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Press Release

Congressional Delegation Visits Palau Showing Strength, Deterring PRC Influence and Supporting Maritime Security in Native Waters

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his week, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) to the nation of Palau to underscore the importance of the relationship between the United States and Palau and meet with elected leaders. Upon departure, Westerman released the following statement:

"America and the Republic of Palau have a historic relationship through the Compacts of Free Association. This nation holds an important place in America's historic consciousness through the sacrifices made here by Americans and Palauans in WWII. Because of our important and valued relationship with Palau, the Indo-Pacific region and the world are made safer from the threats of the People's Republic of China. While visiting the capital, we crossed paths with delegations from Taiwan and Japan which only serves to underscore the commitment the United States and our allies are making in the region. We traveled to Palau as close partners in the Pacific, but we leave as close friends. I'd like to thank His Excellency President Surangel Whipps Jr. for hosting us on this historic trip, and I'm confident U.S.-Palauan relations will only grow stronger in the years to come."


During their time in Palau, members met with President Surangel Whipps Jr., Ministers of State, Finance, Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Infrastructure. Members also toured the joint operations center supporting the Palau Maritime Security Governance Project. Finally, the members met with leading scientists working in agriculture and horticulture to improve Palau's food security.

While in Palau, the delegation visited the island of Peleliu and paid their respects to the U.S. marines who bravely fought there in WWII. 

Westerman has prioritized strengthening America's presence in the Indo-Pacific region during his time as chairman with the creation of the bipartisan Indo-Pacific Task Force. The committee and the task force are conducting oversight on issues facing the U.S. Pacific territories and Freely Associated States in the Indo-Pacific region. Westerman is leading a CODEL of nine members to the region to see these issues firsthand and hear from local communities to further understand the threat of the People's Republic of China under the Chinese Communist Party.

Members joining Chairman Westerman on the CODEL:

Indo-Pacific Task Force Chair Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa)
Indo-Pacific Task Force Co-Chair Gregorio Kilili Sablan (D-CNMI)
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)
U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.)
U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.)
U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.)
U.S. Rep. Jim Moylan (R-Guam)
U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)