HONOLULU (April 24, 2014) — Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) recently joined a select group of senior congressional leaders on a bipartisan delegation to Asia where they met with key leaders in Japan, South Korea, and China to discuss regional security challenges, economic opportunity, and matters relating to international trade.
The focus of the visits between April 18-24 occurred on the Eve of President Obama’s visit to the region, with an objective to build and strengthen ties in the Asia-Pacific Region. Prior to their departure to Asia, Congresswoman Gabbard hosted the congressional delegation led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Hawaiʻi and coordinated a roundtable discussion at U.S. Pacific Command to discuss the unique dynamics in the region and the important role Hawaiʻi plays.
“Hawai‘i plays a significant role in the growth of the Asia-Pacific region, and meeting face-to-face with leaders on their home soil is critical to building lasting partnerships that are based on common ground and mutual respect. There are many challenges and opportunities in the region, and these strong partnerships are essential to resolving tensions and differences peacefully, ensuring stability, and working toward increased economic opportunity in each of our countries,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. “These substantive dialogues and relevant site visits have reinforced the need for the U.S. to continue its focus and investment in the region.”
Gabbard toured Korea’s De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), the strip of land that serves as a buffer between North and South Korea, and met with U.S. and South Korean troops serving there.
“Looking across the DMZ into North Korea was surreal. The threat from North Korea is one that is acutely felt by the people of Hawai’i, and strong alliances with China, Japan, and South Korea are necessary to reach our common objective of a denuclearized North Korea,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard added.
Later, when meeting with President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard offered personal condolences to President Park on behalf of the people of Hawaiʻi for the tragic loss of life in the recent ferry incident.
While in Japan, Gabbard had productive meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Defense Minister Onodera, Foreign Minister Kishida, and members of the Diet.
Gabbard and the congregational delegation also visited Beijing, China and met with Premier Li Keqiang, National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang, Vice Chairman Ji Bingxuan, as well as Senior NPC Representatives and Committee Chairpersons.