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Special Event

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Questions Secretary of State Designee Colin Powell

Aired January 17, 2001 - 2:04 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now we are going to take you back to Washington, D.C., where our Jeanne Meserve is standing by. She has been be following the confirmation hearings all this morning and brings us an update.

Hi, Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon, Kyra. Five confirmation hearings were up today; three of them already done. Mel Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Christie Whitman, all of them have gone through their tasks with Senate committees. But Colin Powell is still appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Let's join that hearing again.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: I think they are going to have to keep moving in the direction of opening up in some way at some pace, and we should not be resistant to that opening up, we should encourage it, and we should get in there.

But we should also be very realistic that, not move too fast and we let our South Korean friends be in the lead.

At the moment, I don't think that there is any inclination on our part, nor was there on the part of the Clinton administration to essentially start flowing additional resources into that society, other than food; food, which they need, and food, which we are probably going to give them anyway, in light of the humanitarian conditions that exist in that country.

So the policy I am quite sure President Bush will be following, and I will instruct for him is not be afraid of changes taking place in North Korea, engage with them, but do it in a very, very realistic way. And do not give then anything unless we get something in return, something that is really valuable to us, something that moves them in an entirely different direction, away from missiles, away from the export of this kind of technology to other parts of the world. And in a direction that ultimately removes the conventional threat, as well as the unconventional threat, that exists directed towards South Korea. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. I was think thing morning just a little bit different approach, but secretary of energy is overseas now talking to OPEC, in terms of production of oil and gas. To deal with them, to try and bargain, I suppose, to do something about that production area.

And I don't think the secretary of energy has much to bargain with. It seems to me like the secretary of state, with those countries that we do a lot for, would be in a better position to do some bargaining on energy than the energy secretary. What do you think of that?

POWELL: It's an interesting idea. I think I would -- before you giving a definitive answer, I would rather pursue review with your colleague, Spence Abraham, to see if he would have any objection to the State...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could go together. It just seems like we need some leverage. We go to a country and do a lot of things for them. And yet, when go over there to talk about OPEC production and so on, why they don't seem to pay any attention. We need some leverage.

POWELL: I agree that we should use whatever leverage we have. But over the long history of energy use and our demands for energy, I think our friends in the region have tried to be helpful from time to time, when it serves our interest and we needed them to be helpful.

And it always is a negotiations, as to what the right price is that we are willing to support with a particular supply and a particular demand, and we can also lecture ourselves about the amount of energy that we are increasingly using, and the rate of which our use of energy is increasing, thereby placing a greater demand on the supply.

I think there will always be tension between these two sides of the equation. We should use our relationship with those nations to get a reliable supply of energy needs, fossil fuels, from that part of the world at a price that is not unreasonable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the Clinton administration, Congress mandated the creation of an office of Tibet coordinator. Frankly, I don't think that has had much action. Not much activity has taken place, as a matter of fact, very little. What do you think the role of that Tibetan coordinator would be under your regime?

POWELL: It will be an important role. We have been looking at organizational structures during this transition period. I have about figured out how to man that office, and the role it should have in helping us develop a policy that will hopefully bring some reconciliation between the people of Tibet, the Tibetans, and the Chinese.

It's a very difficult situation right now with the Chinese sending more and more Han Chinese in to settle Tibet. What seems to be a policy that might well destroy that society. I think we have to reenergize our discussions with the Chinese to let them know that this is another example of the kind of behavior that will effect our entire relationship. And show our interest in solidarity with the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. JESSE HELMS (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: At this point, let's go into the 10-minute round with the caveat that Sen. Sarbanes will have 15 minutes, and then Sen. Biden, when he gets here, we will interrupt -- put him in whenever he wants to go. So...

SEN. PAUL SARBANES (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

HELMS: We will let you go, and then I will follow you.

SARBANES: Appreciate that very much.

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues, I regret I wasn't able to be here this morning, but I was.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: You've been watching the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They have been quizzing Gen. Colin Powell, George W. Bush's designee to be secretary of state. He, of course, has extensive foreign policy experience, is well-known to the committee and to the American public. He is expected to have an easy way to confirmation.

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