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Assistant Secretary Daniel Russel’s Testimony on Maritime Disputes in East Asia

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by Damien Tomkins
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel testified before the House House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, February 5, 2014. Image: US Department of State

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel  clearly explained the ongoing US commitment to Asia when he stated that “We [the United States] have a deep and long-standing stake in the maintenance of prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific and an equally deep and abiding long-term interest in the continuance of freedom of the seas based on the rule of law – one that guarantees, among other things, freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to those freedoms.”

Addressing the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Assistant Secretary Russel testified that “Growing numbers of American companies are investing in and exporting their products and services to rapidly expanding East Asian markets. Asia-Pacific businesses are increasing their profiles in the United States and creating jobs for American workers. And, as the region’s economies continue to grow and their interests expand, it becomes increasingly important that the governments and institutions there contribute to upholding and strengthening international law and standards – ranging from human rights to environmental protection to responsible policies on climate change, maritime security, and trade and investment. The effects of what happens in the Asia-Pacific Region will be felt across the globe and have direct implications for America’s interests.”

Referring to the Asia-Pacific as a “strategic priority” for the United States, Russel reiterated that Secretary of State John Kerry will soon be making his fifth visit to the region in just the last ten months and separately it has been announced that President Obama will be travelling to Asia in April. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to meet with his ASEAN counterparts in Hawai‘i, also this April, the first time a US Secretary of Defense has met with all ten ASEAN defense ministers on US soil.  Assistant Secretary Russel ended his testimony by reaffirming "that the United States will continue to play a central role in underwriting security and stability in the Asia-Pacific.”

Click here to read full testimony.