Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 2/14/12
2:29 P.M. EST
MR. CARNEY: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you from all of us.
Before I get started, I wanted to make note, if I could, of a development in the Senate. As you may know, but may not, the Senate is soon scheduled to confirm Alberto Jordan, our nominee for the 11th Circuit. Jordan is a current, well-respected District Court judge, supported by Senators Nelson and Rubio, and he was reported unanimously out by the Judiciary Committee months ago. And he will now be the first Cuban American on the 11th Circuit.
Despite his sterling credentials and the bipartisan support that he enjoys, Republicans filibustered this nomination. To overcome the filibuster, Leader Reid had to file cloture, a procedure that while once extraordinary is now commonplace out of necessity. Cloture was invoked last night, 89 to 5, but Republicans are still forcing the Senate to burn time in a blatant delay tactic. Leader Reid had to go through extraordinary measures to get a judge confirmed with no Republican opposition, and a seat he will fill is a judicial emergency seat.
Now, the reason why I raise this, even though Mr. Jordan will be confirmed, is that it is so indicative of a breakdown in the system when a nominee as highly qualified as he is, with bipartisan support as he has, who's reported out of committee unanimously, still faces filibusters. And you have to ask yourself why that is. It's just simply delay tactics, and they're shameful.
There are 17 other judicial nominations pending on the Senate calendar; 14 were reported out unanimously; seven of those would fill judicial emergencies and seven are represented by at least one Republican senator. And yet the delay tactics continue.
With that, I will take your questions. Hello.
Q Hi. China has fought the strongest international action on both Iran and Syria, going back some time, including the veto 10 days ago of the U.N. Security Council action on Syria. Did the President raise that with Vice President Xi today? And from your meetings with Vice President Xi, do you see any indication that a China under his leadership would behave any differently?
MR. CARNEY: Well, let me take a step back, if I might, to give you a sense of this visit. It is a reciprocal visit. As you know, Vice President Biden visited the People's Republic of China last year, and Vice President Xi of the People's Republic is now here being hosted by Vice President Biden.
He met, as you know, earlier today with President Obama, and they had a good meeting. It was quite a long meeting, in fact, in part because of the full range of issues that our two nations have to discuss. It is an important bilateral relationship and it is one where we speak candidly about the concerns we have -- whether it’s issues of trade or currency or, as you raised, matters of national security or foreign policy, as in Syria.
So I don’t have a specific point-by-point readout yet of the President’s meeting with Vice President Xi, but you can be sure that they discussed the full range of issues, that Vice President Xi will have those discussions not just with the President, but with Vice President Biden, with Secretary of State Clinton, and others.
I can tell you that, as I mentioned, the meeting ran long. It lasted from 11:25 a.m. until 10 minutes to 1:00 p.m. The President said afterwards that the reason he was taking the extra time was because of the importance of the relationship and cooperation in dealing with a range of challenges that these two -- our two countries face together.
The meeting began on a lighter note when Vice President Xi said he was going to Iowa on Wednesday and the President replied that he, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton all know Iowa very well. And if I may, of those three, I would say that it’s fair to say that the President probably has the fondest memories of Iowa. (Laughter.)
At the end of the meeting, Vice President Xi invited President Obama and the First Lady to China.
MR. CARNEY: Stay tuned. (Laughter.)
Q So no specific indication from Vice President Xi --
MR. CARNEY: You can be sure that our -- I have no specific readout yet on the meetings, but you can be sure that all of these issues are raised in meetings like this. It is elemental to the kind of relationship that we’ve established with China in this administration that we speak very candidly about the full range of issues that are on the table between us -- both ones where we cooperate very effectively and where we have concerns -- and that includes our disappointment that China joined with Russia in vetoing the United Nations Security Council resolution not long ago with regards to Syria.
Q: Jay, a follow-up to that. Did the question of currencies come up specifically in the conversation? The President mentioned the trade imbalance, but did currencies in particular come up?
MR. CARNEY: Again, I don’t have a point-by-point readout of that meeting for you. I can tell you that, generally speaking, as has been clear, because we talk about it both publicly and in our meetings with Chinese leaders, currency is an issue where we have some concerns and where we have urged the Chinese to take further steps to appreciate the Chinese currency.
And while, again, I don’t have a readout of the Oval Office meeting point by point, you can be sure that that is one of the issues that are discussed in all our meetings with members of the Chinese leadership. It was certainly in the bilateral that the President had on his Asia trip with President Hu, and is the kind of -- is one of the issues that is routinely raised in our meetings.
Q And in the preparations for this meeting, was there a concern that this meeting taking place so soon after the veto of the resolution on Syria, that that sort of cast a bit of tension over the meeting and the relationship?
MR. CARNEY: Well, as you know, this visit was planned quite some time ago. But I think I would point you to what I said before. There are a number of issues -- this is an important bilateral relationship between the United States and China. We engage on the full range of economic, national security, and other issues. And we are able, in our discussions with the Chinese, to talk about all the areas where we cooperate, including military-to-military cooperation -- an area of cooperation that I think is highlighted by Vice President Xi's visit to the Pentagon -- as well as where we have disagreements. And certainly the recent vote in the United Nations Security Council is one area where we have a disagreement.
Q And just one other topic. I know you're planning to release something on corporate taxes by the end of the month. Do you have any update on when we can expect that?
MR. CARNEY: I don't know that I have a day to give you, but we will be putting that out before the end of the month.
Q Can I just follow up on her question?
MR. CARNEY: Sure.
Q What is the White House's impression of Vice President Xi, in terms of the direction he's going to take China -- whether or not he's going to be -- a reformer, or his path through the Communist Party is prologue? What is the take? I know that National Security Advisor Donilon, this is his area of expertise, China.
MR. CARNEY: Well, it's an important enough relationship that there is no single interlocutor, if you will. The Vice President has a role; the National Security Advisor; Secretary Geithner; Secretary Clinton. The President, obviously, leads the entire effort. I think it's both too early for us to make those kinds of evaluations, but also would be inappropriate to speculate. Vice President Xi is the likely future leader of China. He, obviously, at this time is Vice President. President Hu is the leader of that country and the head of state. So we -- our interactions with him are the ones that it is on issues -- decision-making issues that we deal with President Hu, obviously, at this point.
So I think it's premature to make those kinds of judgments. But it is a measure of the importance of the relationship for both countries that Vice President Xi is here, and that he is having the kinds of meetings that he's having today.
Let me move around if I could. Let me go -- yes, sir, in the back.
Q I'm a political journalist and political analyst from China. I have been here for two and a half years, and I have always seen the American government, the Obama government, place much more importance on the appreciation of the Renminbi.
MR. CARNEY: On the appreciation of the Renminbi?
Q Yes, place much more importance on the appreciation of the Renminbi. Our readers are very concerned whether the U.S. government is much less interested in the human rights situation in China. And our readers are also interested to know whether the U.S. government will center on the human rights issue and policy between Middle East region and China. Can you talk to our readers about these two issues?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I would simply say that we have, in our relationship with the People's Republic of China, a whole host of issues, as I was saying before. And we always raise human rights concerns at the highest levels when we have meetings with senior members of the Chinese leadership, and we will continue to do that. It is simply not the case that we emphasize one aspect of our relationship over the other. They are all important -- both the areas where we agree, and the areas where we disagree. And we certainly express ourselves openly when we have concerns about human rights issues, as we do in this case.
President Obama is very aware of that issue, as is Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton and others.
Q Jay, General Dempsey today was testifying in the Senate Armed Services Committee and was talking about -- he said that some people in China are hacking into U.S. computers. And Senator Lindsay Graham said that he was having lunch with the Vice President of China in a few moments and said, "Is there a message I can carry to him?" And the General said, "Happy Valentine's Day." It drew a lot of laughter, because he was talking about how he believes there's crimes being committed, and he was pretty blunt about that. What is the President's message on these issues, whether it's hacking, whether it's human rights? The broad range that you've been talking about -- broad brush -- I mean, most Americans are looking at what's happening, and they're seeing toasts and friendly, diplomatic talk, but there are some really serious issues that divide them. Are they really being addressed behind closed doors?
MR. CARNEY: Oh, you can be sure that they are. And I think that is evidenced by the fact that the President, in his State of the Union address to millions of Americans, announced his Trade Enforcement Unit to address issues of the need to establish a level playing field in our trade relationships, including but not exclusively -- including China but not exclusively with China -- and in the fact that whenever we have these meetings, as I was saying, that these issues are raised.
I wouldn’t -- I think that -- the testimony that you referred to I think is more evidence of the concern that we have about that issue, that we speak publicly about, and we discuss with members of Congress as well as with the Chinese and others. And again, I think that it is a hallmark of the relationship that we have established between this administration and China that we are able to discuss the whole array of issues involved in our relationship, both those where we agree and have strong cooperation and those where we disagree and have concerns.
Q On the economy, a real quick follow-up. Paul Bedard, of the D.C. Examiner, had an item, I think yesterday, saying that a man from Maine who's unemployed had sent the President a letter, and the President replied in his own handwriting and said, "I won't lie to you, it will probably take another year or two to fully dig out of this hole." I know the President has talked generally about how it's going to take a long time. But is that basically the White House timetable? You think it's going to take a year or two?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't have a timetable to give you. I happened to catch that and noted the framing, which is ironic, because I think anyone who looks at the facts and the 8 million jobs that we lost because of the great recession would note that while we have gained 3.7 million private sector jobs since the economy began growing again, that obviously leaves a substantial hole to fill.
And that's why the President is so focused on extending the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance, and passing the measures that will enhance the rebound of American manufacturing, passing the other aspects of the American Jobs Act to put teachers back to work and construction workers onto the job.
So, yes, the work is not done. Recovery from this terrible recession is underway, but it is far from finished. And I think that's reflected in the letter that you mentioned.
Q Can I ask you about Syria? Yesterday you talked about the "Friends of Syria" meeting that would be convened February 24th, in Tunisia, and then the President spoke with Prime Minister Cameron yesterday. Is the President going to be making a series of calls to world leaders in terms of trying to gather and garner more support towards some sort of additional action in Syria?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't have any additional calls to preview for you or read out. But the President is very engaged in this issue, as is, of course, the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and others. We are working with our allies and partners within the "Friends of Syria" context to examine all ways that we can further pressure the Assad regime to get it to cease its reprehensible violence against its own people.
Q Without any Security Council backing, what really can the U.S. do additionally? What other options do we have?
MR. CARNEY: Well, we can continue to put pressure on the regime through sanctions. We can continue to move towards assisting the Syrian people through humanitarian aid. And we can continue to make the case internationally to those who have yet to agree with us -- and they are in a distinct minority -- that the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy and needs to go.
So we will, you can be sure, continue to work very hard to try to bring about the transition to democracy that the Syrian people so clearly want and deserve before it is too late. There is a political solution to be had here, and it is imperative that every nation that considers itself a friend of the Syrian people act on the Syrian people's behalf.
Q Last night, on our evening news, I reported that the White House, an official had told me that because of the Security Council's failure to even condemn the violence in Syria, that China and Russia's veto amounted to a "license to kill." So --
MR. CARNEY: I agree with that. I agree with that assessment. It is -- and it is a warning that we made to our fellow ambassadors and others up at the United Nations prior to the United Nations Security Council vote, that failure to pass that resolution would be, essentially, a signal to Assad that he could act with further impunity in brutalizing his own people, killing innocent Syrian civilians. And that has seemed to have been the case. And it is highly regrettable that that veto occurred and that the resolution didn't pass.
And that's why it is so important for action to be taken, for the international community of nations who consider themselves friends of the Syrian people to come together and do everything they can to further pressure the Assad regime and to assist the Syrian people.
Q And then just, finally, on corporate tax reform -- do you envision a scenario where the President and his advisors would consult Republican leaders on that tax reform proposal before putting it out in order to try to get them on board so that it could actually be passed this year? Or is the President just going to put it forward, like he does with other proposals?
MR. CARNEY: Well, we intend to put forward our corporate tax reform proposal. We certainly hope that --
Q Are you trying to get Republicans on board for it to --
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't think this was a case of getting people on board before. I think this is an issue where there is the opportunity, or at least the potential, for bipartisan compromise. The President has made his principles pretty clear in his approach to corporate tax reform, and they are sound principles, and again, principles that we believe should have broad bipartisan support.
And once that proposal is put forward, we will certainly engage with Congress to see if there is an opening here to get something done. As I was saying I think just the other day, I think it's a fallacy to assume that there cannot be significant accomplishments on Capitol Hill this year just because it's an election year. In fact, the opposite may be true. It's certainly worth trying.
Q In general terms, is the U.S. interested in using this visit by Vice President Xi to ask China to lessen its dependence on Iranian oil imports, as you try and isolate Iran even more?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think that that issue is one of a portfolio of issues that are likely to be discussed in these meetings. I think it's important, again, to note, however -- stepping back -- that this is a reciprocal visit of the Vice President of the People's Republic to the United States, hosted by the Vice President of the United States. He is not the leader of China, but the presumed future leader of China. But these are important discussions to have, certainly.
Q Just following up on that -- India has said it won't implement any sanctions on Iran that aren't endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. The President spent a lot of time engaging India. Is this something that could complicate the improved U.S. relations that this administration has pushed?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't know about that. I think that we have made clear to all of our allies and partners around the world about the importance of isolating the regime in Tehran and putting pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. We will continue to work with countries around the globe in furthering that goal, and that includes, obviously, India as well as many other nations.
Q Why did the President decide to go specifically to Boeing in Washington State on Friday to talk about his manufacturing goals? Is he trying to send some sort of message to labor, given the dispute that Boeing was in last year? Is he going to have a message for labor while he's there?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't want to preview his remarks there. I think that Boeing is an important manufacturer in the United States. As I think you remember, on his Asia trip he worked with Boeing -- there was an announcement of a major trade deal that represents a significant growth in that industry.
So I don't think it has -- I think it has to do with the revitalization of the American manufacturing sector most of all, and Boeing is obviously a good story in that regard.
Q It's also a place that's been caught up in right-to-work and moving workers around, and obviously labor is a very important constituency of the President's. Is he going to talk about that? Did that factor into his decision to do this?
MR. CARNEY: I'm not aware that it factored -- I think the issue here is about the revitalization of American manufacturing, the measures the President wants Congress to take and the measures he will take through his executive authority to try to continue this rebound in American manufacturing. And I think that will be the primary message that he'll deliver when he visits Boeing on Friday.
Q Just to follow up on that invite for the visit. Was that for this year?
MR. CARNEY: I think it was just a general invitation. I don't have a timeframe on it.
Q So it wasn’t like he was presupposing that --
MR. CARNEY: I wouldn't factor that as right away, Hans.
Q It's a serious question. Was it more just, oh, you should come visit, stop by with the kids sometimes -- (laughter) -- or was it a formal invite? I know when you're throwing your dinner parties you sometimes have two categories -- specific date.
MR. CARNEY: I think it was a serious invitation made by the Vice President of the People's Republic to the President. But I don't have a timeframe for you on it.
Q Was a timeframe given?
MR. CARNEY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Jay, there's a report out that the administration is considering, along with some of the allies, kicking Iran out of an outfit called SWIFT, an independent financial clearinghouse, that would really put the financial screws to them in a big way. What are the prospects for that?
MR. CARNEY: I'll have to take the question. I don't have information on that for you. Perhaps Treasury does.
Q And on another issue, the President referenced in his comments today about the tax cut extension the rising oil prices, rising gasoline prices that people are facing. What is the administration doing right now in terms of tracking where these prices are headed upwards so dramatically, and what are the prospects for possibly tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve again to try to bring the prices down?
MR. CARNEY: Well, as was the case earlier in this administration when we saw a rise in prices like this, we monitor them very carefully. The President is keenly aware of the impact that higher gas prices have on families trying to make ends meet. I think the point he was making today with regards to the payroll tax cut extension is that at a time when prices at the pump are going up, it is more important than ever to get that extra $40, on average, per pay period in the pockets of American men and women who need it to pay the bills.
Our approach to this begins with the recognition that there's no silver bullet in dealing with global oil prices, and that's why he pursues an "all of the above" agenda when it comes to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, increasing domestic production of oil and gas, increasing our investments in clean energy. And it's really an "all of the above" approach.
As for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as was the case back when we had this discussion I think almost a year ago, we never take options off the table. But I have nothing -- no announcements to make or anything like that.
Q Do you think those price increases are on the up and up?
MR. CARNEY: I think that oil prices have been going up internationally and we monitor them very closely. I don't have an assessment of them beyond that. Maybe you might want to address your question to the Treasury or Justice Departments.
Q China is Iran's biggest oil customer. And as the U.S. is looking to limit Iran's oil exports, what kinds of -- one, I guess will the President -- is that being addressed by Vice President Biden and the President? And what kind of assurances are you hoping to get from China that they won't increase their consumption of oil from Iran?
MR. CARNEY: Well, you rightly identify this as an issue that we have raised with our allies and partners around the world. And it is certainly on the list of topics that are discussed in meetings with the Chinese leadership, including in these meetings with Vice President Xi. I don't have, like I said earlier, a detailed readout of the Oval Office that the Chinese Vice President had with the President. But I can assure you that this is a topic that is, of course, one that we discuss with the Chinese leadership as well as with other countries.
I don't have any readouts to give you in terms of their response to this issue that we raise, but it is certainly our position that we need to work collectively to put pressure on Iran, to isolate Iran, and one way to do that is to limit the import of Iranian oil. So this is an important issue.
Q How is this visit maybe solidifying some sort of assurance?
MR. CARNEY: Again, I don't have specifics about the interchanges at this point. But it is an issue that we raise with the Chinese, as we raise it with many other countries. And it is part of an effort, a concerted effort, that has, I might remind you, resulted in the strictest sanctions with the greatest impact that have ever been imposed on Iran. And that impact is I think evident now to observers and having an effect on both the Iranian economy and on the Iranian leadership.
Q Payroll tax cut -- heard the President's assessment earlier today. Is it the view of the White House things are close to an accord, or not that close? And perhaps even more important, is this a case where nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, including the doc fix and the jobless benefits extension?
MR. CARNEY: Well, let me make a couple of points about that -- first, most importantly, point you to the comments the President made today -- as ever, he says it best, and he did today, about his views of the current discussions underway about how to extend the payroll tax cut, how to extend unemployment insurance and the so-called doc fix.
I guess it is a hopeful sign, although you might say a confusing sign, that Republicans who once declared that tax cuts never have to be paid for, then insisted that tax cuts for working Americans had to be paid for, are now saying that perhaps tax cuts don't need to be paid for -- these same tax cuts. Again, confusing, but a sign that they are committed as the President is to extending the payroll tax cut through the end of the calendar year.
The President made clear today, and I'll make clear again here, that it is essential for the economy as well as for recipients of unemployment insurance that those benefits be extended as well. It is essential -- and I don't think you'll find much disagreement about this on Capitol Hill -- that doctors who receive Medicare payments do not get a 27 percent cut in those payments this year. So that doc fix needs to be extended through the end of the year. Otherwise it would have a serious impact on senior citizens and their access to the physicians they need to see for their health.
So all three of these elements of what was the package that was extended for two months at the end of last year are very important, and we look forward to working with Congress to find a resolution that ensures that all three are extended. They're all important to the economy in different ways. And as the President made clear earlier, it is of vital importance that Congress not muck up the recovery that we're seeing underway, the growth in the economy and the growth in job creation that has been evident of late. One way to muck it up would be to somehow to fail to extend the payroll tax cut, or somehow fail to extend unemployment insurance benefits or the doc fix.
So we look forward to working with Congress to make it all happen, and how we get from here to there I will leave to Congress to decide. But we are confident that with good faith and goodwill, it will all get done.
Q As you talk about Judge Jordan being confirmed, are you trying to signal that the elimination of this backlog of judges is going to be more of a priority for the White House going forward? And apart from expressing frustration about it, what can you do?
MR. CARNEY: Well, we can't change the rules of the Senate -- although on some days I'm sure we wish we could. My point is simply to highlight what has become a major problem in the conduct of normal business on Capitol Hill. When you have judicial nominees who are highly qualified, who have the support of members of both parties, who are reported out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and then get held up in filibuster, you have to wonder what's wrong. And you should not be surprised then that Americans get so frustrated with the gridlock and the playing of politics here in Washington.
Q You don’t often talk about judges from the podium, and groups that advocate for the President's judges are sometimes frustrated that you haven’t. They say you could use the bully pulpit and megaphone more than you have.
MR. CARNEY: We think all of our qualified nominees should be confirmed by the Senate without delay. I took this opportunity because it came to my attention that this highly qualified nominee was going to be confirmed today and that he had gone through this ridiculously long and delayed process for apparently no other reason than politics. And it was an opportunity to make a point.
All the way in the back.
Q On Syria, last week you said that the Assad regime is not going to last. What makes you so sure of that when Russia and China veto a decision with the United Nations? And also, if you are predicting, when will things unfold? This year, summer, fall -- when?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't have an exact date, but I think it is -- I know it is our view that the Assad regime's days are numbered. He has clearly lost control of parts of his country. He has -- there are signs that members of the leadership in both the military and the government are looking for ways to distance themselves or get out of his orbit. And he has certainly lost all credibility with his people and with the international community.
History will not forget what he has done in these past months, and certainly the Syrian people will never forget it. I don't have predictions on when, but I think it is a matter – it’s not a matter of if, but it is a matter of when. And we will work in a concerted effort with the "Friends of Syria" to further pressure Assad, further isolate his regime, assist the Syrian people and try to bring about the democratic transition that the Syrian people so clearly deserve and want.
Q Jay, the President is going to be going out around the country again, and I'm just curious, if the House Republicans are retreating in some ways on the payroll tax, coming around more to the President's way of thinking, does the President believe that going out to the country has actually been effective policy, he is applying pressure in Congress in a way that's going to be producing maybe deliverables this year? Is it working?
MR. CARNEY: Well, maybe you can assess that for us. I think that the President, as I said in the past, very much looks forward to getting out of town and speaking with Americans about his agenda and the efforts he's undertaking to grow the economy and create jobs. He certainly has used that opportunity to call on Congress to act, to call on Americans to let their representatives know how they feel with regards to the initiatives that he's put forward to grow the economy and create jobs.
I think that in the case of the payroll tax cut, it is clearly a good thing, with the economy recovering but still in a fragile state, to extend this payroll tax cut through the end of the year. It is a hard argument to make that it is not a good thing. And it is I think a hard argument to make, or an even harder argument to make, if one were to try to make it, in an election year when members of Congress have to explain to their constituents what they did while they were away in Washington and what they did to help the economy and help jobs.
So we expect that for all those reasons Congress will do the right thing and act on what should have been and can now be something that has broad bipartisan support. The President will continue to go out and talk about his agenda, talk about the policies he is putting into place to try to grow the economy and create jobs. And he will look for allies everywhere in that effort.
Q Thank you. Two questions. One, in recent weeks a number of governors have been going visiting India on a mission, what they've been calling bringing jobs back to the U.S. from India with trade relations. And President also had the Prime Minister of India -- they discussed also. What is the future that as far as thousands of jobs coming back from India to the U.S., as far as U.S.-India trade and economic relations?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think there's a very bright future in U.S.-Indian relations, and economic relations and trade, and that is true regardless of the effort that this President has undertaken to give more momentum to a trend that is already taking place, which is the insourcing of jobs from overseas -- insourcing of American manufacturing jobs and other jobs -- American companies are bringing those jobs back to the United States from a variety of places around the world.
We obviously think that's a good thing for this country, for this economy. But broadly speaking, trade with India, trade with China, trade with countries all around the world is vital to global economy growth and especially to economic growth in the United States. And this President has set a goal of doubling our exports by 2015. We are on track to meet that goal, and this President will do everything he can to enhance and spur economic growth so that we do meet that goal by 2015.
Q You think governors from Maryland and Virginia will make any difference because of their visits?
MR. CARNEY: I’m sure they will. I think it’s important to have those kinds of visits.
Q And second question, on China’s Vice President's visit, hundreds of Tibetans are demonstrating outside the White House. They're asking for human rights, justice for Tibetans, and also they're saying that Tibet was never part of China and U.S. should change its policy, that it’s not one China, but Tibet is a free country. And also there’s a concern from human rights organizations as far as human rights and also prison labor -- most of the things coming around the globe, including the U.S. is made from forced labors.
MR. CARNEY: Well, Goyal, you know as I was saying earlier, that we take human rights issues very seriously. We are not shy about raising those issues in our meetings with members of the Chinese leadership. And it is part of the relationship that we have that we can talk about the whole range of issues that we -- that are on the table between us, and human rights is certainly one of them.
Q And finally, just quickly.
MR. CARNEY: Goyal, I just want to give others a chance if I could.
MR. CARNEY: Anybody. Yes, ma’am.
Q I just want to follow up on the human rights issue, because Vice President Biden in his luncheon speech mentioned human rights -- with the Chinese Vice President Xi. So I’m wondering if you have any information what issues were raised?
MR. CARNEY: I don't. I’m afraid I don't have a detailed readout of that. But we’ll see if we can provide more details about that.
Q Can I clarify one thing on the visit? I don't think we mentioned Taiwan. Was Taiwan and --
MR. CARNEY: Again, I don't have a detailed readout. I think all of the issues that are traditionally part of the discussion with China are likely to have been raised, but I don't want to --
Q Will we get one?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m sure we may have more of a readout. I gave you some of it. We don't tend to read out every topic of every conversation that we have with foreign leaders, but we’ll see if we can get you more.
Q Just two questions, Jay. Just two.
MR. CARNEY: I’m sorry. Yes, sir. Last one. This is a family -- this is -- we got to keep it clean here, yes. (Laughter.)
Q Keep it clean? Now, wait a minute, what do we mean by that?
Q I know you don't have a readout, but is it fair to assume that the President conveyed that message in person that he agreed to that a veto by China on Syria resolution at the United Nations amounts to a license to kill? And do you buy into or accept the justification by the Chinese that the United Nations or the United Nations Security Council should not be used to issue mandates to change regimes?
MR. CARNEY: Well, our views on why that resolution was important -- and it was a negotiated resolution that we had hoped would garner support broadly and would not be vetoed -- are well known. We’ve made that clear. Again, I don't want to give you an itemized list of topics that were discussed because I don't have that list to read from for you and I don't wan to say that something was discussed if I don't know for sure that it was.
But I can tell you, broadly speaking, that in our conversations with Vice President Xi and in our conversations with Chinese leaders in general, we bring up all of these issues, including our disappointment with the vote in the United Nations Security Council, including human rights and other issues, as well as our important cooperation on economic issues, on military-to-military relationships and the whole range of matters between us.
So, again, I don't have a specific, itemized list of the topics that were discussed in the Oval Office, but I can assure that, broadly speaking, we speak very candidly with the Chinese. I think as the questioner earlier indicated, the Vice President of the United States made that point in his remarks at the lunch today. So I think that is generally the case.
Q In terms of Supreme Court justices' security -- I thought someone else might ask, but we didn't get a chance. After Justice Breyer, this is the third incident maybe in a decade -- not too recent -- but it was a pretty serious incident. Does the President have concerns about security? Anything the White House is looking at?
MR. CARNEY: I’m not aware of anything that the White House might be looking at or the Secret Service. I mean, I would refer you to the security service for the Supreme Court.
Thank you all very much.
Q Thank you.
END 3:13 P.M. EST
December 20, 2014
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