1998 Congressional Hearings
Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile




TESTIMONY OF

STANLEY O. ROTH

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR

EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS



HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC SUBCOMMITTEE



MAY 7, 1998



Mr. Chairman, thank you for the invitation to speak before the Asia
and Pacific Subcommittee on U.S. security policy toward East Asia and
the Pacific. I am honored to testify today alongside my distinguished
colleagues Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Slocombe and CINCPAC
Admiral Prueher. I welcome the opportunity for a productive exchange
of views on this important topic with the members of the Subcommittee.


Peace and stability in East Asia and the Pacific is a fundamental
prerequisite for U.S. security. Nearly one half the world's people
live in countries bordering the Asia Pacific region and over half of
all economic activity in the world is conducted there. Four of the
world's major powers rub shoulders in Northeast Asia while some of the
most strategically important waterways on the globe flow through
Southeast Asia. The U.S. itself is as much a Pacific nation as an
Atlantic one, with the states of Alaska, California, Oregon and
Washington bordering on the Pacific ocean and Hawaii surrounded by it.
American citizens in Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the
Northern Marianas live closer to Asian capitals than to our own, vast
numbers of Americans work in the Asia-Pacific region, and an
increasingly large number of Americans trace their ancestry back to
the Pacific Rim.


For these and many other reasons, the U.S. has remained committed to
the security of the Asia-Pacific region and has spent its resources
and blood fulfilling that commitment. We have fought against
aggression in Asia in three major wars this century. Now, in an effort
to preserve stability and deter future conflicts, we maintain a
sizable military presence in the region. Today, our roughly 100,000
forward-deployed forces and our network of mutual security alliances
with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and
Thailand remain the bedrock of our regional security policy. We have
reaffirmed and solidified all of these key security alliances in
recent years, while working to foster cooperative relationships with
other countries in the region.


Indeed contact between the United States services and the armed forces
of both treaty allies and other friendly nations is a key component of
our military strategy in Asia. Military to military contacts allow us
to better understand our military counterparts throughout the region
and provide a mechanism through which we can work to constructively
engage new generations of military leaders. The International Military
Education and Training (IMET) program is extremely important in this
regard. By exposing young military leaders to American values and
working to foster respect for civilian authority and military
professionalism, IMET provides a window through which we can
positively influence the development of foreign military institutions.
While such engagement can not be expected to guarantee a perfect human
rights record on the part of any military force, it nonetheless
represents an important opportunity to encourage adherence to the rule
of law and respect for basic human rights. I firmly believe that these
contacts work to advance our fundamental security goals in the region.


Mr. Chairman, the remainder of my testimony this afternoon will be
divided into two parts. First, I will give an overview of our key
security alliances and relationships in the region. Second, I will
address four specific challenges confronting U.S. security policy in
the Asia and Pacific.


JAPAN



The U.S.-Japan security treaty remains the foundation of U.S.
engagement in Asia. The historic revision last year of the Cold War
era Defense Guidelines and Secretary Albright's signing last week of
the amendment to the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA)
mean that the alliance is stronger, deeper and broader than at any
time in recent history. Japan has worked closely with the United
States to address many regional issues, including Cambodia, North
Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Despite the ongoing stresses and
strains in the economic dimension of our relationship, it is important
to recognize the key role that the US-Japan partnership continues to
play in maintaining regional peace and stability.


With respect to specific US-Japan bilateral security issues, we have
made progress in implementing some of the recommendations contained in
the 1996 Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa
(SACO). Still, the key issue of the relocation of Futenma Marine Corps
Air Station remains unresolved. We agree with the Japanese Government
that a sea-based facility offers the best alternative to the existing
facility at Futenma and are continuing to consult with the Japanese on
this issue. My colleagues from OSD and CINCPAC can talk about these
issues in greater detail.


SOUTH KOREA



Our alliance with the ROK remains a crucial component of U.S. security
policy in the region. The 37,000 U.S. forces in South Korea in
conjunction with a close, cooperative relationship with our South
Korean allies have been the basic foundation of peace on the Korean
Peninsula for the better part of the past fifty years. And as my
recent trip to South Korea with Secretary Albright has demonstrated,
our friendship with the ROK has never been stronger. This was
Secretary Albright's first trip to the ROK following the election and
inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung and thus was an opportunity for
her to get to know the new administration. I am pleased to report that
the Secretary established an excellent rapport with both President Kim
and Foreign Minister Park and conducted extensive, in-depth
discussions on the full range of issues. It was clear from these
discussions that the U.S. and South Korea see eye to eye on North
Korea policy, with Foreign Minister Park pledging his country's
commitment to the Four Party peace process and Secretary Albright
wholeheartedly endorsing North-South dialogue as an important means of
reducing tensions on the Peninsula. Foreign Minister Park further
reaffirmed South Korea's support for the Agreed Framework and for KEDO
and reviewed efforts to coordinate a humanitarian response to the food
needs of the North.


AUSTRALIA, THE PHILIPPINES AND THAILAND



Our relationships with our three other treaty allies in the
Asia-Pacific region are similarly in good stead. We reaffirmed our
alliance with Australia in 1996 and enjoy cooperative relations with
the Australians across a broad spectrum of bilateral, regional and
multilateral issues. Australia is a staunch supporter of a strong U.S.
presence in the region and works closely with us in APEC, KEDO and the
ARF.


The Philippines has been a close friend since its independence in 1946
and continues to be a valued alliance partner. Earlier this year we
concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement with the Philippines, which was
an important step in strengthening the security relationship between
our two countries in the post - bases era. The agreement, once
approved by the Philippine Senate, establishes the foundation for a
resumption of joint military exercises and U.S. ship visits to
Philippine ports and thus provides a framework for promoting increased
defense cooperation between our two countries.


Thailand is another old friend and one that has supported our efforts
in the region from the Korean War up through the present day. We
maintain close military to military relations with the Thai and enjoy
access, as needed, to strategic air bases. The Thai have been critical
partners in our regional counternarcotics efforts, as well as in
efforts as diverse as environmental protection and intellectual
property rights enforcement.


REGIONAL SECURITY ARCHITECTURE



While our forward deployed forces and our network of mutual security
alliances are the cornerstone of our security policy in Asia,
President Clinton has also aggressively supported efforts to foster
regional peace and security through multilateral mechanisms. Over a
relatively short period of time, multilateral organizations have
become an important feature of the regional security architecture, as
regional fora including APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) have
taken root and flourished. President Clinton's commitment to work with
and through these regional fora has given substance to his notion of
building a Pacific Community, and will likely be one of the most
important and enduring foreign policy innovations of his
Administration.


APEC was established in 1989 to promote trade and investment
liberalization and to enhance overall economic cooperation in the
region. Insofar as this is a hearing on regional security policy not
economic policy, I will not focus on the importance of APEC, per se.
Still, it is worth noting that economic discussion builds confidence
and eases tensions and in that way, APEC contributes to regional
security.


The most important multilateral forum for the purposes of our
discussion today is the ASEAN Regional Forum. In 1993, the U.S. joined
ASEAN in creating the ARF, the first broadly based consultative body
in Asia concerned exclusively with security issues. The regular,
institutionalized meetings of the ARF have provided a mechanism
through which members can come together to resolve issues before they
lead to conflict, and in so doing they have encouraged members to
cultivate habits of consultation and cooperation. Although only in its
fifth year, the ARF has already made contributions towards promoting
dialogue, encouraging transparency, expanding cooperation, and
defusing tensions. Most significant in this regard was perhaps the
1995 ARF meeting held in Brunei. At that meeting, which was held on
the heels of the Mischief Reef incident in which China and the
Philippines clashed over disputed territorial claims in the South
China Sea, then foreign minister Qian Qichen responded to ASEAN
concerns by declaring that the PRC would pursue a solution to the
dispute consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. While
this declaration did not resolve the conflicting claims -- and in fact
I will say more about these unresolved disputes later in my testimony
-- it was nonetheless a turning point in the history of the conflict.
The ARF provides a critical mechanism for engaging China and
integrating China into the Asia-Pacific region, and thus makes an
important contribution to regional and arguably global security.


Still, we have a long way to go if we are to see the ARF fulfill its
true potential as a regional forum. Engagement in the ARF has focused
primarily on confidence building measures (CBM's), and in this regard
it is worth noting that the Chinese, once reluctant and passive
members of the ARF, have made great strides in their efforts to
proactively propose CBM's. We hope, however, that the forum will be
able to move beyond CBM's toward preventive diplomacy -- a proposal
which some parties have heretofore resisted. We nonetheless plan to
raise the topic at the upcoming ARF meeting in Manila and hope to make
progress in moving the forum forward.


Mr. Chairman, I'd like now to discuss what I see as the four most
important challenges to U.S. security policy in the region.


KOREA



The U.S. continues to confront a serious military threat on the Korean
Peninsula. 1.8 million men are under arms on the Peninsula, making it
one of the most dangerous places on earth. The Demilitarized Zone,
moreover, is not truly demilitarized, as all too frequent incidents
habitually remind us. Deterrence, therefore, remains our top priority.
37,000 US troops and a rock-solid alliance with the Republic of Korea
have successfully deterred North Korean aggression for almost half a
century and will continue to be the linchpin of our deterrence
strategy.


At the same time, we are working hand-in-hand with the ROK to diminish
the threat of conflict through diplomatic channels, first by reducing
tensions through confidence building measures and ultimately by
working towards the peaceful reunification of the Peninsula. A key
component of these diplomatic efforts is North-South dialogue, for
peace must be achieved primarily by the two parties themselves. The
U.S. has consistently supported meaningful, direct contacts between
the ROK and the DPRK, and thus we are encouraged by the recent
reinitiation of bilateral talks in Beijing. We also support the
overtures that President Kim Dae-jung has unilaterally made towards
the DPRK, including an offer of summit talks and the relaxation of
controls on visits to, and trade with, the North.


Complementing bilateral ROK-DPRK dialogue is the Four Party peace
process. I have led the U.S. delegations in two plenary sessions of
the Four Party Peace talks in Geneva, and though progress has been
slow, I am hopeful that talks will resume later this year and that the
process will move forward.


A second security issue is the food crisis in the North which adds an
element of uncertainty into an already complicated picture. We simply
don't know what a desperate, starving North Korea might do, and in
that way the crisis is as much a security threat as a humanitarian
one. Aware that deterrence might not hold under these circumstances
and concerned by the suffering of the North Korean people, the U.S.
has strongly supported the World Food Program's appeal for 658,000
tons of emergency food assistance. This year alone, the U.S. has
pledged 200,000 tons to the WFP, while others, most notably, China,
the ROK and the EU have all made significant contributions of food (in
the case of China and the EU, these contributions are not in direct
response to the WFP appeal.) We hope, in this context, that Japan will
again make a significant contribution and rejoin the group of nations
working to stem the humanitarian crisis.


A third security issue in regard to Korea -- nuclear proliferation --
is an area in which we have had considerable success. Only a few years
ago, we faced the grave threat of an accelerated North Korean nuclear
program jeopardizing both the security of U.S. forces on the Peninsula
and that of our regional allies. Today, thanks to the Agreed Framework
and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the
North Korean nuclear program is frozen, canning of spent fuel is
almost completed and construction of light water reactors has begun.


But funding issues remain key, both for the light water reactors and
for heavy fuel oil. In the face of serious economic hardship, South
Korea has publicly confirmed its intention to fund 70% of the overall
cost of light water reaction construction. Japan, despite its own
economic difficulties, has also pledged a significant contribution to
the project. This is an extraordinary example of burden-sharing in the
post-Cold War era, and our allies should be commended for their
willingness to work with us to ensure the situation remain diffused.


As for heavy fuel oil, the U.S. agreed to take the lead in arranging
financing for and we are hard at work trying to fulfill that
commitment. The problem, as the members of this Subcommittee know, is
that by the end of 1997 KEDO had accumulated a 47 million dollar debt
from previous funding shortfalls. We appreciate the extra $10 million
dollars that Congress appropriated contingent upon coming up with the
$37 million needed to eliminate this debt from other sources, and are
actively seeking to raise these funds.


CHINA



If the Korean Peninsula is the most immediately dangerous place in
which the U.S. is engaged in the Asia-Pacific, China is clearly the
most complex and challenging. Demography alone makes China an
important player in the world. But China's remarkable economic
achievements, increasing diplomatic prominence and growing military
strength mean that China in the 21st century will profoundly shape the
very nature of our world. As the members of this Subcommittee know,
the Clinton Administration's strategy of comprehensive engagement
toward China is based on the premise that it is in our interest to
work toward the emergence of China as a major power that is stable,
open and non-aggressive; that embraces political pluralism and
international rules of conduct; and that works with us to build a
secure international order as well as peace and stability in the Asia
Pacific region. We have made significant, if uneven, progress with the
Chinese in all of these areas, and I am optimistic that in the wake of
Secretary Albright's trip and in the run-up to the summit, we will
continue to build on the progress achieved in Washington last October,
when we agreed with the PRC to move towards a "constructive strategic
partnership."


In terms of regional security, engagement with China is paying
dividends. Peace in Korea is as fundamental a strategic interest for
China as it is for the United States, and the Chinese have played a
critical role in working to defuse tensions on the Peninsula. China
worked with the U.S. to bring North Korea to the negotiating table and
now sits with us at the four party talks in the common pursuit of a
permanent peace. China chaired the most recent North-South
negotiation, which we enthusiastically support, and is aggressively
addressing the humanitarian crisis in North Korea through significant,
ongoing food and fuel donations.


In a more broad-based sense, China has made great strides in its
willingness to engage in regional security dialogues. Whereas four
years ago China was reluctant to deal with its neighbors on a
multilateral basis, today China is actively engaged in the ARF,
proactively proposing confidence building measures and chairing key
sessions. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, Beijing publicly announced at
the 1995 ARF its intention to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention and
committed itself to the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea
territorial disputes.


On non-proliferation issues, prolonged engagement by multiple
administrations has similarly yielded tangible results. The Chinese
have come to recognize that the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction is not in their own interests and have signed on to a
number of non-proliferation regimes. China has joined us in the BWC
(Biological Weapons Convention), the NPT (Nonproliferation Treaty),
the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ), and the CWC (the Chemical
Weapons Convention). China has committed to phase out nuclear
cooperation with Iran and to refrain from assisting unsafeguarded
nuclear facilities anywhere. It has implemented nation-wide nuclear
export controls, is in the process of promulgating dual-use nuclear
controls, and has joined the Zangger NPT exporters' committee. China
no longer exports complete ground-to-ground missiles controlled by the
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Clearly there has been a
positive evolution of China's attitudes and actions vis a vis
non-proliferation norms, particularly in the nuclear area.


Still, we recognize that China remains a major producer of nuclear,
chemical, and missile related equipment, materials and technology. We
continue to have concerns about reports of missile equipment and
technology transfer to Iran and Pakistan, and we are troubled by the
ability of Iran's chemical weapons program to obtain assistance from
Chinese entities. We are urging the Chinese to update and strengthen
their 1994 commitment to the MTCR guidelines and parameters, to expand
the scope of their chemical export controls, and to become
increasingly integrated into international nonproliferation regimes.


No analysis of security issues involving China would be complete
without a discussion of Taiwan. As we saw in March 1996, cross-Strait
tensions can rapidly and dangerously escalate. U.S. policy on
PRC-Taiwan relations remains unchanged: the United States continues to
support peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question and believes that
cross-Strait dialogue provides the most promising mechanism through
which to defuse tensions. In that regard, we are encouraged by signs
of a renewed willingness on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume
their dialogue. Last month, representatives from the PRC's ARATS and
Taiwan's SEF, the two "unofficial" organizations which carry out
direct contacts between Beijing and Taipei, met in Beijing for two
days of talks, marking the first real step towards the resumption of
formal cross-Strait dialogue since Beijing suspended the talks in June
1995.


We welcome this new development and firmly believe that improvement in
cross-Strait relations will promote peace and stability in the entire
region. Any deterioration in Beijing - Taipei relations along the
lines of what took place in 1995-1996 would be costly and
counterproductive for both sides, and dangerous to the stability of
the entire region.


MARITIME TERRITORIAL DISPUTES



The third major security issue -- and one that doesn't receive enough
attention -- is the issue of unresolved territorial disputes in the
East and South China Seas. In the East China Sea, Korea and Japan both
lay claim to Tokdo/Takeshima Island, while Japan, the PRC and Taiwan
each lay claim to the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands. Recent tensions over
these conflicting claims have led to an outpouring of nationalistic
emotion on all sides, which could preface a future clash among our
friends and allies if matters are left unresolved.


The disputes in the South China Sea are extraordinarily complex.
Numerous islands and reefs, including the Paracel Islands and the
Spratley Islands, are the subject of overlapping claims among six
disputants, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and
Brunei. As the clash between the PRC and the Philippines over Mischief
Reef in 1995 clearly demonstrated, these disputes remain a dangerous
source of potential conflict in the region. Although the Mischief Reef
incident ultimately led to China's commitment to abide by the UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea, tensions over conflicting claims
persist and no progress has been achieved towards a diplomatic
resolution of the numerous disputed claims. Thus future conflicts
could erupt in the absence of preventive measures to promote
resolution to these disputes. In fact, there have been several periods
of heightened tensions in these waters in the past six months alone,
including Vietnamese patrol boats escorting Chinese research vessels
out of disputed waters off the coast of southern Vietnam and
Vietnamese troops garrisoned on Pidgeon/Tenant Reef opening fire on a
nearby Filipino fishing vessel.


The United States has a clear and abiding interest in a South China
Sea free from such conflicts. The South China Sea is a strategic
passageway through which oil and other commercial resources flow from
the Middle East and Southeast Asia to Japan, Korea and China. It is
also an operating area for the U.S. Navy and Air Force and a transit
point between military bases in the Pacific and those in the Indian
Ocean/Persian Gulf. Freedom of navigation and open sea lines of
communication in these waters are thus vital interests for the United
States.


While taking no position on the legal merits of individual claims to
sovereignty over the various islands and waters, the United States has
consistently supported regional efforts such as the annual
Indonesian-sponsored Workshops on Managing Potential Conflict in the
South China Sea to address the disputes. Several different conceptual
approaches for resolution have been suggested by experts. One approach
is to negotiate an agreement that resolves the status of each of the
claims. Alternatively, if this is not achievable in the short-term, a
different approach would involve shelving sovereignty claims in favor
of joint resource development. No country in the region currently
possesses the military capacity to impose its claims, and no claimant
has yet discovered commercially viable quantities of oil or natural
gas. Thus if the political will to reach a negotiated settlement can
be generated, a window of opportunity may exist in which to find a
'win-win' solution.


SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF THE ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS



The financial crisis which has rocked the region over the course of
the past ten months has broad ramifications for U.S. security policy.
The U.S. presence in Asia over the past half century provided a stable
foundation on which the nations of the region achieved unprecedented
economic progress. But just as peace and stability enabled economic
progress, so too did economic progress reinforce peace and stability.
The two, in fact, are intimately linked. And thus in the face of an
economic crisis which is profoundly affecting the region, the progress
that has been made on the security front can no longer be taken for
granted.


There is both an external and an internal dimension to the security
ramifications of the financial crisis. On the external front, one
concern is that North Korea might miscalculate that the South's
current economic difficulties make it vulnerable to military action.
To address this concern, the United States and the Republic of Korea
have taken steps to strengthen deterrence, including focusing on these
issues at the twenty-ninth Security Consultative Meeting-Military
Consultative Meeting in Washington last December.


A second external concern is that the economic hardship confronting
Thailand, Indonesia, and to a lesser extent Malaysia and the
Philippines could represent a setback to the progress that ASEAN has
made in establishing itself as an effective regional forum. ASEAN has
credibly evolved into a regional bloc capable of advocating Southeast
Asian interests with other key regional players, including China and
Japan. In recent years, ASEAN has begun to play a significant
geopolitical role and in so doing has emerged as a major force for
stability in the region. Its recent record on the geopolitical front
is impressive, including leadership on the Paris Peace Accords, in
moderating tensions in the South China Sea, in the formation of APEC
and the ARF, and in the effort to resolve the crisis in Cambodia.
Should key ASEAN members turn inward as they focus on their respective
economic problems, or should inter-ASEAN tensions over financial
crisis-inspired problems such as refugees and/or economic migrants
rise, regional stability could suffer from an erosion of ASEAN
leadership.


On the internal front is the prospect of domestic instability in
countries afflicted by the crisis. Most worrisome in this regard is
Indonesia, where social tensions have clearly been on the rise. The
vast, ethnically diverse nation of Indonesia is of broad strategic
significance for the United States. It is the world's fourth most
populous nation and boasts the world's largest Muslim population; it
contains over 13,000 islands which span important sea lanes and
airways; and it possesses vast natural resources, including oil and
natural gas. Moreover, whereas the Indonesia of yesteryear championed
an assertive nationalism which unnerved its smaller neighbors, the
Indonesia of recent decades has played a crucial role in fostering
regional stability.


As the largest member of ASEAN and a founder of the ARF, Indonesia has
provided key leadership on a vast array of issues, from the search for
a solution to the continuing crisis in Cambodia to the pursuit of
resolution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Indonesia
has also become increasingly active in world affairs, contributing to
peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Angola, supporting
non-proliferation efforts such as the CTBT, and joining the quest for
stability on the Korean Peninsula by becoming a member of KEDO.
Finally, Indonesia has been a key partner in APEC, working closely
with the U.S. to foster trade liberalization. Should Indonesia become
unstable and turn inward, progress on a whole host of issues would
suffer and ASEAN's effectiveness as a moderate regional forum would be
severely undermined.


To avert this undesirable outcome, we have worked closely with
Indonesia, the IMF, Japan and other donor countries to support policy
reforms needed for Indonesia's economic recovery. Steadfast
implementation of reforms remains the key. In the case of Indonesia,
we have pledged over 50 million dollars in food and medical supplies
for a humanitarian aid package, and are negotiating up to one billion
dollars in export-import insurance for short-term trade credits.


Even as we have made these efforts on the economic front, we have
continued to attach priority to human rights issues. We are deeply
concerned by the rising social tensions in Indonesia and are closely
monitoring the escalation of student protests as well as the
disappearance of activists. We have repeatedly raised our concerns at
high levels within the Indonesian government. I personally have raised
the issue of disappearances up to the ministerial level in Jakarta and
both Assistant Secretary Shattuck and I have met with the Indonesian
Ambassador in Washington to express our concerns. We have called on
the Indonesian government to conduct a full investigation into the
disappearances of activists and the allegations of torture and have
made clear our expectation that peaceful demonstrations will be
allowed to continue. I'm pleased to report that there has been some
progress, including the reappearance of several prominent
'disappeared' activists and Indonesian government approval for ICRC
visits to Aceh.


Mr. Chairman, the past twelve months have brought many challenges to
the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian financial crisis,
factional fighting in Cambodia, the worsening of the food crisis in
North Korea, and most recently, social unrest in Indonesia. At the
same time, the past year has also brought constructive change to Asia,
including the smooth transition into the post-Deng Xiaoping era in
China; the revision of the US-Japan defense guidelines; the commitment
to a 'constructive strategic partnership' between the U.S. and China;
and the triumphs of the democratic process in South Korea. Our
experience in the region over the past four decades has taught us that
the best way for us to promote democratic principles, encourage
economic growth, deter regional aggression, and secure our own
maritime interests is to be an active presence in the Asia-Pacific.


During this critical period of transition in Asia, our engagement in
the region has never been more important. It will help to determine
the kind of region that will emerge from these transitions and will
assure our ability to mobilize support for issues of importance to the
United States in the future. I thank the Congress for its support of
our engagement in the Asia-Pacific and for this opportunity to lay out
the Administration's security policy in the region.


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