U.S. Department of State
Remarks by Kurt M. Campbell
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
January 7, 2012
Remarks to the Media at the Imperial Hotel
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Thank you all for being here on a Saturday morning. I know you had a chance just to meet with my colleague and friend Sugiyama-san. I just wanted to say it’s been very good to be back in Japan. We’ve had excellent meetings with the business community, with people from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I just want to underscore that I think U.S.-Japan relations are in excellent shape, and we’re looking forward to strong progress on a range of issues in 2012.
In our just most recent meetings, we discussed our respective views on developments in Asia. We talked about a variety of issues, and I’ll just kind of run through some of them. I think, as you know, Japan will be hosting President Thein Sein from Myanmar; we talked about our mutual desire to engage Myanmar, our support for the process of reform there; we underscored that we need to see continued progress in Naypyidaw with respect to the release of political prisoners, on issues related to political reform, and other steps associated with non-proliferation and activities between Myanmar and North Korea.
We also discussed developments on Fiji. I know it’s far afield a bit, but the United States and Japan are deeply engaged with the Pacific Islands Forum. Japan will be hosting some important meetings upcoming, and we talked about the recent pronouncements that have come out of Fiji with respect to the democratization. I think we agreed that it was too early to make a determination about what this means, but we agreed to remain in close contact going forward.
I extended an invitation on behalf of myself and Special Representative for North Korea, Ambassador Glyn Davies, for a Japanese delegation to come to Washington for deliberations in a tripartite forum. We haven’t settled exactly yet on the date, but it will be in the near future. And I think we all agree that tight coordination among Japan, South Korea, and the United States is essential with regard to developments in North Korea. We share a strong interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, and we’re following the situation on the ground there very, very closely.
We talked a little bit about our respective goals in terms of engagement with China. We talked about the possible visit of Vice President Xi Jinping to Washington next year, or I guess in the next little while, next period of time, and also the potential implications of the elections in Taiwan and how the United States and Japan have a strong interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, and our joint views that a continuation of a process of dialogue and economic engagement across the Taiwan Strait was in the best interests of all concerned.
I think I’ll stop with that. I’ll be happy to take a few questions as we go forward.
QUESTION: How satisfied are you with the information-sharing on the Chinese side with respect to North Korea? And, was that going to be one of the main agenda in the upcoming trilateral?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: First of all, we’ve made very clear in our meetings in Beijing that we wanted to ensure very close coordination and cooperation, not just between the United States and China, but between all the relevant countries. And we have asked China to share information on developments that are transpiring there, and we’ll have to see how that plays out. But it is our strong view that open communication among the key parties in the Six-Party framework is essential going forward.
QUESTION: Do you plan to see North Korea in the near future?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think we have had some communication through the New York channel, but nothing has been decided in terms of next steps in that regards. OK?
QUESTION: Do you have any prospect for the third round of nuclear talks between North Korea and the U.S.?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: No, as I said, I don’t think we’ve had any indication yet in terms of next steps of that sort. So we’ve had some initial interactions through New York, and we’re still waiting in terms of next steps.
QUESTION: What is the basic understanding of the imminence of possibly North Korea doing another provocation? How concerned are you with that, and how are you sharing that concern with…?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Well, as I stated in South Korea, and we’ve underscored in all of our meetings: it is our strong view that North Korea must refrain from any acts that could create a disturbance on the Korean Peninsula. And we’ve particularly passed that message directly to our senior Chinese interlocutors.
Thank you all very much.