Washington (December 6, 2018) – The Senate passed S.2736, the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (ARIA) on Tuesday. This legislation, authored by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), serves as a generational 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.
In the 115th Congress, Senators Markey and Gardner held five hearings in their Subcommittee to inform ARIA. The hearing series, titled, “American Leadership in the Asia-Pacific,” included hearings on security challenges, economic opportunities, promoting human rights and the rule of law, U.S.-China relations, and Administration views.
“The rules-based international order is absolutely fundamental to global peace and security,” said Senator Markey. “But Asia, arguably the most consequential region for the United States, faces critical challenges — such as nonproliferation, human rights, and respect for democratic values — and needs the resources to match that importance. This legislation would do important work to address challenges in the Indo-Pacific by authorizing much-needed funds for the Department of State and USAID, including to promote democracy, and to strengthen civil society, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability. It would strengthen alliances and partnerships, promote resource conservation, pursue effective arms control and nonproliferation policies, commit the U.S. government to the full implementation of sanctions on North Korea and its enablers, and help ensure U.S. leadership in the region continues. I thank Senator Gardner for his partnership on this timely and important legislation.”
“We’ve been working on ARIA, major bipartisan legislation, for nearly three years and it passed the Senate on Tuesday,” said Senator Gardner. “I urge swift action in the House of Representatives to send this legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law. ARIA provides the US a whole-of-government, long-term strategy in Asia that advances 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. The United States has always been, and will always remain, a Pacific power, and this legislation ensures that the United States government will speak in one voice to reassure our allies and to deter our adversaries in the Indo-Pacific region.”
A copy of the ARIA legislation can be found here.