Text: H.Res.1157 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (12/11/2018)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 1157 Engrossed in House (EH)]

H. Res. 1157

                In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

                                                     December 11, 2018.
Whereas the Pacific Islands countries and territories are home to more than 10 
        million culturally diverse people and are rooted in a unique culture and 
        history spanning thousands of years;
Whereas the South Pacific region, of which the Pacific Islands countries and 
        territories are an integral part, is endowed with a resource-rich ocean 
        stretching over 20 million square miles;
Whereas the United States partnership with the countries of the Pacific Islands 
        region dates back to the battles of World War II on the shores of 
        Tarawa, Pelelieu, and Guadalcanal, where Pacific Islanders and Americans 
        alike sacrificed for our collective security;
Whereas the United States territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are located in the South 
        Pacific region and some of these relationships date back to the Spanish-
        American War;
Whereas the United States is committed to the future security and prosperity of 
        the Pacific Islands countries and territories and is responsible for 
        security and defense matters in and relating to Palau, the Federated 
        States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands under 
        their respective Compacts of Free Association;
Whereas the Compacts of Free Association arrangements with the Federated States 
        of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands were renewed in 
        2003 for a period of 20 years and negotiations regarding the subsequent 
        renewal of these agreements should be concluded in advance of their 
        expiration in 2023;
Whereas the South Pacific region is critical to United States national security 
        and defense, and there are several United States military bases and 
        testing sites in the region, including the Ronald Reagan Ballistic 
        Missile Defense Test Site on the Marshall Islands;
Whereas the United States cooperates closely with Pacific Islands countries and 
        territories as a partner committed to a common future that advances 
        national security, regional cooperation, and trust and collaborating on 
        a wide range of important issues such as addressing environmental and 
        public health threats, distributing humanitarian assistance and disaster 
        relief, and promoting peace and prosperity in the region;
Whereas in the Boe Declaration of 2018, leaders of Pacific Islands countries and 
        territories reaffirmed that the threat of climate change imperils the 
        livelihoods, security, and well-being of the peoples of such countries 
        and territories;
Whereas a major priority of Pacific Islands countries and territories is 
        addressing environmental and sustainability challenges, including 
        responding to national disasters, and implementing environmental 
        programs to address mitigating their unique vulnerabilities to the 
        effects of rising sea levels, combatting ocean acidification, and 
        protecting natural resources, and extreme weather events remains a 
        priority for and point of collaboration between the United States and 
        Pacific Islands countries;
Whereas the United States works closely with Australia and New Zealand and other 
        like-minded partners in the South Pacific region, and there is 
        opportunity for enhancing such cooperation as all three countries look 
        for opportunities to increase their focus on this important region;
Whereas China's increased influence in the South Pacific region and the 
        possibility of a future Chinese military presence in this region could 
        expand its monitoring and surveillance capabilities, threatening the 
        United States military presence in the region;
Whereas media reports revealed that Chinese scientists placed acoustic sensors 
        in the Mariana Trench near Guam and near the island of Yap in the 
        Federated States of Micronesia, which could be used to monitor United 
        States submarine activity in the region;
Whereas planned casino resort developments by Chinese investors on the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands could complicate Department 
        of Defense plans on the islands for extensive training and exercises 
        resulting from the relocation of Marines from Okinawa, Japan;
Whereas a bilateral agreement between the United States and Japan will relocate 
        approximately 4,100 United States Marines from Okinawa, Japan to Guam, 
        significantly bolstering United States national security in the region;
Whereas official Chinese Government statements and policy documents indicate 
        that the Pacific Islands are a component of the Belt and Road 
        Initiative, which according to the Department of Defense aims ``to 
        develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests 
        to align with China's, and deter confrontation or criticism of China's 
        approach to sensitive issues'';
Whereas the Lowy Institute found that China has pledged $5.88 billion worth of 
        aid to the region since 2011, yet despite these large commitments, China 
        has only spent $1.26 billion so far and concerns remain over the types 
        of loans extended and whether the commitments will be kept;
Whereas recent debt sustainability analysis by the World Bank shows that nine 
        Pacific Islands countries and territories are currently classified as 
        either at high or moderate risk of debt distress;
Whereas China continues to shrink the number of Taiwan's international partners 
        around the globe by inducing countries to switch recognition through 
        financial incentives and six of Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies in 
        the Pacific Islands region advocate on Taiwan's behalf at the United 
        Nations and other international fora;
Whereas the United States plays an active role in regional fisheries management 
        through its involvement in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries 
        Commission and in maintaining programs to help Pacific Island countries 
        combat illegal fishing, including bilateral ``shiprider'' agreements 
        that allow law enforcement officers of host partner countries onboard 
        United States Coast Guard ships and aircraft to patrol national 
        exclusive economic zones;
Whereas the United States, through more than 17 departments and agencies, 
        committed more than $350 million in fiscal year 2017 to engagement with 
        Pacific Islands countries;
Whereas the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 and the 
        Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 authorized and appropriated $123.8 
        million in funding through 2024 for the 2010 Palau Compact Review 
Whereas every two years, the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet hosts the 
        world's largest international maritime exercise, known as the ``Rim of 
        the Pacific'', for which this past year Tongan Marines traveled to 
        Hawaii with Australia's Navy to participate and Fiji has been invited to 
        join the exercise in 2020; and
Whereas in September 2018 at the 30th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, Secretary 
        of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated the United States ``see[s] all of the 
        Pacific Islands as an essential part of our free and open Indo-Pacific 
        policy'': Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) reaffirms its strong commitment to United States engagement with 
        all countries and territories of the South Pacific region, including the 
        Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French 
        Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, the Republic of Palau, 
        Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the 
        Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu;
            (2) reaffirms its strong support to the United States Pacific Island 
        territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, 
        and American Samoa, home to nearly 300,000 United States citizens;
            (3) supports continued efforts to deepen cooperation with countries 
        and territories of the Pacific Islands in areas of mutual interest, such 
        as addressing the negative impacts of climate change, promoting 
        sustainable economic development, and supporting regional organizations 
        and stability;
            (4) calls for the United States to increase the frequency of high-
        level bilateral and multilateral visits with leaders of Pacific Islands;
            (5) promotes and supports efforts by Australia, New Zealand, France, 
        and other like-minded partners to strengthen Pacific Islands countries' 
        sovereignty and development through economic and security assistance; 
            (6) encourages continued support for the Compacts of Free 
        Association which enhance the strategic posture of the United States in 
        the Western Pacific, reinforce United States regional commitment, 
        preempt potential adversaries from establishing positional advantage, 
        and further self-governance, economic development, and self-sufficiency 
        of the Freely Associated States.


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