Congressman Gonzales Joins Congressional Delegation to Southeast Asia in Support of USINDOPACOM
I recently joined a congressional delegation (CODEL) led by U.S. Senator and India Caucus Co-Chair John Cornyn (R-TX) on a trip to southeast Asia. The delegation, which included Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Congressman Jake Ellzey (TX-6), visited key allies and partners across southeast Asia in an effort to support the Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM)’s mission to build security cooperation in the region and strengthen bilateral ties with key allies following COVID-19.
“During my time as an active duty servicemember, I was stationed in Hawaii and saw how important the United States’ presence is to the Indo-Pacific region,” I said. “Now more than ever, with the rise of China, our partners in Taiwan, India and the Philippines play a critical role in protecting democracy throughout southeast Asia, and I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them last week to understand firsthand the challenges they are facing in the region.”
“The Indo-Pacific is the largest military theater in the world, and our allies there are invaluable to ensuring we can counter China’s overreach,” said Senator Cornyn. “Our delegation was able to see firsthand the issues facing countries from mainland India to island partners in the Pacific, and I am grateful to our host nations and our servicemembers stationed there.”
View photos from the trip here
The delegation began their trip with a meeting with newly installed USINDOPACOM Commander, Admiral John Aquilino, who oversees the oldest and largest combatant command stretching from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the western border of India. They then traveled to the Philippines and met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr., where they received an update on efforts to counter China’s influence in the region. The CODEL’s third leg of the trip consisted with a stop in Taiwan and meetings with President Tsai Ing-we and other top leaders in the country to discuss trade relations and the country’s development of domestic asymmetric defense capabilities. Their fourth and final leg of the trip was to India, where they met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cabinet officials in New Delhi, and had an audience with the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.