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Government Agency News Press release

QUESTION:  Welcome to Thailand again.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  It’s wonderful to be here.

QUESTION:  I think this is the second visit, official visit in Thailand this year.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Second – second visit this year.  I’ve had the opportunity to be here many times before and in previous jobs, with my family.  It’s always wonderful to be here.

QUESTION:  I hope this is not the only visit that you have in Bangkok, not (inaudible).

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I always wish we had more time to do more things, to see more people.  But every time we come, we try to find ways to connect with folks.

QUESTION:  I really do, yeah.  I would like to ask you, because of our audience – younger generation, and they’re probably not related to APEC.  So what is the U.S. role at this time, if you would like to tell us as the younger generation?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, I think the first thing to understand about APEC is it’s the way we bring together government, private sector, as well as NGOs, to try to make sure that throughout this big region we’re connected, we have trade and commerce and innovation that’s moving forward.  All of that is so important to growing our economies, to creating opportunities.  And we want to do it in an inclusive way that brings everyone in, and that’s what APEC is all about.

This is the first time we’ve had an opportunity since COVID to actually meet —

QUESTION:  In person, yeah.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And that makes a big difference, because when you’re able to do things face to face, you usually get a lot more done.

QUESTION:  Yeah, right, connecting each other is very important.  Yeah.


QUESTION:  And I think technology is also a big issue here.


QUESTION:  I remember on photo back in 2016, the ex-Secretary John Kerry, too much interest in the self-driving.  I don’t know if you remember this photo.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Let’s see.  Oh, yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yeah.

QUESTION:  He was (inaudible) in the Google self-driving car back then, which was quite new at the moment, right?  And as the current Secretary of State, if you can pick one U.S. technology that you would (inaudible) interesting the most for you right now, which would it be?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, look, I think electric vehicles are the future, and in fact, increasingly, they’re the present.  We’re making in the United States a major investment in this.  We just – as you probably know, we have just passed legislation, a law, that is historic.  It puts more money into trying to deal with climate change than we ever have before – hundreds of billions of dollars.  A lot of that’s going to go to electric vehicles, to making sure that we have the manufacturing, the buyers, the charging stations – President Biden is committed to having 500,000 charging stations along our highways.  This is the future and it’s a critical part to addressing the climate challenge and it’s something that we’re committed.  So I think it’s the most exciting technology.

But this is again where APEC also comes in, making sure that our countries and economies are connected.  For example, on the supply chains that produce the things that you need for electric vehicles.  That’s more important than it’s even been, and that’s some of the work that we do at APEC.

QUESTION:  I heard many things about U.S. – American EVs, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning.


QUESTION:  The electric pickup.


QUESTION:  For the first time, people really – you have a good feedback with.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So I think people, including people in my own family who have had that particular car before, I think at first may be a little bit skeptical about the electric vehicle, but now I have a cousin who’s actually on the list to buy one.  He drove one – he loved it.  And it’s incredibly exciting to see this happening.  It’s literally – it’s changing our economies, but it’s also changing our capacity to deal effectively with climate change.

QUESTION:  Yeah, very interesting story.  And I don’t know if you are aware that this is the first time that the official vehicle for leaders in APEC is an all-electric.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  See, I didn’t realize that.  You just told me something I didn’t know.

QUESTION:  So you have to try it out.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, we haven’t been here long enough, but we’ll see if we can.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  So this time, like, every leader is like – they are provided with a BMW i7, which is the all-electric 7 series, for the first time, right?  And I know that when the U.S. Government travels to official visit to this country, you bring your own cars sometimes.


QUESTION:  So such as VP Kamala is coming.


QUESTION:  You have your own car.


QUESTION:  (Inaudible.)


QUESTION:  Yeah, and everything.  Do you have any plan to change your cars to electric?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, I have to tell you that is one of my ambitions.  Now, one of our Cabinet officials actually has as her official car an electric vehicle, our Secretary of Energy.  We have some work to do.  Now, part of the challenge is some of us travel in secure vehicles, armored vehicles.  I’m not sure if they yet make an electric vehicle that’s armored as well, but hopefully that’s something that can happen.  But I was very jealous of the Secretary of Energy because we were together some months ago and her car pulled in to pick her up and I said, “Wait a minute, you have an electric vehicle.  What about me?”

QUESTION:  (Laughter.)  Yeah, it’s the right department to start with.


QUESTION:  Yeah.  Another issue that I want to discuss with you is APEC under Thailand, this year it will be transferred, the chairmanship, to the U.S.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes, we’re getting the baton.

QUESTION:  So what will be your main theme hosting the APEC next year, and why?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, first of all, Thailand has done a wonderful job both leading APEC this year and organizing all of us to come together, including the leaders who are coming together over the next couple of days.  So I hope we can just continue the momentum that Thailand has built leading APEC.

We’re really focusing on three things.  We’re focusing on interconnections among the region, we are focusing on innovation, and we’re focusing on inclusivity.  And these three things actually complement each other.  The way to have a genuinely interconnected region also goes with innovation.  That can advance interconnectedness.  And it has to be inclusive – we don’t want to leave anyone behind.  And in fact, if we’re actually going to have the most effective innovation possible, we want to make sure that everyone is participating – for example, women as full participants.  And in turn, all of that supports greater interconnectedness.

So these are the three themes that themselves are interconnected, and in very practical ways what we’ll be trying to do is advancing the interconnectedness of our region, advancing innovation in our region, advancing inclusivity so that everyone is part of the future that we’re trying to build.

QUESTION:  Fantastic.  We are looking forward.  Thank you for your time.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s great to be with you.  Thank you. Press release Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Aticharn Cherngchavano of spin9 on Youtube Government Agency News