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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 7, 2016 12:00am-1:04am EDT

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when president obama came into office, he was an enthusiastic supporter of increasing economic assistance to pakistan. president bush and president obama, over the course of the last 15 years, have provided of 25 billion dollars a military assistance, but it is not possible today. the mood on hill about pakistan has changed traumatically and has changed against providing assistance to pakistan, so that option will be off the table. maybe you can get some increases in aid in the economic field but i don't think you're going to be able to do it in any significant way and i think it will be hard to sway this congress to provide substantial military assistance for anything in that order. i think it's going to be a complicated action. we will have to engage very hard with the pakistani leadership. baz going to be a difficult and complicated conversation. >> thank you.
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i will just follow behind both comments. >> i could not agree more that the solution is a political solution and never were our recommendations with respect to the residual nato force intended theive the afghans capacity to wipe out the taliban. our hope had been to give the afghan national security forces , as well as the police, to give them the capacity to control the taliban and render their potential existential threat to the country, to level that to a level where it can be handled over a long period of time by t he standing afghan forces. and i believe, with the right configuration of allied capabilities, nato capabilities, for the right period of time, and with the right resources, i believe that security platform can be sustained, upon which then, as vonda has correctly
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pointed out, the the political stability can move forward. the security platform is irrelevant, except inso far as it creates the environment where political progress and stability can move forward, and were economic stability and economic progress can also take hold. the other two legs of that stool can only flourish if we have a security stability that can only be sustained, i believe, by a long term nato country,in that long-term will beyond 2020. the colonel said, and i think like many of us here recognize, we did not get to the point where the armed forces of the republic of korea or the japanese forces or the taiwan forces or thethai
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philippine forces, or the colombian forces were able to achieve the level of stability or capability that they could have by being there for three years with numbers that were irrelevant. the only way we are going to be there with capabilities that are relevant that gives us the to push them up while they are able to build their security platform for stability and economic progress. i don't know what that number is. i gave a number a few years ago. my suggestion would be that the next president, as i said before, take the time to do the kind of analysis that is necessary to look at the situation within the government, economy, and security platform. so, all those need to be looked at holistically. we can take the steps necessary to put in several thousand more or changed the combination of forces to ultimately achieve that stability. with regard to pakistan, i used to get congressional delegations that would come through to my headquarters in afghanistan, in
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kobul. anseemed to me, taking implication from bruce's comments, it seems to me that goariably, the intent was to to islamabad and give them a piece of their mind or move into the normal american punitive reflex with respect to pakistan. i reject that and i always advised against it because we need to engage in pakistan. it needed to not be a punitive relationship because there is only so far that we can push them until there is something that could happen that we could lose control of. and frankly, i don't even know if the pakistanis know how far that can go. there have been helpful political developments and political progress. we have seen the peaceful change of one civilian government to another, but we have not seen the kind of military capabilities brought to bear that are necessary. the pakistanir,
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military of course, maintains a large component of its strength anthe east, and a lesser and expeditionary component in the west. is generally not well resourced and they live in difficult circumstances, they fight in difficult circumstances and in many respects, those troops are punjabi and are viewed as a foreign occupying power, as much as we would be if we were there. it is a very difficult situation, as bruce implies. where i think we could make the greatest contribution is to try to, with the international community, facilitate the kind of dialogue and conversation between afghanistan and pakistan that can move us in a direction where they can have the relationship necessary to get to a relatively effective peace process going. i will stop there. >> thank you. we have time for one final lightning round. we will take two quick questions and three quick responses.
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the two gentlemen right next to each other in the seventh row and sixth row, and then the woman here in the fifth row. then we built wrap up. >> tom olson. a question about the funding from middle eastern countries from the gulf countries. how significant is it? who is doing it? do we know who is doing it and what is their motivation? >> thank you very much, michael. i'm with the pakistan-american league. as vonda mentioned, in afghanistan, corruption with that governments. if anything goes wrong there, it is placed on pakistan. have had discussions that, in spite of having communication , thosepen in 2011 forces killed 37 people, including the commanding officer of that post.
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it was said they financed the taliban in afghanistan. could they tell us what is the incentive of pakistan to fina nce the taliban? >> that is it. >> i think there should be a regional approach and all the stakeholders should be included in the negotiation. >> thank you. and now we will hear the last question, please. >> hello, i am a founding board member of the largest women's organization in afghanistan called afghanistan women for women, and i have been serving as a dod contractor. there seems to be in agreement that a political solution needs to happen. there is a large to satisfaction with the national -- there is a large dissatisfaction with the
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national unity government and there are talks of new elections. this is what i have heard from my afghan colleagues. they say if there was a loya jirga today, they would scrap it entirely or call for new elections. i wanted to get your thoughts on that. assuming that the nug is not working, what other solutions might work politically. the afghans say, if the u.s. leaves us alone, we might create a new government. on a newe u.s. insists government, it might continue. thank you. >> would you like to start with that? >> thank you. one of the common misperceptions commonly repeated in afghanistan is a national unity government was foisted on a can of stand by the united states. on's remember -- was foisted by the united
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states. let's remember that there was an inability to resolve highly contentious presidential by the united states. elections and by the time the united states was engaging with afghan politicians on how to end the crisis, the country might have been on the verge of ethnic strife with forces mobilizing around -- ethnic forces mobilizing around kabul. there was talk of a military coup. so far, one of the government's advantages that afghanistan has had over pakistan, which is equally characterized by miserable governance, corruption, problematic politicians, is also that in pakistan, there are military coups, but fortunately in afghanistan, we have not had one. there is a high chance the military will fall apart along ethnic lines, effectively ending
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our ability to maintain the current level of counterinsurgency. politicians and not just the president, and a variety of key other resolveokers who result wha what to do about the national unity government. calls for elections are infeasible. there is no security in progress for that. and the electoral issues that have prevented district and parliamentary elections from being held will not be magically erased for a new presidential election. so, calls for that are calls that fuel political tensions, but are not realistic. they will have to be some sort of negotiations between the key actors. a constitutional jirga cannot be constitutionally held because of district and parliamentary elections lamotta taken place.
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-- elections will not have taken place. a royal jirga will lack credibility. who will we be stuck with and with what kind of agenda? there is nothing inevitable that the government needs to stay in its current configuration. there is however, nothing inevitable that yo it needs to be renegotiated. what is crucially needed is for afghan politicians to recognize how precarious a state the country is in, and it's that of just engaging in infighting just engaging of , agreed to support a government whose purpose will be to deliver better governance and increase security.
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afghans often say they don't want the u.s. to be involved and yet all the time that many politicians run to the u.s. to negotiate among the sandbox fights that are taking place. they are at a difficult position. in my view, the u.s. should be less engaged in holding the afghans by hand. at the same time, i say it having previously called for the most crucial and the most difficult element, the managing of the political processes and the many pernicious political processes. i also want to just end on, although i say that afghans also use pakistan as an excuse, pakistanis often use afghanistan as an excuse. the country is often troubled by and a veryance nefarious policies that sponsored the taliban. >> thank you. >> a couple of brief comments. vonda has had this a couple of times and i meant to comment on
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it. when i came back from afghanistan and i did my final briefs around washington, i talked about what i believed to be the future of afghanistan. i said that i believed with the right combination of sustained ansfrt by nato, the could, over time, be able to take care of themselves, to deal with the threat of the taliban. i believed it than and i believe it now. i believe the next president has the opportunity to perhaps, improve on that. i also said that i believe that with the continued sustainment of the afghan national security forces, that we could handle the safe havens in pakistan. they would be a challenge. they would always be a means by which the taliban could replenish themselves and repurpose their capabilities, but i believe that over time,
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with the right kind of nato presence to deal with the taliban in the country, particularly in the east with the defense we are putting in place, that in fact, the afghans could handle the security situation and deal with the save havens in pakistan. but i then said, and i was very clear about this, i believe the existential threat to afghanistan is not the taliban and it is not pakistan. the existential threat is corruption. and until afghans are willing, ultimately as vonda has said, to shed their self-interest, until we are willing to deal with the criminal capture of institutions, both at the national level and very importantly, which makes progress their difficult, at the subnational level, until we are perniciousl with the nature of corruption, which is both corrosive of democracy, but also an impediment to building
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real capabilities and capacity within the institutions of government, afghanistan is going to be stuck where it is today, which i think it is still on the poverty scale of fourth poorest country in the world. they be the third or fourth at this point -- maybe the third or fourth at this point. but in terms of corruption, it ranks slightly above somalia and north korea. if we are ever to see real progress in afghanistan, it has to be at the point where the institutions can be wrested from the criminal capture of organized crime and the willingness of afghans to do the right thing for each other, and for their country. finally, on the issue of middle east funding. i spent a lot of time with our intelligence services, and bruce might have a similar view, or different view, on trying to pin that the exact origins of funding for the taliban, it is
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very difficult to do it. large amounts of money come out of the gulf. i don't believe it is state-sponsored. i didn't believe it when i was the commander. since i have had the time to spend some time in different areas where i had to deal with it. i don't believe it is state-sponsored. i do believe there are key individuals in the gulf that are providing funding. in order to solve that, it is both about getting after the financial system that makes it difficult for that to occur, but also cooperating with the national governments in the gulf, the monarchies arin the gulf, to put pressure on those individuals that might be doing it. i watched with great interest in the summer of 2012 as syria exploded into civil war. and i watched the funding be diverted from the gulf into syria, and the funding for the taliban plummeted. it became very difficult for the field the kinds of ied's.
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it is not insignificant, the funding that is going into the gulf. with regards to the border incident, i will have to talk to you separately. i have my views, very strong views. it was a very unfortunate incident. i am still in prayer over the lives of the lost pakistani military troops, but the shooting did not start on our side. i will get that out, since you chose to get your comments out as well. it got be on both sides. it was a matter of trust on both sides. had we had more trust, been better organized within our joint coordination centers, we probably could have solved it before the really heavy shooting started. we would have prevented the outcome we already had, which for all intensive purposes, lost us nine months of cooperation with pakistan, which could've been quite valuable during the progress of the war. we regret those losses by the pakistani military. >> i will be brief.
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i will make two points. the next president of the united states inherits the longest war in american history. in these upcoming debates, both the presidential and the vice presidential, it is really incumbent on these people to tell us what they are going to do about this more. we need some serious, real debate about what the united states is going to do in afghanistan and pakistan. the issue remains very serious for many reasons, which already heard and i will just add one more. while al qaeda has been dismantled significantly in pakistan, the one fact we know about al qaeda is its resilience. if we take ouff the pressure on al qaeda, you will see that pressure once again. the second point is about funding. general allen addressed that issue very carefully. and i think correctly. it is a murky area, but a sit stand till amount of taliban funding comes from rich, private
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donors in the gulf states. that 18 tripsent were made to dubai. theody who has ever visited knows it isemirates seven countries. we need to put considerable effort into working with the governments of the gulf states, saudi arabia, the united emirates, bahrain, to take the kind of aggressive actions against funding for the afghan taliban and they have already taken against funding for al qaeda and the islamic state. >> thank you very much. in closing, let me just say that in addition to what you have heard today, we are producing this paper with a lot of the former commanders, a number of us in the scholarly ranks, which we hope would be of us to
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the next president as well. thank you all for coming here. please join me in thanking the panel. [applause] >> joining us on the phone and is back to work week with congress is bob cusack. as your colleague writes today, capitol hill resembled a ghost town for the past two months, of course that all changed today. >> definitely. numbers are coming back into town. and a lot of the people who are closely tracked including lobbyists are no longer on vacation. it is usually a ghost town in washington in august. this was no exception. you have the convention this summer and that was the big highlight last month in july but now there is some legislating to
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be done and of course, it is coming in the backdrop of a very heated election-year, both at the house, the senate, and of course, the white house. >> including getting a spending plan in place three weeks before the deadline, walk us through what we can expect. >> idle think they there will be a lot of dealmaking, but there has to be some dealmaking before they get out of town. one of the big issues now is dealing with the zika issue. republicans and democrats have been unable to agree on that. hillary clinton a few weeks back , called on congress to reconvene to get some type of deal, whether that is a democratic deal or some type of i partisan compromise. and of course -- or some type of bipartisan compromise. and of course, congress did not do that. i think you are going to see, as part of a government funding bill, that has to be reached by the end of the fiscal year which is the end of september, some type of the language compromise getting in there. that is the biggest issue. other priorities, such as
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president obama's big asian trade deal, that is on the ropes right now, but that will not be addressed before the election. it is a question of whether they address it after the election. obama has made a big push recently. that is more a lame-duck issue and still a big question mark. the big issues right now are definitely government funding, legislatively, and zika, a lot of attention on zika now. >> i want to come back to ttp in the moment. but with regards to the continuing resolution, we heard from democratic leaders last week saying they may extend of the on the election. crey do not want to see a going into next year. what's the reason behind that? >> that's a big question because there's no doubt there will be a cr. the chances of a government shutdown are really unlikely. nobody wants that and certainly , democrats have benefited from that politically, but the chances of that are not going to
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happen. >> so, the question is, how long do you do the cr? do you kick it into the lame-duck? do you kick it into next year? is it early next year? do you give the new president , and democrats think that is going to be hillary clinton, time to seek other priorities, such as merrick garland, if he is nominated to the supreme court to replace justice scalia. vote in the get the lame-duck? they have to deal with the funding, plus other issues. or do you give the new president some time to get their priorities the first 100 days agenda, and then maybe in the spring of next year? these are all competing strategies. honestly, it is hard to say what they are going to agree on now, but it is one of the games in washington. how long will government funding last? there is a lot of fatigue, both
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on the voter's side, as well as legislators, where you have these constant deadlines and the possibility of a shutdown again and again and again. people get tired of that. >> and some interesting dynamics going back to the trade debate. ttp, you have the president who wants this as part of his legacy. senator bernie sanders, who keeps a close eye on monday senate democrats will be doing and hillary clinton saying she opposes the trade deal and, unions looking at this. >> it is a big issue. it is something the president really wants. one of our white house correspondents as to the president before he went on vacation at martha's vineyard, pointing out the fact that the next president will most likely oppose ttp. so, how are they going to get the votes to pass this?
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i'mpresident said, "well, president now and this is the top priority, making the policy case for it." there multiple problems for ttp. withresident is at odds many is his own party, as you mentioned, including bernie sanders, hillary clinton, and many others. most republicans, certainly not all, but most republicans do support this type of trade deal , though they don't think it is perfect. but politically, there is not an incentive for speaker ryan, or mitch mcconnell, who has downplayed the chances it is going to be enacted within obama's last couple months because it is going to attract a lot of controversy, regardless whether that is controversy on the republican side of the democratic side. there are detractors on both sides. i think the chances of this are quite slim, way under 50%, but that does not mean the president
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won't be pushing for it. that i think the big push will be november 9, the day after the election. >> next week one of the former republican colleagues, donald trump's running mate mike pence addressing the gop conference next week, why? >> i think that mike pence, and i think he has done a fairly good job. he has been meeting with supporters of donald trump, lawmakers, as well as detractors. he is trying to, i think, bring down the temperature that has been this interparty friction about donald trump, making the case that you may not love donald trump, but think about the supreme court, think about hillary clinton, and trying to get them on board. mike pence is obviously a former house member. he ran for leadership against john boehner, and lost badly. john boehner then subsequently asked him to play a role on his leadership team. mike pence knows capitol hill well. he knows what works on capitol hill. and he's respected by most
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republicans on the hill. so, i think it is going to be an interesting meeting with a lot of questions about strategy and fundraising, but mike pence certainly wants to unite the party. he is not going to get there completely, but he wants to get more republicans on board and this fall, not only campaigning for themselves, but campaigning for the top of the ticket. , many you know, steven republicans have balked at that. >> bob cusack is the editor-in-chief of the hill newspaper. his work is available online at the thank you for being with us. >> thanks, steve. >> congress is back from the summer recess. kind of a slow, or gentle start in the u.s.. over in the senate, things got back to business, whether to advance zika funding and defense appropriations for 2017. both fell short and needed 60
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votes to advance. craig kaplan is tweeting about failed.a funding that the senate blocked the zika funding bill from moving forward for the third time on near partyline vote. that.brady tweets about his reaction, leaving pregnant women and their babies at risk, senate democrats strike out for a third time on zika funding. i guess my kids returning from summer vacation, that on capitol hill, members are getting together and posting this selfie. this is martin heinrich with his colleagues chris murphy and cory booker. president obama is wrapping up his trip. he traveled to the country of laos. that the president
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has pledged $90 billion on uesday to help laos clean up the bom from the secretbs u.s. war campaign. his trip marks the first time a sitting u.s. president has visited this country. the u.s. has already spent millions to clean up the unexploded bombs, but this would double what the u.s. spends over three years. another issue that came up dealt with the philippine president. here is reporting from bloomberg news. the philippine president duterte sought to mend faces, prompting the u.s. president to cancel a one-on-one meeting in laos. here is reaction from deputy national security advisor ben rhodes on that issue. nature of our alliance with the philippines has been,
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and remains, rock solid. we have incredibly close working relationships with of the government of the philippines on issues related to disaster response, maritime security, diplomatic coordination on issues related to the self china sea, economic, commercial, and people to people ties. we have a very close working relationship with the philippines and that relationship will be enduring. in fact, we continue to consult closely at a variety of levels. the chairman has been in the philippines recently, if not today, for a chiefs of defense meeting. with respect to the bilateral meeting, i think it was our judgment that, given the focus, the attention on president d
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comments leading into the meetings here, we felt it did not create a constructive environment for a bilateral meeting. all of the attention, frankly, was on those comments and therefore, not on the substantive agenda we have with the philippines. again, given that focus, we felt it was not the right time to have a bilateral meeting between the two presidents. that is something we discussed with officials from the philippine government last night. forward, i would expect our close corporation to continue and you know, where we also have differences, we will continue to speak to those and as president obama said, for any country in the world, not just the philippines, we will certainly support very robust
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counter narcotic efforts, but we also want to make sure they are consistent with the rule of law and due process, and that will message we continue to carry forward. >> we will bring you president obama's remarks next. then, senator tim kaine talks about national security. after that, donald trump campaigning in north carolina. and writing about the accelerated campaign, the l,"dline in "the hil "clinton, trumpet battle at simultaneous campaign events." this sent the presidential race into overdrive for the final 62 days. clinton and trump, who face off in less than three weeks at what is expected to be the most watched presidential debate of all time, took the stage at competing events today. you can read more at
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more of our political coverage is coming up tonight on c-span. up next, the remarks from president obama in laos. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. president obama: thank you. [applause] president obama: thank you so much. to the government and the people of laos, thank you for the kind welcome you have extended to me and my delegation. i am very honored to be the first american president to visit laos. [applause] president obama: thank you. i am told this hall is where you come together for the national singing contest. i know that you celebrate your
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musical traditions. i am not going to sing today. so, you should not worry. as you host leaders from across southeast asia and beyond i want to thank laos for your leadership. today the eyes of the world are on laos. i know that that maybe a little unusual because laos is a small nation next to larger neighbors. as a result, too often the richness of your culture has not been fully appreciated. that is why as part of my visit, i'm grateful for the opportunity to know laos better and share your story with the world. i know that here you cherish the beauty of the land, from the mist covered mountains and theets over the mekong, achievements of ancient civilizations that echo in
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the ruins, manuscripts preserved at your temples. tomorrow i will experience some of this heritage myself. i only regret that i know this is called the land of a million elephants, but secret service will not let me ride an elephant. but maybe i will come back when i am no longer president. your daily lives, we see the strength that draws so many of you from your buddhist faith, a faith that tells you you have a other, to to each live with kindness and honesty, and we can help end suffering if we embrace the right mindset and actions. in literature, we see the values that define the people of laos, which is modesty and compassion and resilience and hope.
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at our luncheon today, i was treated to the best of laos culture and cuisine. beer lao, butany i will try some later, maybe this evening. and in all of you here today we see the diversity that is the strength of this nation. you have a tapestry of proud ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. you are truly a people of the heart and i thank you for welcoming me with such generosity. i realize that having a u.s. president in laos would have once been unimaginable. six decades ago, this country fell into civil war. as the fighting raged next-door in been a month, neighbors and foreign powers, including the united states, intervened here. conflictlt of that
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and its aftermath, many people fled, or were driven from their homes. at the time, the u.s. government did not acknowledge america's role. it was a secret war. and for years, the american people did not know. even now, many americans are not fully aware of this chapter in our history and it is important that we remember today. over nine years, from 1964 to 1973, united states dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs. here in laos. more than we dropped on germany and japan combined during all of world war ii. that made laos the most heavily bombed country in history. aotian said, the bombs fell like rain. villages and entire valleys were obliterated. the ancient plain of jars was devastated. countless civilians were killed.
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that conflict was another reminder that whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts a terrible toll , especially on innocent men, women, and children. today i stand with you and take knowledge the suffering and sacrifices on all sides of the conflict. and from the english of war, there came an unlikely bond between our two peoples. today the united states is home to many proud laotian americans. many have made a hard journey to refugee camps and relocation , building in ailding new livews new country. even as they have become americans, they have held onto their heritage, worshiping in their temples, honoring their elders. even now they remember a beloved
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song that if we depart from our homeland and flee far away from her, we will always have you as our true friend as long as we live. as a new generation has come of age, more laotian americans have made their way here to their ancestral homeland. one of them said, our heart and home have always been in laos. iand this spirit of reconciliation is what brings me here today. governments will continue to have many differences. that is true of many nations. the united states will continue behalf of what the hal we consider the universal human rights, including the rights of people of laos, to express yourselves freely and to find your own future. even as our governments deal candidly with our differences i believe as we have shown the best way to deliver progress for all of our people is by closer cooperation between our countries. that's why today the united
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states and laos have agreed to a new comprehensive partnership to guide and deepen our relationship for years to come. our partnership recognizes the lao people's democratic republic is an independent sovereign nation. the united states does not seek to impose our will on laos. rather, we seek a relationship based on mutual respect , including respect for your independence and sovereignty. our partnership will continue to deal with the painful legacy of war. on behalf of the american people , especially our veterans and military families, i thank the government and the people of laos for our humanitarian cooperation as we have worked together to account for americans missing in action. i am pleased that as a result of this visit, we will increase our efforts and bring more of our missing home to their families in america. remnants ofthat the
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war continue to shatter lives here in laos. many of the bombs that were dropped were never exploded. over the years, thousands of laotians have been killed or injured. farmers tending their fields, children playing. the wounds, a missing leg or arm, last a lifetime. and that is why as president, i have dramatically release increr funding to help remove these unexploded bombs. as a result, laos is clearing more bombs, and fewer laotians are being injured or killed and together, we are saving lives. there is still more work to do. i am proud to announce a historic increase in these efforts. the united states will the bar i will annual funding to $90 million over the next three years to help laos -- the united states will double its annual funding to $90 million over the next three years to help
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os expand its work. [applause] president obama: this will help laos expand its work to remove even more bombs, allow laotians to farm morland and increase support for victims. i will bear witness to this work tomorrow when i meet with survivors. given our history here, i believe the united states has a moral obligation to help laos heal. as we continue to do with the past, our new partnership is focused on the future. we want to be your partners as you invest in the well-being of your people, and especially, your children. i believe when any child anywhere goes hungry and their growth is stunted that is a profound injustice. so, we are joining with laos to promote nutrition and bring more healthy meals to children in school. they can grow strong, focus in class and realize their full potential. we want to be your partner in improving education. i'm told there is a saying here, a tray full of silver is not worth a mindful of knowledge.
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so, we will help more children learn how to read. we will bring more american teachers here to teach english to more laos teachers america to help strengthen their english. i'm proud to announce an initiative that's very important to me and to my wife michelle. the initiative is called "let girls learn." it is coming to laos and nepal. [applause] president obama: we believe that the daughters of laos have just as much talent and potential as your sons. and none of our countries -- [applause] president obama: none of our countries, anywhere in the world , can truly succeed unless our girls and our women have every opportunity to succeed, the same opportunities as boys and men do. [applause] we want to bea: your partner with the young people of laos, as you
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strengthen your communities and create businesses and use facebook to raise awareness for the rights and dignity of all people. that is why, as part of our young southeast asian leaders initiative, we are helping men and women across laos develop the skills you need to succeed. two of our top companies, microsoft and general electric, are helping to increase training in engineering and technology. young people in laos shouldn't have to move someplace else in order to prosper. you should be able to work and build a better life right here in laos. we want to be a partner in trade and commerce with the world. one other countries invest here, it should create jobs here for the people of laos. as laos pursues economic and labor reforms we will work to encourage more trade and investment between our countries, and the rest of this region.
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as a result of my visit, i hope more americans come here as well to experience your country and the beautiful culture and to forge new friendships between our peoples. as laos grows, we want to be your partner in protecting the natural beauty of your country , from your forest to your rivers. as laos meets the growing need for energy, i want to work with you to pursue clean renewable energy, like solar. and let's help farmers protect their crops and villages adapt to a changing climate. we should work together so development is unsustainable, especially along the mekong, upon which millions of people depend on for their livelihood, food, and thei9r health. the mekong is a treasure that has to be protected for future generations and we want to be your partner in that process. this is a future and our countries can build together. i am optimistic that we can do it. visitonfident because my
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is part of a broader agenda. as some of you know, as president, a key priority of my foreign policy is to deepen our engagement with the people stand regions of the asian pacific. and here are my final leg of the visit as president, i want to discuss why the commitment of the notice states to this region will -- of the united states to this region will endure for the long-term. america's interest in asia-pacific is not new. it is not a passing fad. it reflects fundamental national interests. in the united states across the political spectrum, there is widespread recognition that the asian pacific will become even more important in the century ahead, both to america and to the world. in this region, we see hundreds of millions of young people with high expectations for their lives. many of our major trading partners in most the world's growing middle class. growth here can mean more jobs and opportunity in all countries.
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this region is home to five of our treaty allies, and some of allies,d's most capable which means asia will shape the course of global security. this region is home to more than half of humanity. asian nations, developing and developed, will be essential in the fight against challenges like climate change. so, for all these reasons, i have worked to rebalance our foreign policies. so, the united states is playing a larger and long-term role in the asia pacific region. we have strengthened our alliances with our new defense guidelines. japan and the united states will do even more together to uphold regional security. we have expanded our collaboration with the republic of korea, including on missile defense to counter north korean threats. today i'll meet with president pot to insist that the international community remain united so that north korea understands its provocation also
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continue to deepen its isolation. with our u.s. marines now rotating through australia, we can respond even faster to regional challenges. with our new access agreement with the philippines, our militaries are closer than they have been in decades. to keep the peace and deter aggression, we have deployed more of our most advanced capability to the region , including ships and fleets to singapore. and our allies and partners of -- are collaborating with each other more as well. so, our alliances and defense capabilities in the asia pacific are as strong as they have ever been. we have also forged deeper ties with emerging economies and powers. with indonesia and malaysia, we are promoting entrepreneurship, opposing violent extremism, and addressing environmental big degradation. with my recent visit to hanoi
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and ho chi minh city, we have shown our commitment to it our relationship with vietnam. we welcome india's growing role in the asia pacific. we have deepened our cooperation with regional institutions, especially here in southeast asia. as part of our new strategy partnership, we have agreed to key principles, including that they will remain central to peace, prosperity in the asia pacific. the united states is now part of the east asia summit and together, we have made it the region forum in the addressing political and security challenges, including maritime security. we have increased the trade and investment that create jobs and opportunity on both sides of the pacific. since i took office, we boosted u.s. exports to the asia pacific by 50%. our young leaders initiative is helping for than 100,000 young men and women across this region start new companies and ventures so we're connecting entrepreneurs and investors and
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businesses in america and in asian with each other. and thanks to our sustained leadership, 12 of our nations have come together in the transpacific partnership to establish the rules of trade for nearly 40% of the global economy. we have also stood with citizens on behalf of of democracy and human rights. we have expanded our support for civil society groups and open government. we saw another democratic election and transition in indonesia. and as the first u.s. president to visit myanmar, i'm proud the united states is now supporting a historic transition toward democracy and i look forward to welcoming state counselor to the white house next week as we stand with the people of myanmar and their journey towards pluralism and peace. alongside all these efforts we have worked to build a constructive relationship with china. our two governments continue to have serious differences in important areas. the united states will remain unwavering in our support for universal human rights, but at
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the same time, we have shown we can work together to advance mutual interests. the united states and china are engaged across more areas than ever before. from preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, to our shared commitment to denuclearizing the korean peninsula, to our historic leadership together on climate change. so, will i say it again, the united states welcomes the rise of a china that is peaceful and stable and prosperous and a responsible player in global affairs because we believe that will benefit all of us. in other words, the united states is more deeply engaged across the asian pacific than we have been in decades. our position is stronger and we have sent a clear message that as a pacific nation, we are here to stay. in good times and bad, you can count on the united states of america. and the question going forward is, what will the future hold for this region? will disagreements be resolved peacefully, or lead to conflict?
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-- or lead to conflict? will economies continue to integrate or succumb to protectionism? will human dignity be upheld or denied? will the international rules and norms that have enabled progress in this region be maintained, or will they therode? with the time i have left allow me to share our vision and the values that guide us and the future we are working toward. our basic principles for peace and progress here in this region, including laos and across the asia pacific. first, we believe that all nations and peoples deserve to live in security and peace. we believe that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every nation must be upheld, and we believe every nation matters. no matter their size. we believe the bigger nations should not dictate to smaller nations and that all nations should play by the same rules. america's treaty allies must
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know our commitment to your defense is a solemn obligation that will never waiver and across the region, including in the east and south china seas, the united states will continue to fly and sail and operate wherever international law allows and support the right of all countries to do the same. we will stand with our allies and partners in upholding fundamental interests, among them, freedom of navigation and overflight. lawful commerce that's not impeded. and peaceful resolution of disputes. that's the security that we to fly and sail and operate seek. we also believe that just as nations have rights, nations also have responsibilities, including the responsibility to work together to address problems no nation can solve alone. so many of today's threats transcend borders and every country has a role to play. we will have to cooperate better together to stop terrorist attacks and to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. we will have to work together to avoid the worst effects of
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climate change. we have to work together to stop the horror of human trafficking and end the outrage of modern day slavery. these are areas where we seek deeper cooperation. we believe in prosperity that is shared and reduces poverty and inequality by lifting up the many and not just a few wealthy people at the top. rather than simply extracting another country's natural resources, we believe development has to invest in people, in their education and in their skills. we believe trade should be free and truly fair, and that workers and the environment should be protected. we believe the government should not conduct or knowingly support cyber enabled theft of intellectual property for commercial gain. we believe that there needs to be good governance because
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people should not have to pay a bribe to sell their goods. that's the kind of development and trade we seek. that's why the transpacific partnership is so important. not only because t.p.p. countries, including the united states, will be able to sell more goods to each other, but it also has important strategic benefits. t.p.p. is a core pillar of america's rebalance to the asia pacific. and the trade and growth it supports will reinforce america's security alliances and partnerships. it will build trust across this region. i have said before and i will say again, failure to move ahead with t.p.p. will not just have economic consequences, but would call into question america's leadership in this vital region. so, as difficult as the politics are back home, i will continue to push hard on the u.s. congress to approve t.p.p. before i leave office because i think it is important for this
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entire region and it is important for the united states. i believe that nations are stronger and more successful when they uphold human rights. we speak out for these rights not because we think our own country is perfect, no nation is, but not because we think every country should do as we do, because each nation has to follow its own path, but we will speak up on behalf of human rights because we believe they are the birthright of every human being. and we know that democracy can flourish in asia because we have seen it thrive from japan and south korea to taiwan. across this region, we see citizens reaching to shape their own futures. and freedom of speech and assembly and right to organize peacefully in civil society without harassment or fear of arrest or disappearing, we think that makes a country stronger. a free press that can expose abuse and injustice makes a country stronger. and access to information and open internet where people can
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learn and share ideas makes a country stronger. an independent judiciary that uphold the rule of law. and free and fair elections so that citizens can choose their own leaders. these are all the rights that we seek for all people. we believe that societies are more stable and just when they recognize the inherent dignity of every human being. the dignity of being able to live and pray as you choose so that muslims know they are a part of myanmar's future and christians and buddhists have the right to worship freely in china. the dignity of being treated equally under the law, so that no matter where you come from, or who you love, or what you look like, you are respected. and the dignity of a healthy life because no child should ever die from hunger or mosquito bites, or the poison of dirty water. this is the justice that we seek in the world. finally, we believe that the ties between our nations must be
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rooted in friendship and trust between our peoples. i think of several laotian americans whose families came to the united states as refugees. our nations are connected not byt by policies, but also people like john da, whose family settled in our state of nebraska and after high school , joined our military, served with our elite special forces and ultimately, gave his life for our nation. his mother said he is the son of the lao people and he sacrificed for us and we honor him. we're connected by a girl who came to america when she was seven years old, and is back here today. for years, she urged the united states to do more to help remove unexploded bombs here in laos. there are many problems in this
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world that might not be able to be solved in a lifetime, she said, but this is one we can fix. so, we thank you for working to fix this problem. and we're connected by stacey , who is here as well, and who i met earlier. her parents came to america and stressed the importance of education. and today, this proud laotian american serves in our embassy here in laos. i feel a sense of home, she says, as if i have known this country before through my parents. it feels like we have come full circle. so, stacey, on behalf of all of us, thank you for helping to bring our countries closer together. [applause] so these are the values that guide us, and this is the partnership that america offers here in laos and across the asia pacific. respect for your sovereignty, security and peace through cooperation, investment in the
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health of children, education for students, support for entrepreneurs, development and trade that creates jobs for all of us and protects our environment, a commitment to rights and dignity that is born out of our common humanity. this is our vision, this is the future we can realize together. and based on my visit to laos and the proud work of the past eight years, i believe that americans and the peoples of the asia pacific will be able to say to each other, as the song goes, we will always have you as our true friend as long as we live. thank you very much. [applause] ♪
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