Secretary-General's joint press encounter with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone of Japan (Secretary-General's remarks only)
Tokyo, Japan, 30 June 2009SG: Nakasone daijin domo arigato gozaimashita. Minasama konbanwa. Ichinen buri ni Nihon ni mairimashita. Imakara eigo de hanashimasu.
(Minister Nakasone, thank you very much. Good evening everyone. It has been a year since I visited Japan last. I will now speak in English.)
It is a great pleasure for me to visit Japan again for the third time. Exactly almost one year ago, I was here and I had very good discussions with the Japanese leadership. As soon as I arrived, this is my first meeting again with Foreign Minister Nakasone, but you may know I had good discussions with Foreign Minister Nakasone on the airplane while coming from Trieste, Italy, after attending the G8 Ministerial Meeting in Minchin. It was very good first meeting with him.
Japan is one of the most important Member States of the United Nations. Thus, my regular dialogue with the Japanese Government is crucially important for me to carry out my responsibilities as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Japan's active role and contribution in virtually every area of the United Nations -- not only in financial terms but peace and security, peacekeeping, peace-building, development, humanitarian relief, global health as well as human rights -- are highly appreciated. I am here to further consolidate, strengthen and expand UN-Japan cooperation.
In our just-concluded meeting, as the Foreign Minister just said, I expressed to Foreign Minister Nakasone my deep appreciation for Japan's steadfast support to the United Nations and to my efforts to reform the United Nations Organization and make it more effective and trustworthy in meeting the global challenges of the day.
Japan's continued leadership, contribution and active efforts are indispensable for effective collective action in addressing climate change, the global financial and economic crisis, as well as in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and on non-proliferation and disarmament.
The Foreign Minister and I discussed these issues as well as regional “hot spots” and conflicts. The Foreign Minister has just mentioned that we had discussed how to address and implement the Security Council resolution on the DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea's) nuclear issues, and we also discussed how to fight against piracy off the waters of Somalia. All these are very important issues. We also discussed peace-building and counterterrorism issues. I am going to discuss with the Foreign Minister over dinner on many other important issues concerning my visit to Myanmar and the situation in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and climate change, most importantly.
As you know by this time already, I am planning to visit Myanmar from July 3-4. I look forward to returning to Myanmar to address directly with the senior leadership of Myanmar the serious and longstanding issues of concern to the United Nations and the international community as a whole. In particular, I consider that three of the most important issues for the future of Myanmar cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture of the country's political process: first, the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; the resumption of dialogue between the Government and Opposition as a necessary part of any national reconciliation process; and third, the need to create conditions conducive to credible elections next year. In addition, I consider that every opportunity should be used to consolidate and build on the joint humanitarian efforts following Cyclone Nargis last year.
The Foreign Minister and I will continue our dialogue on these important issues of our times.
I very much look forward to my very full day tomorrow, and I am also very much looking forward to my meeting with Prime Minister Aso Taro.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Government and the people of Japan for extending their warm hospitality to me and to my delegation.
Thank you very much again. Domo arigato gozaimashita.
Q: I would like to ask the two of you a question. You mentioned in connection with North Korea, the 1874 Resolution and its steadfast implementation and you came to an agreement on that. To be specific, what did you request of the Secretary-General? That is the question to the Minister, and to the Secretary-General, all the Member States of the UN have to have a concerted effort, and what is the effort that would be made in this respect? I'd also like to ask about the UN Security Council reforms, what kind of specific reforms are necessary?
SG: All the Security Council resolutions are binding, and thus each and every Member State of the United Nations is obligated to fully comply with this Security Council Resolution. With regard to DPRK's nuclear test, the Security Council has taken a very important decision by sending out strong, unanimous decision/message to DPRK. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that they should fully comply with this resolution. This Resolution also calls for all other Members of the United Nations again to extend full cooperation with the implementation of this. This resolution is equipped with sanction measures, including to search and investigate, even on the high seas, on the North Korean vessels when they have a sufficient ground to believe that these cargoes are related to proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials. This is very important. This resolution also opens the door for dialogue, opens the door for an opportunity - a possibility of resolving this issue through dialogue in a peaceful manner.
Therefore, while I urged most importantly the DPRK authorities to fully cooperate and fully comply with this resolution, at the same time, the Member States of the United Nations should fully cooperate so that the Resolution should be able to be implemented. At this time I again urge that the parties concerned should refrain so that the situation will not deteriorate. I urge the North Korean authorities to refrain from taking any further measures which may deteriorate the already very serious situation. These measures taken by the DPRK authorities run counter to the ongoing international communities' efforts to realize nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
On this second question ? the reform of the Security Council, I have been repeatedly been stating that, considering the tremendous changes which have taken place during the last 60 years since the inception of the United Nations, the Security Council must be reformed in a broadly representative and democratic way. There is a consensus among the Member States on this issue. In fact, the Member States of the United Nation have shifted their gears to another higher gear by agreeing and by having already started in the inter-governmental negotiation in informal General Assembly plenary settings. I look forward to a third round of negotiations. And it is important that Japan as one of the important negotiating groups should try their best maintain and sustain this momentum so that the Member States of the United Nations can agree to mutually agreeable solutions to this. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will spare no efforts to facilitate this ongoing negotiation so that we would be able to see this reform of the Security Council as soon as possible. Thank you very much.
Q: I would like to ask about Myanmar since the Secretary General is about to visit there. Secretary-General, are you concerned that the timing of your visit could send a wrong message, since it coincides with the resumption of the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi? And to Mr. Nakasone, what contribution can Japan make to ameliorate this situation in Myanmar?
SG: I have been trying to find out the most appropriate timing. I have been trying to visit Myanmar since a long time, but I realized that there are concerns about the timing of my visit at this time because a trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is still pending. It may be the case that the trial may happen during my visit in Myanmar. I am very much conscious of that. At the same time, to find the most appropriate timing has been a challenge for me, too. I have been negotiating with the Myanmar authorities about my own visit.
While being conscious of this concern of the international community, I will try to use this visit as an opportunity to raise in the strongest possible terms and convey the concerns of international community of the United Nations to the highest authorities of the Myanmar Government. As I said, three of most important benchmarks would be: first of all, they should release all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi; they should immediately resume the dialogue between the Government and opposition leaders; and they should also create an atmosphere, political as well as a legal framework conducive to the credible election which needs to be taken next year in a most objective, transparent and democratic manner. This is the commitment and concerns and aspiration of the international community. I am going to convey this strongly to Senior General Than Shwe and other leaders. I am going to also have an opportunity of having a public speech inviting all civil leaders, NGOs and political leaders, and also I may have an opportunity of meeting all the other different political leaders/representatives. This would provide with me a very good occasion to engage in, first of all, dialogue with people of the grassroots as well as the highest leaders. Thank you very much.