ongoing discussion that is necessary.
At the same time, we believe that there will be new challenges and new ways of thinking about those challenges that require us to deepen our dialogue, which is what the minister and I discussed and what President Obama will further discuss when he is in Yokohama. We need to be looking at all kinds of scenarios, all kinds of contingencies, work through responses to events that might occur in the future, and of course, stay focused on the threat posed from North Korea.
So I don’t see that this is anything other than smart planning and careful analysis about how we can be even more effective together. Recent events certainly throw it into the headlines, but we work every day with our friends and partners in Japan.
With respect to the dialogue with State Councilor Dai Bingguo, we have an ongoing dialogue and there was an opportunity for us to meet in preparation for President Hu Jintao’s visit which is going to occur in January, which is not very far from now, and therefore there is a lot of work that has to be done. We have a long list of issues to discuss. The information Arshad gave me about the statement from the Chinese Government today on rare earth minerals may shorten that discussion, but there is a lot to talk about in preparation for a state visit by President Hu Jintao.
FOREIGN MINISTER MAEHARA: (Via interpreter) There was a question about the Senkaku Islands and rare earth minerals. As I have been saying, Senkaku Islands, in terms of history and international law, are inherent territory of Japan and have – we have had (inaudible) control over the islands and will continue to do so.
Today, Secretary Clinton repeated that the Senkaku Islands would fall within the scope of the application of Article 5 of the bilateral security treaty. That was very encouraging. But of course, in the first instance, I think it is important for a country to defend its territory by itself. But through Japan-U.S. cooperation, not just in the interest of Japan’s security but for the region’s security, we shall continue to make our efforts. Today, we discussed that (inaudible) cautiously but closely cooperate on security situation in the region and we confirmed this, so we look forward to continuing to do so in the days ahead as well.
Now, Japan-China relations. Of course, Japan and China are neighbors and neither of the neighbors can move elsewhere. In fact, Japan and China became equals in terms of GDP. We are both number two economic powers in the world. And seen from the Japanese side, China is the number one importer and China is number one exporting country. And from – for the Chinese, it is – the largest imports come from Japan and the largest exports go to the United States. So we are both number ones and number two mutually, and so economically we are in a close economic interdependence with each other. So we need to take broader perspectives in order to further nurture our bilateral mutual beneficial relationship based on strategic interest and will continue to make efforts in that interest.
With regard to the rare earth minerals, as Secretary Clinton stated earlier, even if this problem did not exist, to rely for 97 percent of the – these resources on China, as we look back, was certainly not appropriate and therefore we have to diversify the sources of rare earth minerals. And here again, Japan and the United States will closely cooperate with each other in order to engage in more diversified rare earth minerals diplomacy.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you all.