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U.S. Flag and Missouri State Flag Kit Bond, Sixth Generation Missourian
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December 14, 2005

Bond Returns From 3-Country Tour of SE Asia

During Visit to Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, Senator Stresses Need for Strong Partnership in War on Terror

U.S. Senator Kit Bond today returned from an eight-day tour of Southeast Asia, where he met with foreign intelligence and defense officials in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Bond received briefings and assessments on regional security and counter-terrorism issues during talks with foreign security officials in the three countries.

"Southeast Asia is the second front in the war on terror," said Bond. "We ignore this part of the world at our own peril. This region can either become a breeding ground of terrorist activity for generations or, as long as the U.S. stays engaged, it can be a lifetime partner in the battle against Islamo-fascism. It is critical that we lay the foundation for that relationship now."

In addition to meeting with defense and intelligence officials, Bond held discussions with local government officials and U.S. embassy personnel on a range of issues, including trade, ongoing tsunami relief efforts and the Avian flu currently afflicting the region.

Bond has been vocal about the need to increase U.S. engagement with Southeast Asia as part of a broad American strategy to counter both the growth of radical Islam and Chinese influence in the region.

Last year, following the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia, Bond made his annual trip to the region where he stressed the need for the U.S. government to strengthen military-to-military ties with Indonesia.

Bond said that this year there is good news to report. In November, military relations between the two countries were normalized. This action will allow the U.S. to assist Indonesia in building a military that observes human rights and civilian control and which can become a strong U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism in Southeast Asia, said Bond.

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