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  • Mr. Carney: Thank you for being here.

  • Thank you for joining us on this trip.

  • Ben Rhodes, the President's Deputy

  • National Security Advisor for Strategic

  • Communications, is joining me today.

  • He can go over the meetings the President has

  • had today thus far as well as preview some of the

  • meetings he will have later today.

  • He'll take questions on those subjects or any

  • other subjects that you have for him and I will

  • stand by for questions on other matters.

  • With that, I give you Ben Rhodes.

  • Mr. Rhodes: Thanks, everybody.

  • And thanks for people joining us virtually.

  • I'll just give a brief readout of the President's

  • meetings this morning.

  • You saw his comments with the Prime Minister of the

  • Netherlands after their meeting.

  • I'd just note in particular that there was

  • strong agreement in their meeting about the need

  • to support the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian

  • government; to continue to impose costs on Russia

  • for its actions.

  • And as one of our key allies here in Europe

  • and in NATO, we'll be consulting closely with

  • the Dutch going forward.

  • We also very much welcome the announcement made

  • today by the Dutch to join the effort that the

  • United States is leading to end financing for coal-fired

  • plants abroad as part of our efforts

  • to combat climate change.

  • Turning to the meeting with President Xi

  • of China, first of all, the President expressed

  • his thanks, as he did publicly, for the welcome

  • and hospitality the First Lady and his family

  • has received in China.

  • The President also indicated his condolences

  • for the loss of life in the recent terrorist

  • attack in China, and also noted our determination

  • to work with the Chinese to continue to try to locate

  • the Malaysian airliner that has gone missing,

  • and expressed his sympathies to the Chinese families.

  • In terms of issues, the President reviewed

  • a number of global and bilateral

  • issues with China.

  • On climate change, the President stressed

  • a need for the United States and China to work together

  • to set a strong example in terms of reducing

  • our emissions as we head into the 2015 climate

  • negotiations; also noted the importance

  • of continuing to work together to phase

  • out HFCs, something that was committed

  • to at Sunnylands.

  • And we're working to bring other countries

  • into a global effort to phase out the use of HFCs.

  • On the situation in North Korea, the President

  • underscored the need for close coordination

  • in sending a clear message that there needs

  • to be denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and

  • that any discussions or dialogue among the six

  • parties around the situation in North Korea

  • needs to be based upon actions taken

  • by North Korea, which has not yet demonstrated

  • its willingness to come to the table seriously.

  • We've had good cooperation with China in applying

  • some pressure on North Korea,

  • but we as an international community need to continue

  • to insist that North Korea abide by its obligations.

  • On Iran, the President welcomed China's

  • leadership within the P5-plus-1,

  • where they've been a constructive partner.

  • The two leaders agreed that we have a good

  • opportunity here to reach a diplomatic resolution

  • to the Iranian nuclear issue.

  • The President reviewed a number of bilateral

  • economic issues, including our desire to continue

  • to see China move to a more flexible and market-based

  • exchange rate, expressing our concerns

  • in that regard.

  • The President also discussed a range

  • of other economic issues, including our continued interest

  • in seeing China move forward with the economic reform

  • package that President Xi has put forward,

  • the importance, for instance, of transparency

  • in Sino enterprises, and also the potential for greater

  • energy cooperation between our two countries.

  • On cybersecurity, the President once again

  • underscored the need for the U.S.

  • and China to cooperate closely on this issue.

  • He raised, again, our concerns about the theft

  • of trade secrets for commercial purposes,

  • reiterated that the United States does not engage

  • in intelligence for the purpose of gaining

  • a commercial advantage.

  • The two leaders welcomed the good progress

  • that's been made on military-to-military

  • exchanges and agreed to continue

  • to expand those exchanges.

  • On maritime security and regional security issues,

  • the President reiterated our concern over

  • the Chinese ADIZ that was recently announced.

  • He also expressed a concern over the need

  • to reduce tensions in the East and South China Sea,

  • noting that the United States is not a claimant.

  • He underscored the need for resolutions to these

  • issues based on dialogue and international law,

  • and expressed continued

  • U.S. support for that effort.

  • In that context, of course, the President

  • reiterated his support for the security of our

  • allies, Japan and the Philippines.

  • The two leaders also discussed the need to

  • cooperate on counterterrorism issues.

  • The President also raised issues related to human

  • rights and the rule of law in China, specifically

  • expressing concern over the recent

  • lack of visas to U.S.

  • media outlets like The New York Times and Bloomberg

  • and Voice of America.

  • On Ukraine, the President reiterated our interest

  • in seeing the sovereignty and territorial integrity

  • of Ukraine respected, reaching

  • a diplomatic resolution that deescalates the crisis

  • and allows for the Ukrainian people to make decisions

  • about their own future.

  • With that, we'd be happy to take your questions

  • on this or any other matters.

  • Yes, Steve.

  • The Press: Did it come up, the NSA report having

  • to do with China?

  • Did the Chinese President bring that up?

  • And, secondly, how do you interpret

  • this Russia troop buildup along the border?

  • Is that an ominous sign?

  • Do you see signs of --

  • Mr. Rhodes: Well, President Xi did raise

  • those recent reports in the context

  • of their discussion on cybersecurity.

  • What President Obama made clear to him is that,

  • again, the United States does not engage

  • in espionage to gain a commercial advantage.

  • We don't share information with our companies.

  • Both the United States and China, understandably,

  • like other countries in the world,

  • engage in intelligence activities on behalf

  • of our national security.

  • But there's a clear distinction, in our view,

  • between intelligence activities that have

  • a national security purpose versus intelligence

  • activities that have a commercial purpose.

  • And what we've tried to stress to the Chinese

  • in our cyber dialogue is that while we understand that

  • different nations are going to have approaches

  • to cybersecurity and intelligence collection,

  • that we need to cooperate in setting clear rules of

  • the road that wall off theft of tradecraft

  • related to commercial entities,

  • theft of intellectual property.

  • And so that was President Obama's message on those

  • issues generally, including

  • when those recent reports were raised.

  • With respect to the Russian troop movements,

  • we've been very concerned by the potential

  • for escalation into eastern and southern Ukraine.

  • We've monitored very closely Russian troop

  • movements along the border of Ukraine and,

  • frankly, it underscores the need for there

  • to be a de-escalation because any further steps into eastern

  • and southern Ukraine would represent

  • a very dangerous escalation of the situation.

  • At the same time, I think we've sent a clear message

  • that we are prepared to continue escalating

  • our response to Russia and imposing costs

  • for that type of activity.

  • To take one example, the executive order

  • the President signed gives us the authority

  • to sanction and designate major significant sectors

  • of the Russian economy.

  • And the message to Russia is clear:

  • They're already facing consequences.

  • They're already going to face costs.

  • Should there be any further escalation,

  • we have the ability, together with our partners here

  • in Europe and around the world,

  • to dramatically escalate those costs on Russia.

  • Jim.

  • The Press: In his interview with

  • de Volkskrant, the President was asked what

  • he would say the members of the EU with regard

  • to imposing heavy sanctions against Russia and he said,

  • "There have to be consequences.

  • And if Russia continues to escalate the situation,

  • we need to be prepared to impose a greater cost."

  • What the EU has announced has been short

  • of what the U.S. has --

  • the steps the U.S. has taken.

  • The economic sanctions are not as specific

  • as the executive order the President signed.

  • So I wonder what will we see from the G7 today

  • and the EU tomorrow that goes beyond just harsh rhetoric

  • against the Russians?

  • Mr. Rhodes: Jim, I'd say a few things.

  • First of all, the EU has moved with

  • us in a coordinated fashion and imposed

  • sanctions on Russia.

  • They've implemented visa bans, asset freezes,

  • designated individuals,

  • often in coordination with us.

  • Their lists coordinate broadly with ours,

  • for instance, in terms of the individuals

  • who we've designated.

  • They've also moved to politically isolate

  • Russia, cancelling several upcoming

  • meetings and engagements.

  • So we've had good cooperation to date.

  • And in that European Council statement,

  • they indicated clearly that there would

  • be broader for the Russian economy going

  • forward if the situation continues.

  • In terms of the meetings coming up with the G7,

  • I think what we want to send is a strong message

  • in several respects -- number one, that there will

  • be growing costs for Russia for its actions.

  • And frankly, Jim, the type of consequences

  • we'd like to see are what the President foreshadowed

  • in his executive order.

  • So we identified sectors of the Russian economy.

  • We believe that those broader sanctions have

  • the ability to send a powerful message to Russia

  • that it will face costs.

  • And so, consistent with the European Council's

  • statement that foreshadows consequences

  • for the Russian economy, I think out of that G7 meeting

  • we're looking to send a message that we're

  • not done with building out the types of sanctions

  • that we would impose upon Russia for its actions.

  • We'd also, though, I think, importantly,

  • with the G7, want to underscore our support

  • for the Ukrainian government and people,

  • our support for a very robust IMF package getting done as soon

  • as possible, and our support for individual member

  • states of the G7 and of the EU providing

  • assistance to the Ukrainians as well.

  • The Press: Is there any talk -- obviously a lot

  • of those sanctions are something

  • for the EU and in those countries.

  • Is there any talk in the conversation

  • with the Chinese President about China putting any economic

  • pressure on Russia?

  • Mr. Rhodes: They had a good

  • discussion on Ukraine.

  • Again, what the President said is China has always

  • held sovereignty and territorial integrity

  • as a core of its foreign policy and national security

  • approach and that that principle needs

  • to be applied to Ukraine, and that China's interest

  • should be in working with us to deescalate

  • the situation in a way that respects

  • Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.