Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and U.S. Congressman Ed Case (D-HI) introduced the Pacific Islands Embassies Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would establish U.S. embassies in the Republic of Vanuatu, the Republic of Kiribati, and the Kingdom of Tonga to reinforce American leadership in the Pacific region. U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) introduced the same legislation in the U.S. Senate last week.
“Strengthening relationships in the Pacific will help counter the Chinese Communist Party’s belt and road initiative in the region and greatly advantage the United States in its ongoing competition with the CCP,” said Congressman Barr, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation. “I want to thank Congressman Case, Senator Young, and Senator Ossoff for partnering with me on this bicameral, bipartisan bill that I hope becomes law soon.”
“Our measure is an important step toward our full re-engagement in this critical region, demonstrating to our Pacific Island friends and our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific that our country fully values our relationships and will invest in them in pursuit of our shared interests,” said Congressman Case.
“This is a major bipartisan victory for America’s interests both at home and abroad,” said U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT), who serves on the House of Representatives China Task Force and is an original cosponsor of the House bill. “Utah is proud to be the home of a significant Pacific Islander community, and this bill sends them a strong message of support. It will deepen our ties to the region, make it easier for citizens of those nations to get U.S. visas, and reassert our presence in the South Pacific region. I look forward to President Biden signing this important bill into law.”
“To confront China’s encroachment in the Pacific, we need to be diplomatically present. Our bill will help establish this vital American voice with key Pacific Island nations, demonstrating our commitment to allies and our leadership in the Indo-Pacific. I’m glad this effort is being taken up by my colleagues in the House who share my concerns about China’s actions in the Pacific,” said Senator Young.
“Strong U.S. diplomacy in the Pacific is essential. We must immediately establish a robust physical diplomatic presence in these strategic island nations,” said Sen. Ossoff. “Frankly, it is malpractice that the United States didn’t take this step a decade and a half ago. Time is of the essence.”