SFRC Hearing Highlights ARIA Legislation


Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy led a hearing on Tuesday focusing on their legislation, the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA).

Last month, Senator Gardner and Senator Markey along with Senator Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which is designed to serve as a policy framework to enhance U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and to demonstrate a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the rules-based international order. 


“Our ARIA legislation provides the United States a long-term strategy in Asia that preserves American national security interests, promotes American businesses and creates jobs through trade opportunities, and projects American values of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Senator Gardner. “The United States has always been -- and will always remain -- a Pacific power, and the support expressed by Administration officials at today’s hearing proves that the U.S. government can speak with one voice to reassure our allies and to deter our adversaries in the Indo-Pacific region.”


“We are at a unique moment in history in which the United States needs to communicate to Asia – to allies and adversaries alike – that we are invested in the region,” said Senator Markey. “We have the opportunity to push back on China’s efforts to undermine the international system, strengthen alliances, tackle issues from terrorism to climate change, and empower people to seek freedom and economic opportunity. We can do that through bipartisan policies that promote the rules-based order, peacefully denuclearize North Korea, and promote human rights and the respect for democratic values. The United States simply cannot afford to cede leadership in such a critical region.”


Today’s hearing included witness testimony from Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at Department of Defense and Alex Wong, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at Department of State.


In 2017, Gardner and Markey held four hearings in their Subcommittee to inform ARIA. The hearing series, titled, “American Leadership in the Asia-Pacific,” included hearings on security challengeseconomic opportunitiespromoting human rights and the rule of law, and U.S.-China relations.


A background paper on ARIA can be found here.