Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama’s upcoming trip to Asia, where he will visit China, Burma and Australia:

“President Obama’s upcoming trip to China, Burma, and Australia offers an important opportunity for the United States to expand our ties in the Asia-Pacific region.  Meeting with APEC leaders and CEOs in China, the President has the opportunity to put a laser focus on trade, a crucial component of our engagement with Asia. Asia’s many challenges and opportunities aren’t waiting for American leadership, which is central to stability in the region.

“It is imperative that the President start pressing for a strong trade agenda at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Nay Pi Taw, Burma.  Nearly half of the world’s economic growth over the next five years is expected to occur in Asia.  Yet, while Asian economies have moved forward with trade liberalization amongst themselves, the United States has largely stood on the sidelines.  President Obama must make significant headway into these vital markets and redouble efforts to successfully negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership – the free-trade agreement between the United States and eleven countries in the Asia-Pacific region. A well-negotiated TPP could boost U.S. exports by more than $123 billion in ten years.

“I’ve also urged the President to make human rights a center of his visit to Burma.  According to recent reports, over 10,000 Rohingyas have fled Burma in part due to the endemic violence, arbitrary arrests, and torture.  When President Obama sits down for his bilateral meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein, he needs to send a message that these continued abuses are unacceptable.  Too often, human rights take a backseat to other discussions.  For the sake of the increasingly marginalized Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities, President Obama needs to make it unequivocally clear that increased engagement with Burma relies on an end to these abuses.

“In Australia, President Obama has the chance to demonstrate the strong ties between the United States and Australia – an alliance that has been in existence for over 60 years.  Australians have stood with the United States in every conflict since WWI.  Earlier this year, I had the chance to host Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his visit to the Capitol where we discussed this close partnership.  Today, Australians are stepping up in the fight against ISIL.”