At the beginning of April, New York State Congressman, Mike Lawler, and a delegation of representatives from the House Foreign Affairs Committee spent 10 days traveling across the Indo-Pacific meeting with key allies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Lawler and his delegation also took the opportunity to visit U.S. military bases in Hawaii and Guam.
The delegation’s first stop was in Japan, where Lawler met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as well as the Deputy Cabinet Minister and members of the Diet (Japan’s legislature) including Councilor Hirofumi Nakasone.
Lawler took the opportunity to visit the Seventh Fleet — the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. Navy fleets — while in Japan, saying that “one of my favorite privileges as a member of Congress is thanking our men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice to our country.”
“In an increasingly volatile corner of the world, the Seventh Fleet plays a critical role working alongside our Pacific partners,” Lawler said.
“We also stopped to see the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park, which were a reminder of the cherry blossoms in DC that had been gifted to us by Japan in the early 20th century,” Lawler wrote in a press release concerning the trip.
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While in South Korea, Lawler and his delegation met with Foreign Minister Park Jin, the Speaker of the National Assembly and President Yoon Suk-yeol.
Lawler took the opportunity to tour a Samsung facility as well as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
“As North Korea draws increasingly closer to other tyrants in the region such as China and Russia and continues to threaten its southern neighbor, American interests, and the stability of the free world, we must remain firm and committed to preserving the peace our Korean War veterans forged through sacrifice alongside our South Korean allies 70 years ago,” Lawler wrote.
Yoon is scheduled to be in the United States later this month to attend a state dinner and conduct a speech before a joint session of Congress.
While in Taiwan, Lawler and his delegation met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, just two days after she met with Speaker McCarthy in the United States.
In addition to meeting with Tsai, Lawler also met with Vice President Lai Ching-te, the Speaker of Taiwan’s Parliament You Si-kun and other officials.
“As China escalates its threats against Taiwan, my colleagues and I are standing firm. The House has sent a strong message to China not only through our meetings this week in the Indo-Pacific, but also through our legislative agenda,” Lawler wrote, adding that, “We have passed a number of bills in our first 100 days bolstering our strategic position against China and ensuring our ability to respond quickly to aggression against Taiwan and other allies in the region.”
Lawler also toured military bases in both Guam and Hawaii. In Guam, he took the opportunity to speak with servicemen and women stationed at Andersen Air Force Base and in Hawaii he visited troops stationed at Hickman Air Force Base and the Camp H. M. Smith Marine Corps installment.
While meeting with the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, he received a full briefing “on the Pacific, our allies, and our adversaries.”
“We also had a very sobering visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was an opportunity to reflect on one of the worst tragedies and remember all those who lost their lives on the infamous date in history,” Lawler said.