Our military presence and our strong bilateral security ties have 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 in cooperation with our allies and partners. 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 (ROK), Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. We maintain healthy relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and support regional dialogue — such as in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) — on the full range of common security challenges.
Our security strategy in East Asia and the Pacific encompasses a broad range of potential threats, and includes the following priorities: deterring aggression and promoting peaceful resolution of crises; promoting access to and the security of sea lines of communication in cooperation with our allies and partners; actively promoting our nonproliferation goals and safeguarding nuclear technology; strengthening both active and passive counterproliferation capabilities of key allies; combating the spread of transnational threats, including drug-trafficking, piracy, terrorism and the spread of AIDS; fostering bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, with a particular emphasis on combating transnational threats and enhancing future cooperation in peacekeeping operations; and promoting regional dialogue through bilateral talks and multilateral fora.
The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for achieving common security objectives and maintaining a peaceful and prosperous environment for the Asia Pacific region. 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 for the roles and missions of the two countries, and facilitate coordination 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) that 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 Nonproliferation 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, albeit reduced as a result of the June 2000 North-South Summit, 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 military 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; the physical presence of U.S. and ROK troops in the Combined Forces Command, which has demonstrated the alliance’s resolve; and, increasingly, diplomatic activities of the United States, ROK, and Japan.
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 June 2000 meeting in Tokyo, President Clinton and President Kim affirmed the importance of the North-South Summit for building a more permanent peace, and the indispensability of the strong U.S.-ROK defense alliance as a stabilizing pillar for the region. The United States is working to create conditions of stability by maintaining solidarity with our South Korean and Japanese allies, emphasizing America’s commitment to shaping a peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula, and ensuring that a 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 have taken steps 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. Secretary Albright furthered that objective during her historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong 11 in late October 2000. The United States has also outlined to the DPRK what steps it must take to cut all ties to terrorism, and be considered for removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. But our willingness to continue to improve bilateral relations will continue to be commensurate with the North’s cooperation in efforts to reduce tensions on the peninsula and to stem its NBC weapons programs.
South Korea has set an example for nonproliferation by accepting the 1991 Denuclearization Agreement, agreeing to 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.
Beyond fully implementing the Agreed Framework, we seek to eliminate North Korea’s indigenous and export missile program and their weapons of mass destruction through a step-by-step process. Based on U.S.-North Korean discussions, North Korea has undertaken to refrain from flight testing long-range missiles of any kind as we move toward more normal relations. Working closely with our ROK and Japanese allies, we will improve relations with North Korea on the basis of it moving forward on the missile and WMD agendas, and we will take necessary measures in the other direction if the North chooses to go down a different path.
We encourage the North to work with South Korea to implement the agreements reached at the North-South Summit; continue the United Nations Command-Korean People’s Army General Officer Dialogue at Panmunjom; participate constructively in the Four Party Talks among the United States, China, and North and South Korea to reduce tensions and negotiate a peace agreement; and continue our efforts to recover the remains of American servicemen missing since the Korean War.