Washington -- The United States remains committed to the East Asia region, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Kurt Campbell.
The Defense Department official briefed foreign reporters at the USIA Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on the 1998 East Asia Strategy Report, November 23.
The United States, Campbell said, "intends to demonstrate that we are a constant in the region."
By presence and by purpose, he stressed, "we intend to play a role in the region that is not only critical for American long-term interests but for the interests of those countries in the region as well."
The report, Campbell said, "also describes our determination to increase our access, increase our military training and our overall engagement with Southeast Asian countries."
Campbell cited the increased contacts between the United States military and China's Peoples Liberation Army as one of the changes in the American security posture in the Far East.
While noting the positive emerging Chinese-Russian relationship, Campbell emphasized, "it is important and prudent for the United States and other countries in the region to ask questions about what are the goals and ambitions of this relationship and what are the manifestations of it.
"For instance," Campbell continued, "we have seen significant military exchanges to date. I think those exchanges offer Russia badly needed hard currency, and they allow China to increase its military capability."
Turning toward the tense situation with North Korea, Campbell said the United States realizes "that any hope of diplomacy with North Korea rests on the reality of our deterrent capability, and that's the combined deterrent capability of the United States and South Korea."
Following is an unofficial transcript of the briefing from the Federal News Service:
(begin unofficial transcript)
USIA FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING
SUBJECT: EAST ASIA STRATEGY REPORT
BRIEFER: KURT CAMPBELL, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
MODERATOR: CHARLES SILVER
THE USIA FOREIGN PRESS CENTER
NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING
CAMPBELL: Thank you very much, Charles. By way of introduction, I think many of you know that this morning, Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced the release of the 1998 version of the so-called East Asia Strategy Report -- the EASR. This is an updated version of a report that was last issued in 1995 under then-Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye. I think, as many of you know, the original report, the East Asia Strategy Initiative, the so-called EASI, was mandated by Congress in the 1980s when there was some concern about what was American strategic purpose and presence in the Asia Pacific region. We have continued with these reports because we think that they are an excellent venue for describing what we believe are our strategic interests, some of our accomplishments, and some of our goals for the twilight years of this century and beyond.
I think as many of you glance through the report you'll see some areas of continuity between previous statements, from previous statements of U.S. strategy, and I think largely that's because we believe many elements of our strategy have been successful. And so the most important thing for the United States to do is to continue on in areas where we think that the benefits of U.S. presence, U.S. engagement, has been essentially 50 years of fundamental peace and stability, and that ultimately, to continue that process, we believe American engagement is key.
But you will also see that when you compare the 1998 report with the 1995 report, there are a whole host of sections that were developed in the last three or four years. For instance, in 1995, we had virtually no military-to-military relationship with China. This report underscores the importance of our military engagement plan with the People's Liberation Army.
It also describes our determination to increase our access, increase our military training and our overall engagement with Southeast Asian countries, which are increasingly important to peace and stability.
We also talk in great detail about the most important partnership for the United States in the Asian Pacific, which is that relationship with Japan. In addition, we talk about steps that we are taking to preserve peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
There's also a significant section which alludes to the importance that the United States puts on being a good neighbor in the Asian Pacific region; steps that we must take in Korea and Japan, in particular to demonstrate that we understand that U.S. forces, forward deployed, can have some inconveniences on local communities and that we must take steps to be good neighbors in order for us to maintain our presence not only now but into the future.
We also talk in the report extensively about what we would call non-traditional security challenges; not the kind that are normally posed by states, but those posed by issues that we all face -- environmental concerns, questions of environmental degradation, concerns posed by drug trafficking.
And these are addressed also in the security report as a whole.
Our intention here, fundamentally, is to underscore the fact that during a period of tumult and change which, unquestionably, Asia is going through, the United States intends to demonstrate that we are a constant in the region; that by our presence and by our purpose that we intend to play a role in the region that is not only critical for American long-term interests but for the interests of those countries in the region as well.
With that just as a general introduction, you've had a chance to glance through it; I think some of you have copies from this morning, I'd be happy to take any and all questions for probably about 45 minutes.
Q: In the section dealing with cooperation, military cooperation with China, I believe you mention peacekeeping and dispute resolution. I thought that the Chinese did not want some sort of peacekeeping joint activities. Am I reading that wrong, or could you explain that?
CAMPBELL: The section on China underscores where we have been, what areas we've worked on in the past, what we're currently involved in presently and some areas where we potentially might be able to cooperate in the future. I think what you're referring to in that section are potential areas in the future where if there is increase in trust and a greater sense of, sort of, strategic compatibility where China can be more engaged in international activities.
Obviously, the areas that we are focused on most pressingly in the current context are areas associated with increasing strategic dialogue between our forces and theirs, talking about areas of real mutual concern such as North Korea and the Persian Gulf, and also focus carefully on areas such as humanitarian relief operations where the United States and China might be able to participate in cooperative ventures in the not too distant future.
Q: Dr. Campbell, since the last report was issued in February '95, the one incident, arguably, with the most far-reaching implications for the Asia Pacific security is the Taiwan Strait missile crisis. But maybe I ought to read the report again.
But so far I've only seen one sentence mentioned of that incident. Could you explain why? Thank you.
CAMPBELL: Well, first of all, let me underscore that it is mentioned, and it's mentioned prominently, in the introduction as a reminder that the U.S. role is the ultimate guarantor of peace and stability and that we have strategic interest in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
Let me say that much has transpired since the very dangerous times of March and April of 1996. And I think all Asian interlocutors and the United States look at recent developments in terms of resumption of cross-straits dialogues and talks as a very hopeful sign in terms of the Chinese people themselves, in Taiwan and the PRC, dealing with issues of their own mutual concern.
Q: Dr. Campbell, there is a report from the Washington Post that China is actually purchasing anti-ship cruise missiles and Su-30s from Russia. Can you confirm this news? And do you think this will have any influence on the balance of this situation you described in this book?
CAMPBELL: I'm not going to get into any specific discussions about particular ongoing discussions between China and Russia, in terms of missile discussions or military discussions.
I can say, as Assistant Secretary Kramer pointed out this morning in the briefing after Secretary Cohen, we believe that it is in the interests of peace and stability and good relations in the Asian Pacific that China and Russia develop a positive, strong relationship. And the recent visit -- in fact, the ongoing visit -- of President Jiang Zemin to Moscow -- I understand that he stopped by President Yeltsin's sickbed this morning -- we think, is a positive sign.
However, we also think it is important and prudent for the United States and other countries in the region to ask questions about what are the goals and ambitions of this relationship and what are the manifestations of it. For instance, we have seen significant military exchanges to date. I think those exchanges offer Russia badly needed hard currency, and they allow China to increase its military capability.
But I think China has been, I think, very appropriate in asking many other countries in the region what are the purposes behind, for instance, the U.S.-Japan reaffirmation of our alliance in the last few years. And I think that has set a healthy standard for dialogue about strategic innovations in the region. And it has made it the onus on the United States and Japan to convince and explain to other countries what we have in mind.
I believe personally that the same standard should also apply to China and Russia as they enter a new phase in their strategic relationship. And it's appropriate for them to explain what, in fact, are the goals and ambitions of their strategic engagement of the last two or three years.
Overall, we are in the midst, I think as you know, of an intensive report on the cross-straits security situation, which will take into account the introduction of new weapons, procured not only from Russia but from other countries, into the Chinese arsenal, into the PRC arsenal, and that report will be made available to Congress in the not-too-distant future.
Q: With respect to the maintenance of U.S. forces in the region, the report refers to new modes of sustaining our regional forces. Could you explain what these new modes might be, with specific reference to, perhaps, Okinawa or Japan?
CAMPBELL: Well, let's see. Primarily what we're talking about are shorter-term deployments, no -- obviously, in Japan and Korea we have formal base structures. Increasingly, U.S. forces are operating in Southeast Asia, and those deployments are taking on a longer-term character and nature. We have arrangements with countries like Singapore, for instance, where they have made available to us a new long pier for the potential visits of aircraft carriers and other kinds of U.S. forces.
The possibilities here, of course, are to find something that is short of basing but greater than, shall we say, infrequent visits. And what we've done primarily in Southeast Asia is string together a host of sort of intersecting kinds of engagements -- military education, deployments, training, other opportunities with Southeast Asian militaries in such a way to increase U.S. presence there over the long term. I think we believe that in order for the United States to be a presence in Asia, it's important not just to have an important foothold in both Korea and Japan, but also to have the ability to engage actively in Southeast Asia as a whole.
Overall when we talk about new modes of activities in Okinawa, what we are referring to primarily are, for instance, in the SACO report two years ago, the Special Action Committee on Okinawa, one of the things that we took an initiative on was to move all artillery firing off of Okinawa. By doing so, we had to rotate units through live fire areas in both Japan and, to a certain extent, in Korea.
This puts some inconvenience on U.S. forces undeniably, and I occasionally hear some grumbling about it, to be perfectly honest, from my military counterparts, particularly the Marines. However, we believe that that inconvenience is worth it in the sense of it removes an inconvenience on the people of Okinawa. So we are constantly searching for ways in which U.S. forces can make less of an intrusion on the day-to-day lives of people in the region as a whole.
Q: As far as PRC goals in the Taiwan Strait are concerned, I don't think we need ask what they are; I think the PRC has told us many times what they are. They are to acquire the ability to take Taiwan by force; they have said that many times. We know what that goal is. The question was, do you think that the purchase of these equipment, these types of equipment is changing the military balance in the Strait? That was her question. My own question is, with regard to the PRC purchase of Sunburn missiles and so many destroyers, the only possible use that I could imagine would be against the 7th Fleet. Do you think that this is something that we ought to say a few harsh words to the Russians about?
CAMPBELL: The first question, on increasing military capabilities of China, China is a growing power in the Asia Pacific region. Commensurate with that growth is a growth in their military capabilities. One of the reasons that we have chosen -- and we believe that it's in U.S. interests to engage China, is to ask them about the strategic purposes of their military modernization program. Clearly, there are some capabilities that have been either developed or procured that will have implication for Chinese abilities to deploy and to project power, and those are developments that the U.S. watches and studies carefully. I think you understand that and you know that.
Ultimately, we believe that the most important determination and the most important thing on the part of the United States is to maintain a very clear statement about what our strategic goals and our strategic determination is. And we stand very, very firmly behind the Taiwan Relations Act, and I think you know the principles that are involved in that piece of legislation, which we take very, very seriously.
Ultimately, there are capabilities that China will develop that will have implications for ships and other vessels that are deployed far from Chinese boundaries, Chinese territorial waters.
And again, I think one of the goals of our relationship at this early stage between the United States and China, is to, where possible, avoid strategic misconceptions, to be very clear about what our interests are. China also -- to feel comfortable enough to tell us what their strategic goals and ambitions are -- and to, wherever possible, work together; and where there are red lines in our relationship, to be clear about what those red lines are.
Ultimately, my own sense is, and this is a private sense, is that we are at the very early stages of a relationship between the United States and China, which will take on much greater meaning in the next century. And it's very early to make sort of fundamental or ultimate conclusions about what the character of that relationship will be. My own sense is that the best way to engage China is through a combination of strength and respect, and that respect is part of our engagement strategy. We think it's important to listen and talk with China. But I also believe that it's extremely important for the United States to maintain its forward presence.
And I think of the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, it is that one that is often overlooked, but it's in fact the most important. And that's one of the reasons that we are most, I think, shall I say proud of this report because it makes very clear that the 100,000 is a commitment that the United States is prepared stand by for the future.
Q: I might turn your attention to Korean peninsula. And recent reports are saying that increasingly the Geneva agreement on the framework of nuclear is facing a grave challenge and a risk of collapsing. And also, North Korea is reportedly preparing another couple more rocket -- missile launching. And so I would like to ask, the long-term and short-term strategy of the United States in coping with this problem.
Is it still going on as engagement? Or at some point in the future, you might turn to containment again? Or how this strengthened respect to China, I'll ask you, might apply to North Korea?
CAMPBELL: Thank you very much. That's, as you know, a very complex question.
I just came from the State Department meetings this morning with Secretary Perry, who has -- I think all of you know -- has been chosen by President Clinton to be our coordinator overall and evaluator of North Korean dialogue on the whole.
My sense is that if the United States cannot get satisfactory answers and indeed behavior on the part of North Korea that is, we believe, more consistent with either the Agreed Framework or international norms in the realm of either missiles or the so-called underground facility, I think it will be very difficult to sustain an engagement policy with North Korea.
And I think the Agreed Framework would be at risk, and I think it would pose severe questions for the United States and other countries in the region.
One of the reasons why President Clinton was determined to make this visit to both Japan and Korea was to hold the highest level consultations about what our respective positions are in the United States, Japan and Korea on North Korea. And I think one of the great benefits of this dialogue is to demonstrate how close the partnership has been over the last several years. Again, one of the, I think, very positive consequences of this crisis, one of the good things that came out of it, was that it has encouraged -- indeed, some would say forced -- Japan, the United States and Korea to work more closely together on a coherent and combined strategy vis-a-vis North Korea.
I think, as you also know, the first stages of dialogue that Ambassador Kartman undertook in Pyongyang last week were the very beginning of what's going to be an extremely difficult dialogue. I can tell you that the United States is committed not to providing one cent remuneration for access to disputed facilities. We will need to have a very clear sense that North Korea is abiding by the full provision of the KEDO framework for us to continue in this relationship.
Q: This December 15 will be the 20 years anniversary when the United States announced to discontinue diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and there's always argument that the defense natural arms sales to Taiwan is not enough. So I would like to know your insight about -- of the role of U.S. arms sale to Taiwan over the past two decades. Thank you.
CAMPBELL: I think, in this respect, the proof really is in the pudding, and ultimately, if you look at what Taiwan has accomplished in the last 20 years and, indeed, what China has accomplished in the last 20 years, it has been perhaps the most profound period of economic prosperity and political development in Taiwan and, I think, that is at least partially a consequence of the commitment that the gentleman to the right has underscored, that the United States has made to the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan Relations Act.
We believe that the commitment that the United States makes to provide the necessary defensive capabilities to Taiwan, both in terms of the military equipment and also the appropriate level of engagement about the strategic environment in which Taiwan operates, that we have met, by any measure, those criteria, and that indeed that, as part of our strategic engagement with the PLA and with the PRC, we have underscored our interests in not playing a direct role in the dialogue across the Taiwan Straits.
We've tried to make clear that that is the job for Taiwan and the PRC and we will not pressure either country to resume talks or to conduct discussions, and that we believe that the steps that have been taken are positive, but those are indigenous steps overall.
So I think I would have to conclude by saying that we think that the framework that has been -- that Taiwan, the PRC and the United States has lived with these last 20 years in terms of the so-called three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act has allowed all of us to live in peace and stability and has provided us with a tremendous prosperity and something that we should take into account very seriously when we look at the situation across the Taiwan Straits.
Q: It seems to me that today's statement by President Clinton regarding agreement with South Korea that it's in both our interests to stress engagement as well as not brook any confrontations, while there seems to be agreement on the surface, it seems to me that Korea is emphasizing one thing while the United States is emphasizing another thing. Korea has stayed away from declaring provocations by the North. Kim Dae Jung has stressed engagement. On the other hand, we're stressing our concerns of provocations, provocations over a missile flying over Japan, provocations of a hole in the ground, and rejecting North Korea's argument that these could be for civilian use, and saying we won't pay a penny.
Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat in this thing. If we are interested in assuring that these holes in the ground are not punitive, we can whisper in North Korea's ear that we would pay them in aid. We don't have to pay them a bribe or anything like that, or surrender. It seems to me that U.S. security policy lately has been stressing security and confrontation far more than it has been stressing engagement, while the very opposite seems to be so of South Korea. Can you address these questions, please?
CAMPBELL: Well sir, you're a very astute observer, and -- (laughter) -- that is an interesting perspective. And I think, again, one of the important reasons why President Clinton visited South Korea was to exchange views on precisely these matters. Understandably, Kim Dae Jung -- who is, I think, by any measure a historic leader, has perhaps more vision, more courage than anyone on the scene today, perhaps on the world stage -- has made very clear that his top two priorities are to do everything possible, reasonably possible, to engage North Korea and also to rebuild the South Korean economy.
Those are realistic and, I think, very positive goals.
And I think, as you know, that the South Koreans have had some frustration in the last several months because many of their gestures, many of their goodwill gestures, have been met with less than satisfactory results, shall we say, from North Korea. And so it's very important that the United States hear this perspective from South Korea.
But it's also true it's important for South Korea to hear the America perspective, whereby we believe that there's some very real security challenges that North Korea poses, not just to the Korean peninsula but to the region as a whole and also to the world, in terms of the proliferation of certain technologies and equipment.
I would say that if there are differences, they are slight differences in tone. No two countries' strategic interests will be identical. But I think overall they were some of the most useful and vibrant discussions, from what I understand, that President Clinton has had with any Asian leader.
So overall, I think, our strategy is the appropriate one. The best way to engage North Korea is to ensure that the countries who engage her have a common front, and there is less possibility to drive wedges or create divisions. And I think one of the benefits of our sustained engagement with both Japan and Korea -- and, increasingly, with China -- is to make very clear to North Korea that they do not have an out; they must accept some degree of engagement with South Korea.
Q: Well, as you know, they are facing an economic crisis. The top priority of Korean government policy is building up international confidence, especially toward foreign investors. But if things get really worse in that peninsula, I think the international confidence will be blown out. Some people believe that way. So how do you harmonize another very important policy to build up international confidence and confront that kind of tension?
CAMPBELL: Again, this is very nicely segued from the previous speaker. What all of our interlocutors have made clear to us is that -- when I stated the two goals of the Kim Dae Jung regime, I should have inverted them, because the number-one goal really is to rebuild the South Korean economy, and there's a profound belief that to do so, that there needs to be a degree of peace and tranquility, and that to a certain extent there cannot be the kind of confrontation, South Koreans believe, that we've seen in the past, in 1993 and 1994.
We understand that very clearly. And one of the things that we seek to do in our dialogue with North Korea is try to make the case that we need to do everything possible to avoid that sort of circumstance.
I will tell you here, my own sense, that one of the key ingredients in this engagement strategy is the role of China. There's always debate behind the scenes about how much influence North Korea has -- excuse me -- China has on North Korea. I think what we have to make very clear to our Chinese interlocutors is how important it is for China, for all the region, because no one seeks a confrontation, no one seeks to have confidence undermined, for China to convey its concerns and the concerns of the region at the highest level in North Korea.
My sense is if North Korea appreciates the degree of unanimity in views in the Asian Pacific region around them about why it's important to stress a more harmonious relationship with South Korea, as opposed to these provocations that we see periodically, efforts in the realm of missiles or underground nuclear facilities that are potentially contradictory to the principles laid out in the agreed framework, that these are not -- this is not the path towards peace and stability. And I think China can play a very important role in this regard.
Q: Dr. Campbell, is the U.S. considering increasing the amount of IMET allocated for countries like Asia and Indonesia, in view of the currency crisis? And the second question is that being an important partner of the ASEAN Regional Forum, how does the U.S. view the current situation in Malaysia and Indonesia, the instability there?
CAMPBELL: Your first question is -- you know, I'd like to broaden it slightly, if I can: Are there efforts under way in the United States to increase our engagement with Southeast Asian militaries, particularly given the financial crisis and the lack of resources that are going to militaries throughout Southeast Asia? And the answer to that is clearly yes.
CINCPAC Admiral Prueher has a very ambitious program to increase training and access and some educational scholarships to the Asian Pacific Center, to militaries in the Southeast Asian region. We have, over the last two years, increased our military training and engagement in Southeast Asia many-fold over historically lower levels of engagement in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
And we are also looking for ways to enhance opportunities for students from the military and others to come to the United States in a variety of programs. I think as you know, we are limited in Indonesia in terms of the kinds of programs, the so-called E-IMET Program, but we are committed to do as much as possible to underscore that the United States is a partner for Southeast Asia in good times and bad times and will stand by these relationships into the future.
When you ask about concerns in Indonesia in particular; obviously, we have a relatively robust program of military exchanges in Indonesia. We have looked at those carefully. Some of those we think should continue. Some of those we have curtailed. We focused our efforts more toward humanitarian engagement of the kind that we think will be valuable to the Indonesian military as they face new kinds of missions; for instance, the potential for assisting in the distribution of food and fuel, if the situation in Indonesia got worse.
These are programs, we think, are important. We have put a lot of effort behind them. Obviously, however, if there is a situation developing in a country like Indonesia in which the military is used in such a way to subvert the democratic process, it makes it very difficult if not impossible, for the United States to have a normal work-a-day relationship with that military.
Q: (Off mike.)
CAMPBELL: What part of the situation in Malaysia?
Q: (Off mike) -- the recent remarks by Vice President Al Gore saying that he supports that kind of reform movement.
CAMPBELL: I am not going to add anything to the vice president's remarks. (Laughter.) So I'll let him stand by those.
Q: Japan has not been able to pass legislation to implement the new U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines despite their promises. How much of a concern is it to you, to the Pentagon, given the Korean situation? And what possible effect do you think the recent political development in Japan might have on issues concerning you?
CAMPBELL: That's a very complex question.
First of all, let me just say that the United States understands the domestic situation in Japan. And we would like to see a passage of Defense Guidelines legislation that is effective, that is timely, and that provides for the kind of prudent partnership between the United States and Japan in the event of a crisis in the Asia Pacific region, in which both of our national interests were deeply engaged.
The timing, ultimately, of the introduction of that legislation and its passage is really a matter for Japan. We would like to see it yesterday. But, obviously, when it transpires, we will be grateful when it happens. We trust our Japanese counterparts in the Diet and in the ruling coalition to understand the timing better than we do.
It's difficult to make any judgment about how the recent -- shall we say -- alliance between former opponents, what impact that will have in the Diet. But I have noted that there seems to be a greater sense of clarity and urgency in terms of the importance of effecting a number of programs that relate to security matters -- taking steps on TMD, moving ahead with defense guidelines, developing a satellite program, an indigenous satellite, in partnership with the United States in some way.
If I can, let me just say one word, though, about the visit of the president. I will say that in terms of this dialogue and discussion, I hope for those of you had been concerned about the tone of recent discourse, particularly on the economic or macroeconomic side between the United States and Japan, that this trip by the president, I think, was very valuable in the sense that you saw on occasion after occasion the president engaging Japan as a friend -- not lecturing, not scolding -- and as an ally in a way that I think was much more understandable and acceptable to Japanese ears. And I think the Japanese very much appreciated our strong statements that we obviously have some economic issues at dispute occasionally, but we are resolute partners in all security matters.
Q: Let me bring your attention to the North Korean case and Mr. Kartman's recent visit to North Korea. Returning from the north he -- I quote -- "compelling evidences that the underground facilities are related to the nuclear development." Can you elaborate on that or, you know, can you share some information about it?
CAMPBELL: I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to. I will say, as we've said on numerous occasions, that there are strong suspicions that we would like to see cleared up, that the underground facility is related to the nuclear ambitions of North Korea. And that's our goal -- to get satisfaction through the negotiations that Ambassador Kartman is leading.
CAMPBELL: I can take a couple more.
Q: I am just wondering whether the U.S. is considering resuming military training to Indonesian force, which has been cut since the final day of the Suharto regime? And I am just wondering, too, whether the training will be the same pattern of before, since it has been criticized in the U.S., as well as in Indonesia?
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
I think it's important to underscore in Indonesia some kinds of training with Indonesia were cut even before President Suharto stepped down.
However, we have put a new emphasis, of our military engagement program between the United States and Indonesia, on missions that we believe have great potential impact in Indonesia, particularly in the realm of leadership training, humanitarian problems, problems associated with health. These are efforts that we think are important given the current ct Indonesia finds itself. And we are busy developing a military engagement plan for 1999 that highlights those areas of engagement, as opposed to the typical traditional kinds of engagement that were on combat arms.
I'll take one more.
Q: Getting back to the underground facility in North Korea, we have heard it said that, even if it were related to a nuclear development program, it would take a while, like a matter of years, to really install that kind of facility. On that basis, perhaps there is no need to hurry. And do you really think that this is a matter of urgency or something you are going to have to take -- set a time frame for North Korea's favorable response?
And also in relation to that, while North Korea is sending us mixed signals, you could say the outside -- the Americans are also sending mixed signals, engagement on one hand and confrontation on the other. Then would it be possible that North Korea would take advantage of the situation and drag things out? What is your concern?
CAMPBELL: Again, another very astute question.
Let me try to underscore that I believe that the basis of our strategy in North Korea is that any hope of diplomacy with North Korea rests on the reality of our deterrent capability, and that's the combined deterrent capability of the United States and South Korea. And I think that's important and that's enduring as we go forward.
Our understanding of this facility is by its very nature imperfect, because we do not -- we have not been given access; we can only make assumptions from limited data. And one of the goals of these discussions that Ambassador Kartman has been involved in is to gain greater understanding of this facility, so it can dispel concerns about North Korean intentions and behavior.
This morning Secretary Cohen tried to indicate that what we're concerned about is not simply this underground facility, but a pattern of activities that are inconsistent with an engagement strategy that both South Korea, the United States -- and, to a lesser extent, Japan -- have been involved in. And at very least, the potential exists that if these activities continue, then the public support -- even if there's no fundamental short-term crisis, but the fundamental support for those engagement strategies in each of those three capitals will be undermined by imprudent and provocative actions in North Korea.
Q: This question -- this is a matter of emergency or not?
CAMPBELL: I think I've answered the question.
MR. SILVER: Okay. Thank you very much.
It's not an emergency.
(end unofficial transcript)