Remarks With the Press in BeijingSecretary Condoleezza Rice
China World Hotel
June 30, 2008
SECRETARY RICE: All right, Matt.
QUESTION: The Chinese have – at least the foreign minister, seemed a little less than enthusiastic about the idea of UN action on Zimbabwe, at least in public. What’s your take on it?
SECRETARY RICE: We talked about waiting until – obviously, we want to see what the AU outcomes look like. But I just asked the Chinese to take into consideration as a part of the consultation that when we go to the UN, given the circumstances in Zimbabwe, we’re going to need to have some kind of -- not just another statement, is the point.
Now, I can’t predict for you whether or not other states are prepared to do that. The United States is preparing to go ahead, as you know, with sanctions. The President has told Secretary Paulson and me to examine what other options the United States has. I think there are others that were prepared to do that. The European Union has talked about what more it might do. And so we’ll see what the appetite is at the UN. But it was really the first time I mentioned the issue to Foreign Minister Yang, so I’m certain he needs to have consultations.
QUESTION: Did it come up again today?
SECRETARY RICE: No.
QUESTION: But did he give you a --
SECRETARY RICE: I mean, the issue of Zimbabwe did, but not what we might do.
QUESTION: Do you feel like you got any kind of indication from him, what – how they will respond to you? I mean --
SECRETARY RICE: I wasn’t looking for an indication of how they might respond to the -- this is our first opportunity to talk about it. And I think it’s also the first opportunity after, clearly, the circumstances in Zimbabwe have kind of deteriorated. So the consultations are not going to take place at our level but they’re going to take place in New York. And it was really more to ask him to instruct his Ambassador that those consultations should be taking place.
QUESTION: But from his remarks yesterday he seems to want the Africans to take the lead. He wants particularly Africans to deal with the issue. It doesn’t seem like the UN seems to be on his mind.
SECRETARY RICE: We’d all like the Africans to take the lead. That’s been our position for some time. And so we’ll see what the AU does. But this is not an African issue alone. This is an issue for the international community. It’s an issue for the Security Council, given that its presidential statement said that we’re going to remain seized to the matter, and therefore, it is an issue for the Security Council, not only for the Africans. But I think we’re all looking for leadership out of the African Union. There’s no disagreement on that.
QUESTION: I was curious whether oil prices or any economic issues came up in your meetings with Yang or today with President Hu and others that are concerned about that or anything else?
SECRETARY RICE: You know, we did talk about the international economy, particularly with Premier Wen and about the high oil prices. The United States, of course, and China have agreed to an energy dialogue, energy cooperation. We talked about, not just today with energy, but also what could be done in terms of renewables. You may know that the United States, China, India, Australia, South Korea formed some time ago an Asian Pacific partnership on clean energy and climate. And so we’ve been engaged with China for some time. But you probably also know that the United States has encouraged China on its efforts to develop nuclear energy. Obviously, the linkages between growth – the economic growth -- energy and climate are ones that the Chinese are concerned about and we’re concerned about, too. Partly, the difference in the way the President set out the climate change issue was that he believed that China and India had to be in on the ground floor of any framework moving forward. And so we talked some about climate change.
We also talked about the Doha round and about the need to try to move forward on trade, because a successful Doha round would be a good signal to the international economy in a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty. And finally, the Chinese Premier talked quite a bit about the efforts they’re making here in terms of management of Chinese economic challenges. So we had a pretty extensive discussion of economic issues.
QUESTION: How was Hu Jintao’s view and the position on the six-party talks after seeing the recent developments (inaudible)?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, like everyone, he’s encouraged. We are all encouraged. But of course, everybody emphasizes the hard work ahead, which is the appropriate way to think about it. We talked about the need for verification and monitoring to be – a system for verification and monitoring to be expeditiously decided. I think there probably will be a heads of delegation meeting pretty soon. We talked also about the next phase, once we’ve gotten through the conclusion of the second phase. We really have to have a phase that is devoted to abandonment of the nuclear weapons. We had the -- effectively the stopping, the halting of the Yongbyon reactor, now the disabling of various key elements of it and the next phase really has to be, once we’re through the verification, is to be about the weapons themselves and the abandonment of all programs. So we had a good discussion.
QUESTION: Also on North Korea, Foreign Minister Yang sounded like Chinese are saying we are still in the second phase, and we have to complete the second phase first and then move to third phase. And U.S. position seems to be we should go ahead and move on to the third phase.
SECRETARY RICE: I don’t think there’s any disagreement here that the Chinese are right that there’s still some second-phase obligations that have to be completed. And – for instance, there are some other disablement steps that have to be completed. We moved some of the verification steps up into the second phase, so that has to be completed. But nobody disagrees that we should be completing that and looking forward to the launching of the third phase. So no, there isn’t any disagreement.
QUESTION: And when do you think you might have this heads of delegation meeting? I think you said fairly soon. What’s --
QUESTION: Pretty soon.
QUESTION: -- what’s that?
SECRETARY RICE: Pretty soon. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: I think the Chinese will probably be making an announcement very – pretty soon. But…
QUESTION: Weeks, not months?
SECRETARY RICE: It will not be very long.
QUESTION: Could be weeks, though?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I don’t think it’ll be weeks. But these are – there are scheduling issues. They have to get everybody together. They have to make sure everybody can make it. But I really – I really think it’ll be pretty soon.
QUESTION: What about Tibet or larger human rights questions that shortly after your press conference with the Chinese, announced that the next round of talks with the Dalai Lama. I presume they said that to you. You knew that was coming.
SECRETARY RICE: They did, yes.
QUESTION: Do you see things progressing positively there or is it still –
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the good news is there are talks. And – but there – I hope that there will be some positive developments and some momentum behind the talks. And I – you know, we’re going to stay in very close contact with the Chinese and also with the Dalai Lama’s representatives with whom we have good relations. This is the way to deal with the issue because the Dalai Lama is a figure of considerable moral authority. He is a figure who has rejected violence. He is a figure who talks about the cultural and religious and historical autonomy, not the – he doesn’t push for political independence. So we think he’s a very positive figure in dealing with this very difficult issue of Tibet. And we’ve made that case to the Chinese, and we’re going to continue to make the case. But I am encouraged that at least there will be a second round of the talks.
QUESTION: The Chinese believe he’s a separatist and you believe he’s –
SECRETARY RICE: I – I just – I just don’t see the evidence that he’s a separatist.
QUESTION: Do they use the same language with you as they did in – for us, in saying his people have got to stop their terrorist acts and try to sabotage the Beijing Olympics?
SECRETARY RICE: We’re just pleased that they’re going to have a second round.
QUESTION: Well -- but do they use that same kind of language?
SECRETARY RICE: Matt, I’m not going to talk about how we talk about it, but it’s a good thing that they’re having the talks. We make our case very strongly about the authenticity of the Dalai Lama, about the authenticity of his claims, his statements that he is not seeking political independence for Tibet and that they could make this very positive.
QUESTION: I’m just trying to get a sense of whether their rhetoric in public is the same as it is in private.
SECRETARY RICE: I’m not going to talk about what they say in private. We have good discussions about these things in ways that I think are constructive. Let me put it that way, the discussions in private are constructive.
QUESTION: Okay. And then on the other – on the other – were there larger human rights issues?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. We talked – I raised several people. But I – you know, we’d like to, before we are out there about things, I would like to see if we can get any movement on some of these. We also talked about and agreed to continue to talk about the internet freedom issue. I did raise it because I think that’s one of the brewing issues. The internet is becoming so ubiquitous. And we stand really for internet freedom. We understand that it can’t be absolutely no-holds barred. We protect children and innocence as well. But it shouldn’t be something that is used to limit and constrain political speech – and so we’ve been concerned about some of the cases of bloggers.
QUESTION: What did – what did they say about those cases? Did they –
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think what you’ll see is usually my -- the meetings with the Foreign Minister are not that long.
SECRETARY RICE: And so generally what happens is that we will raise an issue, and it probably now will be talked about among officials at another level, and I think it would be a useful set of discussions both in our regional discussions, maybe even in the strategic dialogue, but certainly as a part of the human rights dialogue.
QUESTION: Was there any discussion of the people who were arrested during the Tibet protests, and Human Rights Watch says there’s still like 1,000 of them in jail without charge.
SECRETARY RICE: We’ve talked about trying to deal with the circumstances after the events in Tibet. But again, we’ve been raising these issues (inaudible.)
QUESTION: Can I just go back to one more – one thing about Korea before we go?
SECRETARY RICE: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: When you were in Seoul, there were 30,000 people in the streets – I don’t know if you saw it.
SECRETARY RICE: Your report said 15. Fifteen it wasn’t, Janine. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Did you see that protest in Kyoto – that little one outside the ministry?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, not in Kyoto.
QUESTION: In Seoul.
QUESTION: I’m sorry. In Seoul. Right, yeah.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, you mean the 15 people.
QUESTION: Yeah. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: What do you think – when we came here in 2005 and we’re still talking about beef. These people are fired up. I mean, what do you – how are going to deal with this? Are you just going to let it –or are you not going to deal with it and let Susan Schwab deal with it?
SECRETARY RICE: No, no, no. Look, it’s -- the issues of trade can often be difficult and we’ve had a long, long, hard time getting the beef issue resolved. Now, I think Susan and her colleagues have –they came to an agreement, the South Koreans asked that there be some changes made to the agreement, we did that. I – the South Korean Government says they need to establish confidence, but they’ve also said they’re going to carry through with the agreement.
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. One last question.
QUESTION: Can we go back to one on North Korea?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, sure.
QUESTION: Foreign Minister Myung mentioned that there might be a ministerial meeting coming up soon. And what’s the – what are you aimed on that ministerial meeting to set up some agenda was announcing some launching of something?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think we have to first see if the heads of delegation meeting produces results. You know, they really do – we really do have to get some steps forward on verification and the verification protocol and how we’re going to actually verify the declaration. But if the delegation heads have a successful meeting, then I think we probably would look to – or let me put it, a conclusive meeting, because it could be that there need to be more delegation head meetings, I wouldn’t rule that out. But at some point, we would like to have a ministers meeting to affirm the completion of the second phase, even if there are a few things that still have to be done. But to affirm that, essentially, the second phase is completed and to point forward to the third phase as a period that really is going to get at issues of denuclearization and abandonment. We’ve also talked about discussing at least some of the principles that might be associated with the Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism. So there would be good work to be done by the ministers. But I think it’s premature right now to say that we will have a ministers meeting.
MR. MCCORMACK: Let’s head home, guys.
QUESTION: I thought I heard Chris Hill saying he was going to meet with his Chinese counterpart.
SECRETARY RICE: He’s staying, yeah.
Released on June 30, 2008