Skip to main content

tv   Secretary of State Blinken Testifies on Diplomacy  CSPAN  April 27, 2022 2:41am-6:08am EDT

2:41 am
2:42 am
sen. menendez: mr. secretary,
2:43 am
welcome back to the committee. we appreciate you being with us today. as we look across the world from cuba to mali to russia, authoritarians are crushing free speech, lysing technology to control their citizens, relying on mercenaries and illicit weapons to target civilians and topple governments. this is a confrontation between autocrats and those of us fighting for a rules-based international order, democracy, and human rights around the world. our diplomats and development professionals and our budget for these efforts, which we are examining, are our front lines in this fight. i'd like to take a moment to highlight some of our most pressing areas of concern. in europe, we must maintain
2:44 am
absolute unity, as president biden has said, and i believe your recent trip to kyiv to show support for president volodymyr zelenskyy and the ukrainian people and to continue shining a light on russia's military brazen abusive civilians that certainly amount to war crimes was a critical display of that unity, and we salute you for the visit. more broadly, this means countering russian aggression with security assistance that aligns with our foreign policy, combating disinformation and election interference, delivering humanitarian relief, and helping neighboring countries with the influx of ukrainian refugees fleeing. we have a responsibility to the american people and ukrainians to ensure we are effectively spending the $13.6 billion package congress approved in march.
2:45 am
with a minor increase in foreign military financing funds, i'd like to hear the plans for countries on nato's eastern flank, and taiwan, for that fact, which is facing a similar threat. xi ching ping -- jinping's hyper nationalism is at a pitch around the globe. bilaterally and through robust presence and through international institutions. authoritarianism threatens latin america and the caribbean, a part of the world hit hard by the covid pandemic. from venezuela to nicaragua, we are seeing the weaponization of hunger and migration all as
2:46 am
maduro carries out systematic, extrajudicial executions. an epidemic of criminal violence stretching from haiti to el salvador is fueling a migration crisis. the americas host 18.4 million displaced people. this budget is a good down payment, but more will be needed to address these challenges across the hemisphere. countering authoritarianism requires serious investment across africa where moscow has reasserted itself, and democracy seems on the retreat. civilians from the central african republican to mali have paid a heavy price with wagoner mercenaries reportedly committing human rights abuses, and despite concerted efforts by the administration, the
2:47 am
democratic -- democratic aspirations of the sudanese people have yet to be realized. i'm expecting an update on what is happening with the jcpoa, negotiations with iran. we were told february was the date we needed to conclude an agreement. it is the end of april. we look forward to hearing about that, as well as iran's malign actions across the region. i'm pleased that funding for israel is fully funded in this request, but i am concerned by security cuts in iraq as we transition to bilateral diplomacy. in tunisia, we'd love to hear a strategy confronting democratic backsliding, and in south and central asia, we need clarity on whether the administration will waive sanctions for india's purchase of the russian air
2:48 am
defense system, and what role will they play in the quad? in the wake of the taliban's broken promise to allow girls to attend secondary school, their crackdown on the media, and the unfolding humanitarian situation, we need an update on the administration's diplomatic strategy. we are facing multiple humanitarian challenges, refugee crises on several continents, one of the worst food and security crises we've seen in a generation. considering this, i do not think the administration's budget request reflects current global realities. the united states must elevate the needs of women, girls and other at-risk populations. we must document war crimes. climate change is a force multiplier, which will exacerbate humanitarian crises and conflicts around the world. it requires us to rethink how we prepare for the future, from the
2:49 am
energy crisis in europe and ukraine, to increasing sea level , severe weather, and drought, including with working multilateral to help countries push sustainable and clean energy solutions. we must think about how to better detect and prevent future pandemics. i want to applaud the departments push to modernize and increase diversity by adding internships, a chief diversity and inclusion officer across foreign affairs agencies, and equity strategies and our policies and programs, including the high-level representative on racial equity. the senate foreign relations committee has taken steps to join in the effort. i want to congratulate the department on launching the bureau for cyberspace and digital policy, which will be essential for cyber and technology issues. there is a lot to discuss. we look forward to hearing your thoughts and how you see the department tackling these issues and the challenges we face as a
2:50 am
nation. i certainly want to say that we appreciate your service to the country, and let me turn to the distinguished ranking member, senator risch. sen. risch: thank you for visiting us today, and on a personal note, thank you for visiting senator menendez and i earlier and giving us your thoughts on the systems operating in ukraine appeared as the world becomes more dangerous, we need the state department to prioritize national security diplomacy and effectively spend taxpayer money to defend u.s. interests. it is time for the department to rebalance its risk calculus and get diplomats back in the field, particularly in ukraine, to compete against adversaries across the globe. in certain places like china, the administration appears to be recalcitrant and giving up the privileges and immunities that keep them and their families safe in order to appease
2:51 am
beijing's response to covid. i have heard reports of diplomats forced into government-run fever hospitals and being forced to take medical tests for no reason. in response, the administration has not moved on this, and it should. against this backdrop, we've been asked to consider whether the funding priorities set out in the president's fy 23 budget request a line with our most pressing interests. just as last year, there are bright spots. for example, while i have concerns about the ambiguous request for 6.5 billion dollars in mandatory spending, i appreciate the emphasis on global security within the discretionary budget. chairman menendez and i continue to advance legislation to improve international pandemic preparedness response, and i urge the administration to help us align those efforts. i am disappointed by the failure to present a concrete proposal
2:52 am
for u.s. food aid i am, however, pleased to hear that the president is open to ideas. let's get to work on that. the request continues a destructive pattern of asking for more resources to advance policies that run counter to u.s. interests, including for energy projects utilizing slave labor, providing billions of dollars to an unaccountable green fund. this budget request undercuts security in humanitarian assistance. mr. secretary, i am further glad that you and secretary austin went to kyiv to show u.s. support for ukraine. our embassy needs to open up again. all our european partners are already back. we need people on the ground in
2:53 am
ukraine to help ukraine meet its needs immediately, and i was impressed by your description of what you found there that would open the door for us to reopen our embassy. despite the unprecedented military assistance the u.s. and allies have sent, there is more we can do.the tenor of this war has changed, and ukraine needs different items than they needed one month ago. i urge the administration to transfer more advanced capabilities, including u.s.-origin multiple rocket launch systems and antiship cruise missiles, among other things, and i was impressed with what you reported to us in confidence this morning. during the korean and vietnam war, russia provided our enemies with aircraft and trained the enemy's pilots. it is high time we returned that favor. we must see expedited production of systems for our allies and
2:54 am
expand humanitarian assistance. it is time to act aggressively, not perform another deep dive that will take months to complete. after its victory in ukraine -- after its victory, ukraine will need support to rebuild the country. the state department should plan for this undertaking, which will require participation from the entire civilized world. this relates to the u.s.'s response to china's ambitions, the most important challenge facing us today. we started too late in providing security assistance to ukraine. we cannot make the same mistake with taiwan. supporting an island during a war will be much more difficult. we must support existing sales to taiwan, and we should use security assistance to help taiwan acquire additional capabilities.
2:55 am
in march, chairman menendez and i spearheaded an effort to get funding into the appropriate package for security assistance to taiwan. i agree with senator shelby's comments that we should spend more to help with taiwan's defense. secretary blinken, i hope you can commit to that in today's hearing. turning to the middle east, it is clear that america's relationship with our middle east partners is in desperate need of work. these are long-term partnerships we need to maintain. instead of america as a steadfast partner, our friends have seen increasingly restrictive security assistance policies, the botched afghanistan withdrawal, a failed iran approach, and a lukewarm embrace of the abraham accords. the biden administration's policies have reinforced a claim of american disengagement and pushed our long-standing partners towards china and
2:56 am
russia. this cannot happen. we see a lack of sanctions enforcement. while the administration is not encouraging normalization with assad, it is clear there are no repercussions for others doing so. we cannot ignore this or teach the world that a desperate and murderer can be rehabilitated just by hanging on for a long period of time. members of congress have expressed disagreement joining the 2015 accord. to accomplish this, you need to get it right. from what we are being told right now, you are in the
2:57 am
process of getting it wrong, again. no other issue divides this administration from congress and u.s. allies than this issue. if you can't get it right, and it looks like you are not, walk away. that will be a victory, and you will be applauded for that. no agreement is far better than a bad one. israel will see that iran never completes a nuclear weapon to. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. menendez: mr. secretary, the floor is yours. your full statement will be included without objection. could you put your microphone on? i don't think it is on. how's that? sec. blinken: mr. chairman, ranking member, it is good to be with you, to be with every member of this committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the administration's proposed budget
2:58 am
for the state department. i just returned from kyiv with defense secretary lloyd austin where we demonstrated the united states' commitment to the government and to the people of ukraine. i have to tell you, the trip left an indelible impression a. we had a chance to talk about it before the hearing. as we took the train across the border and rode westward, we saw mile after mile of ukrainian countryside, territory that a couple of months ago the russian government thought that it could cease in a matter of weeks, today, firmly ukraine's. in kyiv, we saw the signs of a vibrant city coming back to life, people eating outside, sitting on benches, strolling. it was right in front of us. ukrainians have won the battle for kyiv.
2:59 am
for all the suffering they have endured, for all the carnage that russia's brutal invasion continues to inflict, ukraine was and will continue to be a free and independent country. it's impossible not to be moved by what the ukrainians have achieved. it is also impossible not to believe that they will keep succeeding because they know why they fight. seeing this, i have to tell you i felt some pride in what the united states has done to support the ukrainian government and its people and a firmer conviction that we must not let up. moscow's more of you gresh and -- war of aggression has underscored the purpose of american diplomacy. it is rallying partners around the world to support ukraine with security and humanitarian assistance, imposing massive costs on the kremlin, strengthening our collective defense,we have to continue to e
3:00 am
that diplomacy forward to seize what i believe are strategic opportunities as well as address risks as countries are reconsidering their policies, priorities, relationships. the budget request before you created this crisis. fully funding it critical in my judgment to ensuring russia's war on ukraine is a strategic failure and serves as a lesson to those who might consider following staff. as we are focused intently on the surge in prices, the state can -- department -- like responsibly managing competition with china, facilitating yemen and ethiopia, pushing back against the threat it p oses to human rights. we also face challenges to
3:01 am
develop new capabilities such as the emergence and reemergence of infectious disease and accelerating climate crisis, of course the digital revolution that holds promise and peril. last fall i had the opportunity to check out a modernization agenda for the department. to respond to these complex demands. thanks to the fy 22 budget we have been able to make real progress on this agenda. to give just a few examples, we have strengthened our capacity to protect our interest, boost our competitiveness and upholds our values with bipartisan group -- congressional support, we launch the new bureau for cyberspace and digital policy. i am grateful to the committee for long supporting this effort for the ideas you shared and how best to do it.
3:02 am
we are making headway on the ensuring diplomats have diversity. it is one of our greatest strengths including our diplomacy. we have our first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer spearheading an effort to analyze and address the obstacles that prevent underrepresented groups. we created for the first time thanks to the support of congress and this committee paid internships along with strong congressional and put -- input. we recently welcomed a new cohort of 179 exceptional foreign service professionals. that is putting the department on track towards longest -- largest annual intake in a decade. these and other reforms are not just worthwhile, they are essential to our national security and delivering the people we represent.
3:03 am
today's meeting marked by our county 100 time i've had an opportunity to brief congress. that is one of the ways i made in my confirmation to restore congress's role in policymaking and revitalizing the state department. ensuring that we could deliver on the agenda we require sustained funding, new authorities, maybe most important of all partnership problem congress. that is why i am grateful for the term in ranking members request to establish a formal dialogue on state department authorization. a request we have delivered on and look forward to working in detail with the authorization process. if we want to deepen our capability in pandemic preparedness, if we want to expand on secretary powell's mission of the foreign service training club and equip our workforce with the training, tools, technology, we need some
3:04 am
different resources. if we want to stand up new missions and deploy diplomats when and where they are needed, make those decisions based on risk management, we need to reform the accountability review board section. that is laid out as well. if we want to rapidly scale up refugee surges, while also avoiding costly overhead we need more flexible and domestic. this is not advancing any one party, it is the purpose on the fellow citizens, livelihoods, security for decades to come. i appreciate this opportunity to appreciate why this matters and looking forward to making this congress as a whole it for
3:05 am
partner. thank you. >> thank you mr. secretary for your opening statement. i will start with an opening round of questions. i will start myself. your visit to ukraine, i'm sure members of the committee will want to hear in terms of president zelenskyy's request for assistance both military and otherwise, are we aligned with his request? are we going to move forward and seek to fulfill his request? in that regard, what could you tell us about your several our meeting? sec. blinken: in short, yes. the ukrainians have the equipment they needed to repel
3:06 am
potential russian aggression before it started. the first drawdown was labor day of last year. a significant drawdown. the second one of about $200 million before christmas time. we are now on our eighth drawdown. indeed, their success is primarily because of their incredible courage and determination. it is also because we are able to put them with what they needed. we managed 30 allies and partners one way or another to provide 10 anti-armor system. there have been about 10 antiaircraft munitions of one kind or another. the nature of this battle is changing to eastern and southern ukraine. we spent a great deal of time with president zelenskyy, there
3:07 am
defense secretary going through what it is they believe they need to effectively prosecute the battle going forward. secretary austen is in germany today with 40 countries focused on making sure we are delivering ourselves or finding the countries to deliver what is ukrainians need. we can go in more detail on different settings. we are largely aligned on what they say they need and what we are able to provide. we are doing this very quickly. it is taken from the time of president beta drawdown into the hands of people who needed it. often, it is 72 hours from the time the equipment is actually in the hands. sen. menendez: based upon that, i would assume that the -- we will be looking at supplemental request.
3:08 am
this budget is drawn together before. i think there is bipartisan support for such a supplemental request. is that something we should be expecting? sec. blinken: yes it is. sen. menendez: as we move forward, my final question is keeping our allies engaged with us including the sanctions pressure on russia and continuing an all-out effort to try to tighten the noose around putin's neck, do you think we will be able to keep the allies on board? sec. blinken: we have had remarkable solidarity to date. one of the advantages is having a long lead on this. we saw this coming for some months as we are able to prepare.
3:09 am
back in october of next year president biden got together with the incoming chancellor as well as the outgoing chancellor. assured them in detailed information about the looming russian aggression. this concentrated minds on the need to spend several months working intensely with allies and partners. in december, we were able to say there would be consequences and mean it. there have. the challenge now is making sure we not only sustain that but we build on that. i believe we will. thank you. sen. menendez: let me turn to a different topic. you are a negotiator on the iran nuclear deal. back in february if there was no
3:10 am
deal, the benefits we would receive would be dramatically diminished. it is now the end of april, two months later. can you give us where we are at on that? importantly, can i get a commitment from you on holding an open iran hearing before the memorial day recess? sec. blinken: on the latter question, in short, yes. we will make sure we get that done. in terms of where we are without belaboring it, we had a very challenging situation. a program was galloping forward. malicious activities ramped up throughout the region. the decision to pull out of the agreement and the effort to exert maximum pressure, whatever the intent, did not produce
3:11 am
results. it produced a break outside from one year to a matter of weeks. i ran was acting with even more of a stabilizing effect including endangering and empowering horses in a way that we have to deal with. getting back into compliance with the agreement would be the best way to address the nuclear challenge and ensure i ran is already acting with incredible aggression and doesn't have the ability to produce a nuclear weapon on short notice area -- notice. sen. menendez: six months, which is what i hear is the ability to get into an agreement, a break outside is far less than it was and i understand why. it will do nothing in terms of iran's missile program. they say they have overmatched
3:12 am
in the region their abilities between themselves and their proxies. it will do nothing about the destabilization of the region. at the end of the day, i understand the breakout time now may be a matter of a week or two that at the end of the day, it is not going to meet the essential challenge that we have with iran. it has its missile capacities, it has the material capability whether we push it back six months or not in re-creating the sanctions regime's it were to violate. finally, the weaponization element of that, we believe they are not at. when you look at the totality of it, 2020 two is not 2014 or 2015.
3:13 am
sunsets are on the horizon even if a deal is to be made. that is part of the challenge i see. i appreciate your commitment to come before the committee. we will testify about that agreement. if there is no agreement, understand what is our strategy moving forward on iran? sen. risch: i didn't intend to start with iran but i will. you could see that there is little if any daylight between myself and the chairman on this issue. i think he stated for you, clearly, concisely as you can the lack of benefits to come to an agreement at this point in time, particularly as it relates to the bad activities of iran aside from its nuclear ambitions. as i have said, i believe that
3:14 am
the israelis that iran will never complete a nuclear weapon. the question for you is you think the iranians bring that today? sec. blinken: i think what we have seen and have assessed over many years is the iranians have sought to move forward with their material program, if we were to resume compliance, the stockpile of this material at the same time, their efforts to weaponized based on public information stock some years ago. we look very carefully to see if they resume. we will be focused on this like a cop -- hawk either way. it does not address their other
3:15 am
malicious activities. we have two premises. one is when it comes to those activities, things will be even worse if they had a nuclear weapon or ability to get one on short notice. second, an agreement where we could reach one does not take away in any way from our ability. we spent a lot of time working with them on exactly that. everything from sanctions to introductions to stopping the money flow. everything they need to produce these weapons. all of that would continue. sen. risch: it didn't really answer my question directly. at least some agreement with me that the iranians believe the israelis when they say what is going to happen if they moved towards weaponization. if that's the case, they will do
3:16 am
that. regardless of what the agreement says. we could make any agreement we want, they will act in their interest. we really need to focus on the other bad activities that iran engages in. this agreement i think you would have to agree doesn't cover that. it seems to me that this is what we should be focused on. no agreement is better than a bad agreement. i would urge you to move on. they have given us every indication that this would be appropriate for us to do and i would encourage you to do that. let's talk about ukraine for a moment. we have an ambassador in place in russia still on the ground. without disclosing any classified material, we'll could
3:17 am
you tell us about the cables that are coming back from russia about the conditions on the ground and what is happening that? could you would lighten in the sun that publicly? sec. blinken: it is very challenging because what who it has done over many years is set up a state propaganda system that is such that whatever he says, whatever he communicates, a lot of people believe. never mind the facts, never mind what is going on. penetrating that system is incredibly challenging. we are feeling the effects of the decision to attack ukraine. a port of 600 companies have left russia including many of the major consumer brands that we all know and are familiar
3:18 am
with. they're finding things they thought they could take for granted, they cannot. they cannot buy the things they cannot buy the things that have been used to buying. their economy is contracting. we see about a 15% contraction. the games of the last 15-20 years are being erased. that is being felt in people's lives. the ability to modernize key sectors of the economy, that is biting. all this will be more and more. there is a tension between the information and propaganda system that putin has set up that is very effective. i think the facts increasingly well encroach and make themselves felt. for now, we are seeing is russian people to the extent that they are informed continue to support for the most part president putin.
3:19 am
sen. risch: i would continue to tighten that screw, that will make a lot of difference as far as what actually happened. at least people publicly proclaimed that they support putin and want to go along with the war effort. i'm not so sure that actually exists privately. sec. blinken: there are severe penalties to doing -- to sing anything in opposition of putin's war. some portion of that is definitely colored by people being afraid to speak their mind. this hits to the heart of the achilles' heel. the inability of anybody to speak truth. this is severely misinformed putin himself about what is actually going on. sen. risch: we need to focus on china.
3:20 am
china's going to continue to be the major challenge that we have. but we have just gone through with ukraine, i think it is important that we walk and chew velvet the same time and understand the taiwan issue is that. we ought to be thinking about that as we go forward and obviously the chairman and i have worked on taiwan's defense. we will continue to do that. it is certainly important as we go forward. it is going to be another challenge. sen. menendez: let me follow-up first on one of the points, that is what is going on in russia. they recently arrested following in the path of what happened with alexei navalny. mr. secretary, i hope you will be following that case very closely.
3:21 am
recognizing those responsible for his illegal detention, we have tools available as a result. i hope that will be considered in regards to what is happening and will speak out strongly. sec. blinken: in short, yes. we appreciate your leadership or many years on this. including as part of the helsinki commission. we are very focused on this, making sure russia continues to be held to account for its human rights abuses in ukraine and in russia itself. sen. cardin: let me focus on ukraine for one moment. we sent you a letter in regards to the subcommittee on the state department in regards to returning our mission. you indicated that we are trying to comply with all of the requests being made by president zelenskyy. one is to have our mission locate began and kyiv.
3:22 am
it is critically important. we have a new ambassador that has been named. we recognize that you are doing some work but kyiv is the capital. could you tell the plans on returning the mission to kyiv and whether you will comply with the request being made that we have a briefing as to the steps necessary. sec. blinken: the short answer is yes. two things, we are sending diplomats back to ukraine this week. they will begin to assess how we could most effectively and securely reopen the embassy in k yiv. without going into too much detail, i anticipate we will be able to leave and head to kyiv.
3:23 am
we are moving forward on that. we want to have our embassy reopened. sen. cardin: let me switch to the war crimes issue. there was a report today as to the cooperation of the united states is getting in regards to the necessary evidence, the interview and what is necessary with how to proceed with war crimes against those who are perpetrating those in ukraine under mr. putin's guidance. could you tell us what additional steps we need to take ? we have a challenge in regards to the icc. holding dictionary -- there is accountability for those atrocities taking place in ukraine. sec. blinken: we are supporting
3:24 am
the work of the ukrainian prosecutor general to build the cases necessary. we are doing that with bringing tremendous expertise to support that effort. we have people on the ground in surrounding countries working on this. working with ukrainian investigators and prosecutors. we are collecting information that we will share with ukrainians. we have a commissioning cory through the united rights council with u.n. providing information, as that goes forward. finally, we welcome the fact that the icc is with us. we have in the past supported work by the icc. recently attracted the prosecution of a human rights violator. part of the information we
3:25 am
supplied to the icc, we will look to do that as well. sen. cornyn: if there's anything congress needs to do, we recognize the challenges you may have. if there is a role for us to play, please let us know. i think there is unanimous support in congress to make sure at the end of the day there is accountability for these atrocities and war crimes committed. let me go to the budget for one moment. you mentioned that you recently had 200 new foreign service officers. that is good news. the budget provides for an additional 570 personnel. we have been considered in the subcommittee in regards to the ability for training for our form services officials. you have to have a training float. we put in a 15% goal on the
3:26 am
training float that you could have individuals assigned for training without a loss or capacity. could you tell us how well we are doing in regards to meeting that objective and what additional resources are necessary to achieve that? sec. blinken: i really want to think congress, this committee, and the appropriators into giving us the resources we needed to bring in a record number of new people. this budget funds an additional 500 plus new positions. this allows us to have a float of 250 people, which would get us to pretty much where we need to be. this is something i have worked on for some time. an extremely meaningful way to
3:27 am
continuously train and modernize the department. allow people to have opportunities for training in different ways to expand their capacities with midcareer abilities to come your as well as universities, etc. to do that while maintaining the full operation of the department. the budget we are proposing would allow us to get the float we need to really move forward and have the flexibility for ensuring that we are continuously professionalizing the department. sec. blinken: the -- sen. cardin: you need to have the personnel, i'm glad to see we are on track to accomplish that. sen. romney: it is good to see you. appreciate your willingness to be here today.
3:28 am
in particular your visit to kyiv, making it clear, our commitment to the people of ukraine into its leadership. this falls on the heels of what i and many others feel was a disastrous departure from afghanistan. obviously the diplomatic, military, and human crisis continues. stories of people who work with us in afghanistan being murdered by the taliban. girls not being able to go to school. these things are very troubling. i and others were apprehensive with what we would do given how badly we dealt with the situation in afghanistan. credit where credit is due. i think you and the administration deserve a great deal of credit for how well we have acted, providing intelligence for our allies early on. collaborating with the allies on a united front and our military
3:29 am
support. overall, it has been a success so far. one of the headlines that came back was the purpose was to diminish the russian military capacity. that may be a byproduct. the people of ukraine have freedom and sovereignty which they deserve. one of the great challenges, you know they have a comprehensive strategy. china's economic power continues to rise. the navy is so daunting. they didn't have the -- they attempted to pacify the world. they monitor the world.
3:30 am
one of the things chairman menendez and i made part of the ndaa this past year requiring the administration to develop a comprehensive strategy. as a great power. and your department, along with other departments, will be tasked with that as soon as the national security strategy is released. i want to underscore how important that is and i do believe that we are still not making the kind of progress strategicly we would like to a nephron. i was concerned about the report of the solomon islands entering into a military agreement with china. that is alarming. i wonder if you have perspective on that, whether you know there is a military component agreements but will there be a military presence in the solomon island by the chinese? what is your sense of that and
3:31 am
is there a way of recovering? sec. blinken: thank you, senator romney. with regard to the strategy, we very much agree with you and i will have an opportunity i think soon in the coming weeks to speak publicly and in some detail about the strategy. we appreciate the work in many ways congress has done to give us some of the tools we need to make that strategy effective but i look forward to having an opportunity to lay that out in detail and continuing to refine it with you and others. with regard to solomon islands, we share the concern about this agreement. we sent a high-level delegation to solomon's a few days ago. our lead china expert at the white house, kirk campbell, along with the assistant secretary for the region, danford brink, led a delegation to the seller -- to the islands. we are intending to open an embassy there and moving forward on that day by day.
3:32 am
the delegation met with the prime minister. he vowed publicly as well as privately that there would be no chinese military base, no long-term presence, no power projection capability. we will be watching that very closely in the weeks and months ahead. sen romney: thank you, mr. secretary. i would like to conclude in the brief time we have indicating my support with the comments of ranking member risch and chairman menendez with regards to iran. i happen to believe iran will be hell-bent on having a nuclear weapon at some point. that they will negotiate and delay as long as they can the negotiations with us, but they ultimately intend to have a nuclear capacity. i do hope that is not going to be the case, but i believe in that circumstance that giving
3:33 am
into them is not the right course but instead there needs to be a heavy price paid for them pursuing that path. not only to hope in some way to delay them or dissuade them but more importantly perhaps to dissuade anyone else in the world from taking a path to become a nuclear power because the cost of doing so would be demonstrated by what we do with iran. i would encourage the administration to once again bring this matter to congress for an up or down vote, for a level of support on the part of the national interest. this is think critical for not just what is happening in iran in the middle east but around the world as more and more nations are looking at becoming nuclear powers. i would have to say the cost is enormous for doing so. and i would hope that we don't lessen the cost in negotiations.
3:34 am
i would be more than happy to hear that we have walked away, iran asks for more and more and the answer is no, and that we need to show extraordinary backbone and make a solid commitment that america will not stand still as they or other nations become -- seek to become nuclear powers. sec. blinken: we share the same executive -- objective, but the question is what is the most effective way to do that? we have not tested two propositions, one was the nuclear agreement reached originally and that significant set -- significantly set back iranian capabilities to pursue a nuclear weapon. in that agreement was working by all objective accounts. now we have many israeli colleagues from the security establishment who have come out and said publicly it was a huge mistake to pull out of the agreement because on its own terms, preventing iran from
3:35 am
acquiring the material necessary for weapons was succeeding. that does not address the other concerns that we rightly have with iran but on his terms it was working. we tested the other proposition, pulling out of the agreement, trying to exert more pressure, and we have seen the result and the result has been the nuclear program, which pushed back the breakout time to a year in terms of adducing the trail for weapon, that is down to a matter of weeks. their program is more sophisticated, the ranking member was talking about this earlier, it is important to underscore the reason the agreement originally reached focus on material is because this is something we can see and with the most intrusive regime we could see it and if there was breakout, do something about it. the problem on focusing on weaponization is, which we believe they halted in the early 2000 but could resume, the problem with that is network
3:36 am
happens in a room the 10th of the size of this one at a computer in ways that we are the israelis may not be able to see immediately in real-time and to be able to track. hanging your hat on the peg of weaponization is a risky one. that is why this agreement was designed around the material and we continue to believe whatever the imperfections, ask him on its own terms, we can get into the agreement, it would be of all the answers we have the best one for the nuclear issue. however we are not there and i could not agree with you more first of all the overriding objective that we have and also with the chairman, ranking member, and you the need to confront iran on its other malicious activities. sen. romney: we will have a separate opportunity in regards to the iran agreement. we appreciate the secretaries willingness to work with us and that guard. senator murphy is available through webex. sen. murphy: good morning. thank you for taking the time
3:37 am
with us and i'm sorry i cannot be there with you in person. i do not share my colleagues skepticism of a renewed nuclear agreement with iran in part because the whole world has watched how difficult it is to craft a western response to russia's invasion of ukraine given russia's status as a nuclear power. i cannot imagine why we would wish for a policy that will allow iran to be weeks or months away from a nuclear weapon, given all of their malevolent activity in the middle east. what about the last two months has been an advertisement we would be better off with more of our adversaries having nuclear weapons? i appreciate the clarification you made descendant -- made to senator romney's question. it is true, we have tried the alternative and attempted to apply significant costs on the
3:38 am
irani and economy and through president trump's maximum pressure campaign and in fact the result was not that iran came to the table with all of the other behaviors in the region, not that they held firm on the commitments they had made with the jcpoa, it was in fact that they moved faster towards a potential nuclear weapon, accelerated the research program. i want to maybe ask you one more question to level set where we are today. you have stated i think effectively that the maximum pressure campaign did not in fact have the effect of constraining iran's nuclear weapon program. but for my colleagues that have significant concerns, rightly so, about iran's support for terrorist organizations, for regional proxies, money they put into their ballistic missile program, is there any evidence that during the period of time in which we have been out of the nuclear agreement, in which we
3:39 am
have applied these significant sanctions including sanctions on the irgc that iran has lessened their support for terrorist organizations or proxy organizations or lessened the money they put into their ballistic missile program? sec. blinken: to the contrary, no. what we have seen is two things, first is during the period of time when the original agreement was negotiated, back to 2012, through its entry into force and the time when the trumpet ministration pulled out, 2018, there were virtually no attacks on american presidents -- presence in the middle east. when we pulled other the agreement, when we imposed the terrorist organization designation on the irgc and when soleimani was killed and no one is shedding tears for his demise but i'm stating facts, and those
3:40 am
things happened, the attacks on our forces and personnel and people went up dramatically. from 2019 to 2020 there went up 400%, so we have seen that effect. similarly, it's an unfortunate fact of life that iran is willing to dedicate the resources it has two supporting its military, supporting its various tools with destabilization and terror and including the irgc force, irrespective of what its revenues are from other sources. so we have seen sustained support for those forces even during maximum pressure. we share the same objectives, the question is how do we most effectively reach those objectives? that is what we are concerned with. sen. murphy: thank you for that response. i think you will find many of us on this committee very supportive of your efforts to reenter that agreement.
3:41 am
let me turn to one other topic, and that is the topic of human rights. the assault on ukrainian democracy is elevated -- has elevated the need for us to be consistent in our words and actions on supporting human rights and democracy. you and i have had a number of conversations about the pace of reform in egypt, a country that enjoys direct military support then and the other in the world prior to the war in ukraine. inside your budget request, buried as a curious proposal, a proposal to delink human rights conditions from military aid to egypt. i worry about the message this would send. they have made tepid progress, even when presented with fairly minimalist requests for reforms. i wonder why this would be a moment the administration would be asking to separate the money
3:42 am
we send to each of her military support from our human rights requests in our human rights work in egypt. sec. blinken: i really appreciate your focus on human rights indeed. it essential to president biden's foreign policy and that applies across the world. including when it comes to egypt. let me say a couple of things, egypt is a vital partner for us. a vital partner in trying to sustain and advance stability and advance stability in the least, to combat terrorism, it played a critical role last year when tensions rose dramatically in gaza and it played an important role now when trying to keep things in check as well. so in many ways, it is a vital partner but also an important economic partner. at the same time, that does not divorce from our policy and approach the need to focus on
3:43 am
human rights and concerns we have about the egyptian approach when it comes to civil society and freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political detentions, abuses, such. i've engaged the president directly on this in some length including the first meeting that we had. we continue to meet and engage with human rights defenders and civil -- in civil society are last year we signed the human rights statement of the you and exposing our concerns for the first time since the 2014 and we have reprogrammed some of the military financing this past year because egypt did not need some of the objectives we set out in terms of making progress on human rights. that will continue to be the case going forward. it is however important to us to have maximum flexibility in being able to deal with this and effectively. i would also say going back to the conversation on russia and
3:44 am
ukraine, this is a critical time in the relationship with a number of countries, particularly those that may reconsidering their own relationships and potential dependencies on russia. they are seeing how russian military equipment is performing were not performing in ukraine, they are seeing growing challenges to russia being able to sustain and ultimately export its military equipment. they are making different decisions about the future. that presents a strategic opportunity for us, one that we want to make sure we have flux ability to take advantage of. i completely share your focus on and concerned about human rights, including in egypt. it is and will remain a central part of our policy, even as we work to strengthen what is a vital partnership for us. sen. murphy: just count me amongst those who think it would be unwise to d-link our human rights conditions for military aid. this is a country that still has more political arrests than russia does, 60 thousand people
3:45 am
arrested for political crimes in egypt, a stunning number. as to your point finally about countries that are rethinking the traditional association with russia, a few senators and i are back from a trip in the balkans, a tremendous opportunity in the balkans to try to shift alliances and allegiances there, bosnia, the place where there is a rapid deterioration of the security situation. we have to pay close attention there but many opportunities around russia's periphery. >> the senator's time has expired. i would ask the clerk to make sure they start the clock. we have a lot of centers that want to ask questions. >> thank you, sec. blinken, for reporting to us again. you went to meet with president
3:46 am
zelenskyy and i'm a straight our support for the people of ukraine. it has now been two months since the war began and with our health they are fighting with hard and conviction, with some success, and with our help, we can win this thing. but it needs a lot more help. i am glad we are returning the u.s. embassy to keep. i am pleased the embassy assigned a coordinator. we continue to be concerned about some of the red tape involved in some of the military transfers. this should help quite a bit. we must continue to address russia's barbaric actions with urgency. and with confidence that the right weapons can contribute to a victory. the kremlin must know the free world stands united against them. i'm also pleased the administration finally nominated a u.s. ambassador to ukraine. i believe this is long overdue and i look forward to the testimony before this committee as soon as possible and we have talked to the chairman about
3:47 am
that. energy revenues continues to be the main source of income, fueling russia's war machine. energy is our top export. from energy alone, that accounts for 40% to 50% of the russian budget. we have to cut off the funding if we want to stop increasing war effort from russia. i was pleased to the it ministration banned the import of russian oil, natural gas, and coal in the united states but that was only about 8% of our total petroleum imports. the larger issue is that you and their reliance on russian gas. more than 40% of its gas comes from russia. that means they spent $870 million a day in energy revenues compared to 50 million per day the u.s. was purchasing on a daily basis, money used to fuel the putin war machine. last month i was pleased with the announcement of the eu
3:48 am
energy security for better coordination. it has been a month since the task force was establish. can you provide us with an update on the efforts and progress as a relates to reducing european reliance on russian energy and when can we expect a plan detailing the objectives of the task force and a strategy? sec. blinken: thank you very much. can i first start by applauding your leadership on ukraine. both head of the caucus here but also your continuous engagement going back from the security conference and well before that. it is greatly appreciated and has made a real difference. with her guard to energy, this is one of the critical areas where we have to continue to move forward and we are and we will. the big challenge is european dis-pendants -- dependence on russian gas and oil. let me say things quickly first, the europeans have i think genuinely ambitious plans to
3:49 am
move away from this reliance on russian energy. the challenge is to put them into effect and the other challenge is in some cases this is not, no pun intended, like flipping a light switch. it is a process and that is what we are working on with them. a few things to that end. first, i think you are likely to see in the coming weeks further progress on the oil side of the equation in terms of the russian imports. gas is a bigger challenge, it is particularly acute for countries including notably journey -- germany but others. we have redirected significant amounts of l&d to europe in the short-term to compensate for any losses that they might have in moving away from russian gas. that process is continuing and we want to make sure as they do that, there is backfill and there is a significant amount
3:50 am
going to that. sen. portman: two quick questions, with her guard to the task force, when can we expect a report from the task force detailing what the objectives are in strategy is, and with elegy shipment, you mentioned this is a central component of the initiative. the u.s. is now saying we would give them 15 billion cubic meters this year and an additional 50 over the next decade. how is the administration task force engaged with energy producers in the united states to follow through on these commitments? your budget increases taxes on natural gas production in the ministration takes steps to discourage new leasing of oil and gas develop it on public land and waters. these and other policy stifled domestic gas production and will make it difficult to meet our objectives. how can we keep our commitment and reduce these flows of funds into russia? sec. blinken: i'm not an expert on the domestic policy component but i will say first we doubled elegy exports to europe since last year. actually excuse me since early
3:51 am
this year they have already doubled. president urged mystic producers to speed up production. there are as you know thousands of licenses that have gone unused and hopefully they will be used to increase production. the task force, e come back to you on when we can anticipate providing a report but it is focused on diversification, focus on curbing demand, and making sure the backfill is there. it is also necessary to focus on an energy transition because ultimately that will be the most effective way, over time, in making sure there is genuine energy security. sen. portman: let me just say the obvious wish you have a strong interest in these domestic policy issues now because he stopped the russian war machine getting these funding. since you are a strong interest, i know you will have to be a voice of reason in terms of all of the above energy strategy including the stifling of fossil fuels at this point because we need them in terms of natural gas to europe. i'm the core nadir -- lieutenant
3:52 am
general wolfe has been appointed and i am delighted we have someone to be there as a coordinator. how's the state of our by going to coordinate with him proving the arms transfer process and does he report to you, the president, or national security advisor? sec. blinken: terry is someone i've worked with for a long time. he was one of the coordinators of the coalition established back in 2015, 2016. we worked closely together and will continue to work closely together in this effort and he will be working both with us at the state department as well as reporting to the white house, but we have a long history of working closely together. let me say quickly something i said earlier, which is this process is transferring equipment to the ukrainians is moving in my judgment very effectively and efficiently. the drawdown authorities we have used eight times, where it used to take weeks to get equipment
3:53 am
to the ukrainians, we are now getting things from the point the decision is made to drawdown to getting it into ukrainian hands in as little as 72 hours. this is moving quickly. we cut through a lot of red tape . at the same time, we have been going around the world, looking for other countries that may have equipment to ukraine can find useful. white it has come to the transfer of that equipment if it has u.s. origin technology in it, i have done as authorizations in 24 hours. to make sure to your point that we are moving things quickly. having said all of that, we want to make sure we drive this effectively and efficiently as possible. terry will focus on that and i will work directly with him and so will the white house. sen. portman: who will the general report to? sec. blinken: let me come back to the reporting line. i do not know the exact line but i will tell you he will work directly with me as well as the white house and of course the pentagon. sen. portman: thank you. >> senator van hollen. sen. bennet: all in -- senator
3:54 am
van hollen: i was just listening to secretary austen address some of our nato partners about the need to continue to push and coordinate more weapons into ukraine and i want to commend you for accelerating that process as the war has gone on. i want to start with a question about the foreign service families act, legislation i teamed up with senator sullivan on. we cochaired the foreign center -- foreign service caucus. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member working with us to include that in the last offense authorization bill. it extends to foreign officers some same benefits we extend to our military folks deployed overseas and also includes more opportunities for family members. in order to continue to attract and retain a world-class foreign
3:55 am
service. thank you for your input as we worked on that passage. we are trying to implement them, provisions, now. i will not go through the entire list. just to give you an example, the legislation allows foreign service officers getting orders to deploy go to their missions overseas, to be able to terminate contracts, leases, that kind of thing. in order to make that work in the real world, we need a system to make sure landlords for example can verify that a foreign service officer does have in fact those orders to go overseas. the military has created a successful system to do that. we have been working with your team to do it. i want your commitment we can accelerate this process sec. blinken:. you got it. first of all, you have been an
3:56 am
incredible champion for the foreign service for a long time. and that is appreciated much by the men and women of the state department. second, we want to make sure we are putting in place these necessary tools and efficiencies to do right by the men and women who work for us so in short, we will try to move forward on that as expeditiously as possible. sen. van hollen: thank you. there are a series of things, just a question of them plummeted and. the sooner we can get them in effect, the benefits will flow to the men and women of our service. i want to follow-up on senator portman's line of questioning with respect to sanctions and the issue of russian exports of oil and gas and other commodities. and salute the administration for working with our allies to put in place punishing sanctions right away and we have expanded those sanctions over time. to my knowledge, and correct me if i'm wrong, we have not used
3:57 am
any existing authorities to date to apply secondary sanctions to institutions overseas that may be aiding and embedding russian oligarchs and others who they be aiding and embedding putin, is that right? sec. blinken: i don't believe they have but that does not mean we will not. angst to this committee we now have at the state department a senior sanctions coordinator, jim o'brien, a deeply experienced diplomat. one thing he is looking at intensely is sanctions evasion by other countries or entities. this is something we will focus on relentlessly is we move forward. sen. van hollen: i'm glad to hear that. i think leakage in the sanctions only hurts our alliances and helps putin and i recognize a lot of our european partners are working to reduce their reliance on russian oil and gas and we are working with them to do that , and obviously we want to accelerate that process as much
3:58 am
as possible. what i'm worried about is reports of certain countries that are increasing their imports of russian oil and gas and commodities. are you aware of countries doing that? sec. blinken: we have been watching this carefully and have engaged with some countries where we have had concerns that they might be increasing their purchases, taking advantage of discounted prices that russia has been forced to offer to get anyone to take this, so in short yes, there are few countries we have engaged with to dissuade them from doing that. sen. van hollen: we have not been successful doing that yet. according to the information i've gotten in the month of march, china increased its trade with russia by 12%. in terms of actually additional goods. -- goods being imported to china from russia. there are number of other countries. the question is, we made the right decision by saying the
3:59 am
united states is not going to continue to import russian gas and oil, but if that oil is on the international market and put in is able to sell it to someone else, it does not do us any good at all. i guess my question is very blunt, why are we not applying secondary sanctions against countries that are increasing their imports from russian commodities? sec. blinken: i would say two things, first, where we can it is far preferable to get countries to voluntarily not engage in these practices. that is where diplomacy is focus. as we are dealing with the energy piece of this and again i agree with the general tenor of senator portman's remarks, we have to do it not only effectively, we have to be as smart as possible about how we do it and when we do it. for example, we want to make sure we are not taking actions in the near term that may have the result of spiking energy
4:00 am
prices and the lining putin's pockets instead of taking resources away. the more we can do things voluntarily, deliver early, make sure we have the necessary backfilling, including from our own sources, make sure energy is on the markets, president as you know did an historic release of petroleum reserve on that front. we have many countries to join in doing the same thing and we have to do it in a deliberate way so we do not have an effect contrary to the one we are trying to achieve. sen. van hollen: i agree with that, but as you pointed out, there are countries taking advantage of discounted russian oil prices. they are able to unload it in lower prices and are taking advantage of it which only helps putin. the statement in closing, one of the consequences of russia's invasion -- putin's invasion of ukraine has been our european partners have watched china's response. i think they have been extremely concerned with the fact china
4:01 am
first said we are all in together. i do think this is an opportunity to work even more closely in practical ways with our european and other allies with respect to a coordinated approach? ? sec. blinken: i agree with you. wendy sherman was in a dialogue that we established with the european union on china. she had a very productive session with the eu. you saw the results of the summit between the eu leaders and president xi jinping, which i think did not go to china's benefit because go to china's
4:02 am
benefit because of the increasingly deep skepticism about china in europe. china is paying a reputational cost tocost to be charitable abt sitting on the fence when it comes to russia's aggression against ukraine. never mind falling on the russian because of opposition from france and germany. nevertheless, the u.s., including the biden administration insisted on beating the drums to admit ukraine to nato. just last fall, you saw the u.s./ukraine charter which renewed a commitment to the 2008 declaration supporting ukrainian admission to nato.
4:03 am
knowing full well ukraine was unlikely to ever join nato since it had already been 14 years since they said they would become members, why was it so important last fall before this invasion to continue agitating for ukraine's admission to nato? sec. blinken: thank you, senator. not a question of agitating for ukraine's admission, a question of standing up for the basic printable that we strongly adhere to, that there should be and will be an open-door policy when coming to new membership. these are sovereign decisions for european countries to make and for the nato alliance to make in terms of making sure a country that wishes to join actually adds value to nato. but this goes to the heart of the international system and order and part of that is a basic principle that one country cannot dictate to another the choices it makes about with whom it alliances -- aligns its foreign policies.
4:04 am
it's a decision or not to engage with the european union and nato. sen. paul: yet we also hear announcements from president zelenskyy saying maybe we might consider neutrality as a possibility. there could be -- could have been voices before the invasion instead of agitating for something we knew our adversary said they hated as a redline, once again agitating for nato, russia said it was a redline. there is no justification to the invasion. but there are reasons why the invasion and i think it has added nothing. had ukraine been in nato, as you advocated for and many others advocated for, we would now have troops in ukraine. we may still have the destruction but we would also have troops in ukraine. if you are to put them in now, if it is still your policy want them in, that means american troops go. the one thing good about them
4:05 am
not being in is most of our members are not advocating for u.s. troops right now. that is a good thing. we have not had advocacy for u.s. troops because they are not part of nato. had they been or are they to become part of nato, that means u.s. soldiers will be fighting in ukraine and that is something i very much oppose. sec. blinken: can i just say to that, look, these are important conversations and arguments erie my judgment is different. if you look at the countries russia has attacked over the last years, georgia, leaving forces in moldova and repeatedly ukraine, these are countries not part of nato. they do not attack nato countries for probably good reason. sen. paul: you could also argue the countries they attacked were part of russia. were part of the soviet union. sec. blinken: i firmly disagree with that proposition. it is the fundamental right of these countries to decide their own future and own destiny. sen. paul: i'm not saying it's not but i'm saying the countries that have been attacked, georgia and ukraine, or part of the
4:06 am
soviet union. they were part of the soviet union since the 1920's. sec. blinken: but that does not give russia the right to attack them on the contrary. sen. paul: i'm not saying it does. sec. blinken: they were liberated from being part of this empire by force. let me say this, because i think it is important, if you look at why president putin went into ukraine this time, we took seriously the arguments that some russians were putting forward back last fall that they had concerns about ukraine's eventual membership into nato in terms of their security posture, russia's security posture. what would this mean with the do placement of forces near russia? we sought to engage with them on those issues on seriousness as well as engage them on deep concerns we have about many of the things we do that undermine our security. but when everything came to a head, it is abundantly clear in president putin's own words that this was never about ukraine being potentially part of nato.
4:07 am
it was always about his belief that ukraine does not deserve to be a sovereign, independent country, that it must be reassumed into russia in one form or another. sec. blinken: and yet the dust -- sen. paul: and yet the discussions between zelenskyy and the russians have included discussions of them assuming an unaligned or new stroll -- or neutral posture. sec. blinken: and this is a sovereign decision for ukraine to make. sen. paul: at the same time we are all over the place thinking we are coming to the rescue and then maybe sometimes we are not. maybe sometimes we are agitating for something like admission to nato that makes it worse. maybe ukraine has more of an ability to make this decision, if they are not been pushed and goaded by half of the members of the senate who want them in nato. perhaps it is not useful to be pushing them into nato and perhaps they will come to agreement, but the other thing to remember about war is it rarely ends on a complete
4:08 am
victory by either side. i am proud of how well the ukrainians have thought. i'm supportive of their cause, but i would say it is unlikely they will now invade, take over russia and depose putin. i think most likely and best outcome would be some sort of stalemate, perhaps pushing them out of ukraine but even pushing out of ukraine is a great step from where we are now so there may well be a negotiated peace. would president biden be open to accepting ukraine as an unaligned neutral nation? sec. blinken: we will not be more ukrainian than the ukrainians. these are decisions for them to make. our purpose is to make sure they have within their hands the ability to repel the russian aggression and indeed strengthen their hand at an eventual negotiating table. we have seen no sign to date that president putin is serious about meaningful negotiations. if he is, and if the ukrainians engage, we will support that.
4:09 am
>> senator kaine. sen. kaine:, i will start with three comp limits and then get to my tougher questions about a region of the world that nobody has yet talked about, central america. so three compliments, first in my time in this committee and senate, i've not seen an instance where the gap between u.s. production of activity and our european allies production of activity was wider with respect to ukraine. what was russia's intent, messing troops on the border, and we can see this back into about october. everyone had the same facts, but the prediction of what russia's behavior would be from the u.s. and many of our allies was very different. the complement i want to give you and the administration is you basically took the position with european nations that said there will not be an invasion. we are hoping you are right.
4:10 am
if we are right, what can we set up in advance that if there is an invasion, nor trimmed to can be closed down, sanctions can be put in place, we can pursue humanitarian and military aid? i think that was very adept diplomacy, recognizing there was a difference of opinion between what was going to happen you never let the plans in place before february 24 that enabled you to significant -- get a significant coalition of not just nato but neighbors to put pressure. that is complement one. complement to, the u.s. vaccine diplomacy in the world has been extremely successful and this bears on the matter we are talking about now, whether in may covid bill we should do more vaccine diplomacy in the world. own a focus on the americas. hired taken bipartisan delegation to south and central america in july, at the time u.s. vaccines were being delivered. these were nations that felt like the u.s. has ignored them.
4:11 am
china and russia are paying a lot of attention to them. they do not feel like we are, but for the first time i could really see they love the u.s. vaccines, high-quality, and we are charging them, they thought the russians and chinese vaccines were some quality and they were being charged for them and the shipments were being delayed if they happen to say something nice about taiwan, suddenly the contract would expire. we really did good work in vaccine diplomacy. i would argue we did not allocate enough with 30% of the worlds deaths got a percent of our vaccine distribution but we built up goodwill. i would argue thinking forward, it would be a smart investment in the americas and elsewhere if we continue to be great partners in nations still trying to find more vaccines. the third complement is i think it was my first hearing when i was on foreign relations, about the accountability review board
4:12 am
report on the benghazi attack and it was in 2013 and what should we be doing to provide more security for state department personnel. one of the recommendations was dramatically increasing the security training of our episodes. i just had the chance last friday to go see this state-of-the-art center and watch a final exercise. 41 weeks of the year we put cohorts of fs owes through a one week long training facility that i have to repeat during their career. it culminates with a fairly adrenaline producing and shocking exercise where people get to put in place what they learned during the week so if it ever happens on a post over season, it is not the first time they are seeing it. i was in the facilities as this was happening and even though i knew what was going to happen, i will say it made a huge impression on me. the fact you are investing in that kind of training for our
4:13 am
folks is important. now onto the americas. i still do not think we are paying the attention to the region we should. this is a budget hearing and i applaud the fact you have sought significantly more funds for central america to help them deal with their own issues but also deal with this push that has led so many to lead the northern triangle come to the united states. we will not deal with this migration question effectively unless we deal with root causes. let's be honest, we have partners there. you proposed the bulk of investment, but in both el salvador and to a lesser degree guatemala, we see backsliding toward authoritarianism, the honduran elections were fair and there was a clear outcome, which is positive. president castro is fairly new in. how do you propose the increase investments in the northern triangle to make a difference when at least two of
4:14 am
the three governments are probably getting to be less reliable partners rather than more reliable partners? sec. blinken: thank you. let me start you by thanking you for the visit you made on friday, it is greatly appreciated and indeed we have bulked and bolster that up. and we also, thanks to a congressman -- thinks to congress, have been able to implement greater security, playing a vital role in doing our jobs. when it comes to our own region, we -- and i personally have been intensely engaged on a number of fronts. i just came back, even in the midst of ukraine, from a conference that brought together most of the foreign ministers in the region in panama, focused on migration, obviously an immediate challenge for everyone as well as a long-term challenge, and we can speak more about that. the bottom line there, as a result of the work we've done over the last year, including getting together in panama and columbia before that at the united nations, we were building
4:15 am
a generally shared sense of responsibility when it comes to dealing with what is an historic migration challenge, affecting in one way or another every country in our region, whether it is the countries of origin, transit, or destination. we have now bilateral agreements with costa rica and panama with more to come. we have the summit of the americas that the president will be hosting over the course of a week in los angeles in june. where on migration i anticipate there will be a declaration of shared principles on how we work this together but also on virtually every other aspect of the relationship with our closest neighbors. second, when it comes to -- i could not agree with you more that even as we take near-term steps to deal with what is historic migratory flow in our own region and around the world, the ultimate answer has to be addressing the so-called root causes because it takes a lot for someone to decide they want to pick up everything they know,
4:16 am
leave their families and friends, their communities, their culture, their language, and make a hazardous journey to the united states or anywhere else in the region. one of the things we have seen in our own region as the primary driver, not the only one, but the primary is lack of economic opportunity. we know that. we have to help countries create greater opportunities. the vice president, leading these efforts, did a call to action months ago with the private sector that resulted in 1.2 billion dollars in new investment in the northern tribal countries that will create job opportunities over time and give people a means to stay. we have a series of programs reflected in this budget to work in that way to create opportunities for people, also to address of course many of the other challenges our drivers on migration, including corruption and poor governance, including insecurity. in many cases, we have to work
4:17 am
around some of the governments or individual leaders. we are doing that effectively with the private sector, with ngos, with civil society, with components of governments we can work effectively with. i think a very from country to country but we are deeply engaged on that. sen. kaine: thank you. sen. menendez: senator rounds. sen. rounds: thank you mr. chairman. thank you for your service to our country. let me begin by bringing back into discussion the senator portman began and that you shared, a frank discussion regarding the need to have additional energy production and the impact that would have on your ability to work with our allies in europe. it seems to me that not only does it impact the foreign policy but with regard to our domestic policy and with regard to our economy, it would seem
4:18 am
the production of those products , energy products here, fossil fuels, natural gas, so forth, from north america would make your job a lot easier with regard to not only would it be good in terms of a large part of the inflationary trends we see right now in terms of the cost of supply chains and the cost of basic services in transportation here, but the fact that as you stated, mr. putin received significant dollars from energy. when you inflate the value of those commodities, that goes to his bottom line and makes it easier for him to wage war. are you sensing the administration or people you work with within the white house are recognizing the need to increase that, not just for domestic but also what is going on in europe right now yes -- now.
4:19 am
-- now yes -- now? sec. blinken: yes inshore. we want to start to move away from the russian energy dependence in the short time. we doubled our elegy exports to europe in the past three months from where they were a year ago. that is significant. we are committed to adding to that, to make sure there is cushion as they engage in this process. it has to be a process because as you know this is built up over many decades. overall, a european dependence on russian gas is 14% but individual countries it is higher. that is part of the challenge. second, we want to make sure as we do this, we are doing it in a way that does not create the effect you just cited, to actually inflate energy prices and line putin's pockets. that is one of the reasons the president did this historic release from the petroleum reserve that will extend over six months and we got other countries to join.
4:20 am
also, he has called for increased production in the united states. lastly if i could quickly, we also have to do this in a way that does advance, in my judgment at least, the transition over time to renewables. what is true about renewables is you cannot weaponize the son, you cannot weaponize the wind. both as a matter of climate but also as a matter of strategy i think we have a good reason to reinforce that effort, even as we make sure there is sufficient energy on the market now and in the near term for europeans to really start this transition. sen. rounds: i don't think it should include consistent energy sources that we have got. i appreciate your comments on that. the one thing missing in this discussion is the fact we have to have a stable, long-term plan of not having those go up or our european allies will not trust us. if they think our policy will
4:21 am
change in six months, they are probably not going to be interested in having a short-term elegy proposal and find out we will change again. i think it has got to be consistent. i think you are in agreement. sec. blinken: that is a fair point. part of the reason we have this task point is to precisely address that, to make sure there is a long-term place -- long-term plan in place. sen. rounds: thank you. i would like to change subjects on something that has been important and we have been trying to work with the state department on. there was a huge, very challenging time period in which the department was working on processing special immigrant visas, specifically from afghanistan. this process is excruciatingly slow and afghans who risked their lives to our service members remain in grave danger. for one example, we have an applicant that i brought to your attention that received a chief admission approval the day
4:22 am
before your september hearing yet he was stuck on afghanistan until early march and just received his visa last week. this outcome would not have been even possible had it not been for his risky move to flee to a third country. yet he and his family still remain in a fourth country waiting for travelers and the final resolution of an application admitted in 2018. his people, which was submitted in december, has not been viewed by the state department office which adjudicates these requests. client my staff have asked your people on multiple occasions if the department has the resources to execute this mission and the answer i have always received has been yes. i just want to be specific. i am looking to be up sis to and
4:23 am
in terms of making sure the appropriate resources are made available, and it seems to me right now, when we cannot get these completed in a timely fashion, there has got to be a reason for it. if it is resources, we need someone to say it is resources. if it is something else, we need to know. i do not think we are talking about the issue of we need background checks. i think there is more to it. could you help us understand what the resources are that would be needed to expedite appeals within say 30 days? because right now, it does not seem to be working. sec. blinken: let me first start by thanking you for your personal and sustained engagement on this issue on the sid's in general and on specific cases in particular. it is greatly appreciated. i know it is especially appreciated by the people on behalf of who we have been advocating. we want to work with your staff on this. let me say a couple of things
4:24 am
about this. you know, this committee knows well the very laborious and multi step process that goes into the sid program that was legislated and then regulated over many years that involves six different agencies, not just the state department, that has more than a dozen steps involved in it and has been made more complicated by the fact we are not on the ground in afghanistan. there are two things i want to focus on, first the process of getting chief admission approval , or authority, that is the most reticle step. what we found, historically, well before leaving afghanistan, was of those who applied that applied for an sid, 40% did not ultimately get the approval from the chief admission because they did not qualify in one way or another. sometimes tragically because the documentation necessary and required, they could not produce. we have worked hard to expedite
4:25 am
the process. we have at the processing time for chief admission approval and half in recent months. we are doing a much faster than we did when we were in afghanistan but we are looking to see if we could make it even faster. we would like to work with you on that. second, a big part of the challenge we have is, for those in afghanistan and have sid's or are well along in the process and have chief admission approval, part of the challenges able to make sure they can leave the country and we are working on that day in, day out to try to encourage the afghans to regularize transportation so people can leave. we have a processing facility now as you know where we have the capacity, once someone has chief admission approval, to process about 1000 a month. that is there, it is active, we are working on it, but we need
4:26 am
the inflow to make that real. we have dedicated increasing resources to this. i will go back and triple check that i'm confidence we have the resources we need, given the constraints of the program, to do this as efficiently as possible. i commit to the -- i commit to you that if we do not, we will ask for more resources. sen. rounds: thank you. sen. menendez: senator markey. sen. markey: thank you very much. thank you, mr. secretary, for the work you're doing and the sec. austin and the president. i think it is first-class work, thank you. senator booker and senator kelly and senator gillibrand and i visited the polish/ukrainian border and we saw all of the work the 82nd airborne is doing to facilitate the transfer of our assistance to the ukrainians
4:27 am
into that country and it is absolutely a first-class operation. we were on a car cow as well and we can see the humanitarian effort in place and very impressive and i think in general we should roll out the red carpet and say however many ukrainians want to come to our country, they should come here and as a congress we should finance that resolve so that we help the ukrainians ultimately defeat the russians. i want to congratulate you on that. i appreciate the commitment which the biden administration is making for our country to be a leader in vaccinating the world but we are falling far behind. the world has a goal of 70% vaccination by the fall of this year. that is not happening. as we know, we are going to be setting ourselves up for a boomerang effect in terms of it coming back to us.
4:28 am
as a cochair of the covid-19 global vaccination caucus, i have been repeatedly calling for significant federal investment in those efforts. we have called for inclusion, a substantial global covid-19 response funding and any covid-19 supplemental, that funding remains stalled. mr. secretary, a recent harvard study indicated at -- indicated the economic toll of covid-19's $16 trillion. we cannot keep repeating history. can you talk about how important it is for congress to pass a global covid relief package so the funding is there to put shots in the arms of people around the world so once again a variant does not come back to haunt us in the united states? sec. blinken: i could not agree with you more and i appreciate your comments and leadership on this as well as senator kaine's. let me say a few things quickly, substantively, i am convinced of
4:29 am
this is the necessary and right thing to do for the very reasons you say, which is that we know that as long as covid is somewhere, it could produce a variance that ultimately undermines everything we have done and defeats the vaccines we developed or therapeutics we put in place. we have i think a very strong national interest and incentive to make sure we are doing everything we can to put an end to this not only in our own country but around the world. second, what we have seen is this, the -- i senator kaine said, this has been also a tremendous benefit to our foreign policy and standing in the world. the fact that the president has committed to donate 1.2 billion vaccines around the world and we are now over 500 million that have been delivered, to do it primarily through covax and make sure it is done equitably and no strings attached in stark contrast to other countries like china, that has been to our
4:30 am
benefit and standing on pop always. i get this every place i go. so good for foreign and standing. but here's the challenge we have and it goes to your question, right now we have a relative abundance of vaccines. the challenge that we have is as you said getting shots into arms. there are in many places around the world gnome where morse -- world nowhere more so than in africa real challenges to making sure there is cold storage, that their distribution networks and health care workers and other experts who can administer the vaccines, to deal with the last mile. we have real information or misinformation problems. that contributes to vaccine hesitancy. we need to be doing work on that. sen. markey: mr. neal: is it critical we do that? secretary blinken: if we don't we won't have the resources we need. senator ney: because of global travel and trade, it's a flightway from our country.
4:31 am
the more we build the barriers for the list. the way we are trying to do with confronting the russians so it doesn't go any further in terms of its incursion in other countries we have to do the same thing with covid. we cannot do t we cannot allow this congress to not fund a global vaccination program. earlier we heard my colleagues on the committee suggest we should walk away from the negotiating table with iran. let's be clear plan b is really plain bad. that's what it stands for. it means that saudi arabia's nuclear program will accelerate. it means that iran's nuclear facilities that are above ground will go underground t means our troops in the region will face increased threats which could require sending our brave men and women in the armed forces into another confrontation in the middle east. secretary blinken, you covered this before. before trump and bolten blew up the deal, how far was iran towards acquiring enough material for a nuclear weapon?
4:32 am
secretary blinken: a year. or moment mr. markey: how far today? secretary blinken: by public records a matter of weeks. senator markey: based on experience would attacks on iran prevent a nuclear weapon? secretary blinken: judgment of our military over many years is that the military could certainly set back the program. but iran would rebuild it. we build it probably even more underground. rebuild it faster than a nuclear agreement would allow the iranians to resume. senator markey: hasn't the kingdom of saudi arabia would acquire a nuclear weapon if iran did so? secretary blinken: i think the saudis and other countries have made clear in one way or another they would pursue nuclear weapons in the event iran gets one, yes. senator markey: did the trump administration administration's campaign of maximum pressure lead to and crease or decrease of iran's attacks on the
4:33 am
neighbors in the region? secretary blinken: we have seen what the causality is. people can make their judgments. as i mentioned earlier what we have seen from 2012 to 2018 when we were negotiating the agreement, then had the agreement and it was in effect, there were very few attacks on our forces in the region. after we pulled out of the agreement, designated the i.r.g.c. and killed soleimani, we saw the attack goes up dramatically from 2019 to 2020. they went up 400%ment on our personnel and our forces in the region. senator markey: it's clear, i think, to any objective analysis that we just cannot listen to the same voices who reject add good deal in search of the impossible and who preach brinksmanship over diplomacy of the the iran deal is not perfect, but it is our best path to prevent iran from acquiring the ultimate weapon to back its coercion in the region a nuclear
4:34 am
bomb. we are seeing right now the saber rattling in russia because they have a nuclear program. we have to avoid that in iran the ripple effect would be catastrophic. we are either going to live together or die together. are we going to exterminate each other? we have to put a new regime in place to make sure iran does not get this bomb. >> senator haggerty. senator haggerty: thank you secretary blinken for taking the time with our committee today. i would just like to know that chairman cardin is the ranking member of the senate foreign relations meet skphao*et -- the chairman. i'm the ranking member. we both sent you a letter last week encouraging you to reopen diplomatic relations in ukraine. i want to thank you for taking the steps in that direction to do that. i appreciate your willingness to brief us as that moves forward. i wanted to say thanks again for that acknowledgement. i would like to turn to the indo-pacific if i might. recently i led the first congressional delegation to japan since the pandemic began
4:35 am
in early 2020. i was honored to be joined by senator ben cardin and john cornyn. i want to first thank you, and the entire staff at the state department for helping make that trip a success. i also want to thank you personally for your efforts to bring home my constituent, greg kelly, who was rockily detained there in japan. you were very helpful in making that happen. made a very big difference. thank you, mr. secretary, for that. during our week in japan our senate delegation met with the prime minister with his senior officials there. we met with the former prime minister. we met a number of japanese parliamentarians. and also with leaders of some of the most formidable and innovative companies in the japanese private sector. in each of our meetings we saw a great deal of promise in terms of the united states' ability to further strengthen our alliance with japan. they want an increasingly special relationship with us. we see that possibility. secretary blinken, i think you
4:36 am
would agree with me that the u.s.-japan alliance is one of our most important strategic and special relationships. secretary blinken: absolutely. senator hagert: it made russia's invasion of aou grain japan has shown leadership and supported international pressure campaign against putin's war machine. i want to note that your counterpart there became the first japanese foreign minister to attend a nato pheupb tearial -- ministerial when he trafd to pwrus sells. brussels. i believe the united states will be -- need to be more aligned with japan. that is real appetite i could sense there to do that with us. i would like to encourage you along those lines to see that the united states can proactively ensure japan is the world's third largest economy can be a pillar of peace and security. they always would like to -- a seat at the table. and increase multilateral measure. we can include them in as many
4:37 am
critical issues as we can it would go a long way to deepen that relationship. after the foreign minister broke new ground by attending the ministerial in april, would you support the united states exploring opportunities for japan and nato to have further high level interactions and formal information sharing? secretary blinken: absolutely. i'm honor -- i want to address that more. first, thank you. you have been an extraordinary leader in building this relationship. first as ambassador to japan and now as a member of this committee. i could not agree more on the strategic imperative of this for us. this partnership is vital. as you said japan has stood up in remarkable ways in the ukraine crisis. when it comes to nato and japan, we are doing a few things. first one of the things we have been advancing is increasing nato focus on working with partners that are not part of nato, including what we call the asia pacific four, that includes japan. we just had a foreign ministers meeting of nato where we had the
4:38 am
a.p. four. and my good friend and colleague the foreign minister. the nato summit the president will attend. and japan will be there. the president will have an opportunity in the coming weeks to visit. i think his first visitor was the former prime minister. this is something we are very focused on and really are eagletory continue to work with you on. i'm very glad that -- eager to work with you on. i'm very glad that -- senator hagert: he agreed i would be at the airport and i would be on the other side. that's what happened. very much appreciate that. if coy turn just a little bit more to the -- if i could turn just a little bit more, i support the biden administration's efforts to build on the legacy, including the august agreement that enhances try lateral security between australia, the united kingdom and the united states. i was glad to see the coordinator for the indo-pacific and your assistant for asia
4:39 am
pacific affairs led an interagency delegation to the sol man identify lands -- solomon islands. i sincerely hope our efforts can help the solomon islands reach the right conclusion that is grant being china a military base in the millle of the pacific ocean would undermine the stability in the region. many our japanese, both the government side and business side, expressed concerns about the broader trends in the indo-pacific. we sought to insell confidence that the united states remains committed to a free and open indo-pacific. amid recent national shocks, i believe the united states should strengthen energy security, particularly among the quad countries. like the rest of the world the quad countries seek reliable access to cost-effective sources of energy. energy security is inextricably linked with economic security and national security. i worked on this a great deal in
4:40 am
my previous position. when i served at embassy tokyo i worked on the japan-u.s. strategic energy partnership. the idea there, the coal, to promote universal access to affordable and reliable energy. the quad should have a similar mechanism to strengthen energy security. especially since the quad includes japan, which is the world's third largest economy, and the world's most populous democracy and australia which is a significant industry exporter. i would like to ask you to consider supporting the idea of the quad stabbing -- standing up a working group on energy security would help ensure reliable access to cost-effective energy sources, especially from like-minded partners. secretary blinken: that's an interesting idea. i'll take that back and come back to you. senator haggerty: i would be happy to work with your team and share the experience i had earlier. i do think there is a real opportunity. also a concern right now. the japanese reflected the concerns in a very blunt term to
4:41 am
me because i worked hard to get them positioned, particularly with billions of dollars of infrastructure investment to bring oil to that aira. they see a worldwide market. the challenges europe is facial being dependent on russia. and l.n.g. from there they are concerned there could be a diversion of exports that would be harmful to them. a focus, intent focus, assets in the region we could help with. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman >> senator sho*ts. senator shotts: let's take in the pacific. i want to follow up on the co-fund negotiations. the u.s. agreements with the freely associated states expires soon. the current agreements with the r.m.i. and f.s.m. expiring in 20223. and the agreement with palau expires in 2024. j.o. estimates that the assistance that the united states provides constitutes
4:42 am
about one third of f.a.s.'s annual budgets. making them heavily reliant on u.s. support promised through the current compact. as you know f.a.s. countries and island nations are aligned with us. that's not a permanent situation. start rubio and i wrote a letter expressing some concern about the pace of negotiations, especially since you are -- are you dealing with small nation, they are nations. and you are dealing with your own department of defense. can you reassure me that we are either on track or about to be on track for compact renegotiation and ratification 2023 and 24? secretary blinken: yes. this is something i have been focused on. i met with the leadership in a variety of ways at micronesia, palau. i was in the region just a couple months ago.
4:43 am
we have appointed very experienced diplomat, as the negotiablor for this. i know you know that. we are very focused on the piece that is expire in f.y.23 and f.y.24. i want to make sure these get done. we need support from congress for this. there may be some appropriations as you know that need to go along with this. i'm committed to getting this done. we have, i think, a long-standing obligation/responsibility. it's also in our strategic interest to do this. i look forward to working with you to make sure we have what we need to try to bring this to closure as rapidly as possible. senator schatz: thank you. back to nato. article 6 of the nato treaty states in part that, quote, for the purpose of article 5 an armed attack on one or more of the parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the territory of the parties in europe or
4:44 am
north america, on the algerian department of france, or the territory of turkey, or the islands under the jurisdiction of any of the parties in the north atlantic area north of the tropic of cancer. the 1949 treaty excludes hawaii. if hawaii were ever attacked, it is an atpabg on the free world. attack on the free world. i don't have any doubt the entire free world would rally to our defense. this is no small problem. alaska is covered. all other 49 states are covered. hawaii is not covered because statehood came afterwards, what are we going to do about that, mr. secretary? secretary blinken: you are right about article 6 of the treaty. it does define the alliance area exactly as you suggested. i think a few things. first, to emphasize the most important part. any attack on the united states or its territories, even if outside the geographic scope of
4:45 am
article 5 would almost certainly of course, our reaction, but almost certainly in our instruction 5*8 leighed reaction. that exist under article 4. i'm confident about that. i think an effort to amend the treaty to cover hawaii and/or other u.s. territory would be unlikely to gain consensus because we are not the only alley that has territory that is outside the geographic scope of article 6. this would open something of a pandora's box that i think would be very difficult to get a safe landing on because so many other allies have territories that would then potentially claim to want to be covered. i'm not sure we could get there. i would also refer you to our colleague at d.o.d. to talk about military considerations raised by this question. the main thing i want to
4:46 am
emphasize is i am very confident, of course, not only about our own response but also confident about the responsible of allies and partners were something of that nature too happen. senator schatz: i understand the pandora's box argument and you are probably right. there has to be something in between leaving this alone and endeavoring to change it in a failed way. look, we are the 50th state. we ought to be covered. if we can't amend article 6, we have to do something here. secretary blinken: i'm happy to see if there are ideas that make sense. senator schatz: thank you. during march, 2021, you asked -- i asked, from my staff, i asked the deputy secretary of state about integrating an emphasis on climate action throughout the department. he replied that it's not just going to be secretary kerry's
4:47 am
team. can you update me on how the department is fully integrating climate action throughout the organization? i'm specifically interested in the extent to which we can depoliticize climate action. climate adaptation seems to be a space we can all work together. i just don't think american foreign policy and the state department as its instrument ought to be swinging wildly blackback and forth on the question of whether or not the sea levels are rising or whether or not storms are becoming more frequent and severe and whether or not the united states should continue to lead in this space. i'm wondering what you are doing to institutionalize climate action throughout the department. secretary blinken: thank you. first we thought that it was vital not only to institutionalize but to elevate climate in everything we are doing. the reason that the president asked former secretary kerry to take it on was to do that.
4:48 am
to make sure as we headed into an incredibly challenging period, that we were doing everything possible to reengage the united states in leading these efforts. we did through re-engaging pairs. and the successful parts of that endeavor. through sustained diplomacy that john kerry has been leading. to your point, we also wanted to make sure that this is truly institutionalized throughout the department. we are doing that in a number of ways. first, every regional, bureau has within it someone who is focused and expert on these issues and fully coordinated with the climate office that the john kerry is leading. to make sure in all of our engagements with allies, partners. and those who are not the climate issues are very much a part of the agenda. and that's been institutionalized. we have a bureau, o.e.s., as a
4:49 am
general matter is the locust of focus on khraoeu massachusetts we have strong leadership of that bureau in monica, who has partnered closely with john kerry on a lot of these efforts. that bureau and its work will continue well into the future. we'll also make sure as well as part of our training and the efforts we are putting into that that climate factors in so that as officers no matter where they are serving take on the responsibilities this is part of their thinking. senator schatz: thank you. >> senator cruz. senator cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, welcome. let's talk iran. as you know iran's the world's top state sponsor of terrorism. and the islamic revolutionary guard corps is their premiere terrorist organization. as the state department noted in 2019 iran is an outlaw regime that uses terrorism as a key tool of states craft and the
4:50 am
i.r.g.c. has engaged in terrorist activity or terrorism since its inception 40 years ago. the i.r.g. support for terrorism is quote, foundational and institutional. the i.r.g.c. has killed over #00 americans in iraq. they control vast parts of the iranian economy and use them for financing terrorism. right now the irgc is actively trying to murder additional americans. including former trump administration officials. we know from public reports that the state department spends $2 million every month protecting former officials, including former secretary of state pompeo. and the secret service is providing similar protection to protect former national security advisor bolten. because of such activity, the trump administration rightly designated the irgc as a foreign terrorist organization, an f.t.o. as you know the f.t.o.
4:51 am
designation is the most powerful we have. it includes a criminal prohibition on knowingly supporting the irgc up to life in prison. it imposes vast immigration restrictions. it allows victims, including the gold star families of those killed in iran, to sue for civil damages from such support. and just as importantly, it is a signal to our allies in the middle east and across the world that we will use our most powerful tools to counter the threats that iran poses to them, including existential threats. the iranian regime knows all of this, of course, which is why they have refused to re-enter a nuclear deal unless the biden administration agrees to lift the f.t.o. designation. according to public reports the negotiations have stalled over this issue. to advance the talks american negotiators and the biden administration officials have tried to find ways to
4:52 am
rationalize meeting iran's demands. you yourself have down played concerns over such a move by saying the irgc would remain designated under other weaker sanctions. back in vienna the american tphoerbors have reportedly asked iranians to make commitments to stop conducting terrorism in exchange for removing the f.t.o. and specifically to stop trying to murder former american officials. according to these reports the iranians told you no. i have to admit it is flabbergasting that the biden administration would take such iranian commitments at face value. let alone consider dismantling terrorism sanctions. but i want to ask you, is it true that american negotiators made specific requests for a commitment that the irgc will
4:53 am
stop trying to murder former american officials? is it true they said no? secretary blinken: senator, i'm not going to get into the details of any discussions or negotiations in a public forum. happy to come back and talk privately about that. let me address a few things that you raised i do think that they are important. first of all i share your views on the irgc and especially a number of its component parts. and the cud force, primarily responsible for the egregious actions that it has taken in terms of targeting americans as you rightly state, continuing to do so. we very much share that view. i agree with you. we have over the course of this administration of the sanctions we issued 86 of the 107 designations by this administration have been against the irgc or its component parts. for the reasons you cite.
4:54 am
none of it is inconsistent with the nuclear agreement whether it was in force or not in force. there are myriad sanctions as you know, as you cited, against the irgc in one way or another both as the entity as a whole, component parts, individual members that will remain on the books irrespective. there are other factors worth considering. i'll come to the bottom line in a moment if i can. first, when the question of designating the irgc as a whole first came up during the bush administration -- senator cruz: as you know we have limited time. i'm going to try to focus on the stpefbg question. let me start off with this. is it true the irgc is actively trying to murder former senior officials of the united states? secretary blinken: i'm not sure what i can say in an open setting. let me say generically there is an ongoing threat against
4:55 am
american officials both present and past. senator cruz: is it true the state department is spending roughly $2 million a month to protect these officials? secretary blinken: we are making sure and will make sure for as long as it takes we are protecting our people, present and former if they are under threat. senator cruz: i am assuming you would agree attempting to murder a secretary of state, or former secretary of state, is a pretty damn big deal. secretary blinken: i would certainly agree. yes. senator cruz: there have been phup tipple public reports we asked them to make a simple promise not to murder a former secretary of state and they refused. there is nothing classified about that. if they are actively refusing say, no, we are going to keep trying to murder your former secretary of state, the idea our negotiators are sitting in vienna saying, ok, that's great. how many more billions can we give you, that doesn't make sense. i want to note factual question. did you ask them stop trying to murder the former secretary of state and did they sit there and tell you no, we are going to
4:56 am
keep trying to murder him? secretary blinken: of course within the context of any engagements that we have, directly or indirectly with iranians, one of the strong messages we sent thepd thee they need to stop taergting our people, period. here's the facts i mentioned -- senator cruz: did they tell you no? secretary blinken: i'm not going to characterize what they said. they know what they would need to do to address this problem. that's straightforward. but we have seen these attacks go up 400% from 2019 to 2020 after we got out of the nuclear agreement, after we designated the irgc, after we skilled soleimani. those are the facts. we have to deal with the facts in terms of what represents a fact to our people -- senator cruz: let me ask a final question because my time has expired on a topic you and i talked a great deal about. nord stream 2. we tphrao*eupbl gotten to sanctions nord stream 2. nord stream 1 continues to send a lot of gas. stopping nord stream 1 would
4:57 am
benefit our ukrainian allies. what are we doing to urge europe to stop taking deliveries on nord stream 1 which would benefit ukraine substantially? secretary blinken: we are working across the board to help europeans move away from dependency on russian oil and gas. including gas coming through nord stream 1. i'm glad we got to where we got on nord stream 2. i think we went about it the right way. we did it in a way that kept the germans fully allied with us. they made that decision like that after the russian invasion. that's been meaningful. we are looking across the board as steps we can take to support them as they continue to move away from a reliance on russian gas. >> senator merkley. senator merkley: thank you for being here today. i'm going to touch on a number of issues very quickly. also submit follow-up questions. and turn to in terms of your thoughts address transnational repression on burma. thank you for the genocide
4:58 am
determination. i know that that was a long, lengthy, complicated process but you did reach the state department did reach a conclusion. i think it's incredibly important for our position in the world that when genocide occurs we call it out. clearly and effectively. otherwise the other times that we criticize human rights it's ineffective. will i follow up in questions regarding some of the budgeted funds for burma. i want to make sure they are going to support civilian groups. in no way assist the government that have country. our second turning to honduras. thank you for the strategic dialogue that was begun yesterday and will continue in regards how to support their anti-corruption agenda and in general how to support the resetting of that relationship. congress sent a strong message by zeroing out the foreign military financial assistance to the northern triangle countries and making 60% of the rest
4:59 am
contingent upon completion, implementation of anti-corruption agenda. we don't tackle the -- that successfully there we will not successfully address any of the issues we are trying to help with. third, labor protection act was pleased to partner with my colleague from florida, senator marco rubio, to do that. i know that the administration is asking for more funds to implement it. support that. thapg you very much. thank you very much. ethiopia, we pressed hard to get the truckload of food. thank you for doing that. finally there were three successful convoys in april. they amount to 200 truckloads. we are told there needs to be 2,000 per month. there are some 700,000 families in famine-like condition. please keep pressing hard. they need to get those convoys through basically every couple days in order to alleviate that
5:00 am
famine. philippines, new election is coming up. i am pleased we have not supported the philippine national police. there have been some estimated 20,000 extra judicial killings. some violating human rights in a massive way. we have a chance to reset that relationship with the upcoming election. i know you are aware of that. i know your team's working to prepare for that. thank you. i echo my colleagues' statements of support for your actions on ukraine. i will follow up in terms of our help for very poor countries affected by the increased costs of wheat. and fertilizer that will be profound reverberations. and then i will follow up a lot on climate issues. complicated world, many things to touch on. i wanted to take your time today on a topic i didn't hear addressed. that is transnational repression. we are seeing more and more countries engaged in retaliation
5:01 am
for both what companies do outside of their borders, what countries do. what individuals do basically compromising freedom of expression. freedom of assembly. those nations include china, turkey, russia, saudi arabia, and iran, rwanda, and a couple dozen more at a lower scale. it's a growing strategic of -- strategy of authoritarian leaning countries to not just use new technologies, surveillance technology for repression at home but to do repression abroad. the worst country in this regard is china. think about this long list of things that they have done. they took up economic measures against mongolia for hosting the dalai lama. south korea for deploying u.s. missile defense. canada for huawei's arrest.
5:02 am
to sweden for giving a human rights prize to swedish dissident under detention in china. taiwan for refusing acknowledge it is part of china. united kingdom for supporting pro-democracy protestors. australia for calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of could he sreufpltd lithuania for establishing a taiwanese representative office in its capital. that list goes on. then in terms of individuals, the china commission held a hearing and we heard from folks from hong kong, from tibet, from the province talk about the impact on their families, impacted. to give you one example there is a uighur activist who encouraged the development of mother tongue schools. his name is ioup. initially there was some significant support for this
5:03 am
concept. then china evolved its policy and said we don't want these native language schools. we want to force everyone into, if you will, the major chinese dialect. he had to flee to norway. his in-laws were threatened. they were pressured to bring their daughter home. his niece home. back to china. where she was detained and she died in detention. the parents were threatened with imprisonment if they said anything to the world about her death. i just was amazed that his courage to continue to speak out against repression with his family being threatened, it's an incredibly effective tool. we see china undertaking these massive strategies both with trade policy and with deliberate strategies targeting dissidents abroad and family members at home.
5:04 am
huge threat to the vision of democracy. and freedom of speech. freedom of assembly. big issue for the state department to undertake. could you expand on your efforts. secretary blinken: thank you, senator. first of all let me say i appreciate the comments you made briefly about burma about honduras. about ethiopia, about the uighurs. also about food security. all things we look forward to coming back to you with and on. because all very important, very much the focus of what we are doing. i very much share your concern about the growing practice of using tools of transnational repression to attack those in one way or another who are speaking up, speaking out on behalf of human rights, on behalf of democracy, on behalf of basic freedoms. we put in place a number of measures to try to address this problem. you'll recall with regard to saudi arabia for example, the
5:05 am
khashoggi ban specifically goes not just with regard to saudi arabia but around the world. goes at countries that engage in this practice to include visa bans, sanctions. so if they are trying to use tools of transnational repression, we have means to go at them. more broadly, we are seeing this, as you have cited, being used in different ways, in different places, this is very much a part of the conversation that we are having with other like-minded countries who share the concern. we are looking at tools we can put into place to push back effectively against this. you cited the example of lithuania and china using coercion with lithuania. i think we have supported them along with other countries in the european union effectively to help them resist. we had a summit for democracy as you know a few months ago. part of that was doing exactly
5:06 am
what you suggest which is developing tools for pushing back against this kind of coercion and providing support to those who may be on the receiving end of t i'm happy to share with you some of the specific initiatives that we are working on with other countries to try to arm ourselves and others against this practice. >> senator barrasso. senator barrasso: thank you, mr. mr. secretary, welcome back from ukraine. you have dealt with issues relating to energy. you have heard a lot from the members of the republican side today, energy the way russia uses energy is a weapon and the impact that it's brought to ukraine. senator rounds asked a question on energy and you stated we need to accelerate transition to renewables. you said you can't weaponnize the sun. can't weaponnize the wind. we also can't run a modern economy on sunshine and whether it's a windy day or not. i just say for the first days in this administration the biden
5:07 am
administration has failed to prioritize energy security, which i have always said is part of our national security. under your leadership the state department is looking to cut deals with dictators in order to access more energy lee source -- resources. the state department is in negotiations to remove sanctions on iran's energy sector as part of the iran nuclear deal. the state department officials have traveled to venezuela to meet with maduro to discuss removing sackses to access additional crude oil. you personally called on opec plus to increase production to quote stabilize global energy markets to make sure that there remains an abundant of supply of energy around the world. your state department went to qatar and other foreign countries to ask them to export more liquefies natural gas to europe. all this happening at the same time that the administration you serve on has made it hardtory produce american energy. i heard about it again this week back home in wyoming. to me energy security is
5:08 am
critically important. our adversaries would love to see us even more dependent upon them to meet our own energy needs at home in america. i think we should not be removing energy sacks sanctions on brute -- sanctions on brutal dictators. it's a mistake to go to venezuela and ask for energy. it's dangerous to rely on russia for energy resources, oil, gas, coal and uranium. we need to increase production of american energy resources. our nation has plenty of energy to power our nation and provide our allies and friends with a stable energy supply. just explain why the administration is more focused on buying energy from our enemies that finding ways to increase american energy exports and production here. secretary blinken: thank you, senator. a few theufpblgts we are focused primarily on to make sure there are abundant supplies of energy to markets to our benefit and consumers so prices are held in
5:09 am
check. also to help europeans make this transition. especially in the midst of the russian aggression against ukraine. we want to make sure we are doing that in way that doesn't spike prices and line president putin's pockets. that makes good sense. we have taken a number of steps to support this effort, including doubling our l.n.g. exports to europe in the last few months. the president has called as well for increased domestic production. as you know well there are thousands of licenses that have not been used that exist. we'll see if production increases as a result. as it comes to renewables, we have been very clear all along this is a process and a transition. it's not flipping a light switch. so we have to have apwupbd ant sources of -- abundant sources of energy of various kinds going forward, even as we make the transition. there are tremendous opportunities over time in this transition, particularly when it comes to american technology.
5:10 am
in leading this effort and having vast new markets. it is a process. it's a transition. we need to make sure we have abundant supplies of energy on the market. when it comes to other countries, with regard to venezuela, the visit to venezuela is made with the objective of getting released americans who are being unjustly detained. we were able to bring home two of those americans. as well as to press the venezuelans to re-engage in talks with the unite the opposition on -- united opposition on moving back to free elections. that was the purpose of the visit. with regard to iran, the purpose of the negotiations with iran is to see if we can get the iranians back in compliance with the iranian nuclear agreement which has clear benefits to the united states and making it more difficult for iran. the purpose is not get more iranian oil on the markets. senator barrasso: let me move to
5:11 am
the crisis at the southern border. last month 220,000 illegal immigrants apprehended at the u.s.-mexico border. 2021 after president biden was southern into office 1.9 million apprehensions. currently on pace for two million this year. president biden tasked the vice president with addressing the crisis at the southern border. the president is talking about removing article 42 because apparently covid is hao*eupd us. since you started testifying this morning there has been news reports, senator wyden, senator murphy of this committee, and the vice president all right now with covid. during the vice president's chris eut -- visit to guatemala last year. vice president harris sent a message. i want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making this dangerous trek to the united states-mexico border. do not come. do not come. she wept on to say i believe if you come to the border will you turn back.
5:12 am
will you dow agree with those statements by the vice president if you come you will be turned back? secretary blinken: i will agree. if people come to the border and can't show a legal basis for coming into the united states under asylum or other rules, they will be removed. that is the policy. let me say when it comes to tight 42, this is a c.d.c. authority. not immigration policy. the c.d.c. will make its judgment. they made a judgment to terminate the title 42 next month. if that happens, as i said, what will happen as a practical matter, if people come to the border and try to get in without the necessary legal basis to do so, they will be sent away. senator barrasso: that's not happening. that's not going to happen. that's how you go from more illegal immigrants coming into the country of the 14 months with president biden in office than the previous four years with president trump in office. now we are facing a crisis the
5:13 am
administration appears to be sending a different message with this revoking title 42. it's important border patrol tool. it is a critical border control tool. as you mentioned as a public health to protect the public. it's going to result what we are going to see is a massive surge. the head of homeland security, this administration, said they are not prepared. the head of the homeland security from president obama's term said we are not prepared to handle what's coming this way. elizabeth warren explained on cnn this weekend, this will be my final question, she said, the biden administration is putting plans in place to deal with people who are asking for amnesty and relief at the border. would you please describe the plans that the biden administration is putting in place that senator warren alluded to, to deal with this surge of migrants attempting to interyou are our country illegay illegally? secretary blinken: i would refer
5:14 am
you to d.h.s. which is responsible for the border and for those plans. the focus i'm bringing to this is making sure that to the best of our ability we are getting countries throughout our hemisphere where we have an unprecedented situation, we have not only migrants in the northern triangle. we have venezuela, nicaragua, haiti, cuba, other countries that have had population from some of these countries who are also seeing them move north. what's vital from the perspective of the state department is the sense of shared responsibility for doing this. that's what we have been doing. i got back from panama where we had the foreign ministers from the concerned countries in place to take practical steps to deal with this. we have bilateral arrangements with costa rica and panama. we are working on more. where countries will take steps to put in place transit visas so people can't go through their countries to come to the united states. to do repatriations themselves. to treat people humanely to
5:15 am
apply protections. grant asylum themselves as opposed to the united states to seek t all these things are practical steps we are working on and putting into effect at the state department to help deal with what is an unprecedented situation. there will be a summit of the americas led by president biden where this will be a major topic of issue. i would again refer you to d.h.s. we obviously have over many years challenges in effectively, humanely, and efficiently processing those who come to our country and make claims of asylum. we need more resources to do that effectively, efficiently, so their cases can be adjudicated quickly. if they do not have a legal basis for being here, they are returned. >> senator booker. senator booker: thank you very much. good to see you, mr. secretary. thank you for taking so much time tone cure all of our questioning. i want to jump right-n in.
5:16 am
i'm just back going from poland all wait to in a paldydy nepal and -- nepal and india. one thing when i was in germany, our last stop, we impressed both german officials and state department folks as we all are focused on ecrane, not losing focus on china's influence in the region. germany after brexit the center of economic power in the e.u. our relationship with them is critical. i was stunned as i probed our officials there about how china's influence is just growing in their country. we are not, i don't believe, just allocating necessary resources to counter chinese influence in europe. i know you are doing a lot of things already. your budget proposed -- proposal includes funding for new initiatives to counter chinese influence globally, such as increasing the number of china
5:17 am
watchers. i want to make sure that this includes adequate funding for countering china in europe. i was alarmed when i started asking questions to find out that china costco shipping has struck a deal to take 35% stake in hamburg's tolerant terminal, one of the largest ports. when i started asking our ambassador there, she was telling me we have actually plans to sell american property there that none of them could tell me anything when i started probing them with questions other than the fact they all think it would be a terrible mistake to sell the property there because it sends the exact wrong message in hamburg that the chinese are buying everything up they k we are selling property that might be bought by the chinese. i pressed further and they could not escape my questioning, they had to admit to me that they are thread bare in our consulate in the second and third largest
5:18 am
cities. agreed with me that when it comes to countering china in one of the most important economic powers, we are not keeping up. we are losing ground. the first thing i want to oufr an opportunity, why doesn't your budget reflect the importance of adding investment in germany? why are we selling kreut tal property there -- critical property there that makes no sense whatsoever? secretary blinken: thank you. i'll look into the specific that you mentioned to make sure that i fully understand -- senator booker: would you get back to me in writing. secretary blinken: sure. we are focused on this relentlessly both in europe both at the level of the european union and individual countries. we have done a number of things to make sure that we not only are focused on it but we are doing something about it. we established a dialogue with the european union on china and all of the aspects of its engagement in europe. the deputy secretary of state
5:19 am
just came back from. and one of the things that it focused on is chinese investment that poses potentially a strategic challenge or threat to us. we have been going across the continent in urging countries to adopt investment screening tools. i have done that personally. it's in virtually all of my engagements with countries that don't have them. for the purpose of making sure that they can identify and as necessary do something about potential investments by china that could pose a security threat. the purpose is not to cut off trade or investment from or with china. that's not the issue. it's focusing in on specific areas of strategic importance, including ports, as well as telecommunications and other things that we have eyes on it and that we have -- we or they have the tools to do something about it. and reorganize the department to have a whole of enterprise focus on china. led by the deputy secretary.
5:20 am
and part of our instruction to all of our embassies around the world, including europe, is to focus on and report on the kinds of potential investment -- senator booker: i'll probably have a conversation with the deputy secretary as well. it's tough when i talk to the staff over there face-to-face they do not seem to have the resources they need to do the work you're talking about. as i said to them, as secretary mat teus one said, you cut my state department, buy me more bullets. a pivotal country we just watched a decade or two of terrible policy with the russians with increased engagement, i don't want to see the same story repeated with khaefpblt talking to my peers in that country, they needed to hear from us and see from us this was a priority for us. we were going to be holding them to account. we were not retracting from germany but actually upping our investments across the board. i understand you value this i only have a -- secretary blinken: i would love
5:21 am
to pursue this with you. we expand the regional china program so we have of our bureaus we have people who are experts in this. we are expanding our capacity to engage on economic issues. this is part of my phod *erbization -- modernization agenda. senator booker: quickly. i see this every time i travel abroad. the lack of diversity in our state department. it does not reflect america. it's stunning to me at times when i sit in rooms with no diversity whatsoever in a large group of state team with me. you have increased the funding for the paid internship programs. that's important. there is a $10 million in addition to the $8 million in fiscal year 2022. it's something that's a priority to me and other members of this committee. i hope that's enough. i hope we do more because it's disappointing to me whenever i come back from traveling abroad. then when i talk to people of color that do serve in our embassies, they feel like i do and warnock and perhaps tim
5:22 am
scott probably does here in the senate. wow, we need more diversity. i know that's a priority for you from private conversations. i'm hoping we can do something about it. my last point, i am so concerned about food security globally. this to me is stunning that we are -- we don't understand the connection, besides the moral urgency everywhere from yemen to afghanistan to the horn of africa, the moral urgency to do something about this. how critical it is for global security to meet this food crisis. as we have learned, i talked with mr. beasely from the world food program torques calculate for me -- program, just to calculate for me it saves us hundreds of dollars in terms of instability when we don't meade meet the crisis. i'm hoping the biden administration in their next ukraine package, these are related issues, is asking for the resources necessary to meet
5:23 am
this crisis. we know that there is probably about a $10 billion urgent need for resources to meet the food crisis alone. i would like you to conclude by maybe giving me -- which i know does, reflect my sense of urgency of the gravity of the -- this crisis to put in reamerican resources to treurg other of our allies to join us to meet this crisis. further exacerbated by the crisis in ukraine. secretary blinken: let me quickly. i shaoeur that concern. we are going to use our presidentence at the u.n. security council to focus on food security. we'll look to work with congress to provide $11 billion over five years for programs like feed the future. we are working right now with countries around the world to get them to increase the donations they are making and resources they giving to the
5:24 am
world food program to the food and agricultural organization. we are pressing on coy terrorist that have large stockpiles of food to make those available. not export restrictions. the president has made -- created incentives for fertilizer production in the united states to make sure that more of that is getting on market. as you know that goes to making sure that next year's crops and years after are apwupbd ant and prices -- apwupbd kwrapt and prices don't further go up. we have given an ait digsal $100 million recently for the humanitarian assistance fund to ethiopia, kenya, somalia. i could not agree with you more. we are focused on it. senator booker: thank you for your courageous trip you took coming from and meeting with ukrainians when i was in poland. your extraordinary leadership in my opinion has been a light during this crisis. i want to thank you for that and the entire state department staff and what they are doing under difficult circumstances >> senator johnson. senator johnson: thank you , mr. welcome, mr. secretary.
5:25 am
can you describe to me what your and the administration's definition of is a win in ukraine? secretary blinken: senator, on the terms that president putin himself said, ukraine has already succeeded and russia failed. the terms that putin set was to eliminate the sovereignty and independent pence of ukraine and to -- sovereignty and independence of ukraine. i can state with dense -- confidence that has failed and will fail. as we are speaking the ukrainians are doing an extraordinary job thanks to their courage but also because of the support that we have led in providing in pushing back the russians. they have done that from kyiv and western ukraine, northern ukraine they are engaged in a ferocious battle in the east and south. we are doing everything they can to make sure they have the means to continue to do that.
5:26 am
ultimately it will be up to them as a sovereign independent country how they want to resolve this and we'll see if president putin gets to the point of being willing to engage in any meaningful negotiation about that. that will be up to the ukrainians. they'll have our full support as they do now. senator johnson: you are not willing to lay out what the administration's view of the end state ought to be to be considered a win. secretary blinken: the end state should be determined by the ukrainians. we'll continue to back that however they choose to do it. senator johnson: when you were with president zelenskyy did he talk to you about what his objectives are, and what he would consider a win? secretary blinken: i don't want to put words in his mouth. i think what would be fair and safe to say is that his objective would be to push the russians out of the territory they are trying to occupy. and also, let me add, because i think it's important, to try to
5:27 am
make sure that whether that is accomplished russia is not in a position to repeat this exercise next month, next year, or in five years. that goes to making sure that ukraine has the effective capacity to deter and depend itself. and it goes to something that secretary austin said yesterday was also making sure in various way that is russia does not have the effective means to do this again. senator johnson: putting your two answers together, president zelenskyy would view his objective to push russia out, out of eastern ukraine, and you said the administration will support president zelenskyy in his objectives. that is the u.s. objective as well? that aligns with president zelenskyy. our goal is for them to win, according to the definition of the ukrainians and president zelenskyy, we'll support them in
5:28 am
their efforts to win in ukraine which means pushing russia out of at least eastern ukraine? secretary blinken: if that is how the ukrainians continue -- let me say i don't want to put words in his mouth. if that is how they define their objectives as a sovereign democratic independent contry, that's what we'll support. i come back to my initial proposition which is on putin's own terms, which was trying to subjucate fully to russia, that's already failed. senator johnson: now appears putin's goal is establishing a land bridge between eastern ukraine to crimea. is that a very -- are you willing to state that is definitely the u.s. objective our nato partners' objective to deny him that land bridge? secretary blinken: our objective is to make sure the ukrainians have the means to repel and deal with this russian aggression
5:29 am
wherever it is taking place in ukraine, including in southern ukraine. that's what we are doing. senator johnson: i was at a -- a subcommittee investigation hearing on the way we still not address the military housing. i missed some of the testimony. maybe you covered this. are we going to provide them the types of weaponry they need, recognizing that what worked when kyiv was surrounded and now it's flatter terrain, some cases almost trench warfare. we committed to providing the type of weaponry that president zelenskyy was asking for. secretary blinken: in short, yes. the point you make is an important one. the nature of the battle has changed from what was necessary for western ukraine and kyiv to where things are now. we spent three hours with president zelenskyy with the secretary of defense, big focus of that conversation was what it is that ukraine needs to deal with the current state of the
5:30 am
russian aggression. secretary of defense as we speak is in germany with the ministers of defense from about 40 countries focused on making sure we are all providing ukraine what it needs to deal with this aggression. senator johnson: to what extent are we aware china is helping russia in their aggression against ukraine? do we know they are using chinese drones? secretary blinken: we are very focused on this in a number of ways. president biden made directly clear to president jinping it would not be in china's interest to support russia in this aggression or undermine sanctions. this is something we are looking at very, very carefully. i think you're seeing that china's having to deal with the significant reputational risk it's already incurring by being seen in the most charitable interpretation, on the fence, and more practically supportive of russia.
5:31 am
. we can in a different session get into more detail. for now we're not seeing significant support from china for russia's military actions. secretary blinken: in the remaining seconds i have, i have been attempting to get from state department a report that the state department conducted on an inspection from the wuhan lab. i think we understand that the overall thrust of that report, it was not allowed, that had the type of safety standards that we would have expected. i'm somewhat baffled that's a report i am not able to get my hands on. this report came from -- april 19, 2018, the cable describing it was january, 2019 and january, 2018. is that something you'll commit to me today to turn over to my committee? secretary blinken: senator, i'll look back into that.
5:32 am
my recollection is this. there was a program that ended in 2019. there was no funding of that program since. and i think any -- there was a report that may have been done by an outside contractor that i think was seen as problematic in its methodology. in any event, i'll follow up. i don't know the status of that but i'll come back. secretary blinken: i appreciate that and i expect that response. thank you. >> senator shaheen. senator shaheen: thank you, mr. secretary, for your trip to ukraine. i think it's something that the entire world watched. it was great appreciation. i really want to start this more -- this afternoon with the western balkans because i think senator murphy mentioned that he and i and senator tillis traveled through serbia, kosovo
5:33 am
and bosnia-hertz covina last week and i think it's fair if putin is stalled in ukraine, to sew chaos and that his fingerprints of malign influence can be found throughout the western balkans. i'm particularly concerned in bosnia that was plagued by apartheid that is at war with itself but there is also a troubling security outlook there. we had a chance to meet from representatives from the u-4 and nato mission there, the b.i.h. and everyone we talked to about
5:34 am
a growing concern about the potential for russia to play games with re-authorization of the u-4 force when it comes up this fall. and it doesn't appear there's any plan b for what to do about that. we raised this concern with our ambassador, obviously. we heard from a number of people. and we raised it when we were at nato headquarters in brussels as well. so can you tell me whether we have a plan in place to maintain a peacekeeping presence? secretary blinken: first, let me just say thank you for your engagement, for your leadership on these issues. not only your recent trip but just across the board. i remember well from my days working for this committee, senator voinovich was the sort of flag bearer and really appreciate the fact that you have sort of taken the flag on
5:35 am
the western balkans and let me say two things very quickly. first, i think generally speaking, the situation with the russian aggression against ukraine only underscores the broader urgency of integration for all of these countries into european structure, something that in a variety of ways we're continuing to encourage, work on, support. we have programs that will try to help them advance their candidacies and qualifications and meeting criteria for these things that i know you know very well. that's a general proposition. diplomatically, we've been engaged in every aspect of this, whether it's the relationship between kosovo and serbia, whether it's getting west macedonia and albania across the line in direction of the e.u. and finally bosnia herzegovina. when it comes to the force, i'd say two things. first, i very much agree with you that some kind of international force with an
5:36 am
adequate mandate is essential to trying to maintain a safe and secure environment in bosnia and herzegovina. what i can tell you about where we are, this is a work in progress when you talk about the mandate and whether that will be blocked in effect and not continued. we have been engaged with a variety of stakeholders in planning in the event the security council is not in a place where it we news the mandate or expires which i think is in november. so we're trying to make sure we have something to back this up if that happens. very happy to work with you on that and share ideas how we can do that. senator shaheen: i'd very much appreciate that and we were able to speak with the deputy secretary who is in the balkans this week and share with her what we heard and our concerns what's happening there so i look forward to that because you mentioned senator voinovich. i first traveled with him to the
5:37 am
western balkans in 2010. i think it's fair to say in each of the countries we visited i was more concerned about the political situation today than i was in 2010. the secretary: yeah. senator shaheen: so we need to pay attention. and i know that there are people within the department who are trying to do that. i want to go now to the office of global women's issues because i was pleased to see the budget increased funding for that office which is long overdue. and i wonder if you could talk a little bit about why you think this is important and really the gender lens with which we should be looking at foreign policy in many ways. secretary blinken: thank you nor your ongoing leadership on this. i think the budget request is substantial and by design we are
5:38 am
looking overall for about $2.6 billion to try to do a number of things, to advance gender equality, to prevent and respond as necessary to gender-based violence and to promote women peace and security. and simply put, all of these things are not only in my judgment the right thing to do, they're also the necessary thing to do if we're going to have societies that are making the most of their potential with the full inclusion of women across the board economically, politically, etc. it is necessary as well in terms of i think effectively dealing with conflict and making sure that women's voices and women's leadership is engaged to both prevent and deal with that. we know the track record when that happens is much better than when it doesn't. and because there are significant and severe threats,
5:39 am
some of which have been he can sent waited by -- eccentuated by covid-19. it has increased, no the decrease, in recent years. so we have a number of things we're trying to do that are reflected in the budget and in our programs. with regard to gender-based violence, there are a series of programs that would be funded by this request to offer support, to offer services, to use our foreign assistance as well as our diplomatic action, again, to prevent and deal with this as necessary. one of the critical aspects of this i know you very well and i've spoken about is, for example, making sure we have in refugee situations a gender-based approach to making sure there's safe access to food, water, medicine, sanitation, hygiene. and these are factored in not
5:40 am
only into our programs but into the work we're doing with the organizations that provide these services. and the budget and our programs reflect that. we're also very focused on women, peace, and security and working to support the participation, the leadership, the empowerment on women in making peace and security. this is very much part of our diplomacy. again, we know that it produces better outcomes. so we're pushing with diplomacy, with public diplomacy, amplifying voices of local women, women-led organizations, all of these things have programs and the programs, of course, have a price tag attached to them. senator shaheen: well, thank you very much. i'm out of time but i hope we're keeping the women of girls of afghanistan included in that equation as well. thank you very much. senator young: thank you, chairman. good to see you, secretary. secretary blinken: thank you. senator young: as a former staff
5:41 am
member of this committee i know you agree robust oversight of the workings of the department is incredibly important. with that understanding, i've been disappointed in the department, the administration's communication with and transparency to congress as it relates to the negotiations with iran. any sort of deal, so to speak, that might be cut with the government of iran that inadequately curbs iran's appetite to develop nuclear weapons, to continue to carry out malign activities within the region and beyond will not be in american interests, that of our allies or that of the iranian people themselves. i was encouraged earlier you gave a commitment to the chairman to work with the committee on an open hearing at some point in this work period
5:42 am
to discuss negotiations. i will just build on that and ask you, sir, if you commit to making special envoy malley, our chief negotiator, available to appear before this committee before an agreement is announced and agreed to? secretary blinken: senator, thank you. and look, i want to make sure we are doing exactly as you say which is be communicating effectively and in as real a time as possible on this issue and for that matter on virtually every other issue. i know that special envoy malley has been engaged in one way or another with members of this committee and congress throughout the course of these negotiations as well as, of course, with allies and partners. i want to make sure that continues to happen. so we will look for an opportunity to make sure that people are brought as up to date as we possibly can, including by him or other members of his
5:43 am
team. happy to work with you on that. senator young: i understand the sensitivities of negotiations and the practical realities that would prevent an hour-by-hour or perhaps day-by-day update. in light of the gravity of the situation and the news reports that a deal may be forthcoming soon, can we have special envoy malley, if not before this work period is ended but before an announcement is agreed to? secretary blinken: i'll see what we can do to make something happen. i will say i would assume for that purpose we would probably need to do something in a closed session because this is in the midst of a negotiation. but let me come back to you on that. i want to find a way to make
5:44 am
that happen. senator young: ok. thank you very much. i appreciate that. staying on iran just briefly. do you commit that the irgc's foreign terrorist organization designation will not be lifted as part of any agreement the administration reaches with iran? secretary blinken: the only way i could see it being lifted is if iran takes steps necessary to justify the lifting of that designation. it knows what it would have to do in order to see that happen. senator young: do you agree that irgc's f.t.o. designation will not be lifted merely at the negotiating table? meaning, not just concessions made at the negotiating table, a pattern of constructive behavior would have to occur over a period of time? i can speak vaguely only to this matter in order for the f.t.o. designation to be removed.
5:45 am
secretary blinken: yes. this would -- irrespective of the nuclear negotiation, just with regard to the f.t.o., it would require iran to take certain actions and to sustain them. of course, if it purported to do something and then didn't and a designation -- any kind of designation were lifted, it can always be reimposed. as you know, there's a long history to this when it comes to the irgc designation. the bush administration looked at it. it might actually create more dangers for our people and forces in the region. the obama administration came to the same conclusion. when president trump did it was against the advice of his joint chiefs of staff, the intelligence community. because in the judgment of those -- the two administrations and senior leadership and president trump's administration, the gain was minimal and the pain was potentially great.
5:46 am
senator young: again, as a practical matter -- secretary blinken: again, as a practical matter, there a myriad of sanctions on the irgc. the primary sanction when it comes to the f.t.o. designation is actually is a travel ban. and the people affected by that ban when it comes to the risks g -- irgc, as you know, it's a large force that has conscripts in it, they won't be able to travel. the people who are the real bad guys have no intention of traveling here anyways. senator young: i'll move on to burma because i have a long burmese diaspora community. i applaud the administration for designating the genocide, something senator merkley, cardin, and many pushed for and i commend the administration for
5:47 am
that. situation in burma following last year's coup continues to inflict deep suffering on the people in the country and in these diaspora families, especially those in indiana. there was a briefing required after 60 days of passage as it relates to the united states response to the ongoing crisis in burma. among those issues are determination on the legitimacy and recognition and the national unity government, holding those in the military accountable for their crimes including sanctions and looking into strategic interests and actions of the people's republic of china. we're long overdue for said briefing and legislative response. is, of course, suffering on the account of this. and i fully acknowledge how many challenges the administration is tending to but we do need action here. i just ask you, mr. secretary, would you commit to working with
5:48 am
others in the administration to follow the law and brief koong on these matters as soon as possible? secretary blinken: yes. senator young: thank you. i'll be following up. the chair: thank you. mr. secretary, just some final questions to wrap up. i just came back from a trip with a series of colleagues, both on this committee and off, on australia, japan, and taiwan. and what became clear to me, not only in this trip, but with all of the ambassadors that we hosted of the asean nations here in washington that unless we have an economic and trade agenda, we will not meet the strategic competition challenge that we have with china and we will not necessarily meet the reach for some of these countries to engage in a way we want them on the security question. because they just feel that we are not engaged. in the interagency process -- i know you don't drive this agenda
5:49 am
on your own -- but in the interagency process, i hope that you are advocating for some robust economic -- which is not necessarily a trade agenda -- but economic and/or/plus a trade agenda. in the absence of that, even though we consider china our single biggest geostrategic threat, we can't win it without those dimensions. secretary blinken: i strongly agree with you, mr. chairman. i think that's exactly right. we are pursuing that. we are launching what we call the indo-pacific framework that addresses i think part of this challenge. it includes a number of things. it includes trade facilitation. it includes standards for the digital economy and technology. it includes building supply chain resilience, infrastructure investments, including in clean energy, worker standards. there are a number of -- senator menendez: it doesn't include market access which is something they're looking for.
5:50 am
this is a good initiative. i said in the finance committee to our trade representative. but all of these nations when we've talked to them have suggested that their aspiration for a much more robust engagement by the united states is necessary. so that's why i add the economic equation which isn't necessarily a trade agenda, because whether it's the d.f.c., whether it's millennium challenge or a.i.d. or whatever else, we cannot meet something with nothing. secretary blinken: again, i very much agree with your premise. senator menendez: i intend to make that point to the president and others as well. and in that con -- in our visit to taiwan, if china can overcome taiwan which produces 90% of all of the high-end semiconductors in the world for the average american that is watching, in everything we use, the phone
5:51 am
that we have, the car that we drive, the refrigerator we keep our food in, and i could go on and on, there are semiconductors. if in fact china can overwhelm and take taiwan and have control of 90% of the world's semiconductors, the world will be in a world of hurt. that's one dimension. not to mention the message we heard it would send within the region if in fact we don't come to taiwan's assistance here because other countries will say, well, they didn't do it for taiwan, they're not going to do it for us. do we have that sense of urgency? secretary blinken: mr. chairman, we do. and we're focused on this in a number of ways. with regard to semiconductors themselves, we have a significant advantage right now over china and the ability to produce the highest end semiconductors and the chips. as you know a small number of countries, including taiwan, are at the forefront of that.
5:52 am
we are taking very significant steps with taiwan, with japan, with the netherlandss, which is critical to this. and a few other countries to make sure that when it comes to the highest end semiconductors, they are not transferred to china or china does not have the technology -- does not get the technology to manufacture them. taiwan is into all of that. at the same time when it comes to taiwan itself, we are determined to make sure it has all necessary means to defend itself against any potential aggression, including unilateral action by china to disrupt the status quo that's been in place now for many decades. i think there have been military sales, close to $20 billion in such sales since 2017 that is ongoing as we speak. there's been another almost $2.5 billion in commercial sales we authorized or facilitated. we've been expediting third-party transfers to taiwan.
5:53 am
we've been supporting indigenous industrial defense capability, and we are focused on helping them think about how to strengthen asymmetric capabilities, again, as a deterrent. chair menendez: we are aligned between our views what their asmetic capabilities need to be and their views which is an important thing. so i look forward to our robust engagement to help them have the capacity capabilities of that, asymmetric capabilities. finally, i requested a g.a.o. report on the state department's annual waiver of the freedom support act which was released in march. the report found the state department's reporting to congress on fulfillment of bafber conditions did not address required elements, including the impact on proposed assistance on the military balance between azerbaijan and armenia over a seven-year period and found that state did not provide detailed instruction to
5:54 am
agencies about reporting requirements and that state and d.o.d. did not document their consideration of waiver requirements over a six-year period. i look at this budget now and i see a $1.4 million discrepancy between support of armenia and azerbaijan. i see what the azerbaijanis are doing, including trying to eradicate the presence of armenians who have lived there. how is it that we're going to provide more money, which in my mind is in violation -- forgetting about the waiver -- is in direct violation of section 907. that's something i am not going to support, just to have you know. secretary blinken: mr. chairman, i'll look at the specifics of the concerns you raised about the adequacy of the reporting. i'll take that on.
5:55 am
907, as you know, is an annual decision. we have interagency review going on. that review is under way. but i take what you say seriously and i'll take a look at that. more broadly, i've been very actively and directly engaged with leadership in both armenia and azerbaijan, including just as recently as a week ago phone calls with the prime minister and the president as well as their foreign ministers trying to help advance prospects for a long-term political settlement. we have been developing and promoting various confidence building measures. we've been trying to push back on any unilateral actions, particularly by azerbaijan, that would only inflame the situation. and we have a number of programs in place that are part of the budget to try to help advance more peaceful prospects. so that's very much on my
5:56 am
agenda. happy to work closely with you on that. chair menendez: finally, let me just say. listen, you have a difficult job. i think the breadth and scope makes you a great secretary of state. and we appreciate you spending nearly three hours. i have to tell you something. we cannot seem to get to call things as they are sometimes. the state department put out a statement with reference to the decision to convict kavala in turkey that we are troubled and disappointed. this is why authoritarian figures like erdogan, they get away with continuing what they're doing. we should have condemned the conviction. the department goes on to say he should be released in keeping
5:57 am
with the european court of human rights rulings as well as to other incarceration. it talks about the harassment of civil society, media, political, business leaders in turkey to prolong the tension. it goes on to talk about all of the -- there are more lawyers and journalists in prison in turkey than any other place in the world. that says something considering some of the terrible places in the world. so we express trouble and disappointment. you know, our ally india, that's in the quan, they go buy oil from russia. they buy the s-400. they abstain at the united nations. but they're a member of the quad. at some point, messages we send globally here are inconsistent. i've heard president biden say he stands up for human rights and democracy in the world. i believe him. that's his history from the time he sat where i'm sitting today.
5:58 am
man, when we say we're troubled and disappointed, that doesn't cut it. when we allow someone who we've invited to be part of the quad to go ahead and purchase the s-400, go ahead and purchase russian oil in violation of the global sanctions we're creating, go ahead and, you know, vote against our position in most of the -- and most of the world's position at the united nations, if you think you can do all those things and still get whatever it is that we give which is a lot, then you will. so i just hope, mr. secretary, you'll look at some of the positions that we take and equivocate let and be more forcefully directive what people should and shouldn't do? secretary blinken: i take your point about that specific statement and i'll go back and have a look at that myself. more broadly, and i said this at
5:59 am
the outset, i think we're at a very important strategic moment as various countries to include the countries you cited are thinking about and possibly reconsidering some of their other relationships, including with russia. and as a strategic proposition, i think it's very much in our interest to encourage that and work with that and see what we can do to make sure that along with success for ukraine in ukraine, we also take advantage of other strategic opportunities that may present themselves as a result of russia's aggression as well as dealing with some of the challenges we face. so i think that also has to factor into our thinking about how we approach things, countries -- some countries have had decades long relationships, as you know very well, with russia that take time to change
6:00 am
and to adjust. so i hope that as we do this, we want to be as effective as we can in getting the right strategic result even as to your point we keep faith with our basic principles, especially when it comes to -- chair menendez: i agree with you. on india, i want india to be aligned, not just with us is the final point. as i traveled all over this region and to receive foreign dignitaries here, i say the choice is not between the united states and china. the choice is what type of world do you want to live in? one that is ultimately governed by the rule of law where you get to choose who governs you, where you get to worship as you please, where you get to ultimately achieve economic success by the use of your intellect or the sweat of your brow or is it a world where
6:01 am
you're minded, where you don't get to choose who governs you, where you don't get to worship where you please, where you get to put in a concentration camp, it's your choice. at the end of the day in pursuit of making that choice clear, i hope that we will hold higher expectations of some of those who we describe as allies because historically some of these countries who view themselves as nonaligned ultimately if they can have it both ways they will. and at some point there has to be a definition of which type of world do you want to live in? with the thanks of the committee for your very extensive responses to everybody's questions here and your service to our country, this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow. and this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national
6:02 am
cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
6:03 am
>> c-span's hon. judge jackson:, -- >> c-span's "washington journal," everyday, we take your calls live on the air. coming up this morning, maj toure with black guns matter discusses gun violence prevention. and daniel webster from the johns hopkins center for gun violence solutions, plus research to reducing gun. ben denise gilman, director of the immigration clinic at the university of texas at austin on the difficult challenges for immigration policy, title 42, and the so-called remain in mexico policy.
6:04 am
watch "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. this morning come on c-span, or c-span now, our free mobile app. join with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> today on c-span, the house returns at 10:00 a.m. eastern for general speeches, legislative business begins at noon with consideration of several bills, including one requiring a series of reports on whether china provided support for russia in the war on ukraine. on c-span two, at 11:00 a.m. eastern, the funeral service for former secretary of state madeleine albright. president biden gives eulogy. and then cheryl and pierce garnet's nomination to be a u.s. district judge. on c-span3 at 10 15 a.m., health and human services secretary javier becerra testifies over a budget hearing. in the afternoon, homeland
6:05 am
security secretary alejandro mayorkas testifies. this is all streaming on our website. the house agriculture committee holds a hearing on alleged unfair practices in cattle markets. and the house committee holds a hearing on the opioid epidemic. you will find those live at -- >> on saturday, "the daily show" post trevor noah hosts the first white house correspondents dinner since 2018. our television coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. we will have sights and sounds from inside the ballroom and highlights from past dinners ahead of the speaking programs. coverage on and the c-span now video app begins live at 6:00 p.m. eastern, where you can watch celebrities, journalists, and other guests walk the red carpet.
6:06 am
the white house correspondents dinner, live saturday on c-span, c-span radio,, and on the c-span now video app. ♪ >> c-span now is a free mobile lab featuring your unfiltered view of what is happening in washington, live and ondemand. keep up with the day's biggest events with live streams of floor proceedings of hearings from u.s. congress, white house events, campaigns, and more from the world of politics, all at your fingertips. you can also stay current with the latest episodes of "washington journal" and schedule information for c-span's tv networks and c-span radio, plus a variety of compelling podcasts. c-span now is available in the app store and google play. download it for free today. c-span now, your front row seat to washington, anytime, anywhere.
6:07 am
♪ >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more, including cox. >> cox is committed to providing eligible access to families with affordable energy. one connected and engaged at a time. cox, bringing us closer. >> cox supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> house democrats, including speaker pelosi, pay tribute to secretary of state madeleine albright, who died in march. her funeral service will be live today on c-span2 at 11:00 a.m., president biden will give the eulogy. speaker, i rise today to pay tribute to one of our country's greatest public servants and


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on