Remarks to Journalists at the Foreign Ministry BuildingRichard Armitage,
Deputy Secretary of State
December 9, 2002
11:35 a.m. local time
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Can I make a comment and then I'll answer questions? Is that all right?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I've just come from a 70-minute meeting with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and her colleagues. We covered the latest U.S. thinking on Iraq -- President Bush has asked me to explain to our closest ally where we are on the question of Iraq. I was also able to discuss at length with the Foreign Minister the question of North Korea. She made very clear her government's views on the question of Okinawa and on the question of the abductees and Sergeant Jenkins. I
was able to again express appreciation for the Japanese decision to dispatch Aegis to the Indian Ocean. And I was able to talk with admiration about the activities with the Government of Japan in
supporting peace in Sri Lanka and Aceh and the Middle East. So, I'll stop there and try to answer a question or two for you.
QUESTION: Where are you headed for from here sir?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Right now, I'm going to a meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Takeuchi. Later this afternoon I'll go to the Defense Agency to meet with the new director general of the JDA. Tomorrow, on to Seoul -- after having breakfast with the secretaries general of the
QUESTION: I see. What point did you make on Korea?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, on Korea we made the point that we have patience and time for diplomacy to work, particularly as Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, the IAEA, the EU, and everyone shares a similar view as do we on the need for a denuclearized peninsula of Korea. So, we're
going to give time for diplomacy to work.
QUESTION: And on the question of Iraq?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Pardon me?
QUESTION: On the question of Iraq?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: On the question of Iraq, I spoke about what we knew of the disposition of the declaration, and talked about our views of where we were and how likely Saddam Hussein was to disarm. It is very well known here that our view is that Saddam Hussein has a chance to disarm and we can have peace, or he will be disarmed. I think there's no question to the Japanese government that that continues to be the case. And the point I wanted to make was how necessary it was for us to be seen, in fact and in deed, to be sharing all our information with our colleagues in Japan.
QUESTION: Did you discuss Mr. Jenkins in North Korea?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: We discussed this briefly. I had covered this also earlier, this morning, and I have undertaken on behalf of the US government to continue to study this question assiduously.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on Iraq again, do you have a good expectation that Japan will express support for future course of action by the United States?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I have an absolute expectation that Japan will make decisions in accordance with their national interest, and that's all I'll say. I thank you all very much.
[Outside door of Foreign Ministry]
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I've just come from a 70-minute meeting with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and her colleagues. The President of the United States has asked me to explain to our Japanese friends our latest thinking on Iraq. We also talked about North Korea. Mrs. Kawaguchi
made it very clear the importance of several items concerning Okinawa and on the question of Sergeant Jenkins. I was able to, again, express appreciation for the Japanese decision to dispatch Aegis to the Indian Ocean, as well as to speak with some admiration of the activities of Japan to search for peace in Aceh, search for peace in Sri Lanka, assisted quartet efforts in the middle east, to search for peace
QUESTION: Sir, do you think the Iraqi documents are credible?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I haven't seen the Iraqi documents. There are certainly a lot of them, and I'd say they're heavy right now because there are so many, but I don't think we've done the analysis. It'll have to await the analysis before I can speak.
QUESTION: Do you think it's basically a job to be done by the United States or the United Nations -- evaluating the documents, I mean?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I think the resolution is quite clear. Mr. Blix and Mr. Al Baradei have their own responsibilities to this matter. Clearly the perm five members of the Security Council and the elected ten, according to the resolution, should be provided those documents,
and they'll make their own evaluation as well.
QUESTION: And what about North Korea? Do you think that the Americans' stand toward it as tough as towards Iraq?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I think the American stance toward North Korea is completely in-line with our friends and allies in this region. We feel we have time for diplomacy to work. We've got a nation, North Korea, surrounded by the Republic of Korea, Russia, China, Japan, and for that matter the United States; we're all united in our view that the peninsula has to be denuclearized. And that's a pretty good basis on which to move forward for a political solution -- a diplomatic solution -- and that's where we're about now. But thank you all very much.
QUESTION: Excuse me, just one question.
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yeah.
QUESTION: How about the Jenkins' case?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I informed the Foreign Minister that I understood her position, and that we would engage to study the Jenkins case assiduously.
QUESTION: Thank you.
[In front of car]
QUESTION: Did you talk about a possible war scenario?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I did not talk about a war scenario.
QUESTION: The American presence-current military training in the Gulf now-is it necessary technically for attacking Iraq, or is it to put pressure on Iraq?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well clearly, right now, the only thing Saddam Hussein responds to is pressure. It has been pressure that has made him be as limited and forthcoming as he has been. So, I think that pressure needs to continue, and that's we're seeing in the Middle East and in these exercises.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.