Remarks by the Vice President and President Bachelet of Chile in a Joint Press Conference
La Moneda Palace
PRESIDENT BACHELET: (As interpreted.) Mr. Vice President of the United States of America, Mr. Michael Richard Pence, and distinguished delegation, Mr. Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, representatives of the diplomatic corps of the U.S., and dear friends, today, we received the Vice President of the United States, Michael Pence, in our country, and his visit is an example of the strength of our ties. It's an expression of interest of working with Chile in a broad agenda -- regional, multilateral, and national issues.
The relationship with the United States is strategic -- politically and economically. We share views on democracy, human rights, and opening of markets. And today, we've approached different issues of interest. Among them, the program related to visa waiver U.S. And Chile the only country of Latin America -- of the 38 states -- beneficiary of the program. And this has involved that. After three years of coming into force, more than 400,000 tourists of Chile have gone to the United States.
With the Vice President, Mike Pence, we have discussed our sound trade and economic relationship within the FTA, as subscribed by both countries. And this agreement has more than one decade. One hundred percent of the products is tariff-free. Likewise, the agreement provides access to services guaranteeing intellectual property rights and incentivizes investments of the U.S. in different sectors of our economy.
In addition to that, we discusses our very fruitful political relationship, underlining our ties, not only federally and with different states. In areas like energy, science, technology, and renewable energies, we are discussing with (inaudible) and researchers. And also, we have reaffirmed our interest and commitment to work jointly with countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America and Haiti in order to cooperate for institutional strengthening and governance.
Likewise, we have spoken about the peace process of Colombia, a country that has received Vice President Pence. Chile has been fully committed to support Colombia in all of its projects to create peace and well-being for its citizens.
And also, in Latin America, allow me to refer to Venezuela -- something that we have also discussed. Chile, like 11 countries of the region, subscribed the Declaration of Lima a week ago, and this explains our ways to contribute to restore democracy in Venezuela through a peaceful and negotiated way out. There is high concern for the levels of violence and humanitarian crises experienced by Venezuela, generating a tremendous wave of migration to neighboring countries. Chile will do its utmost to support Venezuela to find a peaceful way out. But Chile will not support military interventions, nor coup d'état. As to sanctions, we'll support all those adopted by the Security Council of the U.N.
As to sensitive issues, Chile has expressed in the General Assembly, Security Council, and OAS, its concern for the nuclear weapons program of Northern Korea. It calls to renew all the diplomatic efforts and conversations -- tripartite -- to the North, South Korea, China, the Russian Federation -- in order to have nuclear Korea -- rather, a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons.
And also, in our energy and climate partnership of the Americas, ECPA, that will be held in Chile in September next. And Chile will be the venue of the next meeting of APEC 2019. And on that occasion, we hope to have all the collaboration of the United States.
Thank you very much.
Now we invite and recognize His Excellency, Vice President of the United States of America, Mr. Michael Pence.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: President Bachelet, thank you for your words and for your warm hospitality that you have shown to me and my wife on our very first visit to Chile. It’s a great honor to join you here at the historic La Moneda Palace. So thank you again.
I’m here today on behalf of the President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump, to reaffirm to you and the people of Chile the strategic partnership and valued friendship between the United States and Chile.
Madam President, Chile is a beacon of freedom in the Western Hemisphere, and the United States of America is proud to call you our partner in prosperity and security, and we are proud to call Chile our friend.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States will always put the security and prosperity of America first. But as I hope my presence today demonstrates, America First does not mean America alone.
As President Bachelet and I discussed today, the security and prosperity of our two countries are deeply intertwined and have been so for generations.
Just over four decades ago, Chile reoriented its economy on a free-market foundation. The result was nothing short of extraordinary -- “The Miracle of Chile.”
Millions rose out of poverty. Living standards soared for the Chilean people, and Chile’s embrace of free markets ultimately gave rise to a free society overall. And today Chile is a flourishing democracy with a flourishing free-market economy.
Chile’s continued success is inspiring. And, Madam President, your country’s excellent example has moved your neighbors across Latin America to enact their own market-based reforms to spur growth and generate prosperity for their citizens. Your example shines for all in the Western Hemisphere to see. And it’s an honor to be with you today.
And Chile’s embrace of freedom has brought this country into a closer relationship with the United States. In fact, Chile is the only Latin American nation to participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, a sign of the high standards that define Chile today.
Madam President, as we discussed, under your leadership and that of President Trump, we will continue to strengthen the bonds between our nations, especially in terms of commerce.
Today, our two-way trade in goods and services totals nearly $30 billion, with a $4.1 billion surplus for the United States, and the United States has been Chile’s largest source of foreign direct investment for years, while Chileans have invested $414 million in our country in recent years -- in mining, forestry, banking. And U.S. exports to Chile support some 93,000 jobs in the United States.
This is a remarkable story of success, and it stems in large part from our free trade agreement that you just mentioned, signed in 2003. It’s caused trade between the United States and Chile to soar by more than 350 percent.
In many ways, the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement is a model of a mutually beneficial agreement between two nations. But as I discussed today with President Bachelet, we believe it would be important for Chile to take steps to comply with the agreement’s intellectual property rights chapter to ensure a fair and level playing field for U.S. companies. We also believe such actions will bring renewed economic benefits to both our countries.
Now, tonight, I will address two institutions that epitomize the deep and longstanding commercial ties connecting our two nations -- the American Chamber of Commerce in Chile, which is kicking off its centennial celebration this year, and the Association of American Chambers of Latin America, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. There, I’ll speak to businesses that are already and are ready to invest even more in Chile and across the wider region.
But as Chile well knows, security is the foundation of our prosperity, and, Madam President, you know that the United States is truly grateful -- truly grateful for Chile’s leadership in promoting regional security in partnership with our country.
Today I thanked your President for her strong leadership and consistent statements about the provocative behavior by the regime in North Korea. The United States is grateful for Chile’s support to promote peace and stability and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
As President Trump has made clear, the era of strategic patience is over. With regard to North Korea, all options are on the table, and the United States will continue to bring the full range of American power -- economic and diplomatic -- until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
With the strong leadership of President Donald Trump, our administration has been marshalling the support of nations around the world, and as the President acknowledged this morning, we are beginning to see progress in dealing with North Korea’s provocations and pursuit of a nuclear and ballistic missile program.
But more must still be done, much more.
As President Bachelet and I discussed today, the United States places great importance on the ongoing diplomatic isolation of the Kim regime. And we strongly urge Chile today, and we urge Brazil, Mexico, and Peru to break all diplomatic and commercial ties to North Korea.
We would especially welcome Chile reclassifying exports of Chilean wine, as the President and I discussed -- reclassifying the wine as a luxury good under current U.S. [sic] sanctions to prevent North Korea from obtaining these commodities and converting them into hard currency that support the regime.
Closer to home, here in our hemisphere, there is another rogue regime. And a tragedy of tyranny is playing out before our eyes in Venezuela.
As President Trump has said, in his words, the Venezuelan people “are suffering and they are dying.”
I saw firsthand talking with refugees during my visit to Colombia, refugees from Venezuela. I heard about the grinding poverty, how families cannot find the food and medicine they need to survive, how innocent children are literally perishing every day from starvation and deprivation.
Let me be clear: The once-free people of Venezuela are being forced to endure that fate by the brutality of the Maduro regime.
Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship, and as President Trump has said “the United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.”
President Trump has said that a stable and peaceful Venezuela is in the best interest of our entire hemisphere. And, Madam President, I know that you agree with that strongly. Be assured that we will continue to stand with free nations across our hemisphere until democracy is restored for the Venezuelan people.
Madam President, President Trump and I are grateful for Chile’s leadership in condemning the Maduro regime, and we recognize Chile and 11 other countries for signing the Lima Declaration just last week, sending a powerful message that the free peoples of the Americas will stand with the Venezuelan people and stand up to their oppressors.
But President Trump and I call on Latin America to do more. And know this: The United States will continue to bring the full measure of our economic and diplomatic power to bear until democracy is restored in Venezuela.
As President Trump has said just a few days ago, the United States has “many options for Venezuela.” But the President also remains confident that working with all our allies across Latin America we can achieve a peaceable solution to the crisis facing the Venezuelan people.
Madam President, as I assured you today in our meeting, I assure you now: What we do for Venezuela, we will do together.
We all live in the same neighborhood. We succeed when our neighbors succeed. We struggle when our neighbors struggle, and so we will continue to act, together, to support the people of Venezuela in their fight for freedom. And I believe with all of my heart, the Venezuelan people will be free once more and their democracy restored.
The people of the United States and the people of Chile know that freedom is the source of our prosperity and security. And, Madam President, I am confident that Chile will continue to be a model of freedom that shines throughout the Western Hemisphere and the wider world.
And know that the United States cherishes our friendship with the Chilean people. And even now, our bond is growing, and our security and prosperity are advancing hand-in-hand. And I have faith that together, the United States and Chile will continue to achieve great progress for our people and our hemisphere.
So, President Bachelet, I thank you again for your hospitality. It is an honor to be with you today, and I look forward to our continued discussions.
PRESIDENT BACHELET: (As interpreted.) I’m going to leave you know for a couple of moments -- and we will meet again -- so you can speak to your press.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Would you come again? I’m sorry. Thank you.
Q Mr. Vice President, on North Korea, do you believe that other countries including China should take the same steps as the Latin American countries that you urged to do so today?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: President Trump sent me to the Asian Pacific earlier this year, and he sent other representatives of our administration to send one clear message to North Korea, and that is that the era of strategic patience is over.
Literally for decades, the world community has practiced a patience with North Korea in the hopes that they would someday abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions. And all along the way, North Korea has simply used delay and used feigned negotiations to continue to -- in their headlong rush to obtain usable nuclear weapons and a ballistic missile program.
And the President has made it clear that those days are over. We truly believe that it’s imperative that the regime in Pyongyang understand that all options are on the table. The United States of America will simply not permit a rogue regime in North Korea to possess usable nuclear weapons that can reach the continental United States and threaten our people.
But that being said, we believe that the ongoing economic and diplomatic pressure that’s being brought to bear by our allies in the region, by allies here in Latin America, and renewed pressure by China itself is resulting in what we believe represent glimmers of hope that we can achieve by peaceful means that which nations around the world have sought on the Korean Peninsula now for decades.
My call today here in Chile and our efforts with regard to Brazil, Mexico, and Peru is simply to call on our friends in this hemisphere and call on nations around the world to continue to use the economic and diplomatic tools that they have to further isolate North Korea.
We truly do believe that we are seeing progress, which I mentioned the President acknowledged this morning. But more needs to be done, and it is our hope that Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru will join us in breaking all diplomatic and commercial ties with North Korea. And as that isolation -- economically and diplomatically -- continues, the hope for a peaceable solution and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula we believe becomes more attainable.
Q Just to be clear, by cutting diplomatic ties, do you mean that there shouldn’t be embassies within North Korea or ambassadors to North Korea? And are you concerned that given that the threat to Guam was withdrawn, essentially yesterday, your comments today could ratchet the situation up again?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: The policy of the United States is that we are working with nations around the world to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically. At present, Chile essentially has -- if I describe it correctly, they essentially have a joint arrangement of their diplomatic relations with China and with North Korea. But to the credit of Chile, they have not presented credentials for the last four years, and I requested President Bachelet today simply to terminate that relationship formally.
We believe that that will facilitate a peaceable outcome. We want North Korea to understand there is a cost among the family of nations to their ongoing provocations. As the President did today, we welcome the statements of the Kim regime this week with regard to Guam. But our objective is clear: It is a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We want the regime in Pyongyang to permanently abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and ambitions. And we’ll continue to bring pressure to bear till we achieve that goal.
Q Mr. Vice President, we appreciate you taking a couple questions, sir. Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Sure.
Q The remarks made by President Trump yesterday about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia alarmed many Americans, including Republican supporters. Do you agree with the President that there were good people among the white supremacist protesters and that there was blame to be had on both sides? And more broadly, sir, do you believe that Confederate statues should be removed as is happening in many cities across the South? Or do you agree with the President that the Confederate General Robert E. Lee should be considered in the same pantheon as George Washington?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy, and the President has been clear on this tragedy and so have I. I spoke at length about this heart-breaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia, and I stand with the President, and I stand by those words.
But today while I’m here in Chile, our hearts are in Charlottesville because just a few short hours ago, family and friends gathered to say farewell to a remarkable young woman, Heather Heyer. And we've been praying. We've been praying for God’s peace and comfort for her family and her friends and her loved ones.
And we're also praying that in America that we will not allow the few to divide the many. The strength of the United States of America is always strongest, as the President has said so eloquently, when we are united around our shared values, and so it will always be.
But let me say it’s about the strength of the United States of America that the President sent me here to Latin America. And as we prepared to end our trip a little bit early tomorrow, after we stop in Panama, I leave here greatly encouraged that across South America and Central America and with the United States and Canada, that there is -- this is a new era here in the New World. Chile is a shining example of a nation that first chose economic freedom decades ago, and now is experiencing a vibrant, democracy. And it’s inspiring nations across Latin America who have followed Chile’s lead.
And I return from this trip more encouraged than ever that not only will our commerce grow -- strengthening jobs and opportunities in America; strengthening the prosperity across Latin America; but I truly do believe that the unity that I have experienced in our determination to ensure that we will not permit a failed state in Venezuela in this hemisphere is more true than ever.
The determination, Phil, that I have heard among the nations that I visited about ensuring that we stand with the Venezuelan people, that we bring the full measure of economic and diplomatic power to bear until democracy is restored has truly been inspiring.
I’ve made it clear that -- as the President has, that the United States of America has many options. We reserve those options to advance the security of the United States with regard to Venezuela. But I will return home tomorrow more confident than ever that freedom-loving countries across Latin America, along with the United States can continue bring pressure to bear; the kind of pressure that President Bachelet and I discussed today in increasing measure onto Venezuela and create the kind of conditions where we see democracy restored.
Phil, thank you very much.
Thank you, all.