Tillerson Mnuchin Ross CSPAN April 8, 2017 3:59am-4:21am EDT
>> rex tillerson, steve mnuchin a report isoss following the meetings with president trump and chinese xi in mar-a-lago in palm beach, florida. they talked about relations and u.s. military strikes against syria. sec. tillerson: the leaders had positive, productive meetings. president trump and president xi agreed to work in concert to expand areas of conversation while managing differences based on mutual respect. they noted the importance of working together to benefit the citizens of both of our countries. president trump noted the challenges caused by chinese government intervention and its economy, and raised serious concerns about the impact of
china's industrial, agricultural, technology, and cyber policies on u.s. jobs and exports. president underscored the need for china to take steps to label -- to level the playing field for china to take steps to level the playing field for american workers for reciprocal market access. the two sides noted the urgency of the threat of north korea's weapons program. they reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearize the korean peninsula and fully implement un security council resolutions. they agreed to increase cooperation and work with international community to convince the dprk to peacefully was all the issue and abandon it -- resolve the issue and abandon illicit weapons programs. the two side came to discussion over maritime security. president trump noted the importance of adherence to international norms in the east and south china seas and previous statements on non-militarization.
he also noted the importance of protecting human rights and other values deeply held by americans. the two presidents agreed to elevate existing bilateral talks to reflect the importance of making progress on issues. they established a new, high-level framework for negotiations. the u.s.-china conference of dialogue will be overseen by the two presidents, and it will have four pillars. the diplomatic and security dialogue, the copperheads of economic dialogue, the law enforcement and cyber security dialogue, and the social and cultural issues dialogue. the two sides agreed to undertake an ambitious agenda and schedule to show progress and achieve meaningful results. president trump welcomed president xi's invitation to visit china for a state visit at a future date. they agreed to work together in the interim to achieve successful results.
with that, i would like to turn it to secretary treasury mnuchin. sec. mnuchin: we had a meeting this morning that was a breakout of the first comprehensive economic dialogue. we had very direct and frank conversations about how we would work together. secretary ross and i will be leaving that jointly. we will be focused on trade, investment, and other economic opportunities between both companies -- countries, excuse me. we focused specifically on a more balanced economic relationship, specifically on trade. we focused on the desire to have very specific action items, both of the short term for the next time we get together, as well as what the goals are over the
years. we think the restructuring of the dialogue and having a breakout that will address comprehensive economic opportunities across our different agencies both here and within china, i think we felt was very productive, i very good start to how we are going to structure it, and very specific things we talked about to look forward on making progress in the short term. ecretary ross. >> thank you, stephen. in many ways, the most significant thing was a 100 day plan. normally trade discussions between china and ourselves are denominated in multiple years. this was denominated in the first 100 days with hopefully weigh stations of accomplishment along the way. given the range of issues and magnitude, that may be
ambitious. that is a very important symbolization of the growing rapport between the two countries. >> we would take a few questions. >> secretary of state tillerson, did the president say he might use trade against china is they do not -- did you get any specific commitments from china view it anything -- china to do anything about korea? ec. tillerson: the discussions about korea were very wide ranging and copperheads of and weren't focused entirely on revious commitments to denuclearize the peninsula -- wide ranging and comprehensive, and weren't focused entirely on previous commitments to denuclearize the peninsula.
they discussed the challenges that introduces for both countries. there is a real commitment that we work together to see if this cannot be resolved in a peaceful way. in order for that to happen, north korea's posture has to change before there is a basis for dialogue or discussions. president trump indicated president xi that he welcomed any ideas that china might have as to other actions we could take, and that we would be happy to work with them. but we understand it creates unique problems for them and challenges, and that we would prepare to chart our own course that this is something china is unable to coordinate with s.
>> the second question, a lot of the american people are concerned that yesterday's actions mean we are going to war. i believe you clarify, is this a one-time situation or part of a longer campaign? sec. tillerson: as to the discussions around human rights in china, i think america's values are quite clear. they really occupy the core of ll of our discussions. i don't think you have to have a separate conversation to separate our core values around human rights from our economic
discussions, military to military discussions, or foreign policy discussions. they are really embedded in every discussion. that is what guys much -- what guides much of our view of how we work together. it was indicated in our statement last night that this particular strike that was carried out on the air base from which the chemical weapons attack was launched was very deliberately considered by the president. it is a response we believe is both proportional and appropriate. as we said last night, we will monitor serious -- monitor syria's response to that.
as to whether they attack or defend it -- or we detect that they are considering attacks. at this point, the future will be guided by how we see their eaction. >> for secretary ross, i was wondering if you could talk about companies that may be working with north korea. sec. ross: they recognize that that shows a clear determination to crack down on that sort of ctivity. sec. mnuchin: i would also in the size the treasury manages multiple sanctions programs, some specifically towards north korea, and we have had direct conversations with our counterparts in china about working with us on this. sec. mnuchin: i think there was definitely an acknowledgment by them on the trade issue that we do need to get to a more balanced trade environment. we did begin those discussions today, but i would emphasize there is a lot going on in two
days. although we had some specific conversations, as secretary ross mentioned, the plan is for us to develop a 100 day plan. we would expect to see some very specific items on that. sec. mnuchin: i think as you know, the currency report is going to come out in the near future. we will address that when it comes out. sec. ross: as to other trade issues, you would not have expected us to reach agreements and a few hours of meetings on issues that are far more complex. 100 days is a very short time for trade. >> did you discuss the environment and environmental commitments? sec. mnuchin: that was not --
sec. ross: that was not a major part of the discussion, nor do i recall the chinese specifically aising it. >> there is the anticipation that president xi would come with some sort of gift for president trump. to demonstrate the chinese commitment -- [indiscernible] sec. ross: the gift was his presence and the relationship that was built up between our president and president xi. [indiscernible] sec. tillerson: the president did accept the invitation of president xi to visit china. the invitation was for a 2017 visit. the president said he would look t the dates. sec. ross: they are a matter of negotiation. the objective is to increase our exports to china and to reduce
the trade deficit that we have with them. >> would you say there is a recognition by the chinese to make knowledge the trade issue needing to be more balanced? [indiscernible] sec. mnuchin: i don't think it was off message at all. i think they look at, we have very similar economic interests. i think there are areas that they clearly want to work with us. the objective is for us to increase our exports to them, a very big market. there will be more opportunities
for both exports as well as investments. sec. ross: what i was going to say was that it was a very wide range of projects we discussed, not a particularly limited one. the most interesting thing to me was they expressed an interest in reducing their net trade balance because of the impact it is having on money supply and inflation. that is the first time i've heard them say that in a bilateral context. >> we were informed that president xi was informed of the military strike during dinner. can you explain what the reaction was from the chinese president? [indiscernible] we saw the photos of the situation room.
indiscernible] sec. tillerson: the president did directly inform president xi near the end of the dinner yesterday evening as the missiles that were launched were impacting. that was at about 8:40 p.m. last night. the president told president xi we had launched a strike against syria as a result of resident of silence -- of president assad's multiple violations against his itizens. he provided president xi the number of missiles launched and the reasons behind it.
president xi i believe expressed appreciation for letting him know, and as it was told to me, indicated he understood that such a response is necessary when people are killing children. china has issued its own statements. i'm sure those are available to you. i have read them on the wire service, as well. as to the situation room, before i turn it to the two secretaries to give you their color on what was going on, i think it is important for everyone to ecognize couple of things on the syria attack. first, it was an overwhelming success. the performance of our military and the expertise and power of what the u.s. military is able to execute on a fairly short planning window was extraordinary.
i think all americans and all of our allies of the free world should take great comfort in what occurred with that strike last night. americans should be very proud of their men and women in uniform. sec. mnuchin: i would not only cho what secretary tillerson said come up but i think, as you know, the treasury department performs very important unctions in terms of sanctions and other intelligence functions that i have been participating in on the national security council. the treasury department does participate in that. we will be announcing additional sanctions on syria as part of our ongoing effort to stop this type of activity. to emphasize how significant we view this. we expect that those will
ontinue to have an important effect on preventing people from doing business with them. it will be coming out in the near future. i would say, we view sanctions as being a very important tool, whether it is north korea or syria. these sanctions are very mportant, and we will use them to the maximal effect. sec. ross: to me, the most traumatic thing about being and the situation room as he was making the decision was the thoroughness of the supporting information that went into it. the consultation he did with a ide range of military,
diplomatic advisors, and the serious thought on which he made this very grave decision. in terms of the strikes themselves, it is my understanding they took out something like 20% of the entire syrian air force. it was huge, not just in terms of number of planes, but relative to the scale of their air force. >> secretary tillerson, you talked about -- indiscernible] sec. tillerson: the runways were not a target due to the nature of the construction of those runways. our military estimate was that we could not do serious damage to the runways. they are very thick and constructed in a way that the damage would have been easily repaired in a matter of hours. the targeting was selected very deliberately to render the airbase essentially inoperable as an operating base. that means taking out all the infrastructure, the fueling capability, all the support
infrastructure, hangers, and a umber of syrian aircraft destroyed on the ground. those were the targets that were selected for that very specific reason. he fact that planes may be landing in and out of there, they are not refueling and not able to initiate any activity from that airfield today. >> a follow-up on reports that the united states -- [indiscernible] sec. tillerson: i don't have any particular information. i think it would be -- i don't have any particular information that i think would be appropriate to share with you at this point. we gather the information we can for our intelligence sources and shared sources from other countries, as well. i don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on that at this time.
>> russia has come out strongly against the attack, calling it an act of aggression. do you have a comment? sec. tillerson: i'm disappointed in the response from the russians. i find it very disappointing, but sadly i have to tell you, not all that surprising. >> [indiscernible] sec. ross: practices to announce executive orders and executive memoranda when they are issued, not in response to rumors. >> [indiscernible] sec. ross: it was not a topic in today's session, but we have been looking very carefully at that and the alternative, both rom an energy generation and national security point of view. ec. mnuchin: i would comment
that any such transaction of foreign investment would go through the normal process. thank you. announcer: officials from the trump administration held a closed-door briefing for senators concerning the u.s. missile strike on syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people. following the briefing, a number of senators spoke to reporters. sen. nelson: if he blinks like he is going to use chemical weapons again, i think we hit the rest of his airfields, as well as take out all of his