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QUESTION:  Secretary Blinken, we had sad news from Japan.  As you know, the Japanese former prime minister pass away today.  Could you give us some comments on it?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  I had the opportunity to share with Foreign Minister Hayashi the very deep condolences of the United States on the passing, on the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe.  This is shocking.  It’s profoundly disturbing in and of itself.  It’s also such a strong personal loss for so many people.

For the United States, Prime Minister Abe was an extraordinary partner and someone who clearly was a great leader for Japan, the Japanese people, but also so admired as a global leader and one who really during his time in office brought the relationship between our country, the United States, and Japan to new heights, a leader with great vision for what a free and open Indo-Pacific region could look like, and also incredible ability to really work toward realizing that vision.  I know he was doing remarkable work as well even after being prime minister.  We heard that from a number of leaders who are in the G20 with us just a short while ago.

So I had the opportunity to share, as did my friend Park Jin, the Korean foreign minister, our deep sorrow at what’s happened today.  I have to just say finally that our thoughts are really with all of his family and his friends.  We really, really deeply mourn the loss (inaudible), the loss for his family, the loss for his friends, the loss for the people of Japan, the loss for the world.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Foreign Minister Park, could you give us a comment on it?

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  President Yoon Seok-youl has expressed his deepest condolences on the passing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his family and the people of Japan.  Korean Government strongly condemns this shooting incident as violent crime that should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you all.

U.S. Department of State

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