Committee Examines U.S. Interests in Indo-Pacific and the Threat of Chinese Influence
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs held a hearing on preserving U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific and countering Chinese influence in the region.
"China's threat looms large over the national security interests of the United States and the world. In the Indo-Pacific, recent aggressions make our territories more important than ever before. As China routinely provokes these territories and encroaches into their waters, we must maintain our strategically crucial engagement in the area through our agreements with the Freely Associated States. Increased Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific will not be tolerated by the U.S. and today's hearing was an important opportunity for the committee to hear from subject matter experts and more deeply understand the rising tensions we are facing." – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)
"The United States is a Pacific power through its territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. With over 200,000 American citizens living in these territories we have a vital interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific that is free from maligned influence. America has not forgotten the lessons of World War II and the Cold War, and we will not stand idly by in the face of Chinese Communist Party provocation attacking the sovereignty of our Pacific allies, and interference in U.S. Pacific Island territories." – Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs Chair Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)
The U.S. has vital security and economic interests throughout the Indo-Pacific region, particularly amid rising competition with the People’s Republic of China. The U.S. Pacific territories and the Freely Associated States (FAS) – the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia remain of vital importance. Informally, these island chains represent the lines of access and egress for economic and defense purposes between the People’s Republic of China and the world. While the U.S. has historically enjoyed good relations and ties in the Indo-Pacific region, Beijing has increasingly sought to reshape regional political, economic and strategic alignments.
The U.S. also has a significant military interest in the region, including military bases and installations in its territories and the FAS. Renewed and sustained U.S. engagement with the FAS is critical in deterring Chinese influence and protecting U.S. interests in the region.
Today's hearing was an opportunity for committee members to learn more about recent attempts at Chinese influence in the region and further frame the future of the U.S. relationships in the Indo-Pacific.
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