President Barack Obama Press conference with South Korea
2014年04月25日09時24分 [ⓒ 中央日報/中央日報日本語版]
Written Interview with Joongang Ilbo
QUESTION: Your visit to Korea is part of an Asia trip designed to demonstrate your commitment to your Asia rebalance strategy. But given the complex issues throughout the world, it seems U.S. attention is diverted more to areas such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe than to East Asia. How can we be convinced of the reliability of US commitment the region?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States is the world’s only superpower and we therefore have unique global responsibilities across many regions. But we also have unique capabilities, including our unrivaled military power and security alliances, our economic strength as the world’s largest economy, our diplomacy and development partnerships , as well as the power of our values as a country that stands up for the right of citizens around the world to live in freedom and dignity. So even as we deal with pressing challenges in one part of the world, we are still able to play a leadership role in the Asia Pacific, and that’s exactly what we are doing. We’re expanding our trade and commercial relationships. We’re prioritizing the Asia Pacific in our defense budget. And we’ve had unprecedented engagement with our allies, partners, and multilateral institutions in the region.
America’s enduring commitment to this region is rooted in our alliances, including with the Republic of Korea, and no one should ever question our commitment. During the Korean War, Americans served, and tens of thousands gave their lives, alongside our South Korean allies in defense of this nation. For more than six decades, we have sent our young men and women here to deter aggression, and 28,500 American troops continue to serve here today. Our commitment to South Korea’s defense includes the full range of U.S. military capabilities.
South Korea is one of our largest trading partners and one of our closest global partners. This will be my third meeting with President Park in the past year alone, and this will be my fourth visit to Seoul as President. This visit will be a chance for me to reaffirm the pledge I have made many times-the commitment of the United States to the security and defense of the Republic of Korea will never waver.
Our commitment to our Korean friends was on display after the tragic sinking of the ferry Sewol. Michelle and I sent our deepest condolences to the South Korean people, and as parents we cannot begin to imagine what all those grieving parents are going through having lost their sons and daughters. I directed that U.S. forces support our Korean friends in any way we could during the search and rescue, and our Navy personnel and U.S. Marines worked around the clock to assist. I know my visit now comes as South Koreas are in mourning and my visit will be an opportunity to express the sympathy of the American people. When our friends are in trouble, America helps, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to stand with our Korean friends at this difficult time.
QUESTION: We have celebrated the second anniversary of US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA). How do you evaluate the achievements of the KORUS FTA, and what improvements do you think is needed? TPP: . South Korean government announced last year that it would participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
When would the TPP negotiations start between the US and Korea? How would you compare the economic benefits of TPP for Korea to the benefits Korea currently enjoys from US-KOREA FTA? If China, in the long run, joins the TPP, what is the position of the US?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The U.S.-Korea Free Trade agreement continues to be a win for both our countries. Since the agreement went into effect two years ago, trade between our two countries has increased. The United States is exporting more to South Korea, including automobiles, manufactured goods and services, and this supports good-paying American jobs. South Korea is exporting more goods to the United States, and Americans will continue to see more Korean products in their stores-including samgyetang. There are some issues we need to address to make sure we’re implementing KORUS fully, and I look forward to discussing this with President Park during my visit.
As one of our top trading partners, we welcome South Korea’s interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The agreement will open more markets to each country’s goods, boost our exports, and help make our businesses more competitive in the global economy. At the moment, we’re focused with our 11 TPP partners on finalizing the agreement, so it’s difficult to see a new candidate joining the negotiations at this time. For now, we’re working with President Park and her team on bilateral issues to make sure that South Korea could eventually meet the high-standards of the TPP. In fact, one of the best ways to show that South Korea could do so is by working with us to fully implement the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
With regard to China, we’ve made it clear that the TPP will ultimately be open to any regional economy that is ready to meet the agreement’s high-standards. This includes reducing barriers to trade and investment, strong protections for labor and the environment, a fair playing field for our companies which often have to compete against state-owned enterprises, and strong protections for our intellectual property. If trade is going to be free and fair, every country has to play by the same rules.
QUESTION: You frequently cite South Korea’s education system as a possible model for the US education. We Koreans are increasingly critical of our own elite-oriented education system. What do you think is good about our education system? What aspects of our education system do you “envy?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ve mentioned the strong commitment of the South Korean people to education because education has been a central ingredient in South Korea’s extraordinary progress over the past six decades. After the ruin of the Korean War, South Korea grew into one of the largest and most dynamic economies in the world because the government, parents and students made education a national and family priority. I’ve seen this myself in the extraordinary young people I’ve met in South Korea, including students I met with two years ago at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. And both our countries have benefited enormously from the many Korean and American exchange students who study in each other’s schools every year.
No educational system is perfect. Every country’s schools have strengths as well as areas in which they can improve. We can study each other’s approaches, learn from each other and then make the choices that are right for our own students. One of the things that has impressed me about South Korea, in addition to the commitment of so many families and students, is that virtually all students have access to high-speed internet in their classrooms. So connecting more of our schools and libraries in the United States is one of my priorities for making sure American students get a world-class education. In the United States, our goal is to give every child, no matter where they come or what their background, the chance to reach their full potential. Of course, even as we prepare our children for the jobs and industries of a global economy, we have to instill in them a love of learning and the critical thinking skills they’ll need in life.
QUESTION: Your visit comes as North Korea is mounting provocative stance towards Korea and threats to conduct its 4th nuclear test. How should we prevent North Korea from conducting another nuclear test? If North Korea ignores the external pressure and goes ahead with it, what punitive measures other than another UN resolution would the US, UN and international community take?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a threat to our allies South Korea and Japan, a threat to the region, and increasingly a direct threat to the security of the United States. The international community has been absolutely clear. Multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions require North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities. North Korea’s failure to do so-coupled with its provocative actions, especially against South Korea-is the reason why Pyongyang is more isolated than ever.
If North Korea were to make the mistake of engaging in another nuclear test, it should expect a firm response from the international community. South Korea, Japan and the United States will stand united. The commitment of the United States to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea, will remain steadfast and we will continue to modernize our alliances. We will work with allies and partners around the world to increase the pressure on North Korea. We will continue to impress upon China-with which we have already deepened our coordination on the North Korean nuclear issue-that we have a common interest in a North Korea without nuclear weapons. In short, Pyongyang will gain absolutely nothing from another nuclear test except to deepen its own isolation from the global community.
There is still another path for Pyongyang. North Korea can meet its obligations, relinquish its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and come into compliance with its international commitments. That is the only way that North Korea can obtain the respect, lasting security and economic progress it seeks. Of course, even as we meet the North Korean nuclear threat, we continue to be heartbroken by the suffering of the North Korean people. On my trip to Seoul two years ago I met with men and women who had escaped from the North, and I know their yearning for freedom and prosperity is shared by millions of their countrymen. So we support President Park’s efforts to improve relations between the North and South and her vision for beginning to prepare for the day that will someday come-a Korean peninsula that is united and free.
QUESTION: Speaking of China, there are no small concerns among Koreans that the US-China competition for primacy in the region puts Korea in a dilemma in its relations with the US and China -the US is an old ally and friend, and China, a new friend where our security as well as economic interests get bigger. What would you do if you were in Korea’s position? Do you get the impression that Korea, firmly holding solid security ties with the US, is tilting too fast toward China, particularly in economic cooperation?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States does not seek primacy over China, nor do we seek to contain China. China is a nation of more than one billion people, and I’ve made it clear that we welcome a China that is stable, prosperous and peaceful and that contributes to international peace and security. I’ve also been very clear, to my Chinese counterparts as well as to the American people, that both our nations have to resist the danger of slipping into confrontation and conflict, which is not inevitable. The United States and China have a number of shared interests, including the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and I’m committed to deepening our cooperation in practical ways. When the United States and China cooperate, whether in the economic realm or on matters of security, it’s good for all our nations, including South Korea.
I would fully expect that South Korea, by virtue of geography and history, would have a major and growing economic relationship with China, as does the United States. We want countries in the region to have good relations with each other, including China and South Korea. And so we welcome President Park’s efforts to constructively engage with China, even as the alliance with the United States remains the foundation of South Korea’s security and prosperity.