Thank you very much, and I’m delighted to be a co-host of this event with Ambassador Ishikane and my colleagues from Australia and the EU.
Let me start by thanking in advance the families who will share their stories with us today – the abduction of family members is heartbreaking. And let me also start by being as clear as we can be: The United States absolutely condemns the DPRK government’s involvement in international abductions and forced disappearances. Abducting citizens of Japan and other nations, and forcibly keeping them against their will in North Korea, is simply wrong. It is outrageous. And it cannot continue. We stand in solidarity with the Japanese people against such illegal actions. And we call on the DPRK to release these individuals and allow them to leave North Korea. And at the very best, the DPRK must release full information about them now without further delay.
The DPRK is responsible for countless human rights abuses – including these abductions. And we will continue to work closely with our friends and with our allies – including Japan – to resolve these longstanding injustices. During Prime Minister Suga’s trip to Washington and the recent meeting with President Moon, President Biden made our commitment to this issue clear. These illegal and immoral abductions have also been discussed in a number of bilateral and trilateral discussions with the Governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The United States stands with your families, with all of Japan, and with the international community in pressing for an immediate resolution of this issue. In the meantime, thank you for your tireless advocacy. Our hearts are with you. And we stand ready to raise your plight whenever and wherever we can.
Thank you very much.