THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MODERATOR: Okay, good afternoon, everybody. My name is Jed Wolfington and I am the moderator of today’s briefing on U.S.-China relations. I’m going to pause for a moment as people filter into the room. Just a reminder that this briefing is on the record and we will post the transcript and the video of the briefing later today on our website, which is fpc.state.gov. Please make sure that your Zoom profile includes your full name, outlet, and the primary audience country.
So today we are honored to welcome three very knowledgeable and high-level guests. The first is Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. In addition to Ambassador Kritenbrink, I am honored to introduce Melissa G. Dalton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs. Also with us today alongside Ms. Dalton is Dr. Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. Dr. Ratner will be available for the question and answer session.
I would now like to invite Ambassador Kritenbrink to share any opening remarks he may have.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you, Jed, and good afternoon, everyone. Again, I’m Dan Kritenbrink; I’m the Assistant Secretary of State for East and Asian and Pacific Affairs. Really honored to be with all of you this afternoon. It’s always a pleasure to speak directly with the foreign press. I’ll make a few opening comments, I’ll ask my colleague, Assistant Secretary of Defense Dalton, to do the same, then we’d be delighted to take your questions.
So let me make just a few points at the top. The United States has been very clear about our approach to the People’s Republic of China. We are in competition. We are focused on responsibly managing that competition so that it does not lead to conflict. We have emphasized the importance of direct and honest communication, and that includes crisis communications and more regular channels for official communication and dialogue.
The Secretary and PRC State Councilor and Director of the CCP Central Foreign Affairs Office Wang Yi met on the margins of the Munich Security Conference on February 18th. Their one-hour meeting was clear, direct, and candid. The Secretary conveyed ongoing U.S. concerns regarding the PRC’s high-altitude surveillance balloon that violated U.S. airspace. The Secretary made clear that the United States will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty. He made clear that such an irresponsible act must never occur again, and he also made clear that the PRC’s high-altitude surveillance balloon program has now been exposed to the world.
China still has not offered a credible explanation for their intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of over 40 countries across five continents. We’ve shared information with countries around the world on China’s program.
The Secretary also underscored the United States’ condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and he warned about the implications and consequences for both the U.S.-China relationship and also China’s relationships with countries around the world if China were to provide material support to Russia or assistance with systematic sanctions evasion.
He also called for dedicated crisis communication channels with regular lines of communication to responsibly manage the U.S.-PRC relationship, particularly during times of tension. He asserted that the U.S. remains open to cooperating with the PRC where our interests intersect.
The bottom line, again, is that the U.S. approach to the PRC remains calm, resolute, and practical. We will stand up for our values and interests while managing this consequential relationship responsibly and maintaining open lines of communication.
We will also continue to invigorate the core pillars of our China policy – namely invest, align, compete – and we will defend U.S. interests and ideals, promote universal human rights, and stand up for the rules-based international order. We are investing in the foundations of our strength at home: our economy and our democracy. We are aligning with likeminded partners around the world, strengthening our shared interests and values of democracy, openness, and fairness, and to addressing the challenges posed by the PRC.
To be clear, we do not seek another Cold War. We do not seek conflict. But we do ask that everyone play by the same set of rules. We want to ensure that all countries have the ability to make their own choices free from coercion.
As the Secretary said earlier this week, we still believe that diplomacy with China is important so as to manage the stiff competition between our two countries and to avoid miscalculation. Indeed, the last few weeks underscore clearly the importance of having those open lines of communication with Beijing.
I think it’s important to note as well that we’re committed to keeping our lines of communication open with our friends in the press as well – another reason why I’m so delighted to see all of you here today.
Let me conclude my opening remarks and turn the floor over now to Assistant Secretary of Defense Melissa Dalton.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY DALTON: Great. Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you all this afternoon. I’m delighted to be joined by my colleague and friend, Dr. Ely Ratner, as well. I’ll just provide some opening remarks here and then look forward to your questions.
In light of the PRC balloon shootdown on February 4, we have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radars through new tracking procedures – which may at least partly explain the increase in unidentified objects detected that are both slower and smaller. We also know that a range of entities – including countries, companies, and research organizations – operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious, including legitimate research. The PRC spy balloon was fundamentally different. We know precisely what it was. This balloon was 200 feet tall, and the payload was 90 feet across. While the PRC balloon never posed a military or physical threat to air traffic or people on the ground, we did take immediate steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of information, mitigating its intelligence value to the PRC.
We know the PRC used these balloons for surveillance. The high-altitude balloon’s equipment was clearly for intelligence surveillance, and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons. We know these balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations. These kinds of activities are often undertaken at the direction of the People’s Liberation Army. We have successfully located and retrieved debris from the high-altitude PRC surveillance balloon. Final pieces of debris are being transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Virginia for counter-intelligence exploitation, as has occurred with the previous surface and subsurface debris recovered.
The United States sent a clear message to the PRC that its violation of our sovereignty was unacceptable by shooting down the balloon, protecting our own sensitive intelligence, and maximizing our ability to track the balloon and recover the payload to get more information on the PRC’s program.
Moving forward at the direction of the President, we are working with the interagency for both balloons and unidentified aerial phenomena to: one, work to establish a better inventory of unmanned airborne objects in U.S. airspace and ensure that that inventory is accessible and up to date; two, to implement further measures to improve our capacity to detect unmanned objects in our airspace; three, to support efforts to update the rules and regulations for launching and maintaining unmanned objects in the skies above America; and four, to support the State Department’s lead to help establish common global norms in this largely unregulated space.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to join today’s briefing. I’m looking forward to your questions.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. I see many hands raised in the room. I will call on Mr. Wenhsin Chang of United Daily News Group. We will ask you to unmute, and it may take a moment, but please, Mr. Chang.
QUESTION: Hello, can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Ms. Chang. Yes, we can hear you loud and clear.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Sorry. I have several questions.
First, to Mr. Kritenbrink, would you share more about the high-level dialogue between U.S. and Taiwan yesterday? What kind of message did the U.S. send to Taiwan’s senior officials? Did this bilateral meeting talk about President Tsai Ing-wen to visit U.S. if possible? How would U.S. deal with if Taiwan request?
And the second, if I may. In your view, how will you describe the current U.S. and China relationship? Is it possible for Secretary Blinken to visit China in the first half of this year? Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you very much for your questions. Let me write them all down so I can catch them all. You have very cleverly asked three questions in one, and I am delighted to answer all three of them.
First of all, regarding our very important but unofficial relationship with Taiwan, I will just underscore that there’s been no change to America’s One China policy based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances to Taiwan. Again, in the interest of maintaining and growing our robust but unofficial relationship with Taiwan, we engage regularly with Taiwan counterparts, and we will continue to do so.
Regarding U.S.-China relations, I would simply say that, as has long been the case, the U.S.-China relationship is exceptionally consequential but also extremely complex. That has been the case for a long time. That was the case before this balloon incident and before our meeting in Munich – remains the case afterward. As I’ve tried to underscore here today, our approach will remain consistent and responsible. We are pursuing the three lines of our policy: invest, align, and compete. We’re also committed to maintaining open lines of communication so as to responsibly manage our competition and ensure that we can prevent a miscalculation that could lead to unintended conflict.
Now, regarding the possibility of Secretary Blinken’s travel to China, I would say – as we made very clear in the course of this incident involving the PRC-, PLA-affiliated surveillance balloon that violated U.S. sovereignty and territorial integrity – in light of that incident which happened right on the eve of the Secretary’s planned traveled to Beijing, he made the decision that it would be wise to postpone that travel until a time when conditions permit. We will decide when those conditions permit, and that is all I have for you today on that subject. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you for the question. The next question will be from Masahiro Okoshi from Nikkei.
MODERATOR: We can hear you.
QUESTION: Oh, thank you. Thank you for doing this. I have a question about these lines of communication. So whenever problems arise between the U.S. and China, Chinese military officials cut those channels of dialogue with U.S. military officials. So as a diplomat, Mr. Kritenbrink, I quite often think about managing the U.S.-China relationship, even when the situation much more critical than a spy balloon incident happens. Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you, Okoshi-san. Look, I’ll just reiterate what I said at the top. The United States of America is committed to responsibly managing the competition between the U.S. and the PRC. We think one of the most important ways of doing so is to keep our lines of communication open, of course, between our diplomats, whether that’s at my level or at Secretary Blinken’s level together with Director Wang Yi. But you’ve made a very good point. We’ve also tried to underscore the importance of keeping other channels of communication open, particularly between our two militaries, and especially when the situation is tense.
Unfortunately, as you have outlined, our Chinese counterparts have often decided to close down such channels of communication, particularly in the mil-mil sphere, presumably as some sort of, quote/unquote, “punishment” or as an attempt to generate leverage. We are disappointed by this. We were disappointed that Chinese counterparts to date have refused to engage in mil-mil channels regarding the surveillance balloon incident, but our approach to this relationship has not changed. We will be responsible, we will keep open our lines of communication, and we will do everything possible to avoid a miscalculation. But in the course of those diplomatic interactions, we will be exceptionally candid about our interests and our concerns and what we expect going forward. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Next question, we will ask Stacy from Central News Agency.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking my question. I want to follow up on the U.S.-Taiwan high-level national security dialogue. This channel of dialogue has been in place for quite some time now, but it seems that both sides are far less secretive about this particular meeting yesterday. Could you tell us why? And also, does the timing of this meeting have anything to do with the Chinese surveillance balloon incident? Thank you so much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Well, again, I’ll just repeat what I said before. The United States and Taiwan have a robust but unofficial relationship, and as part of that there is frequent communication between both sides that happens on a daily basis. Don’t have any comment beyond that. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Would our colleagues from Department of Defense care to make any comments at this point?
Okay, then we will go on to the next question. Nike Ching, VOA.
MODERATOR: Yes, we can hear you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: We can hear you, Nike. Go ahead.
Nike, are you still there.
QUESTION: I am still here. Hello? Yes.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: There you go. I can hear you now. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Great. Thank you. Generally speaking, what does the U.S. want to see deepening ties between the Central and Eastern European nations and Taiwan? It’s a question for Dan. And a question for Ely: Could you please update us specific steps to prevent a miscalculation and a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait – in the Taiwan Strait? Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Nike, thanks for your questions. Let me take an initial stab, and then happy to have my colleague Assistant Secretary of Defense Ratner respond as well.
I think rather than address the precise question that you’ve asked, Nike, I think this is what I would say about Taiwan’s interactions with other partners around the world. We do think, again, as I’ve underscored here repeatedly, Taiwan is a very important, very capable, but unofficial partner of the United States. Taiwan is a very capable democracy. We think that there are great benefits to many partners around the world having a practical and functional relationship with Taiwan. We also think that preserving Taiwan’s international space so that it can participate in all organizations for which statehood is not a requirement – but also be able to interact in a meaningful way even in entities where it is a requirement – we think that’s in the interest of the international community and individual partners.
On the second question, I do just want to underscore, as I said a little while ago, there’s been no change to America’s longstanding One China policy. I’ve already defined that policy for you in detail, but I think the fundamental interest that the United States of America is trying to convey here is the same as it has been for the last nearly half-century. We have a fundamental interest in preserving peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We have a fundamental interest in ensuring that cross-strait differences are resolved peacefully. That will be the focus of our policy going forward. We will continue to meet our obligations as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act, and I think you can be confident in that.
But let me hand that over to Assistant Secretary Ratner as well.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY RATNER: Yeah, thanks, Dan. And I’ll just reiterate the points you’ve just made, which are, in terms of the steps we’re taking to prevent miscalculation and escalation in the Taiwan Strait, we are working to maintain open lines of communication with the PLA. As Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink noted, we’ve been disappointed by the PLA’s unwillingness to engage Secretary Austin and senior Defense leaders recently, but we are going to continue to have an outstretched hand and an open invitation on maintaining those open lines of communication.
In addition to that, will just reiterate what Dan said, that we are going to continue to fulfill our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, including providing Taiwan with the defensive articles it needs to defend itself and to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist the use of force to jeopardize the security of the people of Taiwan. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you for those questions and responses. Jose Diaz Briseno from Reforma, and feel free to turn on your camera when you’re asking a question.
QUESTION: Yes. Hi, how are you doing? Can you listen to me?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Can hear you loud and clear. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Perfect. My question is on counternarcotics. What’s the current state of any exchange you’ve had with Beijing regarding fentanyl precursor enforcement? When was the last time that you engaged in counternarcotic talks to – with your Chinese counterpart, sir? And have you also engaged the Mexicans to perhaps help mediate in these kind of talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Well, Jose, thank you very much for your question. This is an incredibly important issue, and it is one that is raised in virtually every interaction between the United States and China. Certainly, fentanyl overdoses – this is one of the leading killers of Americans today. We have underscored to Chinese counterparts their responsibility to work with not just the United States but many in the international community who are suffering from this scourge of fentanyl, and particularly to work with the international community to ensure that fentanyl precursors are not diverted and used illegally to manufacture opioids that are the cause of so many deaths.
I would say that China has an obligation to cooperate with us more, to crack down and curb the diversion of these precursors. We expect China to do more. We continue to raise this issue, as I said, in virtually every interaction, and we hope that other likeminded partners and friends around the world will also raise these issues with China and compel China to take responsible actions in this area. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Next question from Bingru Wang, Phoenix TV.
QUESTION: Hi, thank you so much for this briefing. My question is after President Biden said he expected to speak to President Xi, John Kirby at the White House said there has been no formal request yet. Does that mean the President just sent out an open invitation to President Xi?
If this is the right time for the two presidents to talk, why it’s not the right time for Secretary Blinken to visit China? I know you have been asked a lot when’s the right time, and you also mentioned about the correct conditions, so when is the right time? Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you, Ms. Wang. I very much appreciate your request. Let me just say a couple of things. I’ll respond directly to your question, but maybe before that I just want to reiterate what I said at the top. The United States of America is committed to maintaining open channels of communication with Chinese counterparts. We do that because we think that’s the responsible way to manage such a consequential but complex relationship as the U.S.-China relationship.
The Secretary made the decision – the very reasonable decision – on the eve of his planned travel to Beijing to postpone that travel because under those conditions where China had irresponsibly flown a surveillance balloon over the United States on the eve of that visit, it was clear that it would not be possible to have the kind of productive visit that we had planned and hoped for. But the Secretary made clear that was a postponement and that he looked forward to an opportunity in the future when conditions permitted for him to go.
Now, I don’t know exactly when that might be. We will decide when those conditions permit, and through our regular communication channels with the Chinese side, I’m sure that we’ll continue to exchange views on when that might be. But I think as you can see through the meeting in Munich between Secretary Blinken and Director Wang, high-level diplomacy between the United States and China continues.
I’m sure you also saw that in the course of this incident involving the PLA – the PRC-PLA-affiliated surveillance balloon incident, Secretary Blinken was also in touch with Director Wang. I believe they spoke on February 3 as well. The Secretary and the Deputy Secretary summoned the senior official at the Chinese embassy here, and I and many other American diplomats were in regular contact and communication with Chinese counterparts. I’m confident that that will continue going forward, and we’re certainly committed to that.
Now, on the question of if and when President Biden might speak to President Xi, I think you’re well aware, Ms. Wang, that President Biden and President Xi have spoken – I believe it’s five times on the phone or video conference in the course of the last two years, and of course, they recently had a very consequential meeting in Bali, Indonesia last November. I think it’s only natural that the two leaders would continue to have regular communications. I don’t know when the next opportunity might be. There’s currently nothing scheduled, but again, I think you heard the President speak to this directly, that he anticipates speaking to President Xi again at some point, but I can’t tell you when that might be. Thank you.
MODERATOR: We have time for a couple more questions. We will go to Carolina Chimoy and then Tetsuo Shintomi. Carolina.
QUESTION: Yes, hi. Thank you. I have a question, Mr. Kritenbrink. We know Blinken has postponed his visit to China, and he keep on saying he will visit China, but when conditions permit. But I think that is the question that my colleague was trying to raise as well: What do you mean by that? Which conditions? What are you waiting for? Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Well, no, Carolina, I appreciate the question and am happy that you’ve asked it again. I’ll simply state that we’ll decide when those conditions permit. I’m not prepared to say today exactly what that will mean or when. And I will underscore what I said a moment ago: irrespective of if and when the Secretary’s postponed trip to China is rescheduled, I think I’ve made clear here today that we’re confident that high-level diplomacy between the United States and China will continue regardless. Thank you.
QUESTION: Hi, can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Hello, Tetsuo?
QUESTION: Thank you very much for doing this briefing.
MODERATOR: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes. I have a question to Mr. Kritenbrink. United States and China have not had any nuclear arms reduction agreement at the moment, so is there any room for possible negotiation toward nuclear disarmament between United States and China? And also, could it be among the agenda when Secretary Blinken would have further talks with Beijing? Thank you very much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Shintomi-san, thanks for your question. Look, I’m not in a position today to talk in any detail about the potential for any, as you said, arms reduction agreement between the United States and China. What I can say, as I indicated earlier: the United States is committed to managing this competition responsibly. We’re committed to having open channels of communication. And we’re also committed to crisis communications and crisis management mechanisms to allow us to manage this competition and ensure that it never spirals into conflict and potentially unintended conflict.
So I think that as a matter of general principle is clear. We’ll continue to convey that to our Chinese friends. I don’t have anything further to you – for you today on the specifics of your question regarding arms control. Thank you.
MODERATOR: I’m afraid we will not be able to take questions from everybody today. I would like to offer the briefers any – an opportunity to offer any closing remarks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Let’s do – Jed, let’s do – let’s do one more. I don’t really have any (inaudible) remarks, so let’s do at least one more.
MODERATOR: Okay, great. So Mia Chen, Radio Free Asia. Hold on one second, Mia. Okay, there we go.
QUESTION: Hi, yeah, cool. Can you hear me?
MODERATOR: We can hear you.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Yes, I can.
QUESTION: Thank you for doing this. First of all, I just want to check with the DOD side to see if there is any successful communication with China, on like China – the Chinese military side regarding the balloon or, like, the balloon incident after Secretary Blinken and Wang Yi meet. Or, like, if there has any successful communication, or just the diplomatic side is open but not the military side?
And the second question is for Dan. It’s regarding China and Russia. You mentioned that Secretary Blinken said, like, he’s concerned that China may help Russia in the war, and now we have the – China’s Xi Jinping might visit Russia in a couple of months, like in the near future. So has the State Department rise – raised any concerns to the Chinese counterpart regarding their relationship with Russia so far?
Thank you. That’s my questions.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY RATNER: So just on – thank you for your question. Just on the first, we have had working-level communications between the Defense Department and PRC counterparts both in Washington and in Beijing, but we have not had leader-level communications despite U.S. requests.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: And Mia, thanks for your question on the China-Russia issue. I’ll go back to the top. In my opening remarks, I made clear that the Secretary had warned China about the implications and consequences if China were to provide material support to Russia or assistance with systematic sanctions evasion. That certainly remains the case. As the Secretary has reiterated multiple times since Munich, we are deeply concerned that China is considering providing lethal support to Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. Again, we made very clear to China that providing lethal weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine or systematically aiding sanctions evasion would cause real consequences in our relationship with the PRC, and presumably in the PRC’s relationships with others as well.
I think the PRC understands what is at risk were it to proceed with providing material support to Russia’s war against Ukraine. We’ve also made clear we won’t hesitate to target Chinese companies or individuals that violate U.S. sanctions, and we’re certainly monitoring vigilantly for those potential violations.
I think unfortunately China is trying to do two things at once. In public, I think China is trying to present itself as a proponent of peace. Unfortunately, in private we’ve seen that China continues to aid Russia’s brutal war effort against Ukraine and now is inching closer to potentially providing lethal aid. I think that China’s words would be taken more seriously if it pulled back from its support of Russia that is directly at odds with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
MODERATOR: Perhaps we have time for one final question?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: All right, one last question.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Donghui Yu, we will ask you to unmute, from China Review.
QUESTION: Hello, can you hear me now?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Yes, we can. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much. U.S. radio talk show host Garland Nixon last week wrote on Twitter that sources said President Biden had warned about a U.S. plan for the destruction of Taiwan. This news stirred up in Taiwan for the past two days. Would you like to confirm or clarify it?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Mr. Yu, can you repeat your question? I heard you say something about a U.S. radio talk show —
QUESTION: Yeah. (Inaudible) President Biden —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: — host and President Biden, and I couldn’t hear the rest. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Okay. Nixon last week wrote on Twitter that sources said President Biden had warned about a U.S. plan for the destruction of Taiwan – destruction of Taiwan. This news stirred up in Taiwan for the past two days. So would you like to confirm it or clarify it?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Mr. Yu, I’m not sure I actually understand your question. You’re claiming that someone is talking about —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: — the U.S. side warning about a U.S. plan for something in Taiwan?
QUESTION: Destruction of Taiwan. Destroy of Taiwan. Destruction of Taiwan. This is a very big news in Taiwan these two days.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: I see. Well, Mr. Yu, perhaps you can tell by my reaction to this supposed story, it’s one of the most confusing things I’ve ever seen. And I think you’ve heard me state here repeatedly today that the United States has a vitally important and robust but unofficial relationship with Taiwan and the people of Taiwan. Taiwan is a top 10 trading partner of the United States. We are fellow democracies and share many democratic values. And as I’ve underscored here in the course of our conversation today, that in accordance with our longstanding “one China” policy to which there’s been no change and which I’ve already described in detail, the United States does remain committed to meeting our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, and that includes assisting Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense.
So no, Mr. Yu, if I understand your question correctly, there is nothing to this alleged report as you’ve tried to describe it to me. I’ll simply say obviously the United States is very much committed to our friendship with Taiwan and our friendship with the people of Taiwan, and we’ll continue to do everything possible to grow and strengthen our unofficial relationship with Taiwan in every way. I hope that answers your question.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you. Jed, what do you think? Should we call it a day?
MODERATOR: Yes, unless anybody has any concluding remarks from your end.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: No, I’ll just say from my side over here at the State Department, I really enjoy these interactions with the Foreign Press Center. Really grateful for our conversations over the years and in many venues, both here in Washington, D.C. and oftentimes overseas on our travels as well. Very grateful for what all of you do, and thank you for a really productive session and some very good questions today.
Why don’t I turn it to my colleagues at the Department of Defense.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY DALTON: Just to say thank you for the opportunity to join you all this afternoon.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY RATNER: Nothing to add. Thank you so much.
MODERATOR: So on behalf of the Foreign Press Center, I want to thank our briefers and I want to thank all the media representatives for your interest. Hopefully this will be not the last of such briefings. That concludes our briefing.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK: Thank you.