May 9, 2023

Department of State Daily Press Briefing May 8, 2023 Transcript

Department of State Daily Press Briefing May 8, 2023 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsDepartment of StateDepartment of State Daily Press Briefing May 8, 2023 Transcript

Department Press Briefing with Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, at the Department of State, on May 8, 2023. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Department of State spokesperson (00:00):

Good afternoon, everybody.

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Good afternoon. You’re early.

Department of State spokesperson (00:05):

I know. I’m telling you.

Matt (00:06):

Three minutes early.

Department of State spokesperson (00:07):

Three minutes early.

Matt (00:08):

It’s a new record.

Department of State spokesperson (00:09):

I’m just trying to deliver, picking up what you guys are putting down. I don’t have anything off the top, so I’m happy to take your questions.

Matt (00:19):


Department of State spokesperson (00:20):

Really. You’re always surprised, Matt.

Matt (00:21):

Well, I know, but it’s a Monday. There was stuff happening over the weekend.

Department of State spokesperson (00:28):

I have no doubt you’ll ask about it.

Matt (00:31):

Well, I’m sure someone will. Can I just ask you if you have anything to add to the comments that were put out earlier under your name on the response to Chairman McCall and his-

Department of State spokesperson (00:43):

I don’t have anything additional to add, Matt, but I will reiterate what we shared this morning, which is that it’s unfortunate that after being provided a classified briefing and being provided a written summary of the contents of the Dissent Channel cable, as well as the department’s response, that the House Foreign Affairs Committee continues to pursue this. Our viewpoint is that the materials and briefings that we’ve offered and provided have sufficiently met the mark when it comes to the committee’s legitimate oversight request.

Now, that being said, we’ll continue to engage with Congress and the committee when it comes to correspondence and things of that nature. But you’ve heard me say it, you’ve heard the Secretary speak about the importance of the Dissent Channel cable and the integrity to which it holds here in the department, and we’ll continue to do what we can and what we need to protect it.

Matt (01:51):

Is it your view, or the Secretary’s view, or the department’s view that actually giving them the cable would not add anything to what they already have?

Department of State spokesperson (02:01):

Matt, you’ve heard me speak about this before. This is not just necessarily about this Dissent Channel cable. It is about the Dissent Channel at large-

Matt (02:10):

I know that, but do you think that giving them the cable would give them any additional information?

Department of State spokesperson (02:17):

I’m not going to get into the contents of-

Matt (02:20):

I’m not asking you for the contents. I’m asking you if you think that it would give them any additional information.

Department of State spokesperson (02:26):

I’m just not going to make that assessment from here. The Dissent Channel cable is a classified document-

Matt (02:31):

Well, but if you can’t make that assessment, if you think that you’ve already given them everything that they need in terms of this case in both the briefing and the summary form of it, then shouldn’t you be able to say that there is nothing else they could learn from getting the entire thing?

Department of State spokesperson (02:54):

We have said that. I’ve said that. I’ve said that by saying that we’ve provided a classified briefing as well as we’ve provided a written summary that covers the entirety of the contents of the cable as well as the department’s response.

Matt (03:11):


Department of State spokesperson (03:12):

Humira, go ahead.

Humira (03:13):

[inaudible 00:03:14], I want to ask you about Ambassador Burns’s meeting. How useful does the State Department think this meeting was to stabilize US-China relationship?

Department of State spokesperson (03:28):

I’m not going to put a metric on one specific engagement or not, Humira. What I will say though is that maintaining open lines of communication with the PRC has been a key tenet of our approach as it relates to this very complicated bilateral relationship. You have seen even the Secretary speak about the importance of that, even after his trip was postponed. You saw him talk about the importance of these open lines of communication remaining open and being used as a way to discuss things that are critical and important to the bilateral relationship. And just as the Secretary does when he speaks to his counterparts, the ambassador spoke in his meeting about the areas where our two countries can cooperate, such as addressing the challenge of the climate crisis, such as addressing cooperation when it comes to global health and public health, as well as important opportunities on food security and other things. So our belief is that with the PRC, we want to and intend to keep lines of communication open. We do that through the Secretary, we do that through Secretary Kritenbrink, we do that through Ambassador Burns, and we do that through a variety of others who are working day in and day out on this issue.

Humira (04:46):

Right. I have a couple more on this. So there is a specific line from the Chinese side. It says that the United States must correct its handling of the Taiwan issue and stop the hollowing out of One China principle. I’m curious, what was Ambassador Burns’ response to this, or what’s your response to this? Does the United States see that there is anything for it to correct here?

Department of State spokesperson (05:12):

There absolutely isn’t. And the ambassador conveyed privately what you’ve seen myself, the Secretary and others say publicly and clearly, not just from this podium, but other corners of this administration. There has been no change to our policy with China. There has been no change to our One China policy, which is guided by more than four decades of the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques and the six assurances. We have been very clear-eyed about that. And we’re also going to continue standing with our friends and allies across the Indo-Pacific to advance our shared prosperity and security and values. We do not intend to change the status quo. That has never been the approach that the United States has attempted to take.

Humira (06:06):

Right. And was the possible rescheduling of Secretary Blinken’s trip discussed during this meeting? And was there any decision, at least tentative, that both sides would plan on-

Department of State spokesperson (06:21):

I certainly wouldn’t get into the specifics of diplomatic discussions like that, but you heard the Secretary talk about this just last week when he sat down for Washington Post Live. He would like to go. He would like to get this trip back on, and will intend and work to do so when conditions allow. But I don’t have any additional updates beyond that.

Nike, go ahead.

Nike (06:45):

Yeah. Also staying on China, if I may, China is sending a peace envoy to Ukraine and other countries. Can you provide a US assessment on the latest diplomatic effort?

Department of State spokesperson (06:58):

What I would say is that any diplomatic effort relating to a peace between Russia and Ukraine needs to be undertaken and conducted in close coordination with our Ukrainian partners. We’ve long felt and long believed that the PRC has an appropriate role they can play, and we also strongly believe that the PRC needs to hear not just from the Russians, but also from our Ukrainian partners. For any country that believes that territorial integrity and territorial sovereignty are important values and important principles to be governed by, it is critically important to be in close coordination and to hear from our Ukrainian partners, who have been subject to barbaric and unjust and unlawful invasions and attacks since February of 2022.

Nike (07:58):

Given the close ties between the Chinese envoy to Russia, he is among the very few foreigners that received friendliness from Russian President Putin. Do you have any assessment on the neutrality?

Department of State spokesperson (08:17):

I don’t have any assessment, but through this lens of Russia and Ukraine, the important perspective to remember is that actions from any country are going to speak louder than words. And I’ll reiterate again that any undertaking of diplomacy by any country needs to happen in close coordination with our Ukrainian partners. The terms of diplomacy and the terms of these negotiations, or of any negotiations, and the path forward is for our Ukrainian partners to decide. It is their country that is being invaded. It is their country that is being subjugated to Russian drones and missiles and attacks on a week by week basis. So we’ll continue to support our Ukrainian partners. You saw us announce another presidential drawdown late last week. We’ll also continue to take steps to hold the Russian Federation accountable.

Jenny, go ahead.

Jenny (09:17):

Thank you, [inaudible 00:09:19]. On the contaminated water in Fukushima, Japan, what is the position of the United States regarding the release of contaminated water in Fukushima, Japan?

Department of State spokesperson (09:32):

I’d have to check on that, Jenny. I’m not tracking that. But I can check with the team and see if we can get back to you. Sure, go ahead.

Jenny (09:39):

One more. South Korea and United States and Japan cooperation will be more effective if Korea-Japan relations are stronger in order to respond to the North Korean nuclear issue. But the public opinion of the Korean people is that Japan should do not give indulgence to Japan’s brutal act, such as forced labor of South Koreans in the past. How does the United States evaluate this?

Department of State spokesperson (10:13):

Jenny, what I’ll say is that we welcomed the news from this past week that the Japan ROK summit took place, and we commend Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon for their leadership. This is an important new chapter and a new beginning for our alliance partners and an example of real leadership. This produced new momentum between like-minded countries that respect rule of law and are equally committed and share commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. And we’ll continue to work, through the alliance, with the ROK in Japan and other partners to advance these interests as well.

Go ahead.

Speaker 2 (10:56):

[inaudible 00:10:56] Ambassador Burns, his meeting. So Ambassador Burns,

Speaker 3 (11:00):

First, last week he called for cabinet level talk to be reopened between United States and China. And then we saw this meeting just took place today. Do you see this as a sign that the United States and China will reopen the high level leadership conversation?

Department of State spokesperson (11:17):

We believe that there are important areas of potential cooperation between our two countries, like in areas of tracked climate change, like in areas of food security, as well as global health. There’s also important work to collaborate on addressing the precursors for the Fentanyl crisis.

So there’s a number of areas where we believe it will benefit the both of our countries to continue to communicate. And our intention has always been to maintain lines of communication with the PRC.

Speaker 3 (11:48):

We know there are other secretary, like Secretary of Treasuries, Secretary of Commerce, who also they are willing to visit China. Is there going to be a sequence of which secretary will go first?

Department of State spokesperson (12:00):

I’m not going to speak to any potential cabinet travel. What I will say is that I will reiterate what Secretary Blinken said so clearly last week, is that he intends to go and he intends to go as soon as conditions allow and we’re able to get that trip back on the books.

Speaker 3 (12:15):

Lastly, this wasn’t the first times Ambassador Burns meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. They had met before when he was an ambassador to the United States. So how do you characterize this second meeting between both of them?

Department of State spokesperson (12:30):

I’m not going to characterize this meeting any further than what I’ve said. What I will say is that we maintain important lines of communications with a number of officials across the PRC. Obviously, that will relate to the respective individual and who their appropriate counterpart was. As you know, when Secretary Blinken was secretary and obviously when Foreign Minister Qin Gang was ambassador to the United States, they had a number of opportunities to engage as well. But the important thing here is that we would like there to continue to be open lines of communication between our two countries.

Alex, go ahead.

Alex (13:08):

Thanks, [inaudible 00:13:08].

Department of State spokesperson (13:08):

Oh, Leon, I’ll come to you after. Go ahead, Alex.

Alex (13:11):

Thanks so much. Couple questions, [inaudible 00:13:12] Ukraine, last night was the heaviest, most intense, I would say, drone attack on Kyiv since early this year. Do you have any reaction to the fact that Russians are shifting and retargeting Kyiv again?

Department of State spokesperson (13:26):

What I’ll say, Alex, is that this is just another line item in the litany of list of Russian aggression on Ukraine. You saw me speak to this a little bit last week, but there was an instant in which Kyiv and Ukraine were subject to numerous missiles and drones. And this kind of action and activity is just unacceptable and another example of Russian aggression.

Alex (13:59):

The latest… Last couple of days, let’s say, have they changed your calculus on Wagner? The fact that they announced they’re going to leave and they stayed to help to spin our heads about their tactics. Is there any change in terms of recognizing Wagner Group as a terrorist group as it is?

Department of State spokesperson (14:18):

We have, as you know Alex, we have designated Wagner, the Wagner Group, as a transnational threat group, that we’ve previously done that. Because we continue to believe that the group is largely motivated by profit, not motivated by fame or some of these other things that are made when assessments are happening for a potential FTO designation.

What I will also say is that we know that the Wagner Group, when they are active in a country, that country is less stable, less secure. It often finds its natural resources and minerals exploited upon.

But the important thing to remember here, Alex, is that this conflict has not gone to plan, according to Putin, the Russian Federation has had to scrape around for additional personnel for this conflict. Now, they are relying on the Wagner Group and it’s band of ex-convicts to do much of this work. And rather for Putin to withdraw from Ukraine and stop the needless loss of life, the Russian Federation has chosen time and time again to escalate. And this, unfortunately, we are seeing that wreak havoc across Ukraine, including on Kyiv as you so mentioned.

So the United States will continue to take steps to support our Ukrainian partners. As I said, we announced a draw-down late last week and we’ll continue to take steps to hold the Russian Federation accountable.

Jackson, go ahead.

Alex (15:54):

I have two more. Please come back to me.

Department of State spokesperson (15:56):

I’ll come back to you. Actually, let me go to Leon, who’s had his hand up. Jackson, then I’ll come to you. Leon, I’m sorry.

Matt (15:59):

Yeah, no problem. Moving on to Saudi Arabia. So the National Security Advisor, of course, was there this weekend, or last week. And I was wondering, the readout from the White House, of course, mentions the help of Saudi Arabia in Yemen with the truce in Yemen, of course, in Sudan with the evacuation. It doesn’t mention any other subjects, for example, human rights or what have you.

We’re a far cry from a couple of months ago where the president was saying there would be consequences and reexamination of the relations with Saudi. And so where do we stand now? Is everything good with Saudi Arabia right now?

Department of State spokesperson (16:43):

Leon, what I will say, and what you’ve heard me say before, is that we have a multiplicity of interests as it relates to our relationship with Saudi Arabia. There are a number of factors at play, and they’ve also been an integral partner in a number of endeavors, including as recently, they’ve played an immense role in welcoming American citizens who are seeking safety from Sudan. They also played a role in facilitating these ongoing initial negotiations between the SAF and the RSF.

But beyond that, Leon, we do have a multiplicity of interests, whether they be a security interest, an economic interest. I’ll also note that we have nearly 80,000 American citizens living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And so our bilateral relationship and the avenues that we choose to pursue, and the areas that we choose to focus on, keeps those individuals in mind as well as their safety and security.

Matt (17:47):

So precisely, given the fact that there are 80,000 Americans in Saudi Arabia, given the fact that Saudi is helping out, has helped out, and is in Sudan for the evacuation of American citizens and in Yemen and all there, are your hands tied precisely because of that to deal with other issues with Saudi Arabia [inaudible 00:18:10] actually are?

Department of State spokesperson (18:10):

We can walk and chew gum. When there are areas of concerns between any partner, we raise them and we discuss them privately. We raise them in appropriate diplomatic channels. But what I will say again, is that Saudi Arabia has been an important partner on a number of fronts, including welcoming American citizens from Sudan, as well as welcoming these talks. They also have played an integral role in the peace and stability and security of the region as well, and have taken appropriate steps in the conflict with Yemen also. And so we’ll continue to work with them on a number of these issues.

Matt (18:55):

Just one follow up and then I’ll finish. By sending Jake Sullivan to Riyadh this weekend, after several months where there were really not so many back and forth, what is the message you’re sending right now? Is it back to normal with Saudi Arabia?

Department of State spokesperson (19:12):

I’m not going to speak for the White House from here, Leon. But the message is the same message that we have said all along, is that Saudi Arabia is an important partner in the region of which the United States has a multiplicity of interests in front of, whether they be security interests, trade interests. I’ll also note that Saudi Arabia has played an important role in conflicts like Sudan, in the crisis in Yemen. They’ve also played an important role when the president visited in June, through steps like the welcoming of flights from Israel and other places. So this is, of course, something that we’re going to continue to engage on. Michelle, go ahead.

Michelle (19:57):

On this, were you able to make any progress regarding the normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel? And will Jake make any progress there?

Department of State spokesperson (20:06):

I don’t have anything additional to add beyond the White House’s readout, but of course this is something that is not just important to the United States, but it’s important to the region and it’s something that we’ll continue to focus on as well.

Michelle (20:21):

On the Arabic decision yesterday to bring Syria back to its Council. What’s your view on that?

Department of State spokesperson (20:28):

You’ve heard me talk about this last week, Michelle. We do not believe that Syria merits readmission to the Arab League at this time, and it’s a point that we’ve made clear with all of our partners. I will note that we share a number of the same goals with our Arab partners with respect to Syria, including reaching a solution to the Syrian crisis that is consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

We believe that there is a strong need to expand humanitarian access to all Syrians, build security and stability to ensure ISIS cannot resurge, create safe conditions for the eventual refugee returns, and releasing the clarifying fate of those that are unjustly detained and missing. As well as there’s an important opportunity to reduce the influence of Iran as well. As well as countering the Captagon trafficking that’s taking place from Syria. So there’s a number of issues in which we believe that our partners will use direct engagement with the Assad regime to further and push and demand in these issue areas.

Michelle (21:36):

The Jordanian foreign minister has said last week that Jordan and the Arab countries coordinated their initiative with the US before they put it on the table. Can you confirm that? Did you give any green light to the Arab countries to move forward with their normalization with Syria?

Department of State spokesperson (21:56):

I’m certainly not going to get into the specifics of diplomatic discussions,

Department of State spokesperson (22:00):

Discussions, Michel, but I just said that we have made clear to all of our partners that Syria does not merit readmission into the Arab League and we continue to believe that we will not normalize our relations with the Assad regimes and we don’t support our allies and partners doing so either.

Michelle (22:19):

Final one on the strike that targeted a drug dealer in Syria today and killed him and his family. Do you have any reaction?

Department of State spokesperson (22:27):

I’ve seen those reports, Michel, but I don’t have any confirmation or assessment to offer on that from here. Jackson, go ahead.

Jackson (22:33):

Thanks, Vedant. So regarding the call’s to hold Secretary Blinken in contempt of Congress, could the State Department provide a version of the cable that redacts confidential material or whatever may compromise sources or methods? Is the State Department prepared or willing to fight the subpoena in litigation?

Department of State spokesperson (22:54):

We’re going to continue to engage with Congress appropriately as it relates to their legitimate requests for information and oversight function, but we also have already provided a classified briefing as well as a summary of the dissent channel cable as well as a summary of the department’s response. And so we feel that that has sufficiently conveyed appropriate information.

Jackson (23:21):

And ahead of Title 42 expiring this week, is the State Department prepared to do its part in what will likely be a huge influx of asylum seekers?

Department of State spokesperson (23:31):

Well, you saw Secretary Blinken and Secretary Mayorkas speak to this last week or the week before, where you saw us announce a number of lines of effort that the State Department is undertaking in coordination with regional partners in coordination with, of course, the Department of Homeland Security, actions like regional processing centers and ensuring that relevant legal pathways for illegal migrants are on the table. And so we’ll continue to work in close coordination to do that. Camilla, go ahead. Go ahead. Camilla.

Pearl (24:04):

Yes, thank you so much. I just wanted get you back to-

Department of State spokesperson (24:06):

I meant Camilla Schick from CBS. Sorry, go ahead.

Camilla Schick (24:09):

Thank you. Senator Van Hollen has written to the secretary asking for a new report by the US Secretary Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority on last year’s death of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. He wants it to be handed over for congressional review. Has the Secretary responded? Will State hand it over? And what’s the difference between this new report and what the security coordinator’s conclusion was put out last year?

Department of State spokesperson (24:36):

I’m not going to get into the specifics of our engagements with Congress, Camilla. We of course will work closely with congressional partners for the provision of any new document, but I don’t have any additional updates on that at this time. Now, go ahead in the back.

Pearl (24:55):

Okay. Thanks, Verdant. It’s good to see you, by the way, Verdant. And I’d like to bring you back to the question of Sudan, if you will.

Department of State spokesperson (25:00):


Pearl (25:03):

I’m going to share some sentiments from my audience members. One of them is a doctor in Sudan, and this is likely the same sentiments that thousands of people in Khartoum are feeling right now. She says that, “The choices are stay home and die or step out and be shot or bombed. Pearl, my home and my aunt’s two houses down the road in Khartoum Amarat area were bombed. Another audience member has shared this and said, “Would it not have been better if we had heard directly from the resident ambassador?” Now I’d like to hear your comments given Ambassador John Godfrey’s work. And Verdant, please speak a little bit about your specific work with your ally, the United Kingdom, on Sudan. Where are you guys at? And was there any assessment or what is your current assessment as to why there was no early warning response, particularly through the mechanism of the African Union?

So where are we specifically here? What are you doing? There is a sense from the Sudanese people who say that it seems unfair that even here in Washington they’ve attended events that Secretary Blinken was at and they said, “Pearl, it’s so unfair the United States is making sure that the Ukrainian people receive all the help, but Sudan is getting nothing, no help, no attention, people are dying their homes, no water, no electricity, no food.” How are you working with your PD department to be transparent and increase understanding about what you’re doing, what outcomes, where do these things stand right now and speak to my audiences here in Africa, Verdant?

Department of State spokesperson (26:51):

Let me say a couple of things. First and foremost, Ambassador Godfrey has personally been deeply engaged on this issue and continues to be, and his leadership and the way in which the suspension of operations, procedures and operation was conducted is a testament to, of course, the broad inter-agency effort as well as the entirety of our workforce in Khartoum, but especially a testament to Ambassador Godfrey’s hard work and leadership. So let me first open with that. As it relates to any pre-warning, the United States, I’m not here to speak to any other multilateral mechanism, but what I can say about the United States is that since August of 2021, we have been clear and consistent with the world and clear and consistent with American citizens and LPRs who happen to be in the region that Sudan is a ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’ country.

We have not parsed our words about the delicate security situation that has existed in Sudan for some time. It didn’t start being a Level 4 country in April, it’s been a Level 4 country since the Fall of 2021, and we have not been naive or have not hesitated to make that clear to American citizens through all the communicative mechanisms that exist through our travel advisory websites. Number three, the anecdotes and quotes that you offered are the exact reason why we are so deeply engaged in ensuring that we can get a ceasefire that lasts. And it’s why we welcome the initial start of negotiations between the SAF and the RSF that began over the weekend. And like I said earlier, we appreciate the role that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has played in hosting and facilitating these talks.

It’s our understanding that the parties began a review of a proposed declaration of commitment to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian actions in Sudan. We also are continuing to engage civilian leaders, resistance committees and civil society to work towards the shared goal of establishing civilian democratic governance in Sudan as soon as possible. We believe that is the will of the Sudanese people. And so the United States is not hesitating to get its hands dirty, to be deeply engaged in this process. The Secretary personally has engaged with both of these generals a number of times, has engaged with his counterparts in the UK, in the United Arab Emirates, in Saudi Arabia on these very important issues and will continue to be deeply engaged on this.

Pearl (29:42):

Verdant, can I give you a follow-up? There is some question as to why the United States embraced even talking to these two generals, given that arriving at this country did not come through democratic means. So could you not have used alternative methods or innovative methods, maybe through some network diplomacy pressure or working with your allies in the international community, perhaps some additional pressure and engagement with Saudi Arabia so that you did not have to have this direct engagement [inaudible 00:30:16]?

Department of State spokesperson (30:17):

I’m going to stop you right there. I’m going to stop you right there to say it was the direct engagement of the United States that allowed the creation of the security conditions so our allies and partners and American citizens and LPRs and others had the opportunity to get to safety through a variety of mechanisms that had existed in Sudan to get to safety. So that is why the United States was so keen on engaging directly and why we take our responsibility in this matter so seriously and why we’ve been so deeply engaged. There are multiple avenues of pursuit here. One of them, of course, is the continued ceasefire to get us to establishing a civilian democratic governance in Sudan. But the other piece of this is ensuring that security conditions can persist so American citizens, LPRs, the citizens of our allies and partners can get to safety. [inaudible 00:31:16], go ahead.

Speaker 4 (31:16):

Thank you so much. Secretary Blinken is meeting today with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia. Can you please preview Secretary of Blinken’s expectations for today’s meeting and the main themes, what we can expect that they talk about?

Department of State spokesperson (31:31):

Well, I’ve been doing this long enough to know to not get ahead of the Secretary, but let me just say a couple of things. North Macedonia is a strong NATO Ally partner. It is one of NATO’s newest members and current OSCE chair, and it has been a strong and vocal supporter of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. North Macedonia has provided military, humanitarian and energy infrastructure support to our Ukrainian partners. And we are also a strong supporter of North Macedonia’s integration into the EU. And we believe that the future of the Western Balkans is squarely within the European Union. And so I expect the secretary will raise a number of these issues, but I’m not going to get ahead of that and I’m sure we’ll have a more formal readout following. Guita, go ahead.

Guita (32:17):

Thank you, Vedant. In Iran today, the authorities executed two people on charges of blasphemy. I was wondering if you have any comments and what, if anything, the US can do to put a stop to capital punishment in that country?

Department of State spokesperson (32:33):

We condemn these executions, Guita, and these latest executions are a grave reminder of the Iranian regime’s penchant for abusing and violating the human rights of the Iranian people. All that blasphemy laws remain in affront to human rights worldwide, including in Iran. And so the United States will continue to take appropriate action in accordance

Department of State spokesperson (33:00):

Accordance with our allies and partners to continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its egregious human rights abuses. You have seen Greta since I’ve been here, us not hesitate to take action when it comes to this, specifically targeting some of the human rights atrocities that we’ve seen take place from the regime in Tehran. Go ahead. Thank you.

Speaker 5 (33:24):

I’d love to follow up on Japan, South Korean Summit yesterday. Both leaders also discussed about having China ROK and Japan Trilateral meeting, reportedly by the end of this year. And obviously China is not comfortable to see growing US ROK Japan Trilateral Corporation these days. So from US standpoint, how do you assess the potential restart of China ROK Japan Trilateral Summit?

Department of State spokesperson (33:55):

Well, that is a question for our partners and the ROK and our Japanese partners. We’ve been very clear that we do not ask countries to choose between the United States and the PRC or the United States and any country. What our relationships and our bilateral engagements are and the foreign policy we choose to pursue is about what a partnership with the United States can look like. And we are very confident in the deep partnerships that we have with Japan as well as the ROK. As you know, the secretary just had the opportunity to return from Japan a number of weeks ago, where he had the opportunity to not just meet with Prime Minister Darkish, but also Foreign Minister Hashish.

We just hosted the Republic of Korea for what I think was a very successful state visit where the President and President Soon had the opportunity to announce the Washington Declaration. So we will continue to work through bilateral mechanisms with our relationship with both of these countries, but also tri-laterally with the ROK and Japan about deepening our relationship and enhancing peace and prosperity in the Ind-Pacific region as well. Go ahead.

Speaker 6 (35:03):

From Russia. On Saturday, General Barbudan, he’s the head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence, gave an interview to Yahoo News, and he was asked whether Ukraine had anything to do with the killing of Dara Dug ina in August in Russia, and he refused to reply, but he said that Ukraine has been killing Russians and Ukraine will continue killing Russians all around the world. Do you have any comments here?

Department of State spokesperson (35:32):

So we have been very clear that we do not condone the targeting of civilians, whether that be in Russia or whether that be in Ukraine or in any part of the world. And that continues to be the case. Go ahead.

Speaker 7 (35:47):

The question is about Victory Day in Moscow. Tomorrow leaders of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus will attend Victory Day parade in Moscow. So are there any concerns from the perspective of Department of State that such multilateral visits undermine the US efforts to isolate Russia? And follow up quickly. Does the US Ambassador Lynne Tracy has any plans to take part in any tomorrow festival activities in Moscow or make any public statements related to this memorable day? Thank you.

Department of State spokesperson (36:21):

I will let the team in Moscow speak to the ambassadors schedule. I don’t have anything offer to hear from here. And on your first part of your question, I just don’t have an assessment to provide. Countries are at their whim to participate in any celebratory activity that they choose. Go ahead.

Speaker 8 (36:44):

Thank you El. I would like to move to Turkey.

Department of State spokesperson (36:46):


Speaker 8 (36:47):

Next week on Sunday, presidential and general elections are taking place in Turkey. I’m sure that the State Department will be following election closely. So how will the election results affect Turkish and American relations?

Department of State spokesperson (37:03):

They won’t. We will continue to work together with whatever government is chosen by the Turkish people and will continuing to deepen those relationships, work on a number of areas of cooperation and shared priorities. Turkey is of course, an important NATO ally and has played an integral role in a number of issues that are important to the United States. I will just point the role that Turkey has played in convening and making the Black Sea Grain Initiative a reality, just because of their leadership and convening role that there is a mechanism now so that Russia does not weaponize grain. But broadly the US does not take sides in elections. Our only hope is to see a free and fair election rooted in a democratic process. Go ahead in the back, Rio.

Rio (37:59):

Thank you.

Department of State spokesperson (37:59):


Rio (38:01):

I have a follow-up question on the Japan South Korean Summit held on Sunday. And regarding the Washington Declaration you just mentioned, South Korean President Soon said that Washingtonian Declaration is a bilateral agreement between Korea and the US, but they do not rule out Japan’s participation in the Washingtonian Declaration. And my question is, how do you see the possibility to expand the Washingtonian Declaration to Trilateral Corporation, including Japan, or the possibility to make a new trilateral consultative mechanism on extended difference, including Japan?

Department of State spokesperson (38:34):

Look, Rio, I don’t have any changes to the Washington Declaration to announce today, but we of course welcome increased collaboration between our partners in the ROK and our partners in Japan, as well as increased collaboration tri-laterally as well. We believe all of these things are good for all three of our countries. They are good for advancing peace and prosperity in the Ind-Pacific region, but I don’t have any new policy to announce today. Go ahead.

Speaker 9 (39:06):

Okay. Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister Tala bani met with his Prime Minister Bartizan today, and this comes after the [inaudible 00:39:14] meeting with them last week. My question is that, what’s your comment on this meeting and is there any pressure from the US on the Kurdish policy party first to come together and second to have an election this year?

Department of State spokesperson (39:30):

I’m going to have to get back to you on that one.

Speaker 9 (39:32):

And the second question.

Department of State spokesperson (39:33):


Speaker 9 (39:33):

Last week, the US State Department officials, including Ambassador [inaudible 00:39:38], spoke at the same event in the Iraqi forum in Baghdad as some of the Iranian backed forces leaders that are listed in FTO were a keynote speaker. Is there any change in your policy towards those leaders on groups?

Department of State spokesperson (39:54):

There’s no change in policy. Alex, go ahead.

Alex (39:58):

Thanks El. And move focus, if you don’t mind.

Department of State spokesperson (40:00):


Alex (40:00):

Does the Secretary stand by his early assessment that last week’s dialogue in Washington was successful? I’m asking because I’ve been hearing different, let’s say, conflicting comments from both sides.

Department of State spokesperson (40:12):

Our view, Alex, is that last week’s discussions were constructive and we believe that the delegations from Armenia and Azerbaijan made significant progress in addressing difficult issues. Both countries, as you know, agreed in principle to certain terms and have a better understanding of each other’s points of views. And we believe that with additional goodwill and flexibility and compromise that an agreement is within reach, and we continue to provide full support and engagement from the United States as the two countries continue to engage in dialogue and to continue to secure a durable and sustainable peace.

Alex (40:52):

Are there further steps that both sides Armenia and Azerbaijan should take or should refrain from taking to maintain a momentum?

Department of State spokesperson (41:00):

I’m not going to get into the specifics in the discussions, Alex, but as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s reporting out there that the parties have continued their talks and we welcome those reports that those parties are continuing to engage in these discussions. And we reiterate our conviction that peace is within reach and that direct dialogue is key to resolving issues and reaching a lasting piece.

Alex (41:21):

A final on Azerbaijan. [inaudible 00:41:23] came up in this room from time to time. The secretary have a chance to discuss the topic with his Azerbaijan counterpart. Today there was a pardoning, but they did not include [inaudible 00:41:32] and other thousands of political prisoners in that list.

Department of State spokesperson (41:36):

I’m not going to get into the specifics of last week’s talks beyond what we’ve shared publicly, but of course we raise human rights regularly and consistently with our counterparts when we engage with them.

Alex (41:48):

Any reaction to today’s decision?

Department of State spokesperson (41:49):

I have nothing else to offer. Jackson, go ahead.

Jackson (41:52):

Two China related questions.

Department of State spokesperson (41:53):


Jackson (41:56):

Senate Democrats plan to introduce a new China competition bill in the coming months to address a wide range of economic and security issues, including technology transfers, the Belt Road Initiative in Taiwan. Does the State Department support any effort by Congress to resolve these China issues? Does it hold a different opinion on this?

Department of State spokesperson (42:15):

I’m just not going to get into potential pending legislation from up here.

Jackson (42:18):

And China’s foreign minister said on Monday, it is imperative to stabilize Sion-US relations after a series of quote, “erroneous words and deeds” end quote, through ties back into deep freeze. Any reaction to that?

Department of State spokesperson (42:33):

Through what? Was the second part of your question?

Jackson (42:38):

Excuse me. Through ties back into a deep freeze.

Department of State spokesperson (42:41):

Our viewpoint has always been that there’s an importance to continue to maintain open lines of communication with the PRC. And you have seen the United States do so. The United States has acted responsibly. We have continued to engage with PRC officials and have kept lines of communications open. We have no change to our One China policy. Thanks everybody.

Jackson (43:04):

Thank you.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.