"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Joint Press Conference of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeteings, Okinawa Summit

[Place] Miyazaki
[Date] 13 July, 2000
[Source] http://www.g8kyushu-okinawa.go.jp/e/press/pre0713.html
[Full text]


On the record


Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono of Japan

Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy of Canada

Minister of Foreign Affairs Lamberto Dini of the Republic of Italy

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott of the United States of America

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook of the United Kingdom and Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Vedrine of the French Republic

Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana of the European Commission

Minister for Foreign Affairs Igor Sergeevich Ivanov of the Russian Federation

Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer of the Federal Republic of Germany

Commissioner for External Relations Christopher Patten of the European Commission


13 July 2000


13:00 to 13:45


Tenzui Room, 4F, World Convention Center Summit, Miyazaki

ATTENDANTS:200 Journalists

Joint Press Conference

I. Joint Press Conference of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting

Mr. Ryuichiro Yamazaki, Moderator: Thank you very much for waiting, we shall start the Press Conference at the conclusion of the G8 in Miyazaki Foreign Ministers' Meeting. First, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, the Chair of the Meeting, will say a few words.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono: I should like to thank all of you for coming. As the Chair of the Meeting, allow me to say a few words briefly at the outset. I have had the pleasure of welcoming my colleague G8 Foreign Ministers here in Miyazaki, the land of sunshine and greenery and blessed with a fine weather. And, my colleagues spoke out very actively in a very constructive manner and thanks to that, the two days that we have had as G8 Miyazaki Foreign Ministers' Meeting, I believe was a very satisfactory meeting. As you are aware, bearing in mind the fact that this meeting takes place in a landmark or milestone year of year 2000, we engaged in very lively exchange of views with the hope that we shall be moving on from this century of progress, but at the same time agony, the 20th century to the 21st century which I hope will be a century of hope.

The discussions we have had over the past two days have been summarized in this document entitled The Conclusions of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Allow me to underscore several points as the Chair.

We engaged in discussions on various global issues that the world is faced with. More specifically, we took up a broad range of issues such as the problems of conflict prevention, the importance of arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation, the fight against terrorism, the necessity of UN reform as well as economic and social issues such as crime and the environment, and we as G8 put together a concrete message.

Especially with regard to conflict prevention, we had a very candid and substantive exchange of views. As a result, whilst recognizing the importance of nurturing in the international community a culture of prevention, we put together this document, the G8 Miyazaki Initiatives, for conflict prevention as an embodiment of concrete actions we the G8 suggest, and I believe this was one important piece of achievement of this Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Also, my colleague Foreign Ministers referred to various regional situations that they shared with us their views, built on their experiences on the ground. We discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Indonesia, India and Pakistan, East Timor, situations in Asia. We also took up the Middle East peace process, a matter of great interest, I believe, to all of you, and also this very difficult intractable problem of the Balkans. We also discussed Africa and I believe we managed to send out a clear message to the international community.

Especially with regard to the Korean Peninsula, with the hope that following the historic North-South Summit Meeting, the dialogue between North and South will be maintained and move forward so that the tension on the Korean Peninsula will be relaxed and we agreed that we shall support further such positive moves. Also, whilst welcoming the recent moves of North Korea towards dialogue with the international community, we agreed that we would hope the North Koreans will take a constructive response to the concerns we have regarding security, non-proliferation, and humanitarian issues.

We believe that these results of our discussion will contribute to the discussions that our Heads will be holding, starting the 21st of this month, especially on one of the three themes of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, that is world stability.

Now, in view of the importance of dialogue between the G8 and developing countries, as was the case last year, we had a breakfast meeting with the representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement Troika, the Group of 77, and Thailand, the Foreign Minster of Thailand which is the Chair of ASEAN and also was the Chair of UNCTAD. We were able to have very substantive discussions on numerous problems and numerous issues, and were able to make progress on poverty development and other important issues. We agreed that we shall cooperate, we shall work together, and in this regard during the breakfast meeting we felt that there is a need for the advanced countries and the developing countries to engage in dialogue and cooperate with each other.

At the Foreign Ministers' Meeting this time, we were able to engage in substantive discussions and mark progress on various fronts, thanks to the cooperation and the kind understanding of my G8 Foreign Minister colleagues. And, I would like to take this opportunity to extend to them my heartfelt gratitude.

Last but not least, I would like to also express my gratitude from the very bottom of my heart to the people of the prefecture of Miyazaki and of southern Kyushu, for all the preparations they have made over a long period of time and for their very warm hospitality and welcome. That is all I have to say at the outset. I would like to introduce to you the Governor of the prefecture of Miyazaki. Thank you very much, Mr. Governor.

Mr. Yamazaki: Thank you very much Mr. Kono. We will open the floor for questions and answers. If you have a question, please raise your hand and after being recognized by the moderator, please proceed to the nearest microphone and identify yourself before stating your question. Please also make clear to whom your question is addressed. Questions please. Yes please.

II. Follow-up questions

Journalist from NHK: First, I am from NHK, representing the Japanese press covering this Summit. I have a question to Minister Kono. Yesterday over the working dinner, I understand that you discussed regional issues, particularly on the North Korean issue. Various Ministers reportedly expressed their views and they recognized the substantial changes occurring in North Korea, and some Ministers stated that they should expand the support and assistance given to North Korea, we were told. But on the other hand between Japan and North Korea, we have the issue of abduction of Japanese citizens, the suspicion thereof; there are problems between the two countries. Now, in response to the major change occurring in the North, on the question of support to North Korea, what is the basic position? Is it possible to have new food assistance to North Korea? How are you going to steer this question of giving assistance to North Korea in response to the major changes? Please refer to the discussions during the Summit as well.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono: During the working dinner last night, we had discussions on North Korea and as the only Foreign Minister from Asia, I shared with my colleagues how I see the situation, and my colleague Foreign Ministers, many of them, indicated very strong interest in this matter related to the Korean Peninsula in our discussions. All of us welcomed the realization of the North-South Summit and we also believe that this will contribute significantly to the relaxation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. And, I believe it is our concerted view that we should support these developments. The question was what Japan will do with regard to economic support or economic assistance, I believe, at least, that was the purpose of the question. Amongst G8 members, there is a country that has already established diplomatic relations with North Korea and there is a country that also intends to soon establish such relations. Japan, however, is yet to normalize relations with the North.

On the diplomatic front, North Korea has been very active these days and they are becoming positive and therefore we believe time is arriving for us to move more actively towards the normalization of relations with DPRK. Having said that, that cannot be realized if we alone had that intention. If both sides share a similar intention, then I am sure we will be able to move in that direction.

I believe that Japan of course has the intention to work to normalize relations with North Korea and I am sure that a time will arrive sooner or later. With regard to assistance, I believe the questioner was thinking about food aid, amongst other things. At this moment, we haven't got any specific plans. In the coming days, we will see what sort of interlocution we will have with North Korea. On normalization talks themselves with North Korea, we have to go very carefully, analyze and assess what sort of talks, what sort of interlocutions we will have with them. I said very carefully, as I mentioned earlier, we believe that if the two sides can agree to, in fact, conduct normalization talks, then we are fully prepared to respond to such a move.

Mr. Yamazaki: Thank you very much. Next question please. Yes, please. Yes, please proceed to the microphone.

Journalist from DPA: May I ask in English or in Japanese? I am from the German Press Agency, DPA. I would like to know, you talked about conflict prevention, what are the concrete steps you plan, the first steps, could you elaborate a little bit on that?

Mr. Yamazaki: To whom?

Journalist from DPA: To the Foreign Minister.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kono: Allow me to first respond to that question and perhaps my German colleague may have some supplementary remarks. As you know, conflict prevention will have to be looked at during different stages from different angles. The fundamental causes of dispute, what comes from conflict, such as poverty. Once a conflict starts, we must think of measures to minimize that conflict. After a conflict, we have to think of rehabilitation, reconstruction. So, we have to look at conflicts in different phases and how we respond to conflict in those different phases. Also, specifically, what are the issues that we need to address. We have to think of those specific issues as well.

On five points, we had discussions today and came to an agreement and that is the regulations of small arms and light weapons, the second is to address one of the fundamental causes of conflict that is poverty, and we have to think how best we will be able reduce poverty or overcome poverty. And thirdly, there is this problem of illicit trade in diamonds because illicit diamond trade would become a source of financing for conflicts, so we have to here again seriously address this problem. Then, the fourth point is children in armed conflict. How seriously are children affected by conflicts? We have to think about that. Also, the children are used in those areas of conflict as soldiers and are placed under the line of fire, and we have to prevent these problems. And fifthly, there is the training of international civil police to improve their level of skills and also increase the possibility of mobilizing international civil police. And we agreed on these five points.

I believe that on conflict prevention, we need to really work on various aspects, various problems in detail. And therefore, I very much hope that the Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, Foreign Minister of the Chair of next year's G8, will continue to take up this issue and give further detailed thoughts.

Mr. Yamazaki: Thank you very much. Next person, next question

Journalist from Japan Television: I am from Japan Television. I have a question to Mr. Talbott of the United States. Regarding NMD of the United States, in yesterday's meeting I hear that there was a discussion about NMD. Before the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, there was an experiment on NMD which failed according to the report. Now, in this context, what was the discussion that you had during the Ministers' Meeting, and yesterday, was there any opposition or the cautious opinion expressed? That is what we hear, but as far as the United States is concerned, are you going to continue with this initiative of NMD? I'd like to ask you this question.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott: Thank you. If you'd permit, I'd like to just add one point to our Chairman, Foreign Minister Kono's response to the earlier question about conflict prevention, yet another area identified for further work, including when Foreign Minister Dini takes over the G8, looking ahead to next year's Meeting, is the role of women, both in the prevention of conflict and also in the rebuilding of countries and societies that are recovering from conflict, and you'll see that point, too, reflected in the Communique.

With respect to NMD, there was discussion of that in the context of a broader discussion of arms control and non-proliferation. I had an opportunity to explain to my colleagues that the President will be making a decision with regard to NMD. He will be making that decision on the basis of four criteria. Those criteria are: technology, cost, threat, and then a fourth criterion is a bit more comprehensive, and relates to the impact of national missile defense on arms control, on our relations with our allies, on our relations with the Russia Federation, and indeed to the overall national security and international security implications. Now, the recent test obviously has a bearing on the question of technology. It was not anticipated before the test that the results of the test would be this positive one way or the other, and that is certainly the case. President Clinton, as he deliberates on this issue, will be taking account of many different factors that are subsumed by these four criteria, and those will certainly include the assessment of the Secretary of Defense, Bill Cohen, who will be studying the results and the implications of the most recent, in what is seen as an ongoing series of tests.

With regard to the fourth criterion, I very much valued the opportunity to hear directly from the Foreign Ministers of a number of our key allies, who have their own concerns and perspectives which they shared with me, as well as from our colleague the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. Mr. Ivanov was good enough to grant me some time yesterday. We spent quite a bit of that meeting talking about ways in which to use the good work that was done between President Clinton and President Putin at the recent Summit in Moscow. The two of them will be meeting again next week in the context of the G8 Leaders Meeting, and high on their agenda will be continuing the cooperative work between the United States and Russia on increasing the security and stability of both countries and indeed of the world in a way that takes full account of the importance of arms control, of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, but there also brings Russia and the United States even closer together in dealing with new threats that have arisen as a result of the proliferation of ballistic missile technology.

Mr. Yamazaki: Thank you very much. Next question please.

Agence France Press: I would like to put a question to Minister Ivanov and to Robin Cook.

Two countries that have a common trait of being confronted with domestic conflicts to a varying degree, do they believe that the machine for conflict prevention should also apply to their domestic conflicts within their national borders? The implementation of the measures envisaged, might that have changed in the passive way in which the conflicts developed, in Northern Ireland and Chechnya to be absolutely specific?

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Robin Cook: Well, I have to confess that we have no diamond mines in Northern Ireland, and if we had, perhaps some of the recent history may have been different. There are a number of factors, obviously, that one could apply. Over the past two decades, we have been very grateful to the support of many of the nations on this platform in helping to intercept arms supplies on the way to Northern Ireland, very important that we should try and prevent those who are trying to prevent peace from having the means to wage their own terrorism. But, I am pleased to say that in the case of Northern Ireland, we have over the last two years made good progress as a result of the very substantial investment by Prime Minster Blair in order to try and find ways in which we can find a way forward that answers the wish of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland to put conflict behind them and to embark upon a peaceful resolution. We have made good progress in that.

Nobody knows better than we do how difficult and how challenging it can be, or indeed what remains to be done. But we have now released the enormous demand of the people of Northern Ireland for peace, and nobody in Northern Ireland is going to allow themselves to be the people who are seen to frustrate that demand of the people for peace. We have a long way to go yet; we are determined to see it through. I am hopeful we may be able to carry it through to a successful conclusion, and I am grateful to the support we've had from colleagues around this table in that enterprise, and the good wishes I know we have of the rest of the world in order to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov: At the outset, I would like to begin this reply by expressing my gratitude to my colleague Mr. Kono, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan for the outstanding arrangements that were made in connection with this Meeting, and no doubt that these outstanding arrangements have been conducive to our successful outcome. I would also like to echo the gratitude that were mentioned by Mr. Kono regarding the Miyazaki prefectural authorities, and words of thanks to the wonderful population that greeted us so warmly; we were witness of this yesterday evening. And this surely created a very particular atmosphere, an atmosphere which brought along mutual understanding and friendliness. A big thanks to one and all.

Now, as regards the conflicts at hand, I believe that within the G8 group we have begun broaching a very serious dialogue, but we have begun this dialogue and we are bound to continue this dialogue. There is no doubt that international conflicts are today one of the most serious threats hovering on peace and stability in the world. An analysis of these conflicts has shown that even if these conflicts are close to each other territorially speaking, they are quite different. There are no conflicts that have common traits, and consequently, there is not a single set of measures which would enable us to solve these conflicts. Each and every conflict has to be resolved in its own specific way, and this is why yesterday we stated that, for instance, a doctor, before he prescribes a given treatment to a patient, has to have a proper diagnosis, and we have to carry out the proper diagnosis of the conflicts. What are the root causes? What are the sources? Where does the conflict come from? What are the historical sources? What serves to fuel this conflict? What is fueling the intention of the people involved in the conflict? Of course, we can talk about poverty. Obviously, the nutrition for conflicts is extremism in all its forms, including religious extremism. International terrorism today is a very genuine threat for a number of countries, and we have a host of different reasons and we have just begun this dialogue, trying to best properly identify the causes of the conflict and take all the measures that would enable us to avert any deterioration of the conflict very early on. It is a very difficult task but we have all been deeply convinced that when a conflict begins raging, it is much more difficult to arrest it than if we were to avert it and nip it in the bud.

Now, that being said, as far as Russia is concerned, and unfortunately, Russia is the object of an aggression from international terrorism and all around Russia on the territories of former Soviet Union republics, conflicts are still raging, and Russia, and the present Russian leadership is sparing no efforts so as to contribute to the resolution of these conflicts. I did inform my colleagues, the Foreign Affairs Ministers, of the measures being taken by the Russian leadership regarding the political settlement of the Chechen problem. It's a very complicated conflict which has many components. It is a conflict which today is a reflection of the aggressive nature of international terrorism that other countries have to contend with, and this is why we are indeed counting on the fact that Russia's openness in resolving this conflict, and may I stress that the resolution to the conflict can only be of a political nature that our openness and frankness will meet with the understanding and solidarity of the international community. Waging a battle against a scourge such as international terrorism can only be done jointly, and it is only by joining efforts that we can defeat that scourge. Thank you.

Mr. David Buckman, Financial Times: A question to Minister Ivanov. In the final Communique, why Minister did you find yourself unable to join the others in criticizing President Milosevic by name for what I think other people felt has been a sort of constitutional coup d'etat to prolong his tenure?

And, if I may ask a quick supplementary question to Deputy Secretary Talbott, to what extent have the latest developments, the talks between North and South Korea and your own talks, the US's own talks with North Korea, to what extent have they reduced the element of the threat in that which is an aspect of the overall NMD decision?

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ivanov: First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate any information from the Financial Times about any secret discussions because as far as I understood, these discussions were behind closed doors, and you may have some special sources that have informed you and one can only welcome that But anyway, the discussion went rather differently. There is a question of whether there is a constitutional coup d'etat or a different type of coup d'etat. We were not discussing that. We were discussing about more serious issues, how to achieve security basically in the Balkans. That's what the talk was about. One can't just reduce this to one question or one person, even if this is a very serious intractable problem, the Balkans are a very serious, very specific problem, specific region where one cannot have a formal approach to these questions. I think the wording that we have chosen in the document reflects a serious approach of all States participating in the meeting, who appreciate what processes are underway there and looking for a long-term solution to this conflict. It is not just a separate episode associated with this or that constitutional change, it is a problem which requires a complex approach and we all agreed that the G8 should express solidarity and should work together to try and solve these complex problems which exist in reality in the Balkans today.

Deputy Secretary Talbott: With respect to you second question, I will just make four points.

First, the North Korean development program, the missile program in particular, is a reality. It is a reality, by the way, that has been particularly palpable, I think, to our Japanese hosts for geographical and historical reasons. And when I say historical, I am referring to August of 1998 and the North Korean launch that took place at that time.

The second point is that it is a fact of life that as we try to define and redefine what we and our Russian partners call strategic stability and maintain deterrents, maintain arms control and also deal with new threats, that it takes longer to develop and deploy an effective defense than it does for a country that may or may not be subject to conventional or traditional deterrents to pose an offensive threat.

The third point is that there have obviously been positive developments, that the Foreign Ministers Kono and others have referred to from this podium with regard to developments on the Korean Peninsula and those have implications for the future of security in the region.

But, the fourth point is that it is an extremely difficult, demanding and important job to try to look into the future and assess exactly how these more recent positive developments interact with the more ominous developments in the past and the reality of the North Korean program. And, President Clinton's forthcoming decision with regard to NMD will be informed by the best judgment of our experts and specialists on that last point.

Mr. Yamazaki: Already, we have passed the scheduled time, so this is going to be the last question.

Journalist from Miyazaki: Representing the local press, I would like to ask a question to Secretary Cook of the United Kingdom.

This is the first Summit held in a local city in Japan. Miyazaki has a sister city arrangement and we have organized various events, social events. What was your general impression of Miyazaki? In May of next year the United Kingdom is going to have a very large-scale event celebrating Japanese culture, and so forth. What will be the best part of nurturing the friendship between the two cities? Can we hear your views?

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Cook: Well, that is a tough one. Can I first of all say that the arrangements that have been made for us at this Meeting of Foreign Ministers have been excellent, that I particularly appreciate the warm welcome that we have been given by the local people and by the Mayor of Miyazaki. The arrangements which were made have provided an atmosphere which has been very calm, very relaxing and has contributed to us having sober and realistic discussions.

I think I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that the concert that we received last night was first class of international standard, and that we do appreciate the evident warmth with which we were made welcome by the local people.

You touch on the link between Japan, Miyazaki, and Great Britain. I was very pleased to learn when I arrived here that one of the local schools here has an electronic link, through the Internet, to one of the schools near my own constituency back in Britain. And I believe all that we can do to foster such links between our young people will be of great help in encouraging the kind of goodwill and understanding between the next generation that we already have between the present generation of leadership in Britain and in Japan.

We look forward with great enthusiasm to the Festival Japan 2001 next year in Britain. I was asked about it as an event, I have to say that there are over 200 events in the course of that festival. They are spread throughout Britain including 33 in my own native country of Scotland, within Britain. I believe it will do a lot to celebrate the strong ties between Japan and Britain, and also as part of the theme of our discussion of globalization, bring us closer and give us the opportunity to explore the ways in which we can work together as partners.

But, finally can I thank the people of Miyazaki for having taken us to heart and giving us this excellent opportunity to meet together. And, on behalf of my colleagues, thank Foreign Minister Kono for the excellent way in which he has presided over our discussions.

Mr. Yamazaki: Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. This concludes the Joint Press Conference. Thank you very much.