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Coast Guard Conducts Overflight, Prepares for Return of Hōkūleʻa to Oahu

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point conducted an overflight of the voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia and other vessels en route to Oahu from Molokai, Friday morning.

Crewmembers on an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, conduct a fly over of the Hōkūleʻa, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hikianalia and other voyaging canoes, June 16, 2017. The Hōkūleʻa will return home to Oahu, June 17 after being gone for 36 months, sailing approximately 40,000 nautical miles around the world. (U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

“We recognize the incredible outpouring of public interest and support surrounding the homecoming of the Hōkūleʻa,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and Captain of the Port. “Along with DOCARE we want to ensure that this is a safe, enjoyable and memorable time with our primary focus being on the safety of all waterway users and responders while we honor the cultural significance of this event.”

Saturday residents and visitors to Oahu will welcome Hōkūleʻa home from their 3 year worldwide voyage. The canoes will sail from a mooring to Waikiki and then up the Ala Wai Canal to Magic Island. Hōkūleʻa and the Hikianalia are expected to moor at Magic Island by 9 a.m., with an official welcome ceremony to follow at 10 a.m.
The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), the City and County of Honolulu Emergency Services Department Division of Ocean Safety, the Honolulu Fire Department, Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Coast Guard are teaming up to provide on-water safety and security for the homecoming.

  • For its transit to Waikiki, water safety assets will be enforcing a 500-yard safety perimeter around Hokule’a. Vessels and canoes may be allowed to operate within the 500-yard safety perimeter with the permission of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, coordinated through the on-scene patrol commander, but will be required to remain a minimum of 100 feet from Hōkūleʻa. All crossing traffic will be prohibited on Hōkūleʻa’s final approach to the Ala Wai Canal.
  • The Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor boat ramp will be closed Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only vessels returning to their berth in the Ala Wai boat harbor will be allowed up the Ala Wai channel adjacent to Magic Island. All motorized traffic will be asked to turn around and stay out of the canal as the canoes and Hōkūleʻa transit up the Ala Wai to their mooring. This is for safety in an area of limited space and restricted maneuverability.
  • Following the Hōkūleʻa’s mooring, all motor vessels wishing to transit the Ala Wai will require an escort coordinated through DOCARE.
  • Operators of all watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) are reminded to keep a sharp lookout for other traffic and waterway users. They are also reminded not to boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol and to comply with all state and federal regulations regarding life jackets and other safety equipment.

2015-2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Hawaii Girls Basketball Team Announced

USA TODAY High School Sports is proud to announce the 2015-16 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Hawaii Girls Basketball Team. Players were selected based on their athletic achievements from the 2015-16 season.

For the complete list of American Family Insurance ALL-USA state teams, click here.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Bobbie Awa, Konawaena (Kealakekua)
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation Coach of the Year, Awa guided Konawaena to its second straight state title and the seventh overall during her tenure. The Wildcats finished the year 26-1 and were undefeated against Hawaii competition.

FIRST TEAM

Player of the Year
Chanelle Molina, G, Konawaena (Kealakekua), 5-7, Sr.

Chanelle Molina

Chanelle Molina

A three-time Gatorade Hawaii Girls Basketball Player of the Year and four-time Big Island Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year, Molina earned Most Outstanding Player of the tournament honors after leading Konawaena (26-1) to its second straight Division I championship. She scored 24 points in the state final and averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and 7.6 assists for the year. Molina has signed to play at Washington State this fall.

Cherilyn Molina, G, Konawaena (Kealakekua), 5-3, So.
The younger Molina sister averaged 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in helping Konawaena to a state championship.

Naai Solomon-Lewis, C, Kohala (Kapaau), 5-8, Sr.
Solomon-Lewis averaged 14.3 ppg and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Div. II tournament, despite falling in the semifinals—when she grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 14 points.

Keala Quinlan, G, Roosevelt (Honolulu), 6-0, Sr.
A University of Portland signee, Quinlan averaged 19.6 points per game to lead Roosevelt to the first round of the Division I state tournament.

Keleah-Aiko Koloi, F, Lahainaluna (Lahaina), 5-11, Sr.
Koloi averaged 16.3 points per game for a Lahainaluna team that advanced to the Division I semifinals.

SECOND TEAM

Ihi Victor, F, Konawaena (Kealakekua), 5-10, Sr.

Cameron Fernandez, F/G, Lahainaluna (Lahaina), 5-8, Sr.

Tyra Moe, F, Punahou (Honolulu), 6-1, Sr.

Roselynn Shimaoka, G, Kaiser (Honolulu), 5-6, Sr.

Ally Wada, G/F, Hawaii Baptist (Honolulu), 5-8, So.

Big Island Hosting 11 Nations: Trans-Pacific Partnership Meeting Begins

Eleven nations will be meeting tomorrow here on the Big Island at an undisclosed location  to work on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010.

Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010.

U.S. failure to pass a trans-Pacific agreement would leave a political vacuum for China to fill.

Beginning tomorrow on the Big Island of Hawaii, U.S. officials will host trade negotiators from 11 nations spanning Asia and the Americas to work toward completing what could be the most significant trade deal in a generation. Five years in the making, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would cover 40% of global gross domestic product and a third of world trade.

Any such deal ultimately will have to make it through the U.S. Congress. In order to prevent lawmakers from amending the agreement and undoing years of international negotiations, Congress will first have to provide President Obama with trade promotion authority, also known as “fast-track,” that allows a yes-or-no vote on the package.

The remainder of this Wall Street Journal opinion piece can be found here: A Trade Deal With a Bonus For National Security

Video: U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono Rallies East Hawaii Voters at Big Island Bus Stop Tour

Big Island of Hawaii’s Democratic contingency took part in an East Hawaii Bus Stop tour today starting at Laupahoehoe Community Charter School and ending at Auntie Sally’s Luau in Hilo today.

I took the following pictures at HAAS Community Charter School in Pahoa today on their third stop of the tour.

Unfortunately Governor Abercrombie and Democratic Candidate Tulsi Gabbard were unable to make the event, however, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono had this to say at the rally:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/snzw7S3b_Qs]

Lt. Governor Brian Schatz – “Setting a New Course”

I have had the honor of serving as your Lieutenant Governor for the past year, and I am pleased to report that it has been a productive year for my office. We have memorialized our major activities and initiatives in an Annual Report which I would like to share with you today.

Click to read the report

The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawai‘i has essentially two legal mandates in the operation of his or her office.  The first is to serve as the assistant chief executive, becoming Acting Governor upon the Governor’s absence from the state.  The second, as the legally designated Secretary of State, is to manage specific services for the public.

When this administration took office in December of 2010, Governor Abercrombie asked that I assume additional responsibilities in the form of special projects and initiatives assigned to me by the Governor.  An overarching principal in the selection of initiatives was that they help guide the State through its period of economic recovery.

In a phrase, our objective was to stretch the office so we could work collaboratively with both government agencies and the private sector to focus on key targets.

Our Annual Report covers service improvements made within our office, the Hawai‘i Fair Share Initiative, the significance of hosting APEC, disaster relief, China trade and travel activities and initial efforts to make Hawai‘i the home for the Obama Presidential Center.

The Governor’s vision to utilize my office to the fullest is derived from his continued commitment to make the best use of governmental resources.  We face challenges ahead.  But there is a lot to build on after this first year, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Hawai‘i into the future.

Aloha,

The Year That Was 2011… My Adventures in Paradise

2011 has been another interesting year for me.  Here is a quick year in review of some of the things that I got to blog about as I tried to do at least one interesting thing each month:

In January, I spent another weekend at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort where I finally got a chance to check out the Legends of the Pacific Luau show:

My son gets a "tattoo" from one of the dancers

In February, I got a chance to tour the Puna Geothermal Venture plant with plant manager Mike Kaleikini and State Lawmakers:

Kaleikini and Senator Hanohano talk about geothermal

In March, I got to join Hawaii Forest & Trail and be an extra on the television show Next Stop TV.

Filming the final segment of the show

In April, the University of Hawaii Football team came to the Big Island and put on a scrimmage for Big Island residents and Mayor Kenoi allowed me to follow him onto the field to take pictures of the team.

UH Quarterback Bryant Moniz stretches out

In April, I got to check out Five for Fighting at the Royal Kona Resort with John Ondrasik:

John Ondrasik rocks the crowd while I was playing with my camera

In May, I got to check out Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Royal Kona Resort where I got to interview Glenn Phillips.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Also in May, I got to attend the Big Island Film Festival that was held at the Fairmont Orchid where my ohana was put up on the GOLD FLOOR!

Mayor Kenoi, Film Commissioner John Mason and Actress Sarah Wayne Callies

Looking back at May… I realize it was quite a busy month as I also flew over to Oahu to attend the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards where I got to get up on stage with The Green during their sound check.

The Green won Reggae Album of the Year

In June, before the Zipline accident at Honoli’i Outpost… I had the opportunity to go Zipping with KapohoKine Adventures at their new Zipline Course.  Ironically, this course is now closed because of a construction accident that claimed the life of one of the folks working on the Ziplines.

Zipline #4 at the KapohoKine Ziplines

In July, I got to attend the Grand Opening of the Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum:

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum

August was going to be an awesome month until I got busted up by the cops for filming them in action outside the Pahoa Village Club.  I got falsely arrested and the charges were later dropped.  Of course this is a memory that I’d like to go away… but I’m still pursuing legal action at this time.

A much better memory in August, was attending the BBQ Cookoff, watching the $10,000 Mai Tai “Mix-Off” and going back stage with the Spin Doctors at the Royal Kona Resort.

The Spin Doctors rocked the Royal Kona Resort

In September, I got to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village again where I got to attend the 16th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range

In October it looks like I laid low and didn’t do to much, however in November, The White House and the US State Department granted me a “Media Pass” to the 2011 APEC Conference that was held in Honolulu and on one of the days, I got to have lunch with the world leaders!

Wish it would have said "Blogger" and not "Journalist"!

December was a cool month as I got to set a Tandem Skydiving Altitude Record with Skydive Hawaii one day…

21,000 feet! Hawaii Tandem Altitude Record set with Skydive Hawaii in December

And the next day I got to go on a private tour of the Navy Submarine the USS Cheyenne.

Inside the US Navy Nuclear Sub the USS Cheyenne

I’d like to thank all of my sponsors… you can check out their sites by clicking on their ads on the columns.  I’d also like to thank my wife and son for allowing me to get away from them at times to do some of this crazy stuff.

I’d also like to thanks the companies that have asked me to visit their properties, restaurants, attractions, etc.

But most of all… I’d like to thank you… the readers of this site.  Without having folks reading this site… I wouldn’t be motivated to do many of the things I do.

Mahalo to all of you and have a great, safe, and prosperous 2012.

Hawaii County APEC Expenditures… $90,000 Allocated

Well now that the 2011 APEC Hawaii Summit is over some are wondering if it was worth it for our state to put out such taxpayers money for an event of this magnitude.

“…The actual APEC cost to state government totaled $3.2 million, 57 percent lower than the original projected cost of $7.5 million.Schatz said one reason for the lower APEC bills was that protesters during APEC were peaceful, and there were no arrests.”A lot of those funds, those expected expenditures, were in the case that something happened that had to be dealt with, whether it was mass arrests, or an air quality problem or a need for overtime for law enforcement officers,” Schatz said…

Despite the fact that it is well known that the State did stock up on pepper spray and other measures that could potentially cause harm to protestors, Lt. Governor Schatz stated the State will ask the Federal government for some reimbursements of the cost:

“We were one of the only national security special events in recent memory where there were no lawsuits, because we weren’t about to use law enforcement as a premise to shut down people’s ability to express their viewpoints,” he said.The state will ask the federal government for reimbursement for all the extra APEC security costs.

A lot of folks on the Big Island are wondering what, if any costs were incurred by Big Island officials for this conference.
According to the recently updated Department of Finance, Purchasing Division, and Professional Services Awarded website it appears that $90,000.00 was allocated for APEC out of Hawaii County taxpayers money:
My guess is that the majority of this money went to a reception that was held on Wednesday, November 9th, the night before the APEC Conference began.
The county went all out on this reception greeting everyone that came in the door with an orchid lei from the Big Island.

Councilwoman Brittany Smart and Mayor Kenoi sporting Big Island leis

The event lasted from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and consisted of heavy Big Island pupus…

Big Island Grindz

I don’t have a breakdown of where the $90,000.00 may or may not have gone to… but I assume the Big Island entertainers that were brought there were paid such as Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winners Kuana Torres Kahele and  Mark Yamanaka.

Big Island Musicians Rule!

And K’uipo Kumukahi:

Kuuipo Kumukahi

I can only assume that many county officials expenses were paid for such as air, hotel and car rental expenses… since they were there to “Promote the Big Island”.

Mayor Kenoi talks to a Washington DC Reporter while the cameras roll

Word went around the coconut wireless that folks were to wear clothes that represented the Big Island and I sure saw a lot of Sig Zane Design clothes there!

Mayor Kenoi and his wife along with Lt. Governor Brian Schatz sporting Sig Zane Designs Clothing from the Big Island

County of Hawaii Gets New “Rag” – Mayor Kenoi Joins Twitter and Facebook

When I was over at the APEC Conference, I followed Mayor Kenoi around for a little while and one of the questions I remember this reporter from Washington DC asking him, was if he was on Twitter.

Mayor Kenoi's Social Media Profile Picture

Mayor Kenoi said… “No… but guys like Damon over here are bugging me to get on it” or something to that effect.

Well I just noticed that Hawaii County has a new .PDF Magazine that they are publishing called Holomua.

Here is the press release regarding the new magazine Holouma:

The Mayor’s Office is proud to announce the launch of a new newsletter, Holomua. Paper copies will be available at the Mayor’s Office in Hilo and Kona, and a PDF can be downloaded here at HawaiiCountyMayor.com.

In this edition: the latest segment of Saddle Road is opened, the Mayor test drives an electric vehicle being evaluated for use in the County fleet, and a look at Hawai‘i Island’s representation in Honolulu during the Leaders Week meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. All this and more in Holomua.

A quick scan of the “rag” looks like they are basically releasing a lot of old press releases and a few new ones on there.

But the thing that really surprised me… is that it appears that Mayor Kenoi is now taking to social media to spread the counties word via his new Facebook Account and his new Twitter Account:

So here is Mayor Kenoi’s first “Tweet” as twitter users like to call their thoughts.

And here is his first posts to his Facebook account:

Mayor Kenoi's First Facebook Posts

APEC VIDEO: Hawaii County Awardee for Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase – Big Island Carbon

Big Island Carbon is committed to close partnership with our clients to produce the highest quality activated carbon products using sustainable manufacturing with responsible environmental stewardship.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/NN3QR4JF4Uw]

Indonesian President Tours USS Arizona Memorial on Final Day of APEC Summit

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Nov. 13, 2011) Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Robert Willard describes the damage sustained by USS Arizona during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor to the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Indonesian president toured the Arizona Memorial on the final day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Danny Hayes)

Wordless Wednesday – APEC Secret Service in Paradise

Big Island Coffee Growers Favor APEC Free Trade Deal

Earlier this week, Barack Obama, the US president, announced plans to create a free trade agreement with some Asia-Pacific countries during an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Hawaii.

The decision comes as coffee growers in the US state struggle to keep their generations-old businesses going.

A Kona Coffee Grower say Asian markets are "willing to pay more for a good product than the average American Citizen".

Big Island growers say they are in favor of the proposed deal because Asian markets are “willing to pay more for a good product than the average American citizen”.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/BEi2JZIb4AQ]

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Video of President Obama’s Press Conference at the APEC Summit

President Obama makes remarks and takes questions about progress made at the 19th annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leader’s summit. November 13, 2011.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/LBGRiB4PEjk]

President Obama’s Speech Before Makana Sang His “Occupy With Aloha” Protest Song at the APEC World Leaders Dinner

This is the speech that President Obama gave at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki shortly before Makana Cameron got on stage in front of the world leaders and sang his song about “Occupy with Aloha” (Note bold paragraph I emphasized).

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everybody.  To all the leaders who are representing their countries here at APEC, I hope you’ve had a wonderful stay so far, and hope you had a wonderful dinner.  To members of the delegation, welcome.

Two years ago, when I was in Singapore and it was announced that we would be hosting the APEC Summit here in Honolulu, I promised that you would all have to wear aloha shirts or grass skirts.  (Laughter.)  But I was persuaded by our team to perhaps break tradition, and so we have not required you to wear your aloha shirts, although I understand that a few of you have tried them on for size, and we may yet see you in them in the next several days.

But one tradition that we did not want to break is the tradition of the luau.  Here in Hawaii, there is a traditional gathering that we call luau, and it’s basically an excuse for a good party, and it’s used for every occasion.  We have birthday luaus and graduation luaus.  And now we have APEC luaus.  (Applause.)  And there is — somebody is ready to party already.  (Laughter.)

We have music.  We have song.  We have celebration.  And we have hula dancing.  And Michelle does not think I’m a very good dancer, so I will not be performing this evening.  (Laughter.)  But I think we will have some wonderful examples of traditional Polynesian dance and music and song.  And it will capture, I think, the extraordinary spirit of these islands, but also capture, I think, the spirit in which I hope we proceed in our important work during the course of this APEC Summit.

We are bound together by an ocean.  We are bound together by a common belief and a common concern for our people — their aspirations, their hopes, their dreams.  And so I hope that all of you feel the extraordinary spirit of Hawaii and very much look forward to a wonderful set of meetings tomorrow.

So, with that, please enjoy. 

Waikiki Biker Gang Invades APEC 2011

I saw this gang of “bikers” come cruising through Waikiki today right past the Secret Service and all.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/f-nmePpgqw8]

Alright, I know… I know! I’ve had a long week!

Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

A member of the Russia Delegation meets a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome my friend, Dmitry Medvedev, to my birthplace, Honolulu, Hawaii.  My understanding is that he’s been spotted in a Hawaiian shirt walking and enjoying the good weather.  And so I don’t know if anybody got pictures of this, but I’m glad that he’s enjoying himself so far.

President Medvedev and I have I think successfully established the reset of U.S.-Russia relationships — the U.S.-Russian relationship over the last several years.  And it has borne concrete fruit in the form of the New START Treaty, the 123 Agreement, the work that we did together imposing sanctions on Iran, and most recently, the efforts that we’ve made on Russia’s WTO accession.

Today, we had a wide-ranging discussion.  It focused on a number of security issues where the U.S. and Russia have a significant interest.  We discussed Afghanistan and our plan to transition, and the importance all the regional parties assisting the Afghan government in stabilizing the country for the benefit of the Afghan people.

We discussed Iran, and reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so that we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program.

We discussed a number of world trouble spots, including Syria.  And we discussed the importance of APEC and our common interest in assuring global growth and increased opportunity, business investment, commercial ties, and most importantly, job creation in both our countries.

Although it’s not official yet, the invitation has been extended to Russia to join the WTO, as a testament to the hard work of President Medvedev and his team.  We believe this is going to be good for the United States, for the world, as well as for Russia, because it will provide increased opportunities for markets in which we can sell goods and products and services, as well as purchase good, products and services without some of the traditional barriers.

And so we very much appreciate the cooperation and partnership that we forged around this issue.  We think it’s an example of the importance that both countries place on economic reform and economic growth.

And on my part, on my administration’s part, this is going to be a good time for us to consult closely with Congress about ending the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia, so that the U.S. businesses can take advantage of Russia’s membership in the WTO, and we can expand commerce and create jobs here in the United States.  So those consultations will be taking place in the weeks and months to come.

So, President Medvedev, thank you again for a constructive conversation.  But more importantly, thank you for several years of constructive engagement with the United States.

PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV:  Aloha.  (As interpreted.)  Well, I would like to start by thanking Barack for this brilliant idea of hosting the APEC Summit here in his birthplace, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Not only is it a beautiful location but it also is a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of issues like we did today.

But today, my friend, Barack, and I discussed not only weather but also issues he outlined just recently.  But I would like to start by thanking President Obama and his team for his active support and engagement in our accession process to the WTO.  Moreover, we have never received similar support from any previous administration, and this is probably the explanation of why we’ve been acceding to the Organization since 1993.  As has been recognized just now, Russia’s accession is good not only for Russia itself or for the U.S. or other countries, but for the entire system of trade relations in the world.

Our global economy, global finance is surviving not the best of times.  So the more coordinated actions we take, the less there are trade barriers.  The clearer instructions we give to our trading ministries, the sooner we will be able to overcome recession, which, unfortunately, still continues globally.  And the easier it will be to solve our unemployment, which remains our major problem.

This is why the summit of Asia Pacific region countries is of great importance, so that we can coordinate and integrate our ideas.  And I am sure that it will be very successful at the highest possible level.

Today, apart from Russian accession to the WTO and the need to review Jackson-Vanik, we discussed with President Obama a number of international issues.  I’m referring to the discussions we had about the Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria.  We also spoke about Iran nuclear program, and discussed a number of other issues, including European missile defense.  We agreed to continue a search for possible solutions, though we understand that our positions remain far apart.  But over the recent years, we achieved progress on matters where there was no progress.  Barack has just recalled the START treaty.  If we manage to emphasize similar efforts on European missile defense, just like other issues, I’m sure we’ll succeed.

I would like to express a full satisfaction with the past and present relations with the U.S. President.  Our relations, and that’s most important, have always been characterized by trust, and it is only when trust is present that we can resolve difficult tasks — and we did resolve some, although, much remains to be done.

And I thank President Obama again for the invitation.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

President Obama Meets With China’s President Hu at APEC 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to President Hu as he attends this APEC Summit, and we are glad to host him and the other world leaders who are attending.

This will be the first extensive discussions that we’ve had since our very successful state visit by President Hu to Washington.

As we emphasized at that state visit, as two of the world’s largest countries and largest economies, cooperation between the United States and China is vital not only to the security and prosperity of our own people but is also vital to the world.

Such cooperation is particularly important to the Asia Pacific region, where both China and the United States are extraordinarily active.  We are both Pacific powers.  And I think many countries in the region look to a constructive relationship between the United States and China as a basis for continued growth and prosperity.

As we did at the G20 in Cannes, President Hu and I I’m sure will be discussing issues related to economic growth, how we can continue to rebalance growth around the world, emphasize the importance of putting people back to work, and making sure that the trade relationships and commercial relationships between our two countries end up being a win-win situation.

And I look forward to the opportunity to also discuss a range of both regional and global security issues, including nonproliferation and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, ways that we can work together on issues like climate change, and our efforts to jointly assure that countries like Iran are abiding by international rules and norms.

And although there are areas where we continue to have differences, I am confident that the U.S.-China relationship can continue to grow in a constructive way based on mutual respect and mutual interests.  And I want to extend my appreciation to President Hu for the continuous engagement not only of him but also of the entire Chinese government in addressing a wide range of these issues.

So, welcome, President Hu, and I look forward to not only a good discussion here but also an outstanding APEC Summit.

PRESIDENT HU:  (As interpreted.)  I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm invitation and welcome.  I’m delighted to have this opportunity to come to the beautiful state of Hawaii to attend the APEC economic leaders meeting and to meet with you, Mr. President.

This is the ninth meeting between you and I, Mr. President, since you took office, and I look forward to a extensive and in-depth discussion on China-U.S. relations, as well as major regional and international issues of shared interest.

As things stand, the international situation is undergoing complex and profound changes.  There is growing instability and uncertainty in the world economic recovery, and regional security threat has become more salient.  Under these circumstances, it is all the more important for China and the United States to increase their communication and coordination.

China looks forward to maintaining and strengthening dialogue and cooperation with the United States, to respect each other’s major concerns, appropriately manage sensitive issues, and ensure that the China-U.S. relationship will continue to grow on a sustainable and stable path.

This APEC meeting has drawn a lot of attention worldwide and we appreciate the tremendous work the United States has done in preparing for this meeting.  The Asia Pacific region is the most dynamic region in today’s world, with the biggest development potential.  This region should become a region of active cooperation between China and the United States.

I sincerely wish this meeting a full success, and I hope that this meeting here will send out a positive message to the international community that economies in the Asia Pacific region will reach out to each other like passengers on the same boat, and work together to ensure the continued, steady growth of the economies.

Thank you once again, Mr. President.

USAID Supports New Fund to Advance Food Safety

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today pledged $250,000 to help launch a landmark partnership designed to improve the safety of global food supplies. Based on  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) food safety capacity building initiatives, the Global Food Safety Partnership  is an innovative public-private partnership focused on improving systems and regulations that lead to better health outcomes, reduced risk of food-borne hazards, expanded participation of farmers and producers into higher value and global food supply chains, and improved food security. With the USAID contribution, the initiative has secured enough pledges to establish a fund to support country-led efforts to produce safe, nutritious foods. The fund, which will be administered by the World Bank, is the first of its kind focused on food safety.

Announced during the APEC meetings in Honolulu, the Global Food Safety Partnership will initially pilot and develop training programs, address high-priority food hazards, and strengthen laboratory capacity in APEC so that it can later be customized, expanded and delivered to Africa and other areas.

The objectives of the partnership are aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. Feed the Future places an emphasis on smallholder farmers, particularly women, to support countries in developing their agriculture sectors as a catalyst to generate broad-based economic growth and reduce hunger and undernutrition. With Feed the Future support, the World Bank-administered Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) has proven successful in supporting country-led approaches to food security and is leveraging significant investments from multilateral institutions toward improved global food security.

USAID’s pledge today for the Global Food Safety Partnership will complement investments in GASFP to further advance global food safety and security efforts. The pledge was announced by Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.

“The Global Food Safety Partnership is designed to transform food safety, prevent food-borne illness and engage local farmers and producers in innovative safety practices,” Lindborg said. “By coordinating and collaborating, we can ensure access to safe, nutrient-dense foods, particularly for women and young children, in the very communities we seek to empower. This objective is at the core of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.”

Through Feed the Future, the U.S. works with partners to develop new means for reducing agricultural and food safety threats, such as contamination of the food supply. With a focus on building partnerships to leverage substantial private-sector resources, Feed the Future also advances sustainable growth in emerging markets to address the global food security challenge. These efforts promote the expansion of regulatory cooperation and effectiveness, which are high priorities for APEC, and align with the goals of the Global Food Safety Partnership. USAID’s commitment announced today, in combination with those of private and public sector partners, will help enable the Global Food Safety Partnership to serve as the premier focal point to maximize the impact of industry and government partners to support food safety for years to come.

Feed the Future, is the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative geared toward addressing the root causes of poverty and undernutrition. For more information, please visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

Remarks by Ambassador Kirk and Q & A With APEC Trade Ministers

AMBASSADOR KIRK:  First of all, let me thank all of you for your patience.  Let me especially extend my gratitude to my colleagues for what has been a very robust and engaged ministerial meeting.  Today we discussed a number of relevant and important topics to APEC’s goal of furthering our economic integration within the Asia-Pacific region.  It has been a very productive and successful ministerial meeting.

It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to host my fellow trade ministers for a second meeting as the United States host country for APEC 2011.  I must say that I could not agree more with the judgment of President Obama to bring us to his home state here in Hawaii, so I will begin by saying a warm aloha to all of you.

Of course, strong engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is a major component of the United States trade agenda, as Asia-Pacific markets are large and growing, and the region’s importance will only increase in the decades to come.  APEC — through APEC implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, are pillars of U.S. strong, smart trade engagement within the region.

The United States believes very strongly in the importance and relevance of APEC, and for this reason, we have sought to ensure that our host year produces concrete deliverables that clearly benefit the entire region.  As a result of our work throughout this year, we ministers can present to the leaders meaningful steps which will strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, including by improving supply chain performance and addressing next generation trade and investment issues.

We will also advance regulatory convergence and cooperation.  We will improve the quality of regulations and regulatory systems throughout the region.  We will increase global food security through open and transparent markets, and promote green growth, including by liberalizing trade and investment in environmental goods and services, and facilitating trade in remanufactured products, and streamlining import procedures for advance technology vehicles.

We have also successfully addressed challenges that small and medium sized businesses faced when doing business throughout the region.  We are working in APEC to break down barriers for small and medium sized exporters, as they are the overwhelming majority of exporters in each of our economies.  This includes reducing customs delays, improving access to export financing, and helping SMEs better protect their intellectual property.

The United States has a vision for the future of APEC and for trade across the region.  APEC has traditionally been a laboratory for some of the best and newest ideas in global commerce, and we believe the outcome of this year’s meeting will help keep APEC’s agenda on the cutting edge for the next 20 years.  We want to ensure that new regional agreements anticipate and address 21st century issues relevant to business within the region.

In that vein, this gathering should mark an additional milestone for a number of APEC economies.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministers expect that the leaders of the TPP countries will be able to announce the broad outlines of a high standard, ambitious 21st century trade pact.  And of course, many of us believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be the basis for a long term APEC goal of free trade area of the Asia Pacific.

My fellow ministers, we can be proud of the work that we have accomplished together, not only this week, but throughout this year.  We have produced a meaningful report for our leaders, and I look forward to their work this weekend to further APEC’s critical goals for trade across our vibrant region.

So as we say here in Hawaii, Mahalo for the continued commitment, dedication, and innovation that each of you have brought to APEC’s effort this year.  And now, we’ll open the floor for questions.

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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Noda of Japan Before Bilateral Meeting

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I just want to welcome Prime Minister Noda to Hawaii, to the United States, for this APEC meeting.  I had the opportunity to have my first extensive discussions with the Prime Minister recently, and I have been extremely impressed already with the boldness of his vision.  And we confirmed, once again, the importance for both of our countries — the alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of our relationship but also for security in the Asia-Pacific region for a very long time.  And I’m confident that working together we can continue to build on that relationship in the areas of commerce, the areas of security, in not only the Asia-Pacific region but around the world.

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA  AND PRIME MINISTER NODA OF JAPAN  BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

And Prime Minister Noda, welcome to Honolulu, where I’m sure that we’ll have another round of productive discussions.  And I want to thank you and the people of Japan for your friendship.  We continue also, by the way, to be concerned about the rebuilding process in the wake of the terrible earthquake and tsunami.  And I want to assure you that the American people continue to stand beside you and ready to help in any way they can.

PRIME MINISTER NODA:  (As translated.)  Well, this is my first visit to Honolulu after 34 years, and this very morning I went to the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and laid a wreath there, and I got to see the panoramic view of Honolulu, and I renewed my recognition of how beautiful and great this city is.  And I would like to express my deep appreciation for hosting us in — here in Honolulu as the chair of APEC.

I’m very much encouraged by the fact that America is increasing its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and I do believe that Japan and the United States must work closely together to establish economic goals and also establish security order in this region.  And I hope that in this meeting today I can discuss with you these issues.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.