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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 10, 2005

Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Steve Hadley
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Play Video  Video (Real)

3:21 P.M. EST

MR. HADLEY: Good afternoon.

On Monday, November 14th, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart for Asia. They'll be traveling to Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia. The President is traveling to Asia to advance the interests of American workers, businesses and entrepreneurs by seeking expanded trade and economic opportunity, energy security and international property rights protection. And he will be discussing all these topics on the trip.

He's also seeking to advance cooperation on international security challenges, including the war on terror, health preparedness and regional security issues. And finally, he is traveling to advance his agenda -- the freedom agenda, including human rights and democracy.

The President's trip to Asia comes at a time when our relations with nations of the region have rarely been stronger. During the trip, President Bush will reaffirm the importance of, and his commitment to those relationships. He will thank his counterparts for their efforts to defeat terror, and he will look to make progress on regional economic issues that are in the interests of the American people.

The APEC nations are strong proponents of expanding trade. And the President will discuss the upcoming Doha Round of global trade negotiations at the APEC ministerial, but he will also be addressing bilateral trade issues as he visits with the individual leaders in the region.

Let me go through the schedule as it now stands. On Monday, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart Andrews Air Force Base en route to Kyoto, Japan. On the way to Japan the President will deliver remarks on the war on terror at Elmendorf Air Base, in Anchorage, Alaska, where he and Mrs. Bush will also visit with families of fallen soldiers.

From Alaska, he will continue to Japan, crossing the International Date Line, and arriving at Osaka International Airport on Tuesday, November 15th. He and Mrs. Bush will then proceed to Kyoto.

On Wednesday, November 16, the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in a cultural event at the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. The President will then meet his friend, Prime Minister Koizumi. He will, I'm sure, congratulate Prime Minister Koizumi on his strong reelection showing, and will thank him for his support in the war on terror. Japan is the second largest donor after the United States to reconstruction and rebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the President will express his appreciation for that commitment.

The President will urge Prime Minister Koizumi to use his strong electoral mandate to continue his efforts to promote economic reform so that Japan can be an engine of growth for the world economy. Japan is also taking steps to reopen its market to American beef, and trade between our two nations will continue to create jobs in both countries.

The President will deliver a speech in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto. That speech will offer a positive vision of American engagement in Asia, Asia's own progress in this new century, and the importance of the President's freedom agenda for Asia's continued success.

After Japan, the President will visit President Roh of South Korea, and will participate in the APEC leaders meetings.

On Thursday, the 17th -- that's what he will be doing in South Korea, generally. The specific schedule is that on Thursday, November 17th, he will visit the ancient Korean capital of Gyeongju, where he and President Roh will reaffirm the alliance between South Korea and the United States. As you know, South Korea is a strong ally and key partner in Iraq. The President will discuss our common approach in the six-party talks, which, as you know, is aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Late afternoon on Thursday, November 17th, the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in an event at the Bulguksa Temple. And following that event, the President and Mrs. Bush will return to Busan, Korea, and there the President will have a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

On Friday, November 18th, the President will meet with the ASEAN leaders to demonstrate our commitment to the region and the U.S. desire to enhance cooperation with ASEAN. That afternoon the President will begin participation in the first session of the APEC leaders. That will be followed by a meeting between the APEC leaders and the members of the Business Advisory Council to APEC. And in the evening, the President and Mrs. Bush will attend a gala dinner with APEC leaders.

As you know, APEC is the most robust multinational institution in the region. And the agenda will be focused on working to promote trade, to cooperate in the upcoming WTO ministerial in Hong Kong in December, cooperating to respond to the risk of avian influenza, and continuing APEC's work to protect the region from security threats such as terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The President and his counterparts will discuss the new initiative launched in September to respond to the threat posed by avian influenza. As you know, the avian flu respects no borders, and we can best protect the American people through close cooperation around the world to try and ensure that as cases are identified, data is shared quickly and nations take immediate steps to address any outbreak.

On Saturday, November 19th, the President will meet with the President of Indonesia. And following that meeting, the President will participate in the second session of APEC leaders. The leaders will meet, have lunch, have an official photograph, and the President will participate in an event to present the APEC leaders' declaration to the public.

Following the APEC events, the President will deliver remarks to troops at Osan Air Base. And following his remarks, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart Korea en route to Beijing, China.

In China, the President will meet with both President Hu and Premier Wen. The two Presidents will talk about our mutual economic ties. President Bush will press the Chinese to carry out their commitments and the commitment President Hu made specifically in New York in September, to "work with the United States to take effective measures to increase China's imports from the United States," and, "to protect the legitimate rights and interests of all international intellectual property rights owners, including those in the United States."

Progress on intellectual property rights, currency reform and market opening are good for our companies, but they are equally good and important for China's own future prosperity, and that is the message that the President will take. As the recent textile agreement between the United States and China shows, we, the two countries, can work together in mutual interest to benefit their people.

The President will, and has, welcomed China's decision in July to abandon its pegged exchange rate, but he will urge China to take further steps to implement China's stated objective of moving toward a market-based currency.

President Bush will also share his view that as President Hu pursues his vision of peaceful development, he will find that greater individual freedom to worship, to speak and to pursue prosperity will strengthen his country. It is an ambitious vision for China that the President hopes the Chinese will embrace.

President Hu has said he wants to improve the lives of all Chinese people, and it is in the interest of the American people that he succeed.

On Sunday, November 20, the President and Mrs. Bush will attend a social lunch with Premier Wen, and a social dinner with President Hu and Madam Liu in addition to their conversations.

The morning of Monday, November 21, the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in an embassy event in Beijing. Following that event, they will depart China en route to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The President's visit there will be the first trip of a sitting U.S. President to Mongolia. Mongolia has deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Bush will thank Mongolian leaders for their contribution to the war on terror.

Mongolia is the 14th largest contributor of troops to Iraq, and the third largest contributor, if you compute it on a per capita basis. And it simply shows that every nation in every corner of the globe has something at stake and something to contribute in the war on terror. President Bush will commend Mongolia on the progress it has made in becoming a more mature and stable democracy, which observes human rights and civil liberties, and a private-sector led free market economy.

In Mongolia, the President and Mrs. Bush will be greeted with an arrival ceremony at Government House, and then the President will meet with the President of Mongolia, and following that, with the Prime Minister. That afternoon, the President will deliver remarks at Mongolian Government House. And following those remarks, the President and Mrs. Bush will visit Ikh Tenger and then participate in an embassy event at the airport. They will then depart en route Andrews Air Force Base.

Before I take questions, I want to address something that many of you have been asking about, and that is the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq. Our statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein were based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources, and represented the collective view of the intelligence community. Those judgments were shared by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Seventy-seven senators, representing both sides of the aisle, the previous administration, and foreign governments around the world all believed, based on the same intelligence, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and imposed an enormous threat to his neighbors and to the world at large.

The President created the bipartisan Silberman-Robb commission to examine our intelligence system. Their report in March of last year states: "The commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs."

To ensure our policymakers received the best intelligence, the President worked with the Congress to implement broad recommendations for intelligence reform. I point out that some of the critics today believed, themselves, in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapon of mass destruction, they stated that belief, and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements, exposes the hollowness of their current attacks.

I'll be glad to take some questions.

Q Steve, on China, when you say that the President will urge them to take further steps toward a market-based currency, what further steps are you talking about here? And will the President seek a specific commitment from the Chinese while he's there, or just talk about this issue?

MR. HADLEY: He'll talk about it. As you know, what they announced in July is a framework by which adjustments could be made over time to allow the two currencies to reflect market factors. There was some -- an initial adjustment and an initial evaluation, and very little since. And I think what the President will urge is that the Chinese begin to take steps towards their own stated objective that market factors be taken into account in the valuation of their currency.

Q Are there going to be -- is there going to be, first of all, a bilat with President Putin of Russia? Maybe I missed it. And secondly, could you outline some of the specific takeaways that you expect from this trip?

MR. HADLEY: Sure. We have offered a time when the President could meet with President Putin. We have not yet closed with them. We don't know whether it works in terms of President Putin's schedule, so that's still an item that's being worked.

In terms of the trip as a whole, of course, one, to show the U.S. commitment to Asia as an area of our interest; two, to indicate clearly that the President knows the United States has an important role to play in both the economic and security challenges in Asia, and that he wants to play that role; three, there is enormous opportunity. This is a region that has made good economic growth, understands and has capitalized on free trade in order to enhance economic growth, and the President will, of course, want to talk with them about what we can do bilaterally, regionally, and internationally in order to move a free-trade agenda forward.

He's not looking for any specific deliverables or specific outcomes. This is an ongoing discussion in an audience of countries who are committed to greater free trade. And there will be an opportunity for him to exchange views with them in order to find a way to capitalize on the opportunities before us.

Similarly, they will talk about regional issues. But this is not a meeting for initiatives or new departures in terms of the six-party talks. That, of course -- those talks are going on. They've had two days of talks. We expect they will adjourn soon. They will resume in December.

Again, the six-party talks -- we have a common position about how to move forward to de-nuclearize the peninsula. And while it will be a topic of discussion, you shouldn't expect any major new initiatives out of that. So those are, I think, a list of the range of issues they'll talk about.

They'll continue to work and talk about how we can move forward together on security challenges, counterterrorism, counter-proliferation, and, of course, the new topic which has been put on the agenda, the need to cooperate to deal with the potential of a pandemic based on avian flu. So, again, I think you should not be looking for particular deliverables. It's an opportunity for the leaders to get together and talk about how they can work together to advance what is a very broad and rich agenda.

Q And that applies to China, too? I mean, the China meeting?

MR. HADLEY: Yes, and I've said very clearly the kind of things that we expect to be on the agenda, in terms of China, which is intellectual property rights and market access, and also a couple of the -- particularly the currency issue.

But, again, these are issues that we've talked about. The President and President Hu talked about it in New York. We had some good statements from the Chinese side. And the issue is just how can they be now translated into concrete action. But, again, it will be discussions with two friends. And whatever decisions the Chinese decide to make in the wake of those discussions will be decisions that they will make as a sovereign country.

Sir.

Q Yesterday, President welcomed His Holiness, Dali Lama, the Tibet leader. What message do you think the President is getting from His Holiness, Dali Lama, to the Chinese, as far as prosecution of his people in Tibet for the last 50-plus years? And he's demanding freedom for his people, and human rights are violation of their rights in every way.

MR. HADLEY: This is obviously a longstanding issue. There is an issue about encouraging the dialogue between the Dali Lama and his representatives in China. We think that is an important thing. It's something that the President has encouraged in the past and will encourage again, that some arrangement be worked out that reflects the unique religious and cultural character of the Tibetan people. That's a message we've sent before and will certainly be sending again.

Yes, ma'am.

Q There have been reports that there were threats against luxury hotels in China next week when the President is there. These were knocked down, it seems, by the Chinese government this morning. Can you tell us what information you have about the security issues while the President travels?

MR. HADLEY: Well, obviously, before the President travels, there's a security assessment that is made, and all the things you would expect. As I stand here, I'm not aware of specific threat reporting associated with that. There are other places in the government where that is reviewed, and we can -- where some of those are, and you can check on that. But in terms of what has been brought to my attention, I'm not aware of any serious threats.

Q The statement you volunteered about prewar intelligence assessments speaks fine to those Democrats who supported the war. But what do you say to the Democrats who opposed the war, who said if we had not rushed into it, we would have had the benefit of better intelligence and perhaps a broader international coalition, a more substantial international coalition than the one we have now?

MR. HADLEY: That's a different issue. The issue I was addressing was an issue of the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence. And those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission have concluded it did not happen. So what we are left with is a body of intelligence that was developed over a long period of time, was looked at by the prior administration. They reached the conclusions that they reached.

Congress, in 1998, authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence. And as you know, the Clinton administration took some action. It was the basis by which, as I said, over 70 senators from both parties voted in 2002, noting specifically in their resolution the presence of programs for chemical weapons, biological weapons, and an effort to reconstitute a nuclear program.

So the point I was trying to make is, we all looked at the same intelligence, and most people, on the intelligence, reached the same conclusion. And it was the basis for actions by our Congress, action by two administrations, and was concluded by intelligence services and leaders around the globe.

The issues you raised are a different issue, and we can go back to the history. I guess the point I would make is, if you recall the arrangements under which the inspectors were operating, they were very much constrained by Saddam Hussein, and they were not getting a whole lot of intelligence.

And finally, on the issue of diplomacy, this is something that was a charge raised at Tony Blair, and he answered I think very clearly, and he basically said, the diplomacy was active in Iraq over a period of over 12 years; 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we were going for yet another when it became clear -- based on statements from another -- leaders who had seats on the U.N. Security Council that there would be no consequences for non-compliance with these resolutions. And the President at that point, as he said, very clearly, words of the United Nations have to have consequence.

And I would also remind people that when we talked about the rationale for going to war, it was more than just weapons of mass destruction. If you look at those 17 Security Council resolutions which reflected the judgments of the international community, they talked about weapons of mass destruction, they talked about support for terror, they talked about threats to his neighbors, they talked about his oppression of his own people, and the nature of the regime he ran, and finally, the issue of defiance of the international community over a period of 17 resolutions in 12 years. So it's a broad case, a broad case.

Q It was, however, the weapons of mass destruction that was used to justify the urgency, and that, of course, is what my question dealt with.

MR. HADLEY: The intelligence was clear in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, and after 9/11, what we learned was that the coincidence between a rogue regime that was -- supported terror and pursued weapons of mass destruction was a serious risk that the United States needed to deal with. Having tried for 12 years and 17 resolutions to address it through diplomacy, and continuing to try to address it through diplomacy, trying to maintain the international consensus, once it was clear that that international consensus had broken down, the President had no alternative.

Peter.

Q Do you believe now even if the intelligence was not manipulated that perhaps in the White House it was assessed with pre-conceived ideas or not enough skepticism? In hindsight looking back at that, what lessons do you draw from that? What mistakes were made?

MR. HADLEY: Well, there have been a lot of lessons from that. And you can look at the Silberman-Robb Commission. You can look at what the DNI is doing -- you can look at what the DNI is doing. And some of the things that the DNI is doing is reflecting that.

One of the reasons you have a DNI is so that when he comes into the White House, he is bringing intelligence not just from the CIA, but from other elements of the intelligence community. And the President now gets that. And he will have pieces that come from CIA, come from FBI, come from DIA, come from INR over at State. That is a good thing, and it shows a broader range.

Obviously, what comes into the Oval Office, again, is an effort to provide a consensus judgment. But I think one of the things we've all learned from that is that it is important, also, to be clear about dissenting opinions and make sure that dissenting opinions also are given visibility; that we need more competitive analysis and to have products that come to the President. This is one view; this is another view.

And we're starting to see those products as part of what we've learned from this -- these events, as part of what we've learned under the Silberman-Robb Commission, 9/11 Commission, and others. And you're beginning to see that happen in terms of how intelligence is coming to the President.

Q But Silberman-Robb didn't address how the White House used the intelligence, specifically tried to address what the intelligence community did in providing it. Do you think now, as you -- as a participant at the time, do you think now that you, for instance, looked at this, and other people looked at this, and say -- brought in your own preconceived notions?

MR. HADLEY: Preconceived notions -- you try and test intelligence. But in the end of the day, the President looks to his senior intelligence officials for their judgments on the intelligence. That's how it should be. You test it, and you probe it. The President tests it, and the President probes it.

But as you know, the case that was brought to him, in terms of the NIE, and parts of which have been made public, was a very strong case.

Sir.

Q Steve, A, is the President going to talk about this tomorrow, the whole question of the criticism he's been taking in recent weeks on Iraq? And, B, you said -- you used the word "hollow" before. Are you suggesting politics is at play here?

MR. HADLEY: I think people have to look at the record, look at how we got the intelligence, and look the judgments of the -- the statements that people made at the time on that intelligence. And that's to -- needs to inform the judgment we make about some of the things we're hearing said now.

Q Is the President going to talk about it tomorrow?

MR. HADLEY: He may talk about it. The thrust of the speech tomorrow is to continue to talk to the American people about the war on terror, the nature of the enemy, what is at stake, the importance that we see it through to success, and the contribution that Iraq and Afghanistan, and what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, can make to winning the war on terror and advancing the cause of democracy and freedom, which, as you know, the President believes is the long-term direction we have to head to deal with this problem.

David.

Q Steve, while you're on the subject of trying to assess intelligence, since we are headed to South Korea -- as you said, you'll be dealing with North Korean issues -- can you give us a sense now of what you believe the state of play is of the North Korean nuclear program?

Two years ago when you first raised the issue of the uranium program, the intelligence that you were discussing suggested that by the middle part of this decade, around now, they would be producing fuel for uranium weapons. Is that still the case to your mind? While the negotiations are underway, is it your understanding that North Korea is continuing to producing fuel for weapons? And does that suggest to you that Vice President Cheney's line in China, during his trip, that time is not on our side, still applies? We didn't hear any of that from you in the quotes of the briefing.

MR. HADLEY: As I say, the six-party talks are not the focus of this trip. We have a forum in which we have a strategy in place. We have gotten a document out of the last session of the six-party talks. That is a way forward and starts from the proposition that North Korea has agreed to give up all nuclear weapons and its nuclear program. So that's the starting point, and we will be talking in the six-party talks about how to move -- how to turn that into action, in terms of disclosures, dismantlement, under verified conditions. That's obviously the agenda of the six-party talks, and there's no dispute about that.

In terms of intelligence, you know, one of the problems, in dealing with a closed society such as North Korea, is you don't know what you don't know, and what you do know tends to be fairly limited. And as you know, we don't know as much about their enrichment program as we would like. And that's one of the reasons why, as part of the six-party talks, it will be very interesting to have -- and very important to have a declaration, to have dismantlement procedures and verification measures so we can be sure that in a otherwise fairly non -- extremely non-transparent society, these commitments to give up nuclear weapons and nuclear programs are carried out.

But David, we -- there's a lot we don't know on both sides of that.

Yes, ma'am.

Q Do you stand by the old estimate that they would be producing enough fuel to make weapons by the middle part of this decade?

MR. HADLEY: You say, "the old estimate." I mean, I've seen a lot of estimates. I don't know which one you're referring to. What I would --

Q That was at the time that you first revealed the existence of the program.

MR. HADLEY: I would say the same thing. I don't know what specific estimates you refer to, what assumptions were the basis of that estimate. What I would say is what the President has said, is that it's time for the six-party talks to start producing results. And we think we took a step forward towards that in the last round where we got a statement, which is a way forward, and that is a good thing. And it is -- I think justifies the President's confidence that the way to approach this was on a regional basis in the format of the six-party talks.

Now the challenge is to turn that into a step-by-step plan to reveal, dismantle under verifiable conditions their nuclear program, and also to go forward with the other steps that are talked about in that declaration.

Q Steve?

MR. HADLEY: Yes, sir.

Q Can you tell us what the government knows at this stage about the attacks in Jordan and the possible connection to Zarqawi and what else is known at this point?

MR. HADLEY: I can tell you where it stood as of this morning. This is one of those things that is very much ongoing. There will be forensic teams that will go on the ground, that will analyze what you see. So I think we don't -- we will learn more as the investigation goes forward. Obviously, Zarqawi, in Iraq, has claimed responsibility, in terms of a website. I think our judgment is that is a credible claim, but I think we are going to learn a lot more as the investigation goes forward.

Q What more does it tell this government about training that may be going on in Iraq, and that is exported?

MR. HADLEY: Well, it tells us a lot about the enemy that we are worried about, and the nature of the enemy that we're against. I mean it is a shocking attack. In one of the hotels -- the President talked to the King of Jordan this morning -- one of the hotels, there was a wedding going on. And a large number of the casualties are small children. The bride and the groom each lost large portions of their family. I mean, this -- it shows the brutality of this enemy.

It also shows that there is sort of no safety. This is an attack in Jordan. It killed mostly Jordanians, and overwhelmingly Muslims. It also took its toll on some of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. So it shows that in some sense, we are all targets, that it is an extremely vicious enemy that has really no principles.

And it also, in some sense, has a sort of haunting ring to the Zawahiri letter, which we talked about. This is the letter from the al Qaeda Number Two, Zawahiri, to Zarqawi in Iraq, and talked about their approach, which was to attack the Americans, to get them to leave, to consolidate control in Iraq, and then to begin to attack Iraq's neighbors. That's very clearly the strategy. And what we're seeing is the kind of thing we can expect from Zarqawi if we do not defeat terrorism in Iraq. And that's what makes it so important.

Q Can I just do one follow on the intelligence? You said the prewar intelligence was clear. It was also wrong.

MR. HADLEY: Which clear?

Q You said the prewar intelligence was clear.

MR. HADLEY: Right.

Q It was also wrong, wasn't it?

MR. HADLEY: I said it was, I believe, a strong case -- a strong case was what I said in answer to the earlier question. And a lot of it --

Q You said the intelligence was clear.

MR. HADLEY: -- and a lot of it turned out to be wrong.

Q A lot of it turned out to be wrong.

MR. HADLEY: We know that.

Q Why -- I'm sorry, I didn't --

MR. HADLEY: Is there a follow-up? Can this be the last follow-up?

Q This will be the last follow-up.

MR. HADLEY: Good.

Q If that's the case and you're talking about lessons learned, then why is it that Ahmed Chalabi, who was thought by this government to be one of the main pedlars of intelligence that turned out to be flat wrong, why is he now welcomed at the highest levels of this administration?

MR. HADLEY: He, as you know, saw many senior officials. He did not meet with the President. He was received here because of what he is. He is the -- one of the deputy prime ministers of Iraq. He came here representing the Iraqi government. And we are representing -- we are receiving a number of officials from the Iraqi government -- I'll give you an example. In terms of the recent months, we have seen Ali Alawi, Massoud Barzani, Hashim Hasani, Prime Minister Jaafari, Mowaffak Rubai, Barham Salih, Jalal Talabani, the President -- we're seeing a lot of Iraqi government officials.

He is one. And we're seeing a lot of them because this is a critical time in Iraq going into the elections, and it is very important that these elections produce an outcome, that it reflects the will of the Iraqi people, that results in a government -- that is broadly based, drawing from all elements of the Iraqi society, that gets stood up quickly and is a strong government that can take the kinds of difficult, economic and security decisions that the new government is going to have.

I will say on the specific intelligence, this, as you know, is something that was looked at very hard in a number of the studies I've talked about. And their judgment is that intelligence that came from the INC had a minimal impact on any judgments of the intelligence community in preparing the intelligence that went forward to the President and to others.

Q You said the President is going to give a speech in Japan on his vision for the U.S. role in Asia. Critics of this administration have said that the U.S. policy in Asia has been somewhat adrift for the last five years, focused too much on the war on terror. How do you answer those kinds of concerns, and what is it different or new that he's going to bring to the table in this speech?

MR. HADLEY: Well, I have to say I dispute the premise. I think most people you talk to would say our relations with Japan, Korea and China have rarely been better. For example, the President has established in the six-party talks a regional approach for dealing with one of the most serious security challenges. And that format is beginning to produce results, as I talked about earlier, in terms of the last round of the six-party talks.

If you look at what we have done just with Japan, we have resolved a very difficult issue about the repositioning of U.S. forces in Japan. We have dealt with some of the issues of Okinawa in reducing our force presence in Okinawa. Japan continues to be part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, continues to be part of -- with us on the ground in Iraq. We have been able -- we're on, I think, in the direction of resolving the issue of U.S. beef going into Japanese markets. We have an issue that has been resolved about a nuclear carrier going into Japan.

These are very difficult issues. Some of them have been outstanding for years, and we've been able to resolve them because of the strength of the relationship both between the President and Prime Minister Koizumi, but also to the relationship between the two governments.

I would say the same thing in South Korea. We've been able to reposition our forces in South Korea and get a common approach that reduces the U.S. footprint, but also enhances our capability overall so that, in fact, security on the peninsula will be increased, rather than decreased.

And, finally, in terms of China, I think we have got a very solid relationship that allows us to work candidly with one another and work together on a lot of common problems -- on proliferation, on counterterrorism, on trade issues, on six-party talks.

So I just think that, in some sense, we're beyond the point that the President has to come with deliverables, because the dialogue with each of these countries is so broad and rich, that it's an issue of two -- of the President sitting down with his counterparts and having a strategic discussion about events in their region and how we can move it along towards a set of increasingly shared objectives.

I'm sorry, I've got to go. Thanks very much.

END 3:59 P.M. EST