Joe Biden

Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials Previewing the Official Visit of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan

April 09, 2024

Via Teleconference

5:40 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Thank you. And hi, everyone. Thank you again for joining today's background call to preview the official visit of Prime Minister Kishida of Japan.

Today's call is on background. Speakers on today's call will be attributed as senior administration officials.

On today's call we have [senior administration official], [senior administration official], and [senior administration official]. Again, today's call is on background, attributed to senior administration officials. And the call will be held under embargo until tomorrow at 5:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

By participating in today's call, you are agreeing to these ground rules.

I will now turn the call over to [senior administration official].

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you. And thank you all very much for joining us today. It's really a pleasure and honor to be with you all.

Let me, if I can, first place this visit in a larger context. I think it is undeniable that at the conclusion of this visit we will judge it to be a remarkable and historic summit. And it's long in the making. We've been working on this kind of summit and state visit, frankly, for years. Our two leaders have met over a dozen times in a number of capacities. Prime Minister Kishida graciously hosted President Biden for an official visit as part of the G7 engagements in Hiroshima. And they've met on a number of occasions, engaging on the most critical issues before us.

I will say that what we've seen specifically is what was largely a regional alliance, and important alliance undeniably, but now a global partnership that I think could be judged as if not our most important global alliance, then among the most important. And I think that reality will be on full display over the course of the next few days.

I do want to just take a moment, if I may, just to commend. These summits are enormously challenging endeavors. Lots of spinning plates and engagements with huge stakes at every turn. And I just want to commend the two people that I'm on the call with today. [Senior administration official] has been the spearhead of this effort, driving forward on what we call deliverables. And I would just underscore that that list is over 70; it's not uncommon to occasionally have a dozen, maybe 20, at the outside. This is probably the largest set of substantial, significant deliverables that we've seen of its kind. And [senior administration official] and her team have helped drive that forward.

I will also say my friend and colleague [senior administration official] has basically set a new standard for what it means to be an activist, determined, a passionate advocate for a relationship between two countries. And what he's done in the U.S.-Japan context is no short of remarkable.

Now, I will say Prime Minister Kishida arrived with his team, members of governments from the Diet and the business community, yesterday. It's an appropriate time of year as we celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival starting this weekend.

We will have a number of engagements. [Senior administration officials] will run through them. But I think what you will see is a huge number of deliverables in the security arena, but I do want to underscore that the progress and future-oriented stance of our alliance that is on display in Haiti, in the Ukraine, in Southeast Asia, in the Pacific -- everywhere that American purpose is being put to the test, Japan is by our side. You will see that clearly animated in our deliverables.

We are working to build stronger bonds in technology, in joint investment running each way, programming that advances our joint interests in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and clear initiatives with respect to people-to-people.

I think, in many respects, this relationship and what you will see is the fundamental validation of President Biden's Indo-Pacific strategy, which seeks to elevate the role of partners and allies in concert with us as we seek to keep an open, secure, and vital Indo-Pacific.

I do just want to underscore just a couple of things as we go forward. The initiatives are both sophisticated and down to earth.

I do want to just mention one particular thing. I think the two most important gifts that countries have given the United States over the course of our existence: one would be the Statue of Liberty, and the second might be the gift, 110 years ago from Japan, of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin.

This is a tribute to both [senior administration official] and others on the Japanese side. I think they noted a few weeks ago that, sadly, several hundred of those trees would have to be felled in order to do some work around the Tidal Basin. The Japanese immediately understood the significance of that; offered us to help provide saplings when the time is right to replace these felled trees, to signal their continuing friendship and partnership.

I think we'll find that it's initiatives like this that may not be as significant as apparently as new arrangements on military command structures or joint co-production on the military side, but they're deeply significant to our peoples. And we are grateful. Prime Minister Kishida will have a planting ceremony tomorrow on the Mall to basically underscore his commitment to this.

I'd like to turn it over now to [senior administration official] to basically give us a blow by blow about how we arrived here, what he thinks are the big moving pieces that are significant, both in the Indo-Pacific and globally, as we take the U.S.-Japan relationship to the next level. Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [senior administration official]. I want to emphasize and underscore something [senior administration official] said, because in the last 60 years, you would define this relationship between the United States and Japan, since it got formalized in 1960, as one of alliance protection. I think this state visit kind of ends that era and defines the next period of time, this alliance projection from alliance protection.

And in the last two years that allowed this transition to occur, the Prime Minister changed five to six major 70-year-old policies that have always been on the books. Japan has gone from a 1 percent cap on defense spending to 2 percent of GDP. And that was before there was even a tank on the Ukrainian border. And it's going to become the third-largest military spender in the world.

They've acquired Tomahawk counter-strike capability, which will have a real effectiveness to the credibility of our collective deterrence.

Third, they've lifted the cap on defense technology export.

Fourth, with us they have raised the ROK-Japan-U.S. relationship, as experienced in Camp David, to a level of stability that shifted the strategic landscape in the Indo-Pacific as one of (inaudible) main pillars has been that the ROK, Japan, and the United States (inaudible), all three get on the same page.

Fifth is, the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, they ended their policy with Russia and decided to throw all their weight behind values and ideals of (inaudible) democratic democracies and understand that Russia had to be sanctioned because this cannot be permissible behavior, become a norm. The raw exercise of power was committed and accepted and became the new norm.

In that same time, I think then what has that committed for the United States? One is: For the first time ever, we're going to change the force structure that we have in Japan so it actually can make the most of their new joint operations center that's part of the defense budget and have a real capacity and capability to integrate our forces. Second is: Now with the cap on the defense export being lifted, we're going to have a military industrial council that will evaluate where we can (inaudible) and co-produce defense weapons. And so, Japan's industrial capacity and strength that had always been on the sidelines will come to bear on one of the weak points right now that we have, which is we don't have really the bandwidth on the defense production capacity that we need for our strategic applications.

There will also be pieces as related to the integrated missile defense system with Australia, the United States, and Japan.

The second column, which is -- in the last two years, we've signed five separate space agreements with Japan: Artemis, Gateway, Mars, International Space Station framework, and there'll be a major agreement to the lunar exploration with Japan as a full partner, from expending major resources with their NASA equivalent, which is JAXA.

And then building on the people-to-people, two initiatives. There'll be a joint AI research between Carnegie Mellon and Keio University, their major private university in Tokyo. That will be in the AI area, funded by both a series of Japanese companies and Microsoft. And then AI -- a separate but a different part of AI -- between the University of Washington in Washington State and Tsukuba University. And that's going to be with Amazon and NVIDIA at $50 million.

And then a third kind of people-to-people, which is Norman Mineta scholarship, $12 million, to fund students in their junior year of high school to go live overseas and study -- the United States students go to Japan, and Japan high school students come to the United States. The Norm Mineta scholarship.

But to me, each of these, in the end of the day, are -- all the particulars add up to a major shift where Japan, which used to be, you know, only worried about the perimeters of their island, projecting not only into the region and the alliance and its value system, but being a full global partner on whatever happens in Europe, the Mideast, and also the Indo-Pacific.

And so, this state visit comes at a point that the relationship is shifting to a higher and different level, and having the building blocks and the deliverables that underscore each one of those pieces.

[Senior administration official]?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [senior administration official].

[Senior administration officials] put out a lot on the table here, so I'll just a saw a few words to wrap up our topper, and then I look forward to taking your questions.

There's certainly a lot more we can dig into in our defense and security deliverables, where there's some really (inaudible) advances taking place within the U.S.-Japan alliance, some of which are some of the most consequential moves we will have taken in decades.

But as [senior administration official] just indicated, what we're really doing here is culminating three years of fast and furious work that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago and, frankly, unimaginable with a leader other than Fumio Kishida, but that has truly taken this alliance to the next level, modernized it, and now put us on a pathway to even bigger things.

And we'll be taking our next logical steps tomorrow and also lighting the pathway for U.S.-Japan alliance managers for many years to come.

But a broader point that I think I'll leave it with and conclude these opening remarks is the fact that the President's visit with Prime Minister Kishida tomorrow, as well as the trilat that he'll be holding with Prime Minister Kishida and President Marcos of the Philippines later this week, is both a really important and consequential set of meetings in and of themselves, but it's also a proving ground for the President's theory of case when it comes to his entire Indo-Pacific strategy.

When the President took office over three years ago, his theory of the case was that if the United States reinvested in its alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific and built collective capacity as we put it in our Indo-Pacific strategy, along with others, that those allies and partners would step up alongside in ways that made us much better able, much better equipped to accomplish our objectives in this critical region.

And nowhere is this theory better proven out than in our alliance with Japan, where Prime Minister Kishida has stepped up and stepped out into the world more than anyone really ever could have imagined.

So that's what you'll see on display tomorrow. We have a lot to celebrate, and we're excited for the pathway ahead. I'll stop there.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you all for opening remarks. Moderator, I think we are ready to move into the Q&A portion.

OPERATOR: Moving to our first caller. Michael Shear, your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Hey all. Thanks for doing the call. I appreciate it. Two quick questions.

One, can you describe what, if any, message President Trump [sic] is going to deliver to the Prime Minister about U.S. Steel and his concerns about a potential acquisition?

And two, to what extent are you all -- do you all feel an urgency to cement, I think as [senior administration official] called it, this next level of relationship, given the coming election and the fears in -- you know, sort of abroad in many places, but maybe in Japan too, about the possibility that President Trump could come back into office and all that could mean to the region and to the alliance?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So I'll start maybe, and then let -- I think you inadvertently said what would President Trump have to say. I think you probably meant --

Q: Oh, sorry. President Biden. Sorry.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Probably inadvertently reveals your state of mind as well, though.

So, look, on the second part of that question, I can say this: Look, I think we all recognize that there is anxiety in capitals, uncertainty about what the nature of the future of U.S. policy will look like, whether we will remain as engaged in internationalist pursuits and the kinds of bipartisan foreign policy efforts which have animated the last period, both after the Second World War and after the Cold War. There are questions and concerns there.

I think what we believe, and the people on this call have been deeply engaged with this, is that by strengthening and validating the concept of load-bearing bilateral and multilateral relationships -- countries that are prepared to lend a hand and work with us and, in some cases, leading efforts -- we think that validates that philosophy and creates a kind of momentum of its own.

And so, I think it would be fair to say that, you know, there are a number of responses internationally. I think some countries have sought to lie low. Others recognize that the best approach is to double down and engage deeply with the United States. And we're seeking to do that.

And I think the Japan experience and what we've seen with Prime Minister Kishida is a case study in recognizing that their best possible way forward is a deep, substantial, continuing engagement with the United States.

[Senior administration official]?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll pass to [senior administration official] actually on this one.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Mike, let me just deal with the second question, and then I'll go to the first.

On the second question: Look, there is a tactic and a strategic objective by China, which is to isolate the Philippines, what they're doing on the coast guard, or to isolate Japan, what they're doing with the embargo on fish.

The idea of switching to a multilateral lattice-like strategic architecture is then to flip the script and isolate China. When you have, like we did this week, the United States, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines doing an exercise together, when you have the trilat on Thursday, the country that's isolated is China, not the Philippines.

And in every practice that we're doing -- the strategic, diplomatic, military exercises of doing it multinational is that the end result is that China's attempt to intimidate one country, make an example of that country and intimidate the others in the neighborhood, flips the script and China is the isolated and the outlier in the neighborhood (inaudible). So that's number one.

And number two is: You know, I've seen it upfront with now three presidents. Not only the trilateral on Thursday, but the one at Camp David with the ROK -- if they have trust in America and then personal trust in President Biden, or (inaudible) president, other leaders are going to go past just clearing the bar. They're going to stretch themselves, spend political capital because it means something and comes back to value.

So the real answer is: Some of this is standalone and will stand the test of time. Building on it requires somebody that's invested in it. So there's also risk that's straight up, because people are putting resources -- the Australians, South Korea -- ROK, Japan, the Philippines -- in the United States because they trust us, they want to work with us, and they know that we are the right kind of counterweight to an untethered China.

Then to the first question on Nippon Steel: Look, the relationship between the United States and Japan is far bigger and more significant than a single commercial deal.

Six weeks ago, the United States gave Mitsui, a Japanese company, a $20 billion deal to build a crane factory here in the United States and replace all our port cranes throughout the United States. Nothing says trusted ally like a $20 billion contract with a Japanese company.

And in 2021, outside companies or foreign companies were looking at Toshiba. Japan said, on national security interests, they didn't want that to go forward.

So I guess would just basically understand -- everybody understands where we are. Everybody understands the significance of not only this visit but also the relationship. And it's larger than a single effort. And I say that as somebody who started his political career back in -- national political career in 1992 working for Bill Clinton.

We're in a different place fundamentally. And I just think that this single commercial transaction does not define not only the visit, but the relationship and its potential and what is actually delivering in the region or across the globe. And both leaders (inaudible).

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller in the queue.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And for the record, I was talking about President Biden, not President Trump.

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller. Demetri Sevastopulo from Financial Times. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Thanks. I have two questions. The first is for [senior administration official]. The other day at CNAS, you said Japan had made some progress implementing information security systems improvements. How far do you think they are from getting to a place where the U.S. and the Five Eyes are kind of comfortable with their level of security?

And then, for any of you, what sort of the things that you're doing right now with Japan, including restructuring the U.S. command in Japan, are complete? Do you think we're at a point where Japan could actually fight alongside the U.S. if there was a contingency over Taiwan? Or is that still a long way away?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll start and then [senior administration officials] jump in.

So, look, I think it's fair to say that our Japanese partners and allies have taken substantial steps on information security and procedures that protect the most sensitive of information potentially shared between United States and Japan.

As I indicated, there is still more work to do. I think we believe that there are legislative steps, as well as executive actions, that are possible.

You will see over the course of the next few days that we are stepping up our intelligence cooperation. This is an area that [senior administration official] has played a key role in, in particularly ensuring on key initiatives that the two countries are in sync and in close coordination on key information. And I think some of those steps have been deeply successful. And we're seeking to build on those as we go forward.

I think what you will see over the course of the next couple of days are major steps on the security side, highlighting some cyber-related efforts and also our fundamental goal of being able to share the most important information with our closest ally, Japan.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [senior administration official]. You know, the only thing I'll had on the Taiwan bit is that the U.S. and Japan have carefully honed public (inaudible) on Taiwan that we worked through together a few years ago. And we expect you'll see language that's quite similar on this visit.


OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller in queue. Ken Moriyasu from Nikkei Asia. Please go ahead. Your line is unmuted.

Q: Hello, thank you very much. I think [senior administration official] said that Japan, until now, was only worried about the parameters of the island but now they will be a full global partner on whatever happens in Europe. This seems like a very drastic statement. What is your expectation of the engagement in places like Ukraine and Gaza? Will it be just political support, or do you expect some kind of security cooperation as well? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Ken, you've been following this, so it's not a surprise. Day one they've been a full partner on the sanctions. There hasn't been any equivocation there. They've called -- their efforts as chair of the G7 has been, as it relates to Ukraine, been incredible in the sense they're, step by step, measuring all the sanctions, as recently as including Arctic 2.

The second piece of that is there's no greater contributor to the energy infrastructure that's being targeted by Putin than Japan, with Mitsubishi and (inaudible) Kawasaki building the major transformers there. I think it's close to six or -- (inaudible) on the exact dollars, but I think it's close to $6- or $7 billion.

They have used their position and assistance. They just re-upped funding as it relates to food relief in Gaza.

So they are a global partner. And what I meant, and I stand by, is the last period of time has all been just about the defense of Japan. They are stepping beyond that role into -- and they did it in March 2022 when there was a U.N. resolution condemning Russia's vote. They not only voted the correct way; they helped corral 8 out of the 10 ASEAN countries to all vote in favor of condemning Russia for the (inaudible), co-sponsors of the resolution. And that was Japan's initiative. So, yeah, a global partner.

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller. (Inaudible) with Kyoto News. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Hi, thank you for taking my question. I would like to ask for AUKUS pillar two, which is likely to be one of the topics at the meeting tomorrow. Is there any specific area in which Japan could bring significant contribution to enforce AUKUS pillar two? Is it AI hypersonic capability or other (inaudible)? Would you give us some explanation? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm happy to take this one.

You know, we think that Japan stands to potentially bring a great deal to AUKUS pillar two. And as you're tracking, we will be noting tomorrow that the AUKUS partners are excited to begin their consultations with Japan towards possible inclusion in pillar two.

But I do want to note, number one, that Japan is one of several additional partners that the AUKUS partners are closely considering partnering with under this pillar two (inaudible). And number two, that we expect the consultations will take a period of months, and it will take a portion of the 2024 calendar year before the AUKUS two pillar -- the AUKUS pillar two vision is fully fleshed out, that is with us being able to assign specific partners to specific pillar two projects.

So there's no doubt that Japan brings a great deal to the table. That's why we are announcing that AUKUS partners want to begin consultations with Tokyo as soon as possible. But we have a way to go before we're able to share some of the details that you just raised.

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller. Jennifer Jacobs from Bloomberg News. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Hey, thanks. I heard your answer to the New York Times question about Nippon Steel. So you guys are saying that you do think that the topic of the steel deal will come up between the President and the Prime Minister?



Q: Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: (Inaudible) to predict, but no, we don't, because I think that the relationship is much bigger, and I think that everybody understands everybody's position. I was trying to give you reference points for both Mitsui and Toshiba as kind of -- as to kind of appreciate where this is.

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller. Ryo Kiyomiya from the Asahi Shimbun. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Thank you so much for this opportunity. My question is about the change of the (inaudible) in Japan. First, could you please clear us on expected timeline of deciding and establishing new U.S. force structure in Japan? And also, do expect a drastic change of posture in Japan, such as increasing the number of U.S. personnel of the U.S. (inaudible) or sending of (inaudible) to Japan?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm happy to take this one as well.

We'll be announcing tomorrow our commitment to modernizing our alliance partner posture, including our command and control, in Japan. But I do expect it will take a period of months for the details of those changes to be worked through.

Of course, we're doing this in close partnership with the government of Japan, with the aim of making ourselves a very neat fit for the new joint operations command that Japanese friends are standing (inaudible). Secretary of Defense Austin and our new INDOPACOM commander will work through the details of what exactly that modernized approach is going to look like.

But tomorrow, not only will the leaders commit to this -- undertaking this project together, a project which, as [senior administration official] highlighted, is in many ways one of the biggest changes to take place in the U.S.-Japan alliance since 1960, but they will direct our two-plus-two ministerial structure to take on the responsibility of executing these changes (inaudible).

So this is all to say: Stay tuned. It'll take a period of months to work through. But we have not only a commitment but the structure to get these details hashed out very soon.

OPERATOR: Moving to the next caller. Prashant Jha from Hindustan Times. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Hi. My question is for [senior administration official]. One of the things that you said was this is a validation of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the President, where he assigns this role to partners, and partners step up. I was wondering how you're thinking of India within the context of this deepening military, defense, security partnership with your treaty allies in East Asia. Do you see India as a part of this network? We know that, bilaterally, India's relations have improved with the U.S. as well as with these countries. Do you see it as a part of a wider network as well? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: First of all, thank you very much for the question. I do -- and I understand the way you asked it, but I think it's important to just underscore: I don't think this is about the United States assigning roles to countries. I think it is much more about working in partnership with likeminded and other states who share common views about what should be upheld on the global stage with respect to key features of the global operating system that I think we've all benefited from.

I think if you ask the President, one of the things that he's proudest of is his efforts to build a stronger relationship between the United States and India. And I do believe, both in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and on key issues like technology, the United States and India are working more closely together than ever before.

And I would simply say that I think the U.S.-India relationship is trending substantially in a positive direction and that our level of engagement across every possible vector -- security, intelligence, technology, people-to-people -- has excelled.

And I think the point that [senior administration official] made is not only have our relations with India improved in a bilateral context, but it is also the case that India's partnership with other countries, working with us and then working just independently, has also stepped up substantially. I would say, in many respects, engagement with India is some of the most -- the most desired kinds of engagements on the global stage, and we've seen this with a variety of key players.

I'll be in India next week to celebrate elements of our bilateral relationship, compare notes on the Indo-Pacific, and also talk about next steps in technology cooperation. We think these are all effective, prudent elements of taking the U.S.-India relationship to the next level.

And, yes, I do believe, perhaps in the past, on both sides, there perhaps had been some ambivalence or some uncertainty. I see very little of that now. I see leaders on both sides who are all in on the promise and prospects of the other, recognize the potential of this relationship that is deeply supported by an activist diaspora community here, and technology and other firms who understand the potential of India.

And I would just simply say that I see the engagement with India as central to everything that we're seeking to do on the global stage. And I would simply say that I think, in many respects, it will be our most important bilateral partnership heading into the latter parts of the 21st century.

So, thank you for that.

OPERATOR: Moving to our next caller. Sang-ho Song from Yonhap News Agency. Your line is unmuted. Please go ahead.

Q: Thank you for doing this. I have a question for [senior administration official]. You talked about the transition from alliance protection to alliance projection. So can you elaborate further on what you actually meant by projection? Is it projection of power for global security?

And my second question is that: What kind of end state are you pursuing when it comes to the combined command structure? Are the United States and Japan pursuing these structures akin to the Combined Forces Command in South Korea between the U.S. Forces Korea and the (inaudible) military? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, let me say about alliance projection: A lot of times, as you just did, it's always defined as -- or kind of narrowed down to defense. I actually see -- if one of the things we want is credible deterrence, we should widen the definition of what deterrence looks like.

And I think both the trilateral meeting with the Philippine president, the trilateral meeting and gathering that happened at Camp David, that's about credible deterrence. As much as what Japan is doing individually and then in collaboration with us on a series of exercises, it's about the credibility of deterrence. What they're negotiating with the Philippines, the reciprocal agreement, that's part of deterrence.

So the wider definition is, in my view, what matters here. And when I say about alliance projection in the region -- when it's either the Quad or either one of the trilats, or whether it's a military exercise with the Philippines, the constant in all this by our side is Japan. That did not exist 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. It's a different -- this is the new norm. And the constant in both the diplomatic arena, the defense arena, or the development and economic arena, which will be a big part of what happens with the Philippines trilat, is Japan is the constant in this effort.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would just add one other thing to [senior administration official] colleagues that -- look, it should not be lost on you that this is our fifth state visit and state dinner. But four of the five -- this is the crowning partnership of the Quad. And so, this suggests how the President views the Quad, how important it is, how central it has been to his vision of a deeper Indo-Pacific engagement. And at the heart of that, as [senior administration official] has indicated, is Japan. Everything that we're doing of purpose on the global stage we're doing with Japan.

Q: Could I ask also about the command structure, the end state of this?

MODERATOR: Unfortunately, we have to conclude today's call. I'd like to offer it up to [senior administration official] for any quick closing remarks here.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll just speak briefly to that last question, which is to say, you know, the end state is that close integration and coordination of our forces, of the U.S. and Japan, in a way that's appropriate for 21st century challenges. I think both of our countries has been clear that that's the objective of our alliance modernization efforts. And we look forward to pursuing it in lockstep.

But zooming out, just back to sort of (inaudible) context of the week we're having here, obviously we've been talking about, in a fair amount of detail, a number of these really substantial deliverables that are going to move our alliance forward in consequential ways.

But I want to bring us back to the fact that in addition to this state visit with Prime Minister Kishida -- which, of course, in celebration of how much we've achieved in the last three years -- we are also holding the first-ever trilateral leaders' summit with President Marcos on Thursday. We'll be back to share more on that tomorrow and to preview some of the outcomes then.

But when you take these two achievements together, these are critical parts of a much bigger picture in which the President's vision, Jake Sullivan's vision for how we do strategy in the Indo-Pacific is bearing itself out in real time.

You're seeing a single treaty ally, who has always been one of the United States' closest partners, stepping up in more consequential ways than anyone could have imagined. And another ally in the Philippines working more closely with us than (inaudible) the years. And the three of us together able to marshal resources towards common objectives in ways that weren't even on the horizon two years ago.

So it really is an important week for (inaudible) in addition to our bilateral visit and the deliverables that we're unveiling tomorrow. We're grateful to all of you for the conversation today. And we look forward to talking about more soon.

MODERATOR: All right, thank you so much. And thank you all for joining today. Thank you to [senior administration official]. Thank you to [senior administration official].

I'd just like to remind everyone that this call is on background, attributed to senior administration officials, embargoed for tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m.

I also wanted to flag for everyone that we will hold, for everyone's planning purposes, another background call tomorrow afternoon, I believe at 3:00 p.m., to preview the trilateral summit of the U.S., Japan, and the Philippines. So, stay tuned for information about that.

And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or our team here at the NSC. Thank you very much.

6:22 P.M. EDT

Joseph R. Biden, Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials Previewing the Official Visit of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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