June 03, 2019

On Bipartisan Delegation Visit to Japan & Singapore, Duckworth Works to Strengthen Relationships with Asian Partners

Days after Trump bizarrely sided with Kim Jong Un while standing next to Japanese Prime Minister, Duckworth visited Asia to reiterate U.S. commitment to allies


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) returned yesterday from an official visit to Singapore and Japan, which she traveled to as part of a tri-partisan Senate Armed Services Committee delegation with U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Over four days, the Senators met with top government and military leaders, diplomats and officials in the region, including the Prime Ministers of both nations as well as their Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers. The Senators also attended the International Institute of Strategic Studies’ (IISS) 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue, a leading defense and security summit in Asia. Duckworth grew up in many different countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, while her father worked for the United Nations delivering humanitarian aid in the region after he served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Photos of the trip are available here.


“Every moment of this trip reinforced for me that our alliances in the Indo-Pacific region are vital to avoiding unnecessary conflict and to our nation’s economy and security,” Duckworth said. “We must recommit to strengthening these relationships, continuing our military and non-military leadership in the region and finding commonsense solutions that benefit the hardworking people in each of our countries, no matter how many thousands of miles apart they may be. I was glad to join Senators King and Blackburn on this trip, and I look forward to working with them to promote stability by continuing these partnerships and preserving the free and open international order in Asia in the years ahead.”


In Japan, the Senators met with a contingent of top officials including:

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
  • Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono
  • National Security Advisor Shatori Yachi
  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga


In Singapore, the Senators met with a contingent of top officials including:

  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
  • Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen
  • Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan


Duckworth previously visited Japan and South Korea in January of 2018 on an official trip with U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) amid increasing tensions between the Trump Administration and North Korea. After returning, Duckworth and Gallego both warned about how deadly and destructive renewed hostilities with North Korea would be. At a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing in February of this year, Duckworth also discussed the national security value of diplomacy and American alliances in the United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) region with INDOPACOM Commander Admiral Philip S. Davidson. INDOPACOM is a unified combatant command of the U.S. Armed Forces responsible for enhancing stability in the Asia-Pacific region.


Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom before her Blackhawk helicopter was hit by an RPG and she lost her legs as well as partial use of her right arm. Duckworth is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), which has jurisdiction over the nation’s common defense, military operations, servicemember pay and retirement, military family benefits and the selective service system. 


The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) brings together ministers and delegates from over 50 countries each year for bilateral discussions on the importance of defense cooperation between countries and the region’s most pressing security challenge.