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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid