WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, expressing support for the creation of an Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative (APSI) to expand multi-national exercises, infrastructure, critical munitions, and U.S. ground, air and maritime forces in the Asia-Pacific.

Facing a growing array of threats in the region, the senators wrote:

“We remain concerned with the eroding military balance resulting from a resource-constrained U.S. defense budget, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) two-decade military modernization, a resurgent Russia expanding fighter and bomber aviation into the Pacific, and a belligerent North Korea wherein Kim Jong-un has detonated more nuclear weapons and tested more missiles than both his father and grandfather, combined. Moreover, we are also concerned with the continued rise of terrorist groups.”

The senators added:

“An Asia-Pacific-focused initiative like the APSI will show both allies and adversaries that the U.S. remains committed to ensuring peace and security in a region that contains the world’s three largest economies, four most populous countries, six of the world’s largest armies, and five of the seven U.S. mutual defense agreements.” 

Other signatories to the letter include Senators Maize Hirono (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Todd Young (R-IN).

A copy of the full letter is available here.