100 Days To Go: Dems Lowering Costs While GOP Hurts Vets, Sides With China

31 Jul

With 100 days to go until Election Day, Republicans are doubling down on their extreme, ultra-MAGA agenda and siding with big pharma and China over veterans and working families, while Democrats are taking critical steps to lower costs on everything from prescription medications to cars and electronics, creating manufacturing jobs in America, and addressing the climate crisis. 

Here’s what Dems are focused on  as we enter the home stretch:

Working to lower prescription drug costs and take historic climate action

Washington Post: “Major changes to the Affordable Care Act. The nation’s biggest-ever climate bill. The largest tax hike on corporations in decades. And dozens of lesser-known provisions that will affect millions of Americans. If enacted, the legislation released Wednesday night in a surprise agreement between Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) would represent one of the most consequential pieces of economic policy in recent U.S. history…”

Passing legislation designed to bring manufacturing jobs back home and lower costs for hardworking American families

CNN: “The legislation is aimed at addressing a semiconductor chip shortage and making the US less reliant on other countries such as China for manufacturing. Supporters say the measure is important not only for US technological innovation, but for national security as well.”

Fighting to protect Americans’ freedom to make their own health care decisions, access contraception, and marry who they love

CBS News: “Together with a pair of bills that aim to ensure abortion access, which passed the House last week, and a measure that protects same-sex and interracial marriages, the proposal involving access to contraceptive services is Democrats’ rejoinder to the Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.”

Meanwhile, here’s what the GOP is focused on 100 days before the election:

Preventing veterans from accessing the health care they’ve earned because Democrats want to lower prescription drug prices for American families

Wall Street Journal: “…Republican anger blocked a separate piece of legislation. Soon after the announcement of the Manchin deal, the Senate unexpectedly failed to advance a bipartisan bill to provide healthcare to veterans exposed to burn pits.”

Siding with big pharma and China to vote against more U.S. manufacturing jobs and lower costs

Washington Post: “However, after the stunning news Wednesday night of a deal between Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Democratic leaders on a separate climate, health-care and taxes bill, House GOP leaders urged members to oppose the chips bill as retribution, in an effort to deny Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) a legislative win.”

Refusing to protect Americans’ rights

Vox: “Many Senate Republicans, rather than confront the substance of new legislation that would provide federal protections for same-sex marriage, are instead arguing that a vote on the bill is unnecessary.”

And if you think that’s bad, here’s the ultra-MAGA agenda they want to push if they take power: 

Ban abortion across the country with no exceptions for rape or incest

NC Policy Watch: “But McMorris Rodgers didn’t rule out Republicans pushing nationwide legislation after the election if they regained control of Congress. ‘Not before the election,’ she said, later adding ‘Well, yeah,’ when asked if Republicans would put forward legislation afterward if they won.”

Cut the Medicare and Social Security benefits millions of Americans rely on

Mother Jones: “The 122-page manifesto, containing a laundry list of longstanding conservative desires, calls for significantly reducing the size of America’s social safety net, drastically limiting abortion access nationwide, effectively throwing in the towel on combatting climate change, raising the age requirement to receive full Social Security benefits, cracking down on transgender rights, and making it easier for Americans to carry concealed weapons.”

Make health care more expensive for American families

Washington Post: “Sen. Ron Johnson said he wants to see the GOP repeal the Affordable Care Act if his party wins the White House and the House and Senate majorities in 2024, a move that would resurrect a fight that Republicans had waged for nearly a decade, then largely abandoned in 2018.”

Simply put? America can’t afford the GOP’s ultra-MAGA agenda

The post 100 Days To Go: Dems Lowering Costs While GOP Hurts Vets, Sides With China appeared first on Democrats.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Israeli Defense Minister Gantz

31 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to discuss a range of shared security challenges, including the threats posed by Iran and U.S. support for Israel’s security. Secretary Blinken reiterated the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians deserve to enjoy equal measures of security, freedom, and democracy. The Secretary also raised the tragic killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the need for accountability.

Adopting Resolution 2648 (2022) by 10 Votes in Favour, 5 Abstention, Security Council Renews Mandate of Expert Panel, Eases Arms Embargo on Central African Republic

30 Jul
The Security Council today extended its arms embargo against the Central African Republic — as well as a travel ban and assets freeze imposed on certain individuals and entities, as designated by its sanctions committee — for one year, eased some of the embargo’s restrictions and renewed for 13 months the mandate of the Panel of Experts tasked with assisting that body.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting With the Republic of the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Kabua and Select Compact Negotiation Delegation Members

30 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman met in Washington today with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Kitlang Kabua and a group of Compact of Free Association negotiation delegation members.  The Deputy Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed ways to expand and grow the U.S.-Republic of the Marshall Islands bilateral relationship. They discussed progress on the Compact negotiations, the impact of COVID-19 on the Marshallese people and diaspora, and promoting economic growth and stability in the Pacific Island region. The Deputy Secretary underscored the importance of successfully concluding the Compact negotiations and the strength of united Pacific voices and leadership through international fora such as the Pacific Island Forum.

New Deal to Resume Grain Exports through Ukrainian Ports ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Easing Global Food Crisis, United Nations Political Affairs Chief Tells Security Council

30 Jul
​​​​​​​While the newly signed deal to resume grain exports through Ukrainian ports offers a “beacon of hope” for countries in increasingly desperate need, close coordination among the parties involved will be critical to its success, the United Nations political affairs chief stressed today, as delegates in the Security Council both welcomed its potential for staving off famine and condemned the strike on the port of Odesa less than 24 hours later that threw that likelihood into jeopardy.

East Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel J. Kritenbrink and African Affairs Assistant Secretary Molly Phee on the Secretary’s Upcoming Travel to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda

30 Jul

Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Assistant SecretaryBureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Molly Phee, Assistant SecretaryBureau of African Affairs

Via Teleconference

MR PRICE:  Thanks very much and good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining this call.  We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to preview the Secretary’s upcoming travel to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda.  We’ll be departing on Tuesday.  The Secretary will be on travel from August 2nd through August 12th.  We have two briefers for you today.  We have Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee.  Just a reminder, this call is on the record, but it is embargoed until the conclusion of the call.  With that, I’ll turn it over to Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink for some opening comments.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Thank you, Ned, and good afternoon everyone.  It’s great to be with you again.  I met with many of you earlier this month ahead of the Secretary’s trip to Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan and of course traveled with many of you on that trip.  And at that time, I noted that this level of senior-level engagement in the Indo-Pacific reflects just how profoundly important the region is to America’s long-term security and prosperity.

And now we’re here just a few weeks later to announce yet another visit to the Indo-Pacific.  Secretary Blinken will first head to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on August 3rd to participate in three separate ministerials hosted by Cambodia as ASEAN chair this year.  This is a profoundly important time in our relationship with ASEAN.  At May’s U.S.-ASEAN Summit here in Washington, D.C., we agreed to elevate our relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.  The Secretary will discuss that matter with our ASEAN friends in Phnom Penh, which will lead up to the November U.S.-ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit.

In Cambodia next week, again, I mentioned the Secretary will participate in three separate ministerials: first, the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial, where we will highlight our enduring and committed partnership with ASEAN, our respect for ASEAN centrality, and our strong support for the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific, as well as our work with ASEAN partners on a range of shared challenges.

Secondly, in the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting, we will focus on strategic issues and global challenges.  For example, we’ll address transboundary challenges such as climate change and human rights.  We’ll also discuss the PRC’s growing coercive activity across the region.

And third and finally in the ASEAN Regional Forum, or ARF, the Secretary will address specific political and security concerns, encourage preventative diplomacy, and support ASEAN’s commitment to regional security and to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

At all three ministerials, as well as at the many bilateral engagements that the Secretary has planned, Secretary Blinken will urge our partners to step up pressure on the Burmese military regime following its horrific and heinous execution of four pro-democracy advocates.  This is just the latest example of the regime’s brutality.  The Secretary will also press all countries in the region to enhance support for the people of Burma, the pro-democracy movement, and all those working to restore Burma’s path to democracy.

The Secretary will also discuss Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.  America’s goal is straightforward:  We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.  If Russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions, it will send a message to other would-be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries.  It will put the survival of other peaceful sovereign states at risk.  There will, of course, also be discussions on issues related to food and energy security, which obviously have been negatively impacted by Russia’s war.

In his meeting with Cambodian leaders on a bilateral basis, the Secretary will stress his strong support for ASEAN and for the success of Cambodia’s chairmanship this year.  He will also underscore the U.S. desire to have a productive and positive relationship with Cambodia, highlighting strong bilateral cooperation on issues such as DPRK sanctions enforcement, law enforcement coordination, and condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  At the same time, however, the Secretary will also stress the importance of Cambodia’s being open and transparent about its security cooperation with the PRC and the need for Cambodian leaders to make meaningful progress to support multi-party democracy, respect for human rights, and to reopen civic and political space.

Next, Secretary Blinken will visit the Philippines, where he will meet with newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and the new Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo.  We welcome the statements that President Marcos recently made about the importance of preserving the Philippines’ territorial integrity.  Secretary Blinken will reinforce and underscore to our Philippine allies that our commitment to our Mutual Defense Treaty is ironclad.  He also intends to have important discussions on enhanced cooperation on trade and investment and on clean energy, as well as on advancing our shared democratic values and strengthening respect for human rights, including press freedom.

With that, I’ll pass the phone to my friends and esteemed colleague, Assistant Secretary Molly Phee.  I’ll look forward to your questions later.  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  Thanks, Dan.  Great to be here with you.  Thanks, Ned, for organizing this.

We’re all excited about the Secretary’s upcoming travel to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 7th through 12th.  Each of these countries is a significant player on the continent and across the globe, so we’re looking forward to direct conversations and engagement about shared challenges and opportunities.

In South Africa, the Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue.  This dialogue will focus on health, environment, trade and investment, and infrastructure, priorities for both countries.  Given South Africa’s leadership role, it’s an ideal location for the Secretary to deliver a speech announcing and describing the U.S. strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary will meet with senior government officials as well as members of civil society to discuss efforts to hold peaceful, on-time free and fair elections in 2023.  He will want to hear the Congolese perspective about regional efforts to address the role of armed groups in eastern Congo and the recent spike in violence, including attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers.

In both the DRC and Rwanda, the Secretary will highlight the need for respect for territorial integrity and explore how the United States can support efforts to reduce tensions.  In Kigali, he looks forward to the opportunity to meet President Kagame for the first time since he became Secretary of State to discuss a range of national and regional issues.  He will raise the case of Paul Rusesabagina, whom the Secretary has determined has been wrongfully detained.

At each stop, he will seek an exchange on the importance of democracy, good governance, and respect for human rights.  As you know, these are longstanding U.S. values that are part of all of our discussions, as Dan just described as well.

The Secretary is really interested in exploring how we can broaden economic prosperity.  As you know, we’re committed to contributing to efforts to build Africa’s self-sufficiency and resilience and to promote inclusive development.  To that end, we’re working with African governments and businesses, entrepreneurs, civil society, the U.S. private sector, and IFIs and MDBs to accelerate sustainable economic growth across the continent and to help Africans manage the disruptive economic shock of COVID and the food security crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finally, the Secretary will focus on the devastating impacts of climate change.  We are continuing to partner with African leaders to tackle the climate crisis and to work together on clean energy development and to provide needed tools and innovation to transition for the future.  We will want to consult on the decision to open up the Congolese rain forest to oil and gas exploration.  The consequences for the DRC, for Africa, and for the world are immense.  And we’ll also want to continue to work with the Congolese Government on how they can best diversify and grow their economy sustainably.

Just to note, we’ve had a lot of travel to Africa this summer.  In June, Under Secretary Nuland went to Somalia, Djibouti, Mozambique, and Nigeria.  Under Secretary Zeya just returned from a trip to Mozambique and Namibia.  Derek Chollet this week has been in Senegal, and Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is going next week to Uganda and Rwanda.  We’ll also have a lot of CODELs in August.  So all of this is designed to create opportunities for us to meet our partners in person and to collaborate on these critical issues.

Over to you, Ned.

MR PRICE:  Terrific.  We have time for a few questions.  Operator, if you wouldn’t mind repeating the instructions to ask a question.

OPERATOR:  Once again, ladies and gentlemen, if you do have a question, press * then 0 at this moment.

MR PRICE:  We’ll start with the line of Jennifer Hansler, please.

QUESTION:  Hi, can you hear me?

MR PRICE:  We can.  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  Awesome.  Thank you.  Are there any plans for the Secretary to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov while they are both in Cambodia for the ministerial?  And then on Paul Rusesabagina, will the Secretary be warning about any consequences should they continue to detain him, and what would those consequences be?  Thank you.

MR PRICE:  Jenny, I’ll start with your first question.  We have no plans to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov when they are in Cambodia.  I’ll turn it over to Assistant Secretary Phee on your second.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  Thanks, Ned.  Yeah, I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions with President Kagame.  We’ve been very clear with the Government of Rwanda about our concerns about his case, his trial, and his conviction, particularly the lack of fair trial guarantees in his case.  And I’m looking forward to the opportunity for this issue to be discussed at a senior level.

MR PRICE:  We’ll go to the line of Dave Lawler.

QUESTION:  Ned, a question on the last two stops, Rwanda and DRC.  I assume part of the reason for choosing those locations is to try to reduce tensions between them.  Can you talk a bit about that?  And you spoke about the need to respect territorial integrity; obviously, DRC has said Rwanda is arming and supporting the M23 rebels and so violating its territorial integrity.  I guess does the U.S. have any position on whether that is the case, and is it a problem for the U.S. if that is the case?  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  I think, as everybody knows, the situation in eastern Congo has tragically been volatile for about two decades, with over five million people who’ve lost their lives there, and a range of armed actors who also seek sanctuary in neighboring countries.

Recently, a few months ago, the Kenyans launched an initiative known as the Nairobi Process to try and work with the Congolese and neighboring countries to get a grip on the role of armed groups, including M23, and that effort has begun, I think, to address the concerns.  Angola also hosted both the – President Kagame and President Tshisekedi just a few weeks ago to help urge de-escalation in tension.  And I know that Secretary Blinken hopes to contribute to these conversations and see what the United States can do to reinforce these regional diplomatic efforts and to see how we can help calm the situation.

MR PRICE:  We’ll go to the line of Simon Lewis, please.

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you.

OPERATOR:  Simon, your line is open.

QUESTION:  Thanks.  Hi, thank you.  So the first question: Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink – I will – I just wanted to ask a couple of things on the Asia side of the trip.  One thing:  Is there any plans for a bilateral with Wang Yi during the Cambodia event?  And I wondered if you could give us an update given the recent developments in Myanmar with the execution of activists.  Does that change the thinking on potentially sanctioning the oil and gas enterprise?  Is that getting any closer to happening?

And I just wanted to follow up on the questions on Rwanda to Assistant Secretary Phee.  I just wondered, in the light of the letter that Senator Menendez wrote to the – to the Secretary about Rwanda, do – is there – is this sort of U.S. aid to Rwanda under discussion during this trip?  Is that something that – given those concerns about Paul Rusesabagina and also the Rwandan development with the M23 fighting, are you looking at reducing the level of aid that goes there?  Thank you.

MR PRICE:  Dan, would you like to start?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Absolutely.  Thanks very much for the question.  Look, on your first question I would say at this point there are no formal or official plans to sit down and meet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, particularly since the Secretary just saw him a couple of weeks ago, as you’re aware, in Bali, where they met for more than five hours and had a very candid and productive and comprehensive conversation.  But as you know, at these multilateral meetings there often are opportunities for pull-asides.  So we’ll see how things develop, but no formal plans at this point.

On your second question, on Myanmar, thanks very much for raising that.  Look, again, I’ll just reiterate: I think the international community is really horrified and incensed by these inhuman and heinous executions that were just carried out.  But really, this is just the latest demonstration of the regime’s brutality, which thus far has murdered more than 2,100 Burmese since the coup d’état.  What I would say is that you can see the depth of that indignation through the various international statements that have been issued.  Of course, the Secretary spoke, our friends in ASEAN issued a statement, the G7 has issued a statement, and other likeminded partners have as well.

As far as additional steps, this will be a real focus of our conversations at the ASEAN meetings in Cambodia.  I would just underscore that all options are on the table, including related to MOGE.  Certainly don’t have anything to announce today, but I think it’s fair to say that we’ll consider any and all means necessary to increase pressure on the regime in Burma and to cut off their funding streams that continue to fuel their repression.  And so we’ll continue to examine all of that across the board, and at the same time we’ll keep in mind that we want to make sure whatever we do, it doesn’t exacerbate the already difficult circumstances in which the Burmese people find themselves.  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  So on Rwanda, Secretary Blinken had an opportunity a few days ago to speak to Senator Menendez about his letter, and he told him that he intended to raise the issues outlined in the letter when he has an opportunity to speak with President Kagame, that that would be part of the discussion of a range of topics that he hopes to review with President Kagame.

So, as I said before, I don’t want to get ahead of that discussion.  I think it’s great that we’re going to have the opportunity to engage at a senior level and explore what’s possible for our future relationship.

MR PRICE:  We’ll go to the line of Ryohei Takagi.

QUESTION:  Can you hear me okay?

MR PRICE:  Yes, please go ahead.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Ned and Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink.  I just wonder whether he will meet his counterparts from the DPRK on the sidelines of ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia.  And secondly, you have mentioned the security cooperation between Cambodia and the PRC.  It has been reported that China is secretly building a naval facility in Cambodia.  So could you tell us some updates on it, and what is the U.S. position to it?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Thank you for your questions.  I can say clearly that there are no plans to meet with North Korean counterparts.  You do point out rightly that North Korea is represented in the ASEAN Regional Forum.  I don’t have any information in front of me who may or may not be present representing North Korea, but no plans to meet with them, although I am confident that the Secretary will speak directly to the situation in North Korea during his intervention at the ARF.

You mentioned Cambodian security cooperation with the PRC, and I noted that in my opening comments as well.  Look, we’ve been crystal clear, and the Secretary has as well and the Deputy Secretary and myself publicly, that we have encouraged the Government of Cambodia to be fully transparent about the intent, nature, and scope of its project at Ream and the role of the PRC military in its construction there.  Certainly I think a number of us have significant concerns about that facility there, and in particular any exclusive PRC military presence at Ream would risk diminishing Cambodia’s autonomy and undermining regional security.  So again, we’ll have an opportunity to convey that message to Cambodian friends again, and I am confident that others in the region will as well.

MR PRICE:  Julian Pecquet.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Sorry, I had a similar question regarding, more specifically, on any sanctions or anything else that you might announce.  I know you can’t talk about that, but is Roger Carstens traveling with the Secretary?  And more broadly, can you talk about other people who might be on the trip to Africa in particular?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  The Secretary is taking several leaders to join him, particularly in South Africa, where we’re doing the Strategic Dialogue.  Under Secretary Jose Fernandez will be joining us; the head of USTDA, the Trade and Development Association, will be joining us; our new head of PEPFAR, who we stole from Africa CDC, the great Dr. John – I’m going to mispronounce his name – Nkengasong – I apologize; and also colleagues from HHS.  And Under Secretary Fernandez will also join the Secretary in Congo.  So Roger’s not traveling with the Secretary on this trip.  That’ll be a subject the Secretary himself will raise.

MR PRICE:  And we’ll conclude with the line of Pearl Matibe.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Ned, and thank you so much, Assistant Secretary Phee.  My question is regarding South Africa.  So as evidence has shown in several countries, if unemployment and indigenous land and indigenous wealth is not tackled, conflict can follow.  So could you possibly preview for us how does the Secretary plan to concretely address issues of unemployment?

And then also, do you think that he might address the notion of foreign powers being viewed as an increasing – by an increasing number of – in the population, including young people, as the second most significant driver of negative change in South Africa?

And I know that you have always said that human rights is part and parcel or threaded into your interactions.  Will he address brutality and the extent of xenophobic violence and human rights of migrants while he is there?  I’d appreciate your comments on these, Secretary Phee.  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  So thanks very much for your question and for highlighting those important concerns.  I wanted to draw your attention to the speech that he will deliver.  He spoke, as you may recall, when he was in Nigeria last November about U.S. policy and our approach towards Africa, and the formal announcement of this strategy is of course consistent with what he outlined and what we’ve been doing since the administration came into office.

But it will be an amplification of our conviction that partnership with Africa is really critical to meeting shared challenges.  And those shared challenges really include economic issues, and we recognize the incredible youth dynamic and the challenge that poses for African societies in terms of employment, and that’s why we’re working hard to mobilize greater trade and investment in Africa to help African economies develop in a way that addresses that youth bulge and also that is consistent with our shared climate change goals, as I said, to develop in a sustainable way.

So I think those themes will be very public while he’s there.  And again, as I said earlier, he always discusses – he believes passionately in human rights, and he always discusses it in all of his stops.

MR PRICE:  Excellent.  Well, thank you very much to our two speakers, Assistant Secretary Phee, Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink, and for everyone for tuning in.  Just a reminder this call was on the record, and the embargo is now lifted.  Thank you all very much.

Secretary Blinken, Secretary Raimondo, Foreign Minister Hayashi, and Minister Hagiuda at a Press Availability

29 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, DC

Dean Acheson Auditorium

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  So we just concluded the inaugural meeting of the new U.S.-Japan Economic Consultative Committee, otherwise known as the EPCC or “epic.”  Secretary Raimondo and I were very glad to welcome our colleagues here to Washington today.  Foreign Minister Hayashi and I saw each other just a few weeks ago in Bali for the G20 and then in Tokyo, where I had the opportunity to convey the profound sympathy and sorrow of the American people to the people of Japan after the assassination of Prime Minister Abe.

As you may know, the EPCC was a product of President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida’s meeting in January, their first major talk after the prime minister took office last fall.  They agreed that the U.S.-Japan alliance has never been stronger or more necessary and that our countries should deepen our cooperation to strengthen the rules-based economic order to address urgent challenges facing our workers, our businesses, people, and accelerate open, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Today’s first meeting of the EPCC was, I think it’s fair to say, a resounding success: productive, substantive, directly connected to issues that matter in our peoples’ lives and in their futures.  We discussed building resilient supply chains after the COVID-19 pandemic revealed just how fragile they are.  We addressed emerging technologies which bring so much promise of opportunity but also risks to national security, human rights, consumer health and safety, intellectual property.

We talked about Moscow’s war on Ukraine.  Our countries are working closely to impose costs on Russia so that President Putin will end the war and address, of course, in the meantime food and fuel prices worldwide that have been spiked in part because of Russia’s aggression.  We discussed development finance and the problem of opaque lending practices that can weigh down countries with unsustainable debt.

And we addressed the People’s Republic of China and how its coercive economic practices go against an open, inclusive rules-based international economic order that gives all countries a chance to participate, to compete, and to grow.  Japan and the United States believe in a global economy where all countries hold themselves to norms, to standards, to practices that allow people, ideas, goods, capital to move freely; where disputes are resolved swiftly, peacefully, openly; and where trade and commerce support workers, raise incomes, protect the environment, and create opportunity for as many people as possible.  The EPCC is the latest addition to an ever growing partnership with Japan.

A few months ago in Tokyo, our two countries joined 12 others to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to support a stronger, fair, more resilient economy across the region.  Our countries work together through the Quad with India and Australia on issues from global health to the climate crisis to infrastructure.  We cooperate through the OECD to tackle bribery and corruption, through the Global Action Plan to fight COVID-19, through the new Mineral Security Partnership to bolster critical mineral supply chains.

And beyond all of these different initiatives and fora, the bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States encompasses just about every issue we face, from protecting our national security, to defending human rights, to advancing our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  The work that we did today, making clear together that our economic security is a vital component of our overall national security and well-being, I think just underscores the importance and the breadth and depth of our partnership.

We are deeply grateful for our alliance with Japan.  It stretches back decades, sustained by cherished ties of family and friendship between our peoples.  The work we did here today reflects the strength of that partnership but also importantly carries it forward.

On a separate note, earlier today I spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.  We had a frank and direct conversation.  I pressed the Kremlin to accept the substantial proposal that we put forth on the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.  I also emphasized that the world expects Russia to fulfill its commitments under the deal it reached with Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations on grain shipments from Ukraine.  Ambassador Brink, our ambassador to Ukraine, was in Odessa this morning.  She confirmed that the ships are loaded and ready to go.  It is important and vital that Russia make good on the commitments it’s made – made to the world.  As I made clear, we’re looking to see that move forward as soon as possible.

I also made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov that in light of recent statements coming from the Kremlin about their plans to proceed with the further annexation of Ukrainian territory – indeed, the foreign minister’s own words about replacing democratically elected Ukrainian Government as well as being part of their ongoing plans – those plans would never be accepted.  The world will not recognize annexations.

We will impose additional significant costs on Russia if it moves forward with its plans.  We’ll also continue to stand with Ukraine, support its ability to defend itself, impose costs on Russia until it ends its aggression.  We continue to coordinate closely with allies and partners, including very closely with Japan, to support Ukraine and to hold Moscow to account.  And as always, we’re prepared to work with Ukraine and others to support any meaningful diplomatic efforts to end the war, to end the aggression.

So with that, let me just thank my colleagues so much for an incredibly productive meeting and for designing together the way ahead and to make sure that the EPCC really is an epic achievement between our countries.  Thank you.

Yoshi.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  (Via interpreter) Hello, everyone.  This is my very first visit to Washington, D.C., as a minister of foreign affairs.  First, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and many people from the United States Government for your deepest condolences for the passing of former Prime Minister Abe.  I would like to thank the thoughts extended by the people in the United States.

We have just come out of the very first ministerial-level Economic 2+2 with Secretary Blinken, Secretary Raimondo, and Minister Hagiuda.  We had a very fruitful exchange of thoughts.  I would like again to thank both secretaries for their wonderful hospitality.  The Economic 2+2 is the first attempt in the alliance of Japan and the United States to discuss foreign and security policy and economic policy as a unit.  In a background, there is a shared urgency between Japan and the United States that existing international order is challenged not only by unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, but also by attempt to realize strategic interest by exerting economic influence in unfair and opaque ways.

In order to respond to such crisis effectively, today four ministers from Japan and the United States gathered and discussed a wide variety of issues, including economic policies of respective countries, establishment of regional economic order, and economic security.  This is the response to the requirement of time, and I believe it serves as a strong message about the adaptability of Japan-U.S. alliance in a rapidly changing international economy and about the resolve by Japan and United States to lead the international cooperation in this area.

Today we discussed the following points and confirmed on the cooperation.  First, we discussed a rules-based, free, and open international order.  As the economy has a strong influence on diplomacy today, Japan and the United States confirmed that we would cooperate with likeminded countries not only from the economic perspective but also from a strategic perspective in order to maintain and develop international order to ensure economic security.

Regarding energy security and food security, we discussed assistance to those countries that are gravely impacted by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Also I expressed Japan’s support of IPEF and as the United States plays more active role in economic order of the Indo-Pacific region, and conveyed my strong hope to both secretaries that the United States come back to TPP soon.

Second, we discussed response to the exertion of international economic influence to hinder – sorry, intentional economic influence to hinder solidarity in the international community, and to distort foreign policies of different countries and confirmed on a shared awareness.  Economic coercion issue was also taken up by G7 Elmau summit, and I hope to deepen the discussion towards the G7 Hiroshima summit.

Also, regarding the unfair and opaque development finance, I hope that Japan and the United States can work together to ensure all countries comply to the international rules and standards.

In addition, we agreed that for Japan and the United States to ensure our own competitiveness and resilience, we will continue to promote cooperation based on core partnership that was concurred in April last year.  We also agreed to establish stronger supply chain cooperating with likeminded countries.

I would like to reiterate that we are not pursuing protectionism or bloc economy, but any policy will give due consideration to transparency and predictability for businesses.  I hope that we can continue to deepen our discussion in various related areas with likeminded countries, taking opportunities of occasion such as G7, chaired by Japan, and APEC, chaired by the United States.  We have agreed to hold the ministerial meeting on a regular basis, and I look forward to our next meeting.  Thank you.

SECRETARY RAIMONDO:  Thank you.  Thank you, good afternoon, and thank you to Secretary Blinken for hosting us, bringing us together.  And thank you to Ministers Hagiuda and Hayashi for joining us and for being present here in the United States for this very important meeting.  I also would like to join with Tony in expressing my condolences to our colleagues and to the people of Japan for the tragic loss of Prime Minister Abe.

So I share the assessment with Secretary Blinken that today’s meeting was a resounding success.  We had candid, productive, open, substantive discussion, and I’m very proud of the joint progress on promoting economic growth, addressing threats to the global order, and enhancing security and resilience.

The close ties between the United States and Japan support good jobs in both of our countries and contribute to our mutual prosperity and security.  Our alliance is an increasingly important force for peace and prosperity not only in the Indo-Pacific region but, in fact, throughout the world.

I also want to acknowledge how deeply grateful I am that Congress yesterday finally approved funding for the CHIPS Act.  As we discussed today, semiconductors are the linchpin of our economic and national security, and we had an excellent discussion today around how Japan and the United States could collaborate, especially with respect to advanced semiconductors.  The $52 billion investment in the CHIPS Act in domestic semiconductor production will enable us to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States, rebuild American manufacturing, and strengthen our supply chain for decades to come.

Just as important, this funding will strengthen our partnerships with allies like Japan.  It will enhance our joint work on supply chains, promote the competitiveness of both of our nations, and importantly, make us less dependent on our adversaries for such a critical piece of technology.  It will build on – excuse me.  Just as importantly, the funding will strengthen our partnerships and will build on the meeting that Minister Hagiuda and I had in May, where we expressed shared intent for cooperation on semiconductor supply chains.

I look forward to the day, not too far from now, where here in America we have American-made chips supplying Japanese auto plants here in the United States.  Together our two nations are leading the way in investing in our futures.  So again, I just want to thank Minister Hagiuda and Minister Hayashi for joining us.  Thank you for your efforts to forge new and stronger bonds between our nations, our communities, and our people.

MINISTER HAGIUDA: (Via interpreter) I am Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry.  First I express also my gratitude to American people for sending heartfelt condolences to former Prime Minister Abe.  Japan-U.S. alliance is a cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy.  Former Prime Minister Abe has always said so.  On his historic visit to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor with President Obama, I also accompanied them as then-deputy chief cabinet secretary.  Former Prime Minister Abe has staked his political life throughout, while making Japan-U.S. people’s ties stronger.

President Biden came to Japanese Embassy to express condolences.  Secretary Blinken came to Japan, and Secretary Raimondo gave us a heartfelt message.  I understand within the United States, flag was hoisted half-mast at many places, not only government buildings.  It shows deep ties at people’s level between our two countries.  In place of former Prime Minister Abe, I sincerely express my gratitude from the bottom of our heart.

“Japan is back,” Prime Minister Abe declared in Washington about 10 years ago.  Japan will once again exert leadership with the United States, the champion of democracy, hand in hand for peace and prosperity of the world.  So the determination was expressed in CPTPP, free and open Indo-Pacific, Quad, over a decade that its foundation underpinning peace and prosperity of the region was built.  State Secretary Blinken the other day said he feels such a loss.  Frankly, entire Japan is covered with a big sense of loss.

However, Japan is here to stay.  Going forward, Japan will work hand in hand with the United States and work toward peace and prosperity of the world.  To clearly state our determination to you, I came here.  Today, for the very first time, Economic 2+2 was held.  The framework has been laid down.  Supply chain risk, economic coercion, foreign security policy, and economic policy have become inseparable.  Under such an era, Japan-U.S. foreign and economic ministers are meeting together, having a intensive discussion and sending the unified messages to the world.  Its significance is very large.

To address new challenges such as digital, a new economic order based on rules will be built under U.S. administration’s leadership with wide participation of countries in the region.  We welcome that new economic architecture is being built at the IPEF.  Energy secretary, business and human rights, developing trusted infrastructure such as information communication, supply chain resilience such as batteries and critical minerals and such and such – there are heaps of issues out there to be tackled.

This time, alongside a joint statement, plan of action on specific items was also released.  This is a big outcome.  In critical and emerging technologies like space, ocean, and cyber cooperation will be strengthened, and economic security will be ensured.  Today, substantial time was spent on these topics for discussion.  Issues will be dealt with in an offensive way as well as defensive way at the same time; combined with protection with export control, advanced technology development will be promoted.

We concurred to accelerate the Japan-U.S. joint development over next-generation semi-conductors.  Japan will quickly move to action.  Japan’s wisdom will be collected from AIST, RIKEN, and University of Tokyo own research on next-generation semiconductor research.  Decision was made to launch a new R&D organization.  It will be open to overseas businesses and to research institutes.  It will be an international joint research hub.  We are determined to collect the strength of Japan, science and technology-based nation, and lead a cooperation between Japan and the United States and among likeminded countries.  Unilateral use of economic force in violation of international rules to fulfill diplomatic demand should never happen.

From the Pacific Ocean to Indian Ocean, this wide expanse of ocean and sky is free and open to anyone.  Regardless of the size of the country, it should bring benefit to all the countries.  This economic 2+2 is, as it were, compass for realizing free and open Indo-Pacific.  This is a foundation for peace and prosperity of the region.  Toward that end, together with Commerce Secretary Raimondo, State Secretary Blinken, and Foreign Minister Hayashi, who are all here, I am determined to do my best.  Thank you very much.

MR PRICE:  We’ll now turn to questions.  We’ll alternate two per side.  We’ll start with Shaun Tandon of the AFP.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Good morning.  Good afternoon.  Mr. Secretary, could I begin by following up on your remarks about your conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov?  How confident are you about this raising the chances of bringing home Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan?  What is the sense that you got from Foreign Minister Lavrov?  I know also you mentioned earlier this week that you’re not planning to negotiate on Ukraine with the Russians, but what was the overall sense that you got from Foreign Minister Lavrov?  Are you any more confident that the United States could be dealing with Russia and making progress in any area there?  And do you plan to speak to him again or even meet him?  As was announced today, you’re going to be in Cambodia next week for ASEAN.

And perhaps, if I could open up to everybody here – a week of phone calls, I suppose.  The phone call yesterday that the President had with President Xi of China, does this – do you feel that this makes any progress on the issue of Taiwan?  How concerned are you about the tensions in Taiwan right now, and a potential visit by Speaker Pelosi.  Do you think that – are you confident that that’s something that you can work through or are you worried about that aggravating the situation?  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Shaun, thank you very much.  First, just to put this in perspective, we said all along that if we thought there was any opportunity to advance diplomacy to end Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we would of course take it.  Unfortunately, tragically, we’ve seen no opening, willingness on the part of Russia to engage meaningfully on ending the aggression.  At the same time, I’ve also said that if there are issues where it could make a difference in senior Russians hearing directly from me or from colleagues, we would of course pursue that.

And with regard to the call with the foreign minister today, as I noted the other day when we had an opportunity to speak, I told you what I intended to raise with him, and I raised exactly what I said I would raise with him – that is, the significant proposal that’s been on the table for some weeks now that would lead to bringing home Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.  I urged Foreign Minister Lavrov to move forward with that proposal.  I’m not going to characterize his response, and I can’t give you an assessment of whether I think things are any more or less likely, but it was important that he heard directly from me on that.

Second, as I said the other day, on behalf of many, many countries around the world, getting Russia to move on the commitments it’s made – not just to the United Nations, Turkey, and Ukraine in the context of the deal that was agreed, but to the entire world that is looking for an end to the blockade of the Odessa port by Russia that has denied so many people the food that they need and depend on and has also resulted in a significant increase in food prices over many months – important that he hear directly from me on behalf of many other countries the expectation that Russia would move forward with its commitments and would stop, end the blockade, and allow the ships to sail.

And finally, you’ve heard me say the other day the deep concern that many countries around the world have in hearing in recent days about Russia’s expanded war aims in Ukraine, particularly their plans to proceed with the annexation of additional Ukrainian territory.  And I laid out exactly what we anticipate they will do in the weeks and months ahead – including having sham referendums in these parts of Ukraine, trying to falsely demonstrate that the people in these parts of Ukraine somehow seek to become part of Russia – all to advance President Putin’s objectives in gobbling up as much Ukrainian territory as he can and, from his perspective, trying to erase Ukraine as an independent, sovereign country.

That of course is not going to happen.  The Ukrainian people have made clear that that’s not going to happen, and the world has made clear they’re not going to let that happen.  But short of that, President Putin is trying to grab as much Ukrainian territory as he can, and it was very important that the Russians hear directly from us that that will not be accepted – and not only will it not be accepted; it will result in additional significant costs being imposed upon Russia if it follows through on those plans.

So I don’t want to characterize any of Foreign Minister Lavrov’s responses.  If you have an opportunity to ask him, please proceed.

With regard to the call between President Biden and President Xi, first, as you know, this followed previous discussions, including most recently in March, and it also builds on a number of recent engagements, including the time I spent with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bali where we spent about five hours together.  The National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the Secretary of Defense, the Treasury Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have each had recent conversations or engagements with their counterparts.  And this is part of our effort to make sure that we maintain and deepen lines of communication with China to responsibly manage the many differences that we have and to work together wherever it is that our interests align.  And that was very much the nature of the conversation.

I can just say, again, it covered basically three things: where our two countries can work together, with a particular focus on climate change, on health security, on counternarcotics; second, an exchange of views on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and finally, Taiwan, where President Biden underscored that our policy has not changed.  The United States strongly opposes any unilateral efforts to change the status quo or to undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.  So that was the nature and basically the substance of the conversation they had.  They touched on a number of other issues.

But look, I’ll just say this in conclusion.  We have many differences when it comes to Taiwan, but over the past 40-plus years, we have managed those differences and done it in a way that has preserved peace and stability and has allowed the people on Taiwan to flourish.  It would be important as part of our shared responsibility to continue to manage this in a wise way that doesn’t create the prospect for conflict.  And keeping open lines of communication on this issue, especially between President Biden and President Xi, I think is vital to doing that.  We believe direct communication between the leaders is the most essential aspect of meeting our responsibilities to manage issues as fraught as Taiwan in the most responsible way possible.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) Mr. Matsuura from Kyodo.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter) Thank you very much for the opportunity.  This is Matsuura.  This is a question to Minister Hayashi and Secretary Blinken.  Looking back at the history of Japan-U.S. relations, it was in 1990 that Security 2+2 was upgraded to the ministerial level.  Today 2+2 has been expanded to economic area, and the Japan-U.S. alliance has come to the new stage.  On the other hand, in the international community China is attempting to widely broaden its influence, leveraging its economic power.  So what is the significance of Japan and the United States coming together to try and maintain and strengthen the economic order?  Also, how do you plan to build on today’s discussion in G7 and with ASEAN, as they have a strong economic tie with China?

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  (Via interpreter) First of all, Japan and the U.S. have been working together in solidarity to make sure that unilateral attempt to change status quo would not be allowed in the international community.  On the other hand, as I said at the outset, for Japan and U.S. to effectively respond to the unfair and opaque use of economic influence, it is necessary to think about diplomacy, security, and economy as a unit.  In particular, since the United States and Japan are number one and two democratic economies in the world, it would be beneficial for us to discuss strategically about the policies to be implemented in such situation.  Economic 2+2 is here to respond to this kind of requirement of this era, and to demonstrate that the alliance can adapt to the changes in the international environment.

Based on today’s Economic 2+2 discussion, the Governments of Japan and the United States will promote cooperation in various area and work to maintain and develop orders in the international community, including Indo-Pacific region.  Also, for forming international economic order, not only cooperation between Japan and United States, but also cooperation with likeminded countries is essential.  We hope to share strategic cooperation and issues that we discussed today at Economic 2+2 with the G7 countries in the summit chaired by Japan next year so that we can further expand the cooperation.

Also, regarding the relationship with ASEAN, Japan and the United States have always respected the unity and centrality of ASEAN while promoting concrete cooperation towards achievement of free and open Indo-Pacific and ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific.  We will continue to closely cooperate with regional partners, aiming to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Indo-Pacific region and economic security that we discussed today during the Economic 2+2 and also by utilizing framework such as IPEF by the United States.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I agree with everything that my colleague has said.  I would simply add a couple of points or reinforce a couple of points.  First, the United States and Japan share a conviction that economic security and national security are inseparable.  They are fundamentally linked.  And I think it was very important to both of us and our – all of our colleagues to further elevate the discussions we’re having on economic security issues because they’re really front and center on our agenda and on the world’s agenda and the very – the issues that you heard us talk about today I think really go to in many ways very practical things that our people in Japan and the United States and beyond are feeling and experiencing in their lives.  And we have a shared conviction that working together we can make a genuine difference in advancing opportunity and dealing with challenges to the wellbeing of our people in the economic sphere.  So that’s the most important thing.

Second, I would simply say that many of the initiatives that we’re engaged in together, whether it’s between the United States and Japan, whether it’s in the context of ASEAN, IPEF, the Quad; these are mutually reinforcing.  And they in affect add strength to each other, and I think we saw that today because many of the things that we talked about overlap with issues that are on the agenda of IPEF, the Quad, et cetera.  When the United States and Japan can work together to help drive some of these issues – and next year, as you know, Japan will be in the lead of the G7 – we will be in the lead of APEC – we can make a big, big difference in actually moving forward.

The last thing is this: we get to stand up here and share with all of you the results of our meeting.  The truth of the matter is, there are a number of people who are sitting with us today and others who are back in their ministries in Tokyo and here in Washington, who really drive the work every single day.  So we’ve agreed that we will meet again among the four of us next year, but in‑between then we’ve laid out a very detailed and concrete agenda for our teams to follow up on between now and the end of the year and then into next year so that not only have we set out a basic vision together and framework for the work that our countries can do; we’ll actually follow up with concrete initiatives to make all of this real.  So I think that’s the other importance of today, an agreement that we’re really going to drive this forward together over the next months.

MODERATOR:  (Off-mike.)

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you for doing this.  Mr. Foreign Minister, I wonder – starting on Taiwan, is the Japanese Government making any contingency planning from a security perspective for a potential crisis in the near term, whether that would be prompted by a visit from Speaker Pelosi or some other visit?  And does the Japanese Government envision a role for the G7 to intervene with any economic leverage to deter or mitigate the risk of escalation in such a crisis?

Secretary Raimondo, you’ve spoken before about the Russian military being forced to strip semiconductors from kitchen appliances in Ukraine.  Do you have any sense of whether those supply constraints that they have are imposing a time limit on their military operations there?  And more generally, do you see that being applicable in a – with respect to China in a crisis or even on the other foot, does the U.S. have sufficient semiconductor supplies to see it through a Taiwan crisis in the near term?

And then to Secretary Blinken, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan Carrier Striker is in the South China Sea, but there’s been a lot of ink spilled on the vulnerability of the surface fleet if there were a crisis with China.  Are you having any conversations about a near term prepositioning of defense assets and – with Japan or other allies in the region next week?

Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  (Via interpreter) Thank you for your question.  Regarding the visit by Speaker Pelosi, as a – we are not in the position as the Japanese Government to comment on that.  Now, going on to – between Japan and the U.S. in May in a summit at the Joint Declaration regarding Taiwan, the basic approach to Taiwan has not been changed.  It – Taiwan Strait peace and prosperity is important – remains the same.  And a peaceful resolution of the Strait issue has been agreed upon between the leaders.

SECRETARY RAIMONDO:  Thank you.  With respect to the export controls, we have reason to believe that with each passing week and month, the export controls have an even more devastating effect on Russia’s ability to continue this war.  As the – they developed a stockpile in preparation for the war for these sorts of technology and spare parts.  As that continues to dwindle, their ability to continue to operate is reduced significantly.

I will say the reason that these export controls are having such an effect is because we’re doing them in coordination with our allies, first among them the Japanese.  I mean, this isn’t the United States acting alone; we have a coalition of 36 countries.  Japan stepped up immediately.  And together, we are denying Russia parts, including semiconductors, and importantly, as we discussed today, collaborating on enforcement.  And we will continue to collaborate on enforcement to continue to deny Russia what it needs to continue this war.

With respect to the United States, I have no concern that we have an ability to meet our needs.  And furthermore, the fact that Congress acted yesterday on the CHIPS Act is an enormous step forward to ensure that we’ll be able to protect ourselves and our allies and have adequate semiconductor supplies for decades to come.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And with regard to any contingencies and any preparations made on a military level, I defer to the Pentagon.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter) Well, I have a question to both Minister Hagiuda and Secretary Raimondo.  Well, economically, competition can take place and it might develop into a trade friction – it had happened in the past.  But what do you think about the alliance relationship covering the economic area?  And what are you thinking about further strengthening the semiconductor supply chain?  What will be the future state of cooperation between Japan and U.S., particularly in the semiconductor?  And also, do you have a plan to widen the framework between the Japan and the United States?

MINISTER HAGIUDA:  (Via interpreter) Thank you for your question.  Well, when you talk about competition, it should be based on the free and fair rules.  Then it can drive economic growth and can be a source of vitality.  We are the world’s number one and number three economic power.  Japan and U.S. will work closely, encouraging each other and enhance competitiveness and grow together.

On the other hand, problems have come about that there are conduct which might threaten economic order or free and fair rules.  Sometimes one country may use force of superiority over supply chain to their advantage.  Economic coercion violating international rule is totally unacceptable.  Freedom, democracy, basic human rights, rule of law – these are the universal values we share together between our two countries.  We need to keep on adhering to the economic order based on the rule.  We are always looking for a level playing field in terms of the competition so that a region of peace and prosperity’s foundation can be laid down.  That is a big responsibility incumbent upon the two countries.

Next-generation semiconductor technology development would determine the future and show competitiveness – top priority area for cooperation.  Leaders’ summit in May had agreed to have a joint task force on the research and development of next-generation semiconductor research.  Already met last month.  And together with Secretary Raimondo, we agreed on the basic principle for the cooperation on semiconductor.  We will work with likeminded countries to expand our cooperation toward a 2020s realization of R&D on the next-generation semiconductors, HRD, and supply chain resilience.  We are going to put that into action.

We will look into the future implementation R&D.  As I said, AIST, RIKEN, and University of Tokyo will offer their expertise in the next-generation semiconductor research.  Wisdom will be collected to launch a new R&D organization.  It will be made open to overseas businesses and research institutes, inclusive of Japan, U.S., and likeminded countries in the region.  We hope to make into a hub for the international joint research.

Right before this press conference, I had a bilateral with Secretary Raimondo, and thanks to her effort, CHIPS Act have passed in the United States.  It’s epoch-making.   And there is going to be a way where further commitment can be made on both public and private side.  Thank you.

SECRETARY RAIMONDO:  Extremely well said by my colleague.  I concur with everything he said.  I would simply underscore two points.

One, in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which we have launched and – with Japan and a dozen other economies in the Indo-Pacific, there is a pillar focused on supply chains, and we expect that a core piece of work in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in supply chains will be focused on semiconductors, aligning research and development, coordinating on export controls, working together.

Secondly, after the passage of the CHIPS Act, our goal now – the Department of Commerce will be implementing the CHIPS Act with the goal of rebuilding the entire semiconductor supply chain in America, and we welcome Japanese foreign direct investment into the United States as we develop that supply chain.  Specifically in the areas of chemicals and substrates, materials, the Japanese are world leaders – tooling – and we look forward to – and as the minister said, research and development in emerging technology.  It’s impossible to overstate the significance of Congress’s action yesterday and the opportunity for collaboration that that opens for the United States and Japan to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain.

MR PRICE:  That concludes the press conference.  Thank you, Your Excellencies.  Thank you, everyone.

DNC Statement Ahead of Kevin McCarthy’s Speech in South Carolina

29 Jul

Ahead of Kevin McCarthy’s speech at the South Carolina GOP Silver Elephant Dinner, DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa released the following statement:

“South Carolina Republicans’ welcoming of Kevin McCarthy tonight is no surprise given how they’ve rallied around an agenda of cutting Social Security and Medicare and possibly passing a national abortion ban if they take the majority in November. After leading Republicans’ opposition to bills protecting a woman’s right to birth control and the right to access reproductive care, McCarthy’s speech tonight will highlight yet again how GOP extremism is too dangerous for families in South Carolina and across the country.”

The post DNC Statement Ahead of Kevin McCarthy’s Speech in South Carolina appeared first on Democrats.

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele J. Sison’s Travel to India, Bangladesh, and Kuwait

29 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele J. Sison will travel to India, Bangladesh, and Kuwait August 2-10 for consultations on a range of U.S. multilateral priorities, including combating food insecurity, advancing global health, addressing human rights and humanitarian needs, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and support for Rohingya refugees.  Her meetings with senior government officials will focus on opportunities to deepen our cooperation at the United Nations, and U.S. support for the candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to become the next Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.  In meetings with civil society leaders, the Assistant Secretary will exchange ideas on how the United States and other countries can collaborate on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

For updates, follow @State_IO on Twitter.