Remarks Upon Arrival in Kyoto, JapanSecretary Condoleezza Rice
June 26, 2008
SECRETARY RICE: I just want to make a couple of remarks, and then I'm happy to take any questions that you have. We are here for the G-8 foreign ministers meeting. First, I want to thank Japan for hosting this G-8 foreign ministers meeting in advance of the G-8 summit, which will take place at the beginning of July.
As is usual, the G-8 foreign ministers meeting will take up a host of global issues. We will talk about Iran and the need of the international community to continue to impress upon Iran the need to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing, and to take advantage of the quite beneficial package of incentives that have recently been placed before it.
We will talk about Afghanistan and the efforts that are being made there to help the Afghan people. Undoubtedly, there will be some discussion of the Middle East. And of course, we will also be able to talk about the six-party talks. We will expect some developments on that front later on today, but we'll get back to you with that.
Let me just say about the six-party talks that as we move forward on trying to deliver on the September 2005 agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, we continue to work for verifiable denuclearization. It's extremely important that everybody meet their obligations. Among those obligations are a number of bilateral commitments that have been made, bilateral conversations that are going on, and we are particularly concerned to be clear that the United States will continue to press for verifiable meetings of obligations and that we will continue to press on issues like the abduction issue that is of great concern not just to Japan, but to the United States as well, because this is a major human rights issue. And we are encouraging the DPRK and Japan to continue their discussions, but there needs to be real movement on that issue as well.
And so it is within the framework of the cooperative attitude that we're all beginning to develop for the resolution of problems through the six-party talks that we believe a number of issues can be addressed.
The United States and a number of other countries also want to talk about Zimbabwe, because Zimbabwe is a situation that is getting worse, not better. The Zimbabwean
authorities really should permit the formation there of a government that can be considered legitimate by the people of Zimbabwe; and clearly, no election, no runoff election that has -- doesn't have the participation of the opposition, and given all the intimidation and violence that has happened there, no election can be considered legitimate, no outcome can be considered legitimate.
So with that, I'll take questions. Do you want to start? Who wants to start?
MR. MCCORMACK: Who wants to start?
SECRETARY RICE: Who wants to start? Everybody's asleep. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I'll start.
SECRETARY RICE: Matt will start.
QUESTION: Just on -- you expect the declaration later today in Beijing, and then you'll go ahead -- the U.S. will go ahead with filling its step-by-step or action-for-action (inaudible). When you talk about the abduction issue, does this mean that you're hoping that within the 45-day window that the notification to Congress will kick off, that the Japanese and the North Koreans can actually resolve, come to agreement, within that 45 days?
SECRETARY RICE: I think it's best that we let the actual events unfold in Beijing, because I don't want to get ahead of what may or may not happen. It hasn't happened yet, and we'll have an opportunity to talk more about the six-party talks.
But on the abduction issue, we understand that this will probably take some time to resolve. It's taken a long time in the making. But we are continuing to expect progress. We're continuing to expect the North Koreans to take this issue seriously because it is a major issue for Japan and it's a major issue for the United States.
But let's leave the questions concerning the six-party talks till after events actually unfold there.
Anybody on not six-party? Anybody on anything?
MR. MCCORMACK: The G-8?
SECRETARY RICE: G-8? G-8? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: On Zimbabwe, then. On Zimbabwe.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: What do you think is the best outcome on Zimbabwe? Is it something similar to Kenya, where you could get the two sides to form a joint government, something like that?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the key is going to be if Zimbabwe actually, finally has a government in which the people of Zimbabwe can have confidence. And that is going to mean that it has to be a legitimate government. It cannot be a legitimate government with the forces of President Mugabe doing the things that they're doing and then claiming that it's the election -- claiming an election victory.
Now, I believe that the MDC has left open the possibility that it might be prepared to talk about how to form a legitimate government. That offer obviously would have to be taken up, but it can't be taken up from a position in which the Zimbabwean authorities declare themselves the victors and then believe that they can divide the spoils. That's not going to work.
This is not going to be a legitimate election. Nobody believes it's going to be a legitimate election. African voices are speaking out all over the place, questioning the legitimacy of this election. I should say that there is, of course, a UN special representative who is trying to help in this situation, a special envoy, Mr. Menkerios, and we'll support his efforts. But what the ZANU-PF should not do is declare themselves the victors and then believe that they're in a position to divide the spoils.
QUESTION: Back on North Korea. You have been saying that you've got weapons (inaudible) phase three issue, and just I would like to know, do you require North Korea to provide the next phase declaration once again about the nuclear weapons? Just how do you envision how to deal with nuclear weapons issue on your next phase?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, you rightly talk about the phases that we have to go through, because we're at a set of very important but nonetheless incomplete steps on the way to the fulfillment of the September 2005 denuclearization agreement. Obviously, the weapons and all programs are going to have to be dealt with and dismantled if we're going to have denuclearization, and it's going to have to be done so verifiably.
I do think it's important to note that if we can verifiably determine the amount of plutonium that has been made, we then have an upper hand in understanding what may have happened in terms of weaponization, and so this is a natural step on the way to dealing verifiably with the devices or weapons themselves. So that will have to be dealt with. It is a phase three issue, but it's not a phase three issue in the sense that it has no link to what we are doing now. It definitely is linked to the verification procedures that are being developed now and the issues that are being dealt with now.
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.
SECRETARY RICE: All right. Thanks, everybody.
SECRETARY RICE: Go get some sleep. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Yeah, we were a bit slow off the mark there. (Laughter.)
Released on June 26, 2008