Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
4:54 P.M. EDT
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you. Mr. Prime Ministers, it is an honor to greet you and receive you in our official office.
It is good to see you, Prime Minister, again. And as I thanked you earlier for being such a wonderful host to my husband when he attended the Paralympics.
Mr. Prime Minister, it is good to see you in person after a lengthy telephone conversation that we had where we discussed many issues of mutual importance.
Today is an important day. You’ve had a meeting with the President in the context of the Quad, where we are renewing, as nations, the partnership that we have based on mutual interest and shared challenges, but also through the lens of the opportunities that are presented by those challenges to meet the needs of our people and to continue with our alliances and friendships around the world.
And today, we have discussed, will discuss, and we’ll continue to discuss our partnership on many of those challenges, be it the pandemic and our mutual desire to end the pandemic, but also to prepare for the next; our mutual concern and commitment to addressing the climate crisis, understanding that it is not only a public health issue, it is also an economic issue for our nations and for the globe; to discuss what we can do as partners in terms of shared and mutual prosperity, but also as our role of leaders in the globe to assist and to support our neighbors and friends, in terms of their prosperity.
And also, we have discussed and will continue to discuss what the pandemic made clear about a mutual challenge we have in terms of supply chain issues and what we might do to work together, understanding that the global demand exceeds any one nation’s ability to provide supply. And in that way, we must cooperate and coordinate in that regard.
And then, finally, the issue of cybersecurity — an issue that we have discussed, an issue that presents an ongoing threat for each of our nations where we know that there is great work that can be done through technology, but it can also be weaponized. And so, for that reason, it is a priority in terms of our mutual and individual commitment to national security.
So, again, I want to welcome you and thank you. The United States is a proud member of the Indo-Pacific region, and we look forward to continuing with our partnership and strengthening the work we do together.
PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, thank you very much, Madam Vice President. It’s great to be here with you and my good friend, Yoshi Suga. And we thank him for his great participation as leader of his fine country over this past year, and we’ll miss him very, very much.
But, Madam Vice President, you have a unique perspective on the Indo-Pacific because you’re a West Coaster.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Yes.
PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: And you look across the Pacific, and we look back. And so, we welcome that perspective, especially at the highest levels of the Biden administration.
And as we discussed on that day, particularly on COVID, looking forward to discussing how the pandemic becomes — over time, particularly as vaccines roll through our countries, it increasingly becomes a pandemic of the disadvantaged, and how our countries are addressing those issues together, be those in areas of low socioeconomic opportunity — in particular, multicultural communities.
Australia is one of the, if not the most, multicultural country on Earth. And we’ll face those challenges, but — whether it’s the cybersecurity issues; the defense and security issues, of course, with the AUKUS partnership that we only announced last week and was so warmly received by my good friend, Yoshi.
It’s good to be here today in Washington, bringing to a close a week of reaffirming all of our strong alliances — and particularly, the 70th year of our ANZUS alliance as well.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER SUGA: (As interpreted.) A few minutes ago, at the White House, President Biden hosted the first-ever in-person Quad Summit.
I extend my deepest respect to the United States for its leadership.
Today’s summit was extremely useful in reaffirming our commitment to our common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and in adding momentum to our cooperation of the Quad.
The last time we met, Vice President Harris, was at our meeting in April when I visited the United States, and it’s a pleasure to see you again. Thank you.
I recall our discussion back in April covering extensive grounds, including challenges faced by our two countries. We also touched upon the friendship between our hometowns, Oakland and Yokohama, that has been nurtured over more than 40 years. That was a very meaningful meeting for me.
Last month, I had the opportunity to meet your husband, Mr. Emhoff, who attended the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as the head of the U.S. delegation. Again, I thank the United States for its consistent support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Again, our appreciations. Time is limited, but thank you for hosting this session of exchange of views.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you.
END 5:00 P.M. EDT