THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release
|September 14, 1999
Remarks by the President
Upon Departure from Auckland, New Zealand
Stamford Plaza Hotel
Auckland, New Zealand
7:55 A.M. (L)
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I believe we've had a very
successful meeting here with our Asian Pacific partners. I want to begin by
thanking Prime Minister Shipley and the people of Auckland and New Zealand for
giving us quite a wonderful visit to a place that most of us have never been
Our 19 APEC members pledged to strengthen the world economy
and advance our common prosperity. We also came together on East Timor. We
unanimously resolved to strengthen the world trading system by opening more
markets and agriculture services and industrial products. In November, we'll go
to Seattle to launch a new world trade round, determined to make this APEC
agenda the world's agenda.
We can make trade even more beneficial if China joins the
WTO on commercially viable terms. I had a good meeting here with President
Jiang, resuming progress in our relationship on issues from the WTO to security
matters like preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Our
negotiators have now resumed substantive WTO talks.
APEC's members also reaffirmed the importance of continuing
reforms in the global financial system. Asia's recovery is clearly underway. We
want to keep it going, and to do so, we have to keep up the pace of reform.
At the same time, we stood together against the violence in
East Timor. Indonesia's leaders agreed to reverse course. Now we and our
partners are working rapidly to deploy an effective international security
force to protect the people as they make their transition to independence.
Again, let me say how grateful I am for the leadership of Australia and New
Zealand in this endeavor.
This will be overwhelmingly an Asian force. But the United
States is ready to provide airlift, communications, intelligence, and related
capabilities. We are working out the details in consultation with Congress.
I hope the force can be ready to deploy within days. We are
working with the U.N. today to bring that about.
Until the international peacekeeping force deploys, it is
essential that Indonesia works to prevent further violence. It must facilitate
efforts to quickly bring humanitarian assistance to the people who have
suffered so very greatly. The United States is ready to deliver food and
Let me say finally, this week we made progress on another
crucial security issue, building peace and reconciliation on the Korean
Peninsula. Following talks in Berlin, we understand and expect that North Korea
will refrain from testing long-range missiles of any kind, while our
discussions continue. It's an important initial step in addressing our concerns
about North Korea's missile program.
We're, in turn, considering measures to ease sanctions and
move toward normalizing economic relations with North Korea. The work we've
done in the past few days will help to build a more secure, more prosperous,
more integrated Asia Pacific region. It will give our citizens -- all our
citizens, all the way from New Zealand back to Washington -- better lives in
the 21st century.
Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have only made about 10 calls, but
of course, Secretary Cohen and Mr. Podesta have been back there and they've
been talking to more. My sense is that the Congress, even though we are heavily
committed in the Balkans and elsewhere, will support a mission if we are there
in a clearly supportive capacity, if we're talking about few hundred people,
not thousands of people on the ground, and the work we've been asked to do is
actually work that a mission like this would need America to do -- the airlift,
some of the internal transportation, the communications, the intelligence, some
of the engineering work. These are things that because of the size of our
military we are uniquely positioned to do.
And I stopped off in Hawaii, talked to Admiral Blair, our
Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, and he had been having very detailed
conversations with the Australians. That's what we understand they're asking
for. It would be a matter of a few hundred people. And I think we could do
Q Mr. President, how much trouble are the Indonesians
making for the Security Council about the Australians leading --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I know there was a statement yesterday
by an Indonesian official, but we do not understand that to be the official
position. So, so far, no trouble has been made. I hope that there won't be any.
I think that we have tried to make it clear that we would welcome the
cooperation with the Indonesian forces if they would work with us -- they would
be in a position to do some things there to help facilitate this mission. But I
do not believe they should be able to dictate the composition of it once having
acknowledged that the United Nations should come in.
Q Is Australia's leadership non-negotiable --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's, of course, for the U.N. to
decide, but as far am I'm concerned, I'm quite comfortable with it and strongly
supportive of it. Keep in mind, they are willing to provide what, in all
probability, will be more than half of the total force needed.
We have a high regard for their abilities. We train with
them. We work with them. We know that they can do this job, and, in so doing,
they make it possible for large numbers of other nations to participate who can
make only more modest contributions. It's easier for New Zealand, for Malaysia,
for the Philippines, for Korea, for any number of other countries to send in
troops according to their ability to do it, knowing that there will be a large
and very well-trained and led anchor force there. So the Australian commitment
makes possible the effective commitments of a lot of other countries, just as
our airlift capacity does.
So I would hope we can stick with it and I think we will. I
feel good about it.
Thank you very much.