8:03 A.M. EDT
MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining the call. We’re going to preview of the day ahead for tomorrow here in Hiroshima.
As a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to a senior administration official, and it’s embargoed until 5:00 a.m. Japan Standard Time on May 21st, which is 4:00 p.m. Eastern on May 20th.
For your awareness, not for your reporting, on the call here tonight we have [senior administration official]. He’s going to have a few words at the top, and then we’ll take your questions.
[Senior administration official], over to you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [moderator]. Hey, everybody. Good evening. Good afternoon. Another packed day here in Hiroshima.
I think, as you all know, President Biden participated in a number of important sessions, and we released the G7 communiqué, which hopefully you’ve seen. If not, it’s a — it’s on the web.
I do want to focus, if I could, on a couple of points that the G7 committed to today.
First, we made clear that we are united on the core elements that underpin our approaches to China. While certainly as individual nations, we will obviously each pursue our own relationships with China, we do stand together as G7 partners on a set of core shared principles.
Second, are deepening our cooperation on economic security and resilience, which includes strengthening and diversi- — diversifying our supply chains, launching a new coordination platform on economic coercion to develop early warnings and to be able to deter and counter economic coercion, affirming the need to protect emerging technologies from being used to threaten our national security. And we all underscored, of course, that tools like targeted controls on outbound investment may be important as part of these efforts.
Third, we launched a Clean Energy Action Plan, which underscores the need for investment and incentives to build a clean energy economy of the future and create jobs at home, around the world. And this will provide broad G7 endorsement of the kind of actions that we’ve been taking with the Inflation Reduction Act.
And finally, we are taking steps to strengthen our partnership with developing and emerging market countries. The G7 leaders gathered to highlight the work that we’ve all done through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which, as you know, was launched at the last G7 in Germany last year, to mobilize financing for quality infrastructure around the world, including an announcement that the United States has mobilized $30 billion toward this goal.
The leaders pledged their mutual support to evolve the multilateral development banks, and they strengthen their cooperation on global health and food security, including through a $250 million contribution by the United States to the Pandemic Fund, which the President just announced a little bit ago.
Now, he also participated in a meeting with the Quad — with the Quad leaders this evening — Prime Minister Albanese of Australia; Prime Minister Kishida here, of course of Japan; Prime Minister Modi of India as well — to mark the Quad’s progress over the past year. And that meeting is, I believe, just wrapping up right about now.
Now, turning to tomorrow — another full day — it’ll start off in the morning, mid-morning, with the G7 working session on Ukraine.
From there, they’ll move to a working session on stable, peaceful — on — I’m sorry, on a stable, peaceful, prosperous world.
Early in the afternoon, the President will be sitting down with President Yoon of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Kishida to have a trilateral discussion on trilateral engagement between our three countries.
This is something that’s been a priority for President Biden since he’s been in office to improve not only our bilateral alliance with each of those nations but trilaterally between the three of us across sectors. I mean, obviously there’s a lot of focus on security, but also on economics as well and people-to-people ties. So that’ll be a good session. That’s early in the afternoon.
And then — and then shortly after that, again in the early afternoon, we do expect that the President will have a bilateral meeting with President Zelenskyy. Right now, that’s scheduled for a little bit after two o’clock, and we’ll obviously keep you posted as things get closer.
And, of course, in that meeting, the President will continue to reiterate the United States’ firm and resolute support for Ukraine going forward.
While here, the U.S., in coordination with the G7, delivered a powerful statement of unity, strength, and commitment in our response to Russia’s war of aggression.
We took significant steps economically to isolate Russia and to weaken its ability to wage war. As you saw, we announced upwards of 300 new sanctions against individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft. And these really go after circumvention, financial facilitators, future energy, and extractive capabilities, as well as other actors that are helping support Putin’s war.
And President Biden informed his G7 counterparts that the United States will support a joint effort, as you all heard, to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter aircraft, which includes F-16s. And there was an awful lot of effort that went into getting to that — to getting to that point where we were able to announce the training.
And as you know, there’s still some work to be done to figure out, you know, when planes will go, how many will go, and from whom. We don’t have the answers to all that right now. But the muscle movements are in place, and the discussions are happening. But this was the result of an awful lot of work, spearheaded, quite frankly, by the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, who really led those efforts, again, over many weeks now, to get us to this point.
Also, tomorrow, the President will again make clear that the United States is going to continue to support Ukraine, as I said, for as long as it takes on a whole range of issues, not just — I know not just the — not just the improvements of the capabilities of the Ukrainian air force.
And with that, we can take some questions.
MODERATOR: Thank you. If you’d like to raise a question, please use the “raise hand” feature in Zoom.
Trevor, we’ll go to you first. You should be able to unmute yourself.
Q Hey, thanks for taking the question. You know, we’ve already seen today a lot of strong support from a bunch of different countries for Zelenskyy, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of that tomorrow. Is there any, kind of, message that China should take away from the strong support that Ukraine has? Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We cer- — Trevor, I think, obviously — I wouldn’t say it’s a new takeaway. But certainly we would hope that as the PRC looks at the statements coming out of the G7, certainly what they’ll hear and see tomorrow, is that the international community is very much in support of Ukraine and resolved to do that, unified to do that. Certainly a lot of unity here at the G7.
And we would hope that it would — that China would take away from that that their influence over Mr. Putin — and they do have influence over him — there are few foreign leaders who do, and he’s one of them — that he would use that influence, you know, based on what he hears and sees here in Hiroshima, that he would be willing to use that influence to encourage Mr. Putin to stop this war.
And certainly to the degree that they remain interested in a peace proposal, another thing that we would hope they take away from that is that the G7 leaders too want to see peace. We want to see an end of the war. Short of it ending by Russian troops pulling out of Ukraine, certainly there’s utility in a credible, sustainable, meaningful peace proposal.
And China could have a role in that. They absolutely could. It’s good that President Xi talked to President Zelenskyy. It’s good that they’ve assigned a special envoy to Kyiv for that purpose.
We encourage them to continue to avail themselves of Ukrainian perspectives here. And if that could lead to some sort of credible peace proposal that President Zelenskyy could get behind, again, we would say that’s all to the good.
So, we would hope that President Xi and the PRC extract from what they’ve been seeing and hearing here over the last couple of days, and what they’ll see and here tomorrow, is that there’s an awful lot of resolve to continue to support Ukraine, as the G7 continues to say, for as long as it takes, and that China could have a meaningful role in helping end this war, if they’re willing to continue to avail themselves, again, of Ukrainian perspectives.
I’m sorry, I got a little redundant there. But did that answer your question?
I guess he’s —
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’m going to take that as a yes.
MODERATOR: Next up we’ll go to Kevin Liptak.
Q Thanks, [senior administration official]. There are a number of leaders here who aren’t in the G7 and haven’t necessarily been as forthright in their condemnation of Russia as the mem- — actual leaders of the G7. And I’m just wondering, when those leaders were invited to the summit, did they know that President Zelenskyy was here, or was that as much of a surprise to them as it was sort of to the rest of the world?
And then, secondly, can you confirm that the President will announce a new security aid or military assistance package for Ukraine tomorrow?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, on your first question, President Zelenskyy was always scheduled to participate in the G7, so his participation certainly wasn’t a surprise to anybody.
I can’t speak for the degree to which they were all informed individually about his decision to attend in person. I just wouldn’t have access to that kind of information about what they knew about his travel plans and when. I mean, that wouldn’t have been something that we would have been responsible for informing other nations of. I mean, Japan is the host.
So I really can’t answer that question with great specificity except to say, as I did, that his — Zelenskyy’s participation was long, long scheduled and planned for.
And I don’t have anything to confirm for you. I’ve seen the press reporting on another Presidential Drawdown Authority package for Ukraine, and I’m not in a position to confirm that press reporting.
The only thing I would say is that, as you guys all know, we’ve been doing these about every couple of weeks. And it’s been a couple of weeks since the last one, and certainly should not come as a surprise to anybody that PDA packages will continue to — will continue to flow to Ukraine, again, in keeping with, you know, our commitment to support them.
So that’s as far as I can go, I’m afraid, on that.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Next up we’ll go to Sebastian. You should be able to unmute yourself.
Q Hi, [senior administration official]. Thank you for doing this. I might have missed the answer to this because my Internet keeps cutting in and out. I don’t know if I’m the only one.
But — so, yeah, I did want to ask if you — if you have any more detail about the arms package, or at least can you confirm there is an arms package tomorrow and, you know, rough outlines? Is it artillery shells and that sort of thing that they’ve been getting recently in previous packages?
And secondly, do you — do you have any details — can you share any detail at all about how Zelenskyy’s trip, which is extremely long and went over — presumably went over parts of China — you know, how that was arranged and whether the U.S., you know, gave any assistance to the French because he was on their plane?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, I’ll go — you know, on your — on your first one, again, I can’t confirm the press reporting of a —
Q (Inaudible) with intelligence or that sort of thing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh, I thought — I’m sorry.
So, look, on the — I don’t have any details to share on President Zelenskyy’s travel arrangements and how that was organized. I think you heard from Jake this morning that we did not provide transportation for him. But I don’t think we’re going to want to get into the details of his travel given that his travel is understandably — it needs to be handled delicately and with appropriate operational security.
So, I hope you understand. I’m just not going to get into the details of that. He’s here, but he also still has to get back home, and so I think we need to be careful there.
On the PDA, I cannot confirm the press reporting about this. I have — I have nothing to preview for you for tomorrow.
I would just say a couple of things. One, as I said earlier, we’ve been doing these about once every two weeks, and it’s about been two weeks since the last one. So, you know, you can expect that Presidential Drawdown Authority packages will continue to flow to Ukraine and pretty much apace.
And as for what would be in the next PDA, while I certainly am not — I won’t get ahead of an announcement that hasn’t been made, I will say that you should expect to see in — certainly in the — in the — in the near future of PDAs, the kinds of material, the kinds of weapons, the kinds of capabilities that we have been providing Ukraine over these last several weeks, as they have been preparing for the weather to get better and for the possibility of going on the offense in the — on their own here in the weeks and months ahead.
And so when you look back at the last several, it does include some of the things you listed — you know, artillery, small arms ammunition, maybe some additional HIMARS rounds,
breaching [bridging]* equipment.
And so, again, without previewing or making an announcement tonight, I don’t think you should be surprised to see a similar approach, at least in PDA packages, in the very near future, given that, you know, it is spring and given that we know that the weeks and months ahead we want to make sure that Ukraine has everything they need to be successful if and when they decide to go on the offense.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Next up we’ll go to Demetri. You should be able to unmute yourself.
(Reporter line not connected.)
Let’s go to the line of Morgan. Morgan, you should be able to unmute yourself.
Q Hey, thanks so much for doing this. I just had a question about the outbound investment, part of the G7 statement. Should we take that as a sign that the U.S.’s executive order on outbound is imminent? And can you say anything more about the timing of an announcement on that front?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t have anything for you on timing. I mean — so I can’t — I can’t preview an executive order specifically.
But this was a — you know, this was a significant muscle moment for the G7 leaders today to agree to explore outbound investments and opportunities and obligations that we all have to make sure that we’re closely watching and monitoring investments in the PRC that could allow them to advance capabilities and emerging technologies to assist them, you know, from a military perspective.
So, significant that the G7 leaders all agreed that this is something that needs to be looked at. Obviously, to your question, each country is going to have to decide for themselves how they’re going to consider the challenge of outbound investments and what to do about it. We’re no different. We’re going to have to do that too. And you’ll — I think you’ll see us work our way through that.
But in terms of an actual executive order of the de- — any details of that, we’re just not at a position right now to really get into it.
Q Thanks so much.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, ma’am.
Q Can you hear me?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I got you now.
Q Great. Thanks. I’m sorry for the background noise here, [senior administration official]. I’m curious, in the economic statement, the one separate from the communiqué, it doesn’t actually name China. And I’m wondering, is that ironically? Because some of the countries were worried that by naming China in that separate statement, you could actually trigger economic retaliation from China.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, Demetri. A couple of points here. If you look at the — this economic security standalone, I mean, it’s really — that’s really a process document. It’s basically a toolbox, and it talks about the kinds of tools that the G7 leaders want to be able to make sure they develop for economic security, which is not — you know, which is bigger than just China.
And then, I would say — what I would recommend you do is take that standalone document, which is basically the toolbox for a much broader problem set, and if you marry that up with the G7 communiqué specifically on China, you will certainly see some overlap.
So it’s not like people were afraid to call out the PRC. Just look at that communiqué on the PRC. There’s an awful lot of economic security issues in that thing.
So this wasn’t an issue — it was — it was never — that standalone document was never designed to just be about the PRC. And that’s why — that’s why no individual nation was named in that. No individual nation. It really is about the toolbox — the toolbox, the tools in that toolbox, and the processes by which the G7 leaders want to better attack economic security.
But again, I highly recommend that you layer that with the communiqué on the PRC. Because you can clearly see from that, nobody shying away from naming economic challenges with the PRC.
MODERATOR: And our last question, we’ll go to Janne.
Q Can you hear me?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I gotcha, Janne.
Q Hi. Hi, [senior administration official]. Thanks for taking my questions. How strict is (inaudible) would the United States respond to China’s economic retaliation against its allies? And with the U.S. and South Korea, Japan talks, is (inaudible) of trilateral consultative group to respond to China’s economic coercion against its allies?
Second question. Do you expect South Korea to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine? Thank you very much.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay. I’ll try to get to them here. We haven’t seen any indication that the PRC is moving to provide lethal capabilities to the Russian Armed Forces. Obviously, we’re watching this as best we can. We still continue to believe it’s not in China’s interest to do that; certainly isn’t in the interest of the Ukrainian people, that’s for sure. But we haven’t seen them do that, and we continue to urge them not to.
So, I’m going to take these in reverse order.
On the trilat discussion tomorrow, as I said in my opening statement, I think you can expect that the President and President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida will talk about an awful lot, and we’ll do a readout of it.
And, obviously, a big focus for our three countries is improving our interoperability militarily and improving our readiness and looking for ways in which we can better prepare ourselves to meet our individual and our collective national security commitments to each other and to the region.
But there is certainly a lot to talk about trilaterally on the economic front. I won’t get ahead of the meeting too much, but — but I certainly would not be at all surprised if they — if they — if the leaders have a chance to talk about the economic challenges that they all face from the PRC when it comes to coercion.
And then, on your first question, I mean, I would highly encourage you to, again, take a look at the economic security standalone document that was issued as well as the one on the G7 communiqué. Now, I recognize you’re asking this in the context of both Japan and the Republic of Korea, but all the leaders agreed that there’s many ways they need to start to go after economic coercive activities and behaviors by the PRC. And, again, the documents spell out some of the ways in which they’re going to think about doing that.
I mean, it’s a — it’s a complex problem. There’s no one silver bullet to deal with unfair trade practices, to deal with economic intimidation by the PRC and state-sponsored company subsidies, which — which, again, disadvantage other — other (inaudible) by other nations.
I mean, there’s a range of ways in which the Chinese use economic coercion to their own benefit just — and because of that, there’s also a range of ways which the G7 leaders want to go after shoring up our resilience, whether it’s supply chain resilience, whether it’s critical minerals supply and making sure that that is — that that’s on fou- — on sound footing and secure.
There’s just a — I’m rambling here, but there’s a range of ways that we can go after this. And I think — again, I’d recommend you take a look at those documents today and you can see what some of the thinking is.
MODERATOR: Thank you. That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks, everyone, for joining.
As a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to a “senior administration official.” And the embargo was until 5:00 a.m. Japan Standard Time on May 21st and 4:00 p.m. Eastern on May 20th for those in the States. Thanks again for joining.
8:28 A.M. EDT