SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good evening, everyone.  We just concluded a pretty packed two days – coming at a very intense time for our countries and for the world.

I want to begin by thanking Foreign Minister Kamikawa for the very warm hospitality here in Tokyo, and to her and Prime Minister Kishida for Japan’s leadership during this historic year for the G7.

The G7 has strengthened its role as the steering committee of the world’s advanced democracies, demonstrating unprecedented unity of purpose and unity of action on the issues that are defining the 21st century.

And at another moment of intense challenge for the free world, our security, and our values, G7 unity is stronger and more important than ever.

Our first focus here in Tokyo was the crisis in the Middle East.  Yesterday evening, I had an opportunity to brief my colleagues on my travel through the region, as well as extensive engagements by President Biden and our entire national security team.

The G7 ministers reaffirmed our staunch support for Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself and seek to ensure the attacks of October 7th can never happen again, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

We had in-depth discussions about the steps that we are taking to address urgent needs on the ground.  We all agreed that humanitarian pauses would advance key objectives to protect Palestinian civilians, to increase the sustained flow of humanitarian assistance, to allow our citizens and foreign nationals to exit, and to facilitate the release of hostages.  I briefed by colleagues about my conversations with Israeli leaders on pauses, and on concrete steps to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and to stop extremist violence in the West Bank.

Israel has repeatedly told us that there’s no going back to October 6th before the barbaric attacks by Hamas.  We fully agree.  As we work with Israel to ensure this, we also are working in the region to deter broader threats to our partners and to our friends.

As the President said, to anyone seeking to take advantage of the crisis in Gaza and spread conflict to other theaters: don’t.

All of us want to end this conflict as soon as possible, and meanwhile, to minimize civilian suffering.  But as I discussed with my G7 colleagues, those calling for an immediate ceasefire have an obligation to explain how to address the unacceptable result it would likely bring about: Hamas left in place, with more than 200 hostages, with the capacity and stated intent to repeat October 7th – again and again and again.

Ultimately, the only way to ensure that this crisis never happens again is to begin setting the conditions for durable peace and security, and to frame our diplomatic efforts now with that in mind.

The United States believes key elements should include no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza – not now, not after the war.  No use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks.  No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends.  No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza.  No reduction in the territory of Gaza.  We must also ensure no terrorist threats can emanate from the West Bank.

We must also work on the affirmative elements to get to a sustained peace.  These must include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza.  It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.

And it must include a sustained mechanism for reconstruction in Gaza, and a pathway to Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in states of their own, with equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity.

Even as we focus intensely on addressing these urgent challenges, we believe that the time is now to start the conversation about the future – not tomorrow, not after the war – today – because identifying the longer-term objectives and a pathway to get there will help shape our approach to addressing immediate needs.

I know it’s hard to look ahead in this moment.  It is the aim of terrorists to sow chaos, to destroy hope, to destroy lives, and, through human despair, grow their ranks and hijack the political future of the Palestinians.  We cannot and we will not let them succeed.

Today we also focused on our enduring support for Ukraine.  The G7 has led the world in galvanizing and sustaining that support.  And as we told Foreign Minister Kuleba today, Ukraine can count on us.

To put Ukraine on a solid foundation for next year, we must help Ukraine do four things at once.  First, keep fighting to win back its territory.  Second, build a world-class military force to ensure maximum deterrence for the long term, and make clear to President Putin that he cannot and will not outlast Ukraine and he cannot and will not outlast all of Ukraine’s supporters.  Twenty-eight countries have made concrete commitments to join us in this effort of building a Ukrainian fighting force for the future.

Third, kick-start economic recovery and growth, and bring more hope more opportunity to the Ukrainian people.  And fourth, accelerate the reform process to speed Ukraine’s path to the European Union and to attract investment.  All of these steps are designed to help Ukraine stand strongly on its own two feet.

We also discussed at length the Indo-Pacific and steps we’re taking together to contend with challenges to our shared vision of a free, open, prosperous, secure, and resilient region.

We spoke about the PRC.  We agreed on the importance of working constructively on shared challenges but also being clear and direct with China on our differences.  We’ll continue to de-risk our economies, to strengthen our resilience, to push back on economic coercion.  We’ll also continue to stand up to China over its actions in the South and East China Seas.  We of course oppose unilateral or coercive efforts to change the status quo with Taiwan.  Our conversation today demonstrated an unprecedented degree of alignment among the G7 on our approach to China.

We also discussed the DPRK’s provocative actions and missile launches, and dangerous DPRK-Russia military cooperation.  We’re deeply concerned about what Russia is providing Pyongyang in return for the weapons and munitions that it’s getting from Pyongyang.  We’ll continue to push for the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and commitments to uphold the global nonproliferation order.

A major theme throughout our meetings was how we can leverage our full economic, political, and development strength to deepen ties with developing countries and deliver for people around the world.

Through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, we’re mobilizing $600 billion in high-quality, transparent infrastructure projects worldwide by 2027.  We’re unlocking hundreds of billions in new lending capacity for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund – for things like climate resilience, public health, and other key priorities.

We’re also working to shape a more inclusive international system: supporting reform of the UN Security Council, making the international financial system more responsive to the needs of low- and middle-income countries, bringing more voices to the table here at the G7 as, for example, with today’s meeting with Central Asian partners.

Later today, I’ll travel to the Republic of Korea and then on to India, two of our most important partners in the Indo-Pacific.  Even as we’re engaged intensively on the urgent challenges of this moment, the United States remains focused on advancing the interests of the American people in every part of the world, on issues that matter in their lives.

At this inflection point in the struggle of protecting international order, we are standing strong for our vision of a more free, secure, open, and prosperous world.  And we do not stand alone. We’ve built extraordinary coalitions with allies and partners who carry their share of the burden.  And we leave this G7 meeting stronger and more united in meeting the challenges of today.

Thank you.  With that, I’ll take some questions.

MR MILLER:  First question goes to Courtney McBride with Bloomberg.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Courtney.

QUESTION:  Good evening, Mr. Secretary.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that his government would maintain security control of Gaza for, quote, “an indefinite period,” end quote.  How do you reconcile those comments to previous statements by both the U.S. and Israeli governments opposing a reoccupation of Gaza?  And then you address this a bit, but other G7 members have expressed support for a full ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, while the U.S. continues to support just these humanitarian pauses.  And I’m just wondering:  Did you convince the other members of the U.S. position, or is this joint statement language just the sort of minimal consensus area?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, Courtney.  So I think we’ve been very clear from day one that when it comes to post-conflict governance in Gaza, a few things are clear and necessary.  One, Gaza cannot be – continue to be run by Hamas.  That simply invites a repetition of October 7th and Gaza used as a place from which to launch terrorist attacks.  It’s also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza.

Now, the reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict, but it is imperative that the Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza and in the West Bank as well, and that, again, we don’t see a reoccupation.  And what I’ve heard from Israeli leaders is that they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza and retake control of Gaza.

So the only question is are – is there some transition period that might be necessary, and what might be the mechanisms that you could put in place for that to make sure that there is security?  But we’re very clear on no reoccupation, just as we’re very clear on no displacement of the Palestinian population.  And, as we’ve said before, we need to see and get to, in effect, unity of governance when it comes to Gaza and the West Bank, and ultimately to a Palestinian state.

When it comes to the G7 statement, and particularly with regard to the question of a ceasefire, actually we found real unity in the G7 on – in this moment on that question.  I think the communique very accurately reflects what we discussed and what G7 partners believe.

MR MILLER:  For the next question, Sasaki Akiko with TV Tokyo.

QUESTION:  Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for coming to Japan.  So you met with Prime Minister Kishida yesterday.  What role could Japan play in the conflict in the Middle East, and what is your expectation of Japan in this conflict?  And also, can a ceasefire agreement be reached between Israel and Gaza, and also, what do you think is the final goal of this conflict?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  First, I was very appreciative of being able to see Prime Minister Kishida, and of course to spend time, extensive time, with the foreign minister.  And I can tell you first we very much appreciate Japan’s engagement in helping to deal with the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the situation in Gaza.  I very much welcome the foreign minister’s trip to the region, which was important, as well as her unequivocal condemnation of terror, the call for the release of hostages, and the announcement by Japan of $75 million in humanitarian assistance.

We had a very productive discussion with – the foreign minister and I – about important, vital issues like what needs to be done to minimize civilian casualties, to increase the flow even more of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, and to prevent the spread of the conflict to other places.  And I think the United States and Japan are very clearly aligned on what needs to be done and what we’re working to do together.

As I said earlier, in terms of the future, I think there are a few very basic things that everyone would want to achieve.  One is that there can’t be a return to the situation, the status quo before October 7th, where Gaza can be used as a platform to launch the most horrific terrorist attacks that anyone can imagine.  And at the same time, it’s vitally important that Palestinian aspirations for governing themselves, for being the ones to decide their own futures, are realized.  And so we have to work to both of those things at the same time, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

MR MILLER:  For the next question, Nike Ching with VOA.

QUESTION:  Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary.  How was your lunch?  Did you enjoy the Fukushima seafood?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We did, yes.  We had excellent seafood here.  And I can tell you not just at lunch, I think last night as well, and I commend it to everyone.

QUESTION:  Well I have more questions.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Oh, I thought that was it.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I thought, but – (laughter).

QUESTION:  Regarding U.S. President Joe Biden’s planned meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, is the United States heading towards a substantial change in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China?  Will the U.S. serve Fukushima seafood during APEC?

And separately, if I may, do you have anything on starting talks on a reliable arrangement with the Chinese Government to prevent artificial intelligence involvement in the decision-making for nuclear command and control, as suggested by some China observers, including Henry Kissinger?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So Nike, first, as much as I’d like to, I really can’t speak to the menu at APEC.  It is well above my paygrade.  So stay tuned; we’ll see.

First, I should say this.  We are planning for a constructive meeting between the leaders; we’re still working on those plans.  I think both sides have acknowledged the importance of leader-level channels in managing the relationship.  And we both agree that we have an obligation, the United States and China, to responsibly manage the relationship.  And that really, in many ways, starts and finishes with leader-level engagement.  So we’ve been working toward this meetings since my trip to Beijing this past summer.  There are a number of areas and issues upon which we hope to make progress, as well as continuing to manage the places where we have real differences.

As you know, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was just in Washington.  We had detailed, constructive conversations, both about areas of potential cooperation but also about the places where we have real disagreements.  And I think we were able to speak very clearly, very candidly with each other, and that, too, is very important when it comes to the discussions that our leaders have.

So beyond that, I can’t get into the specific issues that they would discuss in any such meeting.  I can say, as a general principle for us, that when it comes to artificial intelligence, that we believe that artificial intelligence should not be in the loop or making the decisions about how and when a nuclear weapon is used.  That very much reflects our strongly held view and our policy.  But as to what the leaders would discuss, I’m not in a place where I can talk about that now.  We’re still working on the meeting and working on the agenda for any meeting.  Thanks.

MR MILLER:  And the final question goes to Fuchigami Takayuki with Yomiuri.

QUESTION:  Hi, Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good evening.

QUESTION:  Welcome to Japan.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Since the Hamas attach on Israel, the U.S. has been required to respond on three front.  They’re, as you mentioned, the Indo-Pacific, Ukraine, and the Middle East.  So you are traveling around the world to respond these issues.  Frankly, how tough is it?  And even in the midst of all these, please tell us again how important it is for U.S. to focus on Indo-Pacific.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, first of all, thank you for reminding me where I am.  (Laughter.)  No, in all seriousness, I have to tell you that I always welcome any opportunity to come to Japan.  It’s – almost no matter the situation.  For me, it’s a pleasure to be here, to work with my Japanese colleagues.  We so value the relationship, the partnership, the allyship that we have with Japan, and it really is safe to say, without contradiction, that’s never been stronger.  So in many ways, it’s always reassuring to be here even – and maybe even especially in times of challenge because of that strong partnership.

More broadly, look, I can tell you that we are determined, and we are, as we would say, running and chewing gum at the same time.  The Indo-Pacific is the critical region for our future.  As I mentioned, just a little over a week ago Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Washington for extensive discussions with me, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with President Biden as well.  And we’re working, as we just discussed, on a meeting between the leaders at APEC.

We of course will be spending the entire week next week with colleagues, countries from APEC, again, a demonstration of our intense focus on the Indo-Pacific.  From here, I’m going on to Korea and then going on to India, again, further evidence of the fact that we’re very focused on the Indo-Pacific and will remain so.

A couple of weeks ago, I was testifying before our Congress with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about the supplemental budget request that the President has made of Congress, the extra funds that we need to do very important things.  And an important component of that request are additional funds for our work in the Indo-Pacific.  So all of this is, I think, very compelling and clear evidence of our focus.  And it’s vitally important that even as we’re dealing with a real crisis in Gaza, in the Middle East, we’re also not only able but we’re fully engaged in all of the interests that we have in the Indo-Pacific.

Thank you very much.

MR MILLER:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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