Yokosuka Naval Base
Yokosuka, JapanTHE VICE PRESIDENT: I heard you might have some questions.
WHITE HOUSE AIDE: And we’re going to start with Nancy Cook from Bloomberg.
Q Thank you so much, Madam Vice President. You talked in your speech about the U.S. strengthening its unofficial ties with Taiwan. And I just think if you could talk a little bit more about how the U.S. plans to do that.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we remain dedicated to the principles that we have long stated, which is that there should not be any unilateral change to the status quo and that we are committed to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, that we will work with our allies.
But it remains one of our core principles, in terms of the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific and peace and stability in the region. We are a member of the Indo-Pacific region, and we take that responsibility, as a neighbor, seriously.
Q What’s “deepening ties” mean, though, with Taiwan?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It’s — it’s being here right now, doing the work of meeting with and reaffirming our commitment to an ally like Japan as a member of this region. I’ll be in Korea tomorrow, as you know. And the work that we are doing — for example, these three countries: the United States, Korea, and Japan — it’s about strengthening the trilateral relationship we have.
And I will speak for the United States, understanding that, again, as a member of the Indo-Pacific region, we have a vested interest and a priority in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. And that will not change, and it has not changed. And unfortunately, sometimes it bears repeating. And so that’s — that’s what you heard today.
Q Madam Vice President, what was the level of concern you heard from the leaders that you met with on North Korea and China as it relates to Taiwan? And any concern at all about the President’s comments and sort of articulating the U.S.’s position on Taiwan more clearly?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ll tell you where we stand — and I said it in my speech: There’s no question that we believe that it was intended to and, to some extent, had a destabilizing effect in the region. And these are moments that I think require us to reinforce the importance of the relationships that we have with our allies. And so, a lot of the conversations were just that.
But the relationship and the alliance is based on shared principles in terms of international rules and norms, such as sovereignty, territorial integrity. It is also about what we know to be our commitment to security and prosperity for all these nations. And so that was a lot of the conversation.
Q A quick question on Russia. What’s your message to the Russian men who are currently fleeing their country out of fear of being drafted? And are they welcome in the U.S.?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Listen, what Putin’s war is doing is creating massive destruction in Ukraine, and I support all good people standing up in a principled way to articulate that it is an aggression that is in violation of basic tenets of the importance of supporting and protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And I do believe that in moments like this, all people should have the freedom and the courage to stand and speak about the outrageousness of the aggression and the consequences of that aggression to human life and stability in that region.