Monday, May 27, 1996
ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v32; Issue n21
Remarks to the Pacific Basin Economic Council. (Pres. Bill Cinton)(Transcript)
Total number of pages for this article: 5 FULL TEXT
� May 20, 1996
� Thank you very much. Mr. Tooker, Mr. Fynmore, Mr. Lees, members of the
administration, my fellow Americans, and our guests from all around the
word. Welcome to Washington and welcome to Constitution Hall.
on the cutting edge of trade, investment, and opportunity. Today, with
19 member nations from Mexico to Malaysia, you're an integral part of
this vibrant Asia-Pacific community. I am especially grateful for your
active support of APEC.
� Today I am pleased to announce the appointment of three talented
Americans to the new APEC Business Advisory Council: Frank Shrontz,
Susan Corrales-Diaz, and Robert Denham. I also want to say a very
special thank you to Les McCraw of the Fluor Corporation for his
tremendous contribution to APEC's Pacific Business Forum over the last 2
� The world has changed a lot since 1967, when PBEC was founded.
Superpower confrontation has given way to growing cooperation. Freedom
and democracy are on the march. Modern telecommunications have collapsed
the distances between us. The new global economy is transforming the way
we work and live, bringing tremendous opportunities for all our peoples.
So many of these opportunities and some of our most significant
challenges lie in the Asia-Pacific region.
growing by the size of Canada every 2 years. Asia contains four of the
seven largest militaries in the word, and two of its most dangerous
flashpoints: the world's most heavily fortified border between North and
South Korea, and the regional conflict in South Asia where India and
Pakistan, two of America's friends, live on the edge of conflict or
reconciliation. At the same time, the economies of East Asia have become
the world's fastest growing, producing fully one-quarter of our planer's
goods and services.
� America has vital strategic and economic interests that affect the
lives of each and every American citizen. We must remain an Asia-Pacific
power. Disengagement from Asia, a region where we have fought three wars
in this century, is simply not an option. It could spark a dangerous and
destabilizing arms race that would profoundly alter the strategic
landscape. It would weaken our power to deter states like North Korea
that still can threaten the peace, and to take on problems, including
global terrorism, organized crime, environmental threats, and drug
trafficking in a region that produces 62 percent of the world's heroin.
� Our leadership in Asia, therefore, is crucial to the security of our
future prosperity. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest consumer
market in the world, accounting already for more than half of our trade
and supporting millions of American jobs. By the year 2000 auto sales in
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand could equal our car sales to Canada
and Mexico. Over the next 10 years, Asian nations will invest more than
$1 trillion in infrastructure projects alone. We can help to shape a
region's open economic development, but if we sit on the sidelines we
could watch our own prosperity decline.
� When I took office, I had a vision of a Asia-Pacific community built
on shared efforts, shared benefits, and shared destiny, a genuine
partnership for greater security, freedom, and prosperity. Given all the
currents of change in the region, I knew then and I know now the road
will not be always even and smooth. But the strategy is sound, and we
have moved forward steadily and surely toward our goal.
� With both security and economic interests so deeply at stake, we have
pursued from the outset an integrated policy, pursuing both fronts
together, advancing on both fronts together. Though the end of the cold
war has lessened great power conflict in Asia and in Europe, in Asia,
nationalism to nuclear proliferation, to drug trafficking, organized
crime, and other problems.
� To meet these tests in Europe we are adapting and expanding NATO,
emphasizing the Partnership For Peace, including a new and more
constructive relationship with Russia which is, or course, both a
European and a Pacific nation and, therefore, must be a partner in
making a stable and prosperous Asia Pacific future as well.
� Asia has not evolved with similar unifying institutions, like NATO, so
we are working with Asia to build new security structures, flexible
enough to adapt to new threats, durable enough to defeat them. Each
arrangement is like an overlapping plate of security armor, working
individually and together to protect our interests and reinforce peace.
� Our security strategy has four fundamental priorities: a continued
American military commitment to the region, support for stronger
security cooperation among Asian nations, leadership to combat the most
serious threats, and support for democracy throughout the region. To
pursue that strategy, we have updated and strengthened our formal
We have reaffirmed our commitment to keep 100,000 troops in the region.
� Just a few weeks ago, we renewed our security alliance with Japan and
moved to reduce the tensions related to our presence on Okinawa. Today,
that security relationship is stronger than ever. We have reached a
series of security access agreements, magnifying the impact and
deterrent effect of our forward deployed force. We have supported the
ASEAN nations in building a new security dialog(1) in a region long
fractured by distrust. We have launched new security initiatives such as
the four-party talks President Kim and I proposed in an effort to bring
a permanent peace to the Korean Peninsula.
� With our South Korean allies, we stopped the North Korean nuclear
threat that had been brewing since 1985 when North Korea began to build
a plutonium production reactor. Through firmness and steadiness, we
gained an agreement that has already halted and eventually will
dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Today, a freeze is in
place under strict international supervision. And last month, we began
the canning of North Korea's spent fuel. One of the greatest potential
threats to peace is, therefore, being diffused with American leadership.
advanced ballistic missile defense systems to protect our troops and our
allies. We have deployed upgraded Patriot missiles to South Korea. We
are upgrading the 21 battalions of Patriot systems in Japan and jointly
examining future requirements with the Japanese government. We recently
reached an agreement with Taiwan that will provide them with a theater
missile defense capability. And we are developing even more advanced
systems for deployment in the next few years, such as the Navy Lower
Tier, THAAD, and Navy Upper Tier programs. The latter two address
longer-range missile threats.
� When China expanded its military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, we
made clear that any use of force against Taiwan would have grave
consequences. The two carrier battle groups we sent to the area helped
to defuse a dangerous situation and demonstrated to our allies our
commitment to stability and peace in the region. In the long run we also
strengthen security by deepening the roots of democracy in Asia.
� Democratic nations, after all, are more likely to seek ways to settle
conflicts peacefully, to join with us to conquer common threats, to
I believe, universal human aspirations. We have only to look at South
Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Cambodians who turned from
bullets to ballots to build a democratic future, Burma's Aung San Suu
Kyi, and other courageous leaders in the area.
� We will continue to support our shared ideals in Asia, as elsewhere,
encouraging reform, shining the spotlight on abuse, speaking out for
those whose voices are silenced. Reinforcing the security pillar of
America's relationships in Asia also advances American economic
interests. Security and stability unleash resources for human progress,
saving for the future, investing in education and enterprise, expanding
trade, drawing the region closer together, and making the case for peace
stronger and stronger. As with our security strategy, our economic
strategy in Asia employs all the tools available - multilateral,
regional, and bilateral - to open markets and thereby create more
opportunities and jobs for Americans.
� Soon after I became President, as all of you know, I called for the
first ever summit meeting of Asian-Pacific leaders. At that historic
meeting in Washington State, leaders from China to Indonesia to Brunei
strength, prosperity, and peace. One year later in Indonesia, we made a
landmark commitment to achieve free trade and investment in the region
by the year 2020. And last year in Japan, APEC adopted an action plan to
� Next November in Manila, I am confident we will take steps toward
concrete measures to lower trade and investment barriers. With APEC,
NAFTA, our efforts in this hemisphere and the World Trade Organization,
the United States is working to lead the construction of a new global
trading system, a world of expanding markets and fairer rules in which
America can thrive and people all over the world can have a chance to
live out their destinies and dreams as well.
� Country to country, we are restoring health and balance to our
economic relations through firm negotiations and tough action where
necessary, to open markets for our goods and services, today the most
competitive in the world. In the past 3 years, our own exports have
boomed. They're up over 35 percent to an all-time high, creating a
million new jobs that consistently pay more than jobs that are not
related to exports. I'm proud to say that once again our Nation is the
our strategy in the progress we have made in working with our friends in
Japan. Today we are selling more goods to Japan than ever before. Our
bilateral trade deficit in the first quarter was down 25 percent from
last year. Since 1993, our two nations have signed 21 trade agreements,
focusing on sectors where America's competitiveness is strongest. Our
exports in those 21 areas are up 85 percent, three times faster than the
rest of our export growth in Japan.
� In Tokyo today a consumer can drive to work in a Chrysler jeep, talk
with a friend on a Motorola telephone, snack on an apple from Washington
State, and have American rice for dinner. Of course, a Japanese speaker
could say the same thing about an American using all Japanese products,
but it's nice now that both of us can tell that story. Of course, our
work is not done. We must achieve further progress. But we are making a
real difference for American exports and jobs.
� Finally, let me turn to our relations with China, for they will shape
all of our futures profoundly. How China defines itself and its
greatness as a nation in the future and how our relationship with China
evolves will have as great an impact on the lives of our own people and,
� China is Asia's only declared nuclear weapons State, with the world's
largest standing army. In less than two decades it may well be the
world's largest economy. Its economic growth is bringing broader changes
as steps toward freer enterprise fuel the hunger for a more free
society. But the evolution underway in China is far from clearcut or
complete. It is deep and profound, and today, China stands at a critical
crossroads. Will it choose the course of openness and integration, or
veer toward isolation and nationalism? Will it be a force for stability,
or a force for disruption in the world? Our interests are directly at
stake in promoting a secure, stable, open, and prosperous China, a China
that embraces international non-proliferation, and trade rules,
cooperates in regional and global security initiatives, and evolves
toward greater respect for the basic rights of its own citizens.
� Our engagement policy means using the best tools we have, incentives
and disincentives alike, to advance core American interests. Engagement
does not mean closing our eyes to the policies in China we oppose. We
have serious and continuing concerns in areas like human rights,
continue to defend our interests and to assert our values. But by
engaging China, we have achieved important benefits for our people and
the rest of the world.
� We worked closely with China to extend the nuclear nonproliferation
treaty and to freeze North Korea's nuclear weapons program. We welcome
China's constructive position regarding the proposed four-party talks
for peace on the Korean Peninsula. We are working with China to conclude
and to sign a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty by September. And we
are cooperating to combat threats like drug trafficking, alien smuggling
and, increasingly, environmental decay.
� Last week we reached an important understanding with China on nuclear
exports. For the first time, China explicitly and publicly committed not
to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear programs in any country.
China also agreed to hold consultations on export control policies and
practices. We continue to have concerns about China's nuclear exports.
This agreement provides a framework to help deal with those concerns.
� Our economic engagement with China has also achieved real results.
has helped to fuel to rise of more than 200 percent in United States
exports of telecommunications equipment since 1992. China has become our
fastest growing export market, with exports up nearly 30 percent in 1995
� Much remains to be done. Our bilateral trade deficit with China is too
high, and China's trade barriers must come down. But the best way to
address our trade problems is continue to work to open China's booming
market by negotiating and enforcing good trade agreements. That is why
we will use the full weight of our law to ensure that China meets its
obligations to protect intellectual property. That is why we are
insisting that China meet the same standard of openness applied to other
countries seeking to enter the WTO - no more, no less. And that is why I
have decided to extend unconditional most favored nation trade status to
� Revoking MFN and, in effect, severing our economic ties to China,
would drive us back into a period of mutual isolation and recrimination
that would harm America's interests, not advance them. Rather than
strengthening China's respect for human rights, it would lessen our
weapons of mass destruction, it would limit the prospect for future
cooperation in this area. Rather than bringing stability to the region,
it would increase instability, as the leaders of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and
all the nations of the region have stated repeatedly. Rather than
bolstering our economic interests, it would cede one of the
fastest-growing markets to our competitors.
� MFN renewal is not a referendum on all China's policies. It is a vote
for America's interests. I will work with Congress in the weeks ahead to
secure MFN renewal and to continue to advance our goal of a secure,
stable, open, and prosperous China. This is a long-term endeavor, and we
must be steady and firm.
� Where we differ with China - and we will have our differences - we
will continue to defend our interests. We will keep faith with those who
stand for greater freedom and pluralism in China, as we did last month
in co-sponsoring a U.N. resolution condemning China's human rights
practices. We will actively enforce U.S. laws on unfair trade practices
and nonproliferation. We will stand firm for a peaceful resolution of
the Taiwan issue within the context of the one China policy, which has
But we cannot walk backward into the future. We must not seek to isolate
ourselves from China. We will engage with China, without illusion, to
advance our interests in a more peaceful and prosperous world.
� Asia is in the midst of an historic transformation, one America helped
to inspire and one we cannot afford to ignore. I have spoken today about
challenge and change, but I pledge to you as President of the United
States that one thing remains unchanging, and that is America's
commitment to lead with strength, steadiness, and good judgment.
� Working together with groups like yours and others, our nations can
rise to the challenges of this time, reinforcing our strength and
prosperity into the 21st century. We can build an Asia-Pacific region
where fair and vigorous economic competition is a source of opportunity,
where nations work as partners to protect our common security, where
emerging economic freedoms are bolstered by greater political freedoms,
where human rights are protected and diversity is respected.
� We can build a Pacific future as great as the ocean that links our
shores. Let us pray that we have the wisdom, the courage, and the
firmness to do that.
� I thank you for your dedication to that goal. Thank you very much.
� NOTE: The President spoke at 10:12 a.m. in Constitution Hall. In his
remarks, he referred to Gary Tooker, vice chairman, Russell Fynmore,
chairman, and Robert Lees, secretary-general, Pacific Basin Economic
Council International; and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition
leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
� 1 White House correction.