10/20/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/20/2021 16:11
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, today chaired a Subcommittee hearing on the strategic importance of the Pacific Islands.
"As a proud Pacific nation, the United States has a long history with the Pacific Islands-our intertwined fates make us natural partners and friends. Our special relationship with the Freely Associated States of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau have defined our security and economic presence in the Pacific, and have served as an anchor for our engagement in Oceania," said Representative Bera. "In addition, our strong people-to-people bonds have only deepened over time, as Pacific Island communities in the United States have continued to grow and have elevated attention to this important part of the world."Representative Bera continued:"From the shared global challenges of COVID-19 and climate change, to areas of opportunity such as sustainable development and infrastructure investments, the United States has a real opportunity to demonstrate the strength of our friendship with the Pacific Islands. I am proud that here in Congress we have taken significant steps toward making those goals a reality, including through the Honoring OCEANIA Act I introduced with my friend Rep. Don Young earlier this year. As Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, I look forward to working with the Biden Administration and my colleagues in Congress to further elevate this crucial region of the world in our foreign policy."
Expert witnesses included: The Honorable Judith Beth Cefkin, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu; Mr. James Loi, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Mr. Alexandre Dayant, Research Fellow, Pacific Islands Program, Lowy Institute; and Ms. Cleo Paskal, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies.Click hereto watch a recording of the hearing.
Rep. Bera is Co-Chair of the Congressional Pacific Island Caucus. He previously introducedthe bipartisan and bicameral Honoring OCEANIA Act, which would elevate the Pacific Islands in U.S. foreign policymaking by delivering a more robust diplomatic and development commitment to the region. Rep. Bera is also an original co-sponsor of the BLUE Pacific Act to expand U.S. diplomatic and development presence in the Pacific Islands.