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