The Washington Post

Lawmakers beat the cold with a tour of Asia

Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images Hong Kong (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Tired of the endless, bitter cold? Looking to go to some countries that are a bit climatically diverse?

Then hurry on down. There may be some seats left on what looks like a fine congressional delegation (codel) leaving Saturday for a 10-day jaunt to Asia.

You and your spouse, flying on a business-class military jet, catered full- time by military and embassy staffs, will stop in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and, of course, Hong Kong.

It isn’t all balmy over there, especially in Tokyo, but Taipei should be quite comfortable and Manila’s temps are close to 90 this week.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) will be leading the group, which aims to monitor the administration’s policies over there, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and China’s troublesome — not to mention dangerous — escalation of tensions in the region arising from its claim to islands in the East Asia Sea.

It’s a bipartisan, eight-member codel, with Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman (Calif.) and freshmen Reps. Joe Kennedy (Mass.)– yes, he’ll see cousin Caroline there —  and Alan Lowenthal (Calif.) going along.  Sherman was something of a surprise, given the way he blasted former congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) over travel in that brutal primary back in 2012. (We’re reminded now that he didn’t say “never travel” or suggest members were completely barred from traveling.) Royce curiously declined to give the names of the GOP members.

Meetings with major foreign leaders are on tap, including Japanese former and once-again Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye; Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and Philippines President  Benigno Aquino (to review assistance efforts in typhoon ravaged Tacloban) and then on to Hong Kong, which of course belongs to China, to meet with the city’s chief executive, C.Y. Leung and other folks.

Loop recommendation: The country visits should be interesting and the Hong Kong stop is an overnight. This is absolutely critical  to your shopping requirements, especially if you’ve put on a few pounds. If the tailors have your measurements and you know what you want, you’re all set for a quick turnaround on a couple suits. But best to give them closer to 48 hours for those superbly tailored, wool- blend 150s.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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Al Kamen · February 11, 2014

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