President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Hello!
Nhk Broadcasting Corporation Reporter Ammy Hideo: Dear Dmitry Anatolevich. Russia is actively returning to global politics and the global economy. Soon you will visit our country to participate in the G8 summit, which will discuss how to confront global challenges. These problems include a global food crisis, global energy security and global warming. Tell me please, what is Russia's position on these issues and what specific steps and proposals do you plan to make at the G8 summit?
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Our position on global challenges is evident in many ways: global challenges must be fought together. No nation is able to cope with them alone, no matter how strong, powerful, or influential it may be. Therefore, global challenges must receive a global response. And in this sense the G8 summit is an opportunity for leaders of the world's largest economies to harmonise their positions and make recommendations to address these global problems.
All those problems that you described currently pose a threat to humanity. If we take a problem such as climate change, it is quite obvious that today humanity has reached a threshold beyond which very complex, sometimes irreversible climatic processes occur. And our task consists not only in ensuring an ongoing, normal life, but also thinking about future generations. Therefore, climate issues, environmental issues are at the absolute centre of our attention and will remain there.
Naturally, we must approach this problem in a balanced way, and not only think about how to ensure the actual reduction of the emissions into the atmosphere, reducing the greenhouse effect, but also think about our programme for the future. And this, probably, represents the main difficulty because each country is going about fighting climate change in its own way, and far from all countries are participating in an important tool like the Kyoto Protocol. And if we think about the post-Kyoto period, that is beyond 2012, then we must assume that all major economies will act to protect our future. Only in this way can we succeed. We can not divide different states, different economies. We must strive to reduce emissions through joint efforts.
The next global challenge is food security. This is very complicated problem, which originally was not part of the agenda for discussion at the summit in Hokkaido.
The problem is that today we have overproduction of food in some states and an acute shortage in others — this is the first aspect.
And the second. There was a sharp, in fact, extreme increase in the price of individual food items. Observers cite different reasons, but most analysts agree that we are talking about erroneous decisions related to the use of large parts of agricultural land to grow biofuels, using genetically modified products in a number of cases where it is not necessary to do so, and promoting these goods worldwide, as well as an increase in demand that is visible in many countries.
In many ways the responses to this crisis are obvious. We need to produce more food and in some situations directly help states that are in very difficult situations, and change the international system of regulation in this area.
The third big problem is the global financial crisis. It is obvious that the existing regulatory system, which was created a long time ago, was not prepared to deal with something like the complexities of global financial markets. What has started in one country spread to other countries rather quickly, creating problems of cash flow, liquidity, inflation and with a number of major mortgage programmes.
I have several conclusions. First of all, we need a new financial architecture, a new system, maybe even organizations, that deal with financial relations on an international scale. On the other hand, there must be support not only for one global currency, but also the development of other reserve currencies, including regional ones, in order to ensure that the global economy does not suffer because of the weakness of the dollar, but is stabilised by the presence of other international currencies.
And, finally, the last thing I mentioned. In this type of relations economic selfishness is not possible: it is imperative that the world's major players take a reasonable position, refrain from closing the borders of their state, and understand the impact that such behaviour could have on the entire global financial and economic system. This is the subject of international negotiations.
I will discuss all these issues with my partners in the G8.
Kyodo Tsushinsha News Agency Reporter Miyake Toshiaki:
Dear Mr President, thank you for having us.
In Japan, people consider that the absence of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan prevents the advancement of Japanese business and investment in Russia. Given the agreement between our countries, including the Joint Declaration of the Soviet Union and Japan in 1956 and the Tokyo Declaration of 1993, what should be done by Russia and Japan to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to the territorial question?
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. You know, the absence of a peace treaty and the unresolved border problem certainly hinder the development of our relations. But we should neither exaggerate nor forget about this topic. It should occupy a reasonable place in our relations.
What does this mean? In recent years, our economic ties have developed very well. Our trade grew a great deal – to 20-odd billion dollars. Large-scale investments grew, and we have made large investments in major projects. I can not fail to mention the recent decision to allocate five billions dollars to the Sakhalin-2 project, and a very large number of other instances. We cannot but be happy about all this. And it shows how high the potential of economic cooperation between Russia and Japan actually is.
We have developed human contacts, social ties, cultural and educational projects. This is all very interesting and exciting. I recently visited the exhibit, which is currently being shown in the Kremlin, on the history of Japanese samurai. It's interesting and useful.
As for the border issues and the relevant treaty, we have a legal framework to address these issues. Consideration of these themes is not proceeding very quickly, but the main thing here is not to rush the situation, but rather to create a positive background in order to address these issues.
As a rule, attempts to race ahead eventually backfire, and for that reason we should consider the issue calmly, and concentrate on giving a positive impetus to our discussions on the basis of the agreements that you just mentioned. That's what I expect to do and it is what we talked during my meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Mr Fukuda.
Ammy Hideo: To come back to the issue of the food crisis.
Dmitry Medvedev: Please go ahead.
Ammy Hideo: Russia is an exporter of food, wheat and so on. What steps have already been taken to alleviate the crisis?
And another question on the issue of peace and security. These issues are now extremely relevant. They include issues of non-proliferation. For us the nuclear dossier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the U.S. missile defence system in Europe, and NATO enlargement to Russia's borders are very important. Obviously, these issues weave together the interests of many countries, including ours, those of Russia and Japan.
In this regard, it would be extremely important to know the views of Russia's leader on these issues. What do you need to know in order to assuage concerns and overcome differences? How do you see these issues and does your vision of these problems differ from the vision of your predecessor, Mr Vladimir Putin?
Dmitry Medvedev: I'll start with food security. We constantly make decisions on providing assistance and support to various countries affected by drought and lack of food. Both countries the near abroad and further afield, including African countries.
In addition, such support is also based on the global decisions that we take. Recently, we have written off debts, especially to African states and several others, that amount to about 16 billion dollars. Naturally, this kind of eases the burden — the burden of obligations — and helps in resolving the current financial and food problems.
In addition, I think that at the G8 summit and later on in other forums, we should review the ongoing support measures for the most affected countries, countries where there is in general a clear shortage of food. Such decisions will be made in a targeted fashion. And the funds for this already exist. We think that it would work well to do this on the basis of relevant United Nations organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization. But it is possible to use other forums as well.
Now the second question. There are a large number of international problems that cannot but worry us, and on which we need continuous consultations with our partners. Some of these problems did not appear today, and some of them emerged more recently.
I'll begin with North Korea's nuclear programme. This is an issue that we all have been worried about for quite a while now, and maybe it represents an example that under certain circumstances, with goodwill and effective international mediation, the problem can be resolved, or substantially alleviated. The recent consultations with all parties concerned have shown that developments in this field exist. Our Korean partners have taken several steps, encouraging ones, including the dismantling of several nuclear facilities. I believe that we should have a system of positive incentives designed to motivate different states, including North Korea, to perform the correct actions. And we are ready to continue to participate in this process.
We fulfill our obligations in this field in a detailed and serious manner and supply certain consumers in Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with fuel in accordance with those agreements which we have.
I think that the other participants in the talks are also fulfilling their responsibilities. In general, I believe that certain positive developments exist. This inspires hope for a favourable settlement on the Korean peninsula. It seems to me that this is an example in which this kind of problem is moving in the right direction. We have other challenges facing us and where, in our view, things are moving in the wrong direction. And in this regard, I must mention what you said, the issue of a third missile defence region in Europe, the issue of an updated, renewed or adapted, as they say, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe — the CFE Treaty — and several other programmes that we currently consider to be opposed to the interests of Russia. In this regard, I cannot help but mention NATO enlargement, because all these decisions do not strengthen security in Europe, but rather pose additional problems.
We are not applying additional forces to these issues nor getting hysterical, but simply saying openly to our partners that the situation in Europe is not being strengthened by this. It would be much better to create a new contractual framework for ensuring security in Europe by holding a large European summit which would be attended by all European nations, as well as the entire range of bloc and non-bloc organizations, and subsequently conclude a relevant treaty on European security. This is already far better than creating another third, fourth or fifth element of a missile defence system.
And if the issue is missile defence, then it is better to do this together, rather than through separate networking and exclusive relationships with individual nations of Europe. Because all the same global security on the European continent and indeed anywhere in the world can be achieved only with a joint monitoring system and joint answers to challenges and the dangers that come from several regions. We are ready for such negotiations.
Foreign policy is constructed for years ahead and should not depend on the tastes and preferences of any one person, even if that person is the President. Therefore, there is nothing that will change with regards to the predictability and consistency of our policy. And it is quite obvious that our foreign policy will be just as pragmatic, predictable and aimed at protecting Russian interests as it was under my predecessor, President Putin.
Miyake Toshiaki: Dear Dmitry Anatolevich, if we look at Russian-Japanese cooperation, cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy looks especially promising. What do you think about this? Is there any possibility of signing a Russian-Japanese intergovernmental agreement on the peaceful usage of nuclear energy during the G8 summit in Hokkaido?
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. Naturally, this is a very important sphere of cooperation for our mutual interests, especially since we are all concerned about future energy security. This is also one of the topics that will be discussed at the G8. Nuclear power and nuclear energy are very promising spheres. We have good relations in this field. The relevant groups really are meeting. Just recently we held a plenary meeting and were preparing an intergovernmental agreement on this topic.
The document is being prepared, but I don't think that we will manage to finish it before the G8 and my visit. We would like to see this happen as soon as possible. What is most important here is to produce a high quality document that will guide our cooperation for years ahead. I think that both our Japanese colleagues and Russian structures that deal with this issue are also interested in this. I am optimistic on this account
I wish to convey to your readers and your audience my warmest wishes for success and good health!
I am looking forward to my visit to Japan. I think that it is good for our bilateral relations and, naturally, we will discuss the global problems which we just discussed together, dear colleagues.