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Radio Address to the Nation on the President's Trip to Indonesia and Japan

May 04, 1986

Greetings from Tokyo. I'm here for the 12th annual meeting of 7 major industrialized democracies. I flew here last night after a meeting in Indonesia with some of America's close friends and energetic trading partners. During my stay there, I conferred with President Soeharto of Indonesia on a number of issues of common interest to our countries. President Soeharto has led his country during a period of impressive economic growth. Over the last 15 years the annual increase in Indonesia's gross national product has averaged 6.8 percent. The Indonesian people have reaped the rewards of a higher standard of living.

While in Indonesia I also met with the foreign ministers of six countries which make up the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Brunei have joined together in one of the most successful and admirable regional groupings in the developing world. Our relations with these ASEAN countries exemplify the mutual benefits that can be derived from close and open relations among free and enterprising peoples. Over the last two decades ASEAN countries committed to free trade and open markets have had some of the highest growth rates in the world. Commerce between us has created a host of jobs on both sides of the Pacific. The sound management of their economic affairs enable the ASEAN countries to weather much of the turbulence experienced in other parts of the world.

On the eve of the economic summit here in Tokyo, there was much to talk over with our ASEAN friends. One of the issues of concern to us all, and a subject I expect to discuss in detail at the economic summit, is the growing pressure for protectionism to shut world markets. Unfettered commerce has been a mighty force for growth and prosperity since the close of the Second World War. Our open trading system has kept America efficient and on the cutting edge of technology. While free trade means change and progress, protectionism invariably leads to stagnation and decline. Well, Americans aren't going to be left behind by anyone. But like our friends in ASEAN, we want to make certain that free trade is not a one-way proposition, that markets are open in all countries, and that other governments do not unfairly subsidize their exports. I assured our ASEAN friends that the United States will continue to fight tradekilling protectionism and aggressively pursue open markets and trade that is free and fair. There is no reason to doubt America's ability to compete, no reason to lack confidence in our working men and women and our corporate leaders. When everyone plays with the same rules, our people have what it takes: the ingenuity, the hard work, and the integrity to compete with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Economic challenges remain. At the summit we will discuss interrelated problems of growth, debt, trade, and finance. The fundamental strength of the economies of our summit partners will be a major focus of our discussions. At the same time, however, we will address the situation of debtor countries. Growth-oriented structural reforms in developing countries and the opening of their economies to international trade and investment is the path to progress. It's up to the industrialized democracies to lead the way.

The summit will also serve as a forum for discussion of critical noneconomic issues: the environment and terrorism, for example. Poet John Donne once wrote that "No man is an island." Well, when it comes to terrorism, no country is a fortress. The death of innocent people at the hands of terrorists, then, is everybody's business, a threat to the liberty and well-being of all free people. Here in Tokyo I'll be talking with the leaders of the other industrialized democracies about what must be done in response to terrorism, especially state-sponsored terrorism. We must and will stand as one against the enemies of civilization.

Seldom has the interdependence of modern industrial States been more evident than this past week. All Americans, indeed the entire world, sympathize with those affected by the tragedy at Chernobyl. We stand ready, as do many nations, to assist in any way we can. But the contrast between the leaders of free nations meeting at the summit to deal openly with common concerns and the Soviet Government, with its secrecy and stubborn refusal to inform the international community of the common danger from this disaster, is stark and clear. The Soviets' handling of this incident manifests a disregard for the legitimate concerns of people everywhere. A nuclear accident that results in contaminating a number of countries with radioactive material is not simply an internal matter. The Soviets owe the world an explanation. A full accounting of what happened at Chernobyl and what is happening now is the least the world community has a right to expect.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:35 a.m. from the Hotel Okura in Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Economic Summit Conference Statement: Looking Forward to a Better Future May 5, 1986

1. We, the Heads of State or Government of seven major industrial nations and the representatives of the European Community, with roots deep in the civilizations of Europe and Asia, have seized the opportunity of our meeting at Tokyo to raise our sights not just to the rest of this century but into the next as well. We face the future with confidence and determination, sharing common principles and objectives and mindful of our strengths.

2. Our shared principles and objectives, reaffirmed at past Summits, are bearing fruit. Nations surrounding the Pacific are thriving dynamically through free exchange, building on their rich and varied heritages. The countries of Western Europe, the Community members in particular, are flourishing by raising their cooperation to new levels. The countries of North America, enriched by European and Asian cultures alike, are firm in their commitment to the realization in freedom of human potential. Throughout the world we see the powerful appeal of democracy and growing recognition that personal initiative, individual creativity and social justice are main sources of progress. More than ever we have all to join our energies in the search for a safer and healthier, more civilized and prosperous, free and peaceful world. We believe that close partnership of Japan, North America and Europe will make a significant contribution toward this end.

3. We reaffirm our common dedication to preserving and strengthening peace, and as part of that effort, to building a more stable and constructive relationship between East and West. Each of us is ready to engage in cooperation in fields of common interest. Within existing alliances, each of us is resolved to maintain a strong and credible defence that can protect freedom and deter aggression, while not threatening the security of others. We know the peace cannot be safeguarded by military strength alone. Each of us is committed to addressing East-West differences through high-level dialogue and negotiation. To that end, each of us supports balanced, substantial and verifiable reductions in the level of arms; measures to increase confidence and reduce the risks of conflicts; and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Recalling the agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union to accelerate work at Geneva, we appreciate the United States' negotiating efforts and call on the Soviet Union also to negotiate positively. In addition to these efforts, we shall work for improved respect for the rights of individuals throughout the world.

4. We proclaim our conviction that in today's world, characterized by ever increasing interdependence, our countries cannot enjoy lasting stability and prosperity without stability and prosperity in the developing world and without the cooperation among us which can achieve these aims. We pledge ourselves afresh to fight against hunger, disease and poverty, so that developing nations can also play a full part in building a common, bright future.

5. We owe it to future generations to pass on a healthy environment and a culture rich in both spiritual and material values. We are resolved to pursue effective international action to eliminate the abuse of drugs. We proclaim our commitment to work together for a world which respects human beings in the diversity of their talents, beliefs, cultures and traditions. In such a world based upon peace, freedom and democracy, the ideals of social justice can be realized and employment opportunities can be available for all. We must harness wisely the potential of science and technology, and enhance the benefits through cooperation and exchange. We have a solemn responsibility so to educate the next generation as to endow them with the creativity befitting the twenty-first century and to convey to them the value of living in freedom and dignity.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the President's Trip to Indonesia and Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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