SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, everyone. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for being here. It’s an honor and pleasure to host you and (inaudible) congratulations on your now not so new job. I mentioned from my own experience in these things it may be at the point where the inbox is getting higher and higher, the outbox is also a challenge, but it’s really great to be able to talk to you here at the embassy today.
And we have with New Zealand a partnership that is bilateral, it’s regional, and it’s global. We’re working together on virtually all of the major issues of concern to people in both our countries. We couldn’t be more grateful for it.
And of course, here in the Pacific Island region that partnership is particularly important and vital. It’s a terrific opportunity for us to compare notes today. I really appreciate that and welcome that. And at the same time, I think we share an absolute conviction and commitment that we together want to make sure that we’re building a future for the Indo-Pacific region, that we make sure that it remains free, open, secure, and prosperous. We have the same objectives, and the more that we’re working together in that direction the more effective I think we’ll be.
Prime Minister, thank you again for being here.
PRIME MINISTER HIPKINS: Can I thank you for the opportunity to come and meet with you, and also can I acknowledge your presence here? And I think the increased U.S. presence in the Pacific, which is something that we certainly welcome, as a country we are very invested in the Pacific, and we are very happy to see you here and to see that greater involvement. New Zealand and the United States have a number of interests in common and we clearly have a lot of history between our two countries. We have a very important trade relationship, a lot of New Zealanders living and working in the U.S. as well. A lot of New Zealand’s businesses present in the United States. And it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow that dialogue.
I also want to note that there are many issues where we have a great deal in common, climate change is particularly important here to the Pacific, and I welcome the Biden administration’s commitments around climate change. They mean a lot to the Pacific, and I am sure there’ll be a bit of opportunity to talk about those as well.
So I thank you for being here.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.