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Joint Press Conference with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera, April 6, 2014

Tokyo, Japan–(ENEWSPF)–April 6, 2014.

STAFF: Let us now start the joint press conference. Minister Onodera and Secretary Hagel will make statements first. First Minister Onodera will make a statement.

Minister Onodera, please.

MINISTER ITSUNORI ONODERA (through translator): Am I coming through? Now let me make my remarks.

Secretary of Defense Hagel is visiting before other countries in his trip to Asia this time. I am very pleased to receive him at the Ministry of Defense. This Japan-U.S. defense ministers’ talk is the first since his visit to Japan in October last year. And this is the fourth in a little less than one year.

Today we had frank exchanges of views on broad topics. I regard this as very meaningful.

First, with respect to the — now first about the proceedings, the agenda items. First, with respect to the security environment in the Asia-Pacific, North Korea is continuing its nuclear development and has fired ballistic missiles in succession, making the regional security environment more serious.

In light of this close cooperation between Japan and the United States, continued cooperation among Japan, the U.S., the ROK, and among Japan, the U.S., and Australia, and a stronger cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, these are what I have agreed with on — among others, with Secretary Hagel.

Also as to the Senkaku Islands, the position the United States has taken all along has been affirmed. And as regards opposition attempts to change the (inaudible) through coercion in the East China Sea and other areas, we came to an agreement on it as well.

Next, in view of this situation, we agreed there should be a closer coordination based upon the Japan National Defense Program Guidelines and the U.S.’s Quadrennial Defense Review, QDR.

Japan-U.S. defense cooperation should move forward (inaudible) in broad areas, including the completion of reviewing the guidelines for the cooperation, which we agreed to at the two-plus-two talks in October, 2013.

And we also agreed that deterrence and responsiveness of the Japan-U.S. alliance should be further reinforced. Secretary Hagel, regarding the U.S. rebalancing policy set forth in the QDR, stated that the policy will be continued.

Also, with regard to the three principles on transfer of defense equipment and technology, I explained the gist of it, and Secretary Hagel said that such an effort is welcome. We will continue to deepen bilateral defense equipment and technology cooperation.

As for reduction of impact on Okinawa, I explained requests of the Okinawa prefecture for mitigation of the impact of the bases, including termination of the use of (inaudible) station within five years, and the efforts made by the Japanese side to address this.

Secretary Hagel said to the effect that as they understand the thought of the people of Okinawa prefecture, they will continue to cooperate toward the Japanese effort.

As it regards efforts to mitigate the impact on Okinawa, I share the same understanding with Secretary Hagel, and based on this, concrete cooperation will be brought forward further.

So based upon today’s results, we will continue to build a strong Japan-U.S. alliance.

Thank you.

STAFF: Secretary Hagel will now make his opening comments.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL: Minister Onodera, thank you. I am grateful for your hospitality, as always. And I am grateful for an opportunity to be back in Tokyo.

I also want to note and thank the prime minister for his time last night when we had an opportunity to meet and discuss many of these issues as well as other Asia-Pacific regional issues.

Today, Minister Onodera and I had an opportunity to discuss a number of important issues, important to our alliance. He has noted most of them. And these build upon our two-plus-two meetings in Tokyo last October.

My visit to Japan represents the halfway mark in my fourth trip to the Asia-Pacific in the last year. I came here from Hawaii, where I met with the 10 ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] defense ministers, and will go next to China.

Minister Onodera and I had the opportunity to discuss both visits in some detail. I commended Japan’s capacity-building efforts in Southeast Asia, and we reaffirmed the importance of coordinating U.S. and Japanese security assistance activities in the region.

I also underscored the United States’ interests in developing a constructive relationship with China, and the importance of Japan doing so as well.

A key focus for our talks today was the threat posed by North Korea. In response to Pyongyang’s patterns of provocative and destabilizing actions, including recent missile launches in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, I can announce today that the United States is planning to forward deploy two additional Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) ships to Japan by 2017.

This will bring our Japan-based fleet of BMD-capable ships to a total of seven. I visited one of our BMD ships last fall while I was here in Japan. This deployment follows our October announcement to establish a second missile defense radar site in Kyoto prefecture, and my decision last year to increase ground-based interceptors in Alaska.

These steps will greatly enhance our ability to defend both Japan and the U.S. homeland from North Korean ballistic missile threats. This move to significantly bolster our naval presence is another action that strengthens our alliance and increases deterrence against North Korean aggression.

Building off of President Obama’s recent meeting with Prime Minister Abe and President Park, today Minister Onodera and I discussed ways to help deepen trilateral defense cooperation, including through the upcoming defense trilateral talks which will be held in Washington this month.

Minister Onodera and I also discussed our plans for consolidation on Okinawa. And I thank the minister for Japan’s efforts in securing approval for the Futenma replacement facility’s landfill permit. We look forward to the facility’s construction beginning soon.

I reaffirm the U.S. commitment to continue exploring ways to reduce the impact of our facilities on Okinawa, and our desire to be a good neighbor. These issues will be part of revising the guidelines for U.S.-Japan defense cooperation as we enhance our force posture, and Japan expands its roles and relationships around the world.

The United States welcomes Japan’s efforts to play a more proactive role in contributing to global and regional peace and stability, including reexamining the interpretation of its constitution relating to the rights of collective self defense.

Finally, we discussed key challenges in the East China Sea. I restated the principles that govern longstanding U.S. policy, U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands and other islands. And we affirmed that since they are under Japan’s administrative control, they fall under Article 5 of our mutual security treaty.

We take seriously America’s treaty commitments. And we strongly oppose any unilateral coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administrative control. A peaceful resolution of territorial disputes is in the interests of all nations of the region.

America has no stronger ally or better friend in this region than Japan. Going forward there should be no doubt that as the United States continues to rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific, the enduring friendship and alliance between our two nations will only grow stronger.

Thank you.

MIN. ONODERA (through translator): Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: Thank you.

STAFF: Let us move on to questions by representatives of the press corps. As the time is limited, we take two questions from the Japanese and U.S. sides each. Those who ask questions, would you come forward to the microphone and state your name and affiliation.

First with — from the Japanese side, please.

Q: My name is (inaudible) with (inaudible) newspaper.

I have a question to Secretary Hagel. The government of Japan, with respect to the right to self — collective self defense, they are trying to change the constitutional interpretation.

What would be the (inaudible) for the guidelines for Japan-U.S. security defense cooperation? Would that impact the timing of the realignment? And also if Japan — do you think it is beneficial for Japan to exercise the right to collective self defense? What are your expectations on the roles of the SDF, self defense forces?

Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: Thank you.

First, it is the responsibility and the sovereign right of Japan to examine their self defense guidelines and review those guidelines in the interest of their country, what is best for the Japanese people.

We encourage and support that effort. And we believe the decisions made by the Japanese government on behalf of the Japanese people will continue to enhance and strengthen this important alliance between our two countries.

STAFF: First question from the American side, Dan De Luce, AFP.

Q: First, to Secretary Hagel, are tensions with North Korea entering a particularly volatile stage? And are there indications that the regime is moving towards a major set of missile launches and even a nuclear test?

And to the Japanese defense minister, why did your government recently deploy your own ballistic missile defense ship to the Sea of Japan with orders to shoot down any incoming missiles from North Korea? And do you believe there is an increased danger that North Korea will launch a missile attack on your country?

Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: We’ve seen some very provocative, irresponsible actions that have come from the North Koreans, especially over the last year, year-and-a-half. It is the responsibility of all of our governments to protect our people, to assure their security.

And as we witness continued provocative North Korean actions, we must be prepared to deal with those actions. And we will continue to deal with those actions in ways that we think are important to protect our security, along with our allies, our partners.

We have treaty obligations. But we also, in the United States, defend our own homeland. As I, as you know, ordered more ground-based interceptors for Alaska. And we are doing more in that area of missile defense.

STAFF: The second question from the Japanese side.

Q: (inaudible) with (inaudible) newspaper.

I would like to ask this question to the two ministers from Japan and the U.S. Secretary Hagel, after the visit to Japan, you visit China I understand. And now the U.S. is maintaining the rebalancing policy. China is — has set air defense identification zone in East China Sea. The maritime move is evident. How do you respond to this?

Now in Okinawa prefecture, Japan is seeking your cooperation to reduce the impact on Okinawa. How would you address that? How would the Japanese side respond to this?

Now with respect to the transfer of Osprey training area, how would you proceed with this effort? I would like to ask this question to the two ministers.

Thank you.

MIN. ONODERA (through translator): Now, first, I would like to answer that question. China recently has expanded the defense budget quite dramatically. And also they have established the air defense identification zone unilaterally in recent months.

And now once again, today, with Secretary Hagel regarding the attempts to change the (inaudible) with coercion, we agreed on this.

Now in East Asia, I hope there would be a maintained peace and safety. The rebalancing of the U.S. is very important to that end. Japan’s defense capability needs to be strengthened. And also we have to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.

And also we have to also establish alliance — relationships with other countries, including the ROK. And that would invite — that will contribute to stability of this region. And in turn, that would lead to development of the economy as well.

Also, with respect to the reduction of the impact on Okinawa, yesterday Prime Minister Abe said to Secretary Hagel that for the reduction of the impact on Okinawa, the U.S. side would — and Japan would coordinate themselves with each other.

SEC. HAGEL: As to your question regarding the United States, we are continuing, as the minister said, and will continue to work very closely with the Japanese government on all of the issues that are developing in Okinawa.

We were very pleased and appreciative that the government of Japan was able to complete the landfill permit, which allows us a very significant step forward in the Futenma replacement facility. We’re making good progress. We will continue to make progress.

I think also it’s important to note that when you consider the additional tangible resources and assets that the United States has been positioning here in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in Japan, the P-8 (inaudible) are flying out of Japan.

We had just announced, as I did this morning, an additional two Aegis ballistic missile defense destroyers that will be assigned here. The TPY-2 radar site, which will — the second, will be operational by the end of the year. Global Hawk will be in place later this year.

The continued strengthening and deepening of our commitments here, not just with our treaty obligations with Japan, but the entire Asia-Pacific region, I think is pretty clear.

Our alliances and our relationships, our partnerships, friendships in this area are important in many ways and for many reasons. It’s stability. It’s security. It’s peace. It’s to assure the freedom of sea lanes, openness of skies, cyber, space.

So the alliances will continue to grow and enhance and deepen for the United States and all of our partners in this region of the world.

I might just remember — remind people here that I just came from Hawaii where I spent two days with the 10 ASEAN defense ministers. And we dealt with — on a number of these specific issues. And we went pretty deep into these issues: East China Sea, South China Sea.

How do we stay together to assure all of the nations of Asia-Pacific, the freedoms and the opportunities and the stability and the security and the respect, their respect for each other, which is critical to this alliance, has been, as well as our mutual defense interests?

STAFF: The last question today will come from Joe Morton, Omaha World-Herald.

Q: Thank you.

For Secretary Hagel, can you describe further the message you will be carrying to the Chinese on the coercion front? And how do you convince them to listen to that message and actually change their behavior?

And for the minister, can you answer why did you order the BMD ship to the Sea of Japan? And are you anticipating an attack from North Korea?

SEC. HAGEL: Would you like to start or do you want me to start?

MIN. ONODERA (through translator): Yes.

SEC. HAGEL: You can start, OK.

MIN. ONODERA (through translator): Now what sort of response are we making? On this point I would like to refrain from giving you the details. But at any rate, North Korea is acting its own ways in many ways. We would like to maintain our surveillance and would like to have close communications with the United States.

We are. And against this backdrop for the security of Japan and this region, our Aegis systems, and also the U.S.’s Aegis systems are quite effective. And this time Secretary Hagel said there would be two additional deployments of BMD-capable ships. And I think this is very important for this region.

SEC. HAGEL: Minister, thank you.

As to the message I’ll be carrying to China. I think, first, framing the overall effort and objective of going to China, first I’m going at the invitation of the Chinese minister of defense.

And I look forward to spending time in China and having direct conversations with the leaders of China about many issues. Certainly many, if not most of those issues will revolve around the Asia-Pacific issues, the East China Sea, South China Sea, its neighbors, the continued dangerous and provocative actions of the North Koreans.

Great powers have great responsibilities. And China is a great power. And with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power. How do you employ that military power?

And I want to talk with the Chinese about all of that, particularly transparency. This is a key dimension of relationships. Transparency, intentions, what are governments doing? Why? What are their intentions?

And the more transparent and open governments can be with each other, the better for everyone. That avoids miscalculation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding. And hopefully that lowers the risks of conflict.

Second, dialogue. Dialogue is important for many reasons. It doesn’t solve the problem. But without dialogue, you will not solve a problem. You have to listen to each other, clearly state positions, talk plainly, directly, honestly with each other.

If you do not, then issues will become further complicated and become more dangerous.

I think — to something else that I said here in the course of this conference that I will be talking with the Chinese about is respect for their neighbors. Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict.

All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small. I think we are seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today in what the Russians have done in Ukraine.

We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st Century this will not stand. You cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion, and intimidation, whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific, or large nations in Europe.

And nations must be clear on this and speak plainly. It takes courage from leaders. So I want to talk with our Chinese friends about this. We have many common interests with the Chinese.

I mentioned in my statement that we want to continue to build on our relationships. President Obama and President Xi have been very clear, especially on focusing more and more in the area of military-to-military relationships that we can do together. We are doing things together. We can do more things together.

I also want to talk about opportunities with the Chinese. Where are our opportunities to do more? Where are the opportunities for the Chinese to do more with their neighbors? Japan, South Korea, all the nations of this area.

So I look forward to an honest dialogue. I look forward to listening carefully to the Chinese. And only then do we help move forward with not just opportunities, but possibilities and the process in order to fulfill those prospects.

Thank you.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you very much.

STAFF: Now I am afraid that time is up. This concludes the joint press conference. Please remain seated until the two ministers leave the conference hall.

Source: defense.gov


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