tv Secretary of State Blinken Testifies Before House Foreign Affairs Committee CSPAN March 10, 2021 1:40pm-5:54pm EST
it may take a few seconds for your microphone to unmute. keep that in mind when speaking. a time keeper will monitor the time for this hearing. if you're joining virtually you can switch your personal view in the upper right corner of your screen to stage view. you can pin the timer by hovering your curser and pressing the icon. for submission of documents, please email. members must have their video on to be recognized and we ask that all participates remain muted. with that, chairman meeks, count down for five and pause for the system recognizes your video and we're ready to begin. >> three, two -- the committee on foreign affairs will come to order. without objection the chair is
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i now recognize myself for opening remarks. pursuant to the notice, we meet today to hear from secretary blinken on the biden administration's foreign policy priorities and i want to thank you, secretary blinken, for joining us this early in your tenure. i think all of us on the dais and appearing virtually appreciate this opportunity for dialogue. your testimony today will no doubt expand on this administration's foreign policies strategic policies as it views of the global landscape and how those views inform its diplomacy-forward approach. it's a chance for you to hear our views and concerns as part of the role that this committee plays in supporting successful u.s. diplomacy around the world. and i trust you appreciate that. from renewing american engagement in the world by rejoining the paris agreement,
the w.h.o., the biden administration has made one thing clear, america is once again back at the table. however, we do not return to the world as we last left it. but one where the united states must rebuild its credibility and demonstrate once more our capacity to promote democracy, the rule of law, human rights, global health and prosperity, it is through these efforts that american leadership is at its finest and under these principles that we can once again build multilateral coalitions to address our shared global challenges. america must once again demonstrate its willingness and capability to build successful coalitions that champion these fundamental values and thwart global threats. when at its best our nation has never shown reluctance to accept the moral obligation and exert u.s. leadership.
not only is that our moral obligation, it is in our own economic and national security interest to do so. whether it's covid-19 or the climate crisis, the issues of today show how interconnected we are and how interdependent we are. america alone or america only has not worked. we vitalizing the state department is not a task for the department alone. we must pass authorization legislation for the state department. equipping it with authorities and flexibilities it needs in signaling congressional intent and support on a number of state department priorities. and that's why at the very first opportunity we had in this congress to advance legislation, the committee passed a bipartisan, management-focused, state department authorization bill. but, of course, the operations of the department will be a
reflection of its personnel, and personnel is policy. i'm pleased to hear you say, quote, we're operating in a diverse world and our diversity is a unique source of strength that few countries can match. we don't have a diverse team, it's like -- if we don't have a diverse team it's like we're conducting diplomacy with one arm tied behind our back, unquote. as chair of this committee, i made addressing the lack of diversity at the state department a central focus of our work. recent data shows african-american constitute 3.8% of senior executive service members and only 3.1% on hispanic. our senior foreign service members, 3% are black, 5.9% are hispanic and 32% are women. to use your words, mr. secretary, we are conducting
diplomacy with one arm tied behind our back. the gao's 2020 report on barriers to diverse at the department of state found that minorities in the department are rewarded fewer promotions than white counterparts even when accounting for education and years served. this is throughout every stage in their career. increasing the pipeline of minorities and women into the department alone, though, is not enough. we must also ensure there is an end to bias and promotions if we are to retain a diverse workforce. these trends may have worsened over the last four years, but they did not begin in 2017. in many instances, these figures have trended downward or stayed relatively unchanged for nearly three decades. with this administration's stated priorities to rebuild our depleted state department and promote diversity, we have the opportunity to work
collaboratively in strengthening our workforce both civil and foreign service. but the changes need to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the state department will not be measured only in statistics. it must be marked by a shift in the culture, environment and attitudes at the department that have perpetuated institutionalized discrimination. disturbingly, we heard reports of some state department employees espousing white nationalist or anti-semitic views. while these views don't reflect the vast majority of the servants at the department, but even isolated instances can have a chilling effect on that student of color who is considering a career of diplomacy, or a colleague that comes from a different background from their co-workers. i look forward to your testimony today and i know talented colleagues on this committee are eager to engage with you in your
department so we can work in close collaboration to make progress on our shared objectives. i recognize my friend and ranking member of this committee, representative mccall, for his remarks. >> thank you for joining us today and for your early outreach to me as well. i look forward to working with you over the next four years. america's leadership in the world has never been more vital. let me begin with china. as a pandemic continues to rage, killing millions worldwide, the chinese communist party is using the fear and desperation created by the virus, the cover-up allow to spread and sow chaos and further their own agenda. the ccp poses a generational threat. as we speak, they are committing genocide against minorities, aggressively stealing u.s.
intellectual property, threatening taiwan, ratcheting up their military aggression in the region and preying on nations with their belts and roads initiative. the ccp wants to reengineer the. on the same day that you gave your speech last week, xi said the biggest source of chaos in the present day world is the united states. this is why -- and i know you treat him seriously -- we cannot treat them as a normal adversary. and i wish you the best of luck in your discussions with them. we're truly in an ideological struggle.
as you said in your speech, quote, china is the only country with the economic diplomatic, military and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system, and i agree with you, sir. and i stand ready to work with you and the president to confront them. let me turn to russia. while the sanctions in response to navalny's poisoning and wrongful detention were an important step if this administration wants to counter putin regime's maligned influence it must ensure the nord stream 2 peep line is never completed. if we allow this pipeline to be completed it would be a tremendous victory for vladimir putin. yet the mandatory sanctions passed with bicameral bilateral support in the last two authorization bills have not been fully implemented.
i hope you use the opportunity today to explain these sanctions and why they've not been fully implemented. there's multiple open source reports work is occurring and detailing your plan to stop the completion of this pipeline. let me turn from russia to another adversarial threat, iran. under president trump the united states applied a maximum pressure campaign against iran. president trump's crippling sanctions gave president biden and gives biden an opportunity we cannot afford to squander. unfortunately, i fear we are headed down a path where that may not happen, so i really want to strongly recommend in the strongest terms to commit that any updated deal with iran will include no sunset provisions, require any time anywhere inspections by the aiaea.
and to stop providing support to terrorist entities and finally demand iran's release of all of our hostages. above all i want to encourage you to make sure that the deal has the buy in of the american people this time around. and i believe it should be approved by the united states as a treaty. as we speak there are reports of violence against civilians in the tigre region of ethiopia. while socialist dictators destabilize our own hemisphere here. we're ten years into the civil war in syria with no clear end in sight and the taliban is killing innocent civilians and afghan security forces at unprecedented levels. all this while covid continues to cause further instability in
fragile nations, creating opportunities for terrorist organizations and other maligned entities. you certainly have many challenges that we face, but we face them together as a nation, as republicans and democrats. and i look forward to working with you and thank you for being here today. and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. mccaul. i now have the honor of introducing the 71 rs secretary of state the honorable anthony j. blinken. let me just say before i introduce him we have a vote on. so after my introduction i'm going to ask the congressman to chair the meeting so i can run to vote because it's a very significant important vote on the floor to benefit the american people, and i want to make sure that i get my vote in. but because of time i want to
make sure that we take all the time that we can that we have you available, mr. secretary, so many members have the opportunity to ask you questions, and that's the reason why we're not going to break, and i wanted to make sure i gaveled in this committee even though i read your testimony, but i would have loved to hear all of it myself, but i'm going to make that vote. so the honorable anthony j. blinken currently served as the nation's secretary of state. he served as the secretary of state, deputy national security advisor to the president and national security advisor to the vice president during the obama administration. previously he also served in government at the state department and the national security council during the clinton administration, the democratic staff director of the other body on the other side of the aisle, the senate floor relations committee. mr. secretary, you now have time to deliver your opening remarks, and without objection your
prepared written statement will be made as part of the record. >> mr. chairman, ranking member mccaul, thank you so hutch for your warm welcome. it's very, very good to be back before this committee, be back in this room and i really do appreciate the opportunity to talk today about the foreign policy goals and priorities of the biden-harris administration and some of the early work that we've done to try to achieve them. as i've said before i am committed to working with congress on the take off and not just the landing. i hope the administration's recommitment to working with you will usher in a new era of trust, cooperation, understanding between the executive and legislative branches. and i work for a president who believes deeply in it and having had the experience working in that lesser body down the street
on the foreign relations committee, it's something i feel personally myself. the biden-harris administration has setout foreign policy priorities by asking a simple question, and it's one that motivates us every single day. what will this policy mean for american workers and american families? and with that in mind we setout the following priorities. stopping covid-19 so a crisis never happens like this again. building a more stable economy that delivers security and opportunity for as many americans as possible. renewing democracy at home and abroad. because strong democracies are more stable, more open, more committed to human rights, less prone to conflict and a more dependable market for our goods and services. working to create a humane and effective immigration system because strong borders are fundamental to our national security, and welcoming immigrants is core to our
national identity. revitalizing our ties with allies and partners because these relationships really are force multipliers and a unique asset for the united states. tackling the climate crisis and driving a green energy revolution. because effectively dealing with climate change is essential to the health of our people, our economy, our security and our planet. securing our leadership in technology because it's critical to thriving in the global economy and because we need to strengthen our defenses against bad actors and managing our relationship with china. the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century. with those priorities in mind here are some of the actions we've taken in the first 50 days of this administration. on covid-19 we reengaged the world health organization and contribute an additional $2 billion to covax on the global vaccine initiative. on climate we rejoined the paris agreement and announced a
climate leader summit which will be held on earth day, april 22nd. we held the first ministerial meeting of the dialogue between us, japan, australia and india and we'll hold a leader summit this week on friday. we halted any planned troop withdrawals from germany pending a review led by the pentagon. and i took my first virtual trip as secretary to canada and mexico. we rescinded the zero-tolerance executive order and sent the u.s. citizenship act of 2021 to the hill to modernize our immigration system. on refugees and asylum policies we rescinded harmful executive orders on refugee resettlement and announced a new target of 125,000 people for fiscal year 2022. we suspended the asylum cooperative agreements with the
governments of el salvador, honduras and guatemala and granted temporary protective status to venezuelans already in the united states. we joined the u.n. human rights council as an observer. we released the khashoggi report and announced the khashoggi ban to stop people who engaged in serious extra territorial counter dissident activities on behalf of a foreign government from entering our country. we imposed russian sanctions on alexi navalny's poisoning. on public health we rescinded the mexico city policy prioritizing sexual and reproductive health incluzing funding for the population. we relaunched diplomacy to bring iran back into compliance with
the jcpoa. we extended the sale of offensive weapons to saudi arabia and a special envoy to lead diplomatic efforts in yemen. and we boosted diplomatic efforts in afghanistan ahead of the may 1st deadline. and on strengthening the state department we've invested in diversity and inclusion, have a diplomatic work force that reflects the diversity of our country. we're focused on accountability and transparency, and we will modernize and rebuild so our team around the world has the tools and the support they need to get the job done. so as you can see many of these steps map directly onto our core priorities. we can draw a line from each one of them and draw a line further to the security, prosperity and well-being of our fellow
citizens. the president has made it clear we will lead with diplomacy because it's the best way to deal with today's challenges. above all, we're determined to hold ourselves accountable to a single overarching measure of success. are we delivering results for the american people? that's our mission, oats our opportunity. we'll try to do our best to make the most of it. thank you very much. very glad to be here, and i look forward to getting your questions. >> thank you so much, mr. secretary. it is wonderful and refreshing to have you here before us today. i will now recognize members for five minutes each. and pursuant to house rules all-time yielded is for the purpose of questioning our witnesses. i'll recognize members by committee seniority alternating between democrats and republicans. if you seek recognition you must unmute your microphone and address the chair verbally and identify yourselves so that we know who is speaking. i'll start by recognizing
representative sherman of california. >> thank you. mr. secretary, welcome back. it's almost five years since you were here before. i hope you come back soon. hopefully in a matter of weeks so that all members of this committee will have a chance to have five minutes with you. i know that you have a hard stop that may prevent some of our colleagues from being able to address questions. i have a lot of comments to make that i hope you or your staff can respond to for the record. and then to shock my colleagues i'll actually have a real question. thank you for focusing on the worldwide effects of covid. you should know that a number of the research projects designed to speed the production of vaccine or conservative it so that less can be used for each inoculation, a lot of that research isn't being done by people who say, well, it won't give us any results until may and by then americans will all
be vaccinated. i'd hope your department would push those studies that would be helpful for the entire world get out of this pandemic. the russian state has not been effectively sanctioned for its interference in our elections, the mass hack and working with the taliban to kill our troops. one way that you can do that that the last administration actually did to a tiny and very flawed way is to use the chemical weapons statute to prevent americans from investing in debt issued by the russian government or its state owned companies. that should increase their cost of borrowing by about half a point. that would be a real sanction. and certainly they've earned it. i hope you'll do what you can to turn down the temperature in the south china sea. we don't need our naval vessels always 13 miles off the chinese coast. i don't want to see their vessels 13 miles off the los
angeles coast. i want to applaud the biden administration for the paper you issued on refugees especially the fact that it includes the lottenburg amendment which is so important for christians, jews to at least demonstrate what we already know and that is they face incredible persecution by the iranian government. as the co chair by the indian caucus and i'm sure joined by the cochair i'm preezed president biden will be participating in the quadsummit just this friday with the heads of state of india, australia and japan. i hope that you'll work with to free all the captives from the recent armenia azerbaijan war, and i hope your staff would clarify the comments that seem to applaud the success of the military aggression.
i hope you'll work to cajole turkey back to some semblance of democracy and freeing of political prisoners, that you'll look at the disappearances and extra judicial killings in pakistan and even before we've been able to rejoin the human rights council, i've got to applaud you for appearing before that council and talking about the lack of accountability for past atrocities in sri lanka. i hope you'll see whatever congressional change you need, and i don't think you need one, to reprogram the $134 million that we appropriated to the government of burma myanmar. clearly that needs to be changed especially not just for democracy but for the rohingya. now believe it or not a question. we're not in compliance with the jcpoa. iran isn't in compliance with
the jcpoa. the iranian position is that we should make concessions to them just to get a meeting. it's my understanding our position is that we should come into compliance only as they or after they come into compliance with the nuclear safeguards. can you assure us we're not going to make concessions just to get a meeting? >> i can. >> that's a very good answer. and do we expect that before we give them sanctions relief that they will verifiably either be in full compliance with the jcpoa or be on a negotiated path toward full compliance? >> yes. >> those are such spectacular answers i'm going to shock my colleagues and yield back.
>> anyone who would like to ask a question or make a comment would be able to do so. so i'll stay as long. >> thank you for that, mr. secretary. i now yield five minutes to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, we have limited time. i'm just going to get right into it. i'm going to start with the crisis at the border. recently the biden administration canceled asylum cooperation agreements and remain in mexico. since that time we've seen a massive surge of migrants crossing and causing a crisis at our southern border. why did the president rescind these agreements that were supported by our neighbors to the south? >> thank you. as a gentle matter i really want to defer to my colleague at dhs to deal with questions on immigration. i would just say with regard to
those agreements only one of them was actually in effect with guatemala. you're correct that all three were rescinded. but the president is determined that we have a safe, orderly and humane border. there's a lot of work that goes into making it such. it's going to take time to do that, and we very much look forward to working with congress to try to achieve that, to have a rational asylum process, to have a refugee program that works once again to the best traditions of our country. and to make sure, again, that the border is safe, it is orderly but it is also humane. but as i said this takes time to do. in the meantime wave also been very clear in saying to people do not come to the united states. now do not attempt regular migration. you will not -- >> the messaging has been a little mixed, and i think it appears to be, you know, we're
open. and i've been -- i live in a border state. i was a federal prosecutor. when you send that message down there, they're going to come. and they are coming. and it's causing -- it has created a humanitarian crisis down there. we have so many children we can't even detain right now. let me move onto nord stream 2. i recently sent you a letter requesting additional sanctions on the 15 entities reportedly working on the nord stream 2 pipeline. as you know these sanctions are mandatory. and they're about 90% ready to complete this project. will you commit to submitting new sanctions on these 15 additional entities as soon as possible? >> so on nord stream 2 a couple things at the outset just to be very, very clear. president biden thinks it's a bad idea. he said so repeatedly. i share his view. it violates the european union's own security principles. it jeopardizes the economic and strategic situation for ukraine,
for poland as awell so he opposes it, we'll continue to do so. i've been on the job i think five weeks. the pipeline is 95% complete. it started -- construction started in 2018, so i wish we didn't find ourselves in a situation with a pipeline that's virtually complete. >> i agree. and i think sanctioning these 15 entities would be great. on iran negotiation is always best from a position of strength. you know that as a diplomat. president trump imposed a maximum pressure campaign i believe gives us leverage as you go into these discussions. sir, will you commit to me and to this committee that you will formally consult with us before lifting any sanctions on iran? >> yeah, we're determined to consult on the take off, not on the landing across the board. but, yes, particularly when it comes to iran. if there is any movement on this -- and thus far there hasn't been -- yes, we will do
so. and by the way, not just -- congress is the first stop but also allies, partners including allies and partners in the region who have their own concerns and own interests at stake. >> well, i think you have the leverage and i wouldn't let up on it. i don't trust the ayatollah. i don't know how you can possibly negotiate with the ayatollah. i commend you for trying to as we also try to negotiate with the taliban. i think these are the two most difficult, you know, organizations to negotiate with. and so i wish you the best on that effort. it's a big challenge as you know. on china, you testified yourself that genocide is occurring in china, and i agree with you and so does congress and so did the previous administration. we've labeled it genocide, put sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for these crimes against humanity. what additional steps are you prepared to take to stop this
genocide? >> a number of things. and i share -- i share that view. i share the deep concern about it. i think there are a number of things that we can do, should do and will do. first of all, it's important to speak up and speak out. and to make sure that other countries are doing the same thing. the more china hears not just ours but around the world we'll get some changes. we have a number of steps we have taken for sanctions, visa restrictions, et cetera. i think it would be very important if china claims that there's nothing going on, that it give access to the international community, to the united nations. if they have nothing to hide, show it to us, show the world. so we'll be calling for that.
and then i think there's a series of practical things very, very important. for example, we should ensure we're not exporting and others are not exporting to china products that can be used for repression of their people and minorities. similarly we shouldn't be bringing into this country products created by forced labor. so those are some of the practical things that we can and should do. but for sure we're going to start by speaking out forcefully on this. >> thank you, sir. >> i now recognize myself for five minutes. speaking of china, i understand there was some breaking news that you and the national security advisor will be conducting an in-person meeting with the chinese next week. can you tell us what you expect to be the agenda for those meetings and what you hope to
have as an outcome of your engagement with the chinese? >> thank you, mr. chairman ach as i mentioned earlier i'm heading off with secretary of defense lloyd austin to visit two of our important allies, japan and south korea. we leave on sunday and we'll spend the balance of the week there. on the way back i'm stopping off in alaska. the national security advisor jake sullivan will come out as well and we plan to meet with the director and state council following that trip. pretty simple. this is an important opportunity for us to lay out in very frank terms the many concerns we have with beijing's actions and behavior that are challenging the security, the prosperity and the values of the united states and our partners and allies. so we intend to raise and we will raise a host of issues some of which have already been touched on today that concern us. we'll also explore whether there
are avenues for cooperation, and we'll talk about the competition that we have in china, with china to make sure that the united states has a level playing field and that our companies and workers benefit from that. this is not a strategic dialogue. there's no intent at this point for a series of follow-on engagements. those engagements if they are to follow really have to be based on the proposition that we're seeing tangible progress and tangible outcomes on the issue of concern to us with china. but this is an opportunity for us to put on the table. >> let me just ask you another quick question in the limited time. you heard my opening statement and i'm very concerned about diversity at the state department. so i don't know whether you've done a review yet or not, but i'd like to ask you whether you
contribute the disparity and how do you plan to address what many may call the discrimination at the state department? >> mr. chairman, i share that concern. and i've said this on several occasions, i will consider it a mark of my success or not during my tenure as secretary whether we've been able to put in place a much more sustainable foundation for advancing true diversity at the state department to make sure that we have a foreign service and foreign policy work force that looks like the country it represents. and so to your point, we will be appointing very soon the first chief diversity officer and inclusion officer at the department. that person will report directly to the secretary of state, but beyond that there is a significant sustained effort that has to take place not just on recruitment although that's vitally important, but also on retention to make sure that ones people come through the door and are working there. they feel welcome, they feel included. they're contributing because if
they don't, they won't stay and there has to be accountability starting with the secretary of state. so we're going to have transparency in what we're doing including making available to congress the different numbers and assessments of our efforts. one other quick thing on this. as you know very well, this effort has to start well before anyone gets through the doors at c street. we have to be able to have in the pipeline at least the people taking careers in foreign policy and national security at the state department, we have to be able to open peoples imaginations and open their minds to the prospect this would be a wonderful thing to do and a wonderful pursuit to which to dedicate their lives. and that means engaging in high schools, in colleges across the board. i think you're going to see the state department at all levels spending time in our own country to open peoples minds to that prospect and then finding ways to support them as they choose to make a career. >> let me thank you for that and
i'm also trying to make sure i'm delighted to have you in. and as you may know there's been some in the past -- i don't want to focus on the past. we've got an oversight responsibility here on this committee. and so to do that correctly we need to have a constructive relationship with the department as congress fulfills its constitutional mandated oversight. so my question is will you commit to have your staff make sure that congress has the information it needs to help restore american diplomacy? >> yes. >> thank you. and lastly, let me just ask you a quick question in regards to afghanistan because we know that ending the war in afghanistan responsibly remains a key priority for many members of congress and our constituents. so can you quickly explain to us the updated proposal and any feedback you have receive from the afghan government and the taliban on this proposal? >> the president's goal is very clear. it's to end the conflict, bring our troops home and to ensure
that afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorism and an ongoing threat to the united states. we're engaged in a diplomatic effort right now to try to drive the two parties to negotiate and to move forward on commitments that the taliban made to the united states a year ago to negotiate meaningfully on a peaceful future for afghanistan. not only are we doing that, as important we're enlisting other countries, the united nations in that effort. many of afghanistan's neighbors have a real stake in its future and influence with the parties. so that diplomatic effect is ongoing. meanwhile we're reviewing our own troop posture including the may 1st deadline. we haven't made any decisions yet about that, and we want to see where this effort goes to actually get the parties to engage in a meaningful way. the taliban made other
commitments when it comes to reducing violence, when it comes to not harboring and supporting terrorists we want to make good on those obligations. >> let me just say i gave myself and mr. mccaul a little extra time. for the rest of the members i want you to know i'm going to be very strict on the five minute rule. the secretary has graciously said he'll stay long enough as he can. so i'll ask whatever you have questions and answers within five minutes so we can get as many members if not every member an opportunity to ask a question. i now recognize the gentleman from new jersey and the ranking member on the subcommittee of africa on global health and global human rights representative chris smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. i've been deeply concerned about chinese communist parties pervasive human rights abuses. in addition to several fact
finding trips including to a concentration camp, i've chaired over 75 congressional hearings focused exclusively on ccp violations including purseication, torture, forced abortion, organ harvesting, online censorship, the jailing of journalists and bloggers and now genocide. your predecessor, secretary pompeo, concluded that the persecution of the huegers constituted genocide. the president gave a response and said, quote, culturally there are different norms that each country are expected to follow, closed quote. an answer that was eerily remsent of president obama's cultural norm defense of -- which was widely criticized by human rights defenders everywhere including an
editorural by "the washington post" called president obama makes -- look good on rights. you did say again today, you said in your senate testimony how you believe china was committing genocide. and ned price at state was asked whether it was ongoing and i do believe you think it's ongoing and hope you would comment on that and whether or not a real cost for these crimes, these horrific crimes would be imposed. will you retain the entities list, for example? we have legislation that's pending that would make it a presumption against any product coming out that it shouldn't come here because we can't determine whether or not its origin was by forced labor. in like matter you ought to have hong kong pass the human rights and democracy act. will you impose a serious cost on xi jinping and others for destroying hong kong's democracy, jailing great leaders like joshua wong and conducting farcical show trials against some of the greatest human
rights defenders on earth like martin lee? finally mr. secretary, in 1984 i've offered the first of several amendments i've offered in many decades to condition population control funds away from organizations that support or comanage coercive population programs. now as you have said today and as we know from the executive order by the president, there was an order designed to resume foreign aid to organizations like u.n. population fund have been found repeatedly to be violations of the noncoercion policy. and especially concerned president biden voted against a resolution in 2000 simply criticizing china's barbaric one child per couple policy. and he told students in china that he was empathetic and fully understood and wouldn't be second guessing that cruel policy that crushes women.
also because of china's limitation policy tens of millions of girls are missing, dead simply because being a girl or female. i would hope he would stand with the oppressed. i have had hearings here with women who have been forcibly aborted. and they tell their stories and it's unbelievably horrible that legacy and trauma carries through for the rest of their lives. we should be standing for the oppressed against the oppressor. yield. >> thank you. i appreciate everything you've said. we are determined to put human rights and democracy back at the center of our foreign policy to make sure as well we have the tools we need to be most effective in advancing human
rights and democracy. some of things i'm thankful for are the tools congress has given us to do that which has been usually helpful in these efforts. but other others, sanction authorities and so onto penalize those directly responsible for committing human rights abuses and other atrocities. as i was saying earlier i think we have to start from the proposition that the most important first step is for us to speak up and speak out. and we are and we will and we also want to make sure that we're building coalitions of like bodied countries who share these deep concerns about human rights abuses in china or for that matter anywhere else. but then to your point to actually take action and apply the tools that we have, see if we can make a meaningful difference -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> working with you to find ways to do it more effectively.
>> i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee of the western hemisphere, civilian security, migration and economic policy of new jersey for five minutes. >> thank you for testifying today and congratulations. as chairman of the western embassy subcommittee i look forward to working with you and your staff to deepen united states engagement in latin america and the caribbean. as you know u.s. policy towards cuba is deeply personal to me. i have first-hand experience of what it is to live under the castro dictatorship. i came to this country when i was 11 years old. i still have memories of the military coming through, searching my house, accusing my father of hoarding merchandise. i have all these memories and i have made it my priority when i came to congress to promote democracy and human rights, all of them. but i've been encouraged by the
statement that president biden and white house officials have made regarding the need to put democracy and human recognizes at the center of our policy towards cuba. and as secretary i was wondering what steps could you take to promote political rights, civil liberties and any attack on human rights defenders in cuba. >> i think across the board we share the same goals when it comes to cuba and that is democracy and freedom for its people. i have particular respect for the views and the experiences of our fellow citizens who are cuban american. because you not only know it, you've lived it. your families have lived it. so this is something that resonates with me. we're looking at the entire policy right now, and we haven't come to any conclusions. i think knowing what the goals
are, freedom and democracy of the people of cuba, i think we also start with the recognition that obviously no policy in the past of whatever stripe has fully succeeded in achieving that. so we're going to be reviewing the policy and we want to do it in close consultation with congress and particularly with members who know the issues so well. as you've seen there have been no early policy changes, and certainly we are not going to make any changes without fully consulting, so i look forward to the opportunity to do that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. you know, on january 1st congresswoman norma torres and i sent a letter to president biden to prioritize the corruption and the protection of human rights especially central america. i assume that we're also applying the same democracy and human rights to the region in central america.
>> yes, very much so. >> venezuela obviously is going to come up. i had a hearing on venezuela the other day. i was very happy to see that the president designated the pts to the venezuelans, about 320,000 of them here in this country. i think that's the right step. they have suffered greatly. my concern for venezuela is russia seems to be more and more engaged with venezuela. and i think they're -- well, i don't think. i know they're trying to destabilize the region. can i spoke to the ambassador of columbia. in 2019 russia had 6,000 people go through columbia, and they expelled three russians. now, for russia columbia is not exactly a beach destination. so my concern is that they're
using venezuela to destabilize columbia, to get involved in other elections in south america. and i would hope that the administration would focus on russia's efforts to try to destabilize our neighbors in the western hemisphere. >> i share that concern, and we see that in venezuela. we've seen i think a resurgence of russian presence and activity in cuba the last few years. and we're very attentive to that across the board. to the point you made a minute ago, too, i should come back to say i think your emphasis on both spotlighting and combating corruption is absolutely essential, and this is something we're going to dedicate both more focus, more time and more resources to because we see it as both unfortunately prevalent in so many places but also, a little bit of an achilles' heel when we can put the spotlight on
it because when people see the corruption of their leaders, that's a good way to undermine support for said leaders. >> thank you very much. gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize the ranking member on the subcommittee of asia, central asia and nonproliferation for ohio for five minutes. >> mr. secretary, you touch on the border with mr. mccaul, but it's such an important issue i'd like to follow up on it. now, obviously border security is principly within the purview of the department of homeland security, but there's clearly a foreign affairs aspect to the relationship between the united states and mexico and the united states and central america. and you're here. and what's happening now at our southern border is in my view a national disgrace. now, it always makes sense to me that one answer to stemming the tide of the mass humanity fleeing places like honduras and
guatemala and el salvador and mexico was to help those countries improve the conditions there, fight the drug gangs that control neighborhoods and prey on people, reduce rampant governmental corruption. you and i probably agree on those things and i know by the nodding of your head that we do. this administration, unfortunately, policies towards our southern border since taking office a mere seven weeks ago has in my view been feckless, incompetent. the biden administration has a real mess on its hands and a mess of its own making. this administration has essentially signaled to the world come on in, our border's open, you can stay, and they're coming. unaccompanied minors, way up. single males, way up. many with covid. and it's getting worse. former detention centers are now called reception centers. the previous administration was
criticized for allegedly holding kids in cages. those photos of course turned out to be photos that had been taken during the obama-biden administration but i argue the administration you're part of is doing worse. now, the previous administration as mr. mccaul had mentioned had skillfully reached agreements with mexico and other countries to keep their migrants there, not here pending a resolution of their immigration matters as a result illegal immigration into this country and the accompanying stress on american taxpayers had much improved. now this administration has brought back catch and release. you're letting people into the u.s. and wait here for their hearings even though you know that the vast majority of them are going to disappear into the interior of the u.s. and never show up for their hearings. but this border crisis is real, and it's getting worse.
don't the american people deserve better than this? >> so i would disagree with some of the factual predicates of your statement. but having said that, a couple of things. you're right, of course, this is also a foreign policy challenge for the united states, could not agree more. and in the early going we've had intensive engagement with all the countries in the northern triangle. i've spoken to all my counter parts and of course with mexico where president obama -- excuse me, president biden has had a virtual visit, virtual summit meeting. we had a similar engagement with my counterpart and other members of the government. we're working very closely with mexico on what is a common challenge including securing its own southern border, working to give people incentives and also to stay in place and not come to the united states.
we very much agree and i welcome the opportunity, we have to deal with the drivers of migration, to your point. and i think there is real opportunity there to do that, when president biden was vice president as you might remember he led an effort, very successful effort, a bipartisan effort with congress to secure significantly more resources to help guatemala, honduras and el salvador to deal with some of these drivers whether it came to security, whether it came to corruption, whether it came to economic opportunity. and we did this in a way that was not simply throwing money at the problem but demanding concrete reforms from these countries that actually materially improved the situation for people there and took away some of the incentives for them to come to united states. we now have a proposal for additional resources over four years to do that and do that in a potentially effective way so
we can take some of those drivers away. so i really welcome an opportunity to talk about that, work on that and hopefully get support from congress. >> thank you, i'm almost out of time but i look forward to working with you. and there's a lot things we can work together on. and look forward to doing that. >> gentleman yields back. i now represent president of the nato parliamentary assembly for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for that title. it's so nice to welcome you here, secretary blinken. and let me just clear one thing up, though, in your very courteous answer to my good friend from ohio, surely the absence of your contradicting the idea that there's a crisis on the border should not be construed as your consenting to the fact there's a crisis at the
border. is there a crisis at the border? >> we have at the border a lot of work to do to make sure it is safe, orderly and humane. we're engaged in doing that work. >> but mr. secretary, the clear narrative that my friends on the other side of the aisle are trying to create is that all these times president biden took office has a crisis occurred on the border because of i don't know unwillingness to really deal with the real problem. and i'm dwifbing you an opportunity to clarify your opinion on that. i for one don't acinformation that suddenly a crisis materialized overnight on january 20th or 21st, but you're the secretary of state. >> i share that view. and i disagree with some of the factual predicates of his question and what i'm focused on is trying to make sure from my vantage point and the responsibilities i have we're working as effectively as we can with mexico, with countries of northern triangle to deal with
this problem together because if we don't, we won't. >> right. and it's one thing to acknowledge there are problems. there have been problems for the long time at the border but quite another to manufacture a crisis for partisan political gain, not that my friend would ever do that. but some might. let me ask you in the limited time i have wearing that nato hat, you know, in talking to nato allies from 30 countries and associated countries at least at the parliamentary level, frankly enormous relief that there's a new administration in a town that recognizes the importance of the transatlantic alliance and certainly the president as well as you in your hearing have acknowledged that two things. how concretely can we move to try to reassure allies that we value the alliance and will absolutely commit to it? and secondly, what do we do
about democratic resilience within the alliance? we see backsliding, and there are a number of us who believe we actually have to have, you know, structures within nato that advocate for those values we call democracy, mr. secretary. >> i very much share that view, and first we have in president biden as you know someone who believes strongly in nato, in the alliance, the most successful alliance in history and something that he sees as the glue that joins us to europe. and this is something as you know he spent a lot of time on in the past and he's doing so now as well. i've been working the phones in the absence of being able to travel although that's about to change. and i've engaged with virtually all of our nato partners or certainly many of them and have heard the same thing that you're hearing, a thirst and desire for
the united states to be reengaged, and we are. i think you're exactly right, though, that we're seeing, unfortunately -- more than unfortunately, tragically in some cases, democratic backsliding not just in europe but indeed in many places around the world. freedom house put out its annual report that continues to show we're now on a basically 15-year democratic recession around the world. and the president believes very, very strongly that, one, we have to make sure we're getting our own democratic house in order if we're going to lead by the power of example. but, to, we need to work with other democratic countries to strengthen their resilience. the president has talked about this and we're working through it now. we will convene a summit of democracies probably toward the end of the year to bring together the democratic community to look both at the challenges that we're each
facing at home and to see if we can learn some lessons from each other because even though they're detinct and different there are some common denominators but second to look at what the agenda should be from challenges coming from the outside. but i would just say one thing in addition to this because i really think it's important for a common responsibility for all of us. when we see democracy being challenged by china or by russia, one of the things that they're trying to do constantly is not just to divide us from other democracy but of course to divide us from ourselves and in particular to try to make the case that the system that we all believe in and are dedicating our lives to professionally doesn't work and that their systems are better. we can demonstrate together that democracy actually delivers for
our people and for other democracies. that is the single best answer and response to this effort by autocratic countries around the world to try to make the case that democracy doesn't deliver and autocracy does. so i hope we can work on that together because that's the path to success. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize the ranking member on the subcommittee of the middle east, representative joe wilson of south carolina for five minutes. thank you, mr. chairman. and mr. secretary, thank you for being here today. the international criminal court has taken actions leading to unjustified prosecution of american and israeli nationalists despite neither country being a member of the court. most recently the icc issued a ruling that had jurisdiction to china israelis for alleged war crimes in palestine. i appreciate your statement opposing the recent moves by the icc. what are the steps the state department are taking to counter these recent actions, and how
will you work to prevent icc prosecutions of americans or israelis? >> thank you for the question. i appreciate it. look, we of course share the goal, the broad goal of accountability for international atrocity crimes. that's not the issue. in the case that you raise as well as the attempt to assert jurisdiction over american troops in afghanistan, we have strongly opposed those assertions of jurisdiction. it's been our view, it remains our view that jurisdiction is reserved when a state consents to it or if there's a referral by the united nations security council. neither is true in the case of israel and the palestinian matter that you just mentioned, nor is it true in the case of afghanistan. we have the capacity ourselves to provide accountability when those issues arise. and so we will continue to make clear our opposition. i think the question for us --
and it's an appropriate one -- is how can we most effectively do that, and that's something we're looking at right now. i think we -- we've spoken out, we've been clear and we'll see going forward how we can most effectively engage the icc to avoid these assertions of jurisdiction when they're not warranted. >> well, thank you very much on behalf of my constituents. also my youngest son served in afghanistan so i identify what they could mean to the american people. additionally in the past several months we've truly seen historic efforts being made with israel's relationship with their arab neighbors. they've joined in establishing or moving toward full diplomatic relations with israel, paving the way for peace through recognition and engagement rather than isolation or boycotts of israel. how do you plan on strengthening
the betting relationships between israel and uae and are you going to encourage other arab and muslim nations to make peace with israel? >> the short answer to the second part of the question is, yes, absolutely. and let me just say we aploud the steps that have been taken by a number of countries including the arab emirates. these are very important, and we want to build on them. >> that's terrific because it's a dream come true to see the level of stability in middle east that many of us thought could never occur. unfortunately, then we go to nord stream 2, and that is do you agree the nord stream 2 pipeline is a russian maligned influence project if complete that would threaten european and u.s. security? >> yes as i think we were discussing a bit earlier the president opposes nord stream 2.
he's been clear about this for some time. so have i and unfortunately the pipeline as you know is 95% complete, but we are making clear that we stand against its completion. we issued an initial report and sanctioned the leading pipe laying ship, and we continue to review other possibilities for sanctions going forward. >> i appreciate you actually referenced the threat to poland. what about a threat already with the aggression in ukraine. >> there are two and this is something that i worked on a lot when i was last in the obama-biden administration. we strongly stand against russia's attempted annexation of crimea, we stand strongly against its aggression in eastern ukraine, and we're strongly in support of eastern ukraine. we intend to strengthen that support whether it's security, economic or its efforts to
strengthen its own democracy, which are vitally important because one of the challenges as you know for ukraine is it has to face aggression from the outside, from russia. but it also has to deal on the inside with its own challenges including the problem of corruption. we're determined to work on all of that. >> another alternative would be azerbaijan to bulgaria, the black sea with pipelines, and i urge you to make every effort on that. i yield back. >> gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on the middle east, north africa and global counter terrorism, a representative from florida. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. it's a pleasure to wellium you to the committee today. i want to first thank you for your statement yesterday on the 14th anniversary of the disappearance of my constituent bob levinson. bob deserves his final resting place to be here in this country that he loved so much with his beloved and recollect raable family.
i'm also appreciative of your commitment to implementing the robert levine hostage recovery and hostage accountability act. there's at least 45 publicly known cases of americans being held around the world. they deserve the full attention of our government and as we deal with iran, the return of americans must be at the top of the list. now, on iran you've been clear and were today with mr. sherman in your commitment to not get back into the jcpoa without iranian compliance. you've also talked about the need to work with our allies to address making the deal stronger and longer, address some of the rapidly approaching snets and tighten the inspections. there are some people who think we should get back into the jcpoa immediately. you are not one of them.
there are also some who believe we have to address nuclear and nonnuclear right at the start before returning to the deal. you've committed to building on the nuclear agreement to address the nonnuclear issues. we've got to find a path forward that forward that can achieve all of our shared goals. you offered to sit down with iran as we talked about earlier, and they said no, and proceeded using centrifuges. the question is, can you lay out some thoughts on how to go forward given iran's refusal to engage? what do we do to build upon the jcpoa, lengthen and strengthen it and address these other nonnuclear issues? >> thank you very much. first, if i could on the question of hostages because this is something i know you feel very strongly and something i feel very strongly too, and it is a priority for me to do everything i possibly can to bring home every american who is being held hostage or is otherwise being illegally detained in a foreign country,
wherever that is. >> thank you. >> and one of the first things that i did i think on my first week on the job was to meet virtually with almost all of the families who have loved ones who are being illegally detained or held hostage abroad. as you noted, i had a chance to spend some time with the levinson family this week, and the canadians have launched an initiative which i think we should work together to build on, and that is to bring countries together to stand against the arbitrary detention of people for political purposes around the world. i would hope that over time more and more countries will sign onto that proposition, and we will isolate the countries that continue to engage in these practices. with regard to the -- to the jcpoa, let me just say quickly a couple of things. first we have to deal with -- wl
world as it is now, and the world is it is now is this. whatever one's views of the agreement and my own views are clear, but i know others disagree, but on its own terms, in terms of putting iran's nuclear program in a box and cutting off its pathways to producing material for a nuclear weapon on short order, it was succeeding. the intelligence community said so. the international inspector said so, and when we pulled out of the agreement, the iranians then of course, have a vote in this too, and have started to lift the constraints that were imposed on them by the agreement. as a result, we're now in a place where under the agreement, the so-called breakout time, the amount of time it would take them to produce the material for one weapon, it had been pushed past a year. now according to public reports, it's three to four months and potentially getting shorter and shorter as, and if they continue to take steps, to turn on aspects of their program that the jcpoa turned off. so i think we have an interest
in getting iran back into that nuclear box because think of it this way. we have fundamental problems with iran's actions across a whole series of things. whether it is support for terrorism, whether it's a ballistic missile program that's increasingly dangerous, whether it's destabilizing actions throughout the region on iran or with the threshold to have a weapon, it's likely to act with even greater impunity when it comes to those things. so we have a real incentive to do that. so we've -- we've been clear that the best, most sustainable way to do that is through tough-minded diplomacy. we've made clear we're prepared to reengage in that diplomacy. there was an invitation from the european union to all parties, including iran and the united states, and talking about if there was a way to iran meeting itsobligations.
we said we would attend, and iran has said no. the ball is in their court. >> the gentleman's time has expired, and i now recognize the representative from pennsylvania for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and secretary, congratulations on your confirmation. it's good to see you here. when you were having a discussion with the ranking member about china, my questions will center on china about the genocide occurring there. i think you did say it, and i don't want to put words in your mouth, but speaking out forcefully would be part of the answer. is that correct? >> that is correct, yes. >> regarding the genocide in china, would you say that it simply reflects a difference in cultural norms between our country and their country? is that a proper characterization or not a proper characterization? >> i would say it -- what it reflects is an egregious violation of human rights. >> so -- so it's more than just cultural norms of a country?
>> i think we have been clear and i have been clear that i see it as genocide. other egregious abuses of human rights, and we'll continue to make that clear. >> and i would think that simply characterizing it as a difference in cultural norms would not be -- would you consider that forceful, speaking out forcefully? i'm just trying to use your terminology here. >> yeah, and i would say we have, and we will continue to speak out forcefully, and shine a light on these egregious violations of human rights. >> i understand. in 2013, emma riley, a lawyer in the u.n. office of high commissioner for human rights began to raise concerns that the office was floating the names to beijing. according to miss riley, the lives of these individuals were
put in jeopardy. one died in prison. more than seven years later, the u.n. has failed to address this whistle-blower case. do you believe -- well, given the implications of the claim, do you believe that the allegations deserve to be fully and impartially investigated? >> so i'm not aware of the case, but based on your description of it, the short answer is yes. >> so you're unaware. you've never heard about this at all? >> i don't recall hearing about that particular case, but based on your description, i would share your serious concern about it. >> because if it is true, then it would implicate the ohchr's complicity in genocide, if that is the case. if that's the case. if there is an investigation. even if there is not an investigation, but if that is the case, and given the severity of the allegations, would the biden administration be willing to hold off on rejoining the council based on that?
>> when it comes to the council, we obviously have significant concerns about its -- its actions, particularly for example, its bias against israel and its repeated efforts to hold israel to a standard that it does not hold other countries to. that's a problem that needs to be corrected. similarly, we have had real concerns with the council in terms of its membership. we have had some of the worst human rights violators that find their way onto the council. that's also a problem. it's our view in terms of reforming the council and making sure it's doing the right thing and focusing on what it's supposed to be focusing on, we're better at the table than outside the room. we have been able to get some changes, including shifting its focus away from one-sided, you know, efforts against israel. similarly and interestingly to your point, the council actually has done arguably a better job than some other institutions in putting a spotlight on china and
its human rights abuses. so i think there's something to -- important to work with there, and the basic proposition is when we're in the room, we have a much better chance of making sure it's doing what it's supposed to. >> if we are going to be in the room, i would hope that you urge there is a full investigation and appropriate action taken if they are indeed taken with the genocide in china. >> i would be happy to follow up with that. >> thank you. i would appreciate that. knowing that you're looking forward to a meeting very soon with the principals regarding china, are you prepared? are you preparing anything with the climate change? >> no. >> no concessions with the communist chinese party? >> no concessions with china or any other party. we're advancing the interests and the values of the united states, and we have to make the best judgment we can about how to do that, but certainly when it comes to china as we've
discussed, and i've had opportunity to discuss in the few short weeks that i have been on the job, we see this, and i see this as, in many ways, the most consequential relationship that we have in the world, and china uniquely has an ability militarily, diplomatically, economically, to undermine the international rules-based system that the united states has devoted so much effort to building, and that does advance the interest and the values of our people. we're going to be making very clear to our counterparts in china the deep concerns, objections that we have to some of the things that they're doing, and to see if they will address those concerns. >> thank you. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on africa, and global health and human rights. >> thank you very much, and thank you mr. chair, ranking member and mr. secretary.
i really appreciate you coming here today, and your openness to engage with us in a dialogue. so i hope to get through three quick questions, and one is concerning covid. very excited that we're finally getting a handle on it in our country, but we know we have the obligation worldwide. we're already dealing with the mutation from south africa, and so my question to you is, is that how is the department of state working with the administration and other agencies to enhance access to the vaccine globally, and what role can the state department take in terms of pulling back technology? that's my first question. i've got a few others. >> good. as you know, one of the first steps that we took was to join covax, the international vaccine con sortion, and more than that, we have dedicated resources from congress made available with more to come depending on whether other countries also step up, but beyond that, we are
looking across the board at ways that we can really lean in to facilitate access to vaccines around the world because to your point, and i think we all know this. we are never going to be fully safe. >> right. >> here in the united states, until the vast majority of the world is vaccinated because as long as that virus is replicating somewhere, it could be mutating, and if it's mutating, it could come back to bite us. so this is not simply the right thing to do. it's the necessary thing to do in terms of our national security, and we're looking at ways to advance that effort. >> i would love to see us play the same leadership role that we played around ebola. ebola could have gone much further. switching reels to mali, in august, 2020, the government was accused of a military coup. the security situation both inside mali, and the wider region remains extremely unstable.
so to prevent the security situation from deteriorating further, do you think it's important to remain peacekeepers in the mandate runs up in june around the security council. >> in short, yes. we would benefit from us being able to have a chance to talk and figure out the best way forward. it's a challenging situation, but the short answer is yes. >> great. my next question is what role do you see the u.s. playing in assisting in the negotiation process regarding the great dam in ethiopia, and maybe you can comment about the situation in ethiopia after that question. >> with regard to the gerd, we want to do everything we can to facilitate the country's concern coming together and finding a way forward that meets their -- their interests and avoids conflict, and i think we can use our good offices to help do that. so that's the way we're approaching it.
the challenge in ethiopia is very significant, and it's one that we're very -- very focused on, particularly the situation where we were seeing very credible reports of human rights abuses and atrocities that are ongoing, and i have been on the phone on several occasions now with the prime minister of ethiopia. i've talked to other leaders in the region, and on the continent and beyond. i very much understand the concerns, for example, that the prime minister had about the tplf and its actions, but the situation in tegray is unacceptable and it has to change. we have to make sure we're getting into the region. aide workers and others. humanitarian assistance to make sure the people are cared for, provided for and protected, and
it's very important that the government follow through on commitments that it's made. >> do you envision peacekeepers? >> at this point, we have two other challenges that go to the security piece. one is we have -- as you know, forces there, and we have forces from an adjoining region that are there. they need to come out, and a force that will not abuse the human rights of the people, or commit acts of ethnic cleansing which we've seen in the west. that has to stop. we have to access full accountability and get an independent investigation into what took place there, and we need some kind of process, a reconciliation process so that the country can move forward politically. the prime minister was an inspiring leader who won the nobel peace prize, and now he needs to step up and make sure that his own people there are getting the protections they
need and deserve. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you. i now recognize derek issa from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, it's good to have you here as the chairman said earlier. this is very early and very pleasant to have you and having started in this committee when colin powell was here, and then being a freshman, i didn't get to ask a question for the first three times he appeared. i had to wait until the chairman went away and grabbed him during a vote. so i want to thank you for agreeing to allow everyone to ask you a question. you know, all the way back in the old testament, the phrase that a leopard doesn't change its spots or can't change its spots. unfortunately those thousands of years of history seem to apply to iran.
you hadn't yet gone to harvard when iran took hostages of our embassy and blamed it illegally and wrongfully and lied and said it was just students. my understanding is that we still don't have that embassy back. so in these decades, iran has never changed its spots. it has continued to foment any kind of destabilizing activities it can throughout the region in both shia and sunni majorities, and the country has famously supported hamas and hezbollah and made peace in that region much more difficult, if not, impossible. so as you look at re-entering the jcpoa, my question is not on the nuclear question because i think very accurately and succinctly, you said their nuclear ambitions are so that they can do what they're already
doing with impunity, but they have done with impunity for longer than many people on this dais have lived. what are your plans on the areas of their continuing to destabilize their neighbors and their support for terrorism around the world, but particularly the two groups i mentioned? >> i very much share your concerns about iran's actions across the board, and the question is, what can we do about it? how can we be most effective? i think part of it starts with making sure we're working with and in close collaboration with other countries who are similarly aggrieved by iran's actions, and so we are in close consultation and coordination with other countries that are on the receiving end of some of iran's actions, but also with our european partners. one of the reasons i think it would be beneficial if there is a way back into the nuclear agreement would be to find ourselves once again on the same side with our european partners
who spent the better part of the last few years trying to keep that agreement alive, and not necessarily focusing all of the energy and attention on dealing with some of these other actions that iran takes where their help would be very important. so i think there's an opportunity there if that goes forward, but we have all sorts of tools, including -- and this is important, and i know you know this. the nuclear agreement doesn't take away a single tool that we have to deal with iran's other egregious actions, wherever they may take place, and indeed we have international authorities to do the same thing. so we will use all of those tools and we'll do it in coordination with other countries. >> i appreciate that. i'll give you two quick more questions. number one, as historically with bipartisan support, each administration has continued to support lebanese institutions in order to be an offset to iranian influence, including the
universities and the lebanese armed forces. is it your position that you're going to continue to do that? >> yes, and by the way, i think the last time i was there was with then-vice president biden, and one of the things we did was a very powerful ceremony where we, in effect, delivered some very needed things to the armed forces to underscore that commitment. >> and a caveat to that, i'm assuming that your intention is to continue the support for the refugee camps that dominate lebanon almost 50% of their population. >> the burden they're undertaking is extraordinary. >> and last, you did some things that are contrasting you with your predpredecessor. can you give us items that secretary pompeo did well, that you plan to continue and expand on? >> sure, and i had a terrific conversation with secretary pompeo. during the transition, we spent time together going through a lot of things about the state department itself, our foreign policy more broadly.
i think he's just as one example, he did a good job in trying to help bring the state department into the 21st century with the use of technology and empowering our people with technology, something we want to follow through on, and as we were talking about earlier, i think the initiatives that led to steps by countries to normalize relations with israel were a very good thing and something we want to build on. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on energy and environment, representative bill keaton of massachusetts for five minutes. >> thank you very much. i'm pleased to be seated behind you. my former colleague, and foreign affairs adviser, and i want to thank you too for your work for the paul wheelen family. he has been unjustly in prison for two years by the kremlin, and you met with his family and all the families in a similar situation.
secretary, i think it's generally understood that our greatest adversary is china, and this is really an historic contest. it's one beyond our country's. it's one beyond authoritarianism and democracy. it's our foundation. the greatest weapon they wield is the coerce in economic policies that they have undertaken so aggressively. the stakes couldn't be higher, but we have one thing that china doesn't have. we have a coalition, and most notably, a transatlantic coalition that's ushered in the greatest period of peace and prosperity in modern times, and so our reference to china must involve a transatlantic economic partnership that includes shared human rights issues, and yes, you know, we did have section
232, the national security tariffs that were there that caused some discord with our allies, and yes there were legitimate economic issues there, and indeed i was pleased to see president biden take action in that regard in terms of the uae in terms of rescinding the last-minute trump actions, making it clear that whatever we do in these areas, the biden administration, and our country is going to act in the interest of all americans, not private interests. i think that was an important message. their discord, their feelings of hurt among our allies with the manner in which it was done. in fact, it was done under that security tariff. those are our allies that spilled the blood of their children alongside us in so many conflicts. so i think there's areas of hope. i think tomorrow, i think they're going to be announcing the four-month suspension on boeing and airbus so they can start to work that out. it's great to see that happen,
but any way that we're going to be affected must include a way forward, and maybe away from the trump approach of just the stick with tariffs, and moving towards a free trade agreement where there's a mutuality of interests and we can work together for both of our benefits and the benefits of democracy in that respect. that's going to be hard because you have brexit to contend with, and uk hasn't made it any easier with its internal market field or its recent action violating the agreement unilaterally, not to deal under the agreement on exports on april 1st. yet with all these challenges, we must move forward, i think. it's one of our most important priorities if we're going to deal with our security issues, deal with china, deal with the economic vitality going forward. so what are the prospects you see for success in this area,
despite all those challenges, and how is it so important in terms of foreign policy that we move forward on this? >> i very much agree with the -- the premise of the question, and i say one way we're going to succeed is if we get our terrific u.s. trade representative on the job. so hopefully that happens very quickly, but beyond that, a couple of things. first to your point, for example, when it comes to dealing with some of china's most egregious practices in the commercial area, we are so much better off and so much more effective when we are dealing with those with other similar countries than when we're doing it alone. the united states is 25% of world gdp. when we're working with other partners in european, depending who is in, it's 40% to 60%. that is a lot harder for china to ignore, so we have i think a profound interest in trying to get our own house in order when it comes to some of these parade
disputes, working through them as partners and allies do, not as adversaries, and that will i think give us a much stronger foundation. having said that, i think, you know, you've heard the president speak to this. in terms of pursuing new trade agreements, we need to make sure we're investing in our own people first so we have the strongest possible foundation to be competitive if we're in the business of opening more markets, and so we want to make those investments to make sure we are indeed fully competitive. we also want to make sure as we go out advancing new agreements, all of the key stakeholders are at the table so to your point, we're doing these things to the benefit of as many americans as possible, including many who have not benefitted unfortunately from some of the trade agreements that we've reached in the past. so we have to factor all of that in, but the basic proposition that we should be working through these issues in a collaborative way with our european partners, i couldn't
agree with more. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i acknowledge adam kinzinger of illinois for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you for being here. there's a couple of things, you know, january 6th was a really bad day, but i've always said that democracies aren't really defined by bad days, but how they overcome them, and i think your promotion of democracy around the world is going to be very important and to show how we rise above challenges, and use that as an example for others and the return to multilateralism is important as well. recognizing things like nato. it's not just us doing nato a favor. they do us a favor. there's benefit in that. just real quickly, i would like to just point out on the -- the country of el salvador. i would encourage you to put a strong ambassador down there that's really focused on america's priorities because there are some challenges within that country in terms of a leader that has crossed a line
in their democracy in some areas. so after all that, i do want to drill down a little more on the nord stream 2 discussion. you know, i was hard on the trump administration for some slow implementation of things and i think i just need to be fair, and given that we are at 90% to 95% completion of nord stream, i think that time is essential at this moment. so given that there is a lot of information out there and open source reporting on entities actually actively engaged in the construction of the pipeline, it is difficult for me to believe that the state department requires more information. for example, there is vessels in the baltic sea going between the sanctioned fortuna port where pipelines are being stored. do we not know if those ships are involved in the project? >> so we are looking at that very closely and very, very carefully. as you know, we issued an initial report that sanctioned the leading pipeline vessel "the
fortuna", and we took the companies that pulled back as a result of the sanctions that we imposed and the tools that congress gave us. that was a good news story. going forward, we're looking at this every single day. i think the challenge we have is to make sure that what looks on the surface, no pun intended, like a clear case, really is, and that it holds -- it stands up to legal scrutiny. so we have to build these, as you know, evidentiary packages and we're working on that, and we will do that. there are time when is something seems self-evident. maybe it's not. a ship that's in the area, maybe is not engaged in activities that relate to the pipeline. we need to make sure that it is, so that we can move forward, but you have our commitment that we're focused on that, and we'll continue to do it. >> good. thank you. just to also mention the danish merritime authority, and denmark has named additional russian
ships that are engaging in trenching and pipeline activities. hopefully that information will be used in your discussions going forward. according to nord stream's website, it is the company responsible for the planning, construction and eventual operation of the nord stream 2 pipeline. i saw it discussed on the website, do we believe that in orderstream is engaged in sanctionable activity? >> it's something we will look at very carefully. >> okay, and the other thing i'll say on that is so the danish permit for the construction of nord stream 2 in the baltic sea requires an active insurance company. the danes say they have met this requirement and the bipartisan sanctions has been amended and includes mandatory sanctions. do we know who the current insurer is? >> i'm sure we're looking at that, if we haven't already.
across the board, we have to look at the different entities to see if they're engaged in sanctionable activity. >> have you been in discussion with the danes as if they are aware of who the insurer is? >> i'm not aware of that, but i can double check on that, but i'm not aware of that. >> okay, and i'll ask if you can commit to consulting with, and not just notifying our allies and partners in central and eastern europe, and a lot of times they get left out of the discussion as well as congress, and so i would appreciate that commitment to do that as well. >> there used to be an old saying if you remember when it would -- you have to talk about this in the 1990s. nothing about you without you, and we want to make good on that especially when it comes to our allies and partners. >> thank you, and i just want to say, you know, congratulations on the job. thank you for your commitment to come in front of this committee. we'll have areas we disagree on, but i think that's going to be rare because typically foreign policy is and should return to
be in a bipartisan venture. thank you for your service, and i yield back. >> thank you. >> gentleman yields back. i now yield to the representative of rhode island for five minutes. >> thank you for being here, and for your extraordinary service to our country. we all look forward to working with you to strengthen our national security, bolster american democracy abroad and advancing the causes of democracy and human rights around the world. as you know, you assumed the role of secretary of state during a uniquely challenging time. we disengaged from the local community, and allowed human rights to escalate in nearly every corner of the globe. the void was left to seek by those to make the world less free, and more vulnerable, and threaten the security of the united states, and the freedom house has said it has been shifted in the instance of global tyranny. how do you plan to create a more
universal approach to human rights? given that it has been cherry picked, to vulnerable populations subject to discrimination and violence. the first step you took was to reject the recommendations of mike pompeo's condition, but how do you intend to do that important work? >> thank you. i really appreciate that question because what we've already tried to do right out of the box is to put human rights and democracy really at the heart of our foreign policy, the heart of what we're doing. it is factored into virtually every single thing that we do, and when it comes up and comes to making sure that around the world, for example, our diplomats every single day are standing up for these rights when they're being abused. that is front and center in the instructions that they have.
when it comes to leading international efforts on new norms, conventions, lawsuits, understandings, or just groupings of countries that can speak out together, the united states is in the forefront of those efforts. so this is something that needs to permeate everything that we're doing. we had an opportunity to talk a little bit before just about this idea of bringing the world's leading democracies together in a summit, and part of that would be focused on what is the common agenda that we have around the world, and how do we most effectively advance or defend unfortunately is the case. maybe these rights when they're being challenged. >> thank you, mr. secretary. relatively small budgets for the state department reduce our ability to conduct productive diplomacy worldwide, and negatively impacts our national security. does it make sense for us to consider a significant increase in funding for the state department and usaid in order to
make the biden administration's goal of placing the human rights? >> for the record, i didn't ask you to ask that question. >> it's going to require additional resources if we're serious about this. >> in all seriousness, yes. absolutely, because look at the -- look at the challenges that the department has to play a lead role in dealing with. whether it's as we've already discussed, dealing with covid-19 and in particular, advancing a stronger global health security system so this never happens again, we've got to be doing that. >> right. >> climate change and the great efforts that secretary john kerry is leading, we have a lead role to play in that. we need the resources to do it. when it comes to dealing with challenges to our cybernetworks and trying to advance the proposition that there ought to be rules and norms and standards that other countries adhere to, that's the work of the state department. >> great. >> so we have to make sure we're properly resourced to do that. >> thank you, and my final
question, july will mark the 47-year of turkey occupying the northern part of cyprus. for the first time, we have a u.s. president as secretary of state with substantial experience whit comes to cyprus reunification. i'm wondering whether ahead of the talks that the general is convening in april, what is this to push back against turkey insisting on a two-state solution leader, and the opening of the ghost town? both moves which contradict security council resolutions and u.s. policy. there's a lot of expectation with this administration, and finally we will see a real effort, real progress on unification. >> as you know, and to your point, this is something president biden has been very much engaged in throughout his career, including in the senate, and then again when he was vice president. something he -- he takes very, very seriously. we strongly support a comprehensive settlement that
reunifies cyprus in a bicommunal federation. we engage in the effort to advance that prospect, including the supportive role of the united nations, and as well, direct american engagement in that effort. so i think you'll see american diplomacy fully engage. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman's time has expired. i recognize lee zelden of new york. >> what a great honor, and i wish you much success. i hope you're as good of a secretary of state as i hear about your soccer game. i want to go back to the topic of the iran nuclear deal, and one of the principles that there was bipartisan agreement on during the negotiation of the jcpoa, the obama/biden/kerry administration would frequently talk about the deal not being built on trust, but built on verification. that's something i agree with
actually, is that -- i don't want to put any words in your mouth or make bad assumptions. is that what you agree with as well? >> yes, very much so. >> one of the parts of the agreements was part of what was worked out was placed into an agreement between the iea and iran. is that something you have seen yet, the text of that agreement between the iaea and iran? >> referring to the recent agreement -- >> at the time of the jcpoa, a lot of the verification terms were placed into that agreement. >> certainly at the time. i was fully aware of the various processes and procedures that were in place for verification and monitoring, and i think i have a pretty good handle on what the agreement calls for and indeed requires of iran. >> that's great, and when secretary kerry was here at that time when we were having a hearing to vet out the deal and
decide what our positions would be on an upcoming vote, he hadn't yet seen it. we hadn't yet seen it. i still haven't seen it. i don't know if any member of congress who has had the opportunity to read that agreement, so that's something that i and others remain interested in, in being able to read because the deal is not built on trust. it's built on verification and we don't have all the terms of the verification agreement that was worked out between the iaea and iran. on the side deals -- i'm sorry. on the sunset provisions, putting aside the iran/u.n. arms embargo and that date which has passed, we have sunset provisions coming up a couple of years, in 2023 and beyond. the iranian regime would like you to re-enter the iran nuclear deal as is. there are some members of congress also advocating for the nuclear deal as is. can you speak to some of the practical issues with maing
permanent sanctions relief in exchange for sunset provisions that are only a couple of years away? >> it's an important point, and i think i would say two things about that. first, if iran returns to compliance with its obligations and we do the same, we would use that as a platform to build a longer and stronger agreement, including dealing with some of the sunset clauses that expire in the near term. having said that, the ones that matter most, the ones, for example, that prevent iran or bar iran from reaching beyond 3.67%, the one that caps its stockpile of material to 300 kilograms, those don't expire until 2030. we have a decade on those, and those are the most critical times when it comes to iran's breakout times. beyond that, the provisions go beyond 2030. so it's not to say that the sunsets are not an issue that need to be addressed. they do, but in terms of the ones that matter most for iran's
breakout capacity, they start to expire in 2030. >> definitely highly sensitive to those that are more imminently coming up which present an issue in any potential negotiation. one of the reasons why we raise nonnuclear as well is because the leverage that brings the iranians to the table for the most part is they want the sanctions relief. when you negotiate away the leverage that brings them to the table, what's the leverage left to deal with other nonnuclear activities you have to deal with? that's why we speak out on it is just that sensitivity to losing the leverage. one quick point, i just wanted to mention that -- there were even officials in the last administration too ceding that iran had not yet violated any of the jcpoa by the time the united states had withdrawn, and there are issues with that. the iaea twice found iran in violation of heavy water. they were producing more ir-6s.
they -- same thing with centrifuges with ir-8s, and access to locations attempting to acquire carbon fiber. that list goes on, and that was before the united states withdrew from the jcpoa. so something i think is very important is that the administration does not give the iranians -- we don't see to that point where they claim that they were in full compliance when we withdrew, because that's not accurate. i yield back. >> i think it's worth mentioning on that because it is an important point, that one of the great strengths of the agreement of course, is that it had a mechanism for resolving disputes. if one party was not noncompliant or the one party said it wasn't, they could bring that issue to the so-called joint commission, and that's exactly what happened in those instances. when we had concerns about iranian noncompliance which they may have disagreed with. we were able to bring that forward and they changed their behavior, and that's enforced by
something very important, and that is the snapback provision in the agreement so that if iran is brought before the compliance committee for lack of a better term and doesn't make good on its requirements, then we have the ability with our european partners to snap back the sanctions. that's a very powerful enforcement mechanism. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the committee will now stand in a brief recess and we will reconvene in ten minutes.
this is indeed a special and good afternoon. this is a momentous day in the history of our country because we have passed historic, consequential and transformative legislation. we are here to sign the enrollment -- enroll the bill before it goes to the white house. in doing so though, are these ceremonies are occasions to express recognition and appreciation, and first i want to express recognition and appreciation to the president of the united states, joe biden. [ applause ] president biden's vision and his determination were so apparent to the american people and the reason why this legislation enjoys the support of 75% of the american people in a strong
bipartisan way across the country. we thank him for his leadership, and also for his contribution to the -- to the substance of the legislation as well as his signature when that comes. it would not have happened without a very collaborative spirit among our members. on the house side, i commend our chairs and members of the committees of jurisdiction for working together, the relentless work of our staff to make it possible to go over to the senate. i know that the senate chairs and members of their committees had a commensurate effort going there, so it was collaborative. we had the leadership of our chairs, house and senate, and we had the intellectual resources of the committee members, again, with the help of the staff which would never had this bill be
possible without this staff working so hard. so on this occasion, and i think i can safely say, and i've said this to my colleagues in the house on the democratic side. this is the most consequential legislation that many of us will ever be a party to. who knows what the future may bring, but nonetheless on this day, we celebrate because we are honoring a promise made by our president as we join with him in promising that help is on the way. with that, i'm pleased as always to welcome back to the house, former member here, now the leader -- the majority leader of the united states senate, senator chuck schumer, with appreciation for the great work that he did in the senate to bring all of that beautiful exuberance together to send back to us so that we can have this success today.
mr. leader, welcome back to the house. >> thank you. nancy, and let me thank you for your beautiful exuberance as well, and the thanks goes to the senators who are standing here, our great committee chairs and all of our senators who pulled together as one unit, beating back killer amendments, making sure the bill was as strong as possible, and i want to salute them. all of those who are here and some of them couldn't be here, and i want to salute the house as well. we were a seamless web, and we worked together. democrats on the house side, democrats on the senate side, all together because we knew how important this was to america. so what do we say to america? we say to america, help is on the way. help is on the way. you will receive $1,400 checks by the end of march. help is on the way. vaccines will be available far
more quickly to far more people in a shorter time. help is on the way. our schools will open safely and more quickly than we thought. help is on the way. half of america's children who are in poverty will not be in poverty because of this bill. help is on the way. we democrats make promises, particularly we did in the senate. we said if we won those two seats in georgia, we would get things done. mitch mcconnell blocked bills four times in a row, and mr. ossoff and mr. warnock told the citizens of georgia if they were elected they would make sure that the actual promises made would be promises kept, and they have been. so this is a wonderful day for america. this is one of the most consequential pieces of legislation we have passed in decades, and you know what we
can show america? that we can get things done to make their lives better, and we will continue to do that through the rest of this session. help is on the way. [ applause ] >> now the distinguished majority leader of the senate and i will sign the bill, and then it will begin its course to the white house. with that, we thank all of our members who are here, house and senate. i do want to acknowledge nakima williams who is here because in some ways she made today possible. >> yes. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> and can i -- and bernie sanders, our chairman of the budget committee did a great, great job in getting this done as did -- >> as did john yarmouth of kentucky with a little help from
borbon, right? and i see richie neal and the chairs of the finance committee, and between the two of them, they put nearly a trillion dollars into the pockets of the american people, but in any event, we're here to sign the bill. so thank you all very much for joining us. thank you to our chairs, our house and senate chairs, and as you said, mr. leader so correctly, all those who are not here as well. thank you. shall we?
>> so we're back live on capitol hill where secretary of state anthony blinken is testifying today in front of the house foreign affairs committee. taking a break right now as you can see. the subject is u.s. foreign policy priorities, and congressman gregory meeks is the chair of this committee. our live coverage continues here now on cspan3.
the committee will reconvene. i want to thank the secretary for extending his amount of time with us in the vein to try to get every member to ask a question. i'm going to, without -- and ask unanimous consent so that we will do four more members. two on the democratic side and two on the republican side, at five minutes. in trying to get other questions in from that point on, we will try to get every member three minutes to ask questions so that we can try to get every member to ask a question at this session.
and the secretary has agreed to stay so that every member has an opportunity to ask a question. without objection. i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on asia, the pacific, central asia, and nonproliferation, representative army bera from california for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i echo the congratulations of my colleague, and thank you for your service for our country, mr. secretary. and also appreciate the rapidity by which you've come to the subcommittee. there's any number of areas that we could talk about in terms of the region of jurisdiction that my subcommittee has. but i do want to point out a few things and applaud the administration for quick action on the coup in burma as well as decisive, targeted sanctions. and i think i say for the subcommittee as well as the full committee in a bilateral way, we
stand ready with additional authorities should such be required. also want to applaud the administration on quick action resolving the burden-sharing and special measures agreement with our friends in korea, as well as, you know, a quick early trip to visit our partners in japan and korea and the relationship's been challenging, but we need a strong alliance trilaterally as we address the challenges in the region. and lastly, i want to recognize the importance of the quad and the importance of the administration's play on our quad relationship in the region, japan, australia, india. i'm a door first and my interests have always been as a physician on global health, pandemic preparedness. i appreciate your remarks of last week as well as your opening comments as you lay out the agenda. first we have to stop covid-19
and restore and strengthen our global health security. and as such, i will really appreciate the early aggressive actions by the president as well as the administration to ramp up vaccine production here, to ramp up distribution with the bill that we passed today, the american rescue plan. i think we can actually beat the president's domestic goals of making sure every american adult who wants a vaccine is able to, that we'll have the doses for them by the end of may, i think we can beat that. what i'd like to talk about a bit is the global competition we have in terms of influence, watching china go out to the rest of the world and provide vaccine, watching russia and the middle east and elsewhere. for lack of a better way of talking about it, vaccine diplomacy. i think we'll find ourselves soon in a place where -- i appreciate the robust funding we've given the covax facility,
re-engaging with the world health organization. i know am my dialogue with other around the world, they understand the american companies are in a transparent way producing some of the best and most effective vaccines coming out of moderna, pfizer, the johnson & johnson vaccine, the potentially novavax and others coming soon. i'd be curious as we start to think about, once we've stopped covid here domestically, or at least gotten vaccines to the u.s. population, how we're going to directly engage and counter some of what china is doing. and with what i think, frankly, is a worse vaccine. >> very much appreciate that. as you noted, we did join covax, we're contributing significant resources, $2 billion initially with additional resources to come again, thanks to congress for that as well. but two things. of course we have to make sure
that every american is vaccinated and that is our number one priority, that is job one. as we're doing that, we're looking at ways to accelerate access to vaccines around the world. as we discussed a little bit earlier, it's in our national interest, our national security interest, to do that, because as long as the virus is replicating, it's mutaing. as long as it's mutating, it could come back to bite us. so we have a strong interest in doing that. of course if a big chunk of the rest of the world is not vaccinated and their economies continue to suffer, there's human suffering that goes with that, but here's also economic deficit for us because we lose partners. so we have a real interest in doing that. i think you'll see, including -- you referenced the quad, the united states, india, australia, japan. working together we have a quad summit meeting on friday with president biden, and i expect we'll see something on vaccines coming out of that summit.
there are other things we're looking at and working on in the days and weeks and months ahead to make sure that we are a leading international actor in creating greater access to vaccines. >> wonderful. in the broader level health security framework, as we defeat covid worldwide, we have to be thinking about building the infrastructure to make sure we're prepared for the next pandemic. >> that's right and that we stop that. i appreciate that. >> that's vital, because stopping covid, job one. but job two is making sure to the best of our ability, that doesn't happen again. that requires us to put in place a stronger -- >> the gentleman's time is expired. i now recognize the vice ranking member of the full committee, representative ann wagner of missouri, for five minutes. >> i thank you, mr. chairman, and also thank the secretary very much for his time and his courtesy today. we share, sir, a conviction that robust american leadership makes the world safer and more
prosperous. sadly, however, authoritarianism, violence, and a failure to respect human rights are undermining stability in many regions of the world. adversaries like china, russia, and iran are quick to exploit divisions to advance their influence, exacerbating i think the conflicts and certainly the humanitarian crises that exist. i am gravely concerned that china's drive to export its authoritarian extractive development model and human rights with chinese characteristics is contributing to anti-democratic trends. at the same time, russia is using disinformation and cyber attacks and other tools of malign influence to erode faith in our democratic institutions. iran continues its relentless push to acquire nuclear weapons while using proxy actors to sow
violence across the middle east. secretary blinken, i am hopeful you will work with us here in congress to hold malign states accountable for their destabilization and destabilizing activities. our partners want and i think they need us engaged. i also, as my colleague just mentioned, am concerned of china's use of vaccine diplomacy, again to trade access to covid vaccines for expanded influence in target countries. i think china is even incorporating these efforts into its predatory belt and road initiatives. china, russia, and iran also are working to spread false information regarding the origins of covid-19 and i think diminish confidence in u.s.-developed vaccines. mr. secretary, to what degree are our adversaries coordinating
to amplify covid disinformation and how will the state department ensure that u.s. partners receive accurate information regarding vaccinations and other mitigation efforts? >> thank you very much. this is really one of our most important tasks, and i share your concern about, among other things, misinformation and disinformation that's being put out there, including by russia, regarding vaccines. this is incredibly dangerous, besides being incredibly wrong, and ultimately incredibly self-defeating for the countries that are engaged in this. because as we were discussing, they're not going to be fully safe either until the bulk of the world is vaccinated. if they're undertaking efforts to cast doubt and sow doubt about vaccines, ultimately that's going to harm them as well as everyone else. so we are going to be standing up strongly, speaking out clearly, when we see this.
and we're pushing back strongly against it. beyond that, we're trying to make sure that the state department itself is effectively resourced and focused on pushing back against misinformation and disinformation, whatever its source. we have some tools that we've stood up in recent years, including the global engagement center, that i think are very valuable in undertaking that effort. but we need, i think, additional support, additional resources, and i think we need to have close consultations and conversations with congress. because i think there are lots of good ideas about how we can do this even more effectively, and i'd welcome being able to talk about that with you. >> great. and i'm very interested in visiting with you about that. let me ask another quick question. of the last several months, sir, we've seen an astonishing proliferation of cyber attacks on u.s. systems, particularly those with a nexus to the financial services industry. i serve on the financial services committee also.
cyberspace is a key domain for china and russia, states that believe cyber warfare allows them to compete asymmetrically with the u.s. considering the scale and severity of recent attacks how should u.s. policy change to reverse this trend, sir? >> in the first instance, we have to elevate this as an imperative across the government. and we're working on doing that. we've got to strengthen our capabilities. we have to strengthen our readiness. we have to strengthen our resilience. and there is a lot of work that's going into that. the state department itself needs to be playing a lead role in organizing and galvanizing other countries in terms of their own readiness and resilience, also trying to establish much stronger and enforced norms when it comes to behavior in the cyber realm. this is something we've getting saturday up and resourced to do. >> great, thank you. i appreciate your time. i yield back. >> the lady's timing expired.
recognize the chair of the subcommittee on international development and global corporate social impact, representative joaquin castro, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony today. the trump administration during its term committed grave human rights abuses by separating young children from their parents at the u.s./mexico border. thousands of children were separated that way, hundreds of children still have not been reunited with their parents. what role is the state department playing or what role will the state department play in helping to reunite those families? >> well, one of the things we're doing is, as i mentioned earlier -- it's very good to see you, by the way -- we're very actively engaged with partner countries in the region, starting with mexico, but also guatemala, honduras, salvador, on all these questions, to make sure to the best of our ability that the message is clear that people should not come to the border, that irregular migration
will not be allowed. and we're working with them in close coordination to get the message out. we're working with the mexican government, including on ways to strengthen its own capacities, to deal with those seeking asylum, to deal with its own capacities on its southern border. so we're in close coordination, cooperation with them as well. as we were talking about earlier, we're looking longer-term at dealing with effectively with some of the drivers of migration to make sure that the conditions that exist in the northern countries, that people don't feel the only choice they have is to put their lives on the line and everything they know that the line to try to make the dangerous journey here. >> no, well thank you, mr. secretary, for that. i think you all have made some very prudent decisions in ending the third-country agreements, in ending the trump mmp policy, for example. and i would just, of course, caution you and the president that there is a permanent class
of folks who will always try to convince americans that there are brown immigrants coming to harm them. that is a permanent political argument that is made, unfortunately, by many conservative politicians. let me ask you about something you mentioned earlier, which is diversity at the state department. for decades the department has struggled to retain a workforce that represents and leverages the talent of our diverse nation. i was pleased to hear your announcement to create a chief diversity and inclusion officer at the department. i believe it's a necessary first step towards laying a foundation for enduring and lasting change. it's important to make sure that the position has the authorities and mandate to make meaningful progress. and in that context, i would mention also that latinos are the most underrepresented group in the federal government. 18.5% of the population, 8.6% of the federal workforce, and 7% of the state department, and an even smaller share of the senior ranks.
so my question on this position is, how will you ensure the position is sufficiently resourced, supported, and empowered to be effective? >> thank you. first and foremost, the chief diversity inclusion officer will report directly to the secretary of state. in and of itself, i think that will give that person in that position significant authority to make sure that we are actually making meaningful progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion. second, that office is going to have a staff. it's not going to be just one person. third, i've insisted on real accountability across the department, including the secretary of state. and so we're going to have transparency on numbers, on assessments of what's working and what's not working. and again, as we were talking about a little bit earlier, we're focused on recruitment, but that is insufficient. we're focused on retention because it's not enough that people come through the doors,
we have to make sure we have an environment and a culture that encourages them to stay and make their careers there. we're working on that across the board. as i said earlier, we're also very focused on making sure that well before anyone gets to c street, we've opened eyes to the possibilities and prospects of having a career at the state department in foreign policy and working for our country. >> well, thank you for creating this new position. and please let us know how we can be helpful and support the department and that person in their work, appreciate it. >> thank you. >> i yield back. >> mr. castro yields back. i now recognize the representative from florida, mr. brian mass, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i want to ask a couple of questions, terrorism related, middle east, israel, a few other things if we get to it. i just want to start with this -- the mic shows on, i'm not sure if it's picking me up,
i'll try to speak a little louder for you. >> i've got you, thank you. >> hamas, palestinian islamic jihad, designated terrorist organization. back in '97. safe to assume you plan to uphold that as a designation? >> yes. >> in that, can you speak to how we might work together -- the state department, congress -- to also remove the material supports for designated terrorist organizations like the palestinian islamic jihad and hamas and others? how might we eliminate that? >> well, first i welcome the opportunity just to work together across the board on those issues, and we're very open to ideas that congress has and trying to work together to make sure we're being as effective as possible in combatting terrorism across the board, and particularly in making sure we're doing everything we can to deny groups the resources that they need to continue doing their work.
we have i think some very good authorities given to us over the years by congress, and we'll make sure that we use them. but we also look to other ideas for how we can move forward in upholding that effort. >> good, we'll look forward to working with you on those fronts. similar conversation, are you familiar with the taylor force act? >> i am. >> you're familiar with the requirements that you have to submit in writing certifying the actions of the palestinian authority and your tracking -- >> we're committed to upholding the taylor force act. by the way, president biden was in israel about a mile and a half away from taylor force when he was murdered, and he spoke out about that immediately. and has been a forceful advocate, obviously, for cog justicedy taylor force and making sure that we are making good on the obligations we have under the taylor force act. >> very good. look forward to seeing those certifications coming through in your next couple of months as well. i want to move to just a couple
of things that you've said throughout your testimony with some other questions that have been asked here. at the onset you did speak about the border. you did say three words. safe, orderly, and humane. currently is the border safe? >> i really want to make sure that when it comes to the border, we obviously have our very significant role to play on the foreign policy side of things, working with other countries. but my colleague, alan mayorkas, and dhs, are the best on the border and the work they're doing. is it safe, orderly, humane? let me add one other thing, you did not mention as one of your priorities it would be secure, without leaks. would you add that? >> i would, yes. >> your analysis of whether it is safe, orderly, and humane? >> the border is a constant work
in progress. we have a border that is a living thing that brings countries together, brings our countries together. that is good for -- that is important economically. but it has to be secure, it has to be orderly, and we are a nation of laws and we have to make sure that we're applying the law. so this is over many years, has been a challenge in different ways at different times, and it's something we're obviously focused on. >> doesn't sound like you're going to answer concretely whether it meets those parameters that you laid out. i'll leave it at that point for now. but i'm glad that you did say that it should be a location of law and order. and i would like to ask this question as a 30,000-foot ideology question about immigration in our country. does anybody have the right to come into the united states of
america uninvited? >> no, they have to come -- if they're coming here, it has to be pursuant to the laws of our country. >> i'm glad to hear you say that, mr. secretary. i have no-no further questions at this time and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. i now recognize the vice chair of the full committee, representative tom malinowski of new jersey, for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair, mr. secretary. i'll just jump right in with, first, a question about saudi arabia. in my judgment, you and the president have made a series of extremely principled decisions in our national interest to rebalance our relationship with saudi arabia. on the other side, you know there are always people who express concern that if we pushback on the misbehavior of a partner, we'll be pushing them away, hurt our relationship. of course there are those who say, oh, the saudis can turn to the russians or the chinese. i just want to set the record
straight on this. if an adversary like iran were to attack saudi arabia or the persian gulf, would russia or china come to their defense? >> unlikely. >> yes. so we are the country that guarantees security in the persian gulf. and the saudis, the bahrainnys, they know this? >> right. >> that's good. that brings me to the khashoggi case where there's still, i think, a little bit aflac of clarity. section 7031 of the consolidated appropriations act says officials of foreign governments about whom the secretary of state -- you -- has credible information have been involved in a gross violation of human rights, shall ineligible for entry into the united states. and under this law, you have the authority to waive that prohibition in a specific case if it serves the national interest. then you have to report that to the u.s. congress.
now clearly you have credible information with respect to the crown prince, mbs, being responsible for the murder of mr. khashoggi. so i just want to ask you, have you issued a waiver under 7031 for mbs? >> let me say a couple of things about this, then answer your question. first, it's important to focus on what we did and to start, as you very rightly put it, the president was determined that we would review and ultimately recalibrate our relationship with saudi arabia to make sure that it was actually advancing our interests and our values, because i think we'd gotten away from that. and that's exactly what we've done. we did that in getting out of support for the offensive operations and campaign in yemen led by the saudis. and by suspended, as you know ps oorks certain arms sales to them. and in addition, we are now focused on the diplomacy of trying to end the war in yemen
and one of the worst, possibly the worst -- that's saying something -- humanitarian crises in the world. we've been very clear and outspoken as well about our expectations of our saudi partner when it comes to human rights. and at the same time we've also been clear that we're committed to saudi arabia's defense if it is on the receiving end of aggression. that hasn't changed. but when it comes to mr. khashoggi, let me just say simply, one, we will follow the law. two, as you know, for privacy reasons, that's something we can't discuss in any detail in this setting. i'd be happy to follow up. and three, i think it's fair to say that the crown prince has no plans to come to the united states. >> gentleman's time is expired. i now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee on europe, energy, the environment, and cyber, representative brian
fitzpatrick of pennsylvania, for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary, look forward to working with you, sir. mr. secretary, with respect to china you've called china the biggest 80 owe political test for our designation and i could not agree more. the communist's party pursuit of unfair trade practices undermines the via of our country. going so far as to say they will quote stand up for democracy, human rights and human dignity in hong kong in the international security guidance report. my question with regard to hong kong, what line would china need to cross for the united states to get involved and defend the people of hong kong, or to state another way, what does the state department consider to be a hostile act? >> i think we've seen -- thank you. i think we've seen actions of deep concern in hong kong by beijing, starting with the national security law that you know well, then the actual
implementation of that law to quash democracy in hong kong. and to renege on commitments that china made when hong kong was handed over. reverted. and it's those principles, those commitments, i think have been clearly and egregiously violated. and this is something that we have not only spoken out about, but also are taking action on. and i think there are a series of things that we've done, the previous administration did as well, and that we need to continue to follow through on. sanctions, for example, against those responsible for committing repressive acts in hong kong. denial of visas to those engaged in those kinds of practices. i think that working with like-minded countries, it's very important that not only is the united states speaking out but that more and more of the world is speaking out. and so you've seen joint
messages coming from groups like the g7, the human rights council, and others. we need to advise our businesses as well that there are sanctions on the books that they need to be mindful of if they're operating in hong kong, that there's certain risks that come along with that. and we will continue to do that and speak out and take action against egregious violations of democracy and human rights in hong kong. >> thank you, sir. shifting to the uighurs. during a press conference on monday, the state department acknowledged the genocide was committed against the uighurs in xinjang. will you be raising these customers with -- of grave human rights violations when you meet with chinese officials in
alaska? >> to the last part of your question, yes. and in fact, i've spoken already to my chinese counterpart, raised those concerns directly with him. president biden has raised those concerns directly with xi jinping in his conversation with him. we will certainly be raising them again in alaska. >> the gentleman's time is expired. i now recognize the representative from nevada, dina titus, for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. secretary. nice to see you. thank you for giving us more of your time. i'd like to expand on the question by mr. cicilline in the eastern mediterranean. i wonder if you could tell us a little bit about how the administration plans on re-engaging and strengthening our alliances in the eastern mediterranean, what efforts the administration is going to take to reverse turkey's democratic backsliding, and third, what role can the u.s. play in the new trilateral agreement among greece, cyprus, and israel when
it comes to energy independence? >> thank you very much. we've looked with real concern over the last -- certainly the last year, and of course more recently as the administration's been in office, at some of the actions taken in the eastern mediterranean. particularly by turkey in terms of the exercise of various claims, whether it is to territory, maritime areas, or energy resources. and it is very important that the united states stand up for and be engaged in advancing the stability and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all parties in the eastern med and insist that any disputes that arise are resolved peacefully, diplomatically, not militarily, and certainly not through provocative actions. we have called out actions,
including by turkey, that, in our judgment, violate international law or commitments as a nato ally, in the case of the s-400s. and that includes provocative actions against greece, like violations of air space, threats of force, et cetera. now, i think one of the positive developments has been in recent weeks, a significant diminution in the temperature on those issues with turkey engaged with the european union and others to try to move forward in a more productive way. so we're very supportive of that, and we'll continue to try to help things advance in that direction. >> you see us playing a role in the new -- i think it's called euro-asia connector, that agreement to any role that the
u.s. can play? >> we'll certainly look to see if there's a productive role that we can play in that or any other arrangements, and certainly as well when it comes to energy and when it comes to diversifying supplies, diversifying routes. this is something that advances our own security and advances the security of other countries, including partner countries. we'll always look at whether we can play a productive role. >> thank you. >> gentle lady's time has expired. the recognize the representative from tennessee for three minutes. >> thank you, chairman. is it still the biden administration ace stance the bds movement against israel is both anti-semitic and heinous? >> the biden administration, the president opposes the bds movement, that has not changed and won't change. >> okay. and i'm also concerned that you recently removed the houthis from the state department
foreign list. will you commit here to removing hamas, palestine, islamic jihad, and the popular front for the liberation of palestine, pflp, general command, palestine rib lation front from the list? >> first, when it comes to the houthis, to be very clear, we -- we see them as a bad actor that has tried to overrun yemen, interrupted a peace effort, led by the united nations, committed acts of aggression against saudi arabia as well as atrocities of one kind or another in yemen itself, have helped create an environment where we have the worst humanitarian in the world right now. that's precisely why we took the action we did in terms of lifting the designation on the entity itself. we continue to have designations against the individual houthi leaders, including some that we've imposed recently.
but we wanted to make sure that nothing that the united states was doing made the provision of humanitarian assistance to yemen even more difficult than it already is, and it was our judgment that those designations, the designation of the group, was having that effect. but we stand strongly for the proposition that we have to deal with the houthis and also try to advance efforts to end the war in yemen. >> okay, let me move on. i recently sent you a letter regarding the special envoy, robert malley's, phone call with the chinese minister shu regarding the jcpoa because i'm concerned about the department's lack of transparency. can you tell me what special envoy malley discussed in regards to china and iran? >> the department, the special envoy, myself, we've been engaged with all of the parties to the jcpoa, to include china, to include russia, of course to include our european partners,
as well as the european union, to get their assessments of the prospects of iran returning to compliance with its obligations and urging them to use what influence they have with iran to return to its obligations -- >> let me move on. have there been additional conversations between mr. malley and other foreign diplomats that have not been disclosed to the public? >> our diplomats are engaged every single day in conversation with their counterparts around the world -- >> mr. malley specifically. >> like any other diplomat mr. malley is responsible for talking -- >> specifically? my time's up but you're not answering my questions, so thank you. >> gentleman's time is expired. >> i get it. >> i now recognize representative ted lieu of california for three minutes. >> thank you, chairman meeks. thank you, secretary of state blinken, for your distinguished public service. i previously served in active duty in the united states air force and i want to thank you
and the state department for being a first line of defense in keeping the united states out of unnecessary wars and conflicts. i just want to thank you for your commitment to diversity, for creating the position of the chief diversity and inclusion officer. i want to ask you today about assignment restrictions, which i believe if done incorrectly run counter to your goals of diversity and also affect u.s. national security. assignment restrictions can affect any state department employee, whether you're jewish-american, african-american, hispanic-american. but it does appear to have a disproportionate impact on asian-americans. i met with the asian-american foreign affairs association at the state department and they did a survey that, while not scientific, the results are alarming. 70% of respondents believe that the assignment restriction process was biased. 41% believed there were outright errors in the process. these restrictions not only affect an employee's ability to get promoted to senior
leadership, it also affects recruiting and retention, it deprives united states potentially of cultural and language expertise, and it sends the false message that people who look like me happen to be more disloyal. in response to these concerns, congress in 2016 ordered an appeals process to be put in at the state department, the intent of this committee and congress was to have the appeals process look like the security clearance appeals process where a number of officers on a panel would review the decision of the bureau of diplomatic security. unfortunately when the trump administration implemented it they simply had the bureau of diplomatic security review itself. my question is will you look at this process and consider putting in a panel of officers, potentially a chief diversity officer, to review the decision of the bureau of diplomatic security? >> thank you very much. i am well aware of these concerns. this was an issue that actually came up when i last served as
deputy secretary of state and something we were working on then. i am very concerned about these reports. i've spoken to asian-american colleagues in the department about them. and suffice to say this is something i am looking into. >> thank you very much. do you happen to know currently how many people at the state department have assignment restrictions in their ethnic and racial breakdown? >> i don't. >> could you have your office provide that information when they get a chance to the committee? >> let me come back to you on that and see what we can do. i want to make sure we're making available whatever information we can. >> thank you. and as you manage the relationship with china, i just want to make sure that we're vigilant, that fears of a foreign country do not negatively impact the asian-american community. thank you for your time today. >> thank you. >> gentleman's time is expired. i now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee on
the western hemisphere, civilian security, migration, international economic policy, representative mark green of tennessee, for three minutes. >> thank you, sir, secretary, for testifying. china's authoritarian government is increasingly flexing its muscle across the globe, undermining democracy and human rights are russia's cracking down on regime opponents and occupying sovereign states, sovereign territory. iran and north korea's tyrannical regimes have destabilizing effects rippling across the globe. as a rank is member of the western hemisphere subcommittee i'm concerned about china's engagement in our hemisphere, including efforts to prop up the authoritarian regime in venezuela, which should have collapsed long ago if not for the chinese political party. chinese boom drove up latin american currencies and made manufacturing in latin america
difficult, it was cheaper for them to buy from china. their economies have paid a huge price to china's mercantilist behavior following the pandemic, clearly informed nations dependency on china's manufacturing is a security risk. lastly, we face this immigration crisis at our southern border that's a clear result of lost jobs in latin america and this administration's policies. we can fix all of these by eliminating waste in u.s. international development money and redirecting those funds to move manufacturing from china, first to the u.s., but when their business models do not support that, move them to latin america. i think creating manufacturing jobs in latin america will solve their economic diversity, decouple the world from china, and help stop the migrant caravans coming across our southern border. we need to do this as soon as we can. i encourage my colleagues to join me in this effort. i'd also like to urge the administration to strengthen relationships with allies like
israel. one ally in particular that stands out as a time-tested faithful friend of the united states. it's situated in one of the most unpredictable and perilous regions of the world. i deployed there many times as a st. george and special operator. their respect for freedom and human rights makes them a leader in the region. mr. secretary, there have been a lot of questions about the situation with china, so i won't ask those, although i have many. i have two questions, though. i'm going to ask them both, then give you the rest of my time. if you could comment on the biden administration's vision for latin america, our partners down there. and if you could also on iran, sir, just -- it's concerning to me that only a few days after an iranian-backed militia killed an american in erbil, the administration is talking about re-engaging on jcpoa. then there are more rocket attacks. i'd love to know if you guys are dropping sanctions or terrorist designations for any iranian proxies. so latin america, and comments on dropping designations of iranian prox says.
>> i appreciate both questions. i'll try to be quick. i think the idea you just mentioned on latin america is a really interesting one. it's something we should look at. i just happen to -- if i could -- do i have 30 seconds to respond? >> 30 seconds. >> thank you. one of the interesting tools that we have, again, thanks to congress, is something called the development finance corporation. the secretary of state happens to chair the board. i chaired it just yesterday. and there are real opportunities to leverage the private sector, which is our greatest competitive advantage, in making the right kinds of investments, including in infrastructure, in our own hemisphere. so that's something we should look at, and i think there's good work to be done. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> i'd love to work with you too on that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i now recognize representative susan wile of pennsylvania for three minutes.
>> thank you very much, mr. chair. thank blinken, for being here. it's a leisure to be with you even though it's virtually. i've got concerns about our trade relationships with the eu. what i'd like to talk about or have you talk about is from the state department perspective, as the new administration seeks to strengthen the transatlantic relationship across a wide range of diplomatic national security and economic areas -- excuse me -- do you view the need to restore and expand our role as the eu's largest trading partner as a priority for our economic and national security? and in your estimation, what are the main challenges for expanding that trade relationship over the next four years? >> in short, yes, the eu is a leading partner for the united states. it's a partner of first resort, not last resort. and i think across the board, whether it comes to trade or
whether it comes to security issues, diplomatic issues, you name it, our engagement with the eu is both extremely important, it's something we're going to place a real priority on. i had the opportunity -- i was invited by the eu to speak to all of the foreign ministers just a couple of weeks into my tenure. i look forward to doing more of that as we go forward, because in so many areas we complement each other and we're force multipliers for each other. i think we need to do our best to get our trade and economic house in order and work through in a collegial way that befits allies and partners, some of the issues and disputes that divide us. and we're committed to doing that. i'm very much looking forward to having my colleague, the new u.s. trade representative, on the field hopefully very soon to start working on some of those issues. >> i don't know -- i can't see
the timer. if i have any more time, do you just want to identify where you think the main [ muted ] expanding that relationship? >> i think in the first instance, showing up is going to make a difference. we intend to do that. but second, i think the challenges are the ones you've alluded to, which is there are some enduring and some more recent trade disputes that we have to work through. i think we have differences of approach on a number of important issues that we'll have to work through, including some aspects of cyber policy, taxation, et cetera. but all of these things are eminently workable and it's necessary for us to try to work through them together. >> thank you so much. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the representative yields back. i now recognize representative andy barr of kentucky for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and secretary blinken, congratulations on your confirmation and for your service to our country. you identified as the administration's top priorities strengthening global health
security, also identifying managing a relationship with china as your top priorities. i applaud the administration for identifying those priorities, but it's precisely why i'm so dismayed by the president's decision on january 21st to rejoin the world health organization, an international organization that was a coconspirator in covering up the covid-19 outbreak in wuhan, pair yotting the ccp ace propaganda, leading to millions of deaths worldwide. secretary, how does rejoining an organization that aided and abetted china's cover-up strengthen global health security, and how does this not send the very regrettable signal as you head to alaska next week to meet with your chinese counterparts, that this administration simply is not serious about holding the ccp accountable? >> i think the answer to that is straightforward. our prospects for reforming the world health organization, which very much needs it, i agree with you, are much better served if
we're in the room and at the table than outside the room. >> yeah, i appreciate -- >> when we pull out, china fills in. and when we pulled out of the w.h.o., who is then in a position to better dominate it? china. >> we were in the world health organization before the outbreak of the pandemic. and i understand the administration's position on this and the u.n. human rights council on engagement. i get it. but i do think it does send a mixed message. when you head to anchorage, i would urge you to not let them misinterpret that as weakness. and i don't say that you're weak, i'm just saying that could be perceived as a position of weakness and appeasement. i think the administration's going to have a difficult time when you're across the table from a member of the politburo on that point. on the human rights council, february 8th you announced the u.s. was rejoining the u.n. human rights council. as you know, that is council with china that you admit is committing genocide, authoritarian and communist
regimes like cuba, russia. since its founding in 2006 the human rights council has not passed a single resolution condemning any of these countries, meanwhile, israel has been the target of 90 separate condemnations. mr. secretary, how does rejoining the human rights council and legitimizing the council, which is a platform for chinese communist party propaganda, how in the world does that in any way hold china accountable? >> i guess two things. one, i share your concerns. as we discussed a little bit earlier about the council, about its unfairly singling out israel. when we were a member of the council we managed to turn off a lot of those efforts. when we were outside the council, no one was there to do it. we're much more effective when we're there. similarly, on china, i agree with you. but it's interesting, this is where area where the council actually has put the spotlight on -- >> my time is expired but we want to hear the plan -- >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> i yield back. >> i now recognize
representative dean phillips of minnesota for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. heartfelt welcome, mr. secretary. let me start by celebrating your support of the creation of a special envoy for the horn of africa. i support that as well. you know better than anybody here that i think special envoys are most effective when they have a limited mandate. and they're empowered by their secretary of state. so with that in mind, can you speak very quickly about how you envision that operating, that mandate, and how it works, and your overall plan for the horn of africa? >> simply put, we need a senior person who is going to be focused full-time on the challenges we're seeing in the horn of africa, particularly when it comes to the very challenging situation in tigre and ethiopia, also challenges with regard to the sudan, ethiopia. we want to make sure we have our
resources dedicated to focusing on that at a senior level in a sustained way. i hope we're able to move forward on that in the weeks ahead. >> okay, wonderful. i want to speak about misinformation, disinformation, as well. i know you've covered a little bit of it. we all witnessed, in this very room, in the house chamber, how disinformation can affect our country, how susceptible we are, our whole democracy, not to mention the entire free world. and i believe the production of and distribution of disinformation by malign actors -- china, russia, as examples -- are as threatening to our country and the world as missiles, as viruses, and military forces. on the other end of the spectrum, countries like burma and ethiopia are shutting down the internet as a way to limit the very free speech and communication that we all value so highly. i know you addressed a little bit of this. how do you intend to employ diplomatic tools to confront these growing challenges?
>> one of the responsibilities the department has, and it's an area we're going to spend a lot of time and focus on, and resources on, is leading the effort around the world on, among other things, setting the norms and standards for conduct in cyberspace. including when it comes to misinformation and disinformation. so we are i think on a strengthened and augmenting our efforts in that area and exert american leadership. one of the challenges we face broadly, and misinformation and disinformation come into play here, increasingly we see a division in the world between technologically sophisticated democracies and technologically sophisticated autocracies. we need to make sure the tech foe logically sophisticated democracies are working together, standing together, to build better defenses, better resilience, but also to take on those countries that are abusing cyberspace, including with misinformation and disinformation. we'll be organized to do that.
>> before my time expires, you mentioned you might need more support to these ends. can you share with us -- >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> we're discussing the budget and hoping we get support for it -- >> i recognize representative greg stuckey from florida for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the south korean ministry announced billions frozen due to sanctions would be released to iran following, quote, consultations with the biden administration. "another win for iran under the new u.s. administration." tehran has been wringing concessions from europe as well as the iaea, while simultaneously using proxies in iraq and yemen to attack international news and allies. bloomberg reported iran is seeking to unfreeze additional funds held in japan, iraq. iran has been spending incredible amounts on developing new weapons, setting up missile
launch sites to threaten the persian gulf, enriching uranium, supporting its terrorist proxies in theaters like yemen and iraq. squandering billions that could have been spent on humanitarian supplies with the sanctions imposed by the trump administration. united states should not be lifting sanctions on the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism. more importantly, the american people should not be finding out about it from foreign media outlets instead of our own government. my question, mr. secretary, is why in the world would the biden administration release billions of dollars to iran? >> we're not. the report is incorrect. >> so we're not releasing any money? >> we're not. >> and there is no intention in the future to release any money? >> as we've said, if iran comes back into compliance with its obligations under the nuclear agreement, we would do the same thing that would involve, fit came to that, if iran made good on its obligations, sanctions relief pursuant to the agreement. but unless and until iran comes back into compliance, they won't be getting that relief, and the report you refer to is simply incorrect.
>> well, that's good to hear and i hope that you stand firm on not allowing anything as long as they are acting as the world's number one state sponsor of terror. regarding china in a little over a month i'm concerned the biden administration has begun to systematically undo president trump's policies confronting the chinese communist party. i would appreciate fiktd explain the reasoning behind some of the actions the administration's taken in terms of china because i'm finding it baffling to understand how it makes sense. in one month the administration has done the following. repealed president trump's executive order preventing china as well as russia from accessing the u.s. power grid. rejoined the w.h.o. without getting a single reform out of the organization. refused to commit to huawei on the entities list. stop the unhave atation on president trump's sanction on chinese military companies operating in the u.s. i'd appreciate your insight into reasoning behind these weak policies toward the ccp. >> when it comes to china, again, we had an opportunity a minute ago to talk about the w.h.o. i think getting out of the w.h.o. actually opened the door to china to potentially dominate
the organization. clearly not in our interest, not a way to advance reform. we need to be tough and smart about china at the same time. these are not mutually exclusive propositions. >> mr. chairman, my time is expired. >> the gentleman is correct, his time is expired. i recognize representative colin all read from texas for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, secretary blinken, for your incredible generosity with your time. i think it says a lot about getting off on the right foot in working with congress and we certainly appreciate it. i want to talk about afghanistan. i was there the november before last visiting our troops over thanksgiving. met with some of the rising military leaders in the afghan military. had a lot of respect for them, think they were doing a good
job. recognize some of the challenges with the government. you are of course aware of the february 2020 agreement that the trump administration put in place with the afghan government and the taliban, with troop withdrawals coming up here in may of this year. and i understand that you're doing a review of that agreement and of the compliance on the taliban side with the things they were supposed to do. i wonder if you could give us some information on the status of that review, whether you anticipate delays or changes to the timeline, and just generally how you see us working to kind of thread this needle between trying to bring together these two disparate entities given their historic and longstanding conflicts with one another. >> thank you. you're right, it is under review. i don't want to prejudge the outcome of that review. there haven't been any decisions made yet on forced posture when
it comes to may 1st. as we're doing the review, we are also pressing ahead with a diplomatic effort to try to drive the two parties to negotiate and to put in place agreements that would be the foundation for a just and durable peace in afghanistan. and that, of course, is a very tall order but one that we're working on, and especially enlisting others into the effort. because as we were discussing a little bit earlier, neighboring countries have a huge stake in afghanistan not being a terrain for civil war that spills over the borders. and they have influence with various parties. so we're engaging them, we're engaging the united nations and others, to try to move the parties to a meaningful negotiation. even as we're looking very hard at the obligations the taliban has made in the agreement you referenced, particularly with regard to not supporting terrorist groups that could
strike the united states and reducing violence. so all of that is going on at the same time. and of course, when we do make decisions following the review, we'll be in full consultation with you on that. >> thank you. i appreciate the continuing conversation as well. this is obviously our longest-standing military conflict, and we appreciate your effort to have a multilateral approach to this. mr. chairman, i'll yield back. >> gentleman's time is expired. i now recognize representative dan moussa of pennsylvania for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. appreciate you being with us here today. so i know you answered a couple of questions related to iran. iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. and it's certainly an important issue. president obama years back
stated how the iran deal did not resolve all problems. now do you plan to have a more holistic approach and recognize the need to address not just the nuclear program but the fact that fact that iran does sponsor terrorism throughout the region? >> yes, it's very important not only to deal with the nuclear program. the nuclear piece is vitally important because of course that's what potentially poses the greatest threat to the united states and an iran with a nuclear weapon or the threshold or capacity to build one in very short order could be acting with even greater impunity in all these areas. to your point, yes, it's important to address all the areas we find deeply objectionable. >> thank you. the development finance corporation was created,
mobilized investments to advance foreign policy and provide the developing world with alternatives, the state backed financing like the belt and road initiative. as you are the chairman of the dfc board, can you tell me if the development finance corporation is engaged at the moment in promoting free and fair markets in the developing world and counter any malign actors such as perhaps china. >> it absolutely is. as it happens i chaired a board meeting yesterday. i think i'm the first secretary of state to have actually chaired the board meeting. i am extremely enthusiastic about the development finance corporation, the tool that it gives us to do exactly what you talked about. and it's done incredibly impressive work already. and this is something that's going to be an area of sustained focus for me. >> that's great. can we get updates along the way? >> with pleasure. >> all right. terrific. quickly, on ethiopia, a conflict
in tigray, a real humanitarian crisis. what leverage does the u.s. have to try to bring some common peace to ethiopia? >> it is a matter, as we already discussed, of deep concern to us. the very credible reports of human rights abuses and atrocities in tigray are deeply troubling, deeply disturbing and ongoing as we can tell. i've been engaged with prime minister of ethiopia as well as other regional leaders. we have very active efforts by our diplomats to try to move this forward to a better place. and that means getting humanitarian aid workers in with full access, it means getting accountability and investigations for what went on, getting the forces out and means reconciliation process that brings the country together.
we're working on all of that. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i recognize the vice chair of the subcommittee on africa, representative ilhan omar of minnesota for three minutes. >> thank you, chairman. and i apologize, mr. secretary, if i missed your -- if this question was asked of you. i know we've been talking about iran quite a lot. it seems like there's a kind of a stalemate with iran negotiations, as both sides have been waiting for the other side to make the first move. it is a plain fact that we're the one who is left the deal. should we make -- why should we be the one that make the first move to rejoin? >> thank you. couple of things on that. first, as you noted, we've been very clear that the path to diplomacy is open, and we're fully prepared to engage on it. and the president said
repeatedly that if iran comes back into compliance we will too and then we will try to work on the other issues that divide us, including lengthening and strengthening agreement and dealing with these other issues -- >> i'm sorry, mr. secretary. if we are not re-entering the deal, how do we expect them to be in compliance? shouldn't that happen first before we ask them to be in compliance? >> the challenge is you just can't reenter the deal by flipping a switch. we pulled out of the deal three years ago. the iranians unfortunately have moved further and further away from their own compliance. so, there are and there would be challenging issues to work through that require actually talking about it that are necessary. that's why when the european union invited all of the parties, or in our case former parties, to the deal to start having that conversation, we immediately said yes. the iranians have said no. and really the ball is in their
court to see if they're interested in pursuing diplomacy. we are. >> appreciate that. why haven't you lifted the sanctions that the trump administration placed on the icc staff, including the prosecutor? >> we're currently reviewing those sanctions. we want to make the best determination we can about the best way forward in terms of engaging the icc. we discussed a little earlier our deep concerns about some of the icc's efforts to exert jurisdiction in areas where we believe they don't or should not have it. but it would also be good to have a productive relationship with the icc. and it's something that we're reviewing. >> so, are you saying there's a legitimacy to the sanctions that were placed under trump on the icc? >> no, all i'm saying is that it's something that's under review. and at the same time we have real concerns about some of the
assertions of jurisdiction with which we disagree. but we share certainly a common view that there needs to be -- >> i do appreciate that, secretary. i would like to get a clear answer on why the sanctions aren't removed. i mean, having concerns don't actually respond to why the sanctions aren't removed at the moment? >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> just to finish up, i would be pleased to talk to you once we complete our review and work through what we've agreed to. >> the gentlelady's time expired. >> i look forward to that. thank you, chairman. >> i now recognize representative claudia tinny of new york for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ranking member mccaul, secretary blinken. we are so honored to have you here. we look forward to working with you and thank you for being generous with your time. restoring america's leadership in the world by putting the
interests of the american people first is my top priority in congress and on this committee. doing what's right from the american people don't always receive praise from the pundits, but the pundits shouldn't be the measure by which we measure success. as public servants we should be judged on how we deliver to american people. to this end i think it's valuable to reflect on the previous four years with clear eyes and build on what worked and understand what didn't work. we've made progress to increase burden sharing while our presence abroad is a stabilizing force and necessary burden. i do urge you to continue these efforts to make sure our friends pay their fair share. when it comes to china, the united states is, for the first time, has seriously confronted china with a tough and realistic approach, and i urge you to continue confronting china's efforts to undermine the rules-based order is truly a challenge of our time. and i thank you for recognizing
that. finally the united states has made historic gains to promote peace and stability in the middle east. this success stem first from credibly confronting the threat posed by iran but also building trust with our partners in the region through frank discussions and meaningful collaboration. i know you'll continue with this approach. i want to get to my first question which actually has to do with iran. and the iranian backed houthis continue to behave like a terrorist organization. they repeatedly attack our partners in the gulf with deadly weapons, collude with iran. iran has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. just days ago the houthis claimed another attack on a major saudi oil port in the persian gulf with drones and missiles. can you confirm whether this attack was launched from yemen, or was it launched from elsewhere in the region such as
maybe from iraq or even iran sf. >> i'm not sure that i can get into that in this setting. i would be happy to follow up with you. >> thank you. i appreciate that. i understand it might be sensitive. and the next -- i had 100 questions for you. but one real urgent issue i have with you is i represent immunic in new york which is home to thousands of refugees, but particularly 4,000 burmese refugees, and i welcome the administration's targeted sanction measures but recognize the burmese people continue to suffer. we must stant with the people of burma, development, peace. last month i sent you a better. i would love to be able to set up a briefing with you and your staff to talk further about this issue if that's possible. >> i welcome doing that. >> thank you so much. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. i now recognize the vice chair of central asian and
non-proliferation, representative of michigan for three minutes. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary blinken. it's great to see you. appreciate you making a priority of spending some time with us. congrats on your confirmation. i'm going to jump right in and see if we can get through a few question ts in three minutes. i'm terrified by the antidemocratic actions in haiti. the trump administration legitimized those actions. they did little to support accountability when there was clear evidence of rampant corruption. they sidelined haitian civil society, and they pushed for elections while doing nothing to ensure they would be free, fair and credible. the regime cannot oversee credible elections. what changes should we expect to see to haiti policy under a president joseph r. biden? >> something that we're very actively looking at. i share your concern about some
of the authoritarian and undemocratic actions we've seen, particularly the irregular rule by decree and decrees getting into the heart of haitian democratic institutions. so, we're making it very clear that for now while we have this, decrees need to be limited to essential functions. and to your point we need to see the haitians organize with international support genuinely free and fair elections this year. on the books at least for now are legislative and presidential elections in the fall in september and november. and we will focus on doing what we can to make sure that they are in fact free and fair. but it's something that we're actively looking at. >> well, i appreciate that and with all due respect i don't think we can have free and fair elections organized by this regime. i first went to haiti in 1980 and i would love to work with you all on trying to come up
with a sensible policy. >> i would be honored. >> thank you. let me move on quickly to ukraine. it's such a critical partner. can you tell us what engagement has taken place at the senior levels of the state department and the white house to further ongoing reforms in ukraine and coordinate on interest and support the regime there, the democratic government there. >> sure, in the first instance i spoke to my ukrainian counterpart maybe my first week on the job. it's something that i am personally committed to, something i spend a lot of time on when i was in the obama administration as deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of state. we are focused on supporting ukraine, supporting its democracy, supporting its fight against corruption, and of course supporting its efforts to ward off aggression from russia and of course rejecting the attempted anneck zags of crimea. i think you'll see us sustain
and even deepen support for ukraine, and we want to make sure we're doing our part in helping continue on its democratic trajectory. >> you've got a lot of bipartisan support here for that. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize representative august fluger from texas for three minutes. >> thank you for being here. thank you for your work with the families of those who have loved ones that are unlawfully detained, including my constituent trevor reed. and i just want to ask you, are you committed to bringing trevor home, and will you discuss trevor with your counterparts at the highest level of government in russia? >> yes and yes. >> thank you. >> in fact i already have. in my conversation with the russia foreign minister, i indeed raised that the very first conversation we had. >> thank you very much. on the subject of russia, do you believe that russia is a threat to the united states, to our allies not only in eastern
europe but all throughout europe and to our u.s. interests? >> yes. >> okay. on that, mr. secretary, i believe that energy security is national security. i have serious concerns about rejoining the paris climate accords. because we have three minutes i'm going to move on. being dependent upon an adversary for your energy needs is extremely dangerous. it reduces your national security. and this is what nordstrom 2 will do. not having affordable reliable energy cuts at the heart of our partners in eastern europe and the baltic states. i want to make sure that our allies and our partners in eastern europe are heard, that their concerns are heard. will you commit to moving swisly, to cutting through bureaucratic and unnecessary red tape to impose sanctions on the right actors to do exactly what the threat of the 2019 congressionally mandated sanctions would do?
>> we've already imposed sapgss on one actor and we're reviewing other sanctions. >> i think when we look back at the 2019 sanctions it did have an effect. it stopped progress. it's allowing -- i've spoken with many of the baltic state countries and eastern european country this is week. they're very concerned about what this does to the security not only in eastern europe but all throughout. on the subject of iran, very concerned about rejoining the jcpoa and i appreciate your comments on that. i just want to hear your thoughts on strengthening our relationship with israel, making sure our relationship throughout the gulf states and israel will continue as the progress was made in the last couple of years. >> we have an unshakable commitment to israel security and it starts with the president of the united states who has been a long supporter of israel.
so, that's something that is going to continue. and when it comes to something like, for example, the iran nuclear agreement, we are committed to working, consulting and talking to our closest partners and allies, including israel, including the gulf states regarding anything that we might do going forward on that agreement. we need to be engaged with them since it affects them too on the takeoff, not on the landing. and we're committed to doing that. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now recognize the vice chair of the subcommittee on europe energy the environment and cyber, representative abigail spam burger of virginia for three minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary for joining us today. i look forward to working with you closely. i would like to focus my questions on our most critical national security asset, the public servants to serve our country at home and abroad. i will be following up with a number of questions for the record, but i would like to run through just a couple in the
time that we have. i'd like to ask you about the mysterious and harmful attacks on u.s. personnel, sometimes they're often referred to as havana syndrome. the attacks have not been limited to occurring only in cuba. the lack of a coordinated approach has been an impediment to infected personnel, their ability to receive medical care and management of the pieces of the issue. will the biden administration and the department under your leadership set up a whole of government approach to ensure we're addressing these attacks? >> yes, i'm deeply committed to that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. if you can share in an unclassified setting, has the u.s. government identified the perpetrator or the entities behind these attacks? >> there's not much i can say in this setting, but i think the short answer to your question is no. >> thank you. the department has announced that a senior person would be appointed to manage this issue. i appreciate this step towards a long overdue effort to address
it. has this person yet been identified or appointed? >> we're working on that in the state department itself to make sure we have a senior person dedicated to this and one who can speak directly to the senior leadership. we're doing that. and to your earlier point, we're making sure we have a whole of government approach including a strong interagency process including working with the other agencies that have been directly affected or may have particular knowledge or expertise when it comes to figuring out what happened, who is responsible, how we protect our people going forward and also how we make good for those who have been -- who have suffered. >> and certainly how we take actions to ensure it doesn't happen again. >> absolutely. >> as a virginiaen and so many of those who serve in the department are residents or our district or neighboring districts i want to raise the issue of covid-19 vaccinations and my hope that the department is moving expeditiously to ensure the safety particularly of personnel serving overseas. and one last point that i wanted to raise in the limited time is
last congress, our committee was made aware of some allegations of politically motivated or retaliatory rehaif yor towards members of our nation's foreign service. and you've said that being proactive and asupporting and assisting department officials who may have experienced such behavior is a priority. i hope you will take action to instruct the department to readdress these past wrongs with haste so that our career diplomats can be a part of strengthening, rebuilding our career foreign service so that they may continue doing the good work of the people. i hope that will be a priority of yours, sir. >> both our -- covid is a absolute priority with respect to safety of our personnel. we're working very hard on that. we've allocated about 80% of our vaccines to our missions in the field. we want to make sure we cover all of our work force. it was very slow early on. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. secretary and
mr. chairman. >> i now recognize representative from new york for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. it is wonderful to have you here today. congratulations. i look forward to working with you. we would like to get a more clear statement of the stand of the biden administration regarding the illegal occupation of cyprus by turkey and what can be done to stop turkish aggression in the mediterranean regime? >> we had an opportunity to talk about this a little bit earlier. just to emphasize a couple of points, this is something that president biden himself has been deeply engaged on i think as you know for many years as i senator, as vice president and now as president. we strongly support the reunification of cyprus as a bicommunal federation. we will lend our own diplomatic weight to that effort and also
support the un's efforts in that direction. and as we talked about a little bit earlier as well, we've been very concerned about some of the aggressive actions we've seen in the eastern mediterranean. we have and we will continue to call them out. i think one of the positive development has been turkey's more positive engagement in recent weeks with the european union in particular in that area. so, we're hopeful that that temperature at least continues to go down and remain low. but i think i can safely say you'll see the united states and our diplomats very much involved and engaged on cyprus and trying after many, many, many -- too many -- years to move things forward. >> did the gentlelady yield?
is she on mute? >> mr. chairman, are you able to hear me. >> i hear you now. go right ahead. if she comes back she has a minute and 10 seconds left. we'll come back to her if we're able to get her voice back. as of right now, i will yield to the representative from new jersey, mr. andy kim, for three
minutes. >> secretary blinken, thank you so much for coming here today. i just want to jump right in. earlier today i was on the armed services committee talking to general abrams, our commander in korea. i asked him a question about whether or not it's time to formally declare an end to the korean war and whether or not there was any military considerations on that angle. he said there was no immediate military concerns on his angle. i just wanted to ask you that directly. after 70 years is it time to formally end the korean war? >> well, first and foremost we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to advance the security of our allies and partners, starting with south korea as well as japan, working toward denuclearization of the korean peninsula and of course making sure that our own security equities are taken into account. so, when it comes to anything of that nature, that significant, that dramatic, of course the first thing we would need to do is make an assessment of our own
judgment about whether that could advance all the things i just talked about. but of course to be engaged in very close consultations with our partners starting with the republic of korea. when it comes to north korea, the policy itself and our approach is something we're also reviewing to make sure we have the best possible tools to advance denuclearization and in particular to look at the different pressure points we may have as well as some of the diplomatic opportunities so that we can hopefully make progress on something that has been a very challenging issue and vexing issue for many administrations. >> well, look, i agree with you on that front. i'm glad you'll be moving forward with that kind of review. i just ask as we do that that we see things for where they are right now and that we don't always have this shadow hanging over us for decades to come that often skew some of the ways we see things. last question here. just -- you're going to go meet with the chinese.
i heard some of the comments you made earlier today to some of my colleagues about that. we're probably going to see tomorrow a devastating blow to the economy and democracy in hong kong. and i'll be honest with you, secretary blinken, i struggle to think about how hong kong is going to recover from this one. this really feels like this is sort of the end of the pursuit for that kind of one country, two systems. now are you thinking through -- how can we recover? and what can we do beyond just having words and coordinated statements? i hope that is something we can do with nations around the world. but what else can we do? >> i very much share your concerns. and this is something that we're in very close consultation with, with a series of allies and partners first and foremost to speak with one clear voice across countries. and you've seen things that have emerged from the g7 and also the
hrc. but beyond that there are specific actions we've taken including these denials sanctions. i think one big question is going to be what is the business environment in hong kong going forward, and how do our own companies operate? >> the gentleman's time has expired. if representative mill tock cuss is with us, she is recognized for a minute and ten seconds. >> thank you, mr. chairman. can you hear me now? >> we hear you. >> fantastic. i'm sorry about that, mr. secretary. i was going to say two things combined into one question because i'm short on time. first of all with regards to policy in cuba, as somebody who has family there and understands the suffering of the cuban people, i hope that we will work to try to receive some concessions, some type of negotiations done. there are many of us that were not happy with the previous -- the obama administration's lack
of negotiation in trying to bring whether it's democracy or human rights or ending the duel currency system of cuba that has hurt its people, we hope you will move forward in being a leader of the free world and spread that to the cuban people. and also as you look to the security council, i urge you to please use the leverage to try to help people suffering under human rights conditions around the globe. the fact that maduro was given a platform by the united nations human rights council to speak at the very first meeting was offensive and i think i would like to know what are some of your thoughts on how you can best leverage -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> i appreciate your comments and i'll find a way to come back to them. >> i representative peter meijer of michigan for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
thank you, secretary blinken for being here. and i also want to offer my congratulations on your new role. i appreciate a lot of the questions that my colleagues have asked before. i'm going to touch on a few of them in greater depth. but first i just wanted to address an issue raised around the burmese refugee population in her district. our district, michigan's third congressional has a large number of burmese refugees in the city of babble creek. i know they're watching with grave concern and disappointment with what's happened so far with the rule and the new coup we're witnessing in addition to attacks on peaceful protesters. i appreciate this is something you're keeping a close eye on, and please let us know what we can do to support a peaceful transition and a pathway back toward some of the progress that was being made over the past decade. in addition i'm appreciative that you mentioned the tigray conflict and the recent
massacre -- i shouldn't say recent -- the massacre we were just recently aware of. i think it's incredibly worrying that similar to the 2015 massacre in nigeria, these horrific acts of violence, these atrocities, are suppressed. communication links are shut down, and we only learn of it later on. so, anything we can do and i impress upon you to continue to shed light on those and ensure that we don't have repeats of such catastrophes. but i wanted to touch upon something that ms. spam berger referenced as well, specifically around covid vaccinations for state department employees. can you share what geographic reasons still require additional vaccines within the broad state department and global environment sf. >> sure. thank you. this really is at the top of my priority list, the safety and security of our personnel across the board and covid-19 in particular. and as i think i mentioned
earlier, one of the frustrations, the frustration shared by the previous administration because i had conversations with my outgoing colleagues about this is that we received far fewer vaccines at the department back in december than we originally were led to believe and anticipated. and we've been playing catch up ever since. the good news is we've made dramatic progress in the last weeks. i think i mentioned we have allocated 80% of the vaccines rereceived to the field and we've done that on a studied basis, not arbitrarily. we've looked at where the most urgent need was. we looked at the different factors involved including where we had the greatest concerns, the greatest risks. and we've allocated them accordingly. i'm very hopeful that we'll be in a position to get everyone in the very near future. the other thing that we've done is we've made sure that our entire work force knows what we're doing, that we have real
transparency in terms of the policy in getting vaccines and getting people vaccinated. so, we've been sharing that information on a weekly basis with the entire work force. >> thank you, mr. secretary. and i'm out of time but just want to emphasize i think pakistan is the only special incentive post that has yet to receive vaccination. so i would appreciate if that would be prioritized. >> i now recognize representative houlahan from pennsylvania for three minutes. >> thank you, chair. i appreciate the time. i just want to start by saying before i get to my questions, i wanted to correct some of the false information that was made earlier about the unfda or the united nations population fund. to date there has not been evidence that unfda supports involuntary sterilization. several evaluations produce no evidence by unfda in china or
elsewhere. the determination has been made that unfda, the u.s. government has stated that the discrimination was based on the conclusion that the unfda supports the government and sufficient grounds for invoking the amendment to withhold from it. unfda does not promote abortion or fund abortion. and i personally led the u.s. house to renew because it's a critical role that it plays in saving lives of women around the world. and i know president biden has already begun the process of getting that funding. so, my question to you, sir, is what more could the united states -- global gender equality and how is the state department incorporate policy into this process? >> this is something that is central to our work and to our actions. one of the things we've
institutionalized in recent years is a very senior official to advance global women's issues, and we'll be naming someone to that post i hope shortly. we just celebrated, as you know, international women's day. i was very honored to be able to help designate awards to extraordinary women of courage around the world with the first lady at the state department. but that also had, i think, the purpose of shining a strong spotlight on issues of gender, particularly when it comes to advancing peace and security as well as, of course, to protecting the rights of women and girls around the world. so, this is central to the state department's mission, and we have a very senior person and team dedicated to doing that every single day. >> thank you. i really want to emphasize the importance of health and reproductive health in the
women's world and their livelihood's are certainly dependent on their health being there. you certainly can't grow inside -- women all over the world if they are not alive to see the opportunities. i'm grateful to have -- working on issues of health and reproductive health as well. thanks and i yield back. >> gentlelady yields back. i now recognize representative young kim from california for three minutes. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you secretary blinken for joining us today. there are a lot of policies we can discuss but i would like to focus on a few priorities in asia. first on taiwan. for decades taiwan has been an invaluable security and global health partner to the united states. and given the numerous contributions to the international community and strong democratic system, it should be clear to everyone today that taiwan deserves a table -- a seat at the table
like the who to share with the rest of the world about its expertise. so, i would urge the biden administration to also push for taiwan's inclusion in the upcoming democracy summit that i know you are participating and organizing, and begin talks for a free trade agreement negotiation as well. so, i hope that i can get your commitment to work on this issue. >> absolutely committed to working on it. i share your view that taiwan is a strong democracy, a very strong technological power -- >> thank you. >> -- and a country that can contribute -- >> yes. >> -- to the world, not just it's own people. covid is a great example of that. >> exactly. thank you for sharing that. north korea, 2004, congress passed the north korea human rights act and create special envoy on human rights issues. but that position has been vacant since 2017. this position is critical for
coordinating with south korea on our dealings with north korea and recognize the promotion of human rights issues to bring it on the front burner and to -- it's very essential for our national interests and strengthen american diplomacy global si in our leadership. so, the appointment -- i speak as a korean-american myself and speaking on behalf of the korean-american community, the special envoy is a dire and urgent need given that there are hundreds of korean-americans that have yet to reunify with their loved ones, long lost relatives in north korea. so, i hope that we will have someone that will be nominated and appointed to fill this position as quickly as possible too. >> an issue i feel strongly about and agree with you. >> thank you. also i would like to draw your attention on our trilateral partnership with japan and south korea. as you know this relationship
between seoul and tokyo has been sort of at the lowest points in the recent decades. with -- but we need these two allies who are strong allies and partners of the united states to work together effectively in order to carry out our critical intelligence sharing. so, tokyo and seoul cooperation is essential to promoting the secure and peaceful indo-pacific issue. so, i have your commitment on that too? >> couldn't agree more. something i was very involved in. >> thank you. with the -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> thank you. >> i now recognize the vice chair on the subcommittee of international development, international corporations and global impact for three minutes. >> thank you mr. chair, and thank you mr. secretary for staying so long. it's great to see you. i just want to assure some of my
colleagues who have expressed consternation about the southern border that representative border city, we feel very safe and secure and welcome our immigrant communities. mr. secretary, i wanted to ask your thoughts on what i think is one of the central questions of u.s. foreign policy that often gets in the way of move our other prioritys that you so eloquenty talked about. and that's the question of intervention. and i was wondering if you could talk a bit about your thinking on when the united states should intervene in humanitarian crises. i think over the past decades we've seen the costs of action and inaction and under what conditions you think we should intervene and if we don't intervene in a traditional sense how you approach the need to uphold the values and responsibility to protect. >> this is i wish we had more than two minutes to talk about. i couldn't agree with you more. you put it very well. we've seen the cost of doing too much, the cost of doing too little.
here's what i can tell you in the brief time that we have. one, the president is committed to putting diplomacy first in the everything we do. and that means obviously having a strong -- have the strongest military in the world because that makes our diplomacy more effective but to making sure that is a tool of last resort, not first resort. and to use our diplomacy to prevent conflicts, to stop them when they've emerged and in particular to mobilize other countries because that's our greatest strength, our ability to do that, to deal with these problems. and in particular humanitarian crises. so, that's kind of the first response. i think when it comes to military interventions, we have to make sure that, again, it's really a tool of last resort, that there's actually a clear and achievable mission, that we can do it on a sustainable basis and we have the informed consent of the american people. that's where it's most vital. and of course that's where
congress comes in. so, this is an area where we want to work closely with congress going forward because otherwise none of this will really be sustainable. and i think there's a lot of work to do, especially on the foundation of the last 20 years. >> well, thank you. as a millennial who's never known a day in my adult life the united states hasn't been at war, i thank you. my last question quickly in the national security guidance or the interim national security guidance, the biden-harris administration talks about modernizing the architecture of international cooperation, and i was wondering if you could talk a bit more about what you envision that modernization to look like. >> sure. just very quickly, this architecture we put in place has served us incredibly well over 75 plus years. but of course a lot of it was put in place a long time ago for a very different world. and i think it has to be looked attomake sure it's the world we live in not the world we lived in.
>> the gentlelady's time has expire. i recognize representative maria salazar of florida for three minutes. mic. >> 11 seconds. mr. secretary, it's great to meet you. i represent miami, which is the capital of the americas and home to thousands and thousands of exiles from all over latin america, so it's great to be able to talk to you. i want to talk you. i want to use my time effectively. i only need a yes or no from you. will you commit to continue implementing the hels berg law until the regime is opened in cuba? yes or no? >> forgive me because i didn't hear -- >> the helms berg law act. >> we're not taking any unilateral actions on cuba in advance of any consultations with the congress. we have no plans -- >> is it going to continue being implemented? yes or no? >> we'll always implement the
law. >> well it wasn't for 30 years up until the last administration. are you going to keep the law intact? >> we will implement the law. >> thank you. will you commit to consult with the cuban american exile community before you engage in any type of economic or political speaking or any type of engagement with the cuban regime? would you commit to engage with my community before you do it? >> we will absolute consult and engage with cuban-americans on anything having to do with cuba. >> thank you. you know that two months ago the colombian media intercepted a dossier coming from cuba which outlines in detail how havana was plotting to steal columbia's presidential election. were you aware of this? >> i haven't seen that, no. >> this is coming from a very reputable publication in columbia. maybe you want to see it. in one year columbia eradicated 100,000 hectare of cocaine. that is 20 times the size of
manhattan. that is 10 times more than the santos administration killed in four years do. you bless what the duque administration is doing to eradicate this evil? >> we do and we have to do more. and in particular we also have to help colombians create alternative livelihoods for people so they don't get into -- >> let's go to nicaragua. are you concerned that the nicaraguan opposition will participate in the upcoming presidential election without real guarantees that those elections are going to be free and fair? >> we have deep concerns about those elections and their ability to be free and fair. >> and will you consider the possibility of breaking diplomatic relations with nicaragua and the ortega regime if that is the case? >> well, we have -- >> will you consider the possibility if they steal the elections? >> we'll always consider every possibility but our job is to find ways to engage countries --
>> even if they steal presidential elections? >> we have lots of countries around the world -- >> not nicaragua. you didn't answer my question. would you consider including venezuela on the list of countrys that sponsor terrorism right now. >> if it meets the requirements of law, yes. >> well, they engage with hezbollah -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> can i have one more question? >> no. the gentlelady's time has expired -- >> can i have -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> i would love to talk socialism in the americas. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. i recognize the vice chair on north africa and counterterrorism, representative kathy manning of north carolina for three minutes. >> thank you. thank you for your paushs in staying. i also want to thank you for your repeated and emphatic
commitment that you will work not only to make sure iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon but also to address iran's malign behavior in sponsoring terrorism in the middle east and around the world. i want to turn to the frightening global rise of white supremacists and antisemitism. and it was not lost on many of us that one of the january 6th insurrectionists wore a camp auschwitz t-shirt. what role do you see for the united states in combatting global violent white supremacists and antisemitism? >> we have to combat both at home and around the world, and we have to make sure we are organizing with other countries to do that. and that's something that i place personal importance on. >> and you will take steps to foster the combatting of both of those -- both white stremists and antisemitism? >> yes. >> thank you. turning to israel. what role do you see for this
united states in fostering a path toward peace between israel and the palestinians? >> two things, as we talked about a little bit earlier, the moves toward normalization by israel we think are very positive and we want to build on those. and that's good for all countries concerned. it's good for the cause of peace and stability. it's good for economic progress as well. having said that, those accords and those steps don't mean that the israel palestinian challenge goes away. it doesn't. it's still there. and i think we have an obligation to continue to try to worng it and advanced the prospects of our two-state solution which is ultimately the only way that israel will truly be secure as a democratic state. >> do you believe that reports of the death of the two-state solution are premature? >> i do because at the end of the day there is not a good
alternative, again, that protects israel's future. >> thank you, mr. secretary and i yield back. >> gentlelady yields back. i now recognize the representative jim costa of california for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary for your time as well. and i also believe that as part of your over all efforts that restoring morale for the men and women who have served our nation in the state department is going to be among your high priorities after the last four years. i want to ask a couple of quick questions. it's been touched upon earlier. but the efforts with regard to the november 8th regard between azerbaijan and romanian, i would leek you to focus some time to
figure out how we might get to return those per the agreement. and if you let us know of a plan, we have a group that is trying to put pressure on azerbaijan to keep their agreement. that would be helpful. >> i agree with you. i spoke to the armenian prime minister just a few weeks ago and this is one of the things we focused on. >> in addition to that, the strength of our transatlantic relationship with our allies and the european union are critical. your thoughts about how we can let china and russia know that our allies are more or less trying to get back on the same page as it relates to our adversarial relationship with both china and russia? >> well, i think it starts with the fact that we are and we will be showing up again. we're already engaged virtually and soon in person with our closest nato partners, with nato itself, with the european union
and our individual partners there. and i think you're going to see a very robust agenda, for example, when it comes to nato and advancing some of the critical reforms necessary to make sure that nato is well positioned to deal with the challenges of this time and of this moment, including the secretary general's efforts to have a new strategic doctrine for nato. in the years ahead we're going to be very engaged on that. and a full and strong participant in nato's activities -- >> and i think -- >> i'm sorry, go ahead. >> yeah, i would agree. i think our commitment to maintain the forces there in germany's a part of that effort. this is tied to that. our role in nato obviously will help foster a space by restoring democracy to some of the countries in eastern europe that have drifted back toward russia and become more authoritarian. any ideas about how we deal with that? >> well, one of the things that we're doing, as you know, is
focusing very intently on democracy and on the community of democracies. and part of that will involve having a summit for democracies probably toward the end of the year and also making sure that all of the members of our alliance are committed or recommitted to democratic values. and we'll be engaged with all -- >> well, thank you. my time's expired. look forward to working with you, mr. secretary. >> thank you. >> i now recognize the vice chairman on civilian security, migration and international economic policy, representative juan vargas of california for three minutes. >> thank you. i would like to talk to you about three things, the case of father stan swamy, a priest that was arrested on october 8th, 2020, but the counterterrorist task force and accused of being a miaoist. the issue of the u.s.-mexico
border, especially asylum seekers and iran's nuclear problem -- it is a problem -- their program. father swamy was arrested in india, a jesuit social action center on october 8th, 2020, by the indian counterterrorist task force for the national investigation agency for its alleged links with miaoists for instigating the violence near pecuniary in 2017. he's been in prison for more than 130 days on completely unfounded charges. it's absolutely ridiculous. he's a miaoist. he's a jesuit. i'm a former jesuit myself. he's 83 years old and very sick. i did talk to the indian ambassador who's looking into it. i hope you look into it. >> please share the information with us if you haven't already, and we'll look into it. >> thank you very much. the second issue, i live in san diego. i live along the border. it's very safe. and i can tell you that a person who's an immigrant has the right to present themselves at the
border and seek asylum. so, when the children do that, please don't put them in cages. please don't separate them from their families. that's not what we do as americans. and secondly, take a look at some of the statistics to see how many people actually show up. and this is according to the u.s. department of justice executive office for immigration review. 92% of individuals who filed asylum claims attended the court hearings between fiscal years 2013 and 2017. asylum seekers released from detention to pursue their claims attended immigration court hearings nearly 98.5% of the time. when they have a fair shot at a hearing, they show up. when they know it's not fair, they don't show up. so, give them a fair shot. and lastly, i want to say -- and i know you've talked quite a bit about -- i was against the jcpoa and especially because of the
sunset clauses. i remember president clinton talking about north korea this represents the first step on the road to a nuclear free north korea, does not rely on trust. of course they got the weapons. a large country. they want to get the bomb. it's hard as hell to stop them. that's why i'm very, very concerned of the issue of iran and us getting back into a deal with those sunset clauses. >> and we had an opportunity to discuss them briefly before and we're very focused on that. but what we do know is that on its own terms the agreement when we were in it was working. it's cutting off iran's pathway and it had the most intrusive verification and monitoring system of any agreement that we've reached. and if we were to get back into it, it would have those same features. >> gentleman's time has expired. and last but not least, i recognize representative brad schneider of illinois for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
and mr. secretary, first congratulations and second, thank you for your patience with us today. we've had a wide ranging discussion today reflecting on the extraordinary breadth of the global challenges but also the global opportunities that face you and your role in our nation. and i am grateful that you are in your position. i want to talk three things very briefly. iran, the abraham accords and prospects for more normalization and climate change. with respect to iran i'm grateful for kwour are position. a appreciate your position. your commitment to ensuring iran is never able to achieve a nuclear weapon. the united states government is not reentering the jcpoa without first iran getting into compliance. but following up on what my colleagues have talked about already, can you touch on with iran not coming to table for discussions, what are the steps to make sure iran can't have a
nuclear weapon? >> well, thank you. right now, of course, the challenge is that iran has moved out of compliance with the number of key features of the jcpoa including enriching uranium to 20%, using more advanced centrifuges, the io 2s, including its stock file of fis siel material. it has increased the breakout time. so, we have real concerns about that. iran is seeping out of the nuclear box that the agreement put it into which is why i think we have an interest in getting iran back into that box. as i said right now the ball is in their court. meanwhile of course we have sanctions that remain on the books and that are being implemented. and we are at least on the same page with our allies and partners by recommitting to diplomacy in ways that we haven't been in recent years. and that will make us more effective in applying pressure
on iran. >> and diplomacy is the only way to peacefully get iran to give up their nuclear weapons. >> that's right. >> i appreciate your commitment. can i have your commitment that in addition to the proficiencies in jcpoa we're also going to work to address the ballistic missile program, the support for terrorism and human rights. >> yes, yes. >> thank you. one of the best ways to push back on iran is to continue the progress of the abraham accords, the normalizations of arab states with the state of israel working to achieve security for israel and the region is critical. do you see potential for additional progress made on normalization and agreements within the region? >> i do. we want to build on the foundation that's been set. and that's something we're going to work on and we hope that more countries will pursue the path of normalization with israel. >> great. i have just a few seconds. we need more than seconds. we need years and decades to
make sure we address climate change. when i ask for your commitment, i know we have it. >> gentleman's time has expired. mr. secretary, let me thank you for all of your time today, for your willingness to stay to let every member of this committee ask you a question. you're the first confirmed cabinet secretary to have come before the congress, and we are so appreciative of the respect that shows for congress as a coequal branch of government. and i'm sure that you can see today that there's great interest from all of the members on both sides of the aisle to engage with you directly. even -- you were gracious enough as opposed to leaving. we had to reduce the time for some of the members, but they all got some questions in.
so, you know i can't let you leave without asking you to come back again sometime in the near future. i'm sure i can tell from the way you've answered these questions, that you will be able to come back again sometime in the future. >> mr. chairman, it's an honor and pleasure to be with you and to be with this committee and all its members. and as i like to say, this is hello, not good-bye. >> well, we thank you for your insight. it's invaluable. and your expertise, which is clear. and i'll just say you've also made it absolutely clear that america is back at the table. and so is american diplomacy because you are the ultimate diplomat. and as the premier instrument of our foreign policy, diplomacy is how the united states will once again demonstrate leadership on the world change, champion our values and forge the coalitions
necessary to address our shared global threats. one of the committee's most crucial responsibilities is ensuring that our diplomatic work force, both civil and foreign service, have what they need to carry out the significant work that you do. to that end, i look forward to working with you and the administration to make sure that the state department is organized and equipped for today's challenges and that there is diversity in the ranks across all levels of the department, as you have assured us will happen. to all of my colleagues, if you can still hear me, if you haven't gone to vote yet, i want to thank you for joining this important conversation. and with that, this hearing is now adjourned.
weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. tonight the lincoln forum hosts a discussion among current and former college professors on their approaches to teaching about abraham lincoln and the civil war era. watch tonight beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. -- afterwards speaker nancy pelosi and senate majority leader chuck schumer held a enrollment ceremony for the bill, which now heads to the white house. president biden is expected to sign the measure later this week. >>
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