Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman
CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 25, 2003

horizontal rule

For IMMEDIATE Release

 U.S. Policy & Southeast Asia
Rep. Leach Schedules Wednesday Oversight Hearing


BACKGROUND:
With a population of almost 500 million, a substantial natural resource base, strategic international sea lanes, and a diversity of political systems, Southeast Asia is the locus of many U.S. strategic, economic, developmental, and human rights interests. Since 9/11, concerns about terrorism and the rise of militant Islam have commanded U.S. attention toward the region, and those concerns have only been heightened by the October 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which killed nearly 200 people, and by continuing violence and bombings in the southern Philippines. Although most Southeast Asian Muslims traditionally have pursued moderate forms of Islam, the deepening regional recession and expanding contacts with foreign jihadists have increased the incidence of violent, anti-Western fundamentalism. The commencement of military action in Iraq is likely to exacerbate those tendencies, at least in the short term. Southeast Asia’s own security problems have tended to be more domestic than international – for example, ethnic and religious tensions have led to low-level hostilities in Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, and the Philippines. Additionally, several of the governments in the region have been responsible for serious abuses against their own people. The balancing of U.S. counterterrorism and security concerns with support for human rights and democracy in the region is one of the key challenges facing U.S. policy in Southeast Asia today.

WHAT:
Oversight hearing: U.S. Policy Toward Southeast Asia

Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Rep. James A. Leach, Chairman

WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, 2003

WHERE: 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Matthew P. Daley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Gordon West, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Asia and the Near East, Agency for International Development (USAID).

Questions to be raised during this hearing:

bullet

How severe is the threat from radical Islamic groups to American citizens and U.S. interests?

bullet

In the wake of U.S. military action against Iraq and the ongoing anti-terrorist campaign, how does the Administration intend to use public diplomacy to counter the widespread belief that the U.S. is unilateralist and indifferent to the Muslim world?

bullet

Does the Administration have a strategy to address the region's development, trade, and investment needs?

bullet

Should the U.S. be concerned about the growing economic and political influence of China within the region?

Back