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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2001 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Strategic Stability

Ambassador Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Remarks at a Press Availability with Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 9, 2001

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Minister, thank you very much. Let me first thank you for coming, and I want to thank the Minister and all of his colleagues for their hospitality in this beautiful place on this gorgeous day. We wonít keep you long, because I know everybody would rather be outside than inside today.

I am Marc Grossman. I am the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. I am here to consult with the Danish Government on strategic stability and how we will position ourselves as allies and members of the North Atlantic Alliance to deal with the threats and the opportunities over the next few years. We came here today to follow up on the speech that President Bush made on May 1, in which he said that we would be consulting with allies. In this case consultation was real consultation. We said what we had to say, but very importantly listened to the views of the Danish team, and then when the Minister was good enough to join us, to what the Minister had to say as well. The world today, 2001, is not the world of 1972. There are many, many advantages to that. Russia is no longer our enemy. We are not in the same military position that we were in 1972, but there are some challenges that we face and those challenges revolve mostly around issues of nonproliferation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

We made a number of presentations to the Ministerís colleagues before the Minister arrived and all of them had two themes. Theme number one was consultations, thatís what we want to do. Theme number two was that we need some way together to think through how it is that we will meet the strategic challenges and opportunities of this new world. One of the things that I told the Minister was that the NATO alliance is a great alliance because we believe in deterrence, we believe in consultation, we believe in collective defense and we believe in meeting new challenges and opportunities. I think that it is fair to say, and I will obviously let the Minister speak for himself, that the allies that we have spoken to have been generally welcoming of this consultation. I think it fair to say that allies would also welcome more consultation, and that we are glad to do that. Allies recognize that the world has changed, and I think that they also have been pleased with the comprehensive approach that we have tried to pursue, which has to do with offensive reductions, with nonproliferation and with the questions of defense. So, I will end where I started, and I apologize for going on so long. Our purpose today was to consult and get the views of the Danish Government and to let it hear our views on how it is that we will manage the challenges and opportunities of the new strategic environment. And once again Minister, thank you for your hospitality.

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: If you would just allow me to give a few comments. I think many of you came here with totally false expectations, namely that we came out of that door to tell you some kind of conclusion. This is not the case, this has never been thought of as what should be the case. I have given to Mr. Grossman the position of the Danish government as it was outlined in Parliament last week. We are not ready to take any decision on a project that has not been described in any detail yet. We want to know much more, we want to know the whole international security policy environment in which this is going to be presented. We want to know much more about the political circumstances. Of course what is of concern to us in Denmark, and I think to very many Europeans, is that this should not create a new arms race. It is very important that these consultations are carried out with the Allies, with the Russians, with the Chinese. I have underlined again, as I did in Parliament, that we think it is extremely important in the long-term perspective that development between the United States and China are stable and friendly because these two powers in the next generation may become the next two superpowers of this world. I have also underlined that we are not expecting to take any decisions some time soon, but when we at some point are going to take decisions potential about Thule, this will be a common process, including the Greenlanders together with the government of Denmark.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Let me just add one sentence because I think the Minister makes an extremely important point that I would like to follow up. And that is the question of Russia and also the question of China. We listened carefully both at NATO and here today about interest in making sure that we are having the closest possible consultations with the Russians. I reported to the Minister that one of my colleagues from the team, Deputy National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, will be in Russia on Friday to have the kind of consultation and make the kind of points the Minister was just talking about. Second, with regard to China, I also reported to the Minister that our Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs will be visiting Beijing, I think, on Friday as well to have that conversation there. We want to make sure that although we are focused clearly on our core allies, and our core allied and friendly relationships, as the Minister said, we are reaching out to all those who have an interest in this project.

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: Let me add one thing. I am glad that I will have, within the next ten days, the opportunity to visit China and have discussions with Mr. Chang, the Chinese Foreign Minister, in connection with the ASEM Foreign Minister's meeting.

QUESTION: Did you present the Danish side with any new aspects, any new information on the NMD project?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Can I respond to you in two ways? First, I think it's important that we move beyond this question of "N"MD. What we talked about today with the Minister and his colleagues was missile defense. And that is missile defense not only for the United States but available to all of those countries that would like to have it and participate in it if the technology works. What we have had today is a conversation with Allies. I don't mean to correct you here, but I think it's important that we are talking about missile defense. Secondly, I would leave to the Danish side to say whether we brought anything new. What we did not bring was, we did not bring anything specific, we did not say this is the architecture, this is the cost, this is the timetable. That is not what this is about. What we tried to do today, as we have done in other countries in the Alliance, is to expand our minds and I hope expand others' minds in thinking about a new way to consider issues of strategic stability in the future. The most important thing I think to Denmark and the United States and to NATO is that deterrence works. What we have talked about today is making sure that all the aspects of deterrence -- offense, defense, non-proliferation, diplomatic methods, -- all of those things are enhancing deterrence so that Denmark, the United States, the NATO alliance and other countries can continue to be safe and secure.

QUESTION: Did the discussion touch upon Greenland in one way or another? There may not have been some specific things, but did you discuss Greenland?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We only discussed Greenland to the extent that we listened exactly to what the Minister said about the desire of the Danish government to have the Greenlanders fully involved, and he can speak to that himself.

QUESTION: But are there any scenarios that would upgrade the radar at Thule?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I can tell you without fear of contradiction that we asked for nothing about Thule, did not discuss any of those kinds of specifics. As I tried to answer your colleague here, the idea today was to talk about strategic stability and enhancing deterrence, so that was not a topic of conversation today.

QUESTION: But, what is your position on Thule?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Our position is that we want to have a consultation and a conversation with the Danish Government about strategic stability. They are our NATO allies, and we need to have that conversation before we can get anything more specific.

QUESTION: What do you say to the critics in your own country and the critics in Europe that the technology isnít ready considering the shield?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: What we are saying to anybody who will listen is that the world of 2001 is not the world of 1972. We have got some threats out there that we have to deal with. These are issues that are worth consulting about, are worth pursuing and are worth our investment of time, energy and resources. There will always be critics. Thatís fine, thatís what democracies are all about, but we have to answer these questions. As I told the Minister today, we have a job to do with the public in Europe and the United States, but we believe that if we can have a conversation with people through the media or directly about the needs of strategic stability in the future so that people will see the logic of this comprehensive approach. The technology will follow.

QUESTION: Had you expected a more united European attitude?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We expected nothing other than to come and consult with people. I donít think there is really a united European attitude on much of anything. [laughter]

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: We are working on that. [laughter]

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We have gone from country to country. We were at NATO yesterday, and hereís what I took from the consultation: One, that people appreciated the consultation, that was certainly a united European attitude. Two, that people wanted to do more of this consultation. Three, that people recognized the change in the strategic situation from 1972 to 2001. Four, people we very pleased with the effort that we are making with Russia. Five, I think it was a united European attitude to welcome the possibility of offensive reductions. And six, I think there was a united European view, or maybe NATO view, that the comprehensive approach is the right one Ė that is not just about missile defense, that we need a larger strategy. I donít know if thatís a satisfactory answer to you question, but that is how I would describe the views of others.

QUESTION: Mr. Grossman, if Denmark says no, or if you donít need to upgrade Thule, will the U.S. leave the base on Greenland?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I think as the Minister would say, we are far from that kind of conversation. We had a conversation today about what it would take to have a new kind of strategic stability in this world. I wouldnít go anywhere near a question like that because we are just nowhere near that kind of conversation.

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: Let me just add, of course we think that is extremely important that these consultations include Russia and China. We also have the view from the side of the Danish Government, as I have seen also expressed by my colleague in Germany, that it's necessary to maintain the ABM treaty, or if necessary and agreed among the parties, to renegotiate it. It has been the position of the Danish Government that a unilateral cancellation of the treaty would not be a good signal. I also agree that this whole discussion is not just about intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is also about a lot of other dangers out there. There are all kinds of weapons of mass destruction Ė biological and others. Of course, a very important part of this whole discussion is that we do globally whatever we can to stop the development and the proliferation of these weapons. We touched on the Korean problem. I think it is extremely important to try to use any possible way of negotiating away the imminent potential threat posed by North Korea, to stop the proliferation and development of such arms. And like the European Union as a whole, we support the continuation of negotiations of the so-called Sunshine Policy.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the answers that you got today regarding the position of the Danish government on this issue?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I don't think itís my position to be happy or unhappy. It's the position of the Danish government to say whatever they wish. I think as I've been trying to say and I know you think it's unsatisfactory, is that we had a real consultation here today. For example, the Minister made his views absolutely clear on a very important set of issues. We in turn talked and referred to President Bush's May 1 speech, in particular about the ABM treaty. I had the chance to brief the Minister a little bit about our policy review on North Korea. So we did not come here seeking a Danish view that we would be happy or unhappy with. We came here to listen and that's really what consultations mean. If consultations mean you do all the talking, I don't think you've succeeded very well.

QUESTION: Sir, what timeframe do you have on this? When do you expect to put a request to the Danish government if you want to use Thule?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: As I say, we are nowhere near that kind of conversation. We came today to talk about philosophy, to talk about the strategic situation and to see if we could come to some understanding about what it's going to take to do things differently in 2001 than we did in 1972.

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, are you happy?

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: I'm always happy. (laughter) We have had useful conversations. I didn't take part in so much of it, but during the part I joined we had a useful exchange of views, and that's what it is and I don't think we can add a lot to that.

QUESTION: Mr. Grossman, is the U.S. ready for new negotiations regarding the 1951 treaty on Thule as demanded by Greenland?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I know that everybody's fixated here about Thule. As the Minister promised me that you would be. Again, I'm going to fall back here on my purpose here today and my purpose here today was not to be involved in these kinds of specific questions. The Minister has given me his point of view on the importance that the Danish government attaches to participation. That's fine and that is his position and we respect that, but we did not have any other conversation about this issue, and I didn't expect to. That's exactly where we stand.

QUESTION: How are you going to reconcile that Denmark wants the ABM Treaty to be renegotiated or adhered to? And you're saying that you're going to leave it. What's the end of the situation?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Let me step back here. Again, I refer you to what the President said on the First of May. And that is that we need to find a new way to deal with the strategic situation we're in. The Minister and I had a conversation about that. Our feeling at the moment is that we have got to figure out how to deal with that situation first and then figure out what it is that we do. But the President was very clear that to do the kinds of thing we are interested in we have to move beyond the constraints of the ABM Treaty. And that's a conversation that obviously we are going to continue to have. That's why we came here. We came to forward our point of view and we're glad to have the Danish point of view, and that of all the countries I am going to visit. That's what the President promised. We have our perspective and other countries have theirs and that's why we are interested in the conversation about strategic stability.

FOREIGN MINISTER LYKKETOFT: I think we're about to finish now, Mr. Grossman is going to Rome. Thank you.


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