Engaging Asia 2017

The Role of Congress in Managing U.S. Alliances

On March 29, 2017, NBR hosted its annual Engaging Asia conference. Panelists and keynote speakers engaged in a public discussion on Capitol Hill on how the 115th Congress should approach U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific.


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Event Highlights


“Beyond the U.S.-Japan security Alliance, the ‘small-a’ alliance includes a very strong political partnership and a mutually beneficial economic relationship as well…. Japan is a natural partner for us because we share these common interests and common values.”

—Ambassador James Zumwalt, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA

“Because ASEAN is such a geostrategically important arena, it is very important for the U.S. to increase our engagement across the spectrum of our interests. In the trade arena, this means that the U.S. urgently needs a strategy for how we will engage following the withdrawal from TPP. We also need to be active in continuing people-to-people ties. U.S. soft power should not be underestimated. Related to that, we need to continue to strengthen our security relationships in the region, particularly with our treaty allies of the Philippines and Thailand.”

—Meredith Miller, Albright Stonebridge Group

“India is the lynchpin of U.S. South Asia policy on economic, political, and security terms…As India becomes able to play a key role in the new architecture for security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States does not have to bear that burden alone. The first priority for the United States in the region over the next four years is to make sure that this goes beyond joint statements and actually takes shape.”

—Ambassador Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States

“The United States needs to continue to demonstrate its strong leadership in the region. There are so many hot topics and issues facing the new administration and Congress, including North Korea, East China Sea, cross-strait relations, and the South China Sea. The first and foremost United States responsibilities in East Asia have to be maintained. This is an era of opportunities as well as Challenges. In the case of US-Taiwan relations, even though we no longer enjoy formal diplomatic relations, our ties are too big to be ignored. We share common values, common interests, and a common goal to strive for a better future for our peoples.”

—Remus Chen, TECRO


“From the Pacific Northwest, Asia is our ‘Near West.’ Asia is in my backyard and I’m in Asia’s backyard. As a result, it should garner my interest as a Member of Congress…It’s more than academic, more than esoteric. What happens in Asia can have a very real impact on the lives of people I represent. It is for that reason that I got involved in this set of issues.”

—Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA)


“We’re less than one hundred days into the new administration, and we’ve already seen the White House place a substantial emphasis on Asia policy. Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have both taken high-profile trips to the region, reconfirming our commitments to our allies…We have to make sure that we are undertaking holistic, coherent engagement with Asia. The United States Congress is in a unique position to add consistency and completeness to our Asia policy.”

—Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL)

“IP theft, liberal trade, North Korea, and maritime aggression deserve top spots on the policy agenda…Asia a complex geopolitical arena. It is a place where policymakers know just enough to be dangerous some times. This is why there must be far more innovative thinking on the part of Congress to create the kind of prosperous and peaceful world that we all wish to live in. One crucial way Congress can engage is by strengthening our economic, technical and humanitarian engagement with Southeast Asia.”

—Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO)



    Ambassador James P. Zumwalt, Chief Executive Officer, Sasakawa Peace Foundation US


    Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), Co-chair, U.S.-China Working Group

    Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), Founding Co-chair, Congressional Caucus on ASEAN

    Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL), Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, House Foreign Affairs Committee

PANEL DISCUSSION: Ends, Ways, and Means: Developing a Holistic Policy for the Asia-Pacific

    Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States; Senior Fellow and Director, South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute

    Remus Chen, Deputy Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO)

    Meredith Miller, Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group

    Roy D. Kamphausen, Senior Vice President for Research, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Download the agenda (PDF)

This event was made possible in part by the generous support of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Chevron, Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and Korea Foundation.