Blinken to pay condolence visit to Japan after Shinzo Abe assassination
BANGKOK — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay a brief condolence visit to Japan next week following the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the State Department announced Sunday.
Blinken will travel to Tokyo on Monday to pay tribute to the former leader and meet with senior Japanese officials before returning to Washington after an Asian tour he is wrapping up.
« Secretary Blinken will travel to Tokyo, Japan to offer his condolences to the people of Japan on the passing of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and to meet with senior Japanese officials, » the department spokesperson said. of State Ned Price in a statement. « The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and has never been stronger. »
Blinken is in Thailand on a pre-scheduled visit and was in Indonesia on Friday to attend a meeting of Group of 20-nation foreign ministers in Bali when Abe was shot and killed. He will be the highest-ranking US official to visit Japan after Abe’s death.
In Bali on Saturday, Blinken said Abe’s murder was a « tragedy » for the world and, like many other current and former US officials, praised the former prime minister for his vision.
« Prime Minister Abe was a transformative leader, a statesman, someone of truly global stature, » Blinken told reporters. He added that Abe’s death had rocked the G-20 meeting, with many of his fellow foreign ministers expressing shock and distress at the news.
Shortly after Abe’s death was declared, Blinken met in Bali with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin to discuss the strategy primarily related to North Korea. At that meeting and again on Saturday, Blinken stressed the importance of US-Japan relations.
« The alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for decades, and as I said yesterday, Prime Minister Abe has really taken that partnership to new heights, » said- he declared.
“The friendship between the Japanese and American people is also unshakeable,” Blinken said. « So we stand with the people of Japan, together with the Prime Minister’s family, following a truly, truly appalling act of violence. »