Apr 18 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) returned from an official overseas trip last week to China, Tibet, Hong Kong and Japan with members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Sen. Kennedy used his time to talk to the number two and number three ranking officials in China about the threat that North Korea poses and to press for China's help in achieving amicable negotiations. He also discussed the possibility of opening China's energy markets to Louisiana's liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and of negotiating an agreement with Japan on importing Louisiana's rice.
“The situation in North Korea is not a fleeting crisis. I, and the rest of the delegation, stressed the importance of working together to ensure stability in the region. A united front is especially important as tensions continue to rise between North Korea and the United States.” said Sen. Kennedy. “Also during the trip, I took the opportunity to promote Louisiana as an LNG leader. China is energy hungry, and Louisiana can help feed that hunger. I met with National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang and China Premier Li Keqiang, who are respectively the number two and number three ranking officials in China, to discuss removing obstacles currently preventing more natural gas exports to China. I also proposed a bilateral agreement with Japan to open their markets to buy more Louisiana rice.”
The congressional delegation trip kicked off in Alaska, where Sen. Kennedy met Lt. General Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, to discuss military readiness. From Alaska, the delegation flew overseas for meetings in Japan, China, Tibet and Hong Kong on the North Korea crisis and trade.
“My main objective on this trip was to impress on China's officials that the American people are very concerned about the threat of North Korea,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We spent a lot of time on this issue and had a frank conversation.”
Sen. Kennedy and the delegation met with:
- Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) National People's Congress Chairman Lobsang Gyaltsen. The delegation made clear its concerns about religious intolerance as it pertains to the Tibetan Buddhists, whose leader is the exiled Dalai Lama.
- Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade, and industry for Japan. He and Sen. Kennedy discussed at length trade relations between Louisiana and Japan with an emphasis on Louisiana's rice crops.
- Carrie Lam, the incoming chief executive of Hong Kong, to discuss how Louisiana and Hong Kong can further trade.
Sen. Kennedy spent a great deal of time with Chinese officials trying to resolves obstacles that are blocking further imports of LNG to China from America, specifically from Louisiana. Natural gas currently supplies about 5% of China's energy. China has expressed interest in increasing imports of LNG to 10% by 2020 to meet the growing demands.
This trip coincided with President Donald J. Trump's summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the United States.
Senators Kennedy (R-La.), Portman(R-Oh.), Barrasso (R-Wy.), and Daines (R-Mt.) meet with Qi Zhala, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region