Remarks Upon Departure From JapanJohn Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
May 11, 2008
QUESTION: Would you please give me a brief comment on your trip to Japan?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Yes, indeed, I’ve been here for two days of meetings, excellent discussions with the Chief Cabinet Secretary, with the Foreign Minister, and with the Minister of Defense, where we had an opportunity to review the range of issues affecting our relationship, principally in the security and in the political areas. We also discussed regional issues of mutual concern such as the situation in the Korean peninsula and the negotiations for denuclearization of the peninsula. So, I would say overall that it was an excellent round of meetings where both sides, I think, had the opportunity to reaffirm their strong interests and strong commitment to our alliance which, as far as the United States is concerned, is the cornerstone of our policy and our relationships here in the East Asia and Pacific region.
QUESTION: Just one question – Myanmar held the referendum yesterday in spite of the severe damage caused by the cyclone, and the junta still limits international assistance. So how does the United States see their polls yesterday and what will the government do to provide enough assistance to the people?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: I’m glad you mentioned Myanmar, because that was another subject that we did discuss, particularly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both our countries have offered generous humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma, of Myanmar, but so far the government has very much restricted access. We hope that they will see fit to facilitate access of these supplies and this assistance, because this is not a political matter, this is a humanitarian matter, and the people of Myanmar are in desperate need of help. The international community stands ready to assist and the Burmese authorities should open their doors to international assistance right away.
QUESTION: How do you see the poll?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Well, I’d rather not comment on the political situation at this particular time. I think the real priority in Burma is the question of administering emergency humanitarian assistance. That is the priority -- that should be the priority -- in our view of the Myanmar authorities. Thank you.
Released on May 11, 2008