Leading Bipartisan Senate Delegation to Shangri-La Dialogue, Sullivan & Duckworth Reaffirm U.S. Iron-Clad Commitment to Strengthening Cultural, Economic & Military Ties with Indo-Pacific Partners & Allies

In a strong display of bipartisanship, Senate delegation including Senators Butler and Coons visits Singapore to underscore the importance of and commitment to U.S.-Indo-Pacific relationships

[SINGAPORE] – After completing their successful official visit to Taiwan, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and a retired colonel with 30 years of service in the Marine Corps Reserve, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois)—who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and is a member of both SASC and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC)—are continuing the bipartisan congressional delegation they are leading by traveling to Singapore to participate in this year’s International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue, which is one of Asia’s premier global international security and defense summits, to reaffirm our nation’s strong bipartisan commitment to our partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The delegation, which also includes U.S. Senators Laphonza Butler (D-California) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), plans to meet with a number of defense and foreign affairs officials representing several of our partners in the Indo-Pacific region to discuss ways to increase cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including strengthening our cultural, economic and military partnerships across the region.

“This annual meeting with defense and foreign ministers throughout the Indo-Pacific is a critical opportunity to deepen America’s alliances, particularly as the threat from the Chinese Communist Party continues to grow and threaten countries in the region,” said Senator Sullivan. “The United States is an ally rich nation while China is ally poor. This is a critical advantage we have over China and other dictatorships around the world that we will work to strengthen at this year’s meetings in Singapore.”

“I’ve always believed that if America wants to remain a global leader, we have to show up and support our partners and allies—and that means we must continue to lead in the Indo-Pacific,” said Senator Duckworth. “The United States has long been a major Pacific power but, if we abandon our Indo-Pacific partners, we’d be leaving a vacuum that the PRC both can—and likely will—take advantage of, making it harder for America to compete with China and weakening our standing on the global stage all while giving our adversaries and competitors an easy path to overtaking us. So I’m proud to lead this bipartisan delegation to this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, where Senator Sullivan and our entire delegation will be working to strengthen our relationships with several of our Indo-Pacific partners and send a strong message to our allies—and our competitors—that the United States is here for the long haul.”

While in Singapore, the Duckworth-Sullivan delegation intends to meet with Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, UK Minister of State for Indo-Pacific, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Republic of Korea Defense Minister Shin Won-sik, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Thailand Minister of Defence Dr. Sutin Klungsang, Japan Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, and more.

Along with Butler and Coons, Duckworth intends to meet with Singapore Minister of Defence NG Eng Hen, Indonesia President-elect and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Marles, and more.

“I’m proud to join this bipartisan delegation in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and our Indo-Pacific allies,” said Senator Butler. “Our engagements during this trip serve to address shared challenges, enhance regional stability, and promote economic growth.”

“Our bipartisan delegation’s visit to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore is an opportunity to engage with key regional players and discuss how we can strengthen our strategic partnerships, enhance security cooperation, and continue to support U.S. allies across Asia,” said Senator Coons. “I look forward to a productive visit that reinforces America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and bolsters our already strong relationships in the region and beyond.”

Senator Sullivan’s experience in the Indo-Pacific goes back nearly 30 years, when he was deployed as a young Marine officer to the Taiwan Strait during what became known as the “Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.” He returned to the region frequently during the Bush administration as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. 

Now as a U.S. Senator, Sullivan is in the region frequently working on behalf of the people of Alaska as well as American national security interests. Sen. Sullivan is the author of the STAND with Taiwan Act, a bill to impose devastating, comprehensive economic, energy and financial sanctions on China in the event that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army invade or otherwise use force against Taiwan. Over the past 18 months, Sullivan has also made a series of presentations to policy institutes in Washington detailing “Why Taiwan Matters” and the implications of a Chinese invasion for the rest of the world. Just before Taiwan’s most recent elections, Sen. Sullivan sponsored a resolution, which passed unanimously in the Senate, praising Taiwan’s democratic achievements. Most recently, Sen. Sullivan worked tirelessly to include $16 billion in the historic national security supplemental legislation for American-made weapons systems and U.S. military presence relevant to the defense of Taiwan.  

Senator Sullivan also serves as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Duckworth is a proven leader when it comes to strengthening our relations with Indo-Pacific nations and improving security in the region—which she has done while successfully securing significant international investments in Illinois. Recently, Duckworth introduced the Access to Care for Overseas Military Act to improve medical readiness within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and ensure our nation’s servicemembers and their families have access to quality patient care throughout the Indo-Pacific region—where they often must to travel long distances to receive care—whether during peacetime or in the event of a conflict abroad. Last year, Duckworth led an official visit to Japan and Indonesia as part of her continuing efforts to strengthen ties and reinforce support between allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the United States. And last summer, Duckworth led another official visit to the Indo-Pacific region again, visiting Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to meet with government and business leaders and discuss opportunities that would increase cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as economic investments, regional stability and national security.

In 2022, Duckworth traveled to South Korea and Taiwan where she met with business, government and trade leaders, which helped lead to a joint venture between Illinois’s ADM and South Korea’s LG Chem, as well as a commitment from Taiwan to purchase an estimated $2.6 billion of our Illinois’s corn and soybeans. In 2021, Duckworth, Sullivan and Coons also travelled to Taiwan to announce that the United States’ would donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan as part of President Biden’s plan to provide vaccines to our global partners in need. Duckworth also successfully included a modified version of her Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to help Taiwan strengthen its military defenses. In 2019, Duckworth led a bipartisan delegation to Japan and Singapore. In 2018, Duckworth visited South Korea and Japan.

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