06.08.16

Gardner Concludes Visit With Asian Allies

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, concluded a Congressional delegation visit to the Republic of Korea, Burma, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan. Gardner met with high-ranking government officials and military commanders in the region to discuss political, economic, and security issues impacting U.S. relations in the Pacific region. 

While in the Republic of Korea, Gardner met with Defense Minister Han Min Koo, National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin, and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim as well as Commander of United States Forces Korea (USFK), General Vincent Brooks. Gardner also participated in a roundtable with the Asan Institute for Policy Studies that focused on strengthening U.S. alliances in the region and confronting threats to peace and stability. Additionally, Gardner spoke with a recent, high-level defector to discuss North Korea’s advancement in military technology and the suppression of the North Korean people by the current regime. 

Additional highlights from the visit include Gardner’s meetings in Burma with State Counselor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi, President Htin Kyaw, and Burma’s Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Gardner has been outspoken in encouraging Burma’s democratic transition and welcomed the swearing in of President Htin Kyaw as the first civilian president in more than 50 years. 

Gardner also participated in the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where he met a number of regional leaders, and traveled to Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen. Earlier this year, Gardner introduced legislation that requires the State Department to develop a strategy that would allow Taiwan the opportunity to participate in the vital work of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). The President signed Gardner’s legislation into law in March. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with top government officials and military commanders to discuss economic and security challenges in the Pacific region and the role of the United States in addressing them,” said Gardner. “In South Korea, military experts and government leaders echoed many of my grave concerns regarding North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests and continued aggression. South Korean leaders were encouraged by the implementation of my North Korea Sanctions legislation, but urged additional pressure on the regime. I reiterated my commitment to working to ensure the Obama Administration fully implements the sanctions outlined in my legislation, including sanctions against human rights violators and individuals responsible for malicious cyber-attacks.” 

Gardner introduced the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act  (NKSPEA), which was signed into law  by President Obama earlier this year. The NKSPEA imposes mandatory sanctions on individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, malicious cyberattacks, censorship of its citizens, and the regime’s continued human rights abuses. The Treasury Department began implementing  Gardner’s bill in March, shortly after it was signed into law, and most recently designated North Korea as a “primary concern for money laundering.” Gardner has urged additional sanctions to counter North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests, and also acted to bolster U.S. missile defense capabilities by introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that calls for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea to protect our ally and the 28,500 American servicemen and women stationed in South Korea.

Gardner added, “As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cyber Security Policy, I look forward to continuing to work with our allies in the region to address the challenges impacting the Pacific and the U.S. relationship.” 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. 

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