Thank you very much, Mr. Kim. And it’s a great pleasure to meet with my colleagues and friends, Foreign Minister Kim and Foreign Minister Gemba. I thank Foreign Minister Kim for hosting this meeting.
We began the three-way consultations two years ago in Washington. And we met again in Bali last year. And representatives from our three countries have met dozens of times in between. These consultations give us a chance to take stock of current regional and global challenges and opportunities, and to chart together a future for our trilateral partnership. So, I am very pleased we are convening again in the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Since we last met, as Foreign Minister Kim has said, we have addressed unexpected challenges, including the death of Kim Jong Il, and North Korea’s recent missile launch in violation of United Nations resolutions. These events prove the importance of this trilateral framework, and the need to keep strengthening it. We share values and interests, as our joint statement reflects. As three democracies with a common vision on how to promote peace and prosperity, we all have a deep stake and a great responsibility to work together to strengthen and update a rules-based order for the Asia Pacific. This trilateral cooperation is about our shared future, and it is about how to deliver the greatest benefits to people in our three countries and across the region.
To translate these gatherings into results for our people, we need to bring even greater order and structure to this three-way partnership. So we welcome the newly framed steering committee, steering group. And I look forward to our consultation today and to our continued efforts to build even deeper connections among our three countries. Thank you, Foreign Minister Kim.