As part of his oversight responsibilities as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he will be on assignment to Asia during the November recess when the House goes out of session. Chairman Faleomavaega will meet with high-ranking government officials in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
In Vietnam, Faleomavaega will meet with Madam Nguyen Thi Doan, Vice President of the State; Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Nguyen Van Son, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations; and Mr. Le Van Bang, Deputy Foreign Minister and Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the US. Faleomavaega will also have a working session with the leaders of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“Vietnam’s economy is rapidly growing, and its energy sector, which includes oil reserves, are of regional and global importance. I am hopeful that there will be discussion about how American Samoa can also build closer ties,” Faleomavaega said. “I am also deeply touched that I have this opportunity to return to Vietnam to be welcomed this time as a friend. I am Vietnam’s friend and I will work to do everything I can to build stronger US-Vietnam relations.”
After meeting with officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Nha Trang where Faleomavaega served as a young soldier in the US Army, the Chairman will then travel to Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia. In Indonesia, Faleomavaega will fly to West Papua and visit with the elected Governors, tribal leaders, and community. For ten years in Congress, Faleomavaega has worked hard to bring West Papua to the attention of the United States.
“I express my sincere thanks to the government of Indonesia for granting me entry into West Papua and for President Yudhoyono’s commitment to bringing peace and stability to the region,” Faleomavaega said. US Ambassador Cameron R. Hume will accompany Faleomavaega into West Papua as will Indonesia’s Minster of Fisheries Freddy Numberi who is a retired Vice Admiral and the only member of Indonesia’s Cabinet who is West Papuan.
After his meetings in West Papua, Faleomavaega will attend the opening session of the United Nation’s Conference on Climate Change in Denpasar, Indonesia. The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific now includes the Global Environment and Faleomavaega will be part of the US delegation attending this important and timely conference.
Faleomavaega will conclude his Asia oversight in Taiwan where it is anticipated that he will meet with President Chen, the Premiere, the Foreign Minister, and the Presidential candidates and opposition party leaders. Faleomavaega will also meet with fishery officials and will dedicate a new tuna fishing boat which will become part of the US tuna fishing fleet and will sail in American Samoa.
“My primary purpose in Taiwan is to review our international fisheries agreements which impact the jobs of almost 5,000 tuna cannery workers in American Samoa. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure tuna canneries are always present in American Samoa and this includes meeting with fishery officials in Taiwan which is one of the world’s major tuna producers.”
“I am also informed that Taiwan has one of the best health care systems in the world, and I am hopeful to learn more about this which may be helpful in improving American Samoa’s health care system. Chairman John Conyers of the Committee on the Judiciary may accompany me to Taiwan if his schedule permits. Furthermore, I will also seek his advice on issues dealing with US nationals and US citizenship. First and foremost, whether at home or abroad, my number one priority is to represent American Samoa’s interests,” Faleomavaega concluded.