Case Calls President's Pacific Islands Summit This Week In Washington, DC A Critical First Step In Full U.S. Re-Engagement In Crucial Region
As a co-founder of the first-ever Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, he says Hawai‘i will play an increasingly pivotal role in advancing the aims of the Summit
News Release from Office of Rep Ed Case, Sept 27, 2022
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) issued the following statement on the eve of President Biden’s hosting of leaders of several Pacific Island nations at the first summit of its kind with the United States.
“I welcome the Administration’s initiative to bring these leaders to Washington, DC, to discuss and address their concerns and our mutual goals,” said Case.
“Clearly these fall into three overall categories: enhancing our connectivity and mutual aid, addressing climate change and meeting the geopolitical challenge of China.”
“In Congress, we have been working to address all of these issues in various forms and forums, all with the conviction that our country’s interests, and in fact our future, hinge on how we formulate, advance and strengthen our role and relationships in the Pacific.”
“The take-aways from this Summit will no doubt also enhance the natural leadership role of my Hawai‘i, which serves as our gateway to the Pacific and Asia and is critical to the defense posture of our country in our half of the world. Hawai‘i will continue to have a unique role in the Pacific because of the values, history and identify we share with the rest of our island ‘ohana (family).”
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Case has won Congressional approval for many initiatives focusing on Asia and the Pacific, including funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by the President in March that included:
1. Millions for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), in part to strengthen America’s contributions to Pacific Islands security-related concerns,
2. $19.7 million in further federal funding for the East-West Center to advance Hawai‘i’s leadership role in the Indo-Pacific, and
3. $4 million for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Regional Centers. This funding will help expand the work of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies at Fort DeRussy, a premier defense-supported research and education center in Honolulu that fosters shared understanding and networked relationships among civilian and military leaders throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Here are just some of Case’s other initiatives addressing issues involving the Indo-Pacific Region:
1. On July 25, 2019, he co-announced the formation of the first-ever Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, which he serves as co-chair, at which time he said, “I have been convinced for some time that our country’s and world’s future are in the Indo-Pacific, and the islands of the Pacific are a key yet too-often overlooked part of that region.”
2. On July 30, 2020, he co-introduced legislation that drew the attention of Congress with his “Boosting Long-term U.S. Engagement in the Pacific Act” also knowns as the BLUE Pacific Act. He said: “Our BLUE Pacific Act establishes a comprehensive, long-term framework for United States foreign policy in the Pacific Islands focusing on three essential pillars: security, development and shared values.”
Much of the provisions in this measure are included in the COMPETES Act, the ground-breaking foreign affairs measure passed by the House in February 2022.
3. On June 29, 2021, Case joined several other Members of Congress in a joint letter to the President urging the Administration to prioritize negotiations with the Freely Associated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. The letter stated that “the COFAS (Compacts of Free Association), their subsidiary agreements and enacting legislation define a decades-old special and mutually beneficial relationship and provide our country with valuable economic and security benefits.”
Case also advised on a report released this month by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) entitled “China’s Influence on the Freely Associated States (FAS) of the Northern Pacific.” The report stated that since achieving full sovereignty in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s “the FAS have considered the United States their most important partner on economic and security issues. However, in the last decade, and especially the last five years, China’s role in the region has grown.”
4. On April 8 to 14, 2022, Case joined a Congressional delegation with stops in the Philippine Papua New Guinea to foster and strengthen ties between the United States and the two countries, and attended the “Our Ocean” Conference in Palau.
5. On May 17, 2022, in testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations (of which Case is a member) Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Case said “we have made progress through renewed diplomatic and other efforts to engage Pacific leaders, including Secretary Blinken’s and Congress’ own travels to the region. However, without funding to support specific initiatives, visits alone and promises made will ring hollow. Now is the time to ensure that our foreign policy budget reflects the importance of our ties to the Pacific Islands and our support for a secure and stable Indo-Pacific, committed to an order based on mutual respect, cooperation and freedom.”
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Reps. Bera, Case, Aumua Amata, and Sherman Issue Statement on U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit
News Release from Rep Aumua Amata, R-AS, Sept 29, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Ed Case (D-HI), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), and Brad Sherman (D-CA), all Co-Chairs of the Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, released the following statement on the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit held in Washington, D.C. on September 28-29, 2022.
“We applaud President Biden for hosting the first ever U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington, D.C. The Biden Administration’s continued high-level engagement with our allies and partners in the Pacific further demonstrates our commitment to jointly advancing the security and prosperity of this vital region.
As a proud Pacific nation, the United States has a long partnership with Pacific Island countries rooted in our shared history, democratic values, and enduring people-to-people ties. We must continue partnering with the region to confront current and future shared challenges, including by strengthening climate resilience, enhancing maritime security, and promoting economic recovery.
As leaders of the Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, we will continue working in a bipartisan manner to elevate this crucial region in American foreign policy and to further strengthen ties with Pacific Island countries to advance a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”