Solo Press Availability in Beijing, China

Press Availability
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Diaoyutai Hotel
Beijing, China
April 13, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Sorry to be running a little late, everybody. I appreciate everybody’s patience very, very much.

Let me try to give you a summary of what has been I think an extremely constructive and positive day – frankly, more agreement than disagreement in many – in most, in all respects – I think beyond what I anticipated in many regards. And I thank our host in China for the privilege to, as I think you know, to be able to meet with President Xi, with Premier Li, as well as with my counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang and also just to finish to both an energy cooperation program as well as a dinner with State Councilor Yang Jiechi. And we had a continued conversation on a number of topics tonight which were important, which is why we took a little longer.

I’m personally really pleased to be back in Beijing. And I’m confident that this will be the first of a number of trips here because of the importance of our relationship, which in many ways, I think today took a significant step forward and gained even greater definition in terms of that importance. Both President Xi and Premier Li and the new government have talked at great length about trying to build an even stronger relationship with the United States. And they have talked about the ways in which we can create a model partnership in our relationship.

President Obama is excited about that prospect, and we are going to fully explore all of its possibilities. It is absolutely clear to everybody that when you have two of the most powerful – the two most powerful economies in the world and two of the most significant energy users in the world, as well as two members of the permanent Security Council of the United Nations, with interests that extend around the world, you have the possibility of being able to create synergy.

And that’s what we really talked about here today, how to deal with the cooperative relationship between us in order to contribute to global economic security and to global fiscal security. I look forward to strengthening many of the things that we began to discuss today, and I’ll be very precise with you about what they were.

President Obama has said many times, and I repeat today that the United States welcomes a stable and prosperous China, a China that is a great power already, and that has the ability to be able to play a major role in world affairs. We have a stake in China’s success, and frankly, China has a stake in the success of the United States. That became clear in all of our conversations here today. A constructive partnership that is based on mutual interest benefits everybody in the world. And today we had the opportunity to talk about a large number of bilateral, regional, and global security issues, beginning, of course, with the issue of North Korea.

China joined with the United States tonight through the statement that I made earlier, and the statement that Yang Jiechi made, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, that we both joined in stating that the United States and China remain fully committed to the September 2005 joint statement of the Six-Party Talks and to its core goal. And that core goal is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner. Together we talked about how we can give that a little more energy, a little more life over the course of these next days. And what we agreed to do is immediately bear down with further discussion at a very senior level in order to fill out exactly what steps we can take together to make sure that this is not rhetoric, but that it is real policy that is being implemented.

To that end, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be traveling out here shortly, as will other members of our intel community, as well as Deputy Secretary Burns later this month. So there will be very focused, continued, high-level discussions about the ways to fill in any blanks that may exist as a consequence of the lack of time tonight.

We also joined together in calling on North Korea to refrain from provocations and to abide by international obligations. We also discussed our shared interest in preventing Iran from securing a nuclear weapon and agreed on how valuable close cooperation between our countries is in the accomplishment of both of these goals. And these goals, we agreed, are not unrelated. What happens with respect to North Korea can affect Iran, and what happens with Iran can affect North Korea. And we are committed in both cases to not see the world move towards nuclearization, but to move in the opposite direction in a peaceful way.

The Foreign Minister and I also had a significant discussion about energy and climate change. And as a consequence of that, we have agreed at the highest level, with President Xi and with the Premier, to elevate the United States-China cooperation on climate and energy to a ministerial level, to a higher level, so that it can receive the full focus of our governments on an accelerated basis with an understanding of the urgency of the science that is telling us that we need to deal with the human contributions to the problem of climate. The Government of China is committed as never before to this endeavor because the people of China are asking for that kind of action, and because they are feeling some of the consequences of this change, as are we in the United States in many different ways.

So we will now have a working group that will start immediately to prepare for talks in the week of July 8th in what is called the S&ED, the Security and Economic Development Dialogue that takes place between China and the United States. I will be chairing that together with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and the Chinese have agreed that State Councilor Yang Jiechi will also be chairing. And I think there are one or two other chairs that China will announce at the appropriate time.

In addition to the elevation of the climate issue to a significantly heightened level of effort and urgency, we also discussed cyber security, and we agreed there also that we will create an immediate working group because cyber security affects everybody. It affects airplanes in the sky, trains on their tracks. It affects the flow of water through dams. It affects transportation networks, power plants. It affects the financial sector, banks, financial transactions. Every aspect of nations in modern times are affected by use of cyber networking, and obviously all of us, every nation, has an interest in protecting its people, protecting its rights, protecting its infrastructure. And so we are going to work immediately on an accelerated basis on cyber.

We also had conversations about regional maritime security, including disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. And we talked about how important it is for all parties not to raise tensions that could undermine peace and security and economic growth in the region, not to engage in unilateral actions. And I spoke also with the Foreign Minister about the deteriorating situation in Syria. The State Councilor reminded me that he was present at the negotiations in Geneva, and that he agrees completely – China agrees completely – with the framework of the Geneva communiqué which mandates a dialogue coming through a transfer of authority to a transitional government by mutual consent from both sides. And he reemphasized China’s commitment to that approach, believing that the world will be better served by a political solution than by continued fighting.

In addition to that, let me say that we agreed that we will continue to develop the United States-China relationship through extensive engagement in the Security and Economic Development dialogue, as well as in our people-to-people exchanges and the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. And through these and other in-depth discussions, we are going to work to try to enhance mutual trust and understanding based on mutual respect between our countries. We also raised, as I have at every occasion at any stop anywhere, the issue of human rights, specific cases of concern with respect to that. And we agreed to continue that discussion with respect to those individual cases.

We also discussed one other item of importance, and that is a conflict between some businesses – some businesses that are American tried to do business in China, and some Chinese that are trying to do business in the United States. And we agreed that both sides – excuse me – that both sides need to find an accelerated way to try to resolve issues that arise with respect to those particular business concerns. And so we are also going to place that issue within the Security and Economic Development dialogue, which is an appropriate place for it and where it fits.

So we have our work cut out for us. And I want to thank all of the officials I’ve met with for their open willingness today to accept this kind of workload, to take on these new challenges, to accept the responsibility for improving this important relationship. And as we work to do that between our two countries, we believe we are not only building a relationship between governments, but we’re building a relationship between people, between families, between friends, between entrepreneurs, students, scholars, artists, and others. And we intend to try to grow our people-to-people exchanges, because in the end, those can be perhaps the most consequential and enduring results of diplomacy.

So I again thank our host for their hospitality today, and I would be delighted to take on a few questions.

MODERATOR: The Secretary will take four questions this evening. The first will be from Jo Biddle from AFP.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you. Following the discussions today, could you tell us please what concrete commitments China has given, if any, to try to rein in tensions in the Korean peninsula, perhaps (inaudible) trade and investment into North Korea? And also secondly, I realize – or I noticed that you yourself and State Councilor Yang mentioned the possibility of a missile launch from North Korea in the coming days. Do you now feel that you have no option but to (inaudible) this is going to take place?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, on the contrary, on the contrary, I just said that we both call on North Korea to refrain from any provocative steps. And that obviously refers to any future missile shoot. I said it yesterday in Seoul. I addressed it and I called it both unwise and unnecessary and unwanted and provocative. So we’re very clear about what it is, but I think that more importantly, we really want to focus people on the better alternative. And we don’t want to get into a threat-for-threat or some kind of confrontational language here. There’s been enough of that. I think everybody in the world understands the balance of what is at stake in this issue. I think that people in the region understand what the balance of the power is in this situation. And everybody is hoping that reasonableness will prevail, as are we.

China and the United States today, we committed ourselves to find a peaceful solution. And we say to Kim Jong-un and to the Government of Korea – of DPRK that they have an obvious choice here, which is to join us in an effort to try to find a negotiated resolution. Regardless of what they do, we will continue to fight for that and push for that. That’s our priority; that’s the best way to proceed. And we believe that there are ways to do that.

Now with respect to specifics, I’m not going to go into the specifics. It is entirely within the purview of the Government of China to talk about what they would do or not do. But I can assure you we left no option off the table and we had a full discussion what the possibilities might be. And that will continue, as I said, in the days ahead.

MODERATOR: Mr. Wei Lein from Global Times.

QUESTION: Thanks. (Inaudible). Welcome to China. I have a quick question for you. I really, really wonder what would you to do (inaudible) to encouraging China’s investment to the United States (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Sure. We welcome Chinese investment in the United States. And a very, very small percentage of investment is subject to a process where we have a security evaluation because of the nature of the business or the particular location. But it’s very, very few; very, very little. And obviously, there are sometimes concerns when there’s a state ownership of a particular business because that raises a different set of considerations.

But for true private sector private investment, we have countless opportunities and we welcome that investment. One of the things I’ve discussed with the State Councilor tonight was the possibility of China investing in infrastructure. We have proposals in the United States Congress to creature infrastructure bank. We have huge infrastructure needs in the United States for a certain series of projects like water projects, transportation projects, energy projects. Those are all revenue-producing projects. So they are projects from which pension funds and other kinds of investments can make a return on investment and everybody benefits. It’s a win-win-win. It’s a win for the investors, it’s a win for the countries, and ultimately it’s a win for the place where the infrastructure gets built.

So my hope is that that will take place. We discussed sort of some the – that’s part of the discussion that will take place in this group that’s going to look at where one business or another has had a problem, and why it may have had a problem, and do a better job of sort of discussing it and explaining it so people don’t believe that it’s somehow singling out a country or that it’s a matter of bias or outright policy. I think we can avoid a lot of confusion between our countries if we work at the communication on those particular decisions.

MODERATOR: Andrea Mitchell, NBC.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, from your conversations today at so many levels, top levels of the Chinese leadership, do you have an understanding of their communication with Kim Jong-un and their understanding of the decision making in Pyongyang, and whether they have communicated beyond their public statements the frustrations we are told they are beginning to feel about the (inaudible) behavior? Did you discuss with them also the possibility that some of the recent deployment of anti-missile defenses might be redeployed or stood down if Pyongyang were to change its behavior?

And is it your assessment that Pyongyang could have achieved what it has in terms of its nuclear program without cross-border transactions from this side of the border and without China’s cooperation financially and technologically? How could North Korea under these sanction regimes have proceeded so well?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Andrea, with respect to the last part of the question, I don’t want to get into any classified information here. But I will tell you that it doesn’t have to be, nor is there an insinuation, that it is China. There are plenty of places in the world where we know proliferation has taken place over the years. Obviously, the AQ Khan network of Pakistan; the Iranians themselves have engaged in a process external, and in exchange with other parties, and many people believe with North Korea.

So there are lots of outside sources, regrettably, and that’s one of the principal concerns of counter-proliferation efforts and initiatives around the world. Yes, I do believe that I have a better sense of what China’s intentions are here and how they can proceed. But I think it’s inappropriate for me to speak for China. And I think the Chinese, over time, will speak as they deem it necessary and appropriate.

I will say that they obviously communicate and they have communicated. It’s up to them to tell you what and when and how. But there’s no question in my mind that China is very serious, very serious, about denuclearizing. Today they made an unprecedented joint statement. They don’t usually do that. Today the State Councilor sat with me and he joined in making a statement and sending the same message. They don’t usually do that. So I’d say that they have made it crystal clear that they want to abide by the international community’s standard of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. That is the Chinese policy. And they will speak to what steps they may or may not take in the days ahead.

QUESTION: Did you end on missile defense?

SECRETARY KERRY: On missile defense, we’ve discussed, absolutely, why we have taken the steps that we have taken, in direct response to the fact that American interest and American territory in the following way: Guam and Hawaii, they brag, are threatened, and any president would be irresponsible not to heed warnings and at least take precautionary measures. And in addition to that, the – we discussed the fact that we have allies that it it’s important to reassure. South Korea, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, are important allies, both of them. We are committed to defend them; we’ve made it clear that we will, and we need to be in a position to do so.

Now obviously, if the threat disappears, ie, North Korea denuclearizes, the same imperative does not exist at that point in time for us to have to have that kind of robust, forward-leading posture of defense. And it would be our hope in the long run that – or, better yet, in the short run – that we can address that.

MODERATOR: The final question will from Ms. Tingi Psy from Caijing Magazine.


SECRETARY KERRY: Psy. I read about this guy named Psy in Korea. (Laughter.) No relation there?

QUESTION: I understand Washington has talked about (inaudible) many, many times now. But apparently there are always a big group of Chinese (inaudible) that rebalance policies (inaudible) China. So if this issue ever been brought up to you again, how would you convince China America has no such intention or maybe (inaudible) no such capability?

SECRETARY KERRY: I think this visit today speaks directly to that in every respect. The United States’ efforts in Asia are a continuation of years of building relationships, building economies. I think a couple of the great stories of the 20th century, and now into the 21st century, are right here in this region, in both Japan and the Republic of Korea, both of which were rebuilt out of the ashes of a world war with help and assistance from the United States, which are now flourishing democracies with spirited politics and with high standards of trade and of labor and environment and other things.

I think that speaks for itself. That’s the United States’ interest, is to continue to build strong economies, build strong relationships, and to have freedom of navigation in the seas, and respect for people, and human rights, and the opportunity for people to dream. I heard today a very specific discussion from the President of China about the China dream. And I think that it’s fair to say that the United States wants to do its part, if we build the capacity for the people of China to share in that.

Indeed, in Japan, the day after tomorrow, I intend to talk a little bit about a specific dream. And so if you’ll stay tuned, I’ll give you a little sense of what that might be like. But I do think that today’s visit makes it clear that the United States wants a strong, normal, but special relationship with China, and that’s a special – because China is a great power with a great ability to affect events in the world. And we need to work together to do that.

Thank you all very, very much. Appreciate it. Get some rest.

PRN: 2013/T03-11