October 20, 2021

SFRC Chairman Menendez Opening Remarks at Committee Hearing’s Second Panel

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered the following opening remarks before the second panel at this afternoon’s full Committee hearing to consider the nominations of the Honorable Rahm Emanuel to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Japan and Mr. Jonathan Eric Kaplan to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Singapore:

Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s full remarks as delivered below.


“We have two nominations on the second panel: Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be Ambassador to Japan and Mr. Jonathan Kaplan to be Ambassador to Singapore.


I understand that Senator Durbin and also Senator Hagerty will be introducing Mayor Emanuel today and that Senator Hickenlooper will be introducing Mr. Kaplan. I see Senator Durbin is here with us let me turn to Senator Durbin.

Thank you very much, Senator. I see Senator Hickenlooper is with us, so let me turn to Senator Hickenlooper.

Thank you Senator Hickenlooper. I see that Senator Hagerty has joined us as well, and wants to join in introducing Mayor Emanuel.  

Thank you Senator Hagerty, thank you for your service to our nation as our former Ambassador to Japan. We appreciate that service and your insights here on the Committee. We appreciate you lending a bipartisan voice to Mayor Emanuel’s nomination.


Let’s turn to the nominees.


Mayor Emanuel, it is good to see you again. We welcome you and your family. I want to note that your son Zach is with us. He is a U.S. naval officer and we appreciate his service to our country.


I believe that you have the necessary knowledge and experience to represent us well in Japan.


As you know, Japan is one of our most important allies in the world. For over 70 years, the U.S.-Japan partnership has played a vital role in ensuring peace, stability, and economic development in Asia and beyond. Our bilateral alliance serves as proof that two nations can overcome past differences and work together toward a better future.


If confirmed, I trust that Mayor Emanuel’s vast experience, both in public service and in the private sector will serve him and our country well as he navigates the opportunities and complexities of the U.S.-Japan relationship and safeguarding our partnership—one that is grounded in common interests and common values. I look forward to hearing from you about how you plan to approach Japan and the region as well as what kind of Ambassador you hope to be.


As you are aware, today is also the anniversary of the murder of Laquan McDonald. My heart goes out to his family on this day – I believe all of us share that sentiment – and to so many other victims and their families as we work to deliver meaningful reforms to the black and brown communities who endure injustices every day. Certainly we will give you an opportunity to speak to that in the course of this hearing.


Mr. Kaplan, congratulations on your nomination. Welcome to your family as well.


Singapore, as I know you appreciate, is central for our engagement in Southeast Asia and with ASEAN – and success in Southeast Asia is central to our success in the Indo-Pacific and with our challenge with China. While the Biden administration has launched significant initiatives to bolster the broader regional architecture, including through AUKUS and the Quad, I believe that more attention is needed in Southeast Asia, including on issues like regional trade engagement and economic statecraft. At the end of the day, how we integrate with the region’s political economy is far more consequential than our military or security presence alone. And Singapore is of course a key regional trade and economic partner.


I was encouraged by recent agreements with Singapore to support our common goals in addressing climate change, cybersecurity, and supply chain resilience. Overall, I believe we need to reinvigorate our diplomatic presence and outreach to Singapore, and I trust that you will be up to that task. I look forward to hearing your goals for how we can deepen this important diplomatic relationship even further.


Recently, Senator Risch and I had the Foreign Minister here, and he spoke about how he and Singapore desire to see our engagement. But when we have not had a confirmed ambassador in Singapore for almost five years now, it is tough to have diplomatic engagement. This underscores the importance of getting you in place as soon as possible.


With that, let me turn to the Ranking Member for his opening remarks.”



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