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DEPUTY SECRETARY SHERMAN:  Good afternoon. Thank you, Robert, for that introduction, and thank you all for joining me today.  It’s an absolute pleasure to be back in Berlin.  As Robert mentioned, I was here in 197 as — that tells you how old I am — as one of “40 American Leaders Under the Age of 40” for the 40th anniversary.  I got to sit in the Reichstag and listen to George Kennan talk about the Marshall Plan.  It was  really quite extraordinary.  Despite it being chilly, the holiday season is always really special, although I’ll probably pass out, I’m sure my team will go to the Christmas markets tonight.  They’re really special.

This morning I had the opportunity to meet with State Secretary Andreas Michaelis, and this afternoon I met with National Security Advisor Jens Ploetner.

We discussed the entire range of issues on which the United States and Germany are working together.  That includes our continuing efforts to support Ukraine as Russia continues to target civilian infrastructure heading into winter. The Kremlin’s intent is clear: leaving Ukrainians in the cold and dark to try to undermine their resilience during the winter months.  But we know the Ukrainian people are and will remain strong, and the United States, Germany, and our allies and partners will continue to stand with them for as long as it takes.

We also talked about our efforts to listen to and support the people of the Indo-Pacific and advance our shared foreign policy goals. We discussed the challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, as well as other critical issues, from promoting peace and security in the Western Balkans and Caucasus to the ongoing violent crackdown against peaceful protesters in Iran.

I also met with representatives of the German industry associations.  The robust economic relationship between the United States and Germany is absolutely critical to both our countries’ prosperity and security.  We highlighted ways to deepen our nations’ trade cooperation, both bilaterally and globally. That includes promoting resilience in economic development and our supply chains and reducing dependencies among our businesses so we can continue to deliver for our citizens even as we navigate a period of geopolitical competition with Russia and the PRC.

I’ve just come from an event at FES, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, where I delivered remarks about how we can advance our foreign policy goals in the Indo-Pacific region.  The future of the world, in large part, will be determined there, and the United States and Europe are committed to advancing our shared vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Last week, I participated in the U.S.-EU Dialogue on China and Indo-Pacific Consultations in Washington with my EU counterpart and his team, Stefano Sannino.  I am grateful for the opportunity to follow up on those conversations this week through my bilateral meetings across the continent. Aligning and refining our approach to the Indo-Pacific requires regular dialogue and deep understanding between the United States and our likeminded Allies and partners.

Fortunately, U.S. and European approaches to the region are rooted in our shared values, and we are advancing them through concerted action.  This includes efforts to deepen maritime security cooperation, counter disinformation, and develop a transatlantic strategy for infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific. We are building resilience in areas of shared interest as well: in technology, economic development, human rights, democratic governance, and more.

We are coordinating our diplomatic efforts through forums like the G20 and ASEAN, where President Biden and European leaders gathered a few weeks ago.

Sitting here a few weeks before Chanukkah and Christmas, I can’t help but think back to this time last year.  Russia was amassing 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border in what it insisted were mere “exercises.”  More than a few observers were questioning how transatlantic unity would fare as we faced the prospect of the largest land war in Europe since World War II. One year later, we have shown the world what we can achieve when we stick together and stick to our common values.  We are incredibly grateful to our European allies, to Germany, for their strong partnership.

We’ll continue to work in that spirit of partnership to address concerns as they arise, and as President Biden noted last week, we are doing just that with the Inflation Reduction Act. As we face other shared challenges, from global health and climate change to the ongoing challenges posed by the PRC, we’ll continue to build our vision for a secure and prosperous future together.

Thanks again for joining me today. I look forward to your questions.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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