Remarks With Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 16, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. My distinct privilege to welcome Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz here to Washington, and in doing so, to be able to reaffirm that Chile is unquestionably one of the strongest partners that the United States has in Latin America. And Chile is proof that if you follow democratic principles, if you have sound economic policies and good governance, you can contribute in many significant ways to global initiatives, and Chile does that.

We’re very pleased that this year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Chile-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and in addition, we are working very hard on the 100,000 Strong initiative of President Obama to have stronger exchange of students. Education is a great priority for Chile; it’s a great priority for us also, and we are both strengthened through that kind of exchange.

And finally, we really are pleased to be serving alongside Chile in the United Nations Security Council, where together we are confronting some of the toughest, most complicated challenges on the planet today. And we are pleased to have Chile’s support on critical issues of national security, of counterterrorism, of the environment, and other issues that we face. So we’re very happy to have Heraldo here today and we look forward to our conversation.

FOREIGN MINISTER MUNOZ: Thank you very much, Secretary Kerry. Thank you. I appreciate very much the invitation of the Secretary to attend this ocean conference which is fundamental for a country like Chile that has such a long coastline. Our future is the oceans, so we have a strong commitment to stopping climate change and to protecting our environment, and particularly our oceans. This is a bet for the future for Chile.

As the Secretary has said, we share a lot in common. We have, I would say, a strategic partnership between the two countries because we share the values of democracy, protection and promotion of human rights, the promotion of trade, free trade, and sustainable development. Those issues are fundamental for Chile, they are for the United States, and increasingly for the whole world. And indeed, we serve right now – Chile is a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, and there we are trying to make a contribution as a country that values consensus, that values bridges among differences, and with the idea that we have to be respectful of international law of the charter of pacific resolution of conflicts. And if that doesn’t work, of course, for us the use of force is the last resource according to the charter, and we have been – every time we’ve been in the Security Council, that has been our policy and we’ve been able to work with partners like the United States and others in the Security Council.

So I look forward to continuing that. President Michelle Bachelet is coming to Washington very soon, where she will meet with President Obama and with the cabinet in general. We are looking forward to that. She represents change in Chile as well as the continuity that has been so successful for our country for 25 years. So we hope to preserve the successes of Chile, but at the same time to respond to the needs and demands of the people that want more egalitarian order, less inequality, and more access to quality education, to public education that is not for profit, indeed for better opportunities for all the citizens of my country.

So these are the challenges, and indeed, with the United States, we have a mature relationship, a relationship of high quality. And one of the components is precisely science, technology, innovation, education. And we’ve done some agreements with California and with the state of Massachusetts. I’m sure that Secretary Kerry values that particularly. And we look forward, then, to continued relations with the U.S., but also with states that are very interested in a relationship with my country.

So Secretary Kerry, thank you very much for this invitation. I’m very pleased to be able to be with you and with the government.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re delighted you’re here.


SECRETARY KERRY: And thank you for your participation in the oceans.

FOREIGN MINISTER MUNOZ: Sure. It will be a pleasure.

QUESTION: Secretary, could you give us a quick comment about your – possibly talks with Iran?

SECRETARY KERRY: I can’t right now, no. I need to do this, but we will at the appropriate time. Thank you.