Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spent last week’s congressional break on a presidential-campaignish official visit through Japan, the Philippines and South Korea — including a stop at the DMZ where North Korean soldiers took his picture through the window of a conference room on the border.

In Japan, Rubio met with senior government and military officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, and U.S. military service members serving in the country. In the Phililppines, Rubio met with President Benigno Aquino and surveyed typhoon relief efforts.

His South Korea visit included a sit-down with President Park Geun-hye to discuss economic and security concerns.

“My experiences touring Japan, the Philippines and South Korea have left a lasting impression, and I’d like to thank the people and governments of these countries for graciously hosting me,” Rubio said. “The opportunity to visit our embassies and service men and women was a reminder of their selfless commitment that nurtures and protects America’s relationships with allies around the world.”

“A strong, constructive alliance with Asia is critical to promoting economic prosperity, liberty and freedom worldwide, so that one day, democracy and free enterprise will eclipse the oppression and injustices that plague this world. This shared priority is vital to both the economic growth and security of America, and the future of humanity as a whole.”

On Friday, Rubio delivered a foreign policy speech at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

“We need China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system. One that contributes to the security of the global commons rather than simply benefiting from it. We therefore do not seek to ‘contain’ China, but rather to ensure that as it gains in military and economic power, its rise will be peaceful,” the senator said.

“In sharp contrast to China’s system is Taiwan, which continues to show that traditional Chinese culture and democracy are not incompatible and can in fact thrive together. We will not abandon our allies, including Taiwan, in order to improve or preserve our relationship with China.  And we will not stand by quietly as the Chinese government seeks to exacerbate and exploit differences and disagreements between our partners in the region.”

Rubio also took time to point out passages from his autobiography to Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean activist and prison camp survivor:


(Photos: Sen. Marco Rubio’s office)