News / USA

Transcript of VOA Interview with Secretary of State John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (l) being interviewed by VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns in New Delhi, June 24, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (l) being interviewed by VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns in New Delhi, June 24, 2013.
VOA STATE DEPARTMENT CORESPONDENT SCOTT STEARNS: Mr. Secretary thank you for being with us.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Happy to be with you.
 
QUESTION:  What’s wrong with other countries helping Edward Snowden if they believe, as to quote the Chinese news agency, that the United States is the greatest villain of our time when it comes to cyber-attacks?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, the law is the law, and international law is particularly important in a world as interconnected as ours.  There is a Hong Kong-U.S. surrender treaty, and that treaty should be upheld.
 
QUESTION:  Is Mr. Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  I believe that he has betrayed his country, because he took an oath.  He swore that he would uphold the secrecy.  He was given access to documents based on that trust and he violated that trust.  And he hasn’t violated it in any way similar – nothing similar – to Daniel Ellsberg or somebody who was revealing a government that was actually lying or that had a completely distorted view of something going on.  This man just took real information and put it out there because he happens to believe something that is not, in fact, justified by the facts. 
 
And so I think he has put counterterrorism at risk, he has put individuals at risk, and it may well be that lives will be lost in the United States because terrorists now have knowledge of something that they need to avoid, that they didn’t have knowledge of before he did this.
 
QUESTION:  What are your hopes for following the election of a new president in Iran?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, I hope, obviously, like everybody, that Iran will find a measure of reasonableness here with respect to the nuclear program and recognize that they really need to come to the table with proposals and to meet the opportunity that is there to rejoin the community of nations by proving that their nuclear program is, in fact, a peaceful program.  This is not complicated.  If you have a peaceful program – other nations have them, they prove it. 
 
This is a very clear obligation that the Iranians have, and the Chinese, the Russians, all of the United Nations are united in their requirement that Iran needs to do this.  This is not a U.S. demand; this is a global demand.
 
QUESTION:  You said in Doha that a stronger armed opposition in Syria would provide a counterweight to President Assad’s enlistment of Iran and Hezbollah in this fight, but mightn't also mean, at least in the short term, an increase in the fighting in Syria?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  No.  The simple reason for that is that whether the United States is engaged or not, there will be people who will fund extremists who will continue this fight.  And if we want to leave it to the extremists, we then run the risk of much greater damage conceivably to Jordan, to Israel, to Lebanon, and in the long run to the region, and particularly if they were to secure chemical weapons.
 
QUESTION:  There’s an agreement for elections in Mali.  The French would like to withdraw, having pushed these rebels out of the major towns, but how does the international community make sure that what will be a young democracy in Mali is not threatened by a broader Sahelian terrorist movement that challenges elected governments already in Nigeria and Niger?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  By being involved in a way that helps and supports that new and younger government.  We are involved in Mali.  The French are involved, others are helping, and I think we need to recognize that Mali has become an attractive magnet for al-Qaida in the Maghreb.  And so this is important to our security, because we know they are targeting not just Malians, not just people in that region, but they’re prepared to link up with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula; they’re ready to link up with terrorists anywhere and everywhere to try to do harm to almost anybody else who doesn’t agree with their point of view.
 
QUESTION:  You close this trip in Brunei at the ASEAN ARF.  There are people in Southeast Asia who have concerns that your focus, this second term Obama Administration focus, on the Middle East peace process and increasingly on Syria diminishes the so-called Asia pivot and concern that China’s increasingly aggressive claims over the South China Sea may not be pursued.  What will you say to your allies in Southeast Asia about the South China Sea?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  That I’m there, that I’m here in Brunei, and I’m there for a reason.  And that I was in Japan and in South Korea and in China for a reason, and then I will shortly thereafter be coming back to go to Indonesia, Vietnam, to other countries, because we are paying attention to that pivot.  What people need to understand is a country like the United States of America has the ability – and I think we’re pretty good at it – of dealing with more than one crisis in more than one part of the planet at the same time.  We’ve always done that. 
So this is not different.  People should not think that because we are trying to bring peace to an area that has been struggling for 30 years now under the yoke of conflict and dissention that that means we can’t also pay attention to these other issues. 
 
We just had a major meeting in California with the President of China.  The Vice President has been to the region.  He’s going to go; I’m going to go again.  The President has been engaged.  So I think people need to understand that we are committed to the pivot, we remain committed to the pivot, there’s nothing that we’ve done that has moved away from it.  But we are also capable of and intend to pay attention to other parts of the world that likewise need some focus.
 
QUESTION:  Finally, on North Korea, what do you say to the argument that, given that the North Koreans already have nuclear weapons, why not recognize them as a nuclear power and move on?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  Because the policy of the United States and of the entire Six Parties that are involved in talks with them, as well as most other countries in the world, is that they should denuclearize.  We will not recognize them as a nuclear power; we will not rest until they have denuclearized.  That is the policy of China, I might add.  China believes they must denuclearize. 
 
Now, yes, they’ve had the nuclear tests; yes, they’ve fired some missiles.  But there is a nothing that suggests they have the kind of deliverable nuclear weapons system that makes them a nuclear power today in the real sense of the word.  And the fact is, where they are today can be undone and should be undone, because if it isn’t, then South Korea and Japan will follow, and you will have a much more volatile and dangerous region that you have today.  That’s why China is so focused on this, and we have high hopes that the Chinese, as they indicated to us in the talks at the Annenberg home in California, that those talks will in fact have an impact on Kim Jong-un, and he will choose a better path.
 
QUESTION:  Thank you, sir.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs