U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led a delegation of House and Senate members to South Korea and Japan. The delegation included Sen. Ernst and Sen. Sullivan of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Congressman Kelly of the House Armed Services Committee.
While in South Korea, the delegation met with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Defense Minister Song Young-moo, General Brooks and United States Forces Korea leadership, and visited the DMZ. In Japan, the delegation visited with Japanese Foreign Minister Kono, Lt General Martinez and United States Forces Japan and 7th Fleet leadership. In both countries, the delegation discussed the importance of missile defense and countering North Korea as well as China’s growing influence in the region.
Left: Sen. Inhofe and delegation meet with United States Forces and General Brooks in South Korea.
Right: Sen. Inhofe and delegation visiting with the Command Triad of the USS Stethem in Japan.
“North Korea’s aggression over the past year has shown that they are not only a threat to the United States, but they are especially threatening to our regional partners, like South Korea and Japan,” Inhofe said. “Our timely visits to South Korea and Japan were a good opportunity to speak with our allies about North Korea’s blatant nuclear ambitions and affirm our commitment to not engaging in direct negotiations with Pyongyang until they take meaningful steps to denuclearize. I look forward to continuing our conversations about countering North Korea and continuing positive U.S. military cooperation in the region.
“As a result of these visits, my concern about the long term threat of communist China is growing,” Inhofe continued. “Their influence in the region is growing and sinister. The strength of our alliances in East Asia are now more important than ever, and I look forward to working with the Trump administration to advance our ties even farther.”
Sen. Joni Ernst stated: “As the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, I valued the opportunity to assess our capabilities in the region and reinforce our commitment to Indo-Pacific security to address threats from global adversaries, such as North Korea. The threats our nation and our allies face continue to evolve, and this trip underscored the need to continue to strengthen our partnerships in the region, diplomatically, economically, and militarily. I look forward to building off the progress made on this visit in Congress and in my subcommittee.”
Rep. Trent Kelly stated: "Our tour of U.S. Military installations in South Korea and Japan was productive. It was an opportunity to meet with U.S. troops and our allies about our collaborative efforts to counter North Korea. To see in person the important role that all parties have in this strategic region of the world was invaluable. I will continue to work to ensure that we maintain strong missile defense capabilities and the highest levels of readiness across our military so that we can sustain the working relationships with our allies in deterring aggression."
Inhofe views the progress of repairs to the U.S.S. John McCain.
Sen. Inhofe and the delegation especially appreciated the opportunity visit with U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and Japan and hear from regional commanders.
Sen Inhofe: “I was especially grateful to visit with U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and Japan to discuss their deployment and mission in the Pacific. These men and women play an important role in strengthening alliances and maintaining security in a tense region. I appreciated hearing candidly from their commanders how we can best support the mission in South Korea and Japan and ensure we are equipping our service members for success.”