|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright|
and New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley
Joint Press Conference, Hyatt Hotel
Auckland, New Zealand, August 1, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
PRIME MINISTER SHIPLEY: We have been delighted to welcome the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to New Zealand. I must say it's a pleasure to have the Secretary here, the first in fourteen years. It's also been a great pleasure for me to welcome one of the world's most prominent women politicians and I value the chance, personally, to get to know the Secretary.
It's very important for New Zealand to share the knowledge that the Secretary has been able to bring, and we have had very useful discussions on her recent experiences in her tour. The issues of diplomacy, the issues of free trade, which we both share, as such common goals, have been able to be discussed. I've also valued the chance to ask the Secretary her views on both progress expected in this year's APEC and what we can expect from the U.S.'s point of view in terms of what we would like to see us get out of the APEC of next year, for which New Zealand is responsible. I was very pleased to hear of the recent success and discuss with the Secretary the impressions the President had gained from his very successful visit to China and her insights from our point of view were both valuable and telling.
We were able to exchange views on the regional, economic and diplomatic developments and the recent experience that the Secretary had had in relation to Japan -- its economic issues and the political issues were of value to us in New Zealand. We, of course, discussed the bilateral issues that are between us. Overwhelmingly I'm pleased to say that the relationship between U.S. and the New Zealand community is very positive. We, of course, do have some issues between us, but I think both of us view them as small compared with that which we have in common, and we've agreed to continue to work with our officials in the latter part of this year to work out the differences that we have on some of the competition policy issues that are important to both of our countries.
We, of course, discussed the defense relationship and while there are some differences between New Zealand and the U.S., there are also many things that we share in common and in my opinion we agreed to focus on that, which is today and forward and to see what progress can be made, accepting that there is unfinished business that is still between us.
I have greatly valued the chance to have the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in New Zealand and I know the New Zealand people welcome you, Ma'am. We feel privileged that you have called by on your tour throughout this region and we hope it won't be too long before you return.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. Kia'ora. I am delighted to have the chance to visit New Zealand and to meet Prime Minister Shipley, one of a small, but outstanding, group of women heads of state who are terribly important and I'm very glad to have the chance to have this meeting.
I've never been to New Zealand before, but one of my role models, Xena the Warrior Princess, comes from here, so I feel very much at home. (Laughter.)
As the Prime Minister said, we had a very wide ranging set of discussions today which is not surprising because our shared interests span the entire globe. The United States and New Zealand are distant only in the way that distance matters these days, and that is geographically. We are close in the ways that truly matter. We share the same goals for this region and the world, and we're both what my friend Foreign Minister McKinnon calls engaging nations - deeply involved in the effort to bring the world closer together round basic principles of democracy, open markets, law and a commitment to peace.
Among our most important shared interests is the cause of free trade. I mention this because in 1999 New Zealand will chair APEC and because, with the Asian financial crisis, there is a real danger that some hard-hit nations and peoples will lose faith in the principles of economic openness that have served this region so well for so long. It will be New Zealand's challenge to ensure that APEC maintains its momentum toward the goal of free and open trade in the Asia Pacific and that its members maintain their commitment to what we call early voluntary sectoral liberalization, which will open up trade in key areas such as financial services.
New Zealand will also have an opportunity to lead APEC in addressing the underlying causes of the crisis and in promoting the long term solutions of transparency and good governance. The United States is working with the nations of this region to establish the foundations for recovery. We're backing the efforts of the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. We have provided direct assistance to meet humanitarian needs, and we recently announced that we will donate 500,000 tons of wheat and perhaps an additional million tons to feed hungry people in Indonesia. But this crisis will not be resolved by aid alone. At the ASEAN meetings in Manila, I stressed the importance of establishing a welcoming environment for committed, long-term foreign investment.
We are partners as well in meeting global challenges, such as protecting the environment. As members of the umbrella group, together with Australia, Russia and Japan, the United States and New Zealand are committed to combating climate change in a flexible way that stimulates innovation and economic growth.
We cooperate on a wide list of important security matters. Our troops have served side-by-side in the Persian Gulf and in peacekeeping operations around the world. We hope the time will come when New Zealand is able to resolve the unfinished business and when we can resume a full alliance relationship. In the meantime, the United States will continue to consider ways to enhance our military cooperation with the goal of assisting New Zealand to rebuild and strengthen its defense capabilities. We ask that New Zealand, too, review ways to enhance its security relations with the U.S. military.
We're also committed, as partners, in the effort to fight proliferation, the gravest potential threat to global security. I deeply appreciate the strong stand New Zealand has taken against the nuclear tests in South Asia. I also understand the concern many people here have about the responsibility of the nuclear powers to reduce their nuclear arsenals. But the issue in South Asia is not arms reduction among the nuclear powers, which are moving ahead, it is non-proliferation. We have an over-riding interest in keeping nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of those who might use them and I hope we can continue to deepen our engagement on this issue.
Of course, much of our discussion today focused on the events within the Asia Pacific. We expressed our hope that the new Government of Japan will move swiftly to restore growth and confidence in Japan's economy. We share the same concerns about escalating tensions in Burma, an issue on which Foreign Minister McKinnon played a leading role this week in Manila. We spoke about our shared interest in encouraging Indonesia to maintain its reforms while building a more democratic and just society.
We also discussed the elections in Cambodia where the vote count continues. It's too early to make a final judgment, but it is not too early for preliminary observations. On the one hand, voters were unmistakably intimidated during the campaign and the party in power clearly had a built-in advantage. On the other hand, the same voters turned out in inspiring numbers and international observers were largely impressed by the conduct of the balloting. We believe the reports of irregularities need to be investigated thoroughly. At the same time, as the results become more clear in the next few days, it is vital that all parties in Cambodia live up to the expectations of their people, that they abide by the rules of the democratic process, and that a solution is reached that will allow a new Government to start tackling the massive economic and humanitarian problems Cambodians face.
Before I finish, let me mention the one issue that might get me quoted in the local paper tomorrow morning - that is rugby. (Laughter.) I took no position on which team should win today's match with Australia. And even though we were not in the match, America will remain the world's sole rugby superpower, having won the last Olympic Rugby Championships in 1924. (Laughter.)
With that, let me thank Prime Minister Shipley, once again, for your very warm welcome to New Zealand. As you said, it is a visit -- the first in fourteen years by a Secretary of State, my first, but certainly not my last. And I look forward to returning with President Clinton for APEC in 1999. Thank you.
QUESTION: Linda Clark, Television New Zealand. A question for the Secretary of State. Madam Secretary, I wonder if you could explain to the New Zealand public why the American Government insists on maintaining the unfinished business when it is clearly good enough for New Zealand troops to work alongside U.S. troops in multi-national forces overseas, and when this year New Zealand was one of the first governments to back America's threat against Saddam Hussein?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well I have made very clear that we value very much New Zealand's cooperation in a whole host of multilateral operations and we cooperate across the board, but the United States is a global power with global responsibilities. We have made quite clear -- it was done so under President Bush -- that our surface ships don't carry nuclear weapons under normal circumstances. That is our policy, and I think that people would recognize the fact that the United States does have global responsibilities but as we both have said, we believe that our relationship is among the best in the world, that it is possible for us to have cooperation on many, many issues. We value very much New Zealand's activities and, as you said, they were early in the Gulf and they have been with us. And I think that both the Prime Minister and I are aware of how this situation, how it has developed, and we did discuss it and there's a lot we can do together as friends. And that's what we plan to do.
QUESTION: Tom Raum, Associated Press. To the Secretary of State, now that you're finishing up your trip, you've seen a lot of nations and I wonder what your assessment is of whether enough is being done to help the Asian economic crisis? There has been some criticism from developing nations and smaller nations that the industrial world hasn't done enough and I just wondered if you thought that more could be done and what the outlook was overall? And, to the Prime Minister, do you think that the United States should be doing more?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say that I think that the United States and the industrialized world is doing a great deal through the IMF, the World Bank and other financial institutions. We have also done a great deal in terms of doing second lines of defense, financially, as well as now providing large amounts of assistance. We will obviously continue to stay involved in a major way because the financial stability of Asia is of great importance to the United States for trade as well as strategic and humane reasons. So we are very much involved and will continue to be so.
But I think that the part that has come clear to me, also from this trip, is that we can't do this alone. The countries themselves have to undertake certain measures in order to show their understanding of the need to reform certain of their practices -- whether it's political reform or economic reform, setting up certain rules of business where there is accountability, transparency, deregulation and a variety of ways that they can become, again, can provide a climate that will invite investors. As I think I have mentioned to several of you over this trip that American business will continue to be interested in this region and is willing to be here, but there - not New Zealand, in the areas where we are and happy to be, but in the areas that are undergoing serious financial crisis -- but that the climate has to be such that is hospitable to investors which means that there has to be transparency and accountability, deregulation, some fixing of their banking systems. So it's a two-way street.
PRIME MINISTER SHIPLEY: The New Zealand Government greatly appreciates the leadership that the United States administration has taken, both in bilateral terms and in mobilizing the IMF. I share the Secretary of State's view that while it is important that international developed economies get in behind the IMF, it's also important that the conditions of that are clear and I think we have common interests in seeing that the IMF takes the leadership role, but that good outcomes are achieved for the support that is going in. I certainly wouldn't pass a judgment other than to say we applaud the leadership the U.S. has taken in this area.
QUESTION: Barry Soper, IRN News. Madam Secretary, I'm just wondering whether there could be possibly a free trade agreement between our two countries, when this country has a parallel importing regime in place?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we discussed our very warm and good trading relations and there is a potential interest here. I think we are very applauding of the whole approach to trade that New Zealand has taken. We are your second largest trading partner, and we are going to be exploring ways to broaden and widen that relationship.
QUESTION: Could I ask the Prime Minister and Madam Secretary, both, you've said that you did discuss what's referred to here, I guess, as "unfinished business". Was there any sign that you detect in the future that there could be some compromise on either country's position?
PRIME MINISTER SHIPLEY: Well, I'll go first. Look, New Zealand views itself as a good citizen, internationally. We've always been there when there's been difficulty, both in peacekeeping and in conflict, and I have every expectation that the New Zealand public will want that to continue to be the case. But we also hold very strong views on the issue of non-proliferation and the issues of disarmament and we have been historically able to symbolize that through the anti-nuclear legislation. At the moment it is an issue that is between us and must be simply held as a matter that's not finished, but at the moment it is unlikely that the New Zealand community will accept any change. I can't say what future governments will do, but I do know that from our discussions today there is much that we have in common. And there is a commitment to world peace and world freedom that the New Zealand community and the U.S. share in common and we should focus on how we can achieve that goal rather than on the differences between us.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I would definitely agree. I think that what we found in, I guess, almost three hours of discussion counting lunch, that we really have so many issues on which we agree and we cooperate and the friendly relations between New Zealand and the United States are of a high caliber. And I know from when I was at the United Nations our cooperation with New Zealand there in setting up peacekeeping operations and working through the details of them and on UN reform issues. There are just so many issues on which we cooperate that I think that we want to focus on the positive and appreciate very much what the Prime Minister said in acknowledging that this does remain an issue between us. But there is so much that we can do as friends and plan to do as friends, and we will continue to do so.
QUESTION: Joanne Black, New Zealand Press Association. Madam Secretary, if Princess Xena declared she was anti-nuclear, would that help change your mind? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: She's probably not. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER SHIPLEY: Touché.
QUESTION: Can we have an elaboration, please.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Have to see how she operates there.
QUESTION: Carol Giacomo, Reuters. I wondered if you could tell us if there were any new developments on Burma today. We had heard word that the Secretary General had said while he was interested in sending an envoy to Rangoon, apparently this wasn't going to happen any time soon.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We did spend some time talking about Burma today and Foreign Minister McKinnon and I are going to be in touch with the Secretary General later in order to discuss the urgency of the situation. And I think, from my discussions yesterday with the Secretary General when I was with Foreign Minister Downer, we made clear that we felt that the situation was one that was increasingly dangerous and that it needed his personal attention. And I am very glad that Foreign Minister McKinnon feels the same way and we will be making a phone call.
QUESTION: Steven Harris, Radio New Zealand. What do you think, realistically, are the prospects of launching a new trade round at next year's APEC Conference and what do you think are the key obstacles that might frustrate that goal?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that we are obviously, I think, all looking very hard at how to keep the movement towards freer trade going. And I think it's premature to say whether we will be able to do so at the next APEC. But I think that we are always looking for ways to expand the area of free trade, even while there are individual obstacles that come up from different countries. But it is the direction that is necessary as we move into the 21st Century and we want to be able to get the various structures into place to be able to move in that direction.
QUESTION: Melinda Liu, Newsweek Magazine. If the United States regards proliferation as the greatest potential threat to global security, what do you say to the critics who would maintain that the U.S. did not focus adequately on what, in hindsight, appears to have been the obvious intent of the BJP in India to conduct a nuclear test? And the same critics would also say the U.S. has a double standard, vis a vis Israel and maintaining that its nuclear program is a dirty little secret that's not actually much of a secret.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that as we had said, the idea that the Indians were looking at a nuclear test was not a secret - what was happening was that the timing of it was the surprise. But the issue, I think, is that we were very interested in having the best possible relations with India, the world's largest democracy. We're moving very much in ways to enhance our relations, our trade relations with them and a whole host of other ways of interacting with them. The party that was elected had part of its platform that it wanted to have a nuclear weapons program. That is the party that was elected by the people of India and therefore that is something that is very difficult for an outsider to affect.
We, as I've said many times, we believe that it is wrong headed to have done what they did because if it was done to enhance India's stature or to increase the security of its people, it has done neither. And I believe that India has in fact lost stature as a result of it. And so, we are going to -- we are working very hard in a bilateral way to follow up on the agendas that were set out in the P-5 Communiqué, Security Council 1172, the Resolution 1172, and the G-8 Communiqué and we believe that it's important for India and Pakistan to sign the CTBT, to not test any more, not to weaponize, to join the Fissile Material Cut-off and have export controls.
So, we are going to be working very hard on the whole agenda with India and Pakistan. Israel has made very clear that it would never introduce nuclear weapons into the region first, and they are -- we are working very hard on getting a peace process into place, as you well know, in the Middle East.
QUESTION: Would you be able to give an undertaking that Chris Arnesen will be allowed into the United States and won't be detained so he can collect his United States pension?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: What is my understanding is that this issue is being worked on and we hope that it will be worked out in a satisfactory way.
[End of Document]
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