Ros-Lehtinen Concludes Delegation Visit to South and East Asia to Promote Human Rights and Scale Back China's Destabilizing Influence

Apr 6, 2018

Ros-Lehtinen Concludes Delegation Visit to South and East Asia to Promote Human Rights and Scale Back China's Destabilizing Influence

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Claudia Tenney (R-NY) concluded a delegation visit to South Korea, Taiwan and India. The trip's objective was to assess U.S. policy toward North Korea, to develop ideas to counter China's aggression toward Taiwan and to find ways to increase stability in Tibet through support of the Tibetan people in exile. Among the many official meetings the delegation conducted, they met with U.S. service men and women near the de-militarized zone in South Korea and were received by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala, India. While on the visit, Ros-Lehtinen was personally presented with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen for her contributions to U.S.-Taiwan relations.

On the visit to East Asia, Ros-Lehtinen said:

“With an inter-Korean summit set for later this month, this is a critical time for U.S.-North Korea policy. We must be in lockstep with our South Korean partners as we push for denuclearization in the North and ensure that human rights is a significant piece of our overall strategy. The pressure from sanctions is responsible for Pyongyang’s current willingness to talk and that pressure must be increased in order to extract concessions on the regime’s nuclear program. It was an honor to meet with our service members stationed in Seoul and learn about their role countering the North Korean threat.”

“Taiwan is an important economic and security partner facing constant Chinese pressure and coercion. With a democracy that is the polar opposite of Beijing’s repression, Taiwan is the natural ally of the United States and it is important that we facilitate high level visits and provide the necessary tools to defend against the Chinese threat. We must also help counter Beijing’s campaign against Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, especially in Latin America, by firming up our ties and substituting real cooperation for Beijing’s false promises. I was deeply honored to be recognized by President Tsai for my role in helping strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations and look forward to continuing to work with our partner in the future.”

On the visit to India, Ros-Lehtinen said:

“The Tibetan issue is not only one of morality and justice but of U.S. security interests as Beijing implements increasingly repressive and destabilizing policies with far reaching consequences. I was blessed to discuss with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala their plight facing Chinese aggression and how Congress can advance U.S. interests by promoting Tibetan freedom. The administration must appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibet as mandated by law and press Beijing to reopen official negotiations with the representatives of the Dalai Lama to find a lasting solution to a human rights issue that threatens stability on the Tibetan plateau.”

NOTE: While in South Korea, the delegation met with Director General Choong-myun Lee  of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau and were briefed by U.S. officials from the Embassy. While in Taiwan, the delegation discussed U.S.-Taiwan relations with our unofficial embassy, the AIT, and met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, and National Security Advisor David Lee to discuss China, the Taiwan Travel Act, and U.S.-Taiwan relations. In India, the delegation received an update on U.S.-India relations and the geopolitical landscape of South and Central Asia from our Embassy and met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel in Dharamsala, India, home of the Tibetan exile community.