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Press Briefing Karine Jean-Pierre Holds a Press Briefing at The White House - August 2, 2022

  • John Kirby
    Person
  • Karine Jean-Pierre
    Person
  • Question
    Person
Unknown

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:00-00:00:03 (4 sec)
Good afternoon, everybody. 1

Question

Unknown
00:00:03-00:00:04 (1 sec)
Good afternoon. 2

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:04-00:00:20 (16 sec)
So as the President spoke to yesterday, the United States undercoo- -- undertook a counterterrorism operation in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. At his direction, the U.S. intelligence targeted and killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's leader. 3

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:20-00:00:38 (18 sec)
We know you have questions about this today, and so we wanted to make sure that we had John Kirby come back. He's going to talk about the specifics of that operation and the extension also of truce in Yemen, which is incredibly important, and any other foreign policy news of the day. 4

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:38-00:00:44 (6 sec)
With that, I give you John Kirby, the Nationals -- National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications. 5

John Kirby

Unknown
00:00:44-00:00:47 (3 sec)
Thanks, Karine. 6

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:47-00:00:47 ( sec)
There you go. 7

John Kirby

Unknown
00:00:47-00:00:50 (3 sec)
Appreciate it. That's a mouthful. 8

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:50-00:00:51 (1 sec)
It's a mouthful. Yeah. [Laughs] 9

John Kirby

Unknown
00:00:51-00:01:06 (15 sec)
Okay, as Karine noted and you all have obviously been tracking -- the President's announcement yesterday -- that on the 30th of July, the United States undertook a precision counterterrorism operation in Kabul. They targeted and killed al Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. 10

John Kirby

Unknown
00:01:06-00:01:18 (12 sec)
Zawahiri was the world's most wanted terrorist. He was Osama bin Laden's deputy during the 9/11 attacks and became his successor in 2011 following bin Laden's death during a U.S. counterterrorism mission. 11

John Kirby

Unknown
00:01:18-00:01:26 (7 sec)
Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to U.S. persons, interests, and national security. 12

John Kirby

Unknown
00:01:26-00:01:36 (10 sec)
As President Biden has consistently said, we will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists who might bring harm to Americans, to the homeland. We met that commitment. 13

John Kirby

Unknown
00:01:36-00:01:51 (15 sec)
This action demonstrates that without American forces on the ground in Afghanistan and in harm's way, we still remain able to identify and locate even the world's most wanted terrorist and then take the action to remove him from the battlefield. 14

John Kirby

Unknown
00:01:51-00:02:05 (14 sec)
That is the definition -- this mission -- of when we talked a year ago of over-the-horizon counterterrorism capability. What we did this past weekend is a perfect, clean example of what that capability looks like. 15

John Kirby

Unknown
00:02:05-00:02:27 (22 sec)
Now, on to Taiwan. As you all have seen, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, arrived in Taiwan earlier this morning East Coast time. As we have said, the Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan. And a Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of Congress over the years, including this year. 16

John Kirby

Unknown
00:02:27-00:02:32 (5 sec)
This trip was the Speaker's decision, and Congress is an independent branch of government; you all know that. 17

John Kirby

Unknown
00:02:32-00:02:43 (10 sec)
We're obviously monitoring her travel, as we always do for members of Congress, and we've taken all appropriate measures to ensure the safety of her travel throughout the region. 18

John Kirby

Unknown
00:02:43-00:03:00 (17 sec)
Let me be clear: The Speaker's visit is totally consistent with our longstanding One China policy. We've been very clear that nothing has changed about our One China policy, which is guided, of course, by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint U.S.-PRC Communiqués, and the Six Assurances. 19

John Kirby

Unknown
00:03:00-00:03:18 (18 sec)
We've said that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We said we do not support Taiwan independence. And we've said, as I said again yesterday, that we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means. 20

John Kirby

Unknown
00:03:18-00:03:38 (21 sec)
Now, we have communicated this directly to the PRC at the highest levels, including in last week's call between President Biden and President Xi. The National Security Advisor, Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have also made this very clear to Beijing in a half a dozen recent high-level conversations. 21

John Kirby

Unknown
00:03:38-00:04:11 (32 sec)
Now, we've seen a number of announcements from the PRC in just the last several hours that are unfortunately right in line with what we had anticipated and what we talked about yesterday. Now, there's no reason, as I said yesterday, for Beijing to turn this visit, which is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, into some sort of crisis or use it as a pretext to increase aggressiveness and military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait, now or beyond her travel. 22

John Kirby

Unknown
00:04:11-00:04:53 (43 sec)
And again, as I made clear yesterday, before the Speaker's travel was confirmed by her, China has positioned itself to take further steps, and we expect that they will continue to react over a longer-term horizon. I couldn't give you a date certain of what that horizon looks like, but we certainly would expect them to react even beyond her trip, including announcing additional large-scale, live-fire exercises -- of course, they've already started doing some of that today; flying across the median line -- we've seen press reports of them doing that today; and using economic coercion. It's exactly in line with the playbook that we anticipated and talked to you about yesterday. 23

John Kirby

Unknown
00:04:53-00:05:03 (10 sec)
The United States will not and does not -- will not seek and does not want a crisis. We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do. 24

John Kirby

Unknown
00:05:03-00:05:20 (17 sec)
At the same time, we will not engage in saber-rattling. We will continue to operate in the seas and the skies of the western Pacific, as we have done for decades. We will continue to support Taiwan, defend a free and open Indo-Pacific, and seek to maintain communication with Beijing. 25

John Kirby

Unknown
00:05:20-00:05:26 (6 sec)
We'll keep doing what we are doing, which is supporting cross-Strait peace and stability. 26

John Kirby

Unknown
00:05:26-00:05:46 (20 sec)
And then just real quick, lastly -- Karine hinted at this at the top: The President welcomes today's announcement of an extension of the truce in the Yemen conflict. The truce in Yemen, of course, was a key agenda item during the President's visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the King and the Crown Prince and with leaders from across the region. 27

John Kirby

Unknown
00:05:46-00:05:55 (9 sec)
We're grateful for the leadership of Saudi Arabia throughout this truce process, as well as the Sultan -- as well as for the Sultan and leaders of Oman who have also played an important role throughout. 28

John Kirby

Unknown
00:05:55-00:06:17 (22 sec)
Now, this truce, which is now going on five months, has brought a period of unprecedented calm in Yemen, saving thousands of lives and bringing tangible relief for countless Yemenis. Five months, which may not sound like a lot, but when you're talking about seven years of war and thousands and thousands of Yemeni lives, it counts for a lot. And now we have a chance to extend this another two months. 29

John Kirby

Unknown
00:06:17-00:06:30 (13 sec)
So we urge the Yemeni parties to seize this opportunity to work constructively under U.N. auspices to reach an inclusive, comprehensive agreement that paves the way for a durable, Yemeni-led resolution to the conflict. 30

John Kirby

Unknown
00:06:30-00:06:41 (11 sec)
Advancing the peace process is going to require courage and dedication from all sides. The United States will remain committed and engaged in efforts to advance peace in Yemen and to bring relief to the Yemeni people. 31

John Kirby

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00:06:41-00:06:43 (3 sec)
And with that, I'll take some questions. 32

Karine Jean-Pierre

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00:06:43-00:06:45 (1 sec)
Okay. Go ahead, [inaudible]. 33

Question

Unknown
00:06:45-00:06:47 (2 sec)
Thank you, Karine. Thank you. 34

Question

Unknown
00:06:47-00:06:54 (7 sec)
John, how concerned is the administration right now that the -- Afghanistan has become a safe haven for terrorists? 35

John Kirby

Unknown
00:06:54-00:07:10 (16 sec)
I think if you were to ask some members of al Qaeda -- ask them how safe they feel in Afghanistan right now, I think we proved to a fare-thee-well this weekend that it isn't a safe haven and it isn't going to be, going forward. 36

Question

Unknown
00:07:10-00:07:15 (5 sec)
What will the repercussions be for the Taliban harboring al-Zawahiri? 37

John Kirby

Unknown
00:07:15-00:07:21 (6 sec)
I'm not going to telegraph moves and decisions that we might make. I'm certainly not going to get ahead of anything at this point. 38

John Kirby

Unknown
00:07:21-00:07:45 (24 sec)
I would just make two points. One, the strike itself shows how serious we are about accountability. It shows how serious we are about defending our interests. And we're going to maintain -- as I said at the outset, we're going to maintain this over-the-horizon capability. In fact, I'd go so far as to say we're going to continue to try to improve that capability going forward. 39

John Kirby

Unknown
00:07:45-00:07:58 (13 sec)
And number two, we've communicated very directly with Taliban leaders our views of their willingness, at some level of course, to harbor Zawahiri and his family. 40

Question

Unknown
00:07:58-00:08:01 (3 sec)
Will they be held accountable? 41

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:01-00:08:09 (8 sec)
And we have made it clear that not "we believe," not "we think," not "we suppose," but we know that that's a violation of the Doha Agreement. 42

Question

Unknown
00:08:09-00:08:18 (9 sec)
So, obviously, John -- just to follow up on that -- clearly, this shows accountability for Zawahiri and for al Qaeda, wherever they are -- 43

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:18-00:08:18 ( sec)
Yeah. 44

Question

Unknown
00:08:18-00:08:34 (16 sec)
-- as you got him in Afghanistan. But it doesn't show accountability for what the Secretary of State described as a gross violation of the Doha Agreement. So can you commit that there will be some act to demonstrate that they will be held accountable in some way? And how do you do that without it looking like, "Yeah, we'll just take out one by one; you can keep allowing more in"? 45

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:34-00:08:42 (8 sec)
Well, again, I'm not going to telegraph punches that hadn't been thrown yet or decisions that haven't been made yet. We're going to stay vigilant to the threat. 46

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:42-00:08:58 (16 sec)
We've made it clear to the Taliban that -- that we know what -- what they did and we know who they harbored. And we know some of the steps they tried to take after the strike to cover up the evidence of it. So we're mindful of it. 47

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:58-00:09:02 (4 sec)
But I'm not going to get ahead of decisions -- policy decisions that haven't been made. 48

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:02-00:09:15 (14 sec)
I mean, the -- it's not that we take the Taliban at their word, but just indulge me for a second: They claim they want a relationship with the United States and with the West. They claim they want to open up and be part of the international community. 49

Question

Unknown
00:09:15-00:09:17 (2 sec)
They need financing, they want embassies. 50

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:17-00:09:21 (3 sec)
They claim they want financing. That's exactly right, Peter. 51

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:21-00:09:32 (11 sec)
So, if that's true, if that's what they really want, then it would behoove them to pay close attention to what we just did over the weekend and to meet their agreements under the Doha Agreement. 52

Question

Unknown
00:09:32-00:09:40 (9 sec)
Without identifying them, how many other al Qaeda individuals or leaders do you assess are presently living in Afghanistan? 53

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:40-00:09:57 (17 sec)
I'm not going to get into intelligence matters, Peter. We said, even before we left Afghanistan last August, that we knew al Qaeda was present in Afghanistan in relatively small numbers. And we know that there are still some al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. 54

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:57-00:10:11 (13 sec)
I would -- again, without getting into classified information here, I would say the number is not very large. And that's core al Qaeda. There are also offshoots, like ISIS-K, which we know are very active in Afghanistan and -- right now. 55

John Kirby

Unknown
00:10:11-00:10:22 (12 sec)
The other thing that I want to say -- and I know, rightly, we're focused on Afghanistan -- but again, I want to take you back in time a little bit to about a year ago, when we talked about this threat and then our departure from Afghanistan. 56

John Kirby

Unknown
00:10:22-00:10:44 (22 sec)
We know that al Qaeda has metastasized, both in terms of character -- now, they've got different offshoot groups -- al Shabaab, ISIS, and ISIS has got splinter groups of its own -- but they've also metastasized geographically. They're not focused as much on a presence in Afghanistan. They're in North Africa, they're in the Sahel, they're throughout the Middle East, and they're in Yemen. 57

John Kirby

Unknown
00:10:44-00:10:57 (12 sec)
So, I mean, there's -- there are other counterterrorism threats in other parts of the world. We're going to stay focused on them all. I get -- I get that we're focused on Afghanistan right now, but we're not taking our eye off the rest of the world either. 58

Question

Unknown
00:10:57-00:11:14 (17 sec)
John, something you've just said is not consistent with what we were told last year. You're saying that you've always known there was a small number of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. President Biden said, "What interests do we have in Afghanistan, at this point, with al Qaeda gone?" 59

John Kirby

Unknown
00:11:14-00:11:26 (13 sec)
Yeah, I mean, in a major way, al Qaeda was not playing -- now wait, let me -- let me finish. They weren't playing a major role in operations or resourcing or planning in Afghanistan. 60

John Kirby

Unknown
00:11:26-00:11:43 (17 sec)
But, Peter, I know specifically, because I was at a different podium a year ago, and we talked about the fact that al Qaeda had a presence in Afghanistan -- but small and not incredibly powerful or potent. And I think -- again, without getting into numbers -- we would still assess that to be the case. 61

Question

Unknown
00:11:43-00:11:56 (13 sec)
So, we know that the Taliban was harboring the world's most wanted terrorist. You guys gave a whole country to a bunch of people that are on the FBI Most Wanted list. What did you think was going to happen? 62

John Kirby

Unknown
00:11:56-00:12:00 (4 sec)
I take issue with the premise that we gave a whole country to terrorist groups. 63

John Kirby

Unknown
00:12:00-00:12:04 (3 sec)
I mean, again, I'd encourage you to ask -- 64

Question

Unknown
00:12:04-00:12:19 (15 sec)
The Taliban was harboring the world's number one terrorist. How is that not giving a country to a terrorist-sympathizing group, if not giving them permission to have terrorists just sit on a balcony -- 65

John Kirby

Unknown
00:12:19-00:12:28 (9 sec)
The question -- I mean, Peter, the way you ask that, it makes it sound like we owned Afghanistan a year ago. It wasn't our country. It was an independent, sovereign state. 66

John Kirby

Unknown
00:12:28-00:12:41 (13 sec)
And the President made a bold decision to end a war that had been going on for 20 years, because he believed then and still believes now that our national security interests are best met by meeting the threats of today, not the threats of 2001. 67

John Kirby

Unknown
00:12:41-00:13:05 (24 sec)
And we -- you know, I don't want to relitigate the whole war here, but obviously, no one anticipated the Ghani government to fall as fast as it did. But we said at the time that as we depart Afghanistan, we're going to keep vigilant, we're going to stay ready, and we're not going to let Afghanistan become a safe haven for terrorists who threaten our homeland. And this past weekend, we proved that case precisely. 68

Question

Unknown
00:13:05-00:13:18 (14 sec)
But -- so now that you know that the Taliban is not living up to the part of the deal that they made with the U.S. to not let Afghanistan be a place that terrorists feel like they can be safe, what are you going to do about it? 69

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:18-00:13:27 (9 sec)
Well, that gets to Peter's question. I'm not going to telegraph decisions that haven't been made or policy initiatives one way or the other. I would just say -- 70

Question

Unknown
00:13:27-00:13:34 (7 sec)
Are we just waiting for some spectacular terrorist attack in the U.S. to then say, "Oh, well, there's terrorists in a safe haven -- 71

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:34-00:13:35 (1 sec)
If we were, Peter --- 72

Question

Unknown
00:13:35-00:13:37 (2 sec)
-- in Afghanistan. Now we can go get them." 73

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:37-00:13:44 (8 sec)
If we were Peter, then we wouldn't have taken the hit on Saturday -- the strike that we took on Mr. Zawahiri -- if we were just waiting. 74

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:44-00:13:58 (13 sec)
This isn't about waiting. It's about watching. And we watched very closely, and we acted on what we learned. And I would go so far as to say not only the American people are safer as a result of President Biden's decision, but the rest of the world is safer. 75

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:58-00:14:14 (17 sec)
Does that mean that the threat from al Qaeda is over? No, of course, it's not. Now, they'll have to make some decisions here, and we'll watch that too. And if we discern a threat to the American homeland again, from them or any other terrorist group, the President will reserve the right to take that action again. 76

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:14-00:14:17 (3 sec)
We're going to go around. Go ahead, Alex. And then [inaudible]. 77

Question

Unknown
00:14:17-00:14:26 (9 sec)
Thank you. John, now that the House Speaker is actually in Taiwan, can you give us a sense of President Biden's thoughts on the matter? Does he support that? 78

Question

Unknown
00:14:26-00:14:33 (7 sec)
And then secondly, what kind of lines of communication, if any, are ongoing today between the two governments? 79

John Kirby

Unknown
00:14:33-00:14:42 (9 sec)
Well, I mean, you have the Speaker of the House that's in Taipei right now. Of course, she's going to be meeting with government leaders. 80

John Kirby

Unknown
00:14:42-00:14:54 (12 sec)
We have stayed in touch with our Taiwan counterparts, of course, and we've stayed in touch with Speaker Pelosi's staff as she has progressed through this trip. 81

Question

Unknown
00:14:54-00:14:57 (3 sec)
Just to clarify, I meant with Beijing. 82

John Kirby

Unknown
00:14:57-00:15:14 (17 sec)
I don't have any specific conversations with the -- with the PRC leaders to speak to today. But we -- as you know, we have an ambassador there. We have an embassy. I mean, we are in routine communication with leaders in Beijing. But I would refer you to the State Department for anything that they might or might not have communicated. 83

Question

Unknown
00:15:14-00:15:16 (2 sec)
And then, about President Biden, does he support -- 84

John Kirby

Unknown
00:15:16-00:15:28 (12 sec)
Oh, look, I've said -- I said this yesterday: The President, as a former senator, fully respects the right and the prerogative -- frankly, the responsibility -- of members of Congress, to include the Speaker of the House, to travel overseas. 85

Question

Unknown
00:15:28-00:15:32 (4 sec)
But that's a different question though, or that's a different response than does he support her going. 86

John Kirby

Unknown
00:15:32-00:15:37 (5 sec)
He respects the Speaker's decision to travel to Taiwan. 87

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:15:37-00:15:38 (2 sec)
Go ahead. Courtney, in the back. 88

Question

Unknown
00:15:38-00:16:07 (29 sec)
Thanks. I wanted to ask about Ukraine, specifically the refugee situation. The President had committed to accepting 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. And I know that whole idea is that they would stay here temporarily for two years. Is the expectation that -- or is that still the U.S. view that they should be here for two years? Or would you or the -- or would the President consider extending that, given that the war is ongoing and you don't know when people may or may not be able to return home? 89

John Kirby

Unknown
00:16:07-00:16:15 (8 sec)
I don't -- I don't have any policy changes to speak to today. So, I mean, I can happily take that question, or refer you, to the State Department. 90

John Kirby

Unknown
00:16:15-00:16:25 (10 sec)
But I -- I don't know of any changes to the essential decision by the President to provide a place for Ukrainian refugees to come, even if it is just temporarily. 91

John Kirby

Unknown
00:16:25-00:16:53 (28 sec)
I mean, what we've seen over the course of -- of now almost six months of war is that a lot of Ukrainians who left in the early weeks are going back for various reasons. And in the early weeks of the war, we were seeing families cross the border and then either the mom or the dad, or both, would drop the kids off with somebody and go right back in. 92

John Kirby

Unknown
00:16:53-00:17:00 (7 sec)
So there's a strong desire by Ukrainians to be in their homeland, to be in their country. And we respect that. 93

Question

Unknown
00:17:00-00:17:04 (4 sec)
Would you have to ask Congress for the ability for them to stay longer? Or is that -- 94

John Kirby

Unknown
00:17:04-00:17:17 (14 sec)
I'm not going to -- I won't get ahead of policy decisions that haven't been made yet. I mean, our commitment to supporting Ukraine has not changed. There's been no change to the President's commitment in this regard in terms of welcoming refugees. But I just don't have any changes for you today. 95

Question

Unknown
00:17:17-00:17:19 (2 sec)
Thank you. 96

Question

Unknown
00:17:19-00:17:38 (19 sec)
Mr. Kirby, al-Zawahiri killed -- he killed more than 200 people in Tanzania and in Kenya in 1998. And right now, even though the U.S. compensated U.S. citizens who were victims of those bombings, the people in Kenya and Tanzania -- they've received nothing. What message do you have for them now that you've killed him? 97

John Kirby

Unknown
00:17:38-00:17:46 (7 sec)
Same -- yeah, I'd say the same thing I told Mr. Doocy here: that this is not just a good day for the United States of America, it's a good day for the world. 98

Question

Unknown
00:17:46-00:17:53 (7 sec)
Yeah, but I'm saying that the families of the victims of those bombings were not compensated by the U.S. What message do you have for them? 99

John Kirby

Unknown
00:17:53-00:18:13 (20 sec)
I don't have any compensation policies here to speak to. Again, Mr. Zawahiri's death is good for everybody around the world. He was a killer. And -- and it's -- it's a good thing that he's no longer walking the face of the Earth. It also means that we're going to have to stay vigilant to this threat going forward. 100

Question

Unknown
00:18:13-00:18:18 (5 sec)
So are you saying that the lives of Kenyans and Tanzanians don't really matter? 101

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:18-00:18:25 (7 sec)
Wow. I got to take issue with that. I did not say that. And I don't even know where you came from on that one. 102

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:25-00:18:26 (1 sec)
Of course, all lives matter. 103

Question

Unknown
00:18:26-00:18:27 (1 sec)
No, they're upset. The -- 104

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:27-00:18:29 (2 sec)
I didn't say that -- I didn't say -- 105

Question

Unknown
00:18:29-00:18:29 ( sec)
-- inaction right now. 106

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:29-00:18:43 (14 sec)
I didn't say that, sir. And I really, really take exception to the -- to the tone and the implication in that question. Of course, their lives matter. Every life matters, particularly a life taken so violently as by the hands of a terrorist. 107

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:43-00:18:53 (10 sec)
If those lives didn't matter, sir, we wouldn't have taken the action that we took this weekend. And if those lives didn't matter, sir, we wouldn't be staying vigilant to the threat going forward, which we will do. 108

Question

Unknown
00:18:53-00:18:55 (2 sec)
John, on Taiwan? 109

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:18:55-00:18:56 (1 sec)
Go ahead, Nancy. 110

Question

Unknown
00:18:56-00:18:57 (1 sec)
Two Nancys. 111

Question

Unknown
00:18:57-00:18:58 (1 sec)
Which Nancy? 112

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:18:58-00:19:03 (5 sec)
Oh, my gosh. [Laughter] Go ahead, Nancy, and then other Nancy. 113

Question

Unknown
00:19:03-00:19:04 (2 sec)
But all the Nancys. [Laughter] 114

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:19:04-00:19:04 ( sec)
Nancy squared. 115

John Kirby

Unknown
00:19:04-00:19:05 ( sec)
Second-row Nancy. 116

Question

Unknown
00:19:05-00:19:17 (12 sec)
John, was anything you saw today from China's response a surprise? I know that there were the drills and missile tests that Beijing announced that they would conduct. Was that what they'd been warning about in private to the White House? 117

John Kirby

Unknown
00:19:17-00:19:20 (3 sec)
I'm not going to talk about private discussions. 118

John Kirby

Unknown
00:19:20-00:19:32 (12 sec)
What I would tell you is that what we've seen thus far -- and she just arrived -- is consistent with the playbook that we expected them to run. And we'll just keep watching it. 119

John Kirby

Unknown
00:19:32-00:19:39 (7 sec)
It's one of the reasons why I came out here yesterday to sort of lay some of that out for you. So what we've seen so far has been pretty consistent. 120

Question

Unknown
00:19:39-00:19:46 (7 sec)
And is the President planning to speak with Speaker Pelosi after she leaves Taiwan or when she gets back here to get a readout or a sense of that trip? 121

John Kirby

Unknown
00:19:46-00:19:55 (9 sec)
I don't have any conversations that I -- that I'm -- that I could announce or speak to. Obviously, if he does have a conversation like that, I'm sure Karine would -- would let you know. 122

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:19:55-00:19:58 (2 sec)
Nancy. Zeke. 123

Question

Unknown
00:19:58-00:20:15 (17 sec)
When it comes to Taiwan, it appears the retaliation has already begun. China banned exports from 100 Taiwanese brands. Are you concerned that Taiwan is going to end up paying too steep a price for this U.S. visit? 124

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:15-00:20:38 (23 sec)
There's no reason for that to happen, Nancy. As we said today and yesterday, no reason for China to take what is a perfectly legitimate and consistent travel by the Speaker of the House and turn it into some pretext for amping up the tensions or creating some sort of co- -- crisis or conflict. There's just simply no reason for that. 125

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:38-00:20:50 (12 sec)
And because we- -- she's not acting, we're not acting in any way inconsistent with the way we've been acting now for decades since the Taiwan Relations Act was -- was passed into law back in the late '70s. 126

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:50-00:20:57 (7 sec)
I can't speak for Chinese actions or Chinese decisions one way or another. We're going to continue to watch this and monitor this. 127

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:57-00:21:19 (22 sec)
I would just say that we don't support Taiwan independence; we've said that before. We do support Taiwan's self-defense. In keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act, we're going to keep doing that. And we're going to keep working on revitalizing our alliances and partnerships in the region for a free and open Indo-Pacific. 128

Question

Unknown
00:21:19-00:21:25 (6 sec)
And what is this going to do to the U.S.-China relationship, which is already so fraught? 129

John Kirby

Unknown
00:21:25-00:21:51 (26 sec)
I think the fact that the President talked to President Xi last week for two hours is an indication of how much the President understands and respects the consequential nature of this bilateral relationship -- as I've said before, one of the most consequential not just in the region, but in the world. 130

John Kirby

Unknown
00:21:51-00:22:03 (12 sec)
The President wants to keep those lines of communication open. It is particularly important to do that when there's times of tension, like right now -- to make sure those lines of communication remain open. 131

John Kirby

Unknown
00:22:03-00:22:16 (14 sec)
So, I would say, to answer your question: One, we don't want to see this spiral into any kind of a crisis or conflict. Again, we would say there's no reason to. Number two, we want to be able to maintain those lines of communication. 132

John Kirby

Unknown
00:22:16-00:22:26 (9 sec)
But a lot of this is going to depend -- what -- to an- -- answering your question, it's going to depend a lot on how China behaves over coming days and weeks. 133

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:22:26-00:22:28 (2 sec)
Go ahead, Zeke. 134

Question

Unknown
00:22:28-00:22:30 (2 sec)
A follow-up. A follow-up. 135

Question

Unknown
00:22:30-00:22:30 ( sec)
Hey, John -- 136

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:22:30-00:22:32 (2 sec)
We'll come back. We'll come to the back. Go ahead, Zeke. 137

Question

Unknown
00:22:32-00:22:48 (15 sec)
John, given the concerns here just talking about with China's actions in response to this visit by the Speaker -- the heightened tensions, the risks of provocations, and the like -- does the President believe that the Speaker's trip is a net benefit to U.S. national security interests or not? 138

John Kirby

Unknown
00:22:48-00:23:04 (16 sec)
Look, we -- the President doesn't typically comment on congressional travel. As I said, he respects her decision to go, and he believes it's perfectly consistent with American policy, going back decades and supported by both parties. 139

Question

Unknown
00:23:04-00:23:10 (6 sec)
But he's -- he doesn't -- does he believe it hurts U.S. foreign policy interests in the region? 140

John Kirby

Unknown
00:23:10-00:23:32 (22 sec)
The President has already seen that Speaker Pelosi has already accomplished some important conversations on this trip, with respect to foreign policy, with her stop in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. And then, you know, she's already announced she's moving on to Japan and South Korea -- two of our treaty allies in the Pacific. 141

John Kirby

Unknown
00:23:32-00:23:55 (23 sec)
So he welcomes her conversations. He welcomes her contributions to American foreign policy and our foreign policy objectives overseas. But, I mean, the trip is not even over yet, so I think we ought to give the Speaker a chance to talk about what she did, what she learned, and what she took away from this trip when she gets back. 142

Question

Unknown
00:23:55-00:24:10 (15 sec)
And then just back to the al-Zawahiri strike. Does -- you mentioned that you weren't going to telegraph punches before they were thrown. But has the President decided that the Taliban should pay a price, or has he not decided that they should pay a price for harboring al Qaeda? 143

John Kirby

Unknown
00:24:10-00:24:27 (17 sec)
I'm not going to get ahead of the President on this. I think the Taliban already has paid a price just in terms of the now very public acknowledgement that they were harboring Zawahiri and his family, and that the United States did exactly what the President promised we would do. 144

John Kirby

Unknown
00:24:27-00:24:55 (28 sec)
Now, beyond that, I'm just not going to get ahead of the President or any decisions he might or might not make. The Taliban have a choice now -- well, they always did, but they certainly have a new choice -- and that is they can comply with their agreement under the Doha Agreement -- comply with their commitments under the Doha Agreement, or they can choose to keep going down a different path. And if they go down a different path, it's going to lead to consequences not just from the United States, but from the international community. 145

John Kirby

Unknown
00:24:55-00:25:13 (18 sec)
This is a -- this is a group that says they -- they want to govern, that they want legitimacy, that they want financing, that they want international support. And if that's true, then one would hope that they would behave in a manner consistent with those goals. 146

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:13-00:25:27 (14 sec)
Harboring Mr. Zawahiri and his family and being willing to -- to allow them to live in downtown Kabul, and then -- and then to try to cover up the fact that they were -- seems inconsistent with those goals. 147

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:25:27-00:25:30 (3 sec)
Okay, Jeremy. Then we're going to the back, to Phil. 148

Question

Unknown
00:25:30-00:25:37 (7 sec)
I have a question on Taiwan, but first on Zawahiri. Was Siraj Haqqani aware that Zawahiri was in Kabul? 149

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:37-00:25:43 (6 sec)
There were senior members of the Haqqani network that were aware. I'm not going to go any further than that. 150

Question

Unknown
00:25:43-00:25:45 (2 sec)
Okay. So you won't say if Siraj Haqqani himself was aware? 151

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:45-00:25:47 (2 sec)
I'm not going to go any further. 152

Question

Unknown
00:25:47-00:26:07 (20 sec)
Okay. You held up these strikes -- this strike as a vindication of the U.S.'s over-the-horizon capabilities, but what makes you confident that you can maintain that capability and that this wasn't simply a one-off? I mean, to my knowledge, this is the first and only counterterrorism strike the U.S. has conducted since the withdrawal from Afghanistan. 153

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:07-00:26:11 (5 sec)
It's the first and only over-the-horizon counterterrorism strike we conducted in Afghanistan -- 154

Question

Unknown
00:26:11-00:26:12 (1 sec)
That's what I -- sorry. That's not what I'm saying. 155

Question

Unknown
00:26:12-00:26:17 (5 sec)
-- since then. But you remember we also killed Haji Abdullah in Syria using an over-the -- 156

Question

Unknown
00:26:17-00:26:19 (2 sec)
Yeah. I'm asking specifically about Afghanistan. 157

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:19-00:26:20 (1 sec)
-- -horizon capability. 158

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:20-00:26:40 (20 sec)
So what gives me confidence is the -- coming from a place of understanding myself from previous assignments -- what our capabilities are in the region. And they're robust; we said that at the time. You've heard Secretary Austin say there's not a scrap of the Earth that the United States can't touch if we -- if we need to, and that's true. 159

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:40-00:27:05 (24 sec)
And since last year, Jeremy, we have worked hard to try to improve those capabilities. And I'm not going to get into the details of how we're doing that right now, but we have. We've worked hard to make them more robust. And the process of improvement doesn't have a -- it doesn't have a shelf life; there's no deadline on that. You constantly try to improve military capabilities and particularly one in this realm. 160

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:05-00:27:13 (9 sec)
So, I mean, we can expect al Qaeda is probably going to behave a little differently now, so we're going to have to be mindful of that. So we're always going to be working to get better at it. But -- 161

Question

Unknown
00:27:13-00:27:18 (5 sec)
And are you going to limit those efforts to targeting only the highest-of-value targets in Afghanistan? 162

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:18-00:27:36 (18 sec)
The President, I think, laid it out very clearly back then and then -- and then yesterday that we're going to make sure that Afghanistan cannot become a safe haven for terrorists who want to attack or are plotting to attack the United States of America and our interests. 163

Question

Unknown
00:27:36-00:27:53 (17 sec)
And then very quickly, on Taiwan, what is the U.S. doing to prepare for any further Chinese action and, particularly, any military repercussions for Taiwan from China? Are we seeing any force posture changes in the region? And anything else that the U.S. is doing to help Taiwan gird itself? 164

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:53-00:27:57 (5 sec)
I think you can understand I'm not going to talk about force posture or military movements one way or the other. 165

Question

Unknown
00:27:57-00:27:59 (2 sec)
Maybe from a different podium. [Laughs] 166

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:59-00:28:01 (2 sec)
Yeah. Yeah, nice try. 167

John Kirby

Unknown
00:28:01-00:28:18 (17 sec)
No, I'm not going to do that. We -- we take our security commitments in the region, broadly, very, very seriously. We have robust military capability obviously available to meet those commitments. We're going to watch what happens here as closely as we can. 168

John Kirby

Unknown
00:28:18-00:28:28 (10 sec)
The only thing that I will say, as I said at the top, is that we're going to make sure that Speaker Pelosi's trip -- the whole trip -- is safe and secure for her. 169

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:28:28-00:28:31 (3 sec)
Go ahead, Phil, in the back. 170

Question

Unknown
00:28:31-00:28:40 (8 sec)
Thank you. As you mentioned, we're seeing some pretty provocative stuff, unfortunately, from China -- whether that's canceling food exports or planned military exercises. 171

Question

Unknown
00:28:40-00:28:56 (16 sec)
I'm wondering: Given these developments, does the White House believe that it would have been better that news of Speaker Pelosi's proposed trip had not leaked last month? Would it have been better if this remained secret until she was on the ground? 172

John Kirby

Unknown
00:28:56-00:29:07 (11 sec)
It's hard to speak to leaks in this town and what effect they -- I mean, you're asking me to sort of go back in time and -- and, you know, just sort of disprove a negative here. 173

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:07-00:29:23 (16 sec)
I -- look, we -- the leak was certainly unfortunate. Wherever it came from, it was unfortunate, because the Speaker, as we have said -- Karine has said and I have said -- should be able to talk to her travel in her own terms. 174

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:23-00:29:27 (5 sec)
And -- and, you know, she -- when she -- she landed, she announced she was there. 175

Question

Unknown
00:29:27-00:29:45 (17 sec)
And then one more, very quickly. House Republicans are already moving forward with legislation that they plan on proposing that would create a sort of lend-lease program for Taiwan. Is this an overreaction? Is this something that perhaps heightens tensions at a moment when they should be mellowed? 176

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:45-00:29:57 (12 sec)
I won't speak to Congress and their motivations or whoever -- and I'm certainly not going to talk about proposed legislation. I would tell you that -- 177

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:57-00:29:59 (2 sec)
[Phone alarm sounds] It's time to wake up. [Laughter] 178

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:59-00:30:11 (12 sec)
I would tell you that there's been longstanding bipartisan support since the late '70s for the Taiwan Relations Act, both -- both sides of the aisle. And that remains today. 179

John Kirby

Unknown
00:30:11-00:30:23 (12 sec)
And we take our obligations under that act very seriously, which provides for a way, a method of assisting Taiwan with their self-defense. 180

John Kirby

Unknown
00:30:23-00:30:44 (21 sec)
And so, through the -- I can't -- you know, I can't speculate about where this proposed legislation is going to go, and I'm certainly not going to offer an administration policy statement on it since it's simply proposed, but I can be certain -- and it's important for everybody to understand how seriously we take our obligations under that Taiwan Relations Act, and we're going to continue to do that. 181

John Kirby

Unknown
00:30:44-00:30:55 (11 sec)
I mean, even just under -- under President Biden, you know, we've -- we've provided a billion dollars' worth of defense articles under the Taiwan Relations Act. So it's a serious commitment. 182

Question

Unknown
00:30:55-00:30:58 (3 sec)
Thank you, sir. Thank you, Karine. 183

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:30:58-00:30:59 (1 sec)
Sebastian and then Steven. 184

Question

Unknown
00:30:59-00:31:14 (14 sec)
Thank you. Thank you, John. I'm Sebastian. So, two questions, please. Can you confirm Chinese media reports that the U.S. ambassador in Beijing was summoned by the government and it was in the middle of the night? That's -- the Global Times is reporting that. 185

John Kirby

Unknown
00:31:14-00:31:26 (12 sec)
We -- we know that Ambassador Burns has had discussions with his Chinese interlocutors, but I'd refer you to the State Department in terms of being summoned in the middle of the night. 186

Question

Unknown
00:31:26-00:32:08 (42 sec)
Okay. And the other one: There was a -- there was an interesting nugget in the middle of a latest Thomas Friedman column, which was ostensibly all about Taiwan but he then mentions Ukraine. And there was an intriguing couple of paragraphs in there where he's supposedly quoting people from inside the administration telling him that -- I can't remember the exact words, but it was essentially that there's -- there's more -- there's less trust in Volodymyr Zelenskyy than is being reported and that's there -- actually, I've got it right here. "There's deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy." I'm only asking you because Thomas Friedman is obviously somebody who is read widely and supposedly has, you know, contacts with people inside the White House. So -- 187

John Kirby

Unknown
00:32:08-00:32:37 (29 sec)
Yeah, the President has spoken many, many times to his admiration for President Zelenskyy's leadership and courage in this time of war. He has obviously spoken to President Zelenskyy personally many times, and he knows -- understands the stress that President Zelenskyy and all the Ukrainian people are under. And that's why he has remained very committed to continuing to support Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression. 188

John Kirby

Unknown
00:32:37-00:32:47 (10 sec)
He has privately and publicly expressed that respect for President Zelenskyy and for the challenges that he and his fellow citizens are facing. 189

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:32:47-00:32:53 (6 sec)
Go ahead, Steven, and then Tam, and then Nandita. And I'll come to the back. 190

Question

Unknown
00:32:53-00:33:10 (17 sec)
Thanks. John, in an effort to advance the public's understanding of what happened in the Zawahiri operation, can you explain: The Hellfire missiles apparently have these blades. Can you explain how operationally that worked and, to avoid civilian casualties, what the capabilities of those missiles are and how it all played out? 191

John Kirby

Unknown
00:33:10-00:33:11 (1 sec)
No. 192

John Kirby

Unknown
00:33:11-00:33:11 ( sec)
[Laughter] 193

Question

Unknown
00:33:11-00:33:36 (25 sec)
All right. How about this one? Last night, a senior official was asked to avoid any doubt being aired about whether, in fact, it was Zawahiri who was targeted. There's multiple intelligence sources, multiple methods. Is there anything you can tell us to avoid any doubt being aired about the fact that it was, in fact, Zawahiri who was killed? 194

John Kirby

Unknown
00:33:36-00:34:12 (36 sec)
There's a limit to how much detail we can provide on this. I would tell you that it's a combination of visual evidence and evidence collected through other means that led us to the certainty before that this was the guy. And that led us to the conclusion after, with a high degree of confidence, that he was no more. 195

Question

Unknown
00:34:12-00:34:16 (4 sec)
Is it physical evidence? 196

John Kirby

Unknown
00:34:16-00:34:25 (9 sec)
It's a visual evidence and a -- and evidence collected through other means. I really think that's about as far as I can go. 197

John Kirby

Unknown
00:34:25-00:34:48 (23 sec)
But the assessment is high confidence that -- that we got who we were aiming for. And I think -- you know, just without getting into more detail, I mean, just the various things that people on the ground did afterward also helped us come to that conclusion. 198

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:34:48-00:34:50 (3 sec)
Go ahead, Tam. 199

Question

Unknown
00:34:50-00:35:14 (24 sec)
Yeah. Last year, the Biden administration was undertaking a review of its drone policy. I can't find any evidence that that review was completed or released to the public, and I'm wondering what the status of that is but also what this -- what this operation tells us about President Biden's approach to the use of drones in foreign policy. 200

John Kirby

Unknown
00:35:14-00:35:25 (11 sec)
I don't have an update on the policy review. We can take that and see if we can get back to you on something. I just don't -- I don't have an update for you on that today. 201

John Kirby

Unknown
00:35:25-00:36:15 (50 sec)
But I think in every thing that you've seen President Biden do as Commander-in-Chief -- and now I can speak with some authority on that, having served in another building -- it's --there is a respect for the use of force and an appreciation for both the power that's resident in the use of force, as well as the limits of some of that power around the world that the President fully, fully respects. And he has a deep appreciation for, if the military tool is going to be used, that it's used to pursue a very discrete national security interest and that the tools used are appropriate to the task. 202

John Kirby

Unknown
00:36:15-00:36:29 (13 sec)
And unmanned aerial vehicles are a tool -- a very powerful tool. You can't use them for everything; you shouldn't use them for everything. But in a case like this, well, I think the results speak for themselves. 203

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:36:29-00:36:31 (2 sec)
A couple more. Go ahead, Nandita. 204

Question

Unknown
00:36:31-00:36:46 (15 sec)
Thank you. If you could talk a little bit about why the President, in the case of Zawahiri, ordered a CIA drone strike and not a military strike, and specifically if Pakistan was notified ahead of time in this case. 205

John Kirby

Unknown
00:36:46-00:37:29 (43 sec)
There were no notifications in advance. Given the -- given the collection of information that we had over the previous six, seven months, the location of the target, the geography, and the President's strong desire -- strong desire -- to avoid civilian casualties, it was his decision that the best way to execute this strike was to do it with unmanned aerial vehicles. 206

John Kirby

Unknown
00:37:29-00:37:58 (29 sec)
You might remember, months ago, when we launched another over-the-horizon counterterrorism strike in Syria against Haji Abdullah, that there was a blend; there was a use of actual American forces, as well as unmanned aerial -- unmanned aerial vehicles in support. 207

John Kirby

Unknown
00:37:58-00:38:03 (4 sec)
So, every case is different. Every mission is different. 208

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:03-00:38:17 (14 sec)
And back to the previous question: As Commander-in-Chief, the President takes a very discerning view about the use of military or -- or any kind of what we call "kinetic power" and how that's -- how that's applied. 209

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:17-00:38:47 (30 sec)
I'm not going to, again, speak to the units here or what personnel were involved in this, but this was done only with the UAVs. And again, it was a result of a very careful, thoughtful, deliberate, I would say almost painstaking, decision-making process led by the President and his national security team to make sure that the target was valid and that the tools to go after that target were the best ones. 210

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:47-00:38:53 (6 sec)
And again, I say the results speak for themselves: Zawahiri is gone, and nobody in his family got hurt. 211

Question

Unknown