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Joint Press Conference with US Secretary for Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Australian Minister for Defence: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore: 5 June 2005.



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TRANSCRIPT SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH UNITED STATES SECRETARY FOR DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD

12.15PM SUNDAY 5 JUNE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, SINGAPORE

SENATOR HILL

Well I think this is in effect a follow up from last year and it’s great to have the Secretary at this conference, supporting these conferences, and the fact that we can get such a broad representation to particularly discuss issues that face the region

such as the continuing terrorism threat, to take stock of where we’re up to in terms of our cooperative responses is a good thing and we are very pleased you made the journey Mr Secretary. In terms of our bilateral relationship of course it’s as strong as ever. There is an opportunity in the bilateral way to have a talk about where things are in Iraq and Afghanistan and I think that the joint view is that there is a lot to achieve in Iraq in terms of the political process, in terms of building up the

security forces and despite the insurgency we remain positive and optimisitic.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

And I have nothing to add. (Laugh) I’d be happy to respond to a couple of questions.

JOURNALIST

The Japanese Minister, Mr Ohno, yesterday said that they believe there needs to be consensus among the five parties to send the North Korea issue to the Security Council of the UN. I’m wondering what the Bush Administration’s policy is on that?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

The President’s policy has been exactly what’s been announced. That he has encouraged the six party talks and been on the diplomatic path and to the extent that he or the Department of State have any other announcements to make, they’ll make them.

JOURNALIST

Secretary Rumsfeld, you talked in your speech yesterday about missile forces not just in the Pacific Region, Chinese missile forces. What exactly is your concern about China’s upgrading of its longer range missiles?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

I think it was just an observation that the report that’s required by Congress to be submitted. It was simply an observation of something that was in that report. The other statement I made was the increased deployments that look to be more related the Taiwan area, but it was simply a statement of fact.

JOURNALIST

Mr Secretary……

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

Is there anyone from Australia?

JOURNALIST

Minister Hill and two other Defence Ministers this morning in the plenary session said that basically they don’t feel that you should engage, or enter into a dialogue with terrorists and at the same time engage the broader community. What would

the US view on this be?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

I don’t understand the question, say it again?

JOURNALIST

Somebody in the session asked should we talk to Osama as sort of a pretty strong statement and the three Defence Ministers said we should not ta lk to hard core terrorists but we should try to engage the broader Muslim community. What is the US view on this?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD.

Oh I wouldn’t disagree with that.

JOURNALIST

We need a quote from you Mr Secretary. (Laugh)

JOURNALIST

Have you discussed any new initiatives on counter terrorism in this region?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

Well there have certainly been discussions in the conference and in bilaterals about the issue of terrorism and I’ve had discussions with ministers about the regional issues related to terror but I don’t have anything to add.

JOURNALIST

Senator Hill, in your meeting today did you discuss about concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program and missile capability.

SENATOR HILL

Whose?

JOURNALIST

North Korea’s

SENATOR HILL

North Korea. Well we touched on the North Korean issue and obviously our desire that North Korea returns to the talks. We are supportive of the process and when I’m in China next week, I’ll be urging China to be more proactive on the issue as well. They have considerable influence and we would like them to use all of that influence to encourage North Korea to return to the table.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD

Thank you very much folks.

ENDS