02 March 2004
Fighting Terrorism Top U.S. Goal in Asia-Pacific
Donald Keyser's March 2 testimony to Senate panel
Fighting terrorism is the Bush administration's top goal in the
Asia-Pacific region, says Donald Keyser, the principal deputy assistant
secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
In testimony delivered March 2 before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, Keyser said that his bureau has "placed counter-terrorism
at the top of its list of strategic foreign assistance goals for
fiscal year 2005."
Terrorism is a continuing threat in Southeast Asia, Keyser said,
noting major bombings in Bali and Jakarta in the past two years.
"Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region is a serious threat
to U.S. national security interests, including the welfare and
security of American citizens in the region and the security of
friends and allies," he said.
The U.S. effort to combat terrorism in the region is multi-faceted,
Keyser said, and encompasses promoting regional stability, fostering
democracy and human rights, encouraging economic prosperity, fighting
international crime, and preventing the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction.
"The Bureau's goal is to root out terrorism and address the
underlying conditions, including the absence of rule of law, that
make the region vulnerable to terror," he said.
The United States, he said, "will work with countries in
the region bilaterally and through regional organizations to strengthen
their capacity to combat terrorism and to foster the type of international
cooperation needed to fight the global war on terrorism."
Following is the text of Keyser's testimony, as prepared for delivery:
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Statement by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald W. Keyser
March 2, 2004
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to share with the Committee our priorities
for foreign assistance programs in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP)
region for fiscal year 2005.
Overview: U.S. Interests:
EAP has placed counter-terrorism at the top of its list of strategic
foreign assistance goals for FY 2005. In light of a continued terrorist
threat in Southeast Asia, evident in major bombings in Bali and
Jakarta in the past two years, efforts to combat terrorist activity
have been central to the pursuit of EAP's strategic goals that
encompass the following: our traditional, primary long-term goal
of promoting regional stability; fostering democracy and human
rights; encouraging economic prosperity; fighting transnational
issues and international crime; and preventing the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction.
Counter-terrorism: Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region is a serious
threat to U.S. national security interests, including the welfare
and security of American citizens in the region and the security
of friends and allies. It poses a direct and immediate threat to
regional trends toward stability, democratization, and prosperity
that are otherwise generally positive. The Bureau's goal is to
root out terrorism and address the underlying conditions, including
the absence of rule of law, that make the region vulnerable to
EAP will work with countries in the region bilaterally and through
regional organizations to strengthen their capacity to combat terrorism
and to foster the type of international cooperation needed to fight
the global war on terrorism.
In Indonesia, for example, we intend to build on the successful
efforts, funded by the NADR [Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism,
De-mining and Related Programs] account, to continue training and
to expand the Indonesian National Police's Counter-terrorism Task
And, we will use the increase in FY 05 ESF [Economic Support Funds]
funds for Indonesia to support basic education through our USAID
[U.S. Agency for International Development] program as a key element
in the effort to combat terror. This initiative, announced by President
Bush in October of 2003, will prepare Indonesia's children to be
effective participants in their own democratic society while reducing
extremism and intolerance, and supporting democracy and respect
The bureau will leverage U.S. efforts through cooperation with
friends and allies, particularly those with the capability to help
build regional CT [counter terrorism] capacity, including Japan,
Australia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and China.
Regional Stability: Regional stability has long been the Bureau's
main long-term strategic goal. In FY 2005, regional stability will
be advanced through success in attacking terrorism. EAP will sustain
alliances with our five treaty partners in the region while promoting
their increased integration into U.S. regional and international
strategy; promote stability in Northeast Asia, including on the
Korean Peninsula; support the positive integration of China into
regional and global institutions; strengthen regional institutions
for managing political and economic challenges, including the ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations],
and APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum]; and pursue
regional growth and integration through FTAs [Free Trade Agreements],
Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs), market openings,
and other economic liberalization measures, as well as through
democratization and rule of law programs.
The ASEAN Cooperation Plan is an essential tool for building long-term
stability in Southeast Asia. To support activities under the ASEAN
Cooperation Plan, we have requested $2.5 million for FY 05. The
funds will be used to bolster the ability of ASEAN to play a constructive
and stabilizing role in Asia, to facilitate cooperation to address
transnational issues, to foster economic and political integration,
to spur development and to enhance our influence in a region of
significant economic importance to the United States.
We are requesting $250,000 in FY 05 for Regional Security to support
U.S. efforts in the ASEAN Regional Forum to shape regional views
on issues such as arms control, counter-terrorism, and maritime
security through seminars, workshops, and exchanges and to promote
regional stability through strengthening regional institutions
in which the United States participates.
Democracy and Human Rights: The relative stability of the EAP
region has allowed democracy to take hold in many areas, including
South Korea, the Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand, and Taiwan as
well as many Pacific Island states. This year will see citizens
of five nations in the EAP region -- namely Indonesia, Korea, Philippines,
Malaysia and Mongolia -- plus Taiwan go to the polls.
EAP will continue to promote democratization and improvements
in human rights throughout the region and will work closely with
EAP countries, including Indonesia as it continues its democratic
transformation. With our help and that of other major donors, Indonesia
-- a secular state with a diverse and predominantly Moslem population
-- could become an example of tolerance and democracy and a model
for other countries.
Through our USAID programs, we are assisting NGOs [non-governmental
organizations] in Cambodia in a wide range of areas, including
human rights, labor rights, good governance, rule of law, and an
independent press. In Indonesia, we will support programs that
advocate public tolerance and strengthen local governments, in
addition to our basic education initiative.
The situation in Burma remains grim, as we have just made clear
in our human rights report. Human rights abuses continue; Aung
San Suu Kyi, other NLD [National League for Democracy] leaders,
as well as other political prisoners remain under detention. The
government has given no indication how it will involve the democratic
opposition and ethnic groups in its plan for national reconciliation
nor has it outlined a timeframe for these discussions.
Our FY 05 assistance to Burmese citizens inside Burma and Burmese
refugees in neighboring countries, particularly Thailand, is intended
to strengthen grassroots democratic institutions and to press the
Burmese government to improve its human rights record and to cease
persecution of religious and ethnic minorities.
Open Markets/Economic Development: Promoting open markets, economic
development, and sound economic policies is not only a critical
regional goal, it is also a vital element of the war on terrorism.
Economic prosperity reinforces democratic institutions, fosters
stability, encourages the peaceful resolution of differences, and
supports U.S. commerce and trade.
The Asia-Pacific region is key to global economic growth. While
the region has moved a long way down the path of recovery since
the economic crisis of 1997-98, resumption of dynamic growth rates
will require significant financial and corporate restructuring
and improved economic and political governance, including an end
to endemic corruption, and expanded trade and investment. The U.S.
role -- through bilateral assistance, free trade arrangements,
support for reforms and regional programs in APEC and ASEAN --
will be critical to the success of this transformation.
Free trade arrangements with the U.S. will be an important vehicle
for driving competitive trade liberalization in the region. We
are moving ahead with the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI),
which offers the prospect of FTAs between the United States and
ASEAN countries that are committed to reform and openness. The
goal is to create a network of bilateral FTAs which will increase
trade and investment, tying our economies more closely together.
The EAI has already resulted in an FTA with Singapore, which came
into force in early 2004. We have completed negotiations with Australia
for an FTA, and we have announced intentions to enter into FTA
negotiations with Thailand. We continue to support granting normal
trade relations (NTR) to Laos.
China's compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations,
its transition to a market economy and its emerging economic influence
are economic developments that EAP will monitor closely. The bureau
will also use multilateral regional bodies such as APEC as a way
of promoting market-oriented reforms and open trade and investment
In addition, to fulfill our obligations under the South Pacific
Multilateral Fisheries Treaty, we are requesting $18 million in
ESF in FY 05. This treaty ensures continued access for U.S. commercial
fishing vessels to the Pacific Ocean Tuna fishing areas. In the
Philippines our funding through USAID will support micro-financing,
anti-corruption, civil society, governance, and other programs
to promote economic development in impoverished areas. Our ESF
request for East Timor of $13.5 million will support the development
of its civil society and new democratic and economic institutions.
International Crime and Transnational Issues: Transnational issues,
including terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking, and infectious
diseases, are a serious threat to regional stability. EAP works
with INL [International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau],
OES [Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Bureau], USAID and other agencies on these transnational challenges
to develop multilateral approaches to supplement existing bilateral
One of the most important contributions we intend to make in FY
05 is in the area of human trafficking. We have requested $ 1 million
in FY 05 assistance for EAP's Regional Women's Account to support
a regional approach to combat the scourge of trafficking in persons
(TIP). As TIP is a problem that crosses and takes advantage of
national borders, we must mobilize a regional effort to counter
it. Funding will focus on empowering women through political participation,
economic independence, and the elimination of violence against
women. Our efforts will concentrate on TIP projects in Tier 2 countries
where trafficking problems are most severe.
Weapons of Mass Destruction: FY 2005 placement of WMD proliferation
as a strategic goal is based on the assumption that current positive
trends in nonproliferation cooperation with China will continue.
We are working to persuade China to adhere fully with its existing
bilateral and multilateral nonproliferation commitments and to
cooperate fully in pre-licensing and post-shipment verification
checks related to U.S. dual-use exports. EAP will also work to
obtain Chinese cooperation in encouraging other countries to adhere
to the guidelines of the international non-proliferation regimes.
EAP is working within the Six-Party Talks process to secure the
complete, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of North Korea's
nuclear programs. In FY 2005, the bureau will continue the effort
to prevent, contain, and reverse the possibility that any WMD or
their means of delivery might become available to rogue nations
or non-state terrorist organizations.
For FY 05, the Department has requested $2.6 million in export
control assistance for the EAP region. The recent accounts of a
black market in sensitive nuclear-related goods involving companies
in the EAP region make this funding critical to our efforts to
end WMD proliferation.
Modifications of Current Restrictions
EAP would like to expand programs for a small group of EAP countries,
including Cambodia, in the future.
In Cambodia, Public Law 108-199 for FY 2004 restricts assistance
to the central government, with limited exceptions. There are several
areas where closer cooperation with the central government would
be in the U.S. national interest: enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities;
promoting rule of law and justice; developing a smaller more professional
military; and supporting a credible Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
Cambodia needs training in immigration, border security, and other
areas critical to our global fight against terrorism. We need to
be able to train and work directly with the government agencies
concerned with CT. All individuals and units we work with will
be carefully vetted.
Many of Cambodia's problems stem from or are exacerbated by the
shortcomings in its legal and judicial system. U.S. assistance
for judicial reform and anti-corruption efforts would promote our
interests in a number of areas, including: combating trafficking
in persons, resolving human rights abuses, improving international
adoption procedures and bringing Cambodia into compliance with
WTO legal standards.
Public Law 108-199 also prohibits funding for any tribunal established
by the Government of Cambodia. It has been the longstanding policy
of this and prior Administrations to seek accountability and bring
to justice those responsible for the genocide carried out by the
Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979. In June 2003, the UN and Cambodia
signed an agreement to establish a credible Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
We have urged all parties to work to ensure the Tribunal will execute
its jurisdiction in accordance with international standards of
justice, fairness, and due process and would seek to make an appropriate
contribution to such a tribunal.
The foregoing represents a brief overview of EAP bureau goals
and objectives, and the resources necessary to meet them. It incorporates
our best assessment of the region-wide demands and requirements
we should work to meet, but as we mentioned in last year's testimony,
it cannot incorporate resource requests for major, unanticipated
events that could emerge without warning in the region, including
on the Korean Peninsula.