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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, (inaudible), so good – so good to see you.  (Inaudible), good to see you, and I’m so pleased to be able to spend this time with my friend the foreign minister.  We’ve spent a lot of time together in different parts of the world; I think Liverpool was probably the last time in person.  Is that right?

But we are strong, resolute partners across virtually every issue of concern to the American people, the Japanese people.  We’re both here, of course, for the Quad meetings, but also taking this opportunity to touch base, check signals on the multiplicity of challenges the United States and Japan are facing together, whether it’s here in the region or beyond.  So I’m really grateful for this opportunity.  We’ve got a fair bit of ground to cover before we catch up with our Quad partners, so very good to see you, my friend.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  Great, great.  And good to see you again.  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter).

So since the beginning of this year, we have, as you mentioned, already had a series of seamless high-level engagement.  (Inaudible) two telephone calls between us, and 2+2 (inaudible).  We had a very productive discussion on how we deepen our cooperation and elevate our alliance to new heights.  So I am confident that our alliance (inaudible).  So let’s keep a close communication and maintain the momentum going forward.

So again, thank you very much.  Thank you, my friend.


U.S. Department of State

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