July 17, 2024

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On-the-Record Press Call by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle to Preview President Biden’s Day Ahead at APEC

On-the-Record Press Call by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle to Preview President Biden’s Day Ahead at APEC
On-the-Record Press Call by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle to Preview President Biden’s Day Ahead at APEC

10:05 A.M. EST MS. REPOSA:  Hi, everyone.  Thanks for joining us this morning.  Today, we have a special guest with us.  Joining Kirby, it’s Mike Pyle, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics here at the NSC.  He has aa few words at the top, and then we’ll go into questions. Mike. MR. PYLE:  Thank you.  Thought […]

The post On-the-Record Press Call by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle to Preview President Biden’s Day Ahead at APEC first appeared on Social Gov.

10:05 A.M. EST
MS. REPOSA:  Hi, everyone.  Thanks for joining us this morning.  Today, we have a special guest with us.  Joining Kirby, it’s Mike Pyle, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics here at the NSC.  He has aa few words at the top, and then we’ll go into questions.
MR. PYLE:  Thank you.  Thought I would offer a little bit of perspective on APEC and President Biden’s events today around APEC Leaders’ Week.  
So, President Biden is going into APEC Leaders’ Week at a moment when this dynamic Asia-Pacific region is looking to the United States as an engine of growth, and that is not an accident.  The President has spent nearly three years now strengthening our economic foundations at home and building our alliances and partnerships across the Indo-Pacific.
President Biden will make it absolutely clear that the United States will continue to engage, both diplomatically and economically, in this critical region.  And he’ll make it clear why all this matters for the American people.
So, in the morning, the President will deliver remarks at the CEO Summit.  He’ll talk about the strong economic ties between the United States and other APEC economies — ties that are delivering for people and communities across the region. 
He’ll highlight, for example, the fact that thanks to his policies, companies based in other APEC economies have invested more than $200 billion into the United States since the start of the administration.  And he’ll announce that a number of U.S. companies have also invested at least $40 billion in other APEC economies — economies in 2023 alone.
He will talk about how this is happening on top of a strong economic foundation.
U.S. trade with APEC economies is robust and growing.  So, 60 percent of U.S. exports are sent to a fellow APEC economy, and U.S. exports to the region are up 12 percent in real terms since 2016.  APEC members have invested $1.7 trillion into the U.S. economy.  Those are investments that support 2.3 million American jobs.
And the United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment into APEC. In fact, U.S. foreign direct investments into APEC is six times greater than that of — than that of the PRC.  And U.S. companies, in turn, have invested about $1.4 trillion into APEC economies.
And he’ll talk about his work to build on top of this strong economic foundation to chart a new chapter of inclusive, sustainable, and resilient growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Finally, he’ll talk about the importance of promoting workers’ rights internationally, just as he has done here at home, and how worker empowerment is key to achieving sustainable growth.
After the CEO Summit, President Biden will lead the first APEC session with other leaders focused on sustainability, climate change, and the energy transition.
He’ll highlight U.S. progress to combat climate change, and he’ll call on APEC economies to take collective action.  And, of course, he’ll underscore this administration’s efforts to model how to undertake the clean energy transition while creating good jobs and growing the economy.
President Biden will also demonstrate this administration’s commitment to deepening economic engagement with the region through IPEF — the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. 
You’ll see that on full display at the IPEF event later today, which will also feature leaders of Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore.
Since we announced IPEF a year and a half ago, this framework has always been about tackling pressing, cutting-edge issues that will determine future economic success — issues like supply chain resilience and the clean energy transition — and the issues that are at the forefront of global economic discussions today. 
President Biden will spotlight the great progress we’ve made.  This week, ministers will sign the Supply Chain Agreement, and they’ll substantially conclude the Clean Economy Agreement and the Fair Economy Agreement.  These are first-of-their-kind agreements, concluded in record time. 
We’ve also made progress on the trade pillar negotiations, and we’ll continue this work in the weeks and months ahead to reach a high-standard trade pillar outcome.
Today and throughout this week, you’ll also be hearing from several — you’ll also being several key themes echoed by multiple Cabinet officials and senior administration officials.
So, this morning, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will co-host an investor forum with White House Senior Advisor on Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein to announce new investment opportunities in the Indo-Pacific.  This builds on the work we’ve led through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.
They will be joined by CEOs to launch two new IPEF and PGI initiatives in which the United States and IPEF partners will more strategically deploy public capital to promote high-standard investment in the region, including a new IPEF-PGI Investment Accelerator.
And they’ll announce a green transition credit fund to invest in solar, wind, hybrid, storage, e-mobility, and other green transition projects in India, as well as a number of other significant investments in critical minerals, digital infrastructure, and the energy transition.
Second, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Director of the White House National Economic Council Lael Brainard, and Chair of the U.S. Export–Import Bank Reta Jo Lewis will co-host an event to highlight examples of significant job-creating investments in the United States by companies based in the Asia-Pacific.
This “Invest in America” event will highlight a number of high-quality investments being made in communities across the country supporting high-quality jobs, and in huge part because of President Biden’s policies which have made America a — an incredibly strong magnet for investment from around the world.  
And last but not at all least, as I mentioned at the top, you’ll hear about the important efforts we’re undertaking to advance workers’ rights internationally. 
President Biden is the most pro-labor president in history, and he’s committed to ensuring high labor standards, bringing workers’ voices to the decision-making table, and enforcing rules against unfair labor practices.
That’s true here at home.  That is also true around the world. 
Last today, the President is expected to take historic steps to advance workers’ rights around the world.  And today, Secretary Blinken, Ambassador Tai, Acting Secretary Su, and NEC Director Lael Brainard will highlight this bold initiative.  This is a critical part of what we are bringing to the table as the United States concludes its APEC host year. 
In closing, the President and all of us have a busy day ahead of us here in San Francisco with a great set of events and a great set of announcements, all of which will highlight the deep commitment, the deep dynamism of American engagement through the APEC region and the degree to which our engagement in APEC supports economic growth and, importantly, strong, high-quality jobs back here in the United States.   
And with that, I’m happy to take any questions. 
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our first question, we’ll go to Aamer with the AP. 
Q    Thank you, Mike.  When you talk about — just sort of stepping back a little bit — will these — the IPEF framework, is that essentially going to be the new normal rather than trade deals being the model?  Can we see frameworks like these now being the set for other regions in the world?
And if Kirby’s on, I was hoping that he could also suss out a little bit more about what the President meant yesterday when he said the war will end when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder and harm Israelis.  Essentially, does the President believe it’s possible to get a point of zero risk to Israel from Hamas?  Thank you both.
MR. PYLE:  So, on your first question, Aamer, I would say, in my discussions around the world — in the President and Cabinet officials, even more to the point, discussions around the world — what’s clear is that the issues that are front of mind right now are issues like supply chain resilience, issues like the clean energy transition, issues like how do we tackle things like corruption and tax fairness to build a strong, level playing field for the global economy.  These are the issues that are front of mind in discussions, front of mind for leaders, front of mind for ministers. 
And it’s where we think we can make tremendous progress in terms of building a more inclusive, more sustainable, more high-growth global economy.  And that’s reflected in the types of — the types of discussions and the types of frameworks that you see — that you see here. 
So, you know, as I said, we expect to see substantial conclusion of pillars in record time around topics like that in IPEF today, and I think that, you know, we’ve seen issues like this at the forefront of discussions with other key allies and partners. 
So, for example, if you look back to June, when Prime Minister Sunak was in Washington, we announced a framework there that similarly tackled cutting-edge issues around supply chains, clean energy, much else beside.  So, I think IPEF is an ambitious framework that’s landing outcomes in record times on these cutting-edge issues. 
But I think when you look at the UK, you look at other partners, it’s fair to say that this approach of tackling the most front-of-mind, most cutting-edge issues in the global economy today is the way the President and other leaders want to advance global economic discussions.
MR. KIRBY:  Hey, Aamer.  As you heard the President say yesterday, certainly, the Israeli and the Defense Forces protecting them, and the — have the right and the responsibility to eliminate what is, to them, an existential threat posed by Hamas. 
I mean, Hamas leaders have come out publicly since October 7th and said that their intention is to attack Israel again and again and again, and they said, quite frankly, that they want to remove that country from the face of the Earth.  So, that is the threat that the Israeli people are facing from Hamas.  And — and that is the threat that they are militarily trying to — to minimize and reduce.
And what we have learned through our own experience is that — that through military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on a terrorist group’s ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan and to execute attacks. 
I mean, look at the — the shadow of itself that ISIS is right now.  Look at the shadow of  that al Qaeda is right now. 
And that doesn’t mean that — that the ideology also withers away and dies, but you can absolutely have a practical, meaningful effect on a terrorist organization’s ability to conduct and execute its attacks.  And that is what Israeli Defense Forces are trying to do.  And that is what, as the President said yesterday, we’re going to continue to do to — that we’re going to continue to help them do by continuing to make sure they have the tools and the capabilities to go after it.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our next question, we’ll go to Justin with Bloomberg. 
Q    Hey, guys.  Thanks for doing this.  I wanted to ask about IPEF as well.  It seems like the delegations were told to expect kind of an early harvest on the — on the trade pillar last week, but then, over the weekend, the U.S. pulled that down amid some pressure from congressional Democrats.  So, I was wondering, you know, what do you say to countries that feel like this is another reason to question U.S. sincerity or work outside those domestic political concerns.
And then, Mike, I know you said there’s going to be more work on that in the weeks and months ahead.  Does that mean a reasonable expectation that there will be at least that early harvest announcement before next November, or is this really — realistically kind of on ice until after the election?
MR. PYLE:  So, thanks for that, Justin.  And I’d say a couple things.  You know, one, most trade negotiations take years to complete.  But we have said from the beginning that IPEF will be — will be negotiated on an accelerated timeline, and I think the results that leaders will announce today reflect that. 
Like I said, the issues that are front of mind, the issues that are at the cutting edge of the global economic conversation — issues like supply chains, clean energy, good government — you know, these are first-of-their-kind agreements, and we have struck agreements around them in just 18 months with a full set of IPEF partners.  And we’re proud of that achievement and proud that the President is going to be standing shoulder by shoulder with other IPEF leaders today to mark that — mark that success. 
With respect to the trade pillar, we’re going to, you know, keep at that.  There’s been progress that’s been made.  In the weeks and months ahead, we expect to continue putting shoulders against that effort, both here in the United States as well as with another IPEF partners.  We’re going to do that in a way that continues to consult intensively with leaders on Capitol Hill, with a full set of stakeholders back here in the United States — including, importantly, our friends in the labor community. 
And we’re going to keep at this and build on the progress that we’ve seen. 
But, again, I would just underscore: This has been 18 months since this was announced.  Here we are in November of 2023, and we’re announcing the conclusion of — of three pillars on the most cutting-edge issues facing the global economy. 
And that is a significant achievement and one that reflects the — the importance of the IPEF grouping and our ability to get things done through it.  And we’ll continue building on that as we look ahead.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Mary with ABC.
Q    Hi there.  Good morning.  John, a question for you.  Wondering if the President received any assurances from Xi that he will, in fact, use his influence over Iran to try and urge Tehran and their proxies not to try and escalate this, to stop attacking U.S. forces in the region. 
And, you know, so far, despite America’s retaliatory strikes, these drone and rocket — rocket attacks against American forces have not been letting up.  So, what comes next?  I mean, what can you do to try and get this message across just to these militant groups without risking further escalation?
MR. KIRBY:  Well, it’s not just about sending a message, Mary.  It’s about protecting our troops and our facilities.  And if — if attacks continue, we’re going to respond appropriately.  And as I said before, we’ll do it in a time and a manner of our choosing. 
We’ve already shown that we’ll — that we’ll take action to go at targets that actually get at the support that these groups are getting from the IRGC. 
Now, on the conversations with President Xi on this issue, I don’t have more detail to provide coming out of meetings yesterday.  I will say that — that we know the PRC has communication channels to Iran that we obviously don’t have. 
I mean, it’s not like we can’t send messages to Iran, and we certainly have with this regard about escalation.  But we know that the Chinese have more — more direct lines of communication open to them.  And we certainly would encourage them to use those lines to — to reiterate to the Iranians that we — we don’t want to see a deepening or an escalation of the conflict in the region.
Q    And was that message conveyed yesterday?
MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, again, I’m not going to go into more detail about the conversations that — that we had.  But I can tell you that we know they’ve got — we know they have some influence.  We know they have some lines of communication, and we certainly would like to see them use it to that effect.
Q    Thank you.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to David with Reuters.  David, you should be able to unmute yourself.
Q    Yeah, so sorry about that.  Yeah, I’ve got a couple of questions on the talks yesterday — the President and the Chinese leader.  We heard that President Xi had outlined some of the conditions for an intervention — a Chinese intervention in Taiwan.  I was wondering if you could give us any details of what he had said about that.
Also, do you have any details you can share on what was agreed specifically on fentanyl? 
And the — the Chinese government has reacted quite negatively to the President’s remark — off-the-cuff remark at the end of the press conference yesterday, calling Xi Jinping a “dictator.”  Has that remark undone some of the diplomacy?  And is — is it regretted in any way?  Thank you.
MR. KIRBY:  The President comes away from the meeting yesterday feeling very good about the — the content of the — of the discussions over the course of four hours and the progress that we were make — able to make on some very significant fronts.
You mentioned one: fentanyl.  Of course, the other is the military-to-military communications channel being back open.  They made progress in terms of getting their two teams to start working together on cooperation on artificial intelligence, particularly when it — when it involves national security concerns.  So, there was an awful lot they talked about. 
I won’t — the Pr- — you know, I won’t speak for President Xi.  I can’t do that. 
But certainly, the issues around the Taiwan Strait came up.  And President Biden made it very clear, as he made it clear to all of you last night.  He made it clear to President Xi that we don’t seek conflict; we — we’re pursuing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait — that’s what we — we wanted and still want; that there’s no change to our One China policy; that we don’t support independence for Taiwan, but that we will, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, continue to provide self-defense capabilities to — to Taiwan; and, again, made the point that we don’t want to see the status quo changed in any sort of a unilateral way and certainly not by force.
On fentanyl, we can try to get you some — some more detail.  But the — the gist of it is that the — the chemical ingredients that go into making fentanyl — many of them are — are produced in China and shipped from China to Latin America, where the cartels get them and then fashion them into fentanyl for then movement out of the region and into the United States, in particular. 
And the Chinese, for several years now, have not been willing to crack down on the production of these precursor chemicals and/or their export.  And now they’re willing to do that, particularly in the — in the realm of law enforcement — and really doing their best to — to minimize the — the export of these chemicals, particularly to Latin America. 
One of the things that President Xi told President Biden yesterday was he doesn’t want to see another American die because of fentanyl.  So, he — he places a personal commitment into — into — to making some progress here.  So, we’re very hopeful that it will have a very practical, significant effect here over time.
And I’m sorry, there — oh — no, I think — no, I think I answered all your questions.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Yasmeen with the Washington Post.
Q    Hi, thanks for taking my question.  Kirby, I have two for you. 
One is: I’m wondering if you have any additional information or comment on what the U.S. knows about how Hamas is using Al-Shifa Hospital.  Israel is conducting its raid for the second day and hasn’t released more evidence of substantial militant activity in the hospital.  And so, I know that there’s increasing pressure.  I’m wondering if the U.S. is asking them to expedite the raid or produce any more evidence that would sort of quell some of the anxieties. 
And then my second question is — President Xi yesterday indicated that China might send more pandas to the United States.  And I’m wondering if you have anything more on that.
MR. KIRBY:  I — I can’t add to anything that President Xi said yes- — last night at the CEOs dinner about the pandas.  He indicated a willingness to think about returning some of them. 
Look, we — we obviously appreciated having them here, and we respect the — the sovereign decision that China made to remove some of those pandas.  And certainly, should — should a decision be made by the PRC to restore some of the pandas, as the United States, we would absolutely welcome — welcome them back.  But that’s got to be a decision that ob- — obviously President Xi makes.
On the hospital.  As I said the other day, we have our own intelligence that convinces us that Hamas is using Al-Shifa as a command-and-control node and — and most likely as well as a storage facility — and that they were sheltering themselves in a hospital, using the hospital as a shield against military action and placing the patients and medical staff at greater risk.  We are still convinced of the soundness of that intelligence. 
I will, as always, let the Israeli Defense Forces speak to their military operations’ progress: what they’re learning, what they’re seeing.  That’s really for them to speak to.  But as I said the other day, we’re confident in our own intelligence assessment about how Hamas is using that hospital.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Deepa with NPR.
Q    Hey, all.  Thanks for doing this.  I was wondering if you could give an update on Brett McGurk’s travel throughout the Middle East and Europe the past couple of days.  Where has he been so far?  Who has he met with?  And can you give any specifics on where he is today and — and any deliverables and the meetings he’s had?
MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, we’ll get back to you on the — the specifics of his agenda.  He’s been moving around quite a bit.  And to be honest with you, I’m — I’m not sure what his schedule looks like today. 
But the trip started in Brussels, and then he went right into the region.  And, you know, as he — as we announced when he went — I mean, multi-pronged effort here: Update NATO and our allies and partners about what we’re doing to support Israel and the region and to get humanitarian assistance in, to get the hostages out.  And he’s having discussions on the ground with our counterparts about all those things — certainly with — with Israel about the progress of their operations, about the security assistance that they are getting and that they need; and about the importance of continuing the humanitarian assistance.
And we — we did get more trucks in overnight.  And so, that’s — that’s been — that’s been going pretty well.  I mean, obviously not as many as we want to see get in, but — but trucks continue to flow. 
Humanitarian pauses continue to go apace, if not expanded, in some cases, in terms of the hours that they’re in place.
The Israeli Defense Forces opened up another corridor out of North Gaza here over the last 24 hours that — that does appear to be working in terms of people taking advantage of it.
And Brett will also be, obviously, heavily engaged in — in the ongoing negotiations to get the hostages out and speaking to a range of our partners, including the Qataris, about work — work on that front.  You heard the President talk about this briefly yesterday.  And this is really something we’ve been working hour by hour, and that’s going to be high on Brett’s agenda for this week. 
But in terms of the — the actual muscle movements, let us take that question and — and get back to you all with — with something more specific.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question.  So, we’ll go to M.J. Lee with CNN.
Q    Hi, thank you for doing this.  I had a quick question for Mike and then the Admiral as well. 
President Xi is courting the American business community while he is here and telling them that China is open for business.  Does the administration believe that it is safe for American businesses to invest with China?
And then for you, John, just back to Al-Shifa Hospital.  The President said himself that he was absolutely confident that there is a Hamas command center under the building, and you just pointed to U.S. intelligence showing that.  But can you say whether the Israelis have shared with the U.S. any new intelligence since the raid began that has bolstered your confidence?  Thank you.
MR. PYLE:  Thanks, M.J. 
So, to your question, I mean, obviously, U.S. businesses are going to have to make their own decisions.  What I will say is that, you know, when we look at the trade investment data between the U.S. and China, we see, you know, ongoing, strong bilateral trade investment flows.
Last year, for example, was the record year of bilateral trade between the United States and China.  And those are trade flows, those are investment flows that — that we welcome, that the United States welcomes. 
You know, I think that, as you’ve undoubtedly seen, there are very specific areas — areas around specific — like technology sectors that can lead to military modernization, that can lead to surveillance and intelligence modernization, where we have deep concern.  And whether it be through export controls or the outbound investment program that we announced in August, we want to take action to prevent that very narrow set of investment flows and of exports.
So, broadly speaking, again, you know, last year was a record year of bilateral trade between the United States and China.  There continues to be a strong, robust trade and investment relationship between the two countries.  And that is something that — that we welcome. 
And — and welcome — with one last point: You know, we’ve talked — the President has talked about the importance of there not being decoupling between the U.S. and China, but rather the importance of — of being sure that we’re de-risking our economy. 
And I think what I just described is a reflection of that fact: strong and ongoing trade and investment flows between the two countries, very narrow target areas of concern where we’re using our tools to ensure that there isn’t investments with our exports (inaudible) that can compromise our national security.  And that’s the type of approach that I think is very consistent with this idea that we’re not decoupling but de-risking.
MR. KIRBY:  Hey, M.J.  On your other question, I think you can imagine we stay in daily touch with our Israeli counterparts and certainly interested in — in their perspectives: what they’re seeing, what they’re doing, what they’re learning.  I’m not going to talk about specific intelligence that — that may pass between the two of us.
I would just go back to what I said before and what I said on the airplane coming out here: Our own intelligence assessment is that Hamas was using — is using Al-Shifa as a command-and-control node and potentially as a — as a storage facility to support their — to support their planning and their execution of terrorist attacks in the region — again, placing these people at greater risk, the staff and the patients at that hospital.  And we’re confident in our own intelligence assessment of that.
And I’ll let the Israelis speak to — to what is, quite frankly, an ongoing military operation.
MS. REPOSA:  Thank you.  And thank you, everyone, again, for joining us this morning. 
As always, if we weren’t able to get to you, feel free to reach out to our distro, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 
10:37 A.M. EST

Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2023/11/16/on-the-record-press-call-by-nsc-coordinator-for-strategic-communications-john-kirby-and-deputy-national-security-advisor-for-international-economics-mike-pyle-to-preview-president-bidens-day-ahead-a/

The post On-the-Record Press Call by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle to Preview President Biden’s Day Ahead at APEC first appeared on Social Gov.