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Transcript: Biden and Suga press briefing at White House

Biden Suga Press conference briefing

This is a transcript of the opening remarks made by U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at a White House press briefing on Friday.

BIDEN: Prime Minister’s brought the sun out, so we can do about anything.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for being here. It’s been my pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Suga to the White House. This is our first in-person meeting here, the first head of state that I’ve asked in my administration to come to the White House. Yoshi — thank you for making the long trip to Washington.

We’ve already met several times virtually at the G-7 meeting and the Quad Leaders Summit. But I greatly appreciate the chance to spend time with you in person, and to make our exchange of ideas face-to-face. There’s no substitute for face-to-face discussions. We are still taking COVID precautions, being careful. But our commitment to meet in person is indicative of the importance, the value we both place on this relationship between Japan and the United States, this partnership. We had a very productive discussion today. When nations as close as ours get together, we always look for operations and opportunities to do more.

And today was no exception. So Yoshi, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of me in the future. Today Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for U.S.-Japanese alliance and for our shared security. We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China, and on issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea to ensure a future of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Japan and the United States are two strong democracies in the region, and we’re committed — we are committed to defending, advancing our shared values, including human rights and the rule of law. We are gonna work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century, that we can deliver for our people in the face of a rapidly changing world. So today we are announcing a new competitive and reliance partnership core between Japan and the United States that will enhance our ability to meet the pressing challenges of our time — together meet those challenges.

Top of our agenda is of course getting the pandemic under control, and helping our friends and neighbors throughout the Indo-Pacific region to recover. Earlier this year, we together with India and Australia launched a landmark Quad vaccine partnership to expand the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, and assist countries throughout the region with vaccination efforts. And we agreed to enhance our support for global vaccination efforts through the ACT Accelerator and COVAX facility.

We’re also going to do more beyond this pandemic, to advance longer term goals for health security: reform of the World Health Organization and establishing a new partnership on health security, to build better preparedness for the next pandemic, because there will be others.

Secondly, Japan and the United States are both deeply invested in innovation and looking to the future. That includes making sure we invest in, and protect the technologies will maintain and sharpen our competitive edge. Those technologies are governed by shared democratic norms that we both share norms set by democracies, not by autocracies. So we are going to work together across a range of fields, from promoting secure and reliable 5G networks to increasing our cooperation on supply chains for critical sectors like semiconductors, to driving joint research in areas like AI, genomics, quantum computing, and much more.

Thirdly, our nations are committed to taking aggressive action to meet the threats of climate change. Next week, I’ll be hosting the Climate Leaders Summit, which Prime Minister Suga also plans to attend, thankfully, to rally key nations of the world to making ambitious climate commitments in the lead up to the Glasgow Summit later this year. Japan and the United States are both committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and we know to do that will require setting and meeting our 2030 goals. And we will work together to advance clean energy technologies and help nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region, especially developing countries, develop renewable energies and decarbonize their economies.

And finally, both Prime Minister Suga and I value the incredible partnership that exists not just between our governments, but between the Japanese people and the American peoples. Last month, we jointly marked the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster across so many lives in Japan. I visited this area shortly after it happened. In our private lunch, the vice president and the president — the prime minister and I talked about, when I was vice president, visiting the families in the region to show support of the United States. We continue to mourn the loss of all those folks, and to honor the extraordinary joint effort between Japan and the American people in the wake of that tragedy to recover and to rebuild. In those personal bonds of friendship and constant connection, they are the ones who are going to keep this alliance strong and vibrant for decades to come.

And I’m especially proud that today, we agreed to resume what we call — what is called the Mansfield Fellowship Program, to promote people-to-people connections between our countries. Before Mike Mansfield — who was a beloved ambassador to Japan — became ambassador, he was a mentor of mine when I came to the Senate after my wife and daughter were killed, and he helped me along in ways I can’t even explain in the United States Senate. I’m proud — I’m proud this legacy continues to be honored as part of the close enduring partnership between our nations.

And Yoshi — and I’m proud you are of, and the people of Japan are — you’ve got a Japanese boy coming over here and guess what, he won the Masters. He won the Masters, he won the green jacket, and Matsuyama was the first Japanese player to take home that green jacket of the Masters tournament this week. So let me say congratulations to Japan as well on that feat.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for making the trip. I look forward to all that Japan and the United States will accomplish together in the coming years. It was a great honor having you as the first head of state in my administration. The floor is yours.

SUGA: It is truly a pleasure to be here in person visiting Washington, DC. I would like to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris, who have welcomed me so warmly. I also wish to extend my gratitude to all the members of the U.S. government, who have worked to prepare for this occasion. The United States is Japan’s best friend. Japan and the US are allies that share universal values, such as freedom, democracy and human rights. Our alliance has served its role as the foundation of peace and stability for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

In light of the current regional situation and the severe security environment, the importance of our alliance has reached new heights. Based on such common recognition at today’s summit, we engaged in far-reaching and candid exchange of views on each other’s political principles, challenges faced in each of our nations, our common vision, and other matters.

President Biden and I reaffirmed the recognitions confirmed at the Japan. U.S “2+2” held last month, and agreed to engage in initiatives for the region based upon such recognitions. We also discussed the free and open Indo-Pacific. We agreed that while Japan and the U.S. will take the lead to promote the vision through concrete efforts. We will also cooperate with other countries and regions, including the ASEAN, Australia and India.

We also had serious talks on China’s influence over the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and the world at large. We agreed to oppose any attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas and intimidation of others in the region. At the same time, we agreed on the necessity for each of us to engage in frank dialogue with China, and in so doing to pursue stability of international relations, while upholding universal values.

On North Korea, we confirmed our commitment to the CVID of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges, and agreed to demand North Korea to fulfill its obligations under Security Council resolutions. On the issue of abduction, we reaffirmed that it is a grave human rights issue, and that our two countries will work together to seek immediate resolution by North Korea. In countering North Korea, and for the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific, both of us recognized that trilateral cooperation including the ROK has never been as important as today, and agreed to promote such collaboration,

Noting that the social security environment has become increasingly severe, the deterrence and response capabilities of our alliance must be strengthened. I conveyed my resolve to reinforce Japan’s defense capabilities while President Biden again demonstrated America’s commitment to the defense of Japan, including the application of Article Five of the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security for the Senkaku Islands. We also agree to accelerate the review underway between our two countries on the specific means to strengthen our alliance. At the same time, from the perspective of mitigating the impact on local communities including first and foremost Okinawa, we agreed to promote the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of Air Station Futenma to Henoko, which is the only solution to avoid its permanent use.

In responding to the unprecedented crisis faced by the international community such as COVID-19, and climate change, Japan and the U.S. are mutually indispensable partners. President Biden and I share the recognition that our two nations — their significant responsibilities to lead all bilateral initiatives toward the resolution of such issues. In this context, we agreed to respect international order based upon multilateralism and the rule of law, while exercising joint leadership to build back better our global community.

Based on such an outcome of our meeting, today we are releasing the Japan-U.S. joint leaders’ statement: Global Partnership for a New Era, which will serve as the guiding post for our alliance in the times ahead, which strongly demonstrates our solidarity towards the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

From the perspective of our two nations’ leading efforts to build a better. President Biden and I agreed on the Japan-U.S. core partnership and confirmed it to promote cooperation and common priority areas including promotion of competitiveness and innovation in digital science and technology, COVID-19 countermeasures, green growth and climate change.

For competitiveness and innovation, under the recognition that digital economy and new technologies in particular will bring about social transformation and huge economic opportunities, we have agreed that Japan and the U.S. will work together on the promotion of R&D of various areas including the digital area and others.

Regarding response to COVID-19, from short-term responses to longer-term efforts, including their preparations for future similar incidents, we will work on the promotion of multi-layered cooperation regarding the overall supply of vaccines and the reinforcement of Japan-U.S. public and private cooperation in the area of global health. We confirmed that cooperation between our governments will continue. In order to ensure equitable access to vaccines including access by developing countries, multilateral and regional corporations will be promoted.

On the matter of climate change, at the upcoming climate summit to be hosted by the U.S. next week, or at COP26 and beyond, we confirmed that Japan and the U.S. will lead the global decarbonization in order to further strengthen cooperation in areas such as the implementation of the Paris Agreement, clean energy technologies, or the carbonization transition of developing countries, I agreed with President Biden to launch a climate partnership on ambition, decarbonization and clean energy. Under these initiatives, I wish to give impetus to concrete and comprehensive Japan-U.S. cooperation.

I discussed the increase of discrimination or violence against Asian people across the U.S., with President Biden and agreed that discrimination by race cannot be permitted in any societies. We agreed on this regard. President Biden’s comment that discriminations or violence cannot be allowed and that he firmly opposes [them] was extremely encouraging for me, and I have renewed my confidence in American democracy once again.

I told the President about my determination to realize the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer as a symbol of a global unity. President Biden once again expressed his support for this determination. Japan is listening to and learning from WHO, and experts are doing everything possible to contain infection and to realize safe and secure games from scientific and objective perspectives.

We will do our utmost in our preparation, freedom, democracy, human rights, rule of law. As we firmly defend and uphold these universal values that Japan and the U.S. share. I look forward to the actual implementation of the outcomes of today’s significant meeting and to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific by further collaboration and deeper cooperation with Joe. I once again express my heartfelt gratitude for the kind invitation. Thank you.

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Polina Tikhonova

Polina Tikhonova from Kyiv is Insider Paper’s Editor/Writer. Besides editing pieces, Polina covers articles with a focus on World affairs and politics at Insider Paper. Polina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian, and Russian.




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