U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is lauding the Pentagon's announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will participate in a Hawaii forum of the 10-member Association of the Southeast Asian Nation defense ministers.
Hanabusa's office says Hagel will host all the defense ministers for the inaugural U.S.-ASEAN forum. The three-day event is scheduled to begin April 1.
Hanabusa says in a statement that it's the first time a U.S. defense secretary has hosted all defense ministers in the association in the U.S.
She says the upcoming meeting with world defense leaders will strengthen security partnerships.
The association members are Cambodia, Indonesia, Burma, Brunei, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.
The Hawaii Democrat, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, says she has been invited to participate in the forum.
Sen. Brian Schatz has also been invited to participate in the forum.
"Secretary of Defense Hagel hosting these leaders in Hawai‘i is great news for our state," said Schatz. "As Lieutenant Governor, I was closely involved when Hawai'i hosted the APEC summit in 2011, which clearly demonstrated that Hawai'i could tackle the security challenges of a high-level summit, and this defense meeting will provide further proof that Hawai'i continues to be a prime location to host national and international meetings that will bring in revenue for the state. I look forward to participating and working with Secretary Hagel to make this event in Hawai'i a success."