DAVID R. STILWELL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY
BUREAU OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
OCTOBER 2, 2020
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks very a lot. Good morning, everybody within the U.S. Good night, everybody who’s in Asia. Thanks for becoming a member of us for this on-the-record convention name to debate Secretary Pompeo’s upcoming go to to Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea.
We’d identical to to deal with proper off the highest the Secretary is in Croatia at this time on his – he’ll be again to the U.S. very quickly. He did gaggle on the aircraft with our touring press concerning this journey and if he was nonetheless going and different journeys. So the Secretary has addressed all of that. The transcript has been out on our State Division web site I believe for a number of hours now. So we’re going to proceed to proceed with this name, however I might refer you – any questions that you’ve got which can be associated to COVID or touring or something of that nature, should you might please check out his gaggle this morning with the touring press. I believe you may get all your questions answered there.
So simply shifting on, the Secretary is meant to journey to Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar, and Seoul October 4th by the eighth for conferences together with his overseas ministry counterparts and different senior officers. Whereas in Tokyo, he’ll take part in a second gathering of the Quad overseas ministers from Australia, India, and Japan. This go to displays the robust partnership between america and our companions and allies within the area and demonstrates our dedication to persevering with the nice work that’s being carried out on the total vary of bilateral, regional, and world points that have an effect on prosperity and safety within the Indo-Pacific area.
The State Division official becoming a member of us at this time is my buddy David Stilwell, assistant secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Whereas this name is on the document, please observe that it’s embargoed till the completion of this teleconference. You can even get into the query queue at any level by dialing 1 after which 0. As at all times, we ask you to attempt to restrict it to at least one query should you can as a result of we want to take as many questions from as many reporters as potential.
I’ll now flip it over to Assistant Secretary Stilwell for his opening remarks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Thanks, Morgan, and thanks all for becoming a member of us this morning. We’ll run down by the specified aims and the itinerary right here for the journey.
So the Secretary will meet together with his counterparts within the area on the sixth, seventh, and eighth of October. As Morgan stated, first cease is in Tokyo. The timing is nice contemplating Prime Minister Suga taking the helm in Tokyo now, and provides us the possibility to reaffirm the bilateral relationship based mostly on shared values and customary regional and world imaginative and prescient. The U.S.-Japan relationship, as we’ve stated earlier than, is the cornerstone of peace, safety, and prosperity for the Indo-Pacific. The seven-decade alliance is constructed on the frequent basis of dedication to democracy, human rights, financial growth, safety, and people-to-people ties.
We thank former Prime Minister Abe for his imaginative and prescient in evolving our alliance, deepening funding in commerce, strengthening safety cooperation, and advocating for a free and open Indo-Pacific. We see Prime Minister Suga’s determination to host this – his first customer from america as an affirmation of our ever-strengthening partnership.
So our shared values lead us to face shoulder to shoulder in coping with regional and world challenges. We’re dedicated to the entire denuclearization of the DPRK, the tip of the DPRK’s illicit ballistic missile applications, and the decision of the abductions situation. Along with our Quad companions, america and Japan rise up towards PRC efforts to bully its neighbors, and we’re united by shared accountability to uphold the advantages of democracy, human rights, financial growth, and safety and people-to-people ties. So as soon as we’re full with – so we’ve obtained bilateral exercise in Tokyo, clearly. However we’d additionally prefer to thank International Minister Motegi for internet hosting the second Quad Ministerial on the sixth of October.
Only a fast abstract right here. The Quad is an off-the-cuff grouping of likeminded companions shaped to deepen cooperation on sub-regional points and form a extra closely-aligned Indo-Pacific area. As with our different sub-regional groupings together with the U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral group, the Quad members are closely targeted on concrete collaboration on shared challenges. The core of the Quad partnership rests on a dedication to continued dialogue and work towards mutually agreed-upon outcomes. Quad membership is pushed by shared pursuits, not binding obligations.
The Quad was not shaped to exclude nations. It was a gaggle shaped in 2004 as a part of the hassle to coordinate our respective humanitarian help and catastrophe reduction responses to the Indian Ocean tsunami. And it was revived, the Quad was, in 2017. Quad collaboration has grown past humanitarian help and catastrophe reduction and now focuses on furthering our shared imaginative and prescient of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific area. This final yr has seen a few of the Quad’s most outstanding development, to incorporate a concentrate on ASEAN centrality in our respective approaches to the area.
The Quad seeks to ascertain, promote, and safe Indo-Pacific rules, particularly as PRC ways, aggression, and coercion enhance within the area. Current discussions among the many Quad have targeted on constructing cooperation with, in, and amongst members on points together with maritime safety, cyber and significant know-how, infrastructure, counterterrorism, and the Mekong regional cooperation.
So from there we are going to journey to Ulaanbaatar, as Megan famous – as Morgan famous, sorry – in Mongolia. This can be a – that is my first journey, and I believe it’s the Secretary’s first journey as properly. We’re proud to ascertain and foster the connection as strategic companions. The U.S. can also be the third neighbor and dedicated to supporting Mongolia’s efforts to strengthen Democratic establishments, improve sovereignty, and diversify their economic system. This go to is an instance of the significance america attaches to the U.S.-Mongolian relationship.
We’ve got shared values with Mongolia. The residents of our two nations share a robust dedication to democracy, together with respect for and safety of human rights and elementary freedoms, together with the liberty of faith. Mongolia’s democracy is a mannequin for the area.
Economically and in commerce, U.S.-Mongolian commerce and funding ties are robust and rising stronger. One instance is the $350 million Millennium Problem Company second compact, which is able to enhance the provision of contemporary water to Ulaanbaatar by 80 p.c. Additionally, Mongolian cashmere is of the very best high quality, and thru USAID, we’re actively supporting Mongolia’s efforts to scale up value-added processing of cashmere in Mongolia.
And eventually, people-to-people ties. The U.S. has nice respect for conventional Mongolian tradition. Simply final month we introduced a significant monetary assist of $200,000 by the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation to protect the Choijin Lama Temple Museum in Ulaanbaatar. Over time we’ve invested $2.5 million to assist protect Mongolia’s cultural heritage.
After which lastly, we are going to end up the journey in Seoul, South Korea. So in Korea, we’ll reaffirm the ironclad U.S.-ROK alliance, which is a linchpin of peace and safety within the area. ROK is a important accomplice on regional and world points, together with combatting COVID-19, advancing peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, and strengthening regional ties beneath the Indo-Pacific technique, together with ROK’s new southern coverage. Our relationship is grounded in our shared values.
On the corona, we worth our shut cooperation with the ROK on COVID-19. The ROK has proven how a democracy can efficiently fight the pandemic with openness and transparency.
On financial and people-to-people ties, the U.S. is the ROK’s second largest buying and selling accomplice and high overseas investor after Japan. The ROK is a significant investor in america. Our nations share a dedication to free commerce, human rights, and democracy. Our two peoples are bonded by a shared historical past of friendship and sacrifice. And we proceed to advance our cooperation on regional and world points beneath the U.S. Indo-Pacific technique and, as I stated, the ROK new southern coverage, and we welcome the ROK’s rising overseas help contributions and encourage them to proceed in that regard.
So in any respect three stops the Secretary will meet with leaders in addition to his counterparts, and this journey demonstrates robust U.S. dedication to our allies and companions in addition to the area. And with that, I stay up for your questions.
MS ORTAGUS: Nice. Thanks. Let’s begin with Danh Lee from Zing Information.
QUESTION: Thanks. Mr. Stilwell, I’m, once more, from Zing Information. I’m calling from Vietnam. My query is, U.S. in late August introduced sanctions on Chinese language entities concerned in maritime actions in declare within the South China Sea. Is – will there be talks on these maritime points and worldwide cooperation imposing these sanctions? Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: I recognize that query. Yeah, as you observe, there are Chinese language corporations which can be state-owned enterprises which can be conducting actions, as you talked about, within the South China Sea, destroying a bunch of pure habitat, coral reefs, and all these issues. And that exercise extends to quite a lot of areas to incorporate creating ports and others.
And so, sure, these are all matters that may and can in all probability be raised throughout this, however as far – the – there’s a lot to speak about in Quad cooperation. As I discussed that the ASEAN centrality and supporting ASEAN is an space the place all 4 nations share a standard curiosity, and subsequently, as you talked about matters such – like it will possible come up. Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks. Nick Schifrin, PBS.
QUESTION: Dave, thanks for doing this. Simply very fast COVID query. I do know the Secretary has stated that he was enthusiastic about whether or not to go on the journey. He’s now simply stated that he’s going to go on the journey. Whether or not there’s any adjustments to the journey due to the President’s prognosis.
And my major query is about Taiwan. Is the Secretary contemplating going to Taiwan given a few of the PLA Chinese language strikes over the strait which were extra aggressive militarily lately? Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: I’ll simply take the primary query and refer you to the Secretary’s transcript from his gaggle this morning. And Dave, I’ll allow you to reply the Taiwan query.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Hey, Nick, once more good listening to your voice and all that. No, no additional journey to announce at this level.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay, nice. Soyoung Kim from RSA.
QUESTION: Hello, good morning. So I’ve a query concerning Secretary Pompeo’s go to to South Korea. So are you able to share with us what Secretary Pompeo will focus on with South Korean counterparts concerning North Korea? And as a facet query, is Secretary Pompeo anticipating any kind of October shock between the U.S. and North Korea earlier than the election? Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Okay. Thanks for that query. In your curiosity, I believe I coated the broad-brush matters through the cease in Korea. , now we have a really productive relationship with Korea and so there’s going to be tons to speak about. After which we stay up for interactions with – in any respect ranges of the Korean Authorities. Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks. And I’m sorry. I forgot to remind everyone to dial 1 and 0 to get into the query queue. Matt Lee, AP.
QUESTION: Thanks. Hey, Morgan, simply logistically – a really – you’ve talked about this gaggle. You’re speaking in regards to the one from Rome to Dubrovnik? As a result of that was the place he stated he was undecided. After which as Nick stated, he did say he was going to go forward with the journey on the press convention in Dubrovnik.
So – however then there’s additionally – if I’m studying the pool report proper, he’s going to do one other gaggle on the best way from Dubrovnik residence. So which gaggle are you speaking about? And will all of us presume that since this briefing goes forward that the journey goes forward? After which on substance, Assistant Secretary Stilwell, in Seoul on the – what’s the newest on the SMA? Is there something happening there? Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks, Matt. I might say the entire above, the gaggle, the press convention. I believe the press convention transcript is out. If not, it will likely be quickly so I don’t have something past what the Secretary stated. Dave, go forward.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Thanks, Morgan. Yeah, on SMA, the discussions are ongoing and can proceed. And never much more to replace on that.
MS ORTAGUS: Nice, thanks. Nico Pandi from Jiji Press.
QUESTION: Thanks. Ought to we count on a joint assertion after the Quad assembly? And in that case, do you anticipate it’ll concern Chinese language actions in South China Sea and Hong Kong?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: So I believe you’ll see public availability associated to. So far as the joint assertion, in all probability not. And as I discussed earlier than, there are going to be numerous areas for dialogue. And those you talked about are on the market and apparent. However the wonderful thing about that is it’s actually productive and it may be freeform as properly. The primary one final yr in New York was very related.
So once more the bringing collectively of 4 distinct views on points has been very useful. That is the beauty of the Quad is now we have shared values however completely different views, and from these come nice concepts and stylish options. Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks a lot. Humeyra Pamuk, Reuters?
QUESTION: Whats up, David. Whats up, Morgan. I simply wished to ask, so it’s the Secretary’s first journey to Asia – East Asia in over a yr and the primary one since COVID started. Within the minds of Asian allies, clearly, the menace posed by China is at all times entrance and middle not least because of proximity. However now given the U.S. election is so shut, which means they don’t know in the event that they’ll be coping with the identical administration in a few months’ time, how profitable do you assume you may be throughout this journey when it comes to getting concrete pledges, concrete deliverables out of them?
And if I could, the President final week stated on the United Nations that China was in charge for unleashing the coronavirus onto the world. Then is China by extension chargeable for infecting the President, would you say? Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Hey, thanks for that query. My expertise in each regional journey, interplay with everyone in East Asia Pacific Bureau in addition to coping with Congress, we’re all just about on the identical sheet of paper with respect to the primary points within the area.
What we wish to get again to what we had earlier than the corona broke out is an economic system that advantages the – everyone – the folks. We’ve seen numerous company within the first three years earlier than the worldwide economic system and motion was shut down associated to corona, and we’re attempting to get this complete factor soar began once more. However so far as adjustments and transitions, I – once more, these points should not controversial. And I strongly consider they may proceed. Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks, Humeyra. Okay. Will Mauldin, Wall Road Journal.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot. I wished to ask in regards to the – I didn’t see this addressed in Secretary Pompeo’s feedback – should you, Assistant Secretary Stilwell, have been concerned in any type of notices to allies and even adversaries in regards to the coronavirus prognosis of the President and the way they need to deal with that and what would change or what wouldn’t change on overseas coverage?
After which on the – particularly on the journey, I used to be questioning what message you assume this sends to Beijing that the U.S. is touring to neighboring and close by nations like Mongolia, South Korea, Japan? And positively, there have been points with Mongolian minorities inside China. What do you assume Beijing would take away from this, and what message would you wish to ship to them? Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Yeah, the primary query, I’ll simply ship – relay you to the White Home. Once more, that’s not my bailiwick. I’m not going to weigh into that. So far as messages, this simply – as I stated within the opening, this simply reaffirms a long-term dedication and the great thing about logistics should you’re in Northeast Asia profiting from the chance to see your likeminded allies, companions, buddies within the area.
And so I’ve been coping with Mongolia on this job, in my earlier job as properly within the Pentagon. It’s been a optimistic relationship. Third neighbor coverage has been excellent advantages for them and for us. And as you recognize, Mongolia has been a robust contributor to peacekeeping operations and we encourage that. We’ve talked rather a lot about different features of the connection in my opening feedback as properly. So it’s a visit to Northeast Asia, and this can be a nice probability to fulfill with and go to Mongolia. Thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay. The ultimate particular person now we have within the queue is Nike Ching, Voice of America.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot for the decision. Good morning, Morgan, and good morning, Dave. I simply wished to observe up on Nick’s query on Taiwan. Can we rule in or rule out throughout Secretary Pompeo’s journey to Asia a digital assembly or different engagements with the Taiwanese leaders? And the way would any tele-meetings be in step with the U.S. public legislation which is Taiwan Journey Act? I’m asking this as a result of there are rumor – there are speculations and simply wished to get clarification from each of you. Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Properly, I believe the query on Taiwan is acceptable. We’ve got made statements of late to speak about issues just like the Six Assurances and the remainder. Once more, Taiwan is a really succesful ally and – or a succesful accomplice within the area, particularly within the areas of economics and tradition. However as I stated earlier than, now we have no journey to announce. And – however we – once more, return to our main curiosity in making certain and insisting that the problems with the mainland and with Taiwan are resolved peacefully and thru dialogue. And that’s what you’ve seen the administration steps are reinforcing that, that dedication made by either side, as you recognize. So, thanks.
MS ORTAGUS: Thanks a lot, Nike. Thanks to everyone for dialing in. Have Friday. And please e-mail us with any questions. Thanks, Dave.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY STILWELL: Thanks, Morgan. See you.