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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2002 > August

PMC Joint Press Conference With ASEAN Foreign Ministers

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Main Conference Hall
Brunei
August 1, 2002

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

SECRETARY POWELL: I make clear in all of my meetings, in various interventions I have made, if we are to defeat the terrorists then we have to attack them from the highest (inaudible) plain, that human rights must be protected, the universal human rights that we all believe in or should believe in have to be observed.

I donít think there is any inconsistency with going after terrorists and also doing it with human rights very much in mind and not using the campaign against terrorism as a way to suppress legitimate dissent or as a way to suppress people presenting their views to the government. And as you know, the United States feels strongly about these sorts of issues and believes that if we are really going to prevail over terrorism, really going to prevail over this plague on the face of mankind, then we have to do it in a way that respects human dignity and the rights of men and women.

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: I am in touch with my Chinese colleague Foreign Minister Tang on a full range of issues to include the situation on the Korean peninsula and the waters adjacent. We encouraged both sides to show restraint on the use of those waters. I am pleased that this latest incident appears to not have been a deliberate provocation as evidenced by the fact that North Korea has expressed its regret to South Korea over the incident and my understanding from South Korean colleagues is that greater caution will be used with respect to navigational activities in the vicinity of the naval line of demarcation.

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: I expect to discuss military-to-military cooperation with the Indonesian authorities but I think I will wait and have that discussion tomorrow before making a public comment on it today. And as has been the case in all of my stops on this trip and throughout my tenure as Secretary in carrying out President Bushís foreign policy, I always touch on the subject of human rights and I expect I will be doing that as well tomorrow.

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: On the first question, I think this is a (inaudible) declaration of the sign today as it really focuses on such issues as exchanging information, exchanging intelligence, building the capacity to do this in a more effective way and strengthening our bilateral ties. It is a political declaration of things ASEAN and the United States together in a more intimate relationship, and we will use this declaration in the months and years ahead to do more work together.

I donít anticipate that this declaration is a basis for any increased military presence in the region or any stationing decisions or training decisions that might be made. This is usually handled on a bilateral basis with the countries who might wish to enter into a training relationship or to discuss how to cooperate with U.S. troops. The United States keeps roughly 100,000 troops in the Asia-Pacific region. We think the presence of those troops have been a stabilizing influence for many decades and will remain so for many decades to come. But we are not looking for new bases or new places to send United States troops. We are looking for opportunities to train and cooperate with other nations as they desire and at their invitation.

With respect to your second question, my brief meeting yesterday with the Foreign Minister of the DPRK, I was quite consistent with U.S. foreign policy. President Bush talked about an "axis of evil" and identified three countries, one of which was the DPRK. The reason for that was the DPRKís involvement in developing weapons of mass destruction and proliferating missiles and other systems that could carry weapons of mass destruction. The President also has expressed his concern over the amount of resources, money, and manpower that goes into maintaining a huge conventional military force that is threatening to South Korea. At the same time, the people of the DPRK are in desperate need of food and other means of having a decent life.

At the same time the President indicated clearly that he wanted to have a dialogue and he mentioned last year quite clearly after we completed our policy review that we were willing to talk to the North Koreans any time, any place, and he reaffirmed that position when he visited South Korean earlier this year. So my brief meeting with the DPRK Foreign Minister yesterday was a way of acknowledging some of the statements and actions the DPRK has taken in recent weeks, such as expressing regret over the naval incident, such as opening up the opportunity for dialogue between North Korea and South Korea, such as opening up dialogue with Japan again. All of these actions on the part of North Korea suggest that it would be appropriate for me, since we are both in the same building at the same time, to have a brief conversation. I am taking the results of that conversation back to the United States to present to President Bush and my other colleagues in the National Security community and make a judgment at that time after we have had a chance to discuss it and I receive the Presidentís guidance to make a judgment at that point as to what the next step should be.

There is nothing inconsistent with designation of North Korean as a member of what we call the "axis of evil," that is just fact and reality. But at the same time we want to enter into dialogue to see if that reality can be changed into a more positive reality, one which will bring peace and stability to the peninsula and help to the North Korean people to achieve a better life.

QUESTION: (Inaudible, question referred to counter-terrorism between ASEAN and the United States)

SECRETARY POWELL: I am pleased that ASEAN stepped forward. Let me compliment the leadership of Brunei in pulling this all together, but ASEAN stepped forward and said we should do this. We should do this not just on an individual basis and not just responding to UN Resolution such as 1373, but let us make a strong political statement that ASEAN is committed to this counter-terrorism campaign. Letís bring it together, letís make sure we will have meaning in the future and letís sign it in a formal way so everybody knows we have made a positive political commitment.

We of course are willing to consider other declarations of a bilateral nature or with other organizations of a multilateral nature. Of course the UN, the biggest of them all with respect to multilateral organizations, has put out a series of resolutions. We are also encouraging all of our friends and allies to ratify the various UN conventions dealing with terrorism and I am pleased with the response that I have received from a number of the leaders here at the table with respect to how their countries are addressing them and with the rest them looking forward to doing that.



Released on August 2, 2002

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