October 20, 2021

Ranking Member Risch Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing for Ambassadors to Japan and Singapore

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today gave the following opening remarks at a full committee nomination hearing. The second panel consisted of the Honorable Rahm Emanuel, nominee to be ambassador to Japan, and Mr. Jonathan Eric Kaplan, nominee to be ambassador to the Republic of Singapore.

Ranking Member Risch gave the following remarks for the second panel:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to both of our nominees for your willingness to serve, and your family’s as well.

“On the nomination of ambassador to Japan – our alliance with Japan is the bedrock of our ability to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific. Over the past decades, the U.S.-Japan alliance has become a critical example of how strong defense ties can bring about stability and prosperity.

“As we look forward to working with the new Japanese prime minister and his team, it is vital that we strengthen and sustain this critical alliance, especially in the face of growing regional threats.

“We’ve seen important steps in that direction, including the emphasis on cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India through the Quad.

“The U.S. and Japan are also working together with other partners in the region to finance the construction of a reliable and secure undersea cable connecting Palau to the rest of the Indo-Pacific, as well as bring electricity to Papua New Guinea. This is the foundation for future U.S.-Japan cooperation in advanced technology, supply chain diversification, global health, and other critical areas.

“On the security front, we must maintain and strengthen the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence commitments. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: a sole-purpose nuclear declaratory policy, or any perceived weakening of our extended deterrent, is a betrayal of our alliances in the Indo-Pacific, including Japan.

“We must also ensure our system is equipped to provide advanced capabilities to our allies in the region. To achieve this, Japan must do its part and work with us on cybersecurity and technology security, as committed during the Biden-Suga summit. However, certain parts of the State Department that come up with reasons not to provide these critical capabilities are a major impediment on this issue.

“If confirmed, Mr. Emanuel, you are going to see the security environment we face firsthand, and I expect that you will counter instincts and policies that would weaken our security ties with Japan. We shouldn’t tolerate those.

“On to the nomination, Mr. Kaplan, of being ambassador to Singapore.

“If confirmed, you will be our steward in one of our closest partners in Southeast Asia. Idahoans know just how important our security partnership with Singapore is. We are proud to host, and have for some time, Singaporean F-15 pilots and their families as they train at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

“We should all support expanding our security cooperation with Singapore, building on the Memorandum of Understanding renewed in 2019.

“On the economic side, I want to hear how you will apply your private sector background to growing economic cooperation with Singapore, including on supply chain issues. Singapore is an important trading partner for the state of Idaho.

“On the defense side, Singapore has made clear that while it seeks a close relationship with the United States, it also seeks to maintain cooperation with China, including through increased defense ties. Another critical task for our next ambassador is to work with Singapore on issues where China seeks to exert pressure or undue influence in the country.

“And, along with the chairman, I want to underscore the meeting that we had that I think was a very significant and forward-looking meeting we had with the people of Singapore.

“I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all of those issues.

“With that, back to the chairman.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. Witness testimony is available on  foreign.senate.gov.

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