Remarks to Journalists at the Prime Minister's Official ResidenceRichard Armitage,
Deputy Secretary of State
December 9, 2002
10:00 a.m. local time
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I just enjoyed a very good conversation with Prime Minister Koizumi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda and their colleagues. I was sent here by President Bush to explain fully our thinking on Iraq. I was sent here to do this because Japan is our most important ally in Asia and deserves to understand our thinking - both in terms of where we are in Iraq and what our plans are regarding the inspectors, etc. I also touched on the problems of Korea, and I also heard about Okinawa and Sergeant Jenkins. Finally, I was able to express again appreciation from the U.S. government for the very, we think, good and appropriate decision to dispatch the Aegis cruiser to the Indian Ocean. This - combined with the very great role that Japan is taking in the search for peace in Aceh, a search for peace in Sri Lanka, efforts in the Middle East - I think it speaks very, very well of the nation and your people. So, I'll take a few questions if you like.
QUESTION: Thank you, Sir. Regarding your thinking on Iraq, could you evaluate - could you clarify - what's your thinking about the future plan of Iraq?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I think I made it clear that President Bush has patience. He much prefers to have Iraq disarm herself, but as our President said, if Iraq won't disarm, then eventually Iraq will be disarmed. He made it clear how we were going to approach the question of the declaration and what the status of some of our discussions with other countries were.
QUESTION: In the case of not complying with the UN resolution by Saddam Hussein, did you today tell any determination by President Bush to go to war to Prime Minister Koizumi?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, I didn't. President Bush has made no such determination, as yet. We, and hopefully the international community, will keep the pressure on. We believe that's the best opportunity we have to get Saddam Hussein to disarm.
QUESTION: Regarding Mr. Jenkins, could you tell me the details about today's discussion?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: It is simply that our Japanese friends have approached this humanitarian issue very firmly. They explained their point of view on this, and I endeavor to take this back and study it very intently to try to find a resolution.
QUESTION: And also finally, regarding North Korea - DPRK - the situation is still unpredictable. How can you put decisive action - I mean a kind of solution - to the present situation?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I don't know how we'll eventually get a solution. We're content right now to let diplomacy work. The countries immediately surrounding North Korea - that is the Republic of Korea, Japan, China and Russia - all share with the United States the common view that we need to have a denuclearized peninsula. That combined with the efforts of the IAEA and such bodies as the (inaudible) right now strike us as a very appropriate way to try to resolve the issue. Thank you all very much. Good morning.