October 6, 2020
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for hosting me, Foreign Minister Motegi – it’s great to see you again.
When I first came here two years ago, Prime Minister Abe welcomed me warmly. I want to thank him for everything he did to make the U.S.-Japan relationship stronger than ever, to the benefit of both our peoples and our shared values of freedom and democracy. I know President Trump feels the same way.
Prime Minister Suga was a powerful force for good in this relationship when he was Chief Cabinet Secretary, and the United States has every reason to believe he will strengthen our enduring alliance in his new role. I’m very much looking forward to meeting him later today.
In his first statement after assuming office, Prime Minister Suga described a free and open Indo-Pacific as “the foundation of regional peace and stability.” I couldn’t agree more. I would only add that the foundation’s cornerstone is the U.S.-Japan relationship and the security and prosperity it has provided our people for decades.
We’re building on that work today:
Japan and the United States share the goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and a resolution to the issue of the DPRK’s abductions of Japanese citizens. I’m sure we’ll talk about those subjects.
We also recognize that the Chinese Communist Party has a completely different vision for this region – a closed and authoritarian one that goes against the open, stable and prosperous region that our two democracies have partnered to build over decades. During this pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that Beijing is a bully that we must confront head on – a fact all too obvious in light of the PRC’s problematic actions in India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea.
I’m eager to have productive conversations with Foreign Minister Motegi on these issues and more.
Thank you, again, Foreign Minister, for welcoming me.