April 22, 2019
(as prepared for delivery)
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is an honor to welcome so many distinguished guests from Hong Kong on board the USS Blue Ridge tonight.
We are joined here tonight by members of Hong Kong’s Government and the Legislative Council. We are also joined by many distinguished members of the business community in Hong Kong, along with my own colleagues in the Consular Corps.
Welcome everyone! I hope you are having a good time, and please take the opportunity to look around the ship and meet the fine men and women who serve aboard her.
It is also a real honor for me to welcome to Hong Kong the fantastic officers and sailors serving aboard the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the storied 7th Fleet. The fleet is well-known around the Indo-Pacific region for its important contribution to regional peace and security – protecting important sea lanes, responding to natural disasters, and preventing terrorism and piracy. It is great to have you here in Hong Kong.
I know that the BLUE RIDGE crew has been looking forward to visiting this beautiful city, and I am sure you have not been disappointed.
I also want to thank the people who arranged the lovely weather for this evening’s reception here on the harbor!
Ladies and gentlemen: The United States seeks to be a friend and partner of every nation in the region, in order to ensure stability, and with the aim of promoting free commerce and shared prosperity.
The United States and its Navy has been a friend of Hong Kong for 176 years. Of the many wonderful ports of call around the world, Hong Kong ranks at the top of the list of favorite ports for American sailors. It is no exaggeration to say that the U.S. Navy loves Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong loves the U.S. Navy!
Hong Kong is a gem of a city and a valuable friend of the United States. We are deeply intertwined through our economic relationship, and we share a lasting admiration for each other’s societies and cultural traditions.
It is especially fitting to be reminded of the mutual admiration between Hong Kong and the United States here in beautiful Victoria Harbor, aboard this fine ship. U.S. Navy ships are a tangible demonstration of U.S. partnership, and clear evidence of America’s resolve to support and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific.
America’s forward-deployed military and diplomatic presence contributes to maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific. And our long and historic presence in the region helps us to build the relationships and capability necessary to tackle shared threats.
Tragic events such as yesterday’s vile terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka are sobering, and serve as a reminder to all peace-loving peoples and nations of how much we all have in common – and how important it is that we work together.
Whether we are ensuring open waterways, combatting pandemic disease threats, or working to protect and enhance the global order, the United States will continue to cooperate with all willing and sincere partners.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you enjoy yourself tonight, and that you have blessed and safe days going forward. Thank you and good evening.