Well, thank you very much Foreign Minister Kishida and Defense Minister Onodera. We have very honored to be here, Secretary Hagel and I.
This is – as you have remarked, this is an historic meeting, the first time we’ve ever had this meeting in Japan, the 2+2. And it’s also critical because the framework that we will be discussing today will really lay out the security relationship between the United States and Japan for this region for the next 15 or 20 years.
This alliance, which we believe is the lynchpin alliance for the United States in the region, has not been updated since 1997. And as you said in your opening comments, a great deal has changed in this period of time. There are different threats and different kinds of threats. So it is important for us to recognize that this bilateral alliance remains a vital element of our respective national security strategies. And today, I am convinced, from the work our staffs have done and the groundwork that’s been done leading to today, we’re going to take a very important step forward to modernize that and to bring it up to date.
I’d just close by saying that for more than 60 years Japan has been one of the closest allies and one of our closest global partners, and most important partners. I want to thank you personally, Fumio, for your terrific support and help in New York during the General Assembly meeting on the subject of Syria. Japan has been playing an increasingly visible and important role on a number of different global crises, and we’re very grateful for Japan’s leadership with respect to that. And I’m confident that we’re going to have a very substantive and very productive discussion, so we look forward to getting to work.