This was originally posted on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's website.

February 13, 2019

WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of Senators and House Members today announced that they have offered legislation reaffirming strong congressional support for the United States alliances with South Korea and Japan and the critical importance of trilateral cooperation.

The resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Ed Markey, Chair and Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. Companion legislation was submitted in the House by Representative Eliot L. Engel and Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Ted Yoho, Chair and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation.

“At a time of mounting regional challenge it is critical that the United State, Japan, and the Republic of Korea continue to deepen cooperation and partnership,” said Ranking Member Menendez. “Adept and agile diplomacy is critically needed on the Korean Peninsula, and with this bipartisan resolution Congress is speaking with one voice to make clear the United States must continue to support and bolster our engagement across the region, and work with Japan and the Republic of Korea to build a forward-looking partnership for the twenty-first century.”

Representative Engel said, “When Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul work together in partnership, it strengthens security for all three countries, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world. Japan and South Korea have worked hard in the past to address legitimate grievances and build a constructive relationship. With so much at stake, including the second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un later this month, it is critical that we maintain a responsible path forward. America’s alliances should be at the core of our foreign policy, and I look forward to working with my Japanese and Korean counterparts to continue deepening our bilateral alliances and look to improve how we work together to address the challenges we all face.”

Representative McCaul said, “It is critical, now more than ever, that we stand with our Japanese and Korean allies to safeguard the strength and security of our trilateral cooperation. Our longstanding shared relationship is essential to ensuring regional stability in the Indo-Pacific, and was a key component in making possible the current diplomatic opening with North Korea. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution to reaffirm U.S.-Japan-ROK relations and I look forward to continuing our partnership to bolster security in the Asia-Pacific.”

“The relationship between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan forms the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. I am glad to join with my colleagues to introduce this resolution, which highlights the importance of this trilateral relationship and seeks to find ways to improve the partnership between our nations, in order to build mutual understanding and to deter common threats, such as North Korea’s continuing violations of international law and human rights,” said Senator Gardner. “This effort helpfully builds and expands on the language in previous efforts, such as the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, and it is my hope it will pass the Senate quickly.”

“Japan and South Korea are among our closest allies in the world and crucial to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” said Senator Markey. “From countering nuclear proliferation, to promoting economic development, to battling climate change, a strong trilateral relationship is nothing short of essential to address the most pressing challenges in today’s world.”

Representative Sherman said, “America’s alliances with South Korea and Japan are the bedrock of security in Northeast Asia. I hope this resolution sends a strong message to our friends in Japan and South Korea—we cannot let history prevent us from working together to meet the shared security challenges we face.”

Representative Yohosaid, “The roots of the United States’ relationship with Japan and South Korea run deep. It is an alliance based on shared values of representative democracy, personal freedom, and trade. I am proud to cosponsor this resolution which will send a clear message to everyone in the Indo-Pacific that the United States stands with Japan and South Korea and will continue to do so as we pursue peace and respect for international law throughout the region”

The Senate resolution can be found here. The House resolution can be found here.

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