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Shaheen Traveled to Indo-Pacific to Meet with Partners and Reinforce U.S. Support, Highlighted New Hampshire’s Role in Aerospace Trade

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, recently returned from a Congressional delegation visit to the Indo-Pacific, where she traveled to the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. In each country, the Senator met with foreign government officials and U.S. military leadership to discuss U.S. security goals and opportunities for expanded trade and economic partnership. While in Japan, Shaheen highlighted the work the New Hampshire National Guard is doing to develop a training syllabus for Japan following its recent acquisition of the KC-46 refueling tanker. Senator Shaheen was joined by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). Photos from these visits can be found here.

“Our Indo-Pacific partners are critical components of our national security apparatus and it’s important we continue to strengthen our coordination on global security,” said Shaheen. “I was pleased to have informed, in-depth conversations with officials and leaders in each country about important priorities, like increasing trade ties, strengthening the global supply chain, increasing military interoperability and deterring the People’s Republic of China’s influence across the region.”

The delegation’s visit concluded ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Yashida’s historic state visit to Washington on April 10 and the subsequent U.S.-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit on April 11. Additionally, the delegation’s visit follows the historic Camp David summit that took place in August 2023 with the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

In the Philippines, Shaheen met with President Ferdinand Marcos and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo. During these conversations, the group discussed the importance of sustaining agriculture in light of growing concerns around the climate crisis, ways to continue economic partnership and development as well as defense modernization efforts. Senator Shaheen emphasized the importance of Philippines’ territorial integrity amidst provocations in the South China Sea.

When in Vietnam, the members of Congress met with the Deputy Prime Minister, External Relations Chairman and members of Vietnam’s National Assembly to discuss long-term security priorities and needs as well as additional areas for collaboration when it comes to trade.

While in South Korea, the delegation met with President Yoon Suk-Yeol and Minister of Defense Shin Won-Sik and emphasized U.S. commitment to extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and the importance of engagement with Japan. Senator Shaheen thanked President Yoon for his support to Ukraine and emphasis on interoperability with NATO. Senator Shaheen last saw President Yoon at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius. They also visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command, seeing first-hand U.S. and the international community’s support to commitments under the 1953 Armistice Agreement.

During visits in Japan, the delegation met with Prime Minister Fumio Kashida, Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara and National Security Adviser Akibo Takeo. They discussed deliverables for the upcoming state visit to Washington on April 10, which include historic reforms to Japan’s defense industry and policy to become more interoperable with the U.S. Senator Shaheen highlighted New Hampshire’s robust aerospace trade industry and invited increased cooperation with the United States on manufacturing. Additionally, Senator Shaheen highlighted the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ recent acquisition of the KC-46 refueling tanker and the work of the New Hampshire National Guard in developing a training syllabus for Japan and other KC-46 foreign military sales partners.