Posts Tagged ‘Cook Islands’

While visiting the Cook Islands as the head of the U.S. Delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum,  Hillary Clinton did a little shopping on the sidelines  at the  Avarua markets in Rarotonga.   Locals were so excited about her visit that they started a Twitter hashtag #IsawHillary and posted Twitpics  at the Twitter account @CookIslands .  A woman presented her with this traditional floral headpiece.  She looks like a Pacific Island princess.

Here is one of the Twitpics.

Tomorrow she is due to arrive in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Public Schedule forSeptember 1, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
September 1, 2012



Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to the Cook Islands. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Brimmer, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photograph with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Australian Parliamentary Secretary Richard Marles at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 31, 2012. [State Department photo by Ola Thorsen/ Public Domain]

Meets With Staff From Supporting Embassies


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Maniua Beach Hotel
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
August 31, 2012


Thank you so much, Ambassador, and thanks to all of you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support on this trip. This is not a typical trip where you go to Wellington and Christchurch and Auckland. This took a lot of effort by everyone, and I’ve very grateful to you.

I want to thank the Ambassador for his leadership here at the mission, and also each and every one of you, both Americans and New Zealanders alike for helping us deepen and strengthen the already important bonds between the United States and New Zealand.

I thought it was very important that I come to the Pacific Islands Forum to really demonstrate unequivocally the importance that the Obama Administration and our government placed on sustainable relationships with the Pacific Island nations. It’s been great being here, everybody has a smile, they’re all waving, they’re all enthusiastic about us being here, and I couldn’t ever imagine.

But I know how challenging it was to actually do this from long distance, and then once you got here. So a special word of thanks on behalf of myself and the entire American delegation. We brought in ambassadors from three other countries, we have the commander of the Pacific Command, commander of the Coast Guard Command based in Hawaii, so we have a full complement of American officials who are here that you are supporting, and we’re grateful to you.

And finally, people often say, “Well, you know, New Zealand, that’s got to be an easy, great place to serve.” But after earthquakes and challenges that you have faced just in that time I’ve been Secretary, I want you to know how much we know that your work is important, because it’s not only the bilateral relationships, it’s partnering with New Zealand and Australia to enable us to really have a strong, lasting presence in the Pacific. And that is what all of you are doing. I mean, there’s not much we can do to improve the health of New Zealanders or Aussies, but there’s a lot we can do working together to improve the health of the Pacific Islands. And same goes true for education, for economic development, and so much more. So I’ve already had great meetings with my counterparts from New Zealand and Australia, and we’re going to continue to build on that firm and very solid foundation.

So with that, let me just shake a few hands. Why don’t you all just come on by and introduce yourselves and say hello?

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Remarks at the Sustainable Development and Conservation Event


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Manuia Beach Hotel
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
August 31, 2012

Well, Prime Minister, thank you very much. Thank you for this beautiful memento of the Cook Islands and the bounty of the ocean that you are working to preserve. And let me thank you and your wife for the very warm welcome that I and my delegation have received. I’m very pleased that I could be the first Secretary of State to come here to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, and I can only say that my predecessors were really missing out in a very big way. (Applause.)

I want to commend you and your government for the excellent leadership you have provided to the Forum. The summary of accomplishments that you read out to us at the Post Forum Dialogue was most impressive. I particularly commend you for the efforts that went in to resolving the boundary dispute and reaching agreement. That is an example that I hope other parts of the world will follow. And I also congratulate you on the announcement of such a significant conservation commitment. I hope that is also an example that the rest of the world will follow.

I think there is so much that many of us can learn from the Pacific Islands nations and certainly much that we have to pay attention to about preserving and promoting the sustainability for the people who have lived here, say, the millennia. And we look forward to being your partner. I am delighted that I’ve had a chance to be here to see the opportunities as well as the challenges and to work toward responding to the priorities that were discussed with me at the breakfast today.

Let me just briefly mention a few of the areas where we want to enhance, deepen, and broaden our participation with you. First, on climate change, we understand very well that many of the countries are only a few feet above sea level, and they aren’t big enough to be able to adapt to climate change quickly. So we have to do what we can now to try to combat the effects.

I’ve announced two new programs through USAID – the first to target vulnerable coastal areas. We will provide $25 million over the next five years to help communities improve their infrastructure, enhance their ability to respond to natural disasters, and create long-term plans to adapt to climate change. The second program will help improve clean energy infrastructure across the Pacific Islands. We will provide training and education for technicians and engineers to install, maintain, and repair solar energy equipment.

Next, the United States recognizes the vital importance of sustainable fisheries for Pacific nations, not only central to traditional culture but to economies and food security. We share a commitment to sustainable fishery management and to fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. We will work to extend the Tuna Treaty, to support the western and central Pacific fisheries commission, and the Forum’s fisheries agencies. And as I mentioned earlier today with both Admiral’s Ray and Locklear, we are expanding our Shiprider program to improve law enforcement throughout the region. Since 2009, we have had a program with a number of the nations on Coast Guard vessels, in fact, just since 2009, Kiribati has recovered $4 million in fines riding on Coast Guard – U.S. Coast Guard vessels. We’re now expanding the Shiprider program to U.S. naval vessels and looking forward to even more nations.

Finally, we want to make sure that the marine resources are there for future generations, and I want to congratulate the Cook Islands again because you are really thinking ahead about what needs to be done, establishing that world’s largest marine park. I also want to congratulate New Caledonia for its initiative to establish a marine protected area. And today, I’ve announced that the United States and Kiribati will be working together on conservation efforts in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Scenic Islands Protected Area. We announced this new partnership through a joint Statement of Intent this week, and it really does support initiatives envisioned by the Pacific Island Forum leaders to enhance the protection, the preservation, and conservation of marine ecosystems.

We are also interested in conservation efforts in the Ross Sea region in Antarctica, one of the last great marine wilderness areas on the planet, an area of long-term investment and scientific study, and we are working with other Pacific countries, in particular New Zealand, for establishing Antarctic marine protected areas, including one in the Ross Sea, which would be the largest in the world. We look forward to the proposals that will be submitted to the commission for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources later this year.

One other way we are promoting conservation is that over a year ago, the State Department launched the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance – we call it IDEA. It brings together governments, corporation, and nonprofits to make it easier for diaspora communities worldwide to promote trade and investment that starts in business or develops other projects that will benefit their country of origin. We have developed programs in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America that facilitate investment and trade in those regions. Now we are launching the Pacific Islands IDEA marketplace to foster collaboration between local entrepreneurs and members of the Pacific Islands diaspora. Because we think working together to bring more attention to all that is available here and across the region will really help with economic development. So we will offer entrepreneurs access to capital as well as technical assistance if they are committed to investing in their countries of origin or heritage.

So once again, I want to thank the Prime Minister, the Government of the Cook Islands and all of you for your commitment and partnership, and I especially want to thank you for the very warm welcome not only last night at the airport, which was enormous fun.

I’ve been – I’ve had pictures taken of me all over the world dancing in various places, and I promised my staff no more dancing, and then I see all of the excited dancers on the tarmac, it was, believe me, very hard. (Laughter.) So I restrained myself with great difficulty. The Minister of Tourism however did it for all of us. He was excellent, I have to say.

But the friendly faces, the waves, the greetings of the people here will be long remembered by the very large delegation that has accompanied me. And I think I can guarantee you, Prime Minister, that many, many more Americans will have knowledge of and a favorable impression of the Cook Islands. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks at the Pacific Islands Forum Post-Forum Dialogue


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cook Islands National Auditorium
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
August 31, 2012

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and let me begin by saying what a pleasure it is to be here in the beautiful Cook Islands. I am honored to be the first Secretary of State of the United States to participate in the Pacific Islands Forum-Post Forum dialogue. And on behalf of my delegation and our government, we express deep appreciation to you.

And I wish to thank Secretary General Slade and his team for the excellent preparation, all the leaders and delegations and representatives from the Forum partner countries. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of you at our annual roundtable at the United States General Assembly, and last year at the Pacific Island countries leaders meeting with President Obama in Hawaii, America’s own bridge to the Pacific.

It is fair to say that for the past three-and-a-half years, the Obama Administration has made a major push to increase our engagement across the Asia Pacific. This is a vast and dynamic region, a key driver of global economic and politics, and the United States has a historical presence in this region. That’s why I have said that the 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, with an emphasis on Pacific. The Pacific half of Asia Pacific doesn’t always get as much attention as it should, but the United States knows that this region is strategically and economically vital and becoming more so.

We too, of course, are a Pacific nation. With that long history that many of you know so well, 70 years ago Americans made extraordinary sacrifices on many of the islands represented here. And we have since then underwritten the security that has made it possible for the people of this region to trade and travel freely. We have consistently protected the Pacific sea-lanes through which a great deal of the world’s commerce passes. And now we look to the Pacific nations in a spirit of partnership for your leadership on some of the most urgent and complex issues of our times such as climate change. Our countries are bound by shared interest, and more importantly, shared values, a shared history, and shared goals for our future. So the United States is already invested in the Pacific. Indeed, we are increasing our investments and we will be here with you for the long haul.

We also know that how we work with you here in the Pacific is a very strong message to the people of the Pacific and even beyond. And I take that very seriously. Here in the Pacific, and indeed across the world, the United States seeks a model of partnership rooted in our common values, but which delivers practical benefits and helps you create stronger economies and societies. And we’re pursuing this American model of partnership, and we want our work here in the Pacific Islands to exemplify these standards.

Currently, the United States spends $330 million every year supporting the nations and people of the Pacific Islands. Additionally, our Export-Import bank is active in the region, providing $3 billion for investments in Papua New Guinea, helping in the last few years to finance U.S. trade with Tonga, Tuvalu, Fiji, and Micronesia. Last October, in response to your request, we opened a USAID office in Papua New Guinea to strengthen our development partnerships in the region.

Today, I’m pleased to announce our plans for new programs totally more than $32 million, which are part of the Asia Pacific’s strategic engagement initiative I launched in July. These new programs will address the priorities that you have identified. One of these is sustainable economic development that protects biodiversity. When I was in Port Moresby in 2010, I visited a mangrove restoration project and pledged U.S. support for protecting this region’s magnificent natural resources.

Later today, I will join Prime Minister Puna at an event dedicate to ocean conservation. And I will discuss there our new cooperation with Kiribati to protect marine ecosystems, our work with New Zealand and other nations to establish a marine protected area in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, and two new USAID programs. One will help coastal communities increase their capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change. The other will help develop this region’s renewable energy resources. And we are also committed to working with our Pacific partners to renew the Tuna Treaty, to ensure sustainability and a fair, transparent return for all our partners.

Throughout the region we seek to advance a sound economic agenda that includes more free trade and increased investment in energy. And we strongly support good governance because sustainable growth and capable leadership go hand in hand with the respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Another priority we share is security. All of us have an interest in maintaining peace and security in the Pacific. Hundreds of U.S. vessels from our Navy and Coast Guard, as well as our fishing vessels, sail these waters. We know how important the ocean and the resources are to your economic development, food security, and traditional culture. So we have worked to be a strong partner in fighting illegal and unregulated fishing and other crimes that take place at sea like human trafficking.

The U.S. Coast Guard already has security partnerships with nine Pacific island nations, and we are working to expand them. I will discuss this at an event later today with both our Coast Guard Admiral and the commander of the Pacific Command. And we’ll talk about increased efforts to clean up unexploded ordnance in the region to protect people’s lives and security.

A third priority of ours is supporting the women of the Pacific. And with that, I want to applaud Australia and Prime Minister Gillard for their unprecedented historic commitment. Now you would expect me, I’m sure, to say that we need to do more on behalf of women everywhere, and I will say that, but I say it not just because I believe it and know how important it is as a moral and human priority, but because I know that this region, long term progress depends on cultivating the skills and contributions of all people, men and women.

On my trip to the region two years ago, I announced the creation of the Pacific women’s empowerment initiative, and later today I will launch the next phase of that initiative, the Rarotonga Partnership for the Advancement of Pacific Island Women. That will be a collaborative venture with both Australia and New Zealand to identify rising women leaders across the region and connect them with networks of support. Investments like these in the economy and security and the people of the region reflect the depth of our commitment. We greatly value our relationships and we want our partnership to continue to strengthen and multiply.

And let me add that we welcome the opportunity to work with your development partners – Japan, the European Union, China, other development partners who are here from the UK to Canada who we just heard from. We all have important contributions and stakes in their region’s success, to advance your security, your opportunity, and your prosperity. I think, after all, the Pacific is big enough for all of us. And what we want to do is have a 21st agenda that keeps faith with the people of this region and your stewardship of the resources of this vast ocean we share.

So yes, the American people are proud of our ties, the hard fought battles of the Pacific theater 70 years ago, the natural disasters we have responded to together, the economic and educational exchanges we’ve shared, the bonds of family and friendship that connect us. So again, thank you for welcoming me here, and I look forward to many more years of friendship and partnership between the United States and the nations and peoples of the Pacific. Thank you, Prime Minister.

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Remarks at the Rarotonga Dialogue on Gender Equality


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
August 31, 2012

(In progress) Ambassador Frank (inaudible) and 30 years of service and commitment on behalf of the United States here and elsewhere throughout the world. And I wanted to thank all of you for gathering here – some of you I have met before, others this is my first time. But to all of you, it’s a great pleasure to be here in the beautiful Cook Islands with leaders from government, civil society, and multilateral organizations, all committed to improving the status of women in the Pacific.

I particularly want to thank the Government of Australia and (inaudible), and New Zealand – thank you Amanda for your support – and the other Pacific Island countries, as well as the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Pacific community, UN agencies, and the World Bank, for all of your leadership in promoting gender equality. I also want to recognize Australian Ambassador-at-Large Williams, New Zealand AID program director who I just mentioned Amanda Ellis, Deputy Secretary General Troy and Minister Toni from Papua New Guinea.

But most of all, I want to thank all of the Pacific women who are here and all whom you represent because we could not put millions of women into this small space, but you are here on their behalf. And I’m delighted that you could be with us because it is my firm belief that women in the Pacific Islands constitute a great reservoir of untapped talent and ability.

Now every country can do better on this front, including my own – there is no doubt about that – but progress for gender equality in the Pacific has not kept pace with the rest of the world. And we have to recognize that. But we also are here to do something about it. Look at the numbers: Research from the World Bank and local organizations shows that the Pacific has the world’s lowest rate of women participating in legislative bodies or holding executive roles in the world – less than 2 percent. There are only seven countries in the world that have no women in their parliament, but four of them are located here in the Pacific. Up to 60 percent of women in the Pacific report being the victim of gender-based violence or sexual abuse. Maternal health statistics are also poor, and women face greater barriers to starting businesses and participating in the economy.

Now these facts illustrate a problem that doesn’t just hurt women and girls; it hurts everybody. It holds back entire societies. Because when women are unequal participants, economic growth is undermined. Development is stymied. Communities and countries are robbed of the contributions that women could make.

But the good news is that there are also impassioned leaders in this region, including those around this table, pushing for change. And role models like Adi Chakudaee, who co-founded an organization called Women Business Development, and that was to help their women in Samoa how to unleash their economic power. So supporting and promoting gender equality is a core part of the United States commitment to the Pacific.

On my visit to the region in 2010, we helped launch the Pacific Women’s Empowerment Initiative with Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the World Bank. That has spawned a series of meetings addressing women’s political participation, economic opportunity, health care, and gender-based violence. I’m happy to announce that the United States will contribute $200,000 this year in voluntary funding to the UN Women’s Trust Fund to end violence against women. We’re also committed to developing a new network of women leaders in the Pacific that we are calling the Rarotonga Partnership for the Advancement of Pacific Island Women. Together with the East-West Center based in Hawaii and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, we will work with academic institutions and private partners across the Pacific to help build the capacity of women leaders and strengthen the leadership training. I want to thank Charles Morrison and everyone at the East-West Center for helping to make this possible.

Our pledge to promote gender equality across the Pacific, extends far beyond this meeting, so today what I’m hoping we can do is to share ideas and identify areas that need more attention because this is something that we feel very strongly about as all of you do.

So with that, let me thank you for joining us today, and I look forward to hearing the ideas and the opportunities that you can share with all of us. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Secretary Clinton With New Zealand Prime Minister Key
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand shake hands at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 31, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]


Remarks With New Zealand Prime Minister Key


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New Zealand High Commissioner’s Residence, Cook Islands
August 31, 2012

PRIME MINISTER KEY: Okay, so good afternoon. Welcome to Ngatipa, the New Zealand residence here in the Cook Islands. It’s been a pleasure for me to host Secretary Clinton and her team for lunch today. It’s always wonderful to have Secretary Clinton in this part of the world. New Zealand very warmly remembers your visit to our country back in 2010 when you signed the Wellington Declaration, which describes in celebrating the strategic partnership of our two countries here. In the almost two years since Secretary Clinton’s visit to New Zealand, the bilateral relationship has gone from strength to strength. Earlier this year, the Wellington Declaration was complemented by the Washington Declaration (inaudible) relationship.

Secretary Clinton and I discussed a number of areas of cooperation, and I’ll mention just a few. The (inaudible) and the Cook Islands are the forums and executive office is fully committed to supporting inspirations and initiatives of Pacific Island countries. As the outgoing chair of Cook Islands Forum, New Zealand welcomes the full (inaudible) historically strong engagement with the island nations of the Pacific.

We’ve been pleased to announce this week a number of joint initiatives, including the areas of (inaudible) economic development, clean energy, and maritime surveillance. We discussed Afghanistan. New Zealand has stood alongside the United States as part of an international coalition there since 9/11 joined by other countries to tackle the threats posed by al-Qaida and its allies. We’ve endured the terrible loss of life suffered by our coalition partners in Afghanistan, particularly the recent New Zealand and Australian losses and those of the United States.

Secretary Clinton and I discussed the broad range of issues in the Asia Pacific region as we look towards the APEC summit in Russia in around 10 days time. New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. in the next conflicts. We discussed our ongoing (inaudible) along side a number of other countries (inaudible) partnership agreement. Secretary Clinton and I share the goal of securing a high quality, (inaudible) free trade agreement, would be a significant (inaudible) countries involved, indeed to the region as a whole.

Before passing over to Secretary Clinton, I’d like to convey publicly my personal gratitude for all that she’s done for the past relations between our two countries and our two peoples over the past four years. Secretary Clinton’s personal interest and involvement in our country is greatly appreciated by the New Zealand people. You’ve been great friends to New Zealand and you’re always welcome (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Prime Minister, thank you very much for the warm welcome that you have provided. As the first Secretary of State to make this journey, I am especially delighted and honored. I was pleased to meet with leaders of the Pacific Island Forum, member states, to attend the Pacific Island Forum, post-forum dialogue where I had a chance to reaffirm the Obama Administration’s commitment to our engagement in the Asia Pacific with an equal emphasis on the Pacific part of that phrase. The United States is very proud to be a Pacific nation, a long history in this region, and we are committed to be here for the long run.

Today, I’m announcing new programs and new funding to support our friends in this region in three key areas: promoting sustainable economic development and protecting biodiversity; advancing regional security; and supporting women of the Pacific as they reach for greater political, economic, and social opportunities.

To give just a few examples, the United States will work with Kiribati to protect its marine ecosystem and help coastal communities throughout the region adapt to the effects of climate change and to develop renewable energy resources.

We will expand our security partnership so U.S. ships can be of even greater help in preventing illegal and unregulated fishing, and we will take additional steps to clean up unexploded ordnance in the region, much of it still there from World War Two. We will support the Rarotonga Partnership for the Advancement of Pacific Island Women, launched just today, and I’ll be looking forward to meeting with women from the region later this afternoon.

I’m also very committed to expanding investment and trade in the region, in pursuit of sustainable economic growth. Later today, I’ll meet with local pearl vendors from here in the Cook Islands who are running their businesses while also protecting marine resources.

Obviously, I could go on because there’s a lot to do in this very important region of the world, and there is no doubt that our relationship with New Zealand provides a strong foundation for our engagement across the Pacific. I especially want to thank Prime Minister Key for his leadership in revitalizing the partnership between New Zealand and the United States. As he said, we signed the Wellington Declaration two years ago, and then in June our countries signed the Washington Declaration, which emphasized our defense cooperation.

We are working together on a number of important issues, from establishing security in Afghanistan where Kiwi soldiers have made extraordinary sacrifices. Just recently, the losses are ones that we are equally grieved by and offer our condolences to the families as well as the people of New Zealand. We also are very appreciative of New Zealand’s leadership in addressing climate change and conserving natural resources and opening the doors of opportunity.

In particular, I want to thank the Prime Minister for his government’s support of women across the region. And we’re going to create an exchange program connecting women in the Pacific with women in the Caribbean who work in agriculture so they can learn from each other and understand better how to improve the incomes and opportunities for themselves and their families.

The United States welcomes the chance to work with a broad array of partners in the region –Japan, the European Union, China – we all have an interest in advancing security, prosperity, and opportunity. And as I said this morning, the Pacific is certainly big enough for all of us. So thank you Prime Minister, the United States values our relationship. We celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. We feel a special kinship and closeness to New Zealand and your people and we continue to look, as you said, for our relationship to go from strength to strength. So thank you again for your leadership and partnership.

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton and Prime Minister Key have kindly allowed two questions from each side. May I remind you to please (inaudible)? We’re going to start with New Zealand and (inaudible).

QUESTION: Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. How concerned is the U.S. that China’s growing influence in the region (inaudible) how it administers aid, and also its growing links with (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: So this is an area that the Prime Minister and I discussed over lunch, and I have to say that we think it is important for the Pacific Island nations to have good relationships with as many partners as possible and that includes China as well as the United States, and we believe there is more that China can do with us, with New Zealand, with Australia, with others, to further sustainable development, improve the health of the people, deal with climate change and the environment, and I look forward to discussing these issues when I am in Beijing next week.

New Zealand sets a good example for the work that we think can be done with China. New Zealand has worked with China on water issues, for example. We want to see more multinational development projects that include the participation of China. And as part of our strategic and economic dialogue with China, we have a section on development. And it’s been my observation over the last four sessions that we have now held that China is becoming more interested in learning from, understanding best practices and cooperating with other countries.

Our policy, as expressed by President Obama and myself many times, is we want a comprehensive, positive, cooperative relationship between the United States and China. We think it is good for our country, it’s good for our people, and in fact, it’s not only good for this region, it’s good for the world. We’ve invested a lot in our strategic and economic dialogue. We speak very frankly about areas where we do not agree. We both raise issues that the other side would prefer perhaps we not, or they not. But I think our dialogue has moved to have a positive arena because we are able to discuss all matters together.

Now here in the Pacific, we want to see China act in a fair and transparent way. We want to see them play a positive role in navigation and maritime security issues. We want to see them contribute to sustainable development for the people of the Pacific; to protect the precious environment, including the ocean; and to pursue economic activity that will benefit the people.

So we think that there’s a great opportunity to work with China, and we’re going to be looking for more ways to do that.

MODERATOR: Next question.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. If I could follow up first a little bit on the previous question. You mentioned that there was room for cooperation between the United States and China in development (inaudible) one introduced here in climate change. Can you tell the leaders of the Pacific Islands that the United States is doing all that it can?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, after the first question, I know Admiral Locklear is here with us and he’s certainly more than capable of speaking for himself about what PACOM is doing. But several things: We are beginning to discuss cooperation with respect to disaster prevention and response. We would like to see China play a role in that. There are a lot of disasters in this region, from earthquakes, which New Zealand knows so well, to tsunamis and cyclones and terrible flooding as we saw in the Philippines just recently. So we think that that is an area that should be explored in more depth.

We also believe, on the aid front, that there is a lot of opportunity for cooperation between us and China. It is something we are modeling after New Zealand. New Zealand has been working on water issues with China, we want to learn the lessons about what works. PACOM has a great reach in the Pacific and is involved in everything from overseeing our hospital ships to working to train local officials in protecting their environment and protecting their water.

We also know that there’s a real threat from climate change, which gets me to your second question. This is real. I will underscore that. It is one that the leaders of these nations speak about with great passion because they are all very low lying land and are worried that they’re going to be swamped in the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years. So we understand very well the feelings that the Pacific Island nations have about climate change. And we stand behind our pledges in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to prompt substantial action to help vulnerable countries adapt.

Among the programs we discussed today at the new coastal community adaptation project. It’s a five-year, $25 million project to help build the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities of the Pacific to withstand extreme weather, and not only in the short run, but rising sea levels over the longer term. USAID, which as you know we brought back to the Pacific and established a headquarters in Papua New Guinea, is contributing $3 million over three years to Germany, coping with climate change in the Pacific Islands programs. And we’re working continually to develop an international consensus on reducing green house gas emissions, and other short – and on the short list – climate pollutants initiative that I started a year ago. As you know, in part because of the economy, U.S. emissions are the lowest that they’ve been in 20 years.

But look, we know we have more to do, and we have made a commitment, we’re going to stick with our commitment. I hope that we’ll be able to go beyond those commitments in the future.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Australia and New Zealand suffered one of the greatest losses of life since the Vietnam War in Afghanistan. Do you think the sacrifice was worth it, and do you (inaudible) stand by the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, let me say to both New Zealand and Australia, we are deeply grateful for their participation in this coalition effort under ISAF. And we’re also very sorry about their losses as we are at the loss of any of our coalition partners and ourselves. But I think it’s important to stress that both New Zealand and Australia have played a crucial role in the ISAF mission. Their soldiers and civilians are highly regarded.

New Zealand’s contributions are far beyond what one would ordinarily expect of a country the size of New Zealand. Prime Minister Key and I of course discussed Afghanistan today. I also called Prime Minister Gillard to express condolences and exchange views with her. And I’m gratified that despite the challenges we’ve all had, including the losses that we have suffered at the hands of insurgents and turncoats, we are all resolved to see this mission through as the commitments we’ve made suggest.

I think it’s important to just reflect on the fact that a lot of progress has been made. Any time we lose the lives or see one of our soldiers or civilians – I mean, I lost an aid worker, I have a seriously injured foreign service officer in – at Walter Reed – every time this happens, soldiers and civilians alike. we are reminded of the incredible sacrifice that our nations are making.

But we should also remind ourselves of the progress we have made since we went into this together. Over lunch, the Prime Minister was sharing some statistics from the New Zealand PRT in (inaudible) province that are really impressive in terms of advances in health, education, and infrastructure. So we are committed to seeing this through as we all agreed to at Lisbon, as we reiterated at Chicago, because we cannot afford see Afghanistan turn back into a haven for terrorism that threatens us all. And the work we have done together to prepare the Afghan national security forces to defend themselves and take the security lead is a much greater positive than negative story.

So we offer our condolences, but we also offer our appreciation to the people of New Zealand – soldiers and civilians alike who have been part of this important global effort.

MODERATOR: One last question. Steve Myers from New York Times.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, (inaudible), can you talk a little bit about the (inaudible) this designation of the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization? What is your thinking on the pros and cons of that before the deadline next week? And Prime Minister, if you would, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the prospect of a negotiated settlement with groups like the Haqqani Network or the Taliban as part of the effort to drawing down the war there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steve, I’m not going to comment on any stories about any internal discussions, of course. But I’m aware that I have an obligation to report to Congress. Of course, we will meet that commitment. And I’d like to underscore that we are putting steady pressure on the Haqqanis. That is part of what our military does every single day along with our ISAF partners. We are drawing up their resources, we are targeting their military and intelligence personnel. We are pressing the Pakistanis to step up their own efforts. So we’re already taking action and we’ll have more to say about the specific request from Congress next week.

PRIME MINISTER KEY: Well, as Secretary Clinton indicated, from New Zealand’s point of view, we think two goals in Afghanistan have been to try and train both Afghanis (inaudible) crisis response units in the Afghan police. And we’ve done that – (inaudible) we will be doing it in (inaudible) but we hope (inaudible) look after its own security.

In terms of any negotiation with the Taliban or with groups in Afghanistan, we fundamentally believe that will ultimately be a matter for the Afghan Government, but they will (inaudible) find a way through a very difficult situation and its coming to the (inaudible) I wouldn’t be surprised if some part of it attempts to deliver greater security in Afghanistan some discussion. But it’s ultimately up to President Karzai.

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