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Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Hillary introduces this chapter with a good deal of background from her previous visits to China and the influence they had on her first visit there as secretary of state.  She speaks of reunions with old friends that were not public and therefore not covered by press or the State Department.

It is clear that this maiden voyage in her new capacity was freighted, and she explains both her priorities and the degree to which some (political, environmental,  and commercial issues) were given publicity and others (human rights issues) were not but emphasizes that human rights did not take a back seat.

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She mentions discussing religious freedom and the related issues of Tibet and Taiwan in meetings with high officials but does not remind us that she took the trouble to attend church services.  We at the now-defunct Hillary’s Village Forum knew and shared that information, but I never blogged it here.

2009_0224_clinton_wen_meeti_m U.S. Secretary of State Clinton listens to clergy as she walks out after Sunday service in Beijing

She also participated in an online chat and a TV interview on this visit, although she does not specifically mention them.  Part of her outreach to civil society to be sure.

Hillary Clinton’s Online Chat in China

Hillary Clinton’s Dragon TV Interview in China

The highest profile meeting detailed by the State Department at the time was her bilateral with then Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

Hillary Clinton with Chinese FM Yang Jiechi

It was during this meeting that she became aware of the upcoming Shanghai Expo about which it appeared no one in the U.S. was doing anything.  So Hillary shouldered the responsibility to get a U.S. pavilion up and running in time for the opening in May 2010.

 

 

Video: Secretary Clinton Meeting With Student Ambassadors At The Shanghai Expo

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks At USA Pavilion Gala Dinner

Secretary Clinton Meets and Greets USA Pavilion Student Ambassadors and Employees

Photos: Hillary Clinton at the Shanghai Expo

The most important item on her agenda with China was formulating a way to navigate through the ‘uncharted waters’ of the U.S.-China relationship.   She and other cabinet officials, specifically Timothy Geithner  being a high-profile proponent, were determined to initiate a U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue realized in May 2010.

05-24-10-34U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks at China's President Hu Jintao during the opening ceremony of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in BeijingChinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan (3rd R)

Secretary Clinton’s Address at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Opening Session

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Opening Session

Among all of the issues involving Asia, the most enormous elephant in the room swinging its massive trunk on the sidelines of every official meeting was the issue of ‘dominion,’ if it can be called that, over the waters of the South and East China Seas.   These waters are vital to shipping routes, but also flow over precious mineral resources such as semi-conductors that are indispensable in the hardware that organizes our online lives now from communications through paperless bill-paying.  The Chinese made it clear that their claims to these waters were non-negotiable.  Hillary thought that if enough of China’s smaller neighbors were to coalesce around the issue of access the giant might blink.

She cites the July 2010 ASEAN Ministerial Meetings in Hanoi as the tipping point at which a coalition of south Asian countries became strong  enough to press giant China on these seafaring issues.*  Her instincts and predictions on this were spot-on.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton ASEAN Hanoi Day Two

She closes out this Asia chapter with her return from the Hanoi ASEAN with only a week left to finalize preparations for Chelsea’s wedding.

MOTB Hillary Clinton in New York

Slideshow: Hillary and Bill @ Beekman Arms

Here Comes the Bride!

And so ends chapter 4 with a lot of hope for the future.

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Endnote

*I still contend that if the Senate, at any point, had ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST – see the sidebar on the right) her job from here through her last Asia trip in 2012 would not have been so demanding.  The island-hopping and bilaterals and trilaterals that took place in summer of 2012 might not have been so intense and crucial.  You might remember her being given access that was not easy to come by to watch WJC address the Democratic National Convention in September of that year.  All of that traveling among those islands was over maritime rights in the South and East China Seas.  A LOST ratification might have obviated much of that shuttle diplomacy.  But that’s just me.  Just sayin’.  Anyway, it’s water under all the bridges.

How the Tea Party Harpooned Hillary Clinton’s Asia Mission

 

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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So great to see taking on the road to India to talk about women in the economy.

More about President Clinton’s travel to the Asia/Pacific region can be accessed here. >>>>

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Here is a short video synopsis from Reuters of Mme. Secretary’s latest charm offensive in Asia.  No one can do this the way she does!

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Amelia Earhart: A Pacific Legacy

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 19, 2012

 


On March 20, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host an event to celebrate Amelia Earhart and the United States’ ties to our Pacific neighbors. Secretary Clinton will be joined by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The event will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m.

On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan left the Territory of New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea) en route  Howland Island in the South Pacific, but they never arrived. Tuesday’s event will underscore America’s spirit of adventure and courage, as embodied by Amelia Earhart, and our commitment to seizing new opportunities for cooperation with Pacific neighbors founded on the United States’ long history of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Obama, Clinton top most-admired lists for 2011

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are the nation’s most admired man and woman — again — in the annual USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

Each leads their category with 17% of votes in top 10 lists that favor the most familiar names in global politics, religion, entertainment and culture.

SNIP

Obama supplanted George W. Bush at No. 1 in 2008 but Bush continues in the No. 2 spot, according to the poll of 1,019 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 15-18.

Former president Bill Clinton hovers in third this year, just above the most frequently named person in the poll’s history — the Rev. Billy Graham. The 93-year-old evangelist has been on the list since Gallup first asked the question in 1946 and has made the top 10 55 times.

Perennial runner-up Oprah Winfrey is No. 2 for women for the 10th time. It’s her 24th year in the top 10.

First lady Michelle Obama garnered third place, dropping former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to fourth this year.

Read more >>>>

*Shakes head*  George W. comes out ahead of  WJC????  Well, I felt compelled to share this, but you have to wonder how informed the respondents are.

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America’s Pacific Century

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
East-West Center
Honolulu, HI
November 10, 2011

DR. MORRISON: Aloha.

AUDIENCE: Aloha.

DR. MORRISON: How do you introduce the Secretary of State? And I think the first thing I think of as a public servant, we sometimes hear the word public servant spoken in a kind of derogatory tone. But the public servants that I’ve known, the members of our state and local government, members of our Congress, members of the international community, with a lot of volunteers and within a certain (inaudible) of the Department of State, are people who are incredibly dedicated and work tirelessly.

But there’s no one, I think, who is more tireless than the Secretary of State, and our own little vignette on this is that there was 25 years that the East-West Center saw no Secretary of State come to our campus. And in the last two years, we’ve seen this Secretary of State three times. (Applause.) Now I have learned one other thing about her this time. She is a risk-taker. We told her that the weather was going to be raining, the program should be on the inside, and she told us that the weather was going to be fine – (laughter) – that the program was going to be on the outside. And you can see who won the argument – (laughter) – but I think calculated and intelligent risk and something we also need in public service.

So I’m very pleased to present our Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all. Aloha.

AUDIENCE: Aloha.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And it is such a great pleasure for me to be here, back in Hawaii and at the East-West Center. This is America’s gateway to Asia, and one of the loveliest places in the world. I cannot speak for the 25 years of gap between secretaries of state coming here, but I am pleased that I have found my way here now for the third time. And the United States is so proud to host this year’s APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu, not only because we are committed to our partners in APEC, but also because it gives us the chance to share with them Hawaii’s beauty and culture, and I know that President Obama is eager to welcome everyone to his hometown when he arrives here tomorrow.

Now, there are so many people in this audience that I would like to acknowledge. First, we are joined by leaders and representatives from a dozen Pacific Island nations. This region is known as the Asia Pacific, but sometimes the second word gets less attention than the first. And the Obama Administration has taken many steps to right that balance. We have reopened our USAID office, reinvigorated our commitment to the Pacific Island Forum, and have worked more closely with all our Pacific partners to address urgent challenges from climate change to pandemic health threats to environmental degradation. So I want to thank the Pacific Island leaders for joining us today, and for their continuing partnership with the United States. And if I could, I would like all the leaders to stand so that we can properly recognize them. (Applause.)

And of course, there are other very important representatives of Hawaii and our country here with us today. My dear friend and a great leader for our country, Senator Daniel Inouye, and his wonderful wife Irene. Thank you, Senator, Irene. (Laughter.) Representative Colleen Hanabusa and Representative Mazie Hirono, thank you both for being here. (Applause.) Governor, thank you for being here and welcoming me with a warm Aloha. (Applause.) The governor said he was much happier to see me in Hawaii than in Washington. I wonder why. (Laughter.) I also have a number of other friends who are here, in particular former Governor and Mrs. Ariyoshi who are here, thank you – (applause) – former Governor and Mrs. Waihee who are here, thank you – (applause) – and so many others whom I am always pleased to see and look forward to continuing our relationship on a range of issues.

I know that it’s exciting for all of us to be here on the cusp of APEC, and I want to thank Charles Morrison and everyone at the East-West Center because, as you heard from Charles, this is the third time I’ve come on my way to somewhere else in the Asia Pacific, and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to come here to the East-West Center, because the ties between East and West are absolutely critical to our U.S. foreign policy. And to that end, I know that this is a whole-of-government effort. It’s not only our civilian representatives who are focused on and engaged with the Asia Pacific, but also our military leaders, and I want to thank Admiral Willard, Admiral Walsh, and all of the military leaders who represent us so well in the Asia Pacific. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Now from the very beginning, the Obama Administration embraced the importance of the Asia Pacific region. So many global trends point to Asia. It’s home to nearly half the world’s population, it boasts several of the largest and fastest-growing economies and some of the world’s busiest ports and shipping lanes, and it also presents consequential challenges such as military buildups, concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, natural disasters, and the world’s worst levels of greenhouse gas emissions. It is becoming increasingly clear that in the 21st century, the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas. And one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decades will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in this region.

Across the United States Government, under President Obama’s leadership, our diplomats, military leaders, and trade and development experts are hard at work reinforcing our relationships in the region to set us on a course for broad and lasting progress.

Events elsewhere in the world have also lined up in a way that helps makes this possible. The war in Iraq is winding down. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan. After a decade in which we invested immense resources in these two theaters, we have reached a pivot point. We now can redirect some of those investments to opportunities and obligations elsewhere. And Asia stands out as a region where opportunities abound.

We have a model for what we and our partners in the region are working to achieve. It is what the United States and our partners in Europe achieved together in the past 50 years. The 20th century saw the creation of a comprehensive transatlantic network of institutions and relationships. Its goals were to strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and defend our collective security. And it has paid remarkable dividends, in Europe itself, in our thriving two-way trade and our investment, and in places like Libya and Afghanistan. It has also proven to be absolutely critical in dealing with countries like Iran. The transatlantic system is and always will be a central pillar of America’s engagement with the world.

But today, there is a need for a more dynamic and durable transpacific system, a more mature security and economic architecture that will promote security, prosperity, and universal values, resolve differences among nations, foster trust and accountability, and encourage effective cooperation on the scale that today’s challenges demand.

And just as the United States played a central role in shaping that architecture across the Atlantic – to ensure that it worked, for us and for everyone else – we are now doing the same across the Pacific. The 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region.

Now this goal is not ours alone. It is one that many across the region hold. I have heard from many different counterparts across the Asia Pacific an urgent desire for American leadership, which has brought benefits to this region already for decades. The United States is proud of our long history as a Pacific nation and a resident diplomatic, military, and economic power. And we are here to stay.

The alliances we’ve built over the years help provide the security that’s made it possible for countries throughout Asia to prosper. American ships patrol sea lanes and keep them safe for trade; American diplomats help settle disputes among nations before they escalate. We’ve been a major trade and investment partner, a source of innovation, a host to generations of students, and a committed development partner, helping to expand opportunity and bring economic and social progress to millions of people. And as a staunch advocate for democracy and human rights, we have urged countries to strengthen their own societies and allow their own citizens to live free and dignified lives.

Just as our engagement has already delivered results for the people of Asia, it has and will continue to deliver results for the American people. This is a point I particularly want to emphasize. At this time of serious economic challenges, I am well aware of the concerns of those in our own country that the United States downsize our work around the world. When they hear me and others talk about a new era of engagement in Asia I know they think to themselves, “Why would we increase our outreach anywhere? Now’s the time to scale back.” This thinking is understandable, but it is mistaken. What will happen in Asia in the years ahead will have an enormous impact on our nation’s future, and we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and leave it to others to determine our future for us. Instead, we need to engage and seize these new opportunities for trade and investment that will create jobs at home and will fuel our economic recovery.

And there are challenges facing the Asia Pacific right now that demand America’s leadership, from ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea to countering North Korea’s provocations and proliferation activities to promoting balanced and inclusive economic growth. The United States has unique capacities to bring to bear in these efforts and a strong national interest at stake.

Now that’s the why of America’s pivot toward the Asia Pacific. Now, what about the how? What will this next chapter in our engagement with Asia look like? It starts with a sustained commitment to the strategy we have followed in this administration, what I have called forward-deployed diplomacy. That means dispatching the full range of our diplomatic resources, including our highest-ranking officials, our diplomats and development experts, and our permanent assets, to every country and corner of the region.

Specifically, we are moving ahead on six key lines of action, which I have previously discussed in depth. They are: strengthening our bilateral security alliances; deepening our working relationships with emerging powers; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad-based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights.

In the next two weeks, we will make progress on all of these fronts. I will join President Obama as he hosts the APEC Leaders’ Meeting right here in Honolulu, and next week in Indonesia as he becomes the first American president to attend the East Asia Summit. We will also place special emphasis on engaging each of our five treaty allies, starting with the President’s extended meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Noda here in Hawaii. The President will then go on to Australia, and I will travel to the Philippines and Thailand. And later this month, I’ll visit South Korea for the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

So these coming days represent a significant period of engagement, and let me briefly describe our goals, tracking our travels from APEC to our allies to the East Asia Summit. Economic issues are front and center in these relationships. American businesses are eager for more opportunities to trade and invest in Asian markets. And we share with most nations the goal of broad-based, sustainable growth that expands opportunity, protects workers and the environment, respects intellectual property, and fosters innovation.

But to accomplish these goals, we have to create a rules-based order, one that is open, free, transparent, and fair. As a member of APEC and host of this meeting, the United States will drive an agenda focused on strengthening regional economic integration, promoting green growth, and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence. And we will continue to work through APEC to invest in the economic potential of women, whose talents and contribution still often go untapped. This agenda will create jobs and generate growth for all of us, but only if all of us play by the rules. We have to remove barriers, both at borders and behind borders, barriers like corruption, the theft of intellectual property, government practices that distort fair competition. Economic integration must be a two-way street.

There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and our ongoing work on a binding, high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community. A rules-based order will also be critical to meeting APEC’s goal of eventually creating a free trade area of the Asia Pacific.

The United States will continue to make the case that, as a region, we must pursue not just more growth but better growth. This is not merely a matter of economics. It goes to the central question of which values we will embrace and defend. Openness, freedom, transparency, and fairness have meaning far beyond the business realm. Just as the United States advocates for them in an economic context, we also advocate for them in political and social contexts.

We support not only open economies but open societies. And as we engage more deeply with nations with whom we disagree on issues like democracy and human rights, we will persist in urging them to reform. For example, we have made it clear to Vietnam that if we are to develop a strategic partnership, as both nations desire, Vietnam must do more to respect and protect its citizens’ rights.

And in Burma, where the United States has consistently advocated for democratic reforms and human rights, we are witnessing the first stirrings of change in decades. Now, many questions remain, including the government’s continued detention of political prisoners, and whether reform will be sustained and extended to include peace and reconciliation in the ethnic minority areas. Should the government pursue genuine and lasting reform for the benefits of its citizens, it will find a partner in the United States.

As for North Korea, it shows a persistent disregard for the rights of its citizens and presents a major security challenge to its neighbors. We will continue to speak out forcefully against the threat from the regime that it poses to its own people and beyond.

Our commitment to democracy and human rights is shared by many nations in the region, in particular our treaty allies – Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand. These five alliances are the fulcrum for our efforts in the Asia Pacific. They have underwritten regional peace and security for more than half a century. They leverage our regional presence and enhance our regional leadership at a time of evolving security challenges.

And now we are updating those alliances for a changing world with three guidelines in mind. First, we are working to ensure that the core objectives of our alliances have the political support of our people. Second, we want our alliances to be nimble and adaptive so they can continue to deliver results. And third, we are making sure that our collective defense capabilities and communications infrastructure are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and non-state actors.

All these issues will be addressed in our upcoming visits and meetings. When the President meets with Prime Minister Noda, they will discuss the full breadth of our engagement that makes the U.S.-Japan alliance the cornerstone of peace and security in the region. In Australia, President Obama will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australia alliance and chart a future course for the partnership. I will do the same in the Philippines, where our two countries will sign the Manila Declaration, which sets forth a shared vision for continued cooperation between our nations. And in Thailand, I will convey our steadfast support for the Thai Government and people as they face the worst floods in their history. In South Korea, we will show once again how our alliance has gone global, through our work together in the G-20 and the Nuclear Security Summit, and now a major forum South Korea is hosting on development aid.

The United States takes very seriously the role that our military plays in protecting the region, including more than 50,000 U.S. servicemen and women stationed in Japan and South Korea. As this region changes, we must change our force posture to ensure that it is geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable. A more broadly distributed military presence provides vital advantages, both in deterring and responding to threats, and in providing support for humanitarian missions.

As we reaffirm and strengthen our Pacific alliances, we are also intensifying our Atlantic alliances, as Europe becomes more engaged with Asia. We welcome that. American and European diplomats have begun regular consultations to align our assessments and approaches. An effective partnership with Europe will be vital to solving many of the challenges facing Asia, and more cooperation between the Pacific and Atlantic regions could help us all in meeting our global problems.

As President Obama and I conclude our upcoming visits to our key treaty allies, I will join him next week at the East Asia Summit in Indonesia. We are proud to be part of the EAS, and we believe it should become the premier forum for dealing with regional political and security issues, from maritime security to nonproliferation to disaster response.

On this last issue in particular, the United States is ready to lend our expertise to help build the capacity of the East Asia Summit and other institutions to respond swiftly and effectively when natural disasters strike. From the 2004 tsunami to the earthquake earlier this year in Christchurch, New Zealand, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan, the flooding now happening in Thailand, the United States stands ready to contribute, to deliver aid, to provide expertise and capabilities, financial resources. Other nations are now making disaster resilience a higher priority. Because even when disaster strikes just one country alone, the impact is widely felt, so this calls out for a closely coordinated regional response.

And that’s what strong regional institutions can help provide, like the East Asia Summit, APEC, ASEAN, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. We need to be able to muster collective action when it is called for, reinforce a system of rules and responsibilities, reward constructive behavior with legitimacy and respect, and hold accountable those who undermine peace, stability, and prosperity. The institutions of the Asia Pacific have become more capable in recent years, and the United States is committed to helping them grow in effectiveness and reach. We are answering the calls to us from the region in playing an active role in helping to set agendas.

Our ability to build a successful regional architecture will turn on our ability to work effectively with the emerging powers, countries like Indonesia, or India, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Pacific Island countries. So we’re making a concerted effort to build closer and more extensive partnerships with all these nations. India and Indonesia in particular are two of the most dynamic and significant democratic powers in the world, and the United States is committed to broader, deeper, more purposeful relations with each. And we want to actively support India’s look east policy as it grows into an act east policy.

Our most complex and consequential relationships with an emerging power is, of course, with China. Some in our country see China’s progress as a threat to the United States, while some in China worry that America seeks to constrain China. In fact, we believe a thriving China is good for China, and a thriving China in – is good for America. President Obama and I have made very clear that the United States is fundamentally committed to developing a positive and cooperative relationship with China.

Expanding our areas of common interest is essential. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and I, along with our Chinese counterparts, launched the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in 2099. These are the most intensive and expansive talks ever conducted between our governments, and we look forward to traveling to Beijing this spring for the fourth round. Now, we are looking to China to intensify dialogue between civilian and military officials through the Strategic Security Dialogue so we can have an open and frank discussions on the most sensitive issues in our relationship, including maritime security and cyber security.

On the economic front, the United States and China have to work together – there is no choice – to ensure strong, sustained, balanced future global growth. U.S. firms want fair opportunities to export to China’s markets and a level playing field for competition. Chinese firms want to buy more high-tech products from us, make more investments in our country, and be accorded the same terms of access that market economies enjoy. We can work together on these objectives, but China needs to take steps to reform. In particular, we are working with China to end unfair discrimination against U.S. and other foreign companies, and we are working to protect innovative technologies, remove competition-distorting preferences. China must allow its currency to appreciate more rapidly and end the measures that disadvantage or pirate foreign intellectual property.

We believe making these changes would provide a stronger foundation for stability and growth, both for China and for everyone else. And we make a similar case when it comes to political reform. Respect for international law and a more open political system would also strengthen China’s foundation, while at the same time increasing the confidence of China’s partners.

We have made very clear our serious concerns about China’s record on human rights. When we see reports of lawyers, artists, and others who are detained or disappeared, the United States speaks up both publicly and privately. We are alarmed by recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire in desperate acts of protest, as well as the continued house arrest of the Chinese lawyer Chen Guangcheng. We continue to call on China to embrace a different path.

And we remain committed to the One-China policy and the preservation of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We have a strong relationship with Taiwan, an important security and economic partner, and we applaud the progress that we have seen in cross-Strait relations between China and Taiwan during the past three years and we look forward to continued improvement so there can be peaceful resolution of their differences.

To those in Asia who wonder whether the United States is really here to stay, if we can make and keep credible strategic and economic commitments and back them up with action, the answer is: Yes, we can, and yes, we will. First, because we must. Our own long-term security and prosperity depend on it. Second, because making significant investments in strengthening partnerships and institutions help us establish a system and habits of cooperation that, over time, will require less effort to sustain.

That’s what we learned from our transatlantic experiment. It took years of patient, persistent efforts to build an effective regional architecture across the Atlantic. But there is no question it was worth every political dialogue, every economic summit, every joint military exercise. For hundreds of millions of people in Europe, the United States and the transatlantic community has meant more secure and prosperous lives. If we follow that path in Asia, building on all that we have already done together, we can lift lives in even greater numbers. And this region can become an even stronger force for global progress.

In 1963, President Kennedy gave a speech about the Atlantic community in Frankfurt, Germany. Now, that was at a time when many people were convinced that it would not last. President Kennedy described an “Atlantic partnership: a system of cooperation, interdependence, and harmony, whose people can jointly meet their burdens and opportunities throughout the world.” He acknowledged that there would be difficulties, delays, doubts, and discouragement. But the process of partnership would grow stronger as nations and people devoted themselves to common tasks. He said then, “Let it not be said of this Atlantic generation that we left ideals and visions to the past. We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now.”

Well, today, on the opposite side of the world, we have faced a similar juncture. This Pacific generation has and will face difficulties. But our region is more secure and prosperous than it has ever been, and that is directly linked to the cooperation that has blossomed among us. The more we have seen each other’s well-being as beneficial to ourselves, the better things have become for all of us.

Our work may have began long ago, but we are called today with new urgency to carry it forward. And in this, the United States is fully committed. We are ready to engage and to lead, on behalf of our citizens, our neighbors and partners, and the future generations whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today together.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

DR. MORRISON: I think that speech was breathtaking in its comprehensiveness, and it was also inspirational and it was visionary, and I think all of us here are proud to be part of the team. There’s no place in the world that I think has a greater stake in the future of U.S.-Asia Pacific relations, so we thank you very much for that speech, which, with the two other speeches, makes a very nice trifecta of speeches. Thank you.

And the Secretary, as she did when she stood here before, has agreed to take three student questions, and I think the first student question is ready. It’s Pattama Lenuwat there, and she is a Thai student in our leadership program, so Pattama.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary, for sharing the foreign policy to Asian – Asia Pacific countries. I feel much appreciate for the policy that the U.S. Government have for the rest of the world, especially for Asian countries. I am Pattama from Bangkok, Thailand, land of smiles, I can say. If you see me smiling, it doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time, especially during the severe flooding in Bangkok at this moment. And unfortunately, our first female prime minister cannot come to participate APEC meeting this time, so – but I believe that U.S. Government will give a lot of support in terms of financial support to Thailand.

But my question is, in order to see my country to be developed in sustainable way, I would like to know: Is there any plan from the U.S. Government to encourage or increase the trade in Thailand after the flooding is relieved? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well thank you, and our hearts go out to the people of Thailand. This has been a terrible flood and has covered a great portion of Thai countryside, and now, as you said, in Bangkok, it is slow, unfortunately, to recede. So the numbers of people that are without homes may be as high as 2 million, and we are deeply concerned by what is happening right now and what the consequences of this flooding will be. Because your prime minister could not come to APEC – and I think she made exactly the right decision; she must stay and help to lead the efforts to protect the people and take other necessary actions – I will be going to Thailand and I will be bringing with me a strong message of support and solidarity and specific measures of assistance.

We are very willing to help the Thai Government and the Thai people, but we want to be sure that we are responding to the help requested. It is not for us to make a judgment about what you need. It is for us to sit with your government and for your officials to tell us what you require and then for us to respond. But I have been working with Admiral Willard, the leader of our Pacific Forces with the Pentagon. I talked with Secretary of Defense Panetta before I left. So I will be coming with a list of ways we are prepared to help, but also to hear what will be most necessary. And I like the way you said this, that we should look at what we need to do immediately, but then once we get through this terrible period, what more can we do to help Thailand embark on a path of sustainable development.

DR. MORRISON: Now we have Derek Mane. He’s from the Solomon Islands and he’s a Pacific – a South Pacific scholar.

QUESTION: Thank you again, Madam, for the wonderful speech that has been (inaudible) of today. I have a couple of questions, but – however, for the (inaudible) I might be asking just two questions based on the U.S. (inaudible) in the Pacific region. My first question would be on the human right – violence in West Papua. What is the United States stand on the issue of violation of human rights in West Papua in Indonesia?

The other question that I might like, also, to (inaudible) is the economic leverage that China is getting into the region as well. For instance, the Ramu investment in Papua New Guinea for the coal mining, and also the proposed Fiji mining that’s also China involvement in heavy – in economy. What is the view of the United States on that influence? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your first question, we have very directly raised our concerns about the violence and the abuse of human rights. We do not believe there is any basis for that. There needs to be continuing dialogue and political reforms in order to meet the legitimate needs of the Papua people, and we will be raising that again directly and encouraging that kind of approach.

With respect to Chinese investment, the United States does not object to investment from anywhere, particularly in our Pacific Island friends, because we want to see sustainable growth. We want to see opportunities for Pacific Islanders. But as I said in my speech, we want also to see investment carried out by the United States, by China, by anyone, according to certain rules that will truly benefit the countries in which the investment occurs. We also strongly believe that the interests of the countries need to be protected. So that if there is development of natural resources, which we are finding are quite prevalent in the Pacific Island nations, we want the people of those nations to benefit, not just the companies and the countries that do the extraction.

So we want a rules-based, fair, free, transparent, level playing field for investment and doing business. But perhaps even more importantly, we want to see the countries benefit. We don’t want to wake up in a decade and see that natural resources have been depleted, you don’t have any better roads, you don’t have any better schools, you don’t have any better health care, you don’t have jobs for the people of the countries themselves because labor’s been imported. So we want to be sure that everybody is signed up to a system of investment and business that will truly benefit the countries where it occurs. So that’s one of the reasons we are pushing quite hard on a rules-based system, and why we’re also talking with our colleagues in – not only the Pacific Island nations, but elsewhere in the region – about what they can do to try to maintain their natural resource heritage.

A couple of countries have done it very well. A country like Norway, which struck oil, put a very large percentage of the oil revenues into a trust fund for the future benefit of Norwegians. Botswana, which has made a great deal of economic benefit from the diamond industry, created a trust fund, so it’s one of the reasons why Botswana has the best roads, why you can drink the water, why the school system is nationwide. That’s what I want to see. I’m not against anybody investing, my own companies, anybody else’s companies. But I want nations to stand up for their rights and to make sure that the benefits of the investments don’t just go to a few members of the elite but benefit the people of these countries who deserve that kind of economic growth. (Applause.)

DR. MORRISON: Now we have Mian Cui from China.

QUESTION: Good morning, Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

QUESTION: My name is Mian. I’m from China. Since you talk a lot about making new rules, I would like to ask you a question about the future rule-makers still in school right now.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: So in this year, President Obama’s speech in the State of Union, he actually said – talked about foreign students studying in the States. He said, like, some are the children of under – undocumented workers, others come here from abroad, study in our colleges and universities, but as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, they send – we send them back home to compete against us.

So I’m actually asking: What kind of adjustment or any changes do U.S. Government want to make or are thinking of making right now in terms of staying ahead in this competition of global talents? And also, what do you expect international education exchange programs to do, and what kind of role do you expect them to play in this process? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question because it’s something I feel passionately about. And my colleague from the State Department, with whom I work closely on these issues, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell and I, really zeroed in on the importance of greater student exchanges. So we’re doing several things. We have a program to try to get 100,000 more students – more American students studying in China, more Chinese students coming to the United States, but we’re also doing that with Indonesia, with Malaysia, with other countries as well. We want to increase the number of students coming to the United States from Japan and South Korea, which historically have been large pools of students now that needs to be reinvigorated.

We also have a very exciting program that will – that President Obama will be announcing to work with the East-West Center to teach more students in the region English, so that they could perhaps pursue educational opportunities in the United States. Senator Inouye has been a staunch supporter of student exchanges, because he knows how important they are. And so we’re going to keep pushing this. And we’re also trying to change our rules and regulations so that students both are – find it easier to come in the first place and easier to stay after they finish their education. So we fully agree with you that we want to put more emphasis on this.

Another area that we’re focused on is opening up more American colleges and universities across the region, because we think that higher education is one of our great exports, and not every Chinese student or Indonesian student will be able to come study in the United States, but if we can have American colleges and universities that run high-quality programs, we’ll be able to reach more students.

So on all of these aspects of this challenge, we are committed and we’re going to do everything we can to increase numbers and to make it easier and to try to restore the level of student exchange that we had prior to 9/11. Because really, it was 9/11 that began to shut down our borders, make security much more difficult, and we lost a lot of students who decided they would go to Australia, or New Zealand, or China, or India, or somewhere else. And so we have worked hard to clear away some of the necessary security issues to get more students. And we want more American students to go and study as well. So hopefully, you’ll begin to see the changes that we’re working toward in the very near future.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Thank you, Charles. Always good to be here with you.

DR. MORRISON: Okay. Thank you. We wish the Secretary well as she does her duties.

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America’s Pacific Century

Op-Ed

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Foreign Policy Magazine
October 11, 2011

 


The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.

As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific has become a key driver of global politics. Stretching from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas, the region spans two oceans — the Pacific and the Indian — that are increasingly linked by shipping and strategy. It boasts almost half the world’s population. It includes many of the key engines of the global economy, as well as the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. It is home to several of our key allies and important emerging powers like China, India, and Indonesia.

At a time when the region is building a more mature security and economic architecture to promote stability and prosperity, U.S. commitment there is essential. It will help build that architecture and pay dividends for continued American leadership well into this century, just as our post-World War II commitment to building a comprehensive and lasting transatlantic network of institutions and relationships has paid off many times over — and continues to do so. The time has come for the United States to make similar investments as a Pacific power, a strategic course set by President Barack Obama from the outset of his administration and one that is already yielding benefits.

With Iraq and Afghanistan still in transition and serious economic challenges in our own country, there are those on the American political scene who are calling for us not to reposition, but to come home. They seek a downsizing of our foreign engagement in favor of our pressing domestic priorities. These impulses are understandable, but they are misguided. Those who say that we can no longer afford to engage with the world have it exactly backward — we cannot afford not to. From opening new markets for American businesses to curbing nuclear proliferation to keeping the sea lanes free for commerce and navigation, our work abroad holds the key to our prosperity and security at home. For more than six decades, the United States has resisted the gravitational pull of these “come home” debates and the implicit zero-sum logic of these arguments. We must do so again.

Beyond our borders, people are also wondering about America’s intentions — our willingness to remain engaged and to lead. In Asia, they ask whether we are really there to stay, whether we are likely to be distracted again by events elsewhere, whether we can make — and keep — credible economic and strategic commitments, and whether we can back those commitments with action. The answer is: We can, and we will.

Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology. Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia. Strategically, maintaining peace and security across the Asia-Pacific is increasingly crucial to global progress, whether through defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, or ensuring transparency in the military activities of the region’s key players.

Just as Asia is critical to America’s future, an engaged America is vital to Asia’s future. The region is eager for our leadership and our business — perhaps more so than at any time in modern history. We are the only power with a network of strong alliances in the region, no territorial ambitions, and a long record of providing for the common good. Along with our allies, we have underwritten regional security for decades — patrolling Asia’s sea lanes and preserving stability — and that in turn has helped create the conditions for growth. We have helped integrate billions of people across the region into the global economy by spurring economic productivity, social empowerment, and greater people-to-people links. We are a major trade and investment partner, a source of innovation that benefits workers and businesses on both sides of the Pacific, a host to 350,000 Asian students every year, a champion of open markets, and an advocate for universal human rights.

President Obama has led a multifaceted and persistent effort to embrace fully our irreplaceable role in the Pacific, spanning the entire U.S. Government. It has often been a quiet effort. A lot of our work has not been on the front pages, both because of its nature — long-term investment is less exciting than immediate crises — and because of competing headlines in other parts of the world.

As Secretary of State, I broke with tradition and embarked on my first official overseas trip to Asia. In my seven trips since, I have had the privilege to see firsthand the rapid transformations taking place in the region, underscoring how much the future of the United States is intimately intertwined with the future of the Asia-Pacific. A strategic turn to the region fits logically into our overall global effort to secure and sustain America’s global leadership. The success of this turn requires maintaining and advancing a bipartisan consensus on the importance of the Asia-Pacific to our national interests; we seek to build upon a strong tradition of engagement by presidents and secretaries of state of both parties across many decades. It also requires smart execution of a coherent regional strategy that accounts for the global implications of our choices.

What does that regional strategy look like? For starters, it calls for a sustained commitment to what I have called “forward-deployed” diplomacy. That means continuing to dispatch the full range of our diplomatic assets — including our highest-ranking officials, our development experts, our interagency teams, and our permanent assets — to every country and corner of the Asia-Pacific region. Our strategy will have to keep accounting for and adapting to the rapid and dramatic shifts playing out across Asia. With this in mind, our work will proceed along six key lines of action: strengthening bilateral security alliances; deepening our working relationships with emerging powers, including with China; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad-based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights.

By virtue of our unique geography, the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. We are proud of our European partnerships and all that they deliver. Our challenge now is to build a web of partnerships and institutions across the Pacific that is as durable and as consistent with American interests and values as the web we have built across the Atlantic. That is the touchstone of our efforts in all these areas.

Our treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the fulcrum for our strategic turn to the Asia-Pacific. They have underwritten regional peace and security for more than half a century, shaping the environment for the region’s remarkable economic ascent. They leverage our regional presence and enhance our regional leadership at a time of evolving security challenges.

As successful as these alliances have been, we can’t afford simply to sustain them — we need to update them for a changing world. In this effort, the Obama Administration is guided by three core principles. First, we have to maintain political consensus on the core objectives of our alliances. Second, we have to ensure that our alliances are nimble and adaptive so that they can successfully address new challenges and seize new opportunities. Third, we have to guarantee that the defense capabilities and communications infrastructure of our alliances are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and nonstate actors.

The alliance with Japan, the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region, demonstrates how the Obama Administration is giving these principles life. We share a common vision of a stable regional order with clear rules of the road — from freedom of navigation to open markets and fair competition. We have agreed to a new arrangement, including a contribution from the Japanese Government of more than $5 billion, to ensure the continued enduring presence of American forces in Japan, while expanding joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities to deter and react quickly to regional security challenges, as well as information sharing to address cyberthreats. We have concluded an Open Skies Agreement that will enhance access for businesses and people-to-people ties, launched a strategic dialogue on the Asia-Pacific, and been working hand in hand as the two largest donor countries in Afghanistan.

Similarly, our alliance with South Korea has become stronger and more operationally integrated, and we continue to develop our combined capabilities to deter and respond to North Korean provocations. We have agreed on a plan to ensure successful transition of operational control during wartime and anticipate successful passage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. And our alliance has gone global, through our work together in the G-20 and the Nuclear Security Summit and through our common efforts in Haiti and Afghanistan.

We are also expanding our alliance with Australia from a Pacific partnership to an Indo-Pacific one, and indeed a global partnership. From cybersecurity to Afghanistan to the Arab Awakening to strengthening regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific, Australia’s counsel and commitment have been indispensable. And in Southeast Asia, we are renewing and strengthening our alliances with the Philippines and Thailand, increasing, for example, the number of ship visits to the Philippines and working to ensure the successful training of Filipino counterterrorism forces through our Joint Special Operations Task Force in Mindanao. In Thailand — our oldest treaty partner in Asia — we are working to establish a hub of regional humanitarian and disaster relief efforts in the region.

As we update our alliances for new demands, we are also building new partnerships to help solve shared problems. Our outreach to China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Pacific Island countries is all part of a broader effort to ensure a more comprehensive approach to American strategy and engagement in the region. We are asking these emerging partners to join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order.

One of the most prominent of these emerging partners is, of course, China. Like so many other countries before it, China has prospered as part of the open and rules-based system that the United States helped to build and works to sustain. And today, China represents one of the most challenging and consequential bilateral relationships the United States has ever had to manage. This calls for careful, steady, dynamic stewardship, an approach to China on our part that is grounded in reality, focused on results, and true to our principles and interests.

We all know that fears and misperceptions linger on both sides of the Pacific. Some in our country see China’s progress as a threat to the United States; some in China worry that America seeks to constrain China’s growth. We reject both those views. The fact is that a thriving America is good for China and a thriving China is good for America. We both have much more to gain from cooperation than from conflict. But you cannot build a relationship on aspirations alone. It is up to both of us to more consistently translate positive words into effective cooperation — and, crucially, to meet our respective global responsibilities and obligations. These are the things that will determine whether our relationship delivers on its potential in the years to come. We also have to be honest about our differences. We will address them firmly and decisively as we pursue the urgent work we have to do together. And we have to avoid unrealistic expectations.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, one of my top priorities has been to identify and expand areas of common interest, to work with China to build mutual trust, and to encourage China’s active efforts in global problem-solving. This is why Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and I launched the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the most intensive and expansive talks ever between our governments, bringing together dozens of agencies from both sides to discuss our most pressing bilateral issues, from security to energy to human rights.

We are also working to increase transparency and reduce the risk of miscalculation or miscues between our militaries. The United States and the international community have watched China’s efforts to modernize and expand its military, and we have sought clarity as to its intentions. Both sides would benefit from sustained and substantive military-to-military engagement that increases transparency. So we look to Beijing to overcome its reluctance at times and join us in forging a durable military-to-military dialogue. And we need to work together to strengthen the Strategic Security Dialogue, which brings together military and civilian leaders to discuss sensitive issues like maritime security and cybersecurity.

As we build trust together, we are committed to working with China to address critical regional and global security issues. This is why I have met so frequently — often in informal settings — with my Chinese counterparts, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, for candid discussions about important challenges like North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and developments in the South China Sea.

On the economic front, the United States and China need to work together to ensure strong, sustained, and balanced future global growth. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the United States and China worked effectively through the G-20 to help pull the global economy back from the brink. We have to build on that cooperation. U.S. firms want fair opportunities to export to China’s growing markets, which can be important sources of jobs here in the United States, as well as assurances that the $50 billion of American capital invested in China will create a strong foundation for new market and investment opportunities that will support global competitiveness. At the same time, Chinese firms want to be able to buy more high-tech products from the United States, make more investments here, and be accorded the same terms of access that market economies enjoy. We can work together on these objectives, but China still needs to take important steps toward reform. In particular, we are working with China to end unfair discrimination against U.S. and other foreign companies or against their innovative technologies, remove preferences for domestic firms, and end measures that disadvantage or appropriate foreign intellectual property. And we look to China to take steps to allow its currency to appreciate more rapidly, both against the dollar and against the currencies of its other major trading partners. Such reforms, we believe, would not only benefit both our countries (indeed, they would support the goals of China’s own five-year plan, which calls for more domestic-led growth), but also contribute to global economic balance, predictability, and broader prosperity.

Of course, we have made very clear, publicly and privately, our serious concerns about human rights. And when we see reports of public-interest lawyers, writers, artists, and others who are detained or disappeared, the United States speaks up, both publicly and privately, with our concerns about human rights. We make the case to our Chinese colleagues that a deep respect for international law and a more open political system would provide China with a foundation for far greater stability and growth — and increase the confidence of China’s partners. Without them, China is placing unnecessary limitations on its own development.

At the end of the day, there is no handbook for the evolving U.S.-China relationship. But the stakes are much too high for us to fail. As we proceed, we will continue to embed our relationship with China in a broader regional framework of security alliances, economic networks, and social connections.

Among key emerging powers with which we will work closely are India and Indonesia, two of the most dynamic and significant democratic powers of Asia, and both countries with which the Obama administration has pursued broader, deeper, and more purposeful relationships. The stretch of sea from the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Malacca to the Pacific contains the world’s most vibrant trade and energy routes. Together, India and Indonesia already account for almost a quarter of the world’s population. They are key drivers of the global economy, important partners for the United States, and increasingly central contributors to peace and security in the region. And their importance is likely to grow in the years ahead.

President Obama told the Indian parliament last year that the relationship between India and America will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, rooted in common values and interests. There are still obstacles to overcome and questions to answer on both sides, but the United States is making a strategic bet on India’s future — that India’s greater role on the world stage will enhance peace and security, that opening India’s markets to the world will pave the way to greater regional and global prosperity, that Indian advances in science and technology will improve lives and advance human knowledge everywhere, and that India’s vibrant, pluralistic democracy will produce measurable results and improvements for its citizens and inspire others to follow a similar path of openness and tolerance. So the Obama administration has expanded our bilateral partnership; actively supported India’s Look East efforts, including through a new trilateral dialogue with India and Japan; and outlined a new vision for a more economically integrated and politically stable South and Central Asia, with India as a linchpin.

We are also forging a new partnership with Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and a member of the G-20. We have resumed joint training of Indonesian special forces units and signed a number of agreements on health, educational exchanges, science and technology, and defense. And this year, at the invitation of the Indonesian government, President Obama will inaugurate American participation in the East Asia Summit. But there is still some distance to travel — we have to work together to overcome bureaucratic impediments, lingering historical suspicions, and some gaps in understanding each other’s perspectives and interests.

Even as we strengthen these bilateral relationships, we have emphasized the importance of multilateral cooperation, for we believe that addressing complex transnational challenges of the sort now faced by Asia requires a set of institutions capable of mustering collective action. And a more robust and coherent regional architecture in Asia would reinforce the system of rules and responsibilities, from protecting intellectual property to ensuring freedom of navigation, that form the basis of an effective international order. In multilateral settings, responsible behavior is rewarded with legitimacy and respect, and we can work together to hold accountable those who undermine peace, stability, and prosperity.

So the United States has moved to fully engage the region’s multilateral institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, mindful that our work with regional institutions supplements and does not supplant our bilateral ties. There is a demand from the region that America play an active role in the agenda-setting of these institutions — and it is in our interests as well that they be effective and responsive.

That is why President Obama will participate in the East Asia Summit for the first time in November. To pave the way, the United States has opened a new U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta and signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN. Our focus on developing a more results-oriented agenda has been instrumental in efforts to address disputes in the South China Sea. In 2010, at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, the United States helped shape a regionwide effort to protect unfettered access to and passage through the South China Sea, and to uphold the key international rules for defining territorial claims in the South China Sea’s waters. Given that half the world’s merchant tonnage flows through this body of water, this was a consequential undertaking. And over the past year, we have made strides in protecting our vital interests in stability and freedom of navigation and have paved the way for sustained multilateral diplomacy among the many parties with claims in the South China Sea, seeking to ensure disputes are settled peacefully and in accordance with established principles of international law.

We have also worked to strengthen APEC as a serious leaders-level institution focused on advancing economic integration and trade linkages across the Pacific. After last year’s bold call by the group for a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific, President Obama will host the 2011 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii this November. We are committed to cementing APEC as the Asia-Pacific’s premier regional economic institution, setting the economic agenda in a way that brings together advanced and emerging economies to promote open trade and investment, as well as to build capacity and enhance regulatory regimes. APEC and its work help expand U.S. exports and create and support high-quality jobs in the United States, while fostering growth throughout the region. APEC also provides a key vehicle to drive a broad agenda to unlock the economic growth potential that women represent. In this regard, the United States is committed to working with our partners on ambitious steps to accelerate the arrival of the Participation Age, where every individual, regardless of gender or other characteristics, is a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace.

In addition to our commitment to these broader multilateral institutions, we have worked hard to create and launch a number of “minilateral” meetings, small groupings of interested states to tackle specific challenges, such as the Lower Mekong Initiative we launched to support education, health, and environmental programs in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Pacific Islands Forum, where we are working to support its members as they confront challenges from climate change to overfishing to freedom of navigation. We are also starting to pursue new trilateral opportunities with countries as diverse as Mongolia, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, and South Korea. And we are setting our sights as well on enhancing coordination and engagement among the three giants of the Asia-Pacific: China, India, and the United States.

In all these different ways, we are seeking to shape and participate in a responsive, flexible, and effective regional architecture — and ensure it connects to a broader global architecture that not only protects international stability and commerce but also advances our values.

Our emphasis on the economic work of APEC is in keeping with our broader commitment to elevate economic statecraft as a pillar of American foreign policy. Increasingly, economic progress depends on strong diplomatic ties, and diplomatic progress depends on strong economic ties. And naturally, a focus on promoting American prosperity means a greater focus on trade and economic openness in the Asia-Pacific. The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia. Last year, American exports to the Pacific Rim totaled $320 billion, supporting 850,000 American jobs. So there is much that favors us as we think through this repositioning.

When I talk to my Asian counterparts, one theme consistently stands out: They still want America to be an engaged and creative partner in the region’s flourishing trade and financial interactions. And as I talk with business leaders across our own nation, I hear how important it is for the United States to expand our exports and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets.

Last March in APEC meetings in Washington, and again in Hong Kong in July, I laid out four attributes that I believe characterize healthy economic competition: open, free, transparent, and fair. Through our engagement in the Asia-Pacific, we are helping to give shape to these principles and showing the world their value.

We are pursuing new cutting-edge trade deals that raise the standards for fair competition even as they open new markets. For instance, the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on 95 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports within five years and support an estimated 70,000 American jobs. Its tariff reductions alone could increase exports of American goods by more than $10 billion and help South Korea’s economy grow by 6 percent. It will level the playing field for U.S. auto companies and workers. So, whether you are an American manufacturer of machinery or a South Korean chemicals exporter, this deal lowers the barriers that keep you from reaching new customers.

We are also making progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will bring together economies from across the Pacific — developed and developing alike — into a single trading community. Our goal is to create not just more growth, but better growth. We believe trade agreements need to include strong protections for workers, the environment, intellectual property, and innovation. They should also promote the free flow of information technology and the spread of green technology, as well as the coherence of our regulatory system and the efficiency of supply chains. Ultimately, our progress will be measured by the quality of people’s lives — whether men and women can work in dignity, earn a decent wage, raise healthy families, educate their children, and take hold of the opportunities to improve their own and the next generation’s fortunes. Our hope is that a TPP agreement with high standards can serve as a benchmark for future agreements — and grow to serve as a platform for broader regional interaction and eventually a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.

Achieving balance in our trade relationships requires a two-way commitment. That’s the nature of balance — it can’t be unilaterally imposed. So we are working through APEC, the G-20, and our bilateral relationships to advocate for more open markets, fewer restrictions on exports, more transparency, and an overall commitment to fairness. American businesses and workers need to have confidence that they are operating on a level playing field, with predictable rules on everything from intellectual property to indigenous innovation.

Asia’s remarkable economic growth over the past decade and its potential for continued growth in the future depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the U.S. military, including more than 50,000 American servicemen and servicewomen serving in Japan and South Korea. The challenges of today’s rapidly changing region — from territorial and maritime disputes to new threats to freedom of navigation to the heightened impact of natural disasters — require that the United States pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture.

We are modernizing our basing arrangements with traditional allies in Northeast Asia — and our commitment on this is rock solid — while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia and into the Indian Ocean. For example, the United States will be deploying littoral combat ships to Singapore, and we are examining other ways to increase opportunities for our two militaries to train and operate together. And the United States and Australia agreed this year to explore a greater American military presence in Australia to enhance opportunities for more joint training and exercises. We are also looking at how we can increase our operational access in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region and deepen our contacts with allies and partners.

How we translate the growing connection between the Indian and Pacific oceans into an operational concept is a question that we need to answer if we are to adapt to new challenges in the region. Against this backdrop, a more broadly distributed military presence across the region will provide vital advantages. The United States will be better positioned to support humanitarian missions; equally important, working with more allies and partners will provide a more robust bulwark against threats or efforts to undermine regional peace and stability.

But even more than our military might or the size of our economy, our most potent asset as a nation is the power of our values — in particular, our steadfast support for democracy and human rights. This speaks to our deepest national character and is at the heart of our foreign policy, including our strategic turn to the Asia-Pacific region.

As we deepen our engagement with partners with whom we disagree on these issues, we will continue to urge them to embrace reforms that would improve governance, protect human rights, and advance political freedoms. We have made it clear, for example, to Vietnam that our ambition to develop a strategic partnership requires that it take steps to further protect human rights and advance political freedoms. Or consider Burma, where we are determined to seek accountability for human rights violations. We are closely following developments in Nay Pyi Taw and the increasing interactions between Aung San Suu Kyi and the government leadership. We have underscored to the government that it must release political prisoners, advance political freedoms and human rights, and break from the policies of the past. As for North Korea, the regime in Pyongyang has shown persistent disregard for the rights of its people, and we continue to speak out forcefully against the threats it poses to the region and beyond.

We cannot and do not aspire to impose our system on other countries, but we do believe that certain values are universal — that people in every nation in the world, including in Asia, cherish them — and that they are intrinsic to stable, peaceful, and prosperous countries. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Asia to pursue their own rights and aspirations, just as we have seen people do all over the world.

In the last decade, our foreign policy has transitioned from dealing with the post-Cold War peace dividend to demanding commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. As those wars wind down, we will need to accelerate efforts to pivot to new global realities.

We know that these new realities require us to innovate, to compete, and to lead in new ways. Rather than pull back from the world, we need to press forward and renew our leadership. In a time of scarce resources, there’s no question that we need to invest them wisely where they will yield the biggest returns, which is why the Asia-Pacific represents such a real 21st-century opportunity for us.

Other regions remain vitally important, of course. Europe, home to most of our traditional allies, is still a partner of first resort, working alongside the United States on nearly every urgent global challenge, and we are investing in updating the structures of our alliance. The people of the Middle East and North Africa are charting a new path that is already having profound global consequences, and the United States is committed to active and sustained partnerships as the region transforms. Africa holds enormous untapped potential for economic and political development in the years ahead. And our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere are not just our biggest export partners; they are also playing a growing role in global political and economic affairs. Each of these regions demands American engagement and leadership.

And we are prepared to lead. Now, I’m well aware that there are those who question our staying power around the world. We’ve heard this talk before. At the end of the Vietnam War, there was a thriving industry of global commentators promoting the idea that America was in retreat, and it is a theme that repeats itself every few decades. But whenever the United States has experienced setbacks, we’ve overcome them through reinvention and innovation. Our capacity to come back stronger is unmatched in modern history. It flows from our model of free democracy and free enterprise, a model that remains the most powerful source of prosperity and progress known to humankind. I hear everywhere I go that the world still looks to the United States for leadership. Our military is by far the strongest, and our economy is by far the largest in the world. Our workers are the most productive. Our universities are renowned the world over. So there should be no doubt that America has the capacity to secure and sustain our global leadership in this century as we did in the last.

As we move forward to set the stage for engagement in the Asia-Pacific over the next 60 years, we are mindful of the bipartisan legacy that has shaped our engagement for the past 60. And we are focused on the steps we have to take at home — increasing our savings, reforming our financial systems, relying less on borrowing, overcoming partisan division — to secure and sustain our leadership abroad.

This kind of pivot is not easy, but we have paved the way for it over the past two-and-a-half years, and we are committed to seeing it through as among the most important diplomatic efforts of our time.

 

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