Democratic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia are the best measures to avert conditions that could foster ethnic violence and regional conflict. Already, the prospect of joining or rejoining the Western democratic family has strengthened the forces of democracy and reform in many countries of the region. Together with our West European partners we are helping these nations build civil societies. For example, the CIVITAS organization has carried out a joint civic education program in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a similar project is planned for Ukraine. Throughout the region, targeted exchange programs have familiarized key decision-makers and opinion-molders with the workings of American democracy.
The independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democratic and economic reform of the NIS are important to American interests. To advance these goals, we are utilizing our bilateral relationships and our leadership of international institutions to mobilize governmental and private resources. But the circumstances affecting the smaller countries depending significant measure on the fate of reform in the largest and most powerful—Russia. The United States will continue to promote Russian reform and international integration, and to build on the progress that already has been made. Our economic and political support for the Russian government depends on its commitment to internal reform and a responsible foreign policy.
East Asia and the Pacific
President Clinton’s vision of a new Pacific community links security interests with economic growth and our commitment to democracy and human rights. We continue to build on that vision, cementing America’s role as a stabilizing force in a more integrated Asia Pacific region.
Our military presence has been essential to maintaining the peace and security that have enabled most nations in the Asia-Pacific region to build thriving economies for the benefit of all. To deter aggression and secure our own interests, we maintain about 100,000 military personnel in the region. The U.S.-Japan security alliance anchors the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Our continuing security role is further reinforced by our bilateral treaty alliances with the Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. We are maintaining healthy relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and supporting regional dialogue – such as in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) – on the full range of common security challenges.
The United States and Japan reaffirmed our bilateral security relationship in the April 1996 Joint Security Declaration. The alliance remains the cornerstone for achieving common security objectives and for maintaining a peaceful and prosperous environment for the Asia Pacific region as we enter the twenty-first century. The 1997 revised Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation create a solid basis for more effective and credible U.S.-Japan cooperation in peacetime, in the event of an armed attack on Japan, and in situations in areas surrounding Japan. They provide a general framework and policy direction for the roles and missions of the two countries, and ways of coordinating our efforts in peacetime and contingencies. The revised Guidelines, like the U.S.-Japan security relationship itself, are not directed against any other country; rather, they enable the U.S.-Japan alliance to continue fostering peace and security throughout the region. In April 1998, in order to support the new Guidelines, both governments agreed to a revised Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which expands the provision of supplies and services to include reciprocal provision of logistics support during situations surrounding Japan that have an important influence on Japan’s peace and security. Japan approved implementing legislation for the Guidelines in the spring of 1999. Japan’s generous host nation support for the U.S. overseas presence also serves as a critical strategic contribution to the alliance and to regional security.
Our bilateral security cooperation has broadened as a result of recent agreements to undertake joint research and development on theater missile defense and to cooperate on Japan’s indigenous satellite program. Moreover, we work closely with Japan to promote regional peace and stability, seek universal adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and address the dangers posed by transfers of destabilizing conventional arms and sensitive dual-use technologies. Japan is providing $1 billion to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), and consults closely with the United States and ROK on issues relating to North Korea.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain the leading threat to peace and stability in East Asia. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has publicly stated a preference for peaceful reunification, but continues to dedicate a large portion of its dwindling resources to its huge military forces. Renewed conflict has been prevented since 1953 by a combination of the Armistice Agreement, which brought an end to open hostilities; the United Nations Command, which has visibly represented the will of the UN Security Council to secure peace; and the physical presence of U.S. and ROK troops in the Combined Forces Command, which has demonstrated the alliance’s resolve.
President Kim Dae-jung continues to pursue a course toward peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, seeking new channels of dialogue with North Korea and developing areas of cooperation between South and North. During their July 1999 meeting in Washington, President Clinton and President Kim reaffirmed the need for direct dialogue between
South and North to build a more permanent peace, and the indispensability of the strong U.S.-ROK defense alliance as a stabilizing pillar for the region. President Clinton strongly restated his support for President Kim’s vision of engagement and efforts toward reconciliation with the North. The United States is working to create conditions of stability by maintaining solidarity with our South Korean ally, emphasizing America’s commitment to shaping a peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula, and ensuring that an isolated and struggling North Korea does not opt for a military solution to its political and economic problems.
Peaceful resolution of the Korean conflict with a democratic, non-nuclear, reunified peninsula will enhance peace and security in the East Asian region and is clearly in our strategic interest. We are willing to improve bilateral political and economic ties with North Korea – consistent with the objectives of our alliance with the ROK – to draw the North into more normal relations with the region and the rest of the world. But our willingness to improve bilateral relations will continue to be commensurate with the North’s cooperation in efforts to reduce tensions on the peninsula.
South Korea has set an example for nonproliferation by forswearing nuclear weapons, accepting IAEA safeguards, and developing a peaceful nuclear program that brings benefits to the region. We are firm that North Korea must maintain the freeze on production and reprocessing of fissile material, dismantle its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities, and fully comply with its NPT obligations under the Agreed Framework. The United States, too, must fulfill its obligations under the Agreed Framework and the Administration will work with the Congress to ensure the success of our efforts to address the North Korean nuclear threat.