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Gabbard headed to Japan, South Korea, China

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 4:49 p.m. HST, Apr 17, 2014

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is making her first trip to Japan, South Korea and China as a member of Congress. 

Gabbard, a Democrat, announced Thursday she will be part of a mostly Republican delegation to meet with leaders in the three Asian powerhouse nations.

The meetings will focus on economic growth and trade, regional security challenges, and strengthening alliances, her office said.

On Friday, the delegation will visit with U.S. Pacific Command leaders in Hawaii for a roundtable discussion before the groups travels to Asia.

"Our economic and strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region are critical to advancing our shared interests in stability and prosperity," said Gabbard, who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. "In Hawaii, we deeply appreciate and understand the importance of these regional alliances. Through this delegation's bilateral meetings with leaders in Japan, China and South Korea, as well as a discussion with (U.S. Pacific Command) in Hawaii, we will strengthen these ties."

The House Democratic Caucus recently appointed Gabbard to the House Armed Services Committee.

The Congressional delegation also includes: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Cybersecurity Subcommittee Chairman Pat Meehan (R-PA), Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX), Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL), and Representative Paul Cook (R-CA).

"While the situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate and Russia's aggression against Ukraine has raised new concerns about security in Europe, the United States must also remain engaged in promoting peace and stability in Asia," Cantor said. "Our investment in Asia's future is an investment in our own prosperity. I look forward to a productive dialogue with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese leaders about the importance of free trade and free markets, as well as our shared interests in promoting stability in the region and confronting North Korean provocations."

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