17 October 2003
Powell Says U.S. Wants APEC To Address Security Issues
Powell briefs reporters en route to Bangkok Oct.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, briefing reporters October
17 en route to a ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) in Bangkok, said the United States is trying
to move APEC toward a "broader agenda" that addresses security
issues as well as economic issues.
Transnational threats of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction
and portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS), and weapons proliferation
are "not separate and distinct from trade and investment and economics," Powell
"Business leaders will invest where they believe not only their
investment is safe, but their property and their employees are
safe. People will only go and tour in places and spend money in
places where they feel that they are secure," Powell said, explaining
that improving security will create a better climate for investment.
The secretary called security issues "Bangkok Goals" for APEC,
which he said expand upon the earlier Bogor Goals of APEC. The
1994 APEC meetings in Bogor called for the complete, comprehensive
elimination of tariffs and trade barriers in all sectors by 2010
for developed economies and by 2020 for developing economies.
In response to a question on Burma, Powell said the United States
would continue to press for the release of democracy activist Aung
San Suu Kyi in bilateral and multilateral discussions at the APEC
"We feel strongly that the international community should demand
unequivocally the release of Aung Sung Suu Kyi and permit her to
enter back into the civic life of the Burmese people," he said.
"We believe that there is more that the nations of the region
can do to apply pressure to Burma," Powell added.
Asked if the United States thinks it can make progress on the
issue of North Korea's nuclear program, Powell said President Bush
remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution and looks forward
to discussions with members involved in the six-party talks with
Following is the transcript of Powell's briefing, as released
by the Department of State:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
October 18, 2003
BY SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL
EN ROUTE TO BANGKOK
October 17, 2003
SECRETARY POWELL: Sorry to interrupt the movie. Oh, it's not the
movie, good. Just thought I'd come back for a few moments to answer
any questions you might have. Thank you for joining. This is always
the longest leg. I look forward to good Ministerial meetings tomorrow,
preparing for the President's arrival. And then the Leaders Conference
on Sunday and Monday, as well as it being a formal visit to Thailand,
with all that that entails. The President has been looking forward
to this trip. It ought to be pretty exciting once he gets to Thailand
and has a chance to speak to the Thai Army troops and all the other
things that he will be doing.
One of the shifts in this APEC meeting is to try to move APEC
into a broader agenda that deals as much with some of the security
issues that are facing the world, to sort of parallel what has
been going on in trade and economic activity and investment activity,
which has been the focus of APEC since its inception. We will be
trying to make the linkage that these issues are not inseparable.
When nations send their foreign ministers to come visit me and
they say, "Gee, you know our economy is hurting. Why don't you
lift your travel ban?" I'd lift my travel ban if we could do something
So we all have to work on terrorism, transnational threats, MANPADS,
those are air defense systems that are loose throughout the world.
All these kinds of issues are not separate and distinct from trade
and investment and economics. It has to do with creating a better
climate for investment. Business leaders will invest where they
believe not only their investment is safe, but their property and
their employees are safe. People will only go and tour in places
and spend money in places where they feel that they are secure.
So, I think that we can make a persuasive case that this should
be elevated in the agenda of APEC. We are calling these the Bangkok
Goals, which expand upon the earlier goals, the Bogor Goals of
APEC. We will see what kind of reaction we get to that. There are
different points of view with respect to expanding the agenda of
APEC, so I think it will be a pretty good meeting in that regard.
QUESTION: Just about APEC and trying to shift its agenda...
SECRETARY POWELL: Expand.
QUESTION: ...expand its agenda. I thought, hadn't they gone far,
I thought you had managed to, at least you thought you had managed
to, do that in Shanghai. But after 9/11, have they not gone far
SECRETARY POWELL: We think that there is more that can be done.
We have some specific goals that you will be hearing about and
seeing in the next several days. So you are quite right, we have
talked about terrorism and we have begun to talk about these transnational
threat issues, but you will see it made more explicit and we will
see if we can raise it up to a higher level of awareness and participation.
QUESTION: Can you be a little more specific about what you mean,
is this like proliferation security...?
SECRETARY POWELL: Transnational threats, terrorisms, MANPADS,
proliferation, weapons of mass destruction.
QUESTION: Could you say exactly what you are looking for APEC
SECRETARY POWELL: Include it as part of their continuing agenda
as they get ready for future conferences and make it part of the
work plans of APEC from meeting to meeting in the course of the
year. It's not revolutionary but I just wanted to point it out,
because you'll hear it in the course of the next several days.
There are some in APEC who say, "We know there is terrorism but
keep APEC exclusively an economic, trade and investment forum,
conference." And, there are others who feel that to elevate security
higher in the agenda is appropriate because you can't separate
QUESTION: Which countries are least likely to go along with you
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think I want to identify anyone yet
until I've had a chance to get the lay of the land at the Ministerial
tomorrow. There are some, such as China, I'll say, who will watch,
approach this more cautiously than others.
QUESTION: Yes, the situation in Burma has not improved since this
summer. I was wondering how much you are planning to press this
both in APEC and also with the Thais, since it appears that the
regional neighbors are more willing to turn more of a blind eye
to this than the United States?
SECRETARY POWELL: It will be pressed both in bilateral meetings
that I will be having and I am sure that the President will press
it in his bilateral meetings. There is more that the nations of
Southeast Asia can do. There was more that the recent ASEAN conference
could have done, with respect to pointing out the failures of the
regime in Burma to do what the international community expects
it to do: to release Aung Sang Suu Kyi, let her participate in
the life of the country, and restore the democratic process. They
are trying to divert attention by discussing road maps that really
do not serve the purpose of getting back to democracy and allowing
this woman to be free, to speak out, and to represent the Burmese
people in an open way. So, we are not satisfied with where we are
on this issue and we will continue to press it.
QUESTION: Who is trying to divert the attention? The Burmese or
SECRETARY POWELL: I beg your pardon.
QUESTION: Who is trying to divert attention? The world?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, Burma. I'm sorry Burma. We believe that
there is more that the nations of the region can do to apply pressure
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you think you can achieve anything
out here on the North Korea issue. And as we were leaving Washington
-- whenever that was -- they were talking about making some kind
of physical demonstration of their nuclear capacity. Do you have
any idea what that was all about?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President looks forward to speaking to most
of the members - or all of the members I guess are here - of the
six-party group and he remains committed to finding a diplomatic
solution. He remains committed to doing it in a multilateral forum,
and the six-party talks are the way to go. And I know he is looking
forward especially to speaking to President Hu of China,who has
been in the forefront of our efforts to engage North Korea's neighbors
and North Korea in finding a solution, a diplomatic solution. I
guess the word the North Korean spokesman, or whoever it was, used
was "display" it. We have heard this word before. I think it is
the same word that they used last year, and I don't know what it
means and they say things like this on a regular basis.
QUESTION: Can you give us - on Madrid - an update of what the
contributions look like now, a brief update. Is it going - money?
SECRETARY POWELL: You've heard of the Japanese statement of $1.5
billion right away, and I know that they are looking at more that
they can provide. I expect that we would hear that in Madrid. I
really don't want to put numbers in anyone else's mouth. I have
some sense of what individuals are looking at, individual countries
are looking at, and some of international financial institutions
are looking at, but I think it would be inappropriate of me to
say what their actual contribution will be next month - next week.
But, as I think I said yesterday, I'm more encouraged and optimistic
than I was a week or so ago, and I think the resolution will help
quite a bit, especially with the international financial institutions:
the World Bank and the IMF.
QUESTION: China and Japan and some of the other Asian nations
seem pretty upset about the American policy of talking down the
dollar. That's obviously not your portfolio, but how much of a
factor is it when you are trying to expand the subject to other
things that they have what seem to be some grievances about American
policy on this score and opposition to what we are trying to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: (Inaudible).
QUESTION: I believe Secretary Snow is viewed in Asia as trying
to talk down the dollar?
SECRETARY POWELL: Secretary Snow, in his trip to Asia, and especially
to China, spoke about our belief that currency should find their
own level within an open market. And we believe in a strong dollar.
And that's as far as I will go into fiscal, financial or monetary
SECRETARY POWELL: This is something that I am sure will be discussed
in the course of the weekend but I don't think it will be a major
item of discussion since Secretary Snow has already taken up and
sent out ahead of time, partially for that purpose.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, you mentioned some other countries
that feel as we do that security should more part of the agenda.
Can you mention any?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think, without going down through the complete
list of APEC countries...I think what I would rather do is go through
my meetings tomorrow and get a better sense of the feel within
the group and then I would be more than pleased to get back and
talk to you again. I will have Richard talk to you again about
sense of the group, because I really haven't had a chance to engage
with them directly on the issue.
QUESTION: Can I ask you about your good friend, Mr. Mahathir's
comments - theMalaysian Prime Minister - [addressed to Mr. Boucher]
Does he know about these?
SECRETARY POWELL: What did he say?
QUESTION: He said basically that Jews run the world economically,
but Islam will triumph?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I have no comment on what Dr. Mahathir said.
We are familiar with his outbursts.
QUESTION: I just wanted to follow up on Burma, you said they could
do more. Is there something specifically you would like them to
SECRETARY POWELL: We will make it clear to them that we feel strongly
that the international community should demand unequivocally the
release of Aung Sung Suu Kyi and permit her to enter back into
the civic life of the Burmese people. We believe that Burma should
move quickly to put their people on the path to democracy. And
that includes the release of Aung Sung Suu Kyi. And to the extent
that we can encourage other nations in the region and around the
world to speak that clearly, with respect to that issue, we will
QUESTION: (Inaudible) at APEC?
SECRETARY POWELL: Say the rest - what did you think I said? Well,
what did I say?
QUESTION: That you feel strongly that -
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, we will make clear to - we have made clear
to Burma before and we will make clear to our friends at APEC -
QUESTION: Are you looking for an APEC statement?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know that we are. I don't know what
they are putting in a statement there, what they are working on,
but you can be sure that as part of our bilateral discussions and
part of our multilateral discussions we will make it clear that
we feel strongly about this issue and believe that other nations
should as well. It is a travesty how she has been treated over
these many years after being given a mandate by the people of Burma
to help lead them.
Alright, long trip. Take one last nap and get ready for bed.
7:00 p.m. local time