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Saturday, July 12, 2014

U.S. CONGRATULATES CITIZENS OF MONTENEGRO ON THEIR STATEHOOD DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Montenegro's Statehood Day

Press Statement
John Kerry

Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 12, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the citizens of Montenegro as you celebrate your Statehood Day.

The United States deeply appreciates Montenegro’s commitment to advance global peace and security, including through the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
The United States also applauds Montenegro’s accelerating progress towards membership in NATO and the European Union. This is an honor that reflects your growing stature on the global stage. We will continue to support Montenegro’s efforts to meet the requirements for full Euro-Atlantic integration, including strengthening of democratic institutions, media freedom, the rule of law, and the rights of minorities.

Congratulations on this special day and best wishes for continued peace and prosperity in the years to come.

Expanding Opportunity -- It's Time for Congressional Republicans to Do T...

ANTARES ROCKET RAISED ON LAUNCH PAD

PAYDAY LOAN BROKER SCHEMERS SETTLE FTC CHARGES

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
Phony Payday Loan Brokers Settle FTC Charges
Defendants Will Be Banned From Credit-Related Businesses and Surrender Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Other Assets

The operators of a Tampa, Florida-based payday loan broker scheme have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they falsely promised to help consumers get loans, but instead used consumers’ personal financial data to take money from their bank accounts without their consent.

Claiming to be affiliated with a network of 120 potential payday lenders, defendants Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga, and five companies they controlled, misrepresented that 80 percent of all applicants got loans within an hour, according to the FTC’s complaint. In reality, the defendants did not lend money to consumers, and there is no evidence that they helped anyone in obtaining a loan.

According to the complaint, the defendants used consumers’ personal financial information it had collected through its websites to withdraw $30 from the bank accounts of tens of thousands of consumers, without authorization and without providing anything of value in return.

“These defendants deceived consumers to get their sensitive financial data and used it to take their money,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue putting a stop to these kinds of illegal practices.”

The proposed settlement bans the defendants from:

marketing or providing any credit-related products or services, including loans, prepaid credit cards, debt-relief services, and credit repair services;
collecting, selling, or buying consumers’ personal and financial information, except in order to process a specifically authorized transaction; and
processing transactions using remotely created checks or remotely created payment orders.
The settlement imposes a $6.2 million judgment, which is equal to the defendants’ ill-gotten gains. The settlement requires Ogaga to surrender nearly all his assets: $50,000 in cash, and proceeds from the sale of his 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2007 Lexus LS460, and 2006 Ferrari. Once he surrenders these assets, the remainder of the judgment against Ogaga will be suspended. The judgment against Mulrooney is entirely suspended, due to his inability to pay.

Also under the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting the terms and conditions of any service or product they market, and from charging consumers for anything without their consent. The settlement also requires the defendants to dispose of customer information that they have already collected and not to use, disclose, or benefit from, and it.

For more consumer information on this topic, see Online Payday Loans.

In addition to Mulrooney and Ogaga, the complaint named Caprice Marketing LLC; NuVue Partners LLC; Capital Advance LLC; Loan Assistance Company LLC; and ILife Funding, LLC, formerly known as Guaranteed Funding Partners LLC.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The FTC filed the order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the court entered it on July 1, 2014.

U.S. SENDS BEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF FRANCE ON BASTILLE DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

On the Occasion of France's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send best wishes to the people of France as you celebrate Bastille Day on July 14.

2014 is a significant year for French – American relations. We commemorate not just the 225thanniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, but the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the liberation of France, three dates that mark the enduring and personal bonds between our two countries. This is a special time to reflect on the strength of our alliance, which dates back to the founding of our republic, and on the unique way in which France and the United States have stood shoulder to shoulder in moments of greatest challenge not only to our nations but to the bedrock values we share.
I was privileged to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, and to visit St. Briac-sur-Mer, where my grandfather rebuilt our family home out of the rubble of World War II. I was reminded that, as the Allies freed Normandy, young French men picked up guns and marched shoulder to shoulder with American GIs. French women wove American flags to hang from window sills and placed flowers on the bodies of fallen soldiers. And at my family home, the people of St. Briac returned to my family priceless keepsakes salvaged from Nazi plunder and peril.

The bond our two nations share was made strong by the same dream of uncompromising liberty. Our shared commitment to a more just, more free world is the lifeblood of the French-American alliance still today as we work to promote peace and security, battle extremism, and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Our extensive bilateral trade and investment make us natural economic and commercial partners. And together we continue to champion the cause of human freedom and to stand as beacons of liberty and equality to the world, as we have for more than two centuries.

U.S. SENDS BEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT  

Sao Tome and Principe National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send my best wishes to the people of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe on the 38th anniversary of their nation’s independence on July 12.

The United States commends Sao Tome and Principe’s commitment to democratic values and fundamental freedoms, as well as your emergence as an advocate for environmental and security issues in Africa. We are fortunate to have such a valuable partner in the Gulf of Guinea, a region important for both our ocean’s security and energy development.

The United States wishes the people of Sao Tome and Principe a year of prosperity and progress. We look forward to strengthening our mutually beneficial partnership in years to come.

DOJ UPDATE ON GAMEOVER ZEUS AND CRYPTOLOCKER DISRUPTION

FROM:   U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Friday, July 11, 2014
Department of Justice Provides Update on Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker Disruption

The Justice Department today filed a status report with the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania updating the court on the progress in disrupting the Gameover Zeus botnet and the malicious software known as Cryptolocker.   The disruption began in late May, when the Justice Department implemented a series of Court-authorized measures to neutralize Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker - two of the most sophisticated and destructive forms of malicious software in existence.

In the status report, the Justice Department informed the Court that the technical and legal measures undertaken to disrupt Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker have proven successful, and that significant progress has been made in remediating computers infected with Gameover Zeus.

The Justice Department reported that all or nearly all of the active computers infected with Gameover Zeus have been liberated from the criminals’ control and are now communicating exclusively with the substitute server established pursuant to court order.   The Justice Department also reported that traffic data from the substitute server shows that remediation efforts by internet service providers and victims have reduced the number of computers infected with Gameover Zeus by 31 percent since the disruption commenced.

The Justice Department also reported that Cryptolocker has been neutralized by the disruption and cannot communicate with the infrastructure used to control the malicious software.   As a result, Cryptolocker is effectively non-functional and unable to encrypt newly infected computers.

Computer users who believe they may be infected with Gameover Zeus are encouraged to visit the Department of Homeland Security’s dedicated Gameover Zeus webpage, which is located at www.us-cert.gov/gameoverzeus .   Among other resources, the webpage includes links to tools from trusted vendors that can detect and remove the Gameover Zeus infection.

SECRETARY KERRY'S COMMENTS ON WORLD POPULATION DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

World Population Day

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join the world in marking World Population Day on July 11, and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

As a senator, I was part of the U.S. delegation that participated in the ICPD 20 years ago. I was honored to join the global community in Cairo where we set far-reaching goals linking global health, human rights, and development.

These goals are as relevant now as they were then. They form the foundation for our work to promote reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and young people. We have made tremendous progress over the past 20 years, especially in education and reducing maternal and child mortality.

I’ve seen some of this progress during my travels. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I met young girls returned to health after difficult pregnancies with the help of local health workers. And in Afghanistan, I listened to women tell me about their experiences at school and starting businesses, both unimaginable only a few years before.

But progress has not been even. Many of the most vulnerable people have been left behind, including many of our young people.

World Population Day’s theme this year is “investing in youth.” All around the globe, young people face enormous challenges. A half a billion young people subsist on less than two dollars a day, carving out lives in urban slums and rural fields. More than two million adolescents live with the scourge of HIV/AIDS, many without access to lifesaving treatment. The practices of early and forced marriage persist, despite near-universal commitment to eliminate them. One out of every three girls in developing countries will be married before reaching 18 and more than 15 million girls will give birth each year, robbing them of a chance to finish school and pursue their dreams.

These young people will set the course of global health and population growth for many years to come. That’s why we must work together to remove barriers to health services, education, and employment. Only then can they realize their full potential and help drive social and economic development.

The United States remains committed to working with the international community to build on the progress we have made. Young people represent our hope for a brighter future. Empowering them will create a better world for us all.

SECRETARY KERRY'S STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF SREBRENICA GENOCIDE

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

19th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


This day is about more than keeping alive the memory of the 8,000 men and boys who were savagely murdered in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. It is about recommitting ourselves to a cause of conscience and conviction – and to say loudly and clearly, “no more, never again.”
As a Senator, I remember watching with horror as news reports poured in describing cycle after cycle of tragic, bloody violence. I was on the Senate floor days later demanding that we not abandon the Bosnians in the wake of this tragedy. As someone who has seen the brutality of war firsthand, the lesson of Srebrenica cut especially deep: The western world could not help write the war-torn nation’s epitaph -- we needed to help it survive.

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina is over, but our cause for action now is the same: All of us have a responsibility to bear witness to atrocity. Working with the global community, the United States will steadfastly oppose policies of hate and discrimination anywhere and everywhere they rear their heads. We will work for the day when such policies never again lead to the bloodshed and human misery that shocked the conscience of the world in Srebrenica.
The United States is committed to ensuring justice for those who died. With each passing year, we are inspired by the family members of the victims as they find the courage to heal the wounds of the past and rebuild their communities.

Today of all days, we honor the victims. We draw strength from their courage, and we remember the responsibility that we all share to work for tolerance, peace, and understanding this day and every day the world over.

Friday, July 11, 2014

U.S. STRATEGIC COMMANDER DISCUSSES CHALLENGES

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT
Stratcom Chief Outlines Deterrence Challenges
By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2014 – Strategic deterrence in the 21st century is complicated, challenging and vastly different from that of the Cold War, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said yesterday.

Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney said extremist organizations, significant regional unrest, protracted conflicts, budgetary stresses and competition for natural resources could have strategic implications for the United States and the world.
“While terrorism remains the most direct threat to our nation -- particularly weapons of mass destruction -- we are also dealing in advances in state and nonstate military capabilities across air, sea, land and space domains, and cyber security,” the admiral told an audience at the State Department’s George Marshall Conference Center.

Some nations continue to invest in long-term modernization with strategic capabilities, he added, some are replacing their older systems, while others are modernizing based on their perceived need in the geopolitical situation. He cited India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, North Korea and China as examples of nations developing modern military capabilities.

When Russia recently invaded Ukraine and overtook Crimea, Haney said, Russian troops also exercised “their strategic ability, not just their conventional capabilities.” On May 8, he said, “Russia conducted a major strategic force exercise involving significant nuclear forces and associated command control six months from the last one. And I don’t mean just moving it around. I mean demonstrating firing each part of their associated arsenal.”

While adversarial threats grow against the United States, the nation still retains the strategic advantage, he said, although potential adversaries are moving quickly in their development of destructive capabilities.

“While we have improved and increased our cyberspace capabilities, the worldwide threat is growing in sophistication in a number of state and nonstate actors,” he said. “As we monitor developments, we must not lose sight of nation states and non-nation-state actors [that] continue to have goals of obtaining proliferation,” Haney said. “As long as these threats remain, so too does the value of our strategic capabilities to deter these threats.”

The Stratcom commander emphasized the importance of the U.S. nuclear triad.
“Each element of the nuclear triad has unique and complementary attributes in strategic deterrence,” Haney said. “As we look at ballistic missiles and air response capabilities to the survivable leg of our submarine capability to the heavy bombers, the real key is integration of all three that make a difference in the deterrence equation for any country that would want to take us on. And it works.”
Haney pointed out that while the United States has sought to have a world free of nuclear weapons, those weapons still have a role in strategic deterrence and in the foundational force, “until we can get rid of them.”

“We must continue to lean forward with arms-control agreements while continuing to provide assurance and deterrence,” he said. “As a nation, we must create strategies and policies to deal with this diverse, multidisciplinary-problem world we live in, because we have to deliver strategic stability and effective solutions in a conscious manner, given today’s fiscal environment.”

Haney urged students in the audience to challenge traditional thinking.

“Successful 21st-century strategic deterrence lies in our understanding that this is not about a Cold War approach,” he said. “It’s about understanding that deterrence is more than nuclear.”

And while U.S. nuclear weapons are just as salient today as in the past, Haney said, “it’s understanding that what our adversaries are willing to risk requires deep understanding.”

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR JULY 11, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

CONTRACTS

NAVY

Pacific Energy Solutions LLC,* Boca Raton, Florida, is being awarded $334,135,534 for firm-fixed-price task order 0002 under a previously awarded solar power generation multiple award contract (N62742-11-D-1192) for the procurement of electricity produced from renewable energy generation systems. The work to be performed provides for purchase of reliable locally generated, alternating current, power from solar power generation systems that are designed, constructed, owned, operated, and maintained by the contractor on government property. The government will procure the power using the 10 USC §2922(a) authority. The sites under this task order include three roof tops and one ground mount location (Waipio Peninsula) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam; six roof tops and two elevated photovoltaic (PV) structures at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii; and one roof top and one elevated PV structure at Camp Smith, Aiea, Hawaii. Work will be performed in Oahu, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by July 2040. No funds will be obligated with this award. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Bethpage, New York, is being awarded a $198,901,412 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the design, development, and implementation of the Airborne Electronic Attack requirements for software configuration set upgrades to software and ancillary hardware in support of the EA-6B and EA-18G aircraft for the United States and the government of Australia. Work will be performed in Point Mugu, California, and is expected to be completed in July 2019. Fiscal 2014 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $675,697 are being obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the United States ($179,011,271; 90 percent) and the Government of Australia ($19,890,141; 10 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California, is the contracting activity (N68936-14-D-0018).

The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $44,983,385 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the repairs of 214 various mission system components on the P-8A aircraft. Work will performed in Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2016. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds will be obligated as delivery orders are issued. No contract funds will expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was a sole source requirement in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). The NAVSUP Weapon System Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00383-14-D-007F).

ARMY

Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc. Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $62,266,368 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with options for petroleum, oil, lubricants; ammunition supply point; vehicle and equipment maintenance; warehousing; and logistics support to the National Training Center. Work will be performed at Fort Irwin, California, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $41,864,622 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, is the contracting activity (W911S8-14-C-0006).
Michael Baker Jr. Inc., Moon Township, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for architectural and engineering services for Army Reserve projects nationwide and military projects within the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division mission boundaries. Estimated completion date is July 10, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 32 received. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W912QR-14-D-0020).

Z Systems Corp. Logistics Engineering - Information Technology,* Greenbelt, Maryland, was awarded a $7,140,388 modification (0001) to contract W52P1J-12-G-0036 for maintenance and supply support at the Fort Hood, Texas, Logistics Readiness Center. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $238,349 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is July 10, 2019. Work will be performed in Killeen, Texas. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Alion Science and Technology Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a $23,936,197 delivery order (0069) on the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC) indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source contract (FA4600-06-D-0003) for Rapid Engineering Solutions for Lifecycle Support. AMMTIAC's objective is to address issues of mechanical, electronic, and electro-mechanical systems and sub-systems obsolescence and hard-to-acquire parts. The work will be performed at Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and various Army locations, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 29, 2016. Fiscal 2014 Army aircraft procurement and operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $238,200 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency/KD, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, 1580A Nursery Road, Linthicum Heights, Maryland, has been awarded a $11,895,370 modification (P00005), exercising the first option to a six month base contract (HR0011-14-C-0005) for Phase 1/Option 1 of the Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. This is a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. Exercise of the option brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $14,700,357 from $2,804,987. Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, with an expected completion date of Jan. 9, 2016. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $4,300,000 are being obligated at time of the award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, located in Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

*Small business

U.S. OFFERS WARM WISHES TO PEOPLE OF KIRIBATI ON THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY

The Republic of Kiribati Independence Day 

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer warm wishes to the people of the Republic of Kiribati as you celebrate the anniversary of your nation’s independence on July 12.

The United States welcomes your nation’s first embassy in the United States. Ambassador Baaro is a voice of clarity and conscience on the environment and I look forward to working with her to find lasting solutions to many of the challenges we face as a global community.
One challenge we share is protecting our ocean. The threats of illegal overfishing, growing marine pollution, and acidification all demand effective diplomacy and collective action. That is why I hosted the Our Ocean Conference. I am determined to intensify our focus on oceans diplomacy in tangible ways, and President Tong has been a terrific partner in that effort. I commend the Republic of Kiribati on the decision to ban commercial fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. That is exactly the kind of step we can take to ensure that a health ocean allows us to continue to enjoy its bounty.

This past year, our citizens came together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Tarawa. As we reflect on our shared history, the United States looks forward to working with you for a future of peace and prosperity that benefits all our citizens.

U.S. EXTENDS BEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF MONGOLIA ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Mongolia National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend our best wishes to the people of Mongolia as you celebrate your National Day on July 11.

Mongolia is more than a mosaic of different cultures and communities. It is a model for countries undergoing democratic transitions.

In the 24 years since Mongolia took its historic “decision for democracy,” the Mongolian people have made great progress in building a society that celebrates diversity, respects the rule of law, and upholds the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that make all nations stronger.
By embracing these universal values, Mongolia has become a strong force for stability and a reliable partner. Our shared values and common interests will continue to unite our two governments and our two peoples.

The United States looks forward to strengthening our partnership in the years to come.

SECRETARY KERRY MAKES REMARKS WITH AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks With Afghan Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani Before Their Meeting
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Kabul, Afghanistan
July 11, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: I want to say very quickly that it’s a pleasure to meet with Dr. Ghani again. We know each other well; we’ve had many, many discussions through the years, and I’m here because President Obama and the United States of America are deeply interested in a unified, democratic, and stable Afghanistan. We obviously have high hopes that the questions about the election will be resolved quickly, can be resolved, and that a way forward can take place which can give Afghans confidence that they have a presidency and a government that is capable of unifying all Afghans and building a road to the future. So that’s why I’m here and we’re going to have a lot to talk about. Thank you.

MR. GHANI: May I take a moment? It’s a great honor and pleasure to welcome Secretary of State Kerry to Afghanistan. He’s been a friend of Afghanistan for many years. I’ve had the pleasure and honor to work with him personally on the security agreement and a range of other issues. We are delighted the Secretary is here.

Our commitment is to ensure that the election process enjoys the integrity and the legitimacy that the people of Afghanistan and the world will believe. Therefore, we believe in the most intensive and extensive audit possible to restore faith. Simultaneously, from day one when we accepted our nominations, our commitment has been to an inclusive government, a government that could represent all of Afghans and serve every Afghan citizen in the manner that every Afghan deserves according to the constitution.

We are delighted that you’re here, Mr. Secretary, and look very much forward to conversation.

SECRETARY KERRY: Likewise we do, and obviously as the doctor has said previously, no one is declaring victory at this time. The results are yet to be finalized, and so those questions have to be resolved, and I’m very appreciative that Dr. Ghani respects that fact.

MR. GHANI: Absolutely.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir.

MR. GHANI: Thank you.


Remarks With Afghan Presidential Candidate Abdullah Abdullah Before Their Meeting
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Kabul, Afghanistan
July 11, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: So let me just say very quickly what a pleasure it is for me to again be able to meet with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. We – as I said earlier, the United States has one overriding interest here, and that is the people of Afghanistan, that Afghanistan have a government that is recognized by all the people through a legitimate democratic process. And we want a unified, stable, democratic Afghanistan. It is important that whoever is president is recognized by the people as having become president through a legitimate process, and that a government be one that can unify the people and lead into the future. The results that were announced on Monday are preliminary; they are neither authoritative nor final, and no one should be stating a victory at this point in time.

So I look forward to my conversation with Dr. Abdullah, and hopefully in the course of the hours ahead we can find a way for Afghanistan to find in this election the road ahead that it needs so desperately. I now look forward to working with Dr. Abdullah to do that. Thank you for coming to visit.

MR. ABDULLAH: Thank you, Secretary. Thank you for coming and thank you for your continued support for the people of Afghanistan in many ways. And we are grateful for the assistances for the people of Afghanistan as well as the sacrifices that your people have done alongside the Afghans. And the joint achievement and the future of our achievement depend on the success of the democratic process. It’s not the (inaudible), it’s not the (inaudible).

If you are here 13 years down the road – 13 years ago the room was different in this country. Then a new process has started and we had a good transition of power, a peaceful one, and, in a way, hopeful one, because we meant to enter democratic process. But there was an opportunity (inaudible), and at a very critical time, once again yourself proved to a commitment to help Afghanistan in saving Afghanistan, in saving the democratic process here. We thank you and we welcome you, and hopefully all of us will utilize the precious time of your presence here in the best interests of our country.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY, UN HEAD OF ASSISTANCE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN MAKE REMARKS BEFORE MEETING

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks With Head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Jan Kubis Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY KERRY: I want to thank the UN for the tremendous job that they’ve been doing. And obviously, we are at a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan. The election legitimacy hangs in the balance. The future potential of a transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot of work to do. Our hopes are that there is a road that can be found that will provide that capacity for the questions to be answered, for people’s doubts to be satisfied, and hopefully for a future to be defined. But I can’t tell you that that’s an automatic at this point. And so Jan Kubis has been pushing hard. I look forward to hearing from him where he thinks we are and where we go from here.

MR. KUBIS: Secretary, the only thing that I can say: That we will do our best as the UN (inaudible) here to help the parties to help Afghanistan to get out of this crisis and to lead a – finalize and complete the political transition in the right time and in a way that will strengthen the stability and unity of the country, and not the other way around. It is not an easy task, but we are doing our best. And this is the way, also, for the future.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all. Thank you very much.

NASA | FIREWORK FLARE

SECRETARY KERRY, SECRETARY LEW TAKE PRESS QUESTIONS IN BEIJING, CHINA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Press Availability in Beijing, China

Press Availability
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
Beijing, China
July 10, 2014




SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, everybody. Thank you for being patient. We’re delighted to be here. Let me begin by thanking our Chinese hosts for their very warm welcome and for the depth and breadth of the discussions that we had in this year’s Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

During our meetings with President Xi and Prime Minister Li, Secretary Lew and I discussed a number of important bilateral, regional, and global issues. And we have addressed those issues in great depth with our counterparts over the course of the last two days.

The United States and China are committed to a new model of relations based on practical cooperation but also constructive management of differences. And we recognize the need to avoid falling into the trap of a zero-sum competition, and that recognition is now driving our partnership on issues from climate change to wildlife trafficking to Afghanistan to peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

This week’s Strategic and Economic Dialogue was an opportunity to take stock of our relationship, and frankly, to be able to build on the progress we’ve made in these last years and move past some of the differences which have accented the relationship in the most recent months, and frankly, to push for practical action, joint action that will make a difference, and that in the end defines the relationship.

During our joint session on climate change, I spoke with our Chinese counterparts on how we can work together to address one of the defining threats of our time, and one where the United States and China have a unique role to play together. We agreed to adopt stronger fuel efficiency standards for heavy and light-duty vehicles, and for greenhouse gas emissions standards that will have enormous impact on reducing emissions and improving air quality. We launched four carbon capture utilization and storage demonstration projects and four smart grid demonstration projects that will help to provide for the foundation of a clean energy future which we believe is within reach – which we both believe, I might add, is within reach.

We also took the important step of launching a new initiative on climate change and forests. Secretary Lew and I held in-depth discussions with our Chinese counterparts on key economic issues. And together, we made progress on ensuring that American workers and businesses compete on a level playing field, driving each other to even greater innovation and problem solving. And we explored practical ways to encourage greater Chinese integration into the rules-based international economic and trading system that has helped both of our countries to prosper.

Close U.S.-China cooperation is essential for meeting common regional challenges, and we held in-depth discussions on our military-to-military cooperation, particularly on early warning and communications structures. And we will continue that strategic mil-to-mil relationship, including with additional exercises, additional visits, additional communication in the near term.
The United States and China agreed on the importance and urgency of achieving a denuclearized, stable, and prosperous Korean Peninsula. China shares the same strategic goal, and we discussed the importance of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions that impose sanctions on North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile program. We talked about specific ways in which we intend to work together in order to further our ability to achieve this goal and try and change the dynamic that has existed for the last several years.

China has also strengthened its own sanctions enforcement, but there’s more that each of us can do, and we agreed that there is more that we can do in order to bring North Korea into compliance with its international obligations. And obviously, we believe that China has a unique role in this regard.

As part of the S&ED, the United States and China released a joint outcomes document that highlights the breadth and depth of our countries’ cooperation. In recognition of our shared interest in regional and global security, we agreed to form a working group on the shared challenges posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We also took steps to make it easier for millions of Chinese and Americans – tourists, students, business leaders – to be able to travel between our two countries.

The United States and China demonstrated over the course of these two days our serious commitment to addressing challenges facing the international community. We committed to work together on a detailed study of ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of industrial boilers by transitioning from coal-burning boilers to natural gas boilers. And our two countries also issued a strong statement to support humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees and an opposition to the proliferation of and use of chemical weapons.

I also had a productive session with Vice Premier Liu in the Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. We discussed our shared commitment to develop additional exchanges as a foundation for our bilateral relationship going forward. And we were particularly pleased today to hear about China’s commitment to grant 1,000 scholarships to students from historically black colleges and universities.

I also took part in a signing ceremony for six new eco-partnerships that will harness the ingenuity and innovation of the private sector in order to promote economic growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. And this year’s new EcoPartnerships, we are convinced, will drive change in bio-fuels, battery storage, and other clean technologies.
Even as we sought common ground with China building on areas of common interest, we also had frank discussions about those areas where we have differences.

We continued our conversation on cyber security and cyber theft. And the loss of intellectual property through cyber means has a very chilling effect on innovation and investment. I emphasize that incidents of cyber theft have harmed our businesses and threatened our nation’s competitiveness. And we believe it is essential to continue the discussions in this area.
I also reaffirmed that the United States will continue to stand up for our values and promote universal human rights and freedoms that all people should enjoy. These rights and freedoms are vital to stability and prosperity. And I raised our concerns about some of the recent detentions and arrests of journalists, lawyers, and activists.

We also discussed with our Chinese counterparts the rise of tensions between China and many of its neighbors over maritime disputes. Chinese actions in the South China Sea and the East China Sea have generated concerns. And while the United States does not take sides on the sovereignty questions underlying these territorial disputes, we do believe that claimants should exercise restraint – all claimants – and adhere to peaceful and diplomatic ways of dealing with their disagreements. Throughout our meetings, we emphasized the critical importance of maintaining a rules-based international order, including such principles as freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and respect for international law.
So as you can see, we had an enormous agenda. We spent a great deal of time, perhaps more on some than others, but all of these subjects and more were covered. And from our dialogue on trade and investment to intellectual property to maritime security to human rights, we are committed to working through the difficult issues, including through important mechanisms like the S&ED.

So meetings such as these, I think we all came away reinforced in the value of them, in the importance of the dialogue that took place. And I think everybody here left with a sense that this was really constructive. I want to thank our hosts. The Chinese clearly put great effort into this. Their welcome was generous. Their focus was disciplined and comprehensive. And from my position, it was one of the better international meetings of its kind that I have attended. It had a seriousness of purpose and intent, and I think all of us were pleased with the outcome.
So we’d be happy to take a few questions after Secretary Lew has made his statement.

SECRETARY LEW: Thank you very much, and thank you all for being here and for – we apologize for the delay, but the benefit of having good and productive meetings is that they sometimes also run a little bit long, and that’s why we were a little delayed.

Our discussions with our Chinese counterparts over the past two days were focused on key issues of interest to both of our countries and to the global economy, including ways to boost sustainable growth and create jobs through increased trade and investment and by leveling the playing field. Through our engagement in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue this year, we secured key commitments from China that will further implement China’s reforms. These commitments will create new opportunities and deliver concrete benefits to both of our citizens – both our citizens and level the playing field for American workers and firms.

We held discussions on a wide-ranging set of issues and made a number of commitments that help further create a more open and fair economic relationship. I want to briefly highlight a few key areas and the concrete progress that we’ve made that will deliver results for American workers and firms.

Today, China committed to reduce market intervention as conditions permit. It is making preparations to provide greater transparency, including on foreign exchange. This commitment will help accelerate the move to a more market-determined exchange rate and is central to creating a level playing field. This also reflects the increasing role and responsibility China has in promoting balance and strong growth in the global economy.

As the fastest-growing major economy, China offers substantial opportunities for U.S. businesses and workers. Addressing practices that distort trade and impede investment will help the United States further access growing markets and create jobs at home. To this end, China committed to further open up to foreign investment in the services sector, including the financial sector, and will accelerate the revision of its foreign investment catalog.

Building on last year’s announcement, we also agreed this week to intensify negotiations toward a high-standard bilateral investment treaty and begin the process of negotiating China’s negative list in early 2015. China also made new commitments to further reform its state-owned enterprises, which will help provide a level playing field for the U.S. companies that compete here, including significantly increasing the amount of dividend payments that go to the government budget to support social welfare, taking measures to improve their corporate governance structures and providing greater transparency.

We also took steps together to open energy markets to enhance energy security and promote a clean energy future for both our nations and the world. The United States and China reached an agreement on the parameters for their fossil fuel subsidies peer reviews and to provide an update to the G20 in November. The United States and China also signed a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation in exchanges on transparency, data quality, and policies of China’s strategic petroleum reserve. This commitment will help manage uncertainty in global energy markets, respond to future supply disruptions, and reduce oil price volatility.
We also worked together on expanding opportunities for U.S. firms through promoting a more open and market-oriented financial system by expanding opportunities for U.S. financial service providers and investors, strengthening financial regulatory cooperation, and continuing the development of China’s financial markets.

We also discussed the importance of strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property, which is critical to promoting innovation and fair competition and addressing trade secret theft. China committed to vigorously investigate and prosecute trade secret theft cases, to publish civil and criminal judgments, and to protect trade secrets submitted in regulatory, administrative, and other proceedings.

We welcome the important commitments China made during the dialogue. While these commitments represent real progress for the United States, for China, and the global economy, we still have a lot more work to do. These discussions will continue over the next few months and for many years to come as we continue to strengthen the relationship between our two economic powers. And I join Secretary Kerry in thanking our Chinese colleagues, Vice Premier Wang and Councilor Yang, for the efforts that they and their team put in and for the efforts of our team working together to make the progress that we’re reporting to you tonight.
And with that, we will be happy to take your questions.

MR. RATHKE: The first question tonight goes to Brad Klapper of AP.

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretaries. Secretary Kerry, in the two days you’ve been here, a lot’s happened in the world. I’ll only ask you about a couple of places. In Afghanistan, which you mentioned, there still seems no clear resolution in sight for the post-election – for the election results. Presidential candidate Abdullah mentioned today that he expects you in the Afghan capital tomorrow. Are you going, and what would you hope to accomplish there?
And then secondly, on the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, are you worried that the situation is getting so out of hand so quickly that it’s going to be hard for both sides to pull back from the violence? Talking about a few dozen dead now in Gaza, and attacks continuing on Israel, including missiles even aimed at an Israeli nuclear reactor the other day. I mean, is this getting out of hand and does there have to be a resolution quickly? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, Brad. With respect to Afghanistan, we are working very closely with all of the stakeholders in Afghanistan with enormous concern, obviously, for the restoration of credibility to the process, the election, either through the Independent Election Commission’s efforts to conduct an audit and to further verify the balloting, or through the joint efforts of the candidates themselves to take steps in order to provide for future leadership in the country. And I’ve been in touch several times with both candidates as well as with President Karzai.

We would encourage both of them to not raise expectations with their supporters, to publicly demonstrate respect for the audit process and the accountability process, and also to show critical statesmanship and leadership at a time when Afghanistan obviously needs it. This is a critical moment for the transition, which is essential to the future governance of the country and the capacity of the ISAF 50-nation-plus support group to be able to continue to be supportive and to be able to carry out the mission which so many have sacrificed so much to achieve.
So it’s our hope very much that over the course of these next days, very soon a way forward can be found that will provide the foundation for Afghanistan to grab a hold of the future that so many millions of voters came out to express their will about just a short time ago. So we’re very hopeful about that and we’ll see what happens over the course of the next days.

QUESTION: And on Gaza and (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, I’m sorry. Well, the situation on the ground in Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza is obviously not only tense, but it’s very, very dangerous for Israelis and for Palestinians in the aftermath of the deaths of the Israeli and Palestinian youth. And no country, no country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we support completely Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks.

But de-escalation ultimately is in the interests of all parties – in the interest of the region, in the interests of Israel and the Palestinians.

And I’ve been in touch with both Prime Minister Netanyahu, with President Abbas, and with others in the region in order to try and see whether or not there is some capacity to be able to restore the status-quo ante with respect to a ceasefire. But clearly that is complicated because the residents of southern Israel who have been forced to live under this rocket fire have been subjected to this conflict because of Hamas’s decision.

Hamas has refused against all movement and trends in the region, against all urging of the Arab community in the region, against all indicators of the Arab Peace Initiative, against all efforts of peace, stubbornly refused to even accept the Quartet principles and to disavow violence as a means of finding a negotiated way forward. A negotiated way forward is the only way, ultimately, to resolve the problems and actually establish a Palestinian state and put in place the security measures and other things necessary.

At this moment, that obviously is not the topic of conversation. At this moment, it is one of saving lives, protecting Israel, exercising the right of self-defense, and trying to de-escalate in a way that accomplishes all of those goals of protecting Israel while at the same time not seeing innocent people brought into the line of fire.

So it’s a dangerous moment, and we will do everything in our power. I’ve made it clear that the United States of America is available to do everything possible, and we are already engaged in trying to see if it is possible to bring an end to the violence and find a different way forward.

MODERATOR: We’ll take another question. Ian Katz, Bloomberg. Right here, thanks.

QUESTION: Thank you. For either Secretary Lew or Secretary Kerry: There is a report out in the last day about Chinese hackers getting into files of the Office of Personnel Management and getting some information of people applying for high-security government jobs. Did either of you discuss that with your Chinese counterparts, and if so, in what form and what was their response?

And I also just have a separate question for Secretary Lew on the Chinese pledges to reduce currency intervention. Can you explain a little bit about what it is they pledged to do, and is there a timetable? What specifically are they going to do, and how does it compare with what you would like to see them do?

And lastly, on the currency. You’ve been pushing for a stronger yuan. Does that imply or mean that you’d like to see a weaker dollar?

SECRETARY KERRY: I’ll just take the cyber thing quickly and then turn it over to Secretary Lew. We were both notified about this alleged incident only minutes, literally, before we came out here. So we did not raise it in the specific term; we raised the subject, obviously. But what we have learned is that apparently this story relates to an attempted intrusion that is still being investigated by the appropriate U.S. authorities. And at this point in time, it does not appear to have compromised any sensitive material. And I’m not going to get into any of the specifics of that ongoing investigation, but we’ve been very clear for some time with our counterparts here that this is in larger terms an issue of concern.

SECRETARY LEW: Ian, on the question of the exchange rate, I think it’s important to go back to the first principles: Why do we raise the issue and make it such an important one? It’s fundamentally about the fairness of the trading system and the opportunity of U.S. workers and firms to compete fairly and for Chinese consumers to have the purchasing power that goes with a fairly valued currency.

We have, I think, successfully gotten an agreement that reflects the decisions made by China’s government to move towards a market-determined exchange rate. By putting in the statement today the commitment to gradually reduce interventions and to limit interventions to what are really extraordinary circumstances, that’s a big change. By indicating publicly that the process of gaining greater transparency on interventions, that’s also a major change. I think that we still have a process ahead of us because the experience of the next few months will tell us a lot about what the real impact is, but it is a very important issue that there be clarity on and that there be an understanding that it is just a basic tenet of moving towards a more market-determined economy that the exchange rate has to move as well to a more market-determined level.

I think that when we think of this in U.S. terms, it is about having there be a level playing field and fair rules of engagement. Market conditions will determine whether rates go up or down, but if they’re increasingly driven by the market with less and less intervention, that’s a good thing. And I think the document today reflects that, and we will now move forward working on the issue and continuing to monitor closely what we see in the coming months.

MR. RATHKE: Next question is Chen Huihui from CCTV.

QUESTION: Thank you. My question is for Secretary. Some American analysts believe that the new type of major power relationship that China proposes is a trap, and it means unilateral U.S. accommodation of China’s core interests and therefore the U.S. should not accept that idea. So what is your comment on such a kind of view? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, President Obama has made it clear that the United States of America welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous and stable China, and one that plays a constructive role in the region and in the world, that works by a rules-based structure in concert with other partners. We plan to work together and the U.S. is not, as we have said many times, in a rivalry competition with China in terms of trying to contain it or otherwise.
So we don’t see a problem in defining a great power relationship in the 21st century that is a new model for countries, but it’s not going to be defined by talking about it. It’s not going to be defined by us carving up areas and suggesting there are spheres of influence. It’s going to be defined by our mutual embrace of standards of global behavior and activity that protect the values and the interests that we have long worked by – the norms of international behavior. And that means not engaging in unilateral actions to enforce a particular assertion of sovereignty or otherwise. It means working within the rules-based system.

We don’t take a position on those sovereignty issues, but we do take the position that they ought to be resolved through the legal structures that exist for a resolution of those kinds of disputes. And we certainly had a discussion about those kinds of things.

So we agreed – really, what I think is important about what took place here over the course of these last two days is that China and the United States were able to talk reasonably and cordially, respectfully, even as we differed about some of these kinds of issues.
At the same time, we found there was much more that we agree on and much more where there was a common interest – in having a denuclearized North Korea; in making sure that the region is free to navigation and open for respect for the rule of law; in finding that we share concerns about Afghanistan; that we are working together cooperatively in the P5+1, and China is an important partner in the nonproliferation activity and in the enforcement of the P5+1 efforts; that we agree on Middle East peace and the dangers of the region; that we agree on counterterrorism, and the need to work together in order to reduce threat to all of us. And I could find – I mean, there’s more where we have – on climate change – very serious agreement where we are making breakthrough choices, agreements that were articulated by Secretary Lew on the need to reform economic measures, access to markets, and other things.
So I think that, all in all, when you read the summary of outcomes, you will see that there’s a high level of cooperation, but a respect for the fact that we do differ on certain things, and we will. But managing those differences is a critical component of this new great power relationship.
MODERATOR: Great. We’ll take one last question. Ling Wang with Caixin.

QUESTION: Thank you. Well, I have questions for both tracks. For Secretary Lew, concerning the BIT negotiations, so far what are the difficulties and problems encountered in the first phase? And is China SOE the – your biggest concern in the next phase and --

SECRETARY LEW: Sorry, I couldn’t hear the last part.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. For the first question or the second question?

SECRETARY LEW: It was -- the last thing you said.

QUESTION: Is Chinese SOE, state-owned enterprise, your biggest concern in next phase?
And for the strategic track, Secretary Kerry, if there is one thing that you would like to highlight for this year’s dialogue, what is it? And how do you see the economic track and the strategic track affected each other in the past two days’ dialogue? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Say the last part again? How did I see the --

QUESTION: How do you see the two tracks affected each other in the last two days?

SECRETARY KERRY: The economic?

QUESTION: Yeah.

SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. Sure.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY LEW: So let me begin with the question about the bilateral investment treaty. And let me take a step back, because I think the importance of the agreement we reached last year where China agreed to basically flip its presumption from its markets being closed to its markets being open was a very dramatic one, and it was one that reflected the mutual interest we had in promoting a strong U.S. and Chinese economy and to promoting more cooperation.
Just as Secretary Kerry was saying a moment ago on the strategic side, so too on the economic side there is – we have a vested interest in each other’s success, and there’s much that we agreed on. Now obviously the process that China’s going through is a very substantial one. The presumption is markets are open, unless there are specific items that are excepted from it. China’s now going through the process of coming up with its list of exceptions, and then, as we agreed to in the summary of outcomes, we will next year begin negotiating that list of exceptions between our two countries.

I think that the process of reaching an agreement on a bilateral investment treaty is always a difficult and complicated one. And I think the ground covered since last year has been substantial. A lot of progress has been made, and we’re now cued up in the beginning of next year to go into the next round of very serious negotiations.

Along the way to an agreement on a full BIT, there are a number of other issues that are very significant. The items reflected in the summary of areas where we were able to agree reflects opening of some financial markets. We continued to have very productive discussions about a technology agreement. I think even before there’s a BIT, we have things we can do along the way that will open markets, build confidence, and build a sense that the value of reaching a BIT is as great as it was when last year’s S&ED reached the point of commencing the process.
So I think it takes a little bit of patience because it is a long process, but there is real progress being made, and I think that the provisions that are reflected in today’s document show that even in this round we have some real points of progress to show. And we will look forward to engaging at the beginning of next year and going through the next phase of negotiation.

SECRETARY KERRY: You asked me to highlight the one thing that might stand out, and I think I did. But I’ll take advantage of the question, to bear down on one part of that. I said that the level of cooperation overall on major issues of global concern is significant. And the capacity that I think we saw to manage our disagreements about certain things but still remain focused on those areas of agreement is critical, and it’s very important.

But bearing down on that, let me just pick climate change as an example. I’ve been involved in the issue of climate change for more than 25 years – even longer. But in the Senate, for many years, it was incomprehensible that the United States and China would find cooperation on climate change. As recently as two years ago, no one would’ve thought that that was possible or expected it. And last year, when President Xi signed onto this idea that it was important to work with the United States and find ways forward, because China was increasingly finding certain challenges domestically with respect to air quality and pollution and other things, but also learning more about the challenge of the science, as the consensus began to grow that we needed to take action, we found some common ground.

And already this year with our eco-partnerships, with our mutual targets with respect to fuel and trucks and fuel changing and fuel switching, and the idea of working together to try to figure out what are appropriate targets going forward into next year’s global negotiation on this subject, this is important. Because together, China and the United States represent about 45 to 48 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. We are the world’s two largest economies. And therefore to come together in this way at this moment in time is very significant.

Now the true significance will be determined by what is agreed upon hopefully between the presidents, and we intend – and President Xi was very clear today that he looks forward to this work continuing, he looks forward to talking to President Obama and working up towards the APEC summit, and it’s our hope that this will actually be given greater meat on the bones than it has today. But at this point in time, this is an improbable act being played out, and we hope that ultimately it’s – it will be well received and be fruitful.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thanks everyone. Good night.

SEC ADOPTS AMENDMENTS TO RULES THAT GOVERN MONEY MARKET MUTUAL FUNDS

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted amendments to the rules that govern money market mutual funds.  The amendments make structural and operational reforms to address risks of investor runs in money market funds, while preserving the benefits of the funds.

Today’s rules build upon the reforms adopted by the Commission in March 2010 that were designed to reduce the interest rate, credit and liquidity risks of money market fund portfolios.  When the Commission adopted the 2010 amendments, it recognized that the 2008 financial crisis raised questions of whether more fundamental changes to money market funds might be warranted.

The new rules require a floating net asset value (NAV) for institutional prime money market funds, which allows the daily share prices of these funds to fluctuate along with changes in the market-based value of fund assets and provide non-government money market fund boards new tools – liquidity fees and redemption gates – to address runs.

“Today’s reforms fundamentally change the way that money market funds operate.  They will reduce the risk of runs in money market funds and provide important new tools that will help further protect investors and the financial system,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White.  “Together, this strong reform package will make our markets more resilient and enhance transparency and fairness of these products for America’s investors.”

With a floating NAV, institutional prime money market funds (including institutional municipal money market funds) are required to value their portfolio securities using market-based factors and sell and redeem shares based on a floating NAV.  These funds no longer will be allowed to use the special pricing and valuation conventions that currently permit them to maintain a constant share price of $1.00.  With liquidity fees and redemption gates, money market fund boards have the ability to impose fees and gates during periods of stress.  The final rules also include enhanced diversification, disclosure and stress testing requirements, as well as updated reporting by money market funds and private funds that operate like money market funds.

The final rules provide a two-year transition period to enable both funds and investors time to fully adjust their systems, operations and investing practices.

Norm Champ, director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, said, “Today’s adoption of final money market fund reforms represents a significant additional step to address a key area of systemic risk identified during the financial crisis.  These reforms are important both to investors who use money market funds as a cash management vehicle and to the corporations, financial institutions, municipalities and others that use them as a source of short-term funding.”

The SEC today also issued a related notice proposing exemptions from certain confirmation requirements for transactions effected in shares of floating NAV money market funds.  Additionally, the SEC re-proposed amendments to the Commission’s money market fund rules and Form N-MFP to address provisions that reference credit ratings.  The re-proposed amendments would implement section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which requires the Commission to review its rules that use credit ratings as an assessment of credit-worthiness, and replace those credit-rating references with other appropriate standards.

The rules adopted today will be effective 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register, and the re-proposal will have a 60-day public comment period following its publication in the Federal Register.

FOUR GUILTY PLEAS FOR PATIENT RECRUITERS ENGAGED IN HEALTHCARE FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Four Patient Recruiters Plead Guilty in Miami for Roles in $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Four patient recruiters pleaded guilty in connection with a $20 million health care fraud scheme involving Trust Care Health Services Inc. (Trust Care), a defunct home health care company.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan Lynch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office made the announcement.

At a hearing today before U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles of the Southern District of Florida, Estrella Perez, 57, and Solchys Perez, 34, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and Abigail Aguila, 40, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks.   Sentencing for all three defendants is set for Sept. 18, 2014 in front of Judge Gayles.   On June 17, 2014, another co-defendant, Monica Macias, 52, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks before U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley of the Southern District of Florida.  Sentencing for Macias is set for Sept. 10, 2014 before Judge Gayles.

According to court documents, the defendants worked as patient recruiters for the owners and operators of Trust Care, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.   Trust Care was operated for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

The defendants recruited patients for Trust Care and solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Trust Care in return for allowing the agency to bill the Medicare program on behalf of the recruited Medicare patients.   These Medicare beneficiaries were billed for home health care and therapy services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

Estrella Perez and Solchys Perez also paid kickbacks and bribes to co-conspirators in doctors’ offices and clinics in exchange for providing home health and therapy prescriptions, plans of care, and medical certifications for their recruited patients.   Co-conspirators at Trust Care then used these prescriptions, plans of care and medical certifications to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services.

From approximately March 2007 through at least January 2010, Trust Care submitted more than $20 million in claims for home health services.   Medicare paid Trust Care more than $15 million for these fraudulent claims.

The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.   This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys A. Brendan Stewart and Anne P. McNamara of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

COLOMBIA RECEIVES U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO CURB IED ATTACKS

FROM:   U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
U.S. Military Helps Colombia Fight IED Threat
From a U.S. Southern Command News Release

MIAMI, July 10, 2014 – Miles away from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, improvised explosive devices are wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. Colombia, Pakistan, India and Syria rank high on a list of countries where this “invisible enemy” is leaving a trail of deaths and injuries.

In Latin America, most notably in Colombia, insurgents and criminal organizations build and employ bombs with the intent to cause devastation to government forces as well as innocent civilians. In fact, IEDs have become the weapon of choice of these organizations, desperate to find a force multiplier as they experience increased personnel losses.

“According to statistics, Colombia ranks first in the world, outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, in IED incidents,” said Juan Hurtado, science advisor at the U.S. Southern Command, the U.S. military geographic command that works with countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean to promote security and stability in the Western Hemisphere.

These deadly devices are made out of commercial-grade explosives, various explosive precursors, fertilizer, nails, nuts, bolts, and other objects.
In less than a year, between March 2013 and February 2014, a total of 2,356 IED events were reported in Colombia. The aftermath: 707 casualties, according to statistics compiled by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
JIEDDO was established by the Defense Department in 2006 in response to the alarming increase in fatalities and injuries caused by roadside bombs and other makeshift artifacts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Within Southcom’s area of responsibility, Colombia has 95 percent of all IED activity and 98 percent of all IED-related injuries.

To help change this concerning reality, Hurtado said, Southcom and JIEDDO have joined efforts, through the U.S. Military Group in Colombia, to collaborate with the Colombian military and police in search of cooperative and innovative ways for IED threat mitigation. The idea is to leverage the painful lessons learned and investments made during years in research and development, and to harness the “brain power” of Colombian and U.S. experts committed to this fight.
“A key element in this formula is the world-class support we are receiving from JIEDDO,” Hurtado said. “They have dealt with this threat for almost a decade, and they are eager to share lessons learned and benefit from the experiences of others.”
The science and technology division that Hurtado heads at Southcom hosts JIEDDO experts and coordinates counter-IED support on behalf of the command’s theater engagement division. His main efforts, he said, are to scope the level of activities, enable collaboration to assist regional requirements and formulate a sustainable path.

Together, Hurtardo said, they are working with the U.S. Embassy Country Team, the U.S. Military Group and Colombia’s organizations such as the office of the vice minister of defense, the Joint Directorate for Explosives and Demining -- known as DICED, its Spanish acronym -- and the Colombian army’s Counter IED and Mines National Center -- known as CENAM, its Spanish acronym -- in advancing a roadmap for collaboration against IEDs -- the weapon of choice for insurgents and criminal organizations in Colombia.

As the Colombian government increases pressure against FARC -- the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- the group desperately looks for new ways to offset its losses and delay the advance of the public forces into territories under their control, illegal coca cultivation areas and illicit drug labs, said Charles Brady, JIEDDO’s liaison officer and counter-IED integrator to Southcom.

According to CENAM officials, about 75 percent of the events affecting Colombian troops are related to IED incidents. Stood up in 2014, CENAM was created to assist with the IED challenges with a holistic approach, in cooperation with other government and nongovernment national and international partners.
The roadmap for collaboration that Brady referenced is comprehensive and was signed by Colombia’s vice minister of defense for policy and international affairs and JIEDDO in April 2013. It encompasses a framework of working groups that assist in the development of solutions to capability gaps such as identifying the need of protective garments and improved detection equipment for Colombian military troops.

The collaboration plan also includes support to sophisticated interagency efforts such as the creation of a national level counter-IED database and the establishment of standard evidence collection procedures that can enable the judiciary process.
Another key line of effort Southcom and JIEDDO are working on with Colombia is in the field of intelligence and data analysis technics. The idea, Brady said, is to leverage each other’s knowledge and expertise to attack the criminal and terrorist networks at their roots.

This effort is a two-way avenue, Brady said, noting that the work DICED, CENAM and others are advancing in Colombia will allow JIEDDO and Southcom to assist partner nations that may face a similar situation.

“Globally, we are seeing an increase in the use of these homemade bombs and their devious emplacement,” he said. “The U.S. has learned a great deal from Colombia about enemy tactics. We now understand their techniques for employment and the nature of the devices. This information is vital to our forces.”
On a recent visit to the United States, Vice Minister of Defense for Policy and International Affairs Jorge Enrique Bedoya Vizcaya met with JIEDDO’s director, Army Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, and Southcom’s director of theater engagement, Navy Rear Adm. George Ballance, to review the current cooperation efforts and establish major goals for the near future. Crafting a whole-of-government approach by Colombia for counter-IED efforts, developing a centralized Defense Ministry counter-IED organizational structure, and increasing information exchanges to help build capacity in this field are among those goals, officials said.
Earlier this year the U.S. Military Group supported and facilitated the participation of six explosive ordnance disposal and IED experts from the U.S. Navy’s Counter-IED Center of Excellence at Indian Head, Maryland, in an exchange with Colombian forces.

Designed to develop capabilities for evidence and forensic analysis from bombs, the subject-matter expert exchange occurred at the Tolemaida National Training Center, the main Colombian Army training base, and involved the participation of 46 students from the Colombian Public Forces.

Every step taken in this direction, Southcom’s science advisor said, is a step forward in the battle against IEDs and the organizations behind them. Looking at statistics from last year, displayed on a Google-like map of the world, Hurtado pointed out that although the number of IED incidents actually increased in Colombia, the number of casualties shrunk significantly.

“That’s an important improvement,” he said. “Is it related in any way to the combined efforts? It is probably too soon to say, but what I do see is a rise in the discovery of IED caches and the found-and-cleared rate by trained personnel.”
Still, Hurtado said, much remains to be done against a scourge that is constantly evolving to stay relevant and that threatens to spread to other nations in the Western Hemisphere.


REMARKS AT U.S.-CHINA STRATEGIC AND ECONOMIC DIALOGUE

FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks at the Sixth Round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Vice Premier Wang Yang, Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew and State Councilor Yang Jiechi
Diaoyutai State Guesthouse
Beijing, China
July 9, 2014




MODERATOR: (Via translator) The Joint Opening Session of the sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue now begins. We will have Vice Premier Wang Yang, Secretary John Kerry, Secretary Jacob Lew, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. (Applause.)

VICE PREMIER WANG: (Via translator) Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to co-chair the sixth China-U.S. S&ED in Beijing, together with Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

Just now, President Xi Jinping attended the joint opening ceremony, and delivered an important speech. He talked about the importance of building a new model of major country relations, and also he expressed his expectations on this round of S&ED. State Councilor Yang and I, being President Xi's special representatives, are tasked to follow upon his expectations and ensure that this dialogue will produce positive results.

China is the largest developing country in the world. The United States is -- our two countries, in terms of national conditions and systems. This means our interests may diverge. And when we speak, we speak for our respective interests. We may look at things with our own perspectives, and sometimes we even have differences or disagreements. However, each year our two big countries, our two sides, get together and discuss the cross-cutting long-term and strategic issues. This, per se, is the best testament to the new model of major country relationship featuring no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect, and (inaudible).

Dialogue has already become a symbol for this new model of major country relations. Dialogue is an effective way to improve the global (inaudible) structure. Here I want to borrow a few words from Ambassador Baucus during his recent speech. He said that, "The S&ED is our premier forum in talking through tough issues. Its main purpose is to bring coherence and predictability to our discussions on all issues in the bilateral relationship. Over the past five years, the S&ED has helped to (inaudible) our discussions with China's leaders. And it also helped build toward strategic trust." I agree with Ambassador Baucus's assessment of the S&ED.

Now, many people, they follow very closely on the differences between China and the United States, and they have failed to see so many commonalities we share on important issues. The S&ED is a vibrant -- it is the constructive interaction between two countries with a different culture, system, and point of views. So we have every reason to believe that this dialogue will produce fruitful results. And in the next two days we will make the utmost effort to make sure that the outcomes of the dialogue will create greater opportunities of cooperation for both countries.
I also understand that many people in the world are watching how China and the U.S. will perform on the issue of climate change in this round of dialogue. Today I want to respond to their concerns with concrete action. I am going to keep my remarks very brief, so that we will have an efficient opening session and (inaudible). (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, and good morning, Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. It is a privilege to be here with you today. And I wanted to thank all of you today for the privilege for all of us to be able to be here to not just have this strategic dialogue, but also to celebrate the 35 (inaudible) years of diplomatic relations between the United States and China.

It’s more than fair to say that the scope of our relationship was unimaginable when President Nixon made his historic visit, which President Xi Jinping referred to, back in 1972. And we are very grateful to President Xi Jinping for coming here and opening this session. It is a strong statement about the importance of this dialogue. And we will meet with him tomorrow and have an opportunity to talk further about the discussions that we had.

I had the privilege of coming here to this (inaudible) last year when I was honored by State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who (inaudible), where President Nixon and Mao Zedong met to open up this relationship. And it was a good reminder of the importance of what we are trying to achieve and, frankly, the importance of the things that we must achieve together.

Back in 1972 it was a handshake between two leaders that was the leading edge of America’s engagement with China. Two hands, two leaders met across the great divide. Today, it’s in all of our hands to be able to realize the full promise of our partnership. So, I want to welcome the other members of both the Chinese and the American delegations. I am particularly pleased to be here with my co-chair, the Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew; with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen; with our Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker; with the Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz; with our Trade Representative, Mike Froman. As I look down the line with many other members of government, the top advisors (inaudible) my deputy, (inaudible) Deputy Secretary of State William Burns -- in fact, as I looked at the (inaudible) of people from the American delegation here, it is obvious to me that not a lot is getting done back in Washington today. It is being done here.

The fact is that the strength of the delegation that has come here to have this dialogue with you is really a statement in and of itself that underscores that our shared prosperity will depend on how well we work together to attract trade, promote trade, bring investment to both of our countries, and facilitate commercial activity and innovation. Our shared security depends on the good-faith effort to understand each other’s interests and our intentions. So it is not just a privilege to be here, it is a duty. It is a responsibility for all of us.

I heard many times President Xi Jinping just now talk about a great country relationship, a new model. I would say to you that a new model is not defined in words. It is defined in actions. The new model will be defined by the choices that we can make together. And that is why it is important for us to make the most of these next two days as we share the kind of inter-disciplinary experience that your delegation and our delegation have gained over the years.
I want to also underscore to you that every time that I visit Beijing my connection to the people of China and our connection, the United States's connection, I believe, is strengthened and it is renewed. There are actually ties that I can look at fondly within my own family, going back in China. My grandfather was born in Shanghai, and he spent his early years of youth here, with a father who was engaged in commerce, in trade here in China. And I would personally never forget, as a Senator, one of my earliest trips to China as a Senator in 1994 was leading a delegation of business executives from Massachusetts. And even then the satellite dishes and the construction, the cranes which reach all across the horizon, showed the untapped extraordinary dynamism of the Chinese people.

I heard the President talk a moment ago about taking mounds of earth and turning it into buildings. Well, I saw that firsthand when I looked across the Pudong. In the early 1990s there were mostly rice paddies. Now there is a city the size of Hong Kong, an extraordinary statement to the incredible capacity of China.

Today, China’s rise is, obviously, no longer an abstraction. It is something that we are living with, not anticipating in the future. And it is as evident as those skyscrapers over the Pudong, or the different extraordinary architecture here in Beijing, or all across your country. It is a remarkable statement about your journey.

One thing is clear. One thing leaps out at us through all of this: We have a profound stake in each other’s success. It is not lost on any of us that throughout history there has been a pattern of strategic rivalry between rising and established powers. But I will say to you today that President Obama, nor any of us who have come here to represent our country, believe that that kind of rivalry is inevitable. It is not inevitable. It is a choice. And so, being here this morning with Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Yang, and with my counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and with our ambassador, former Senator Max Baucus, I can tell you that we are determined to choose the path of peace and prosperity and cooperation and, yes, even competition, but not conflict. When the United States and China work with each other, we both stand to gain a great deal. And that’s why we are committed to a new model of relations, of great country relationship, a mutually beneficial relationship in which we cooperate in areas of common interest and constructively manage the differences.

Now, I want to emphasize -- I mentioned this last night in our conversations at dinner -- when I read some of the commentary about the United States and China, when I listen to some of the so-called experts, and they talk to us about our relationship, too many of them suggest that somehow the United States is trying to contain China, or that things that we choose to do in this region are directed at China. Let me emphasize to you today the United States does not seek to contain China. We welcome the emergence of a peaceful, stable, prosperous China that contributes to the stability and the development of the region, and that chooses to play a responsible role in world affairs. We may differ on one issue or another. But when we make that difference, do not interpret it as an overall strategy. It is a difference of a particular choice. And we need to be able to continue to put the importance of this relationship, the world's two largest economies, we need to be able to understand the importance that we will play in choices for countries all across this planet.

President Obama sent a letter to the American and Chinese delegations here today. And in that letter he writes: “We should use the S&ED to demonstrate to the world that even in a relationship as complex as ours we remain determined to ensure that cooperation defines the overall relationship. It also is why we need to build our relationship around common challenges, mutual responsibilities, and shared interests, even while we candidly address our differences.” Both President Obama and President Xi remain committed to building a long-term partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect. And I thank President Xi for his statement today making that absolutely clear.

Over the next two days our countries will exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges. The depth of our relationship is evident in our wide-ranging strategic track agenda, whether it’s working towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear issue; advancing the political solution to the crisis of Syria; or promoting peace in Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan. When the opportunities for a positive, open, and constructive relationship between the United States and China grow, the possibilities for peace and prosperity in the world grow even more.

As the world’s two largest economies, our futures are inextricably entwined. No politician, no leader, could possibly put the genie of globalization back into the bottle. What we need to do is learn how to manage it. And we have to tame the worst effects of it, and put the best possibilities of it to use for all of us. If China succeeds in rebalancing its economy, the global economy will benefit and so will we. That is why China’s progress towards a consumption-driven, market-based economy is so important.

Ultimately, the true measure of our success will not be just whether our countries grow, but how our countries grow. And that is one area where we have made real strides in the deepening of our relationship on climate change and clean energy. On my last visit to China I saw with my own eyes what’s possible when we work together. We visited the Joint Foton-Cummins clean engine facility here in Beijing, and I saw that we’re not just transforming the way we use and produce energy. We also saw that we are creating jobs, we are building clean engines, and strengthening our economies.

As part of our Climate Change Working Group, we’ve already launched five initiatives to zero in on some of the key drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. So, step by step, we are shifting our focus from the difficulty of compromise to the inescapable reality of a clean energy future. The solution to climate change is energy policy. And energy, as a market, is the biggest market the world has ever seen. So we both are sharing an enormous economic opportunity, even as we are looking at the possibility of providing jobs for our people, having healthier societies, cleaner air, and greater energy security for the long-term future.

The truth is that providing solutions to the challenge of our energy policies is not a brake, it is not a restraint on economic growth. It (inaudible) economic growth. It is the engine of economic growth. So, the importance of this dialogue that we are having these two days really couldn’t be any clearer. I’m confident that the next two days are going to be productive, we are going to build on the dialogue that we have achieved over the course of the last five years. And, despite our differences, our two nations have the ability to find common ground. That is the foundation on which we need to build decades of prosperity in the future, and also build the possibilities of stability and peace at the same time. That is the road that President Obama commits us to follow, and that is the road that we look forward to defining with you, not just in these next two days, but over these next months and years together.
Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY LEW: I would like to express our appreciation to President Xi, Vice Premier Wang, Councilor Yang, and the colleagues (inaudible) dedication on both sides for the -- so much effort into making this S&ED a success. And I would particularly like to thank Vice Premier Wang. He champions China's interests while working (inaudible) to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive bilateral economic relationship with the United States.
As President Xi Jinping just noted, since the United States and China first established diplomatic relations 35 years ago, economic relations between our two countries has grown beyond what anyone could have imagined. The U.S. and China trade exceeded $520 billion last year, 200 times the trade 35 years ago, which was then less than $3 billion.

We meet for the sixth round of the S&ED with the common goal of advancing economic opportunities for our workers and countries. As the world's two largest economies, we both depend on open, global trading, a system in which workers and companies can compete on a level playing field. It is our shared interest to foster productivity growth through research and innovation, to protect intellectual property, preserve open markets, and to build a more stable global financial system that is less prone to crisis.

In their historic meeting (inaudible) last June, President Barack Obama and President Xi agreed to build a bilateral relationship defined by practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, while constructively managing differences. Their commitment marked an important (inaudible) point in the U.S.-China relationship, a chance to work together to establish the rules of the road that will mutually benefit our two nations, the Asia-Pacific Region, and the global economy.

It is the responsibility of great nations to rise to this challenge, and I am confident that both countries have the necessarily agility and resolve to achieve the vision of our two presidents. In the United States the economic recovery has continued to strengthen in 2013. Over the past 52 months, American businesses have created over 9.7 million new jobs, the longest period of job growth in our history. And June's employment numbers mark the first time since January 2000 that we have seen total job growth above 200,000 for 5 straight months.

These (inaudible) strengthen and further (inaudible) and household balance sheets in the housing market continue (inaudible). Of course, the Great Recession was deep, and there is still work to do. But we continue to see a strengthening recovery in the United States. Our economy and our people have once again proven their resilience and determination.
China is in the process of undertaking major economic reforms, recognizing that future economic growth requires a fundamental shift in economic policy, has laid out (inaudible) in November of last year. We welcome this commitment and China's economic growth. A prosperous China that grows in ways consistent with international rules and norms will contribute to the strong, sustainable, and balanced growth of the global economy. We support China's effort to allow the market to play a more decisive role in the economy and rely more on household consumption to drive China's economic growth. Moving to a market-determined exchange rate will be a crucial step, and we look forward to working with China as it deepens financial reforms and becomes more integrated with the global financial system.
The United States and China combined comprise (inaudible) half of the world's GDP. The United States-China bilateral relationship will, in large part, help shape the 21st century. And it is critical for us to continue building on our areas of economic cooperation and work together to tackle the challenges. We do not always agree, but our (inaudible) common interests are far more important than the individual challenges that we confront as part of our overall bilateral relationship.

The Strategic and Economic Dialogue has led to important tangible results for both sides, and I am sure that we will continue to make concrete progress during the sixth round. We look forward to working diligently and cooperatively and sincerely over the next two days, as we address the challenges that we face, and we build a strong foundation for continued cooperation with the United States. Thank you. (Applause.)

STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (Via translator) Secretary John Kerry, Secretary Jack Lew, Vice Premier Wang, friends, ladies, and gentlemen, let me, first of all, express my warm welcome to Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and all other Chinese and U.S. colleagues present here.
President Xi Jinping's important remarks just now offered us many inspirations from the strategic perspective. He revealed the precious experience in the development of China-U.S. relations over the past 35 years, since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, and set out the blueprint for promoting a new type of major country relationship. Secretary Kerry also mentioned the great message from President Obama, which also provided important guidance to us. The two presidents have explicitly urged us to make this sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue a successful one. The mission of this round of dialogue is focusing on the theme of creating a new model of major country relationship, to have (inaudible) straightforward discussions on a number of major strategic issues of common interest, to actively explore converging interests, reduce misunderstanding and suspicion, and expand consensus and cooperation, and to facilitate as many outcomes as possible so as to provide positive energy and a new impetus to our bilateral relations.

As part of the S&ED, the strategic dialogue, or dialogue on the strategic track, is an important platform for the two sides to build strategic consensus, avoid strategic misjudgement, and expand strategic cooperation. Since its launch in 2009, the Strategic Dialogue has produced over 200 deliverables, as well as a number of new mechanisms, including the strategic security dialogue, the Asia Pacific consultations, and a climate change working group. I am confident that, under the common guidance of the two presidents and these joint efforts (inaudible), this round of strategic dialogue will achieve new consensus and more outcomes.

We need to increase mutual understanding and trust for this round of strategic dialogue. We will have in-depth exchange of views on our bilateral relations with respect to Asia-Pacific policies, and the major regional and international issues of economic interest. I believe this will help both sides understand each other's strategic intention in a more accurate and comprehensive way, and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgement.

We need to reduce and resolve differences for the dialogue. China and the United States (inaudible). We have extensive and (inaudible) common interests, which have become much more (inaudible) over the past 35 years. (Inaudible) changes in the international situation have presented China and the United States (inaudible). Meanwhile, we also have differences and disagreements which should be managed on the basis of mutual respect and (inaudible) differences, and in a constructive way through dialogue, rather than confrontation.
China is happy to continue its discussions with the United States on this matter, and prevent any unintended disruption (inaudible) of our relations. (Inaudible) highlights (inaudible) on the ground. A new model of major country relationship (inaudible) strategic dialogue (inaudible) mechanisms within this framework (inaudible) and continue to enrich our bilateral relations for the benefit of our two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, to build a new model of major country relationship between China and the United States has now become an important (inaudible). This process will not be successful overnight, nor will (inaudible) smooth sailing. What is needed is spirit of (inaudible) of making this round of S&ED successful. Let us work together to continue (inaudible) relationship between China and the United States. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: (Via translator) This is the end of the Joint Opening Session of the sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue.