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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to meet my friend, the foreign minister.  We’ve been together in all different parts of the world, but it’s particularly good to have colleagues from the Asia Pacific here at NATO.  We are building stronger ties between NATO and our Asia Pacific partners, starting with Japan.  And we also had Korea; we had Australia and New Zealand here today.  And this is something that will carry through to the summit in Madrid, building greater coherence, greater collaboration, greater cooperation between Europe and Asia, between NATO and Asia Pacific partners.

We’ll also have a chance to talk about so much of the work we’re doing together around the world, and also looking very much forward to President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida getting together and seeing each other.

So, Yoshi, good to be with you.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: Thank you very much.  But it’s always nice to see you, Secretary Blinken.  And actually, as you mentioned, this is the – for Japanese foreign ministers to come to NATO, this is the first time.  So like you said, it’s very important facing those – Russian aggression against Ukraine, we have to strengthen our international cooperation.  And on the topic (inaudible) to us, I would like to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and cooperation with the international community.  So thank you very much again.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, everyone.


U.S. Department of State

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