THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 9, 1994
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT
6:20 P.M. (L)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. First, I would
like to thank Prime Minister Berlusconi for his able leadership
of this meeting over the last day and an evening, and to say that
Secretary Christopher and Secretary Bentsen will also be here to
answer your questions in a few moments.
I'd like to read a brief statement, and then I'll
This G-7 meeting opened in an atmosphere of much
greater optimism than the meeting we held last year. Last year
the G-7 had a record of meeting but not accomplishing very much,
and the meeting occurred against the background of a global
economic slowdown -- recession in the United States, Europe and
We made a commitment last year to pursue a
coordinated strategy of global growth, to try to get an agreement
on the GATT, and to begin to help Russia in a constructive and
cooperative way. We have done all those things, and most
importantly, our growth strategy has worked. In the United
States, the jobs are up, growth is up, Europe and Canada are
beginning to recover, Japan has committed itself to policies that
will enable it to contribute to the global economic recovery. We
have much to build on, and there was a real sense of confidence
at this year's meetings.
Before the summit began, I outlined four principal
goals on which progress was made, in fact, at this meeting.
First I said we would continue our focus on growth and to be more
specific about what we would do in a cooperative way. It is
significant that the leading industrial nations gathered here
today jointly pledged that we would actually ratify the GATT
agreement this year, and that the new World Trade Organization
would be up and running by January 1st.
Immediate enactment of the GATT agreement would be a
vital shot in the arm for the world economy. It means more
trade, more jobs, higher incomes for all our countries. Indeed,
we have set aside any new trade efforts to focus on this
paramount goal. The Congress, I hope, will take note of the
world community's unanimity on this issue, and will ratify the
GATT in the United States this year.
I am particularly pleased that for the first time
the G-7 committed to work cooperatively on the issues of lifetime
learning, job training and skills that are so central to what we
are trying to accomplish in the United States.
Before we held the Detroit Jobs Conference, a lot of
our colleagues were actually reluctant to engage in the kind of
conversation that dominated the dinner table last night, and to
begin to work together on what we can do to prepare our people
for the 21st century.
Second, we're taking steps to build a new
infrastructure for the information economy. The G-7 nations will
convene a conference on telecommunications issues to lay plans
for a global information superhighway. I'll be asking Commerce
Secretary Ron Brown to head our delegation.
Third, we are deepening our commitment to the
economies and transition from communism to free markets. In
particular, we agreed that the international community, led by
the IMF and the World Bank, will provide more than $4 billion in
financial assistance to Ukraine as that nation carries out a
fundamental economic reform program.
And we pledged a total of $300 million, actually a
little more, to pay for the initial stages of shutting down and
cleaning up the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, and to enhance
reactor safety there. If this plan is successful, that facility
will be closed forever.
Fourth, we continued our commitment to the
environment and to sustainable development. This is an important
issue not only in the developing world, but also among the G-7
nations themselves -- important not only as an opportunity and an
obligation to clean up the environment, but also as a source of
new jobs for our people. We're putting our words to the test by
agreeing to report back next year on our respective successes in
living up to the Clean Air agreements and the treaties we have
Last year in Tokyo, at the first G-7 summit I
attended, I became convinced that these meetings would be more
effective in the long-term if they were less formal and more open
to genuine discussion. To a greater degree than has been the
case in the past, the leaders in Naples had the opportunity to
take a long-term look at the issues we face together, to focus on
tomorrow's opportunities as well as today's problems.
Starting last night, we had an excellent discussion
about this moment of historic, economic, political and social
change. As an old world gives way to the new, it is up to the
leading economic powers to renew and to revitalize our common
efforts and the institutions through which we make them,
including the G-7, so that the world economy works for the people
To that end, the communique commits us to focus on
two questions in Halifax next year. First, we will ask how we
can assure that the global economy of the 21st century provides
the jobs, the growth, and the expanded trade necessary for us to
continue to provide a high quality of life for our people.
Second, we will ask what framework of institutions
will be required to meet these challenges, and how we can adapt
existing institutions and build new ones to ensure the prosperity
of our people.
Finally, just let me say, I was struck by the degree
to which the vision and the goals of the United States are shared
by our partners. We all recognize that jobs and wages at home
must be paramount; that we are tied to each other in fundamental
ways in our ability to achieve our national goals; that our
nations will only thrive if we have an environment of open and
continually expanding trade; and that for advanced nations,
especially, the skills, the education and the training of our
workers is the key to our future prosperity.
Now, in addition to that, there was a new emphasis
this year on the idea that long-term prosperity requires us to
lead the world in developing a concept of sustainable
development. That will help not only the economies in transition
from communism to free markets, but also the developing nations
with their problems of population, environmental destruction,
violence and other problems.
This kind of comprehensive approach and the extent
to which we have agreed across our national lines, it seems to
me, give us a real chance to keep going now after two summits in
which there were specific forward-looking achievements into the
future, to make sure that the G-7 is always a place where we're
pushing forward, not just looking backward or talking about
things that happened in a reactive way.
So we have some good aims for next year and beyond;
we had a good summit this year. And most importantly, the world
is well underway to a significant economic recovery. And I think
we all understand that we have to continue to work together if
we're going to keep that recovery going.
Q Mr. President, do you know anything about Kim
Il Sung's son? And do you think you can continue to do business
with North Korea in view of the developments? Have you learned
anything today that might enhance your knowledge of this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I can tell you what we've
learned today. We have learned today that, apparently, the North
Koreans desire to continue on with the summit with South Korea;
and that, while they did ask that we suspend our talks with them,
they asked that our representatives stay in Geneva. And we
agreed to do that. So we believe that they will stay with their
policy and stay with their course; that this reflects the
feelings of the leadership in North Korea, and not simply the
feelings of Kim Il Sung.
Now, I'm only telling you what I know today, and all
I know today is that they said they wanted us to suspend the
talks -- we understood that -- but they asked that we remain in
Geneva. And they communiqued to the South Koreans that they wish
the summit to go forward. So I think that is a piece of good
news. And that is the only news I have about it.
Q And Kim Il Sung's son?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know how to answer that. I
know some things, obviously, about him. But I haven't met him.
And one of the things that we're trying to do in North Korea,
that I've tried to do from the beginning is to open the prospect
of a continuing and a personal dialogue. I don't think we want
to be isolated from each other. And as I said, the preliminary
indications in what must be a very difficult time for them and a
sad time have been encouraging.
Q You say the North Koreans have suggested
they're ready to start this dialogue with the South Koreans and
have this summit. Does that mean North Korea would be
represented at the summit by Kim Jung Il, the son, the heir
apparent? And following up on that, if you -- do you think it
would be appropriate at this moment for you to reach out and to
meet with Kim Jung Il and start some sort of new relationship
between the United States and North Korea?
THE PRESIDENT: First, let me reiterate: I can only
tell you what I know. It is our understanding that the North
Koreans have communicated their desire to continue with the
summit, and they did ask our people to remain in Geneva. I do
not know anything else, and I do not think I can really say
anything else today. But I think you have to view those two
signs as hopeful.
The biggest problem we've had in the past, I think,
is that the sense of isolation and misunderstanding which can
develop. So I am hoping that we'll be able to continue to talk,
but I know only what I said. I can't comment on anything else
Q Mr. President, as a gesture of this new
openness and willingness to work, are you going to offer to send
an official U.S. delegation to the funeral, and have you got any
idea of what that -- who would be in such a delegation?
THE PRESIDENT: It is my understanding that they
want to have a funeral that has no foreign visitors, and that is
a personal thing for North Koreans only; that is our
Q Would you send a delegation if one were
THE PRESIDENT: If they were inviting foreign
dignitaries to the funeral or receiving them I would certainly
send someone there.
Q Mr. President, the German official said that
this was discussed by the leaders this morning. Can you share
with us what some of your colleagues at the G-7 felt about the
nonproliferation issue and how this might affect it, and what
steps U.S. summit leaders might be taking to make sure that you
remain on track on nuclear nonproliferation?
THE PRESIDENT: We didn't really discuss it in that
level of detail. What they wanted to know from me was what
happens now. So I can only tell them what I've already told you.
And one or two said that what I have reported to you was
consistent with what they understood to be the facts. And that's
about all we could say at this time. We don't have any more
information; when I have some more I'll be glad to give it to
Q You made a decision already, sir, today -- your
military made a decision, which we were told was approved by you,
not to increase our state of alert.
THE PRESIDENT: We did do that; absolutely, we did.
Q Can you tell us what our situation is in South
Korea where we have 38,000 men?
THE PRESIDENT: General Luck, General Shalikashvili
and the Secretary of Defense all recommended, based on General
Luck's personal on-site observations, that we continue as usual
in Korea, and that there was no evident, alarming change in
development, and that we should, therefore, proceed as we
ordinarily would on any other day. And that was a decision made
that I approved, based on General Luck's recommendation and the
strong recommendation of General Shalikashvili and the Secretary
Q Mr. President, last year you had what everybody
seemed to think was a pretty successful summit in Japan. This
year, you've had to abandon your trade proposal, and your
comments yesterday about the dollar caused great fluctuation or
drop in the currency markets. How do you judge this summit as
compared to that summit in terms of your personal --
THE PRESIDENT: I feel good about it for two or
three reasons that I might -- that are very important to me over
the long run, especially. One is the leading statement in this
summit is a reaffirmation of what we did at the Detroit Jobs
Conference, and a commitment that is without precedent among the
industrial nations that we will work collaboratively on these
people-oriented issues -- the investment in our work force.
We had an amazing conversation last night that I've
never heard among world leaders before where the leaders of these
various countries were trying to analyze whether there was a
traceable relationship in their unemployment rate to their
investment policies, and what the differences were. This is
unprecedented -- countries are not used to doing this.
Now, in the United States, American governors do
this all the time; that's what they do when they meet. But among
the nations of the world, this sort of thing had never happened
before. And I wanted to make sure that we have good, strong
language about that. I felt good about it.
The second thing that I felt very strongly about was
that we ought to be as forthcoming and explicit as possible in
our discussion of Ukraine. After what happened in Russia last
year, I don't think there is any question that the strong,
explicit and forthcoming statement by the G-7 leaders, and the
subsequent endeavors to make those commitments real in Russia,
helped to keep reform moving and made a contribution to what you
see now in Russia, which is even though the economy is still
troubled, you see inflation down, you see a deficit that is
smaller as a percentage of their income than many European
countries had, you see over half the people working in the
So I felt very good about that, because there were
some here who thought we should not be so explicit about what we
were going to do for fear that we might not be able to do it if a
reform program did not take place. Well, everybody understands
that. We can't just throw money at a problem, we have to have a
The third thing that happened here -- actually
happened here -- but that I think is very important, and that is
commitment to discuss in Halifax what we want the world to look
like 20 years from now, and what kinds of institutional changes
we're going to have to make to get it there. And let me explain
why this is important if I might, just very briefly, because I
did not -- I came here with this in my mind, but I had no earthly
idea that we could reach even a limited agreement among
ourselves. And it turned out all them were worried about it,
But let me try to just quickly distill the
significance of that. That's the commitment to what we're going
to discuss in Halifax about the institutions. All of you from
home at least have heard me say a dozen times that at the end of
World War I, America made the wrong choice. After the war, we
became isolated, we withdrew; other countries withdrew; the
Depression came, we wound up with World War II. At the end of
World War II, we made the right choice -- we got together, we
created all these institutions. At the end of the Cold War,
everybody has made the right choice in general. I mean, you can
see that in what we've done with NAFTA, with China, with you name
it, trying to reach out and work together .
But there are a relatively small number of new
institutions. The European Union, basically it came into effect
finally in 1992; it's essentially a post-Cold War institution,
and it's reaching out to the East. The World Trade Organization
is a new institution. The Partnership for Peace is a new
alliance tied to NATO. Otherwise, we are still working with the
institutions that we settled on at the end of World War II.
Are they adequate for the problems we face today and
tomorrow? And if not, how do we need to change them? This is a
very practical thing. You see it here when we -- you see the
first example of it here when tomorrow Russia comes here as our
partner in a G-8 for political purposes. But that's just one
example of a whole slew of questions that have to be asked and
answered if we're going to get from where we are to where we want
to be 20 years from now. So I would say all those things make a
lot of sense to me.
In terms of the trade issue, every member of the G-7
except one affirmatively said they agreed with my trade proposal.
One country said that this could complicate -- if we raise
another trade issue now, that approval of GATT in his country was
not a foregone conclusion, and approval of GATT in one or two
other European countries was not a foregone conclusion; and we
shouldn't do anything that would impair the near certainty that
we can drive through GATT approval in all the major countries
this year. I clearly agree with that. That has got to be our
number one goal.
So I still felt very good about this G-7 summit.
Q Mr. President, a year ago, we began the
framework talks with Japan. It's a year later, four Japanese
governments later; nothing's happened on that track at all.
On another track, we've twice threatened trade
sanctions, once on textiles with China -- we got immediate
results -- once on cellular phone with Japan -- we got immediate
results. Is there a lesson there? Is it time for us to start
acting on our interests and not waiting for Japan to finally get
a government that can deal with us in a serious way?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the answer to your
question is, yes, we should begin acting in our interest on
specific issues, but we should also continue to pursue the
framework talks, because they embrace large structural issues
which will enable us to have a more normal trading relationship
with Japan. And I think, in fairness to our people and to
theirs, it is difficult to face those very tough structural
issues with the kind of political changes that have occurred
If I might, though, we have had a lot of progress in
Japan. You mentioned the cellular phone issue. We've also had a
contracting issue, a public contracting issue. We're also
selling rice in Japan for the first time -- the people, the rice
farmers in Northern California think that there's a new day in
relationships with Japan.
So we're making some headway here, and I think now
if what we heard from the new Japanese Prime Minister and his
team was an indication that they're going to pursue an aggressive
growth strategy, so they'll be able to buy more of their own
products and other products, and they are determined to stay in
this thing for the long run and they want to reengage, then I
think we may be able to make some progress on the framework
But I agree that we also have to pursue specific
MS. MYERS: Last question.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll take two. And I'll take one
from you, but let him go first.
Q We now have a country with a secession problem,
a secession question and a military where we're not really sure
who controls it, and maybe who controls nuclear weapons.
Recently, your administration has made statements like it's more
important that they not develop further nuclear weapons and maybe
not as important that we deal with their current nuclear
capability if they have one.
You've said you're committed to a nuclear-free
Peninsula, but can you tell the American people what your state
of knowledge is about what nuclear weapons the North Koreans
might have and how committed you are, what steps you will take,
besides going to negotiations of trying to make certain that any
nuclear weapons are eliminated?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it only -- let me just
go back to what I said -- I think it only stands to reason that
we would all be more concerned about the prospect of any country
producing large numbers of nuclear weapons in the future which
might be transferred to other countries. That's just a practical
statement of fact.
However, North Korea is a member of the NPT, and has
made commitments to a non-nuclear Peninsula, and because of its
membership there and because of its commitments, we still care
very much about what's happened since 1989. And what we hoped to
do is to resolve both these questions in these talks. And we
think we can safely proceed with these talks with absolutely no
down side to our allies in South Korea, to our friends in Japan,
to the Chinese, to the Russians, to any others in the
neighborhood, and to ourselves, as long as North Korea maintains
it commitment to freeze the important elements of its nuclear
program -- the reprocessing and the refueling.
And so we are proceeding ahead on both fronts, as I
think it should.
Q nuclear weapons --
THE PRESIDENT: We are engaging in the talks. One
of the issues in the talks is what's happened to the fuel since
1989. That's the subject of the talks, and part of the request
for the inspections. What has been reported in the press,
varying opinions of intelligence agencies, represents their best
judgment, their -- I don't want to use the word "guess," but
there are differences of opinion based on best judgment. No one
knows that for sure. That's what the talks are for, in part.
Q Mr. President, could you explain to us your
reluctance to clearly condemn Islamic terrorism in Algeria, and
is it a part of the global strategy vis-a-vis the Arab world?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I don't think we've
been reluctant at all to condemn Islamic terrorism in Algeria or
anyplace else. We deplore it and we condemn it.
What we have sought to do in Algeria is to support a
process which would enable the government to successfully govern,
and to limit terrorism while recognizing any other legitimate
concerns of opposition in the country. That is our position. We
do not condone terrorism, we condemn it, and we will continue to
Thank you very much.
END6:50 P.M. (L)