Shea-Porter Meets with US Partners to Bolster Regional Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) returned Monday from a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Singapore. The CODEL met with Secretary Mattis, foreign leaders, senior foreign diplomats, and national security officials including the Indian Defense Minister, Indian Foreign Secretary, Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Sri Lankan President, and the Sri Lankan Opposition Leader. The CODEL was led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX). Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler (R-MO) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) also joined the delegation.
“This is a critical time for US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Shea-Porter. “China continues to use economic assistance and investments abroad as leverage to influence strategic countries in the region, and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula is moving rapidly as we attempt to reach an agreement that will lead to the denuclearization of the North Korean regime. The Congressional Delegation made great progress last week in meetings with key US partners. I also met with servicemembers who are deployed in support of counterterrorism missions in the Philippines, and it was so nice to meet a fellow Granite Stater there!”
After a stopover in France to lay a wreath to honor our fallen WWI troops, the CODEL headed to India, and met with the Foreign Secretary and Defense Minister there.
CODEL THORNBERRY Meets with Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
CODEL THORNBERRY Meets with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale
In Colombo, the delegation met Sri Lankan President Maiyhripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, and R. Sampanthan, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and Tamil National Alliance. During their meetings, the delegation emphasized the values of democracy, rule of law, and freedom of the seas. They encouraged Sri Lankan leaders to continue vital constitutional reforms and stability efforts.
CODEL THORNBERRY Meets with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
The CODEL toured the Colombo Port, one of the most strategic and busiest ports in the world. US Navy ships use the port, but the facility is under heavy pressure from the Chinese, who manage a good deal of the cargo traffic. Adjacent to the port is the Colombo Port City project. A massive land “reclamation” and infrastructure project, the Colombo Port City is intended to be a second, more modern Colombo. It is financed by loans from the Chinese government and is being built by Chinese companies with Chinese labor. This puts less-developed countries into significant debt to the Chinese, who then use that debt to extract concessions from the host countries to further Chinese interests. This was a common theme during meetings on the trip.
CODEL THORNBERRY Visits Colombo Port
In the Philippines, the CODEL toured Camp Navarro, which hosts U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P). Shea-Porter met with servicemembers from the States, including New Hampshire, who are assisting with counterterrorism missions. The CODEL also visited the Manila American Cemetery, one of the largest WWII American cemeteries in the world, to lay a wreath and honor the Americans who died there.
Shea-Porter meets with servicemembers at Camp Navarro
CODEL THORNBERRY lays wreath at Manila American Cemetery
From the Philippines, the CODEL traveled to Singapore to take part in the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international conference of Defense officials that focuses on Indo-Pacific security issues. At the conference, the CODEL met with Secretary Mattis and participated in bilateral discussions with Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, and Japan.
CODEL THORNBERRY meets with Secretary Mattis
CODEL THORNBERRY meets with Foreign Minister of Singapore