Full Text Political Transcripts April 5, 2017: President Donald Trump and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan Remarks at Joint Press Conference

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan in Joint Press Conference

Rose Garden

1:10 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Your Majesty, thank you for being with us today.  Very much appreciate it.  This is our second meeting since my inauguration, but our first at the White House.  A very special place, I can tell you that.  I’ve gotten to know it well.  Long hours.  Very special.

It’s really an honor to welcome you here today. But before we begin, let me say a few words about recent events.

Yesterday, a chemical attack — a chemical attack that was so horrific, in Syria, against innocent people, including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies.  Their deaths was an affront to humanity.  These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerate.

The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this horrific attack and all other horrific attacks, for that matter.

Your Majesty, Jordanians are known for their legendary hospitality, and we will do our very best to be equally gracious hosts.  They’re also known, however — I have to say this — for their fighting ability.  And you are a great warrior, and we appreciate it.  Thank you.

The historical ties and close friendship between our two countries dates back three-quarters of a century.  In that time, the Middle East has faced many periods of crisis and unrest, perhaps never like it is today, however.  Through them all, America has looked to Jordan as a valued partner, an advocate for the values of civilization, and a source of stability and hope.

I am deeply committed to preserving our strong relationship — which I will — and to strengthening America’s longstanding support for Jordan.  And you do have tremendous support within our country, I can tell you that.

As we know, the Middle East — and the entire world — is faced with one of its gravest threats in many, many years.  Since the earliest days of the campaign against ISIS, Jordan has been a staunch ally and partner, and we thank you for that.  Jordanian servicemembers have made tremendous sacrifices in this battle against the enemies of civilization, and I want to thank all of them for their, really, just incredible courage.  So many have been lost, and we pay homage.  So many.

In King Abdullah, America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner.  He is a man who has spent years commanding his country’s special forces.  He really knows what being a soldier is, that I can tell you.  And he knows how to fight. The King has been a leader in calling for a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all.  And I’m with you on that.  We’re both leaders on that, believe me.  That’s what we speak about today, and that is what we are going to do.  And it will be a shorter fight than a lot of people are thinking about, believe me.  We’ve made tremendous strides as we discussed.

As you know, we had a very, very fine delegation come over from Egypt and also from Iraq, and they said more has been done in the last six weeks than has been done in years with the previous administration.  And believe me, we’re going to keep it that way.

We will destroy ISIS and we will protect civilization.  We have no choice — we will protect civilization.  King Abdullah and I also discussed measures to combat the evil ideology that inspires ISIS and plagues our planet.  In addition, we also acknowledge the vital role that Jordan has played in hosting refugees from the conflict in Syria.  We have just announced that the United States will contribute additional funds to Jordan for humanitarian assistance.  This aid will help countries like Jordan host refugees until it is safe for them to return home.  The refugees want to return home.  I know that from so many other instances.  They want to return back to their home.  And that’s a goal of any responsible refugee policy.

Finally, we discussed to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, including peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.  And I’m working very, very hard on trying to finally create peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and I think we’ll be successful.  I hope to be successful, I can tell you that.

The King has been a really tireless advocate for a solution, and he’s going to help me with that and help me at the highest level.  And we will be consulting with him closely in the days ahead.

King Abdullah, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership.  Working together, the United States and Jordan can help bring peace and stability to the Middle East and, in fact, the entire world.  And we will do that.

Thank you very, very much for being with us.  (Applause.)

KING ABDULLAH:  Thank you.  Mr. President, thank you for such a kind and warm welcome to the White House.  I fondly remember the meetings we’ve had many years ago and, more recently, several months ago.  You’ve always been a generous host and have always looked after us.  We are very delighted with the way the discussions have gone so far, and we’re delighted to be here in such a wonderful setting on such a beautiful day, which I think is a tremendous mark of how we are going to move into the future.

We’ve had a very good round of talks today, and I’m looking forward to continuing these discussions later on in our meetings after the press conference.  What I do want to say is how much we deeply appreciate the close relations we have with the United States, with you, Mr. President, and with the American people.  This is a strategic partnership that we keep very close to our hearts, and it is a partnership on so many levels that we will continue, I think, with the frank discussions that we had today to improve on as we face the challenges of the future.  And I am very delighted for your vision, your holistic approach to all the challenges in our region, and to the dedication of your team in being able to translate your policies into action successfully, hopefully, as we move forward.

The challenges we face today are many and are not exclusive to my region, as I’ve just mentioned.  They are global, and particularly the threats to global security.  Terrorism has no borders, no nationality, no religion, and, therefore, joint action with a holistic approach, as I had just mentioned, Mr. President, is crucial.  I am very delighted that you have the vision to be able to move in that direction, and I think that the world will be in a very good place as we move with all these challenges ahead.

No doubt, with all the challenges that we face in the world, the role of the U.S. is key to all the issues that we have around the world, but it’s not just the fact that we should expect the United States to do all the heavy lifting.  The heavy lifting has to be done by all of us in the international community to support the United States in being able to translate that vision into the right direction.  So there’s a lot of responsibility for all of us in the international community to support the President, the administration, and the American people to bring brighter days to all of us.

We are very encouraged with the President’s determination to support Arab and Muslim states in their fight against terrorism.  But it is not only the fight of terrorism inside of our societies, but we, as Arab-Muslim states standing behind the international community in being able to defeat this international scourge.

In Syria, we need a political solution that ends the conflict in the country and preserve its unity and territorial integrity.

As the President mentioned, the issue we discussed was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is essentially the core conflict in our region.  And the President’s early engagement as beginning in bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together has been a very encouraging sign for all of us.  And I think, sir, it was that initiative that allowed us at the Arab Summit last week to extend through the Arab Peace Initiative the message of peace to Israel, which we all hopefully will work together to make that come about.

All Arab countries — we launched the Arab Peace Initiative, as I said, last week.  It offers a historic reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as all member states of the Arab League.  It is the most comprehensive framework for lasting peace and it ensures statehood for the Palestinians, but also security, acceptance and normal ties for Israel with all Arab countries and hopefully all Islamic countries.

So we appreciate your commitment in all these issues where others have failed.  You will find a strong ally in Jordan in supporting you in all your policies.  And if I may just say, as you have, on Syria and the gas attack — unfortunately, as you and I both agree, this is another testament to the failure of the international diplomacy to find the solutions to this crisis.  But I believe under your leadership we will be able to unravel this very complicated situation.

This has been ongoing for seven years now, has descended into proxy wars from different parties with dubious agendas.  But at the end of the day, as you pointed out, Mr. President, it is the civilians — women and children — that are paying the heaviest price.  This is happening on our watch, on our conscience, as well as the global community.  And I know the passion and the emotion that the President has expressed and how this should not be tolerated whatsoever.  And this threshold of inhumanity and savagery that are being crossed every day is something that I know the President will not allow to happen, wherever it may be.  And I fully support and endorse the President in this issue.

So I want to thank you, sir, because you have the outlook of looking not just at the Syrian challenges but that of Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and everything that is in our region.  So I think your message to all of us is a message of hope, and that’s what I take away from this conference.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

KING ABDULLAH:  And I thank you for all that you have done so far and all that you will do, sir.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We’ll take a few questions.  Julie Pace.

Q    Thank you, sir.  I have questions on Syria for both leaders.  But if I could start with you, Mr. President.  You’ve condemned the chemical attacks in Syria, but you also appeared in your statement yesterday to pin some of the blame on the Obama administration.  You are the President now.  Do you feel like you bear responsibility for responding to the chemical attack?  And does the chemical attack cross a red line for you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he said the red line in the sand.  And when he didn’t cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria, but in many other parts of the world, because it was a blank threat.  I think it was something that was not one of our better days as a country.

So I do feel that, Julie.  I feel it very strongly.

Q    So you feel like you now have the responsibility to respond to the chemical attack?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly, I will tell you that.  It is now my responsibility.  It was a great opportunity missed.  As you know, I’ll be meeting with the President of China very soon, in Florida, and that’s another responsibility we have — and that’s called the country of North Korea.  We have a big problem.  We have somebody that is not doing the right thing.  And that’s going to be my responsibility.  But I’ll tell you, that responsibility could have been made a lot easier if it was handled years ago.

Q    Before I move on to the King, could I just quickly ask you if the chemical attack crosses a red line for you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line.  Many, many lines.

Thank you very much.

Q    And, Your Majesty, if I could ask about refugees.  Your country has really borne the brunt of the refugee crisis in Syria.  The President has signed travel bans that would block Syrians from coming to the U.S.  If that goes into effect, what would the impact on your country and across the region be?

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, I think as the President pointed out, most, if not all, Syrian refugees actually want to go back to Syria.  And what we’re working with the United States and the international community is to be able to stabilize the refugees in our country, give them the tools so that, as we’re working with the solutions in Syria, we have the ability to be able to send them back as a positive influence into their economies.

And again, the President and the Europeans are being very forward-leaning in being able look after our host community — tremendous burden on our country, but again, tremendous appreciation to the United States and the Western countries for being able to help us deliver that.

Q    Your Majesty, how does the outcome of the recent Arab Summit help the U.S. in its policy to advance Palestinian-Israeli negotiations?

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, as I said, our peace initiative came out with a resounding resolution to offer peace to the Israelis, to make them feel that they’re accepted into the neighborhood, and to be able to support the President as he brings both parties together.

And again, I have to remind people that very early on there was an early engagement by the President and his team to the Israelis and the Palestinians to be able to see what he can do to bring them together.  It is the core conflict for a lot of us in the region.  The President knows this.  He has his instincts in the right place.  And working with his team, our job, as I said, is to do the heavy lifting.  The Arabs are prepared to do whatever they can to bring Israelis and Palestinians together under the leadership of the President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  John Yang (ph).

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’d like to follow up on Julie’s question and press you a little more on Syria.  How will you distinguish your policy and your actions on Syria from the inaction that you criticized of the previous administration?  You say it’s now your responsibility.  What should we see or what should we look for that will be different?

And, Your Majesty, I’d like to ask you, what gives you — this is now your second meeting with the President — what gives you the optimism that Mr. Trump will succeed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where so many others have failed before him to be a broker for peace?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I like to think of myself as a very flexible person.  I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don’t change.  Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I’m proud of that flexibility.  And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me — big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.

And I have that flexibility, and it’s very, very possible — and I will tell you, it’s already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.  And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas.  You’re now talking about a whole different level.

And so, as you know, I would love to have never been in the Middle East.  I would love to have never seen that whole big situation start.  But once it started, we got out the wrong way, and ISIS formed in the vacuum, and lots of bad things happened.  I will tell you, what happened yesterday is unacceptable to me.

Q    Can I follow up, sir?  Last year, you seemed to be reluctant to get involved — or to intervene in Syria directly.  Is that one thing that’s changed after yesterday?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, one of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is, militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I doing.  And I watched past administrations say, we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour.  And you, being a warrior — you would say, why are they saying that?  And I’m sure you sat back in Jordan, and you said, why are they saying that?

I watched Mosul, where the past administration was saying, we will be attacking in four months.  And I said, why are they doing that?  Then a month goes by, and they say, we will be attacking in three months, and then two months, and then we will be attacking next week.  And I’m saying, why are they doing that?  And as you know, Mosul turned out to be a much harder fight than anyone thought, and a lot of people have been lost in that fight.

I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you, as much as I respect you, John.  Thank you.

KING ABDULLAH:  Sir, I think, on behalf of the President, what I saw was an early engagement by the President and his team, with all of us in the region, about the challenges between the Israelis and Palestinians.  I had the honor of seeing the President and his team again in January where this was discussed.  The President understands the nuances and the challenges.  I think he has the courage and the dedication to be able to do this.  Like I said before, all of us have a responsibility to help the President push us over the finish line.

And so, his team had been in the region, they’ve been talking to all the partners, and it is our job to facilitate the atmospherics between Israelis and Palestinians to move together, and give the support to the President to be able to smooth the edges over between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve this.  And the President understands that if we don’t solve this problem, how are we going to win the global fight against terrorism, which is his number-one priority?  So this is a core issue that he understands, and I think he has the commitment and he has my full support for this, as he does from many, many countries in our region.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And I have to just say that the world is a mess.  I inherited a mess.  Whether it’s the Middle East, whether it’s North Korea, whether it’s so many other things, whether it’s in our country — horrible trade deals — I inherited a mess.  We’re going to fix it.  We’re going to fix it.

Okay.

Q    Thank you, Your Majesty.  You touch upon the subject now, but if I ask you to look forward, how do you see the future of fighting terrorism post-Raqqa and Mosul, especially the role that Jordan will play in the eastern part of Iraq?  And do you believe the real battle will start then?

And if I may, Mr. President, you know very well that the Iranian militias and Hezbollah has been propping the Syrian regime for a while — over a few years now.  Will you go after them?  What message will you give them today?  And will you work with the Russians to ground the Syrian air force and to establish safe zones?  Thank you.

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, the first part is that we are seeing, very recently, tremendous gains on the ground in Raqqa and Mosul.  Again, I think, as the President alluded to, it’s very difficult to put timelines on this issue because the battle space is always very fluid.  But I think that the war is being won on the ground.

Having said that, terrorists are on the move.  They’ll be on the move inside of Iraq and inside of Syria, so that we have to make sure that we adapt our plans accordingly.  And they move beyond borders, beyond our region and elsewhere.  So as we and the administration have discussed, it’s this holistic approach:   How do we fight them wherever they are?  And I think that is the understanding.

Terrorists have no respect for borders and religions and people.  So it’s the seriousness of how we do this holistic approach that I’ve mentioned several times.  And what I am really delighted is that the understanding by the President and the administration in how to deal with this globally.

And I think you’re seeing a move in the right direction because the policy now is being charted out, and my discussions with the Defense Secretary and the Foreign Secretary allows us to be then able to decide how we adapt ourselves in the region to be able to come in line with international diplomacy.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  The Iran deal made by the previous administration is one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed — and I’ve witnessed some beauties.  It’s one of the worst deals I’ve ever witnessed.  It should never have been made.  It was totally one-sided against the United States, and, frankly, against much of the Middle East.

I will do whatever I have to do.  They have a deal.  It was, some people say, not done properly even in the form of its finalization.  There was no vote from Congress.  There was no real ratification.  But I will do what I have to do with respect to the Iran deal.  As far as ISIS is concerned, the United States will work with whoever it’s appropriate to work with to totally eradicate ISIS and other terrorists.  And, by the way, ISIS is one group, but others have formed.  Frankly, they’re all over the place.  We will do what we have to do to eradicate terrorism.

Q    But, sir, I’m talking about the Iranian militias in Syria supporting the Syrian regime separate of the nuclear deal.  What message do you have for them today?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You will see.  They will have a message.  You will see what the message will be.  Okay?  Thank you.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.

END
1:35 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts November 9, 2015: President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Statement before their White House Meeting Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 11-9-15

Oval Office

10:34 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is very good to welcome once again Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the Oval Office.  There’s no foreign leader who I’ve met with more frequently, and I think that’s a testimony to the extraordinary bond between the United States and Israel.

Before I get started, I just want to say a brief word about the Jordanian attack that we discovered earlier — the fact that someone dressed in military uniform carried out an attack at a training facility in which it appears that there may have been two or three U.S. citizens killed, and a number of other individuals injured.  Obviously, a full investigation is taking place.  We take this very seriously, and we’ll be working closely with the Jordanians to determine exactly what happened.  But at this stage, I want to just let everyone know that this is something we’re paying close attention to.  And at the point where the families have been notified, obviously our deepest condolences will be going out to them.

I also want to extend my condolences to the Israeli people on the passing of former President Navon.  Obviously, he was an important figure in Israeli politics.  And we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

This is going to be an opportunity for the Prime Minister and myself to engage in a wide-ranging discussion on some of the most pressing security issues that both our countries face.  It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas.  And as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities.  And that has expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds.

We have closer military and intelligence cooperation than any two administrations in history.  The military assistance that we provide we consider not only an important part of our obligation to the security of the state of Israel, but also an important part of U.S. security infrastructure in the region, as we make sure that one of our closest allies cannot only protect itself but can also work with us in deterring terrorism and other security threats.

In light of what continues to be a chaotic situation in Syria, this will give us an opportunity to discuss what’s happening there.  We’ll have an opportunity to discuss how we can blunt the activities of ISIL, Hezbollah and other organizations in the region that carry out terrorist attacks.  A lot of our time will be spent on a memorandum of understanding that we can potentially negotiate.  It will be expiring in a couple of years, but we want to get a head start on that to make sure that both the United States and Israel can plan effectively for our defense needs going forward.

We’ll also have a chance to talk about how implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement is going.  It’s no secret that the Prime Minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don’t have a disagreement on the need to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don’t have a disagreement about the importance of us blunting and destabilizing activities that Iran may be taking place.  And so we’re going to be looking to make sure that we find common ground there.

And we will also have an opportunity to discuss some of the concerns that both of us have around violence in the Palestinian Territories.  I want to be very clear that we condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against its and Israeli citizens.  And I want to repeat once again, it is my strong belief that Israel has not just the right, but the obligation to protect itself.

I also will discuss with the Prime Minister his thoughts on how we can lower the temperature between Israelis and Palestinians, how we can get back on a path towards peace, and how we can make sure that legitimate Palestinian aspirations are met through a political process, even as we make sure that Israel is able to secure itself.

And so this is going to be a lot of work to do, with too little time, which is why I will stop here and just once again say, welcome.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you.  Mr. President, first let me express the condolences of the people of Israel for the loss of American lives.  We are with you.  We’re with each other in more ways than one.  And I want to thank you for this opportunity to strengthen our friendship, which is strong; strengthen our alliance, which is strong.  I think it’s rooted in shared values.  It’s buttressed by shared interests.  It’s driven forward by a sense of a shared destiny.

We are obviously tested today in the instability and insecurity in the Middle East, as you described it.  I think everybody can see it — with the savagery of ISIS, with the aggression and terror by Iran’s proxies and by Iran itself.  And the combination of turbulence has now displaced millions of people, has butchered hundreds of thousands.  And we don’t know what will transpire.

And I think this is a tremendously important opportunity for us to work together to see how we can defend ourselves against this aggression and this terror; how we can roll back.  It’s a daunting task.

Equally, I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace.  We’ll never give up the hope for peace.  And I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.

I don’t think that anyone should doubt Israel’s determination to defend itself against terror and destruction, and neither should anyone doubt Israel’s willingness to make peace with any of its neighbors that genuinely want to achieve peace with us.  And I look forward to discussing with you practical ways in which we can lower the tension, increase stability, and move towards peace.

And finally, Mr. President, I want to thank you for your commitment to further bolstering Israel’s security in the memorandum of understanding that we’re discussing.  Israel has shouldered a tremendous defense burden over the years, and we’ve done it with the generous assistance of the United States of America.  And I want to express my appreciation to you and express the appreciation of the people of Israel to you for your efforts in this regard during our years of common service and what you’re engaging in right now — how to bolster Israel’s security, how to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge so that Israel can, as you’ve often said, defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

So for all these reasons, I want to thank you again for your hospitality, but even more so for sustaining and strengthening the tremendous friendship and alliance between Israel and the United States of America.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

END
10:43 A.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency April 25, 2014: President Obama and Republic of Korea President Park’s Remarks before Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and President Park of the Republic of Korea before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 4-25-14 

Blue House
Seoul, Republic of Korea

4:21 P.M. KST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I would like to thank President Park for welcoming me here today.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come back to the Republic of Korea.  But I am very mindful that my visit comes at a time of deep mourning for the people of this nation and I know that President Park and the South Korean government are focused on responding to the tragedy of the ferry Sewol.

In our press conference later, President Park and I will have the opportunity to address a range of issues that we’ll be discussing here today.  But for now, I just wanted to express on behalf of the American people our deepest sympathies for the incredible and tragic loss that’s taken place.  As allies but also as friends, we join you in mourning the lost and the missing, and especially so many young people, students who represented the vitality and the future of this nation.

So, President Park, I thought that it would be appropriate and fitting for us to begin today by honoring the lost and the missing.  And our delegation, out of respect, would appreciate the opportunity to join together in a moment of silence.

(Moment of silence.)

PRESIDENT PARK:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, thank you so much for making this proposal to hold a moment of silence for the victims of the ferry Sewol.  Right after the tragic accident, you personally expressed your condolences and your sympathies, and you were unsparing in providing active U.S. assistance, including the dispatch of salvage vessels.  The Korean people draw great strength and courage from your kindness.

Just as the American people were able to rally together in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and were able to prevail over difficult times, so, too, I am sure that Korean people will, in fact, pull through this moment of crisis and be able to achieve the renewal of the Republic of Korea.

Mr. President, my sincere welcome to you once again on your visit to Korea, and may our summit meeting today kick off the next 60 years and produce very meaningful results that allow us to do so.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, thank you, President Park.  The Republic of Korea is one of our strongest allies in the world.  I’m looking forward to our discussion and to reaffirming America’s unshakeable commitment to South Korea and its security.

One last point I wanted to make — I have with me this American flag that I believe our protocol people have.  In the United States, we have a tradition — after the loss of our servicemembers and veterans, we present a flag in their honor to their loved ones.  This flag was flown over the White House the same day as the sinking of the Sewol.  And in that spirit, I’m presenting this American flag to you and the people of the Republic of Korea on behalf of the American people.  It reflects our deep condolences, but also our solidarity with you during this difficult time, and our great pride in calling you an ally and a friend.

PRESIDENT PARK:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, thank you so much again for sharing in our sorrow, the sorrow of the Korean people as well as the bereaved families, and for your gracious gesture.

END
4:30 P.M. KST

Political Headlines August 7, 2013: White House Announces President Obama Canceling Meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Cancels Meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama will not travel to Moscow next month to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House announced Wednesday, citing Russia’s “disappointing decision” to grant asylum to National Security Agency-leaker Edward Snowden and a lack of progress in the U.S.-Russian bilateral agenda….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 08, 2013: President Barack Obama & People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping’s Remarks After Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China After Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 6-8-13 

President Barack Obama walks with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on the grounds of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Sunnylands Retreat
Rancho Mirage, California

8:09 P.M. PDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Everybody ready?  Well, I know we’re a little behind, but that’s mainly because President Xi and I had a very constructive conversation on a whole range of strategic issues, from North Korea to cyberspace to international institutions.  And I’m very much looking forward to continuing the conversation, not only tonight at dinner but also tomorrow.

But I thought we’d take a quick break just to take a question from both the U.S. and Chinese press.  So what I’ll do is I’ll start with Julie Pace and then President Xi can call on a Chinese counterpart.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  How damaging has Chinese cyber-hacking been to the U.S.?  And did you warn your counterpart about any specific consequences if those actions continue?  And also, while there are obviously differences between China’s alleged actions and your government’s surveillance programs, do you think that the new NSA revelations undermine your position on these issues at all during these talks?

And President Xi, did —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Why don’t you let the interpreter —

Q    And President Xi, did you acknowledge in your talks with President Obama that China has been launching cyber attacks against the U.S.?  Do you also believe that the U.S. is launching similar attacks against China?  And if so, can you tell us what any of the targets may have been?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, Julie, first of all, we haven’t had, yet, in-depth discussions about the cybersecurity issue.  We’re speaking at the 40,000-foot level, and we’ll have more intensive discussions during this evening’s dinner.

What both President Xi and I recognize is that because of these incredible advances in technology, that the issue of cybersecurity and the need for rules and common approaches to cybersecurity are going to be increasingly important as part of bilateral relationships and multilateral relationships.

In some ways, these are uncharted waters and you don’t have the kinds of protocols that have governed military issues, for example, and arms issues, where nations have a lot of experience in trying to negotiate what’s acceptable and what’s not.  And it’s critical, as two of the largest economies and military powers in the world, that China and the United States arrive at a firm understanding of how we work together on these issues.

But I think it’s important, Julie, to get to the second part of your question, to distinguish between the deep concerns we have as a government around theft of intellectual property or hacking into systems that might disrupt those systems — whether it’s our financial systems, our critical infrastructure and so forth — versus some of the issues that have been raised around NSA programs.

When it comes to those cybersecurity issues like hacking or theft, those are not issues that are unique to the U.S.-China relationship.  Those are issues that are of international concern.  Oftentimes it’s non-state actors who are engaging in these issues as well.  And we’re going to have to work very hard to build a system of defenses and protections, both in the private sector and in the public sector, even as we negotiate with other countries around setting up common rules of the road.

And as China continues in its development process and more of its economy is based on research and innovation and entrepreneurship, they’re going to have similar concerns, which is why I believe we can work together on this rather than at cross-purposes.

Now, the NSA program, as I discussed this morning, is a very limited issue, but it does have broad implications for our society because you’ve got a lot of data out there, a lot of communications that are in cyberspace.  And how we deal with both identifying potential terrorists or criminals, how the private sector deals with potential theft, and how the federal government, state governments, local governments and the private sector coordinate to keep out some of these malicious forces while still preserving the openness and the incredible power of the Internet and the web and these new telecommunications systems — that’s a complicated and important piece of business.  But it’s different from these issues of theft and hacking.

And every government is then inevitably going to be involved in these issues, just like big companies are going to be involved in these issues.  I mean, you’ve got private companies that have a lot more data and a lot more details about people’s emails and telephone calls than the federal government does.  And if we’re called upon not only to make sure that we’re anticipating terrorist communications but we’re also called upon to work with the private sector to prevent theft out of ATMs, et cetera, then we’re going to have to find ways to deal with this big data in ways that are consistent with our values; in ways that protect people’s privacy, that ensure oversight, and strike the right balance.

And as I indicated this morning, that’s a conversation that I welcome having.

PRESIDENT XI:  (As interpreted.)  As President Obama said, in our meeting this afternoon we just briefly touched upon the issue of cybersecurity.  And the Chinese government is firm in upholding cybersecurity and we have major concerns about cybersecurity.

In the few days before President Obama and I meet today, I note sharp increased media coverage of the issue of cybersecurity.  This might give people the sense or feeling that cybersecurity as a threat mainly comes from China or that the issue of cybersecurity is the biggest problem in the China-U.S. relationship.

The application of new technology is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it will drive progress in ensuring better material and cultural life for the people.  On the other hand, it might create some problems for regulators and it might infringe upon the rights of states, enterprises, societies and individuals.

We need to pay close attention to this issue and study ways to effectively resolve this issue.  And this matter can actually be an area for China and the United States to work together with each other in a pragmatic way.  And I’m happy to learn that within the context of the China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogue, a working group has been established to discuss cybersecurity issues.  So this is an issue that the two sides will continue to discuss.

By conducting good-faith cooperation we can remove misgivings and make information security and cybersecurity a positive area of cooperation between China and the U.S.  Because China and the United States both have a need and both share a concern, and China is a victim of cyber attacks and we hope that earnest measures can be taken to resolve this matter.

Thank you.

Q    I’m with China Central Television and my question for President Xi is, what are the main issues that were discussed in the longer-than-expected meeting this afternoon?  And what are the major areas of consensus that have emerged from the discussion?  And last year, when you were visiting the United States, you raised the concept of the two sides working together to explore what you call a new model of major country relationship, something that is unprecedented in the relationship and that can inspire future generations.  And after this concept was raised, there has been much discussion and comment on it, both in China and the United States and in the world more broadly.  So did you have further discussion on this issue in your meeting this afternoon?

And my question for President Obama is, what will the United States do to contribute to the building of a new model of major country relationship between China and the U.S.?

PRESIDENT XI:  (As interpreted.)  In the first meeting that I’ve had with President Obama this afternoon, we had an in-depth, sincere and candid discussion on the domestic and foreign policies of China and the United States, on our joint work to build a new model of major country relationship, and our international and regional issues of mutual interest.  And the President and I reached important consensus on these issues.

I stated very clearly to President Obama that China will be firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and China will be firm in deepening reform and opening up the country wider to the world.  China will work hard to realize the Chinese dream of the great national renewal and will work hard to push forward the noble cause of peace and development for all mankind.

By the Chinese dream, we seek to have economic prosperity, national renewal and people’s well-being.  The Chinese dream is about cooperation, development, peace and win-win, and it is connected to the American Dream and the beautiful dreams people in other countries may have.

President Obama and I both believe that in the age of economic globalization and facing the objective need of countries sticking together in the face of difficulties, China and the United States must find a new path — one that is different from the inevitable confrontation and conflict between the major countries of the past.  And that is to say the two sides must work together to build a new model of major country relationship based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the benefit of the Chinese and American peoples, and people elsewhere in the world.

The international community looks to China and the United States to deliver this.  When China and the United States work together, we can be an anchor for world stability and the propeller of world peace.

I stand ready to work with President Obama to expand on all levels of exchanges between the two sides.  I look forward to maintaining close communication with the President through mutual visits, bilateral meetings, exchange of letters and phone calls. And I invited President Obama to come to China at an appropriate time for a similar meeting like this.  And we look forward to visiting each other country.

At the same time, the two sides will work hard to make progress in the various bilateral mechanisms, such as the strategic and economic dialogue and the high-level consultation on people-to-people exchange.  Also, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Minister of National Defense will both make visits to the United States within the year.

Our two sides should also step up exchanges and cooperation in economy and trade, energy, environment, people-to-people, and cultural fields, as well as at the sub-national level, so that we can deepen the shared interests of the two countries and expand them to all areas.

We should also improve and strengthen the military-to-military relationship between the two countries and promote the building of a new model of military relationship between the two sides.  The two sides should also improve coordination microeconomic policies so that by strengthening cooperation, we can contribute to our respective development at home, and promote strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

And I’m confident in our joint effort to build a new model of major country relationship.  I believe success hinges on the human effort.  Firstly, both sides have the political will to build this relationship.  Secondly, our cooperation in the last 40 years provides a good foundation for us to build on.  Thirdly, between China and the United States, there are over 90 intergovernmental mechanisms which provide the institutional underpinning for our efforts.

Fourth, there is strong public support for this kind of relationship between China and the United States.  There are 220 pairs of sister provinces, states and cities between China and the U.S.  There are 190,000 Chinese students in the United States, and 20,000 American students in China.

And 5th, there is enormous scope for future cooperation between China and the U.S.

Of course, this endeavor is unprecedented and one that will inspire future generations.  So we need to deepen our mutual understanding, strengthen our mutual trust, further develop our cooperation and manage our differences so that we can avoid the traditional path of inevitable confrontation between major countries and really embark on a new path.

The Chinese nation and American nation are great nations, and the Chinese people and American people are great peoples.  As long as we stand high and look far, as long as we make specific progress and accumulate them over time, as long as we maintain confidence and determination, as long as we have wisdom and patience, I’m confident that we will succeed in achieving this historical mission.

I’m sorry for going too long.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I think President Xi summarized very well the scope of our conversations.  We spoke about some very specific issues — for example, President Xi mentioned the importance of military-to-military communications.  In the past, we’ve had high-level diplomatic communications about economic and strategic issues, but we haven’t always had as effective communications between our militaries.  And at a time when there’s so much activity around the world, it’s very important that we each understand our strategic objectives at the military as well as the political levels.  So that’s an example of concrete progress that can advance this new model of relations between the United States and China.

So we’ll be taking steps to institutionalize and regularize such discussions.  But more broadly, I think President Xi identified the essence of our discussions in which we shared our respective visions for our countries’ futures and agreed that we’re more likely to achieve our objectives of prosperity and security of our people if we are working together cooperatively, rather than engaged in conflict.

And I emphasized my firm belief to President Xi that it is very much in the interest of the United States for China to continue its peaceful rise, because if China is successful, that helps to drive the world economy and it puts China in the position to work with us as equal partners in dealing with many of the global challenges that no single nation can address by itself.

So, for example, neither country by itself can deal with the challenge of climate change.  That’s an issue that we’ll have to deal with together.  China as the largest country, as it continues to develop, will be a larger and larger carbon emitter unless we find new mechanisms for green growth.  The United States, we have the largest carbon footprint per capita in the world; we’ve got to bring down our carbon levels in order to accommodate continued growth.  And so that will translate then into opportunities for specific work around green technologies and research and development, and interactions between our scientists so that we can, together, help advance the goal of a sustainable planet, even as we continue to grow and develop.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to take these broad understandings down to the level of specifics, and that will require further discussions not only today and tomorrow, but for weeks, months, years to come.  But what I’m very encouraged about is that both President Xi and myself recognize we have a unique opportunity to take the U.S.-China relationship to a new level.  And I am absolutely committed to making sure that we don’t miss that opportunity.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
8:47 P.M. PDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 7, 2013: President Barack Obama & South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye’s Remarks at a Joint Press Conference

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Meets with President Park of South Korea

Source: WH, 5-7-13

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Park Geun-hye

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea, in the Oval Office, May 7, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Watch this video on YouTube

Today, President Obama welcomed President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to the White House to mark 60 years of bilateral partnership between our two nations.

Established following the Korean War, the US-ROK Alliance is a linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia Pacific region. And today, the two leaders affirmed that they would continue building on the past six decades of stability by strengthening and adapting the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.

“Guided by our joint vision, we’re investing in the shared capabilities and technologies and missile defenses that allow our forces to operate and succeed together,” President Obama said. “And we’re determined to be fully prepared for any challenge or threat to our security.”

President Obama and President Park also agreed to continue implementing the historic trade agreement between the United States and South Korea, which is already yielding benefits for both countries, President Obama said….READ MORE

Remarks by President Obama and President Park of South Korea in a Joint Press Conference

Source: WH, 5-7-13 

East Room

1:44 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.

Let me begin by saying it is a great pleasure to welcome President Park and our friends from the Republic of Korea.  Madam President, we are greatly honored that you’ve chosen the United States as your first foreign visit.  This, of course, reflects the deep friendship between our peoples and the great alliance between our nations, which is marking another milestone.  I’m told that in Korea, a 60th birthday is a special celebration of life and longevity — a hwangap.  (Laughter.)    Well, this year, we’re marking the 60th anniversary of the defense treaty between our nations.

Yesterday, President Park visited Arlington National Cemetery and our memorial to our Korean War veterans.  Tonight, she’s hosting a dinner to pay tribute to the generation of American veterans who have served in the defense of South Korea. And tomorrow she’ll address a joint session of Congress — an honor that is reserved for our closest of friends.

And in this sense, this visit also reflects South Korea’s extraordinary progress over these six decades.  From the ashes of war, to one of the world’s largest economies; from a recipient of foreign aid to a donor that now helps other nations develop.  And of course, around the world, people are being swept up by Korean culture — the Korean Wave.  And as I mentioned to President Park, my daughters have taught me a pretty good Gangnam Style.  (Laughter.)

President Park, in your first months in office South Korea has faced threats and provocations that would test any nation.  Yet you’ve displayed calm and steady resolve that has defined your life.  Like people around the world, those of us in the United States have also been inspired by your example as the first female President of South Korea.  And today I’ve come to appreciate the leadership qualities for which you are known — your focus and discipline and straight-forwardness.  And I very much thank you for the progress that we’ve already made together.

Today, we agreed to continue the implementation of our historic trade agreement, which is already yielding benefits for both our countries.  On our side, we’re selling more exports to Korea — more manufactured goods, more services, more agricultural products.  Even as we have a long way to go, our automobile exports are up nearly 50 percent, and our Big Three — Ford, Chrysler and GM — are selling more cars in Korea.  And as President Park and I agreed to make sure that we continue to fully implement this agreement, we believe that it’s going to make both of our economies more competitive.  It will boost U.S. exports by some $10 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs.  And obviously it will be creating jobs in Korea as they are able to continue to do extraordinary work in expanding their economy and moving it further and further up the value chain.

We agreed to continue the clean energy partnerships that help us to enhance our energy security and address climate change.  Given the importance of a peaceful nuclear energy industry to South Korea, we recently agreed to extend the existing civilian nuclear agreement between our two countries — but we also emphasized in our discussions the need to continue to work diligently towards a new agreement.  As I told the President, I believe that we can find a way to support South Korea’s energy and commercial needs even as we uphold our mutual commitments to prevent nuclear proliferation.

We agreed to continuing modernizing our security alliance.  Guided by our joint vision, we’re investing in the shared capabilities and technologies and missile defenses that allow our forces to operate and succeed together.  We are on track for South Korea to assume operational control for the alliance in 2015.  And we’re determined to be fully prepared for any challenge or threat to our security.  And obviously that includes the threat from North Korea.

If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States, or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has failed again.  President Park and South Koreans have stood firm, with confidence and resolve.  The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever.  And faced with new international sanctions, North Korea is more isolated than ever. In short, the days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions — those days are over.

Our two nations are prepared to engage with North Korea diplomatically and, over time, build trust.  But as always — and as President Park has made clear — the burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps to abide by its commitments and obligations, particularly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

And we discussed that Pyongyang should take notice of events in countries like Burma, which, as it reforms, is seeing more trade and investment and diplomatic ties with the world, including the United States and South Korea.

For our part, we’ll continue to coordinate closely with South Korea and with Japan.  And I want to make clear the United States is fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves and our allies with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces.  As I said in Seoul last year, the commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.

More broadly, we agreed to continue expanding our cooperation globally.  In Afghanistan — where our troops serve together and where South Korea is a major donor of development assistance — we’re on track to complete the transition to Afghan-led operations by the end of next year.  We discussed Syria, where both our nations are working to strengthen the opposition and plan for a Syria without Bashar Assad.  And I’m pleased that our two nations — and our Peace Corps — have agreed to expand our efforts to promote development around the world.

Finally, we’re expanding the already strong ties between our young people.  As an engineer by training, President Park knows the importance of education.  Madam President, you’ve said — and I’m quoting you — “We live in an age where a single individual can raise the value of an entire nation.”  I could not agree more.  So I’m pleased that we’re renewing exchange programs that bring our students together.  And as we pursue common-sense immigration reform here in the United States, we want to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs and foreign graduate students from countries like Korea to stay and contribute to our country, just as so many Korean Americans already do.

So, again, thank you, President Park, for making the United States your first foreign trip.  In your inaugural address you celebrated the “can do” spirit of the Korean people.  That is a spirit that we share.  And after our meeting today, I’m confident that if our two nations continue to stand together, there’s nothing we cannot do together.

So, Madam President, welcome to the United States.

PRESIDENT PARK:  (As interpreted.)  Let me start by thanking President Obama for his invitation and his gracious hospitality.

During my meeting with the President today, I was able to have a heart-to-heart talk with him on a wide range of common interests.  I found that the two us of have a broad common view about the vision and roles that should guide the Korea-U.S. alliance as it moves forward, and I was delighted to see this.

First of all, the President and I shared the view that the Korea-U.S. alliance has been faithfully carrying out its role as a bulwark of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, and that the alliance should continue to serve as a linchpin for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Asia.  In this regard, I believe it is significant that the joint declaration on the 60th anniversary of our alliance we adopted spells out the direction that our comprehensive strategic alliance should take.

Next, the President and I reaffirmed that we will by no means tolerate North Korea’s threats and provocations, which have recently been escalating further, and that such actions would only deepen North Korea’s isolation.  The President and I noted that it is important that we continue to strengthen our deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and conventional weapons threat, and shared the view that in this respect, the transition of wartime operational control should also proceed in a way that strengthens our combined defense capabilities and preparations being made toward that way as well.

We also shared the view that realizing President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons should start on the Korean Peninsula and we stated that we would continue to strongly urge North Korea, in close concert with the other members of the Six-Party talks and the international community, to faithfully abide by its international obligations under the September 19th Joint Statement and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Korea and the U.S. will work jointly to induce North Korea to make the right choice through multifaceted efforts, including the implementation of the Korean Peninsula trust-building process that I had spelled out.

I take this opportunity to once again send a clear message: North Korea will not be able to survive if it only clings to developing its nuclear weapons at the expense of its people’s happiness.  Concurrently pursuing nuclear arsenals and economic development can by no means succeed.

This is the shared view of the view of the other members of the Six-Party talks and the international community.  However, should North Korea choose the path to becoming a responsible member of the community of nations, we are willing to provide assistance, together with the international community.

We also had meaningful discussions on the economy and ways to engage in substantive cooperation.  The President and I welcome the fact that the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect one year ago, is contributing to our shared prosperity.  We also said we will make efforts to enable our people to better feel the benefits of our free trade agreement for them.

I highlighted the importance of securing high-skilled U.S. work visas for Korean citizens, and asked for executive branch support to the extent possible to see to it that the relevant legislation is passed in the U.S. Congress.

Moreover, we arrived at the view that the Korea-U.S. Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement should be revised into an advanced and mutually beneficial successor agreement.  We said we would do our best to conclude our negotiations as soon as possible.

The President and I also had in-depth discussions on ways to enhance our global partnership.  First, we noted together that Northeast Asia needs to move beyond conflict and divisions and open a new era of peace and cooperation, and that there would be synergy between President’s Obama’s policy of rebalancing to Asia and my initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia as we pursue peace and development in the region.  We shared the view about playing the role of co-architects to flesh out this vision.

Furthermore, we decided that the Korea-U.S. alliance should deal not just with challenges relating to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, but confronting the broader international community.

I am very delighted that I was able to build personal trust with President Obama through our summit meeting today, and to have laid a framework for cooperation.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  All right, we’ve got a couple of questions from each side, so we’ll start with Stephen Collinson of AFP.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Does the United States have a core national security interest in stopping the slaughter in Syria, or merely a strong moral desire to see the violence end?  And at what point does the cost of not intervening in a more direct way than you have done so far outweigh the cost of doing so?

And if I may ask, President Park, President Obama’s critics have warned that failing to act on perceived violations of U.S. red lines in Syria could embolden U.S. enemies elsewhere, including in North Korea.  Are you convinced that Kim Jong-un has taken the U.S. and South Korean warnings seriously, and do you see the withdrawal of two missiles from a test site as a sign that he’s willing to deescalate the situation?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, Stephen, I think that we have both a moral obligation and a national security interest in, A, ending the slaughter in Syria, but, B, also ensuring that we’ve got a stable Syria that is representative of all the Syrian people, and is not creating chaos for its neighbors.  And that’s why for the last two years we have been active in trying to ensure that Bashar Assad exits the stage, and that we can begin a political transition process.

That’s the reason why we’ve invested so much in humanitarian aid.  That’s the reason why we are so invested in helping the opposition; why we’ve mobilized the international community to isolate Syria.  That’s why we are now providing nonlethal assistance to the opposition, and that’s why we’re going to continue to do the work that we need to do.

And in terms of the costs and the benefits, I think there would be severe costs in doing nothing.  That’s why we’re not doing nothing.  That’s why we are actively invested in the process.  If what you’re asking is, are there continuing reevaluations about what we do, what actions we take in conjunction with other international partners to optimize the day when — or to hasten the day when we can see a better situation in Syria — we’ve been doing that all along and we’ll continue to do that.

I think that, understandably, there is a desire for easy answers.  That’s not the situation there.  And my job is to constantly measure our very real and legitimate humanitarian and national security interests in Syria, but measuring those against my bottom line, which is what’s in the best interest of America’s security and making sure that I’m making decisions not based on a hope and a prayer, but on hard-headed analysis in terms of what will actually make us safer and stabilize the region.

I would note — not to answer the question that you lobbed over to President Park — that you suggested even in your question a perceived crossing of a red line.  The operative word there, I guess, Stephen, is “perceived.”  And what I’ve said is that we have evidence that there has been the use of chemical weapons inside of Syria, but I don’t make decisions based on “perceived.”  And I can’t organize international coalitions around “perceived.”  We’ve tried that in the past, by the way, and it didn’t work out well.

So we want to make sure that we have the best analysis possible.  We want to make sure that we are acting deliberately. But I would just point out that there have been several instances during the course of my presidency where I said I was going to do something and it ended up getting done.  And there were times when there were folks on the sidelines wondering why hasn’t it happened yet and what’s going on and why didn’t it go on tomorrow?  But in the end, whether it’s bin Laden or Qaddafi, if we say we’re taking a position, I would think at this point the international community has a pretty good sense that we typically follow through on our commitments.

PRESIDENT PARK:  With regard to actions toward Syria, what kind of message would that communicate to North Korea? — that was the question.  And recently North Korea seems to be deescalating its threats and provocations — what seems to be behind that?  You asked these two questions.  In fact, North Korea is isolated at the moment, so it’s hard to find anyone that could really accurately fathom the situation in North Korea.  Its actions are all so very unpredictable.  Hence, whether the Syrian situation would have an impact is hard to say for sure.

Why is North Korea appearing to deescalate its threats and provocations?  There’s no knowing for sure.  But what is clear and what I believe for sure is that the international community with regard to North Korea’s bad behavior, its provocations, must speak with one voice — a firm message, and consistently send a firm message that they will not stand, and that North Korea’s actions in breach of international norms will be met with so-and-so sanctions and measures by the international community.  At the same time, if it goes along the right way, there will be so-and-so rewards.  So if we consistently send that message to North Korea, I feel that North Korea will be left with no choice but to change.

And instead of just hoping to see North Korea change, the international community must also consistently send that message with one voice to tell them and communicate to them that they have no choice but to change, and to shape an environment where they are left with no choice but to make the strategic decision to change.  And I think that’s the effective and important way.

Q    My question goes to President Park.  You just mentioned that North Korea — in order to induce North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, what is most important is the concerted actions of the international community.  With regard to this, during your meeting with President Obama today, I would like to ask what was said and the views that you shared.  And with regard to this, what Russia and China — the role that they’re playing in terms of inducing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, how do you feel about that?

My next question is to President Obama.  Regarding the young leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, I would appreciate your views about the leader of North Korea.  And if you were to send a message to him today, what kind of message would you send to him?
PRESIDENT PARK:  With regard to the North Korea issue, Korea and the United States, as well as the international community — the ultimate objective that all of us should be adopting is for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and to induce it to become a responsible member of the international community.  This serves the interest of peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world, and it also serves the interest of North Korea’s own development as well.  That is my view.

And so, in order to encourage North Korea to walk that path and change its perceptions, we have to work in concert.  And in this regard, China’s role, China’s influence can be extensive, so China taking part in these endeavors is important.  And we shared views on that.

With regard to China and Russia’s stance, I believe that China and Russia — not to mention the international community, of course — share the need for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and are cooperating closely to induce North Korea to take the right path.  In the case of China, with regard to North Korea’s missile fire and nuclear testing, China has taken an active part in adopting U.N. Security Council resolutions and is faithfully implementing those resolutions.

And with regard to Russia, Russia is also firmly committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  And with regard to the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea, it has been very active in supporting them.  And they’ve also worked very hard to include a stern message to North Korea in the joint statement of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting.  Such constructive efforts on the part of China and Russia are vital to sending a unified message to North Korea that their nuclear weapons will not stand, and encouraging and urging North Korea to make the right decision.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Obviously, I don’t know Kim Jong-un personally.  I haven’t had a conversation with him, can’t really give you an opinion about his personal characteristics.  What we do know is the actions that he’s taken have been provocative and seem to pursue a dead end.

And I want to emphasize, President Park and myself very much share the view that we are going to maintain a strong deterrent capability; that we’re not going to reward provocative behavior. But we remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path of denuclearization, abiding by international commitments, rejoining the international community, and seeing a gradual progression in which both security and prosperity for the people of North Korea can be achieved.

If what North Korea has been doing has not resulted in a strong, prosperous nation, then now is a good time for
Kim Jong-un to evaluate that history and take a different path.  And I think that, should he choose to take a different path, not only President Park and myself would welcome it, but the international community as a whole would welcome it.

And I think that China and Russia and Japan and other key players that have been participants in Six-Party talks have made that clear.  But there’s going to have to be changes in behavior. We have an expression in English:  Don’t worry about what I say; watch what I do.  And so far at least, we haven’t seen actions on the part of the North Koreans that would indicate they’re prepared to move in a different direction.

Christi Parsons.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  The Pentagon said today that there may be as many as 70 sexual assaults a day in the military — up by 35 percent during your term in office — and also that many sexual assaults may not be reported, in fact.  Given what we know about an Air Force officer in charge of preventing sexual assault recently being charged with sexual assault, and also the recent cases of a couple of Air Force generals who’ve set aside convictions of instances of sexual assault, can you speak to the culture in the U.S. military that may be at play here and talk about your response to that and what you can do going forward to improve things?

And if I may, President Park, I would ask you — yesterday you said that if North Korea does not change its behavior, we will make them pay.  I wondered if you could elaborate on that comment a little bit.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, let’s start with the principle that sexual assault is an outrage; it is a crime.  That’s true for society at large.  And if it’s happening inside our military, then whoever carries it out is betraying the uniform that they’re wearing.  And they may consider themselves patriots, but when you engage in this kind of behavior that’s not patriotic — it’s a crime.  And we have to do everything we can to root this out.

Now, this is not a new phenomenon.  One of the things that we’ve been trying to do is create a structure in which we’re starting to get accurate reporting.  And up and down the chain, we are seeing a process, a system of accountability and transparency so that we can root this out completely.

And this is a discussion that I had with Secretary Panetta. He had begun the process of moving this forward.  But I have directly spoken to Secretary Hagel already today and indicating to him that we’re going to have to not just step up our game, we have to exponentially step up our game, to go at this thing hard.

And for those who are in uniform who have experienced sexual assault, I want them to hear directly from their Commander-In-Chief that I’ve got their backs.  I will support them.  And we’re not going to tolerate this stuff and there will be accountability.  If people have engaged in this behavior, they should be prosecuted.

And anybody in the military who has knowledge of this stuff should understand this is not who we are.  This is not what the U.S. military is about.  And it dishonors the vast majority of men and women in uniform who carry out their responsibilities and obligations with honor and dignity and incredible courage every single day.

So bottom line is I have no tolerance for this.  I have communicated this to the Secretary of Defense.  We’re going to communicate this again to folks up and down the chain in areas of authority, and I expect consequences.

So I don’t want just more speeches or awareness programs or training but, ultimately, folks look the other way.  If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged.  Period.  It’s not acceptable.

PRESIDENT PARK:  Regarding North Korea’s provocations and bad behavior, we will make them pay — with regard to that, for instance, what I meant was that if they engage in military provocations and harm the lives of our people and the safety of our people, then naturally, as a President who gives the top priority to ensuring the safety of our people, it is something that we can’t just pass over.

So if North Korea engages in provocations, I will fully trust the judgment of our military.  So if our military makes a judgment which they feel is the right thing, then they should act accordingly.  And this is the instruction that I had made.

And North Korea has to pay a price when it comes not only with regard to provocations, but also with regard to the recent Kaesong industrial complex issue, where, based on agreements between the two sides, companies had believed in the agreement that was made and actually went to invest in the Kaesong industrial complex, but they suddenly completely dismissed and disregarded this agreement overnight, and denied various medical supplies and food supplies to Korean citizens left in that industrial complex, refusing to accept our request to allow in those supplies, which is what prompted us to withdraw all of our citizens from that park.  This situation unfolded in the full view of the international community.

So who would invest, not to mention Korean companies, but also companies of other countries, who would invest in North Korea in a place that shows such flagrant disregard for agreements, and how could they, under those circumstances, actually pull off economic achievement?  So I think in this regard, they’re actually paying the price for their own misdeeds.

Q    My question goes to President Obama.  President Park has been talking about the Korean Peninsula trust-building process as a way to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.  I wonder what you feel about this trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, as I indicated before, President Park’s approach is very compatible with my approach and the approach that we have been taking together for several years now. And I understand it, the key is that we will be prepared for a deterrence; that we will respond to aggression; that we will not reward provocative actions; but that we will maintain an openness to an engagement process when we see North Korea taking steps that would indicate that it is following a different path.  And that’s exactly the right approach.

All of us would benefit from a North Korea that transformed itself.  Certainly, the people of North Korea would benefit.  South Korea would be even stronger in a less tense environment on the peninsula.  All the surrounding neighbors would welcome such a transition, such a transformation.  But I don’t think either President Park or I are naïve about the difficulties of that taking place.  And we’ve got to see action before we can have confidence that that, in fact, is the path that North Korea intends to take.

But the one thing I want to emphasize, just based on the excellent meetings and consultation that we had today, as well as watching President Park over the last several months dealing with the provocative escalations that have been taking place in North Korea, what I’m very confident about is President Park is tough. I think she has a very clear, realistic view of the situation, but she also has the wisdom to believe that conflict is not inevitable and is not preferable.  And that’s true on the Korean Peninsula.  That’s true around the world.

And we very much appreciate her visit and look forward to excellent cooperation not only on this issue, but on the more positive issues of economic and commercial ties between our two countries, educational exchanges, work on energy, climate change, helping other countries develop.

I’ve had a wonderful time every time I’ve visited the Republic of Korea.  And what is clear is that the Republic of Korea is one of the great success stories of our lifetime.  And the Republic of Korea’s leadership around the globe will be increasingly important.  And what underpins that in part has been the extraordinary history of the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea.  And we want to make sure that that remains a strong foundation for progress in the future.

So, thank you so much, Madam President.  (Applause.)

END
2:20 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama & Prime Minister Taoiseach Kenny of Ireland Remarks Before a Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Reaffirming the Incredible Bond Between the United States and Ireland

Source: WH, 3-18-13

President Barack Obama welcomes Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland and the Irish delegation to the Oval OfficePresident Barack Obama welcomes Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland and the Irish delegation to the Oval Office, March 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the White House before the two leaders traveled to the Capitol for a St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon.

In their Oval Office meeting — the fifth since President Obama took office — the President and Taosiseach reaffirmed the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland….READ MORE

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland Before a Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 3-18-13 

Oval Office

10:41 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome back Taoiseach Kenny to the Oval Office, to the White House and his entire delegation.  Obviously, we cherish this opportunity once a year to reaffirm the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.  This year, it also gives us an excuse to stretch out St. Patrick’s Day for a couple of extra days, which is always good.

This is now my fifth time to welcome the Taoiseach to the Oval Office.  I’ve had the occasion to visit Ireland as well — one of the truly wonderful trips that I’ve taken as President of the United States.  And the reason that these meetings go so well is because of the incredible bond and history between our two countries.

Obviously, the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States is legendary.  But what is also true is that we have an incredibly strong partnership on economic issues, on security issues.  The Taoiseach has shown great leadership during difficult times in Ireland.  And we’re seeing progress in the Irish economy.  That’s good for the U.S. economy because we have a lot of trade, a lot of investment in Ireland.

There was a story this morning about a deal between Ryanair and Boeing in which we’ll be selling a whole lot of airplanes to Ireland.  And it’s an example of how the progress that’s made in Ireland benefits jobs and businesses here in the United States.  Obviously, the Taoiseach is very interested, as well as in continuing to attract direct investment from the United States to Ireland.  So this will be a major topic of discussion.

Ireland also punches above its weight internationally when it comes to humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping.  Irish troops are in many very difficult places in the world and provide the kinds of stabilization and humanitarian efforts that make all the difference and save lives.

And so I am very much looking forward to having a good conversation.  I’m sure we will also touch on the issue of Northern Ireland in which we have continued to see progress coming out of the Good Friday agreements, but we also have to recognize that there’s a lot more work to be done before there’s true unity of effort in that country.  And I know that both in discussions with the Taoiseach as well as in talking to the ministers who are here from Northern Ireland, we’ll have an opportunity to find out how the United States can be helpful in that overall effort as well.

So, again, Taoiseach, I want to welcome you.  Thank you for giving me an excuse to break out my green tie.  (Laughter.)  And I’m sure that we’ll have a wonderful lunch up on Capitol Hill and once again be able to reaffirm the incredible friendship between our peoples.

PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Could I to say that it’s a particular privilege to be able to come here to the White House to visit President Obama to continue this wonderful tradition that the American government over the years has shown to Ireland because of the particular and unique relationship between our countries covering many centuries.

I come here both as Taoiseach, but also as the presidency of the European Union.  I suppose I should say this because I’ll never get the chance again, it’s great to be on presidential terms here.  (Laughter.)  The President of the United States, an Irishman, and the President of Europe, an Irishman, meeting in the Oval Office.  (Laughter.)

But I would like to say seriously, it’s an opportunity for me to brief the President on the progress being made in challenging times for the Irish government, following a very clear and strategic plan.  It’s also an opportunity to brief the President on issues of the European Union and the progress being made by the European Council, with particular reference to the EU-U.S. trade — participation and free trade, to which the President referred in his State of the Union address.  I’d like to follow that through with him.  Also, to brief the President on opportunities in respect of Northern Ireland, immigration — undocumented Irish — and, of course, the general perspectives both for the world economy.  And as the President is moving to the Middle East this evening, I can give him an update on the recent meeting and discussion that the European Council held there.

Besides, it’s a real opportunity to celebrate St. Patrick’s Week.  I have a second tie for the President, if he so wishes.  And, of course, there is a standing open invitation to President Obama to come back to Ireland whenever is convenient and appropriate and when he so wishes.  And maybe the next time, when our economies are moving in a more positive direction, we might actually have time to take out the sticks on the golf course.  I’m looking forward to that sometime in the future.

So to First Lady Michelle, the children, Malia and Sasha, we wish the President continued success and good fortune in the very onerous responsibilities that he lay up on his shoulders as the leader of the free world.  And it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be in the Oval Office.

END
10:46 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency February 15, 2013: President Barack Obama and President Giorgio Napolitano Remarks Before Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and President Napolitano Before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 2-15-13

Oval Office

10:10 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to extend the warmest greetings to my good friend, President Napolitano, on a return visit to the White House.  I think it’s entirely appropriate the day after Valentine’s Day, since we know that St. Valentine was associated with Italy, that we had a chance to express our love for the Italian people and my high regard for President Napolitano.

He has been an extraordinary leader not just in Italy but also in Europe.  We’ve had occasion to meet many times in which we have expressed again and again the importance of the transatlantic relationship, and the deep and abiding friendship and connection and bond between the Italian people and the American people.

And obviously, we have constantly talked about the extraordinary connection that derives from the tradition of Italian-Americans making enormous contributions to the United States.  President Napolitano has been so gracious in talking about his memories of the role that America played in liberating Europe and instituting the kinds of democratic practices and traditions that have served both sides of the Atlantic so well for so many years.

I want to thank the people of Italy for their enormous contributions to the NATO Alliance.  Italy is one of our biggest contributors in Afghanistan, and makes enormous sacrifices.  They welcome and host our troops on Italian soil.  The economic bonds between our two countries are very significant.  And in all this, President Napolitano has shown himself to be a visionary leader who has helped to guide and steer Europe towards greater unification, but always with a strong transatlantic relationship in mind.

The last point I would make is that President Napolitano has also just been a good personal friend, a tremendous host to my family when they visited Italy.  You should know, Mr. President, that one of the few things that my daughters asked me after I was reelected was, does this mean we can go back to Italy again?  (Laughter.)  So I confirmed to them that any excuse we can find to visit Italy, we shall return hopefully.

And this will give us an opportunity to not only visit but also to talk about some important issues, including the world economy.  I announced at the State of the Union this week my interest and intention in pursuing a U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, which I know is something of great interest to the President.  I’ll be interested in hearing from him how he anticipates the elections and government formation in Italy and what implications that has for the larger European project.  And I’m sure we’ll have a chance to talk about some national security issues as well.

But my main message is to say thank you for your extraordinary service, and I’m so glad that we had an opportunity to visit once again before you move onto even better things — I assume they’re at least having more fun than politics.

PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO:  Thank you very much.  I don’t need to say how deeply touched I am by the generous appreciation we just had of my long public service in the interest of Italy, of our alliance, of our common goals.  And I am grateful to President Obama for inviting me to pay a farewell visit at the White House, and for giving me the opportunity of an exchange of ideas before I complete my presidential mandate.

I am sure that we will be able today to express a common sense of confidence in the future of Italy and of U.S.-Italy relations; more generally speaking, in the future of our joint commitment to advance global peace, democracy, and human rights.

Italy has made remarkable progress in the past 14 months — the Italian government, with parliamentary support of different and even opposite political forces, and with the comprehension of different social groups and of all citizens.  While this progress must and will continue and be developed because Italy needs it, Europe needs it, and I think the world as a whole needs it.

The announcement which has been made — just made in Brussels and in Washington was significant because I was impressed by the words we, the leaders of the European Union and of the United States towards a beautiful incipit.  And as well, I think that trade — the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, which will be realized — now we are the opening talks — but I am sure about also the conclusion can represent a relevant contribution for promoting a new wave of development of technologic advancement of social justice on both shores of the Atlantic.  And I think it can represent even something more.  It is to say a new historic stage in relations between Europe and the United States — not only economically, but also from a political and moral point of view.

My conviction is that the effect that a shift has been taking place in the center of gravity of the world development of international relations doesn’t cancel at all the crucial importance of transatlantic alliance, of transatlantic relations.  On the contrary — it represents a new stimulus for us to make such a framework of relation more active, more competitive.  It is absolutely necessary for a better world to have our common heritage of values and experiences be a decisive factor also in the course of globalization in the next future.

It is the spirit in which I adhere to testify once more my personal friendship and my admiration for President Obama, only deploring that the visit of the President and his family in Rome was so short, and expecting a new visit also in my new capacity.  I be in another palace, but I be there to welcome you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s great.  Thank you.

END
10:18 A.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency June 18. 2012: President Barack Obama’s Joint Statement with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin After Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

A Bilateral Meeting with President Putin

Source: WH, 6-18-12
President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia (June 18, 2012)

President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the Esperanza Resort in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, June 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This afternoon, President Obama had his first face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart — President Vladimir Putin — since the other leader was inaugurated in May.

After meeting for two hours, the men spoke briefly to reporters.

President Obama described the conversation as “candid, thoughtful and thorough.” He said:

Over the last three years, the United States and Russia have been able to make significant progress on a wide range of issues, including the New START Treaty, the 1,2,3 Agreement, the work we’ve done on Russia’s accession to the WTO, and setting up a presidential process whereby issues of trade and commerce, science, technology are all discussed at a much more intensive level.

We agreed that we need to build on these successes, even as we recognize that there are going to be areas of disagreement, and that we can find constructive ways to manage through any bilateral tensions.

The leaders also put out a joint statement that touched on many of these issues in further detail.

Joint Statement by the President of the United States of America Barack Obama and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

The United States of America and the Russian Federation confirm our commitment to strengthening close and cooperative relations for the benefit of the peoples of our countries, international peace, global prosperity, and security.  In recent years, we have laid a solid foundation for expanding our bilateral interaction in a variety of areas.  Today we agree to continue this work guided by the principles of the rule of law, respect for human rights, equality, and mutual respect.

One of the key tasks on our shared agenda is the expansion of trade and investment relations, which should foster mutual economic growth and prosperity.  To this end, we have agreed to prioritize the expansion and diversification of our bilateral trade and investment through nondiscriminatory access to our markets based on international rules.

An important step in this direction is Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has become possible thanks to our joint efforts.  In order for WTO rules and mechanisms to apply to our bilateral trade, the Obama Administration is working closely with the U.S. Congress to terminate, as soon as possible, application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment with respect to Russia and extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to the Russian Federation.  The United States has also welcomed and offered its support to Russia’s pursuit of membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Nuclear arms control and non-proliferation remain a special responsibility for the United States and Russia as the two states with the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenals.  We reiterate our strong support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and our shared goal of universal adherence to and compliance with that Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s comprehensive safeguards, consistent with the Treaty’s Article III, and with the Additional Protocol.  We recognize the achievements made through the Nuclear Security Summits, including the removal and elimination of nuclear materials, minimization of the civilian use of highly enriched uranium, and worldwide improvements in a nuclear security culture.

We are continuing research on the feasibility of converting research reactors in the United States and Russia to low-enriched uranium fuel.  We agree to redouble bilateral efforts to improve nuclear security, counter nuclear smuggling, and combat nuclear terrorism, as well as to facilitate the beginning of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material cutoff treaty that will halt production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, within the framework of a balanced program of work at the Conference.  We will strive for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

As a priority, we intend to successfully implement the New START Treaty, and to continue our discussions on strategic stability.  Despite differences in assessments, we have agreed to continue a joint search for solutions to challenges in the field of missile defense.

The pursuit of international peace and security remains a priority for the United States and Russia, recognizing how much we have to gain by working together to overcome the main challenges of this century.  While recognizing Iran’s right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we agree that Iran must undertake serious efforts aimed at restoring international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.  To this end, Tehran must fully comply with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency for the expedited resolution of all remaining issues.  Our common goal remains a comprehensive negotiated settlement based on the principles of a step-by-step approach and reciprocity, and we look forward to constructive engagement with Iran through the P5+1 process, including the latest round of talks taking place in Moscow on June 18-19.

We urge North Korea to come into compliance with all the relevant directives of the UN Security Council and fulfill its commitments under the Joint Statement by China, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the U.S., and Japan of September 19, 2005.  We count on the DPRK not to commit acts that would escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula.  As partners in the Six-Party talks, we are prepared to continue the joint efforts to achieve verifiable denuclearization on the Korean peninsula in accordance with the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005.

We agree to cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally to solve regional conflicts.  In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence and express full support for the efforts of UN/League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, including moving forward on political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system that would be implemented by the Syrians themselves in the framework of Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.  We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.

The need for a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East has never been more apparent, and we will continue working with our Quartet partners to advance peace efforts on the basis of the Quartet statements of September 23, 2011, and April 11, 2012, and to strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people, both now and in a future state.

The United States and Russia continue to face a common threat from al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating in and around Afghanistan.  We recognize that this is a pivotal time for international efforts to strengthen security and promote economic development in Afghanistan, as well as to counter the narcotics threat.  With the successful implementation of bilateral and multilateral transit arrangements, Russia has made a significant contribution to international efforts to promote stability in Afghanistan.

We reiterate that the process leading to reconciliation must be truly Afghan-led and Afghan-implemented.  Reconciliation must include, as integral parts, a commitment to a sovereign, stable, and unified Afghanistan, breaking ties to al Qaeda, ending violence, and accepting the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the rights of women.  We will explore opportunities to strengthen the Northern Distribution Network, to bolster regional security, and to expand cooperation as we fight terrorism and narcotics trafficking, taking advantage of the capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the NATO-Russia Council to enhance law-enforcement training for the region.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation intend to increase cooperation in addressing the world drug problem, so as to radically reduce production and consumption of illicit drugs, as affirmed by resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  We are ready to continue active support of efforts undertaken by the international community to counteract illicit production and illegal trafficking and consumption of drugs.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation are committed to furthering our multifaceted cooperation to counter terrorism.  Both our nations face persistent and evolving domestic and transnational terrorist threats, including from terrorists based in North Africa, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Acknowledging the global character of these challenges, we reaffirm our readiness for further joint work to implement the UN’s Global Counterterrorism Strategy, the UN Security Council resolutions and statements on terrorism, as well as to utilize other applicable international counterterrorism instruments, including counterterrorism sanctions regimes introduced by the UN Security Council with respect to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The United States and Russia affirm our intent to work together to ensure the long-term success of the recently launched Global Counterterrorism Forum and continue to interact on various multilateral platforms, including the G-8 Roma/Lyon Group, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  We will continue to work together to counter financial support for terrorism, disrupt the possible connections between terrorist networks and criminal groups, prevent the spread of violent extremism, and improve transportation security, including by concluding bilateral agreements in this field.

An important role in strengthening U.S.-Russian relations belongs to the Presidential Commission, created in July 2009, which coordinates our bilateral cooperation on the widest range of issues from strategic stability, energy and space, fighting terrorism and illegal drug trafficking and consumption– to public health, agriculture, the environment, civil society, and cultural and educational exchanges.  We are pleased to announce a new Working Group on Military-Technical Cooperation.  U.S.-Russian cooperation has been growing in the global fight against malaria.

This year we together celebrate the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross in California, which was founded by Russian settlers and underscores the historic ties between our countries.  In order to give our bilateral relations a new quality, we intend to pay special attention to broadening contacts between our peoples and societies, including by liberalizing the visa regime.  We welcome steps to bring into force the U.S.-Russian Agreement on Simplifying Visa Formalities, signed in 2011, which should make two-way travel by American and Russian tourist and business travelers easier.  We also commit to work together to ensure the rights and protections of adopted children.  This will be facilitated by bringing into force and implementing the bilateral adoptions agreement signed last year.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation will only be able to achieve positive new results by acting together for the purpose of strengthening the democracy, security, and prosperity of the American and Russian peoples, and by solving other complex challenges confronting our countries and the international community.

Remarks by President Obama and President Putin of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

Esperanza Resort
Los Cabos, Mexico

12:42 P.M. MDT

PRESIDENT PUTIN:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, this has been our second meeting.  I remember our lengthy meeting we had in Moscow.

Today we had a very meaningful and subject-oriented discussion.  We’ve been able to discuss issues pertaining to security.  We discussed bilateral economic relations.  In this regard, I’d like to thank you for the support rendered to Russia with our accession to the World Trade Organization.  I’m confident this will help to further develop the economic relations between our two countries, to promote the creation of jobs in both countries.

We also discussed international affairs, including the Syrian affair.  From my perspective, we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues.  And we’ll now further develop our contacts both on a personal level and on the level of our experts involved.

You visited the Russian Federation three years ago.  Now welcome again.  I invite you to visit Moscow.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

We, in fact, did have a candid, thoughtful and thorough conversation on a whole range of bilateral and international issues.  Over the last three years, the United States and Russia have been able to make significant progress on a wide range of issues, including the New START Treaty, the 1,2,3 Agreement, the work we’ve done on Russia’s accession to the WTO, and setting up a presidential process whereby issues of trade and commerce, science, technology are all discussed at a much more intensive level.

We agreed that we need to build on these successes, even as we recognize that there are going to be areas of disagreement, and that we can find constructive ways to manage through any bilateral tensions.  In particular, we discussed the need to expand trade and commercial ties between the United States and Russia, which are still far below where they should be.  And I emphasized my priority of having Congress repeal Jackson-Vanik, provide permanent trade relations status to Russia so that American businesses can take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities now that Russia is a member of the WTO.

We discussed a range of strategic issues, including missile defense, and resolved to continue to work through some of the difficult problems involved there.

I thanked the President and the Russian people for the work they’ve done with us on the Northern Distribution Network that is vital to providing supplies and resources to our brave troops who are still in Afghanistan.

We emphasized our shared approach when it comes to the Iranian situation as members of the P5+1.  We agreed that there’s still time and space to resolve diplomatically the issue of Iran’s potential development of nuclear weapons, as well as its interest in developing peaceful nuclear power.

And finally, as Mr. President mentioned, we discussed Syria, where we agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war, and the kind of horrific events that we’ve seen over the last several weeks, and we pledged to work with other international actors including the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and all the interested parties in trying to find a resolution to this problem.

Mr. President, I look forward to visiting Russia again, and I look forward to hosting you in the United States.

Thank you, everybody.

END
12:53 P.M. MDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 18, 2012: President Obama’s First Meeting with French President Francoise Hollande to the White House — Bilateral Meeting Remarks

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Welcomes French President Francoise Hollande to the White House

Source: WH, 5-18-12

President Obama with President François Hollande of France in the Oval Office, May 18, 2012

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President François Hollande of France in the Oval Office, May 18, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama today met with French President Francois Hollande for the first time when the newly-inaugurated leader stopped at the White House in advance of the G8 Summit which starts tonight at Camp David.

While much of the conversation in the Oval Office was focused on the economic situation in the eurozone — which President Obama said will also be central to the discussions throughout the weekend when they are joined by leaders from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia  — others issues concerning areas of our nations’ mutual cooperation were on the agenda:

We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, in anticipation of our NATO meeting in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. And we agreed that even as we transition out of a combat phase in Afghanistan that it’s important that we sustain our commitment to helping Afghans build security and continue down the path of development.

We also identified the issues of Iran and Syria, the transition that’s taking place in countries like Egypt and Tunisia as topics of critical importance. And we’ll be devoting extensive time to those issues throughout the G8 meeting. France has shown great leadership on these issues, and as I indicated to President Hollande, when the United States and France, along with our other key allies, make up our minds to stand firm on the side of democracy and freedom and development, that enormous progress can be made.

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and President Hollande of France after Bilateral Meeting

Oval Office

12:35 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is my great pleasure to welcome President Hollande to the United States, to the Oval Office, and this evening to Camp David.

We all watched the remarkable election, and I offered him hardy congratulations and assured him that the friendship and alliance between the United States and France is not only of extraordinary importance to me but is deeply valued by the American people.

I was interested, when I was reading the President’s biography, that he actually spent some time in the United States in his youth, studying American fast food — (laughter) — and although he decided to go into politics, we’ll be interested in his opinions of cheeseburgers in Chicago.  (Laughter.)

I also warned him that now that he’s President, he can no longer ride a scooter in Paris.  (Laughter.)  I know because I’ve tried with the Secret Service and they don’t let me do it.  (Laughter.)

Obviously we have had a lot to talk about.  Much of our discussion centered on the situation in the eurozone.  And President Hollande and I agree that this is an issue of extraordinary importance not only to the people of Europe, but also to the world economy.  And we’re looking forward to a fruitful discussion later this evening and tomorrow with the other G8 leaders about how we can manage a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda.

We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, in anticipation of our NATO meeting in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.  And we agreed that even as we transition out of a combat phase in Afghanistan that it’s important that we sustain our commitment to helping Afghans build security and continue down the path of development.

We also identified the issues of Iran and Syria, the transition that’s taking place in countries like Egypt and Tunisia as topics of critical importance.  And we’ll be devoting extensive time to those issues throughout the G8 meeting.  France has shown great leadership on these issues, and as I indicated to President Hollande, when the United States and France, along with our other key allies, make up our minds to stand firm on the side of democracy and freedom and development, that enormous progress can be made.

So I’m grateful to President Hollande for being willing to come here so shortly after his election and the formation of his government.  He’s gotten off to a very strong start.  And I hope that he will find my administration and the American people strong partners in delivering prosperity not only to the people of France but helping to provide peace and security throughout the world.

PRESIDENT HOLLANDE:  (As interpreted.)  I wanted my first visit outside Europe to be to the United States in order to meet President Obama.  The Camp David G8 summit as well as the meeting in Chicago was an outstanding opportunity, and I would like to thank President Obama for taking that opportunity to allow us to have a long conversation together.

This is the first time that we meet, and not the last one; there will be many other opportunities for as long as possible.  But it was important for me, on this occasion, to reaffirm the importance of the relationship between France and the United States.

Through history, we lived together some important events.  We’ve had our differences, but we always manage to overcome them because of that strong link between our two countries.  We also share some common causes — freedom, democracy.  This is the reason why our history, our culture go back together a long way, and we managed to go through these differences when necessary and have these ties that mean that when France and the U.S. come together we can make progress.

I discussed the main topics with President Obama, including the economy and the fact that growth must be a priority, at the same time as we put in place some fiscal compacts to improve our finances.  And President Obama was able to acknowledge shared views so that we can progress.

I also — on the Greece — the eurozone situation, and our concerns regarding Greece, and we share the same views, the fact that Greece must stay in the eurozone and that all of us must do what we can to that effect.  There will be elections in Greece and we wanted to send a message to that effect to the Greek people.

Our economies depend on one another.  What happens in Europe has an impact on the U.S., and vice versa.  So we are related, and the more coherent we are, the more efficient we can be.

We also discussed Afghanistan, and I reminded President Obama that I made a promise to the French people to the effect that our combat troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012.  That being said, we will continue to support Afghanistan in a different way, our support will take a different format, and all of that will be done in good understanding with our allies within ISAF.  And so we will continue and comply with our commitment to that country, and supply and support, as I said, in a different way.

We will discuss that further in Chicago, and I’m pretty sure I will find the right means so that our allies can continue with their mission and at the same time I can comply to the promise I made to the French people.

And regarding Iran, we, again, noted that we share views and that we could start negotiations, but that being said, with the required firmness that Iran doesn’t get the nuclear military capability.

Regarding Syria and Arab Spring countries, we talked about the Deauville partnership, and here again I said that we would comply with our commitments.

What was important to say today is that, as to our responsibilities, France and the U.S. are countries that have an impact on the destiny of the world, but we are great in friendship, cohesion and partnership.  France is an independent country and cares about its independence but in old friendship with the United States of America.  So it is with that friendship and with that independence that we can be both the most efficient when it comes to dealing with the current challenges.

And I would like to thank President Obama for the knowledge he has of my life before I took office.  I will say nothing against cheeseburgers, of course.  And as to my own vehicle, the one I used to have until I took office, I hope that I will not have to use it — (laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I just want to remember that cheeseburgers go very well with French fries.  (Laughter.)

END
12:53 P.M. EDT

Full Text February 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech with Vice President Xi of the People’s Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and Vice President Xi of the People’s Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting

Watch the Video

Oval Office

11:29 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I want to welcome Vice President Xi to the Oval Office and welcome him to the United States.  This is obviously a great opportunity for us to build on the U.S.-China relationship, but also an opportunity to return the extraordinary hospitality that Vice President Xi showed Vice President Biden during his recent visit to China.

As I indicated during my recent visit to APEC and the East Asia Summit, the United States is a Pacific nation.  And we are very interested and very focused on continuing to strengthen our relationships, to enhance our trade and our commerce, and make sure that we are a strong and effective partner with the Asia Pacific region.  And obviously, in order to do that, it is absolutely vital that we have a strong relationship with China.

Over the last three years I’ve had a great opportunity to develop a strong working relationship with President Hu.  And we have continually tried to move forward on the basis of recognizing that a cooperative relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect is not only in the interests of the United States and China, but is also in the interest of the region and in the interest of the United States — in the interest of the world.

On the basis of that understanding, we have established very extensive strategic and economic dialogues between our two countries.  We have been able to pursue a significant consultation on opportunities for both countries to improve their economic relationship and their strategic relationship, and also manage areas of tension in a way that is constructive.

That includes working together in the G20 to manage the world economic crisis that had such an impact not only on both our countries, but on the entire world.  And because of U.S.-China cooperation, I think that we were able to help stabilize the situation at a very difficult time.  It also includes the work that we’ve been able to do together in dealing with regional hotspot issues, like the Korean Peninsula, and issues like Iran that obviously have an impact on everybody.

Throughout this process I have always emphasized that we welcome China’s peaceful rise, that we believe that a strong and prosperous China is one that can help to bring stability at prosperity to the region and to the world.  And we expect to be able to continue on the cooperative track that we’ve tried to establish over the last three years.

We have tried to emphasize that because of China’s extraordinary development over the last two decades, that with expanding power and prosperity also comes increased responsibilities.  And so we want to work with China to make sure that everybody is working by the same rules of the road when it comes to the world economic system, and that includes ensuring that there is a balanced trade flow between not only the United States and China, but around world.

It also means that on critical issues like human rights, we will continue to emphasize what we believe is the importance of recognizing the aspirations and rights of all people.  And we expect that China will continue to take a growing role in world affairs.  And we believe that it is critically important that the United States and China develop a strong working relationship to help to bring stability, order, and security that ultimately provides a better life for both the people of the United States and the people of China.

So, Mr. Vice President, I hope you have a wonderful visit while you’re here.  I’m sure the American people welcome you.  I’m glad that you’re going to get an opportunity to get out of Washington.  I know you’ll be visiting Iowa, where you visited many years ago when you were governor.  And I understand you’re also going to be going to Los Angeles and maybe even taking in a Lakers game.  So I hope you enjoy that very much.

But I want to extend my deepest welcome to you, and look forward to a future of improved dialogue and increased cooperation in the years to come.

VICE PRESIDENT XI:  (As interpreted.)  Honorable President Obama, it’s my great pleasure to meet you again.  First of all, I’d like to convey the sincere greetings from President Hu Jintao, the National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Banguo, and Premier Wen Jaibao.

I am paying an official visit to the United States at the kind invitation of Vice President Biden.  And we have received the warm and extraordinary hospitality from our hosts.  So here, I want to thank you for your personal attention and what you did to help prepare and make sure a successful visit for myself.

The main purpose of my visit is to implement the important agreement you had reached with President Hu Jintao and to do some work to move forward the China-U.S. relationship along in the right direction, set by you and President Hu — that is for our two countries to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interests.  And I hope to engage with a broad cross-section of American society during my current visit, so as to deepen mutual understanding, expand consensus, strengthen cooperation, and deepen the friendship between the Chinese and American people.

Yesterday evening, soon after my arrival in Washington, D.C., I met with a very distinguished group of veteran U.S. political leaders.  I sought their advice on the future development of our relationship, and their wise and practical suggestions have provided me with much food for thought.

Just now I’ve had a set of large and small talks with Vice President Biden.  He and I had an extensive, candid, and in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relationship and international and regional issues of shared interest.  Building on our discussions last August in Beijing and Chengdu, the Vice President and I reached some new consensus.

I look forward to my in-depth discussion with you, President Obama, in our meeting today.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

END
11:41 A.M. EST

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