Press Gaggle by Vice President Harris After Tour of the Zojoji Temple

2 months ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

Zojoji Temple
Tokyo, Japan

THE VICE PRESIDENT:   Well, it has been a very good and important trip that we have made to Tokyo and to Japan — of course, under very sad circumstances, which is the passing of former Prime Minister Abe. 
 
There has been much that has been said in honor of his role of leadership to Japan but also to the United States.  It was he who coined the term “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”  And as a member of the Indo-Pacific region, as America, we cherish those principles and we stand by them.  And it is part of the bond that forms the alliance between the United States and Japan. 
 
So, last night, in fact, we celebrated his life with a dinner that was hosted by the current Prime Minister of Japan, where there were wonderful stories being told by people who spent time with him about his life and his legacy. 
 
Since we’ve been here, I’ve also had meetings with the Prime Minister of Korea.  I’ll be traveling to Seoul the day after next to strengthen and reestablish, of course, that relationship.  And I do think about that relationship in the context of a trilateral relationship — certainly a direct responsibility that we have and a sense of responsibility to the security of Korea, but also thinking of that relationship in the context of the alliance with Japan. 
 
I also met today with Prime Minister Albanese of Australia.  He and I — and he and the President — have a lot in common in terms of a commitment, again, to the Indo-Pacific region and to an open and free Indo-Pacific. 
 
But also, we had an extensive conversation about the climate crisis.  He, as a leader, has really stepped up in a very significant — dare I say “ambitious” — way.  But his ambition, I have no question, will be achieved to have Australia be a leader on the globe on this issue. 
 
And we discussed the significance — perhaps coincidence, but significance — of him stepping up in a role of leadership for Australia just as we were able to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which the President has signed, which will invest $370 billion in the work that the United States will do on the issue of the climate crisis.
 
So, this has been an important trip and — again, to re-establish, confirm, reinitiate all that we have held dear in terms of our membership in this region, but also the alliances that have been longstanding and that we are intent on strengthening as we go forward.
 
So, with that, it is good to see everyone.  Thank you.
 
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