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Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

On Monday she marched in the Memorial Day parade decked out in red, white, and blue, and on Tuesday she addressed the huge global conference, Women Deliver,  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Her hubby says she is enjoying her downtime away from public office, but, in retirement,  Hillary Clinton is no slouch.  I do not know how many hands she shook, hugs she gave, or pictures she granted on Monday, but she addressed  the  world on Tuesday, not in her usual way as US secretary of state,  but as Hillary Clinton, private citizen and world leader.

No, she did not fly halfway around the world in less than a day.  It was a pre-recorded message, the kind she frequently provided as SOS when her schedule could not accommodate a gathering she wished to address.   She sent a video (which I have not found yet – and there is no transcript available so far),  but just so you know, Hillary Clinton is keeping on keeping on!

05-28-12-Y-01

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Women Deliver 2013 conference via recorded video, in Kuala Lumpur May 28, 2013.

Today is the opening day of the 2013 Women Deliver Global Conference, the largest conference on women’s health, maternal health and maternal mortality in the world.

Read more >>>>

Oh how I miss the days when her videos and remarks were so easily available! But she is doing her thing and enjoying it. I guess we can live with that.  You go, girl!  We are watching.   Rock on!  We love you!

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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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Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Remarks with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Muhyiddin bin Mohamed Yassin After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 14, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am delighted to welcome the Malaysian deputy prime minister. He and I had an excellent meeting when I was in Kuala Lumpur a few months ago. And we had another excellent meeting just now. It is very exciting for the breadth and depth of our relationship to be on such a positive track, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and people of Malaysia for a better future.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER YASSIN: Well, thank you, Secretary Clinton. I think we had a very opportune time in a very short while just now to discuss matters of mutual interest. I appreciate the amount of time that you have given for my delegation to be here in Washington. I think our short meeting has been very fruitful, and I do hope that this all goes well for the future relation between U.S. and (inaudible) Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, sir.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER YASSIN: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

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Remarks at the Pratt & Whitney Trade Event

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Subang Airport
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 3, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, good morning and I am absolutely delighted to be here for this occasion. And it is a very exciting part of this, my first trip to Malaysia. And I can guarantee you it is not my last. I am looking forward to returning. (Applause.)

I want to thank the chairman and CEO of Malaysia Airlines for his kind words and his commitment to the partnership that has proven to be so successful for both Malaysia and American businesses. I want to thank the minister for his commitment to deepening and broadening our commercial and investment ties, and I want to thank our ambassador and our team here in the Embassy which has done a lot of the work that is necessary that leads to announcements like today and the signing that we participated in yesterday.

Finally, I want to thank the representatives of Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, the Boeing Company, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council all for being here today. (Applause.)

One of the best parts about being Secretary of State is that I get to travel around the world representing my country. And it is such an honor to participate in the many different events that we do between the United States and countries around the world. And one part of my job that I take particularly seriously is talking about and promoting the work of great American companies like the ones represented here. I’m very proud of the business leaders and the workers of the United States of America, and I’m pleased that finally we are seeing very clearly the important business relationship between the United States and ASEAN countries. In fact, it’s a bit of a surprise to some that the United States does more trade with the ASEAN countries than anyone else in Asia. (Applause.)

I had excellent meetings yesterday with the deputy prime minister and with the foreign minister and by telephone with the prime minister. And one of the most important goals that we share is to boost economic growth and widespread prosperity in Malaysia and across the Asia Pacific region. Malaysia’s economy, which has done so well, was hard hit by the global downturn, but it has come back strong this year. And the challenge that is being met by the leadership and the citizens of Malaysia to continue to put Malaysia back on the track for high growth is impressive indeed.

The same is true for the United States. We are determined, as President Obama has made clear, to set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years. So our two countries have very similar goals and we have a strong foundation for our efforts, as the chairman and CEO said. We already have deep economic ties. The United States is the largest foreign direct investor in Malaysia, and American manufacturing companies have invested about $15 billion here and employ about 166,000 Malaysians. We think that’s a win-win relationship. (Applause.)

And the agreements that we’re celebrating today are especially important. Malaysia Airlines will buy 50 American-built Pratt & Whitney engines, one of which you see behind us. And also behind us and newly arrived from Seattle is the first of 35 Boeing 737s fitted with state-of-the-art General Electric CFM engines that Malaysian Airlines has ordered. And from the description of the interior, you’re going to have people standing in line to fly on this airplane on behalf of Malaysian Airlines. (Applause.)

Now, this kind of trade has many benefits, but most importantly it creates high-paying, skilled jobs in both countries. The Pratt & Whitney engines will be assembled in Connecticut with parts made in Georgia and Maine. The engine maintenance will be done in Malaysia by local workers trained by Pratt & Whitney.

It’s this kind of mutually beneficial cooperation that contributes to the global economic recovery and puts us back on the path to prosperity. We need growth, but it must be the right kind of growth – balanced, long-term, and inclusive. And one of the many reasons I am so impressed with Malaysia is that your growth has been just like that. What you’ve done in Malaysia, as evidenced by the dynamism of the economy, and everything that I saw driving around Kuala Lumpur is exactly what we would hope for in the broader region. You are creating good jobs and raising incomes and lifting out of poverty people who are now finally having the chance to fulfill their own dreams.

That is why the United States is very pleased by Malaysia’s decision to join the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership. This regional trade agreement will promote shared success by expanding markets and building a level playing field for workers in every country that participates.

No one can do this alone. The days of going it alone in the global economy are behind us. Building shared prosperity is a goal that we can only achieve together, but I know we have the determination and talent, and we have deep ties between our two countries at the governmental level, at the business level, and the people-to-people level.

So I want to end with what I hear is a Malaysian expression of national resolve. So Malaysia, America, Boleh and congratulations to all of the companies involved in this venture. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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First, at the Subang SkyPark Terminal near Kuala Lumpur, she spoke at an event to showcase American companies’ presence in Malaysia. The giant jet engine making the travel-sized Mme. Secretary appear as a tiny gem in the middle of a jewelry setting.





Then it was farewell and wheels up for a stop in Papua New Guinea, where she is expected to address women’s issues, and on to New Zealand from there!





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Once again, thoroughly prepared, right on target, brilliant, natural, and so personable! Mme. Secretary, you rock!

Love the response to the Bill question! (Emphasis below is mine.)

Remarks at Townterview Hosted by Media Prima

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
International Islamic University of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 2, 2010

 

MR. ISKANDER: Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and welcome Her Excellency, the United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

Okay. (In Malaysian.) A very good afternoon to all. First of all, thank you very much for being here. And today is a very, very historical day for everyone, especially for us. We have the honorable guests to be here. Can we once again give a round of applause to Mrs. Hillary Clinton? (Applause.) This is her first time here in – here in Malaysia and we want to welcome her and make her feel as comfortable as possible, so – because she’ll be taking questions from everyone here and she said you can ask anything you want. (Laughter.)

While you’re preparing questions, let me introduce you who will be taking – asking questions from the station. We have in the middle Ahmad Talib from Media Prima, together with Norzie Pak Wan Chek. Both of them will be posing questions to Mrs. Clinton, and at the same time, we’ll be passing over to the floor where I’m going to be doing the moderating of questions. So whoever wishes to ask a question, please raise your hand and then we shall proceed with the questions to Mrs. Clinton.

Are we good? We are so excited to have you here. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is such an honor for me to be here. And I thank ISTAC for hosting us in this beautiful setting and for all of you coming today to have this dialogue. And thank you to (inaudible) Norzie and Ally for helping to moderate and facilitate it. I told them this is, unbelievably, my first visit to Malaysia. (Applause.) And I am already very impressed and looking forward to not only working with your government – I spoke to the prime minister this morning from his hospital room – (laughter) – and I urged him to do whatever the doctors tell him to get a full recovery. And then coming here, I had the chance to meet with a number of your women leaders. Your minister for women’s affairs helped to arrange that, and that was very exciting. So I am looking forward to this event and to the rest of my stay here, and a really broader and deeper relationship between our two countries.

MR. ISKANDER: All right, so the stage is yours (inaudible).

MR. TALIB: Thank you, Ally. Madam Secretary, good morning and welcome to Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

MR. TALIB: We are very happy to have you here. You almost became the president and if you had become one, you will be here as the president instead of the Secretary of State. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: But if I had become the president I would not be here, because we have an election tomorrow. (Laughter and applause.) And in fact, I spoke with President Obama at about 1 o’clock in the morning Malaysian time, which is 1:00 in the afternoon in Washington time, and I think he was a little envious that I’m here. (Laughter.) But it is a great honor to be working with him and to be the Secretary of State and to have the chance to come here for these kinds of exchanges that go far beyond just the government-to-government meetings that are part of our usual itinerary.

MR. TALIB: I just want to ask, if you had become the president, would you do things differently than what President Barack Obama is doing in terms of foreign policy perhaps?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, he and I work very closely together on foreign policy, and I am extremely supportive of the direction that the President is leading our country. I am, as Secretary of State, prohibited by law from participating in politics anymore, so everything I’m about to say is not political, it’s just the objective facts that I think the President inherited a very difficult set of problems and has been persistent and visionary in trying to address those problems. And I have been privileged to be a close partner and advisor to the President.

I think I know a little bit about how hard the job is, having watched my husband for eight years, having served in the Senate and run for the office myself. And I think President Obama is doing an excellent job in dealing with a variety of challenges that are truly complex. If it were easy, it would be done, but these are hard problems and I hope we get a chance to talk to some of them.

And I think that the tone and the direction that he has set for our foreign policy, it doesn’t change things overnight, it doesn’t come with easy answers, but it slowly builds the kind of engagement and partnerships that it’s going to take in the 21st century for us to handle a lot of the difficult issues we face.

MR. TALIB: Your position as the Secretary of State is no less important. In fact, I think it encourages women all over the world to aspire to become more than what they are. I know there must have been a lot of tears, there might have been a lot of sweat, I’m not sure about the blood, though. (Laughter.) What kind of advice would you give to women who aspire to become or to enable them to become more than what they are?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I just met with a group of very inspiring women here in Malaysia, women who are at the head of your central bank, the head of your securities and exchange commission, the head of large businesses, the head or the vice chancellor of universities, ministers in your government. I think that Malaysian women are demonstrating unequivocally that the rights and roles of women are important for advancing society’s growth and opportunities into the future. So I am looking for more chances to set up exchanges between American women and Malaysian women, and the minister and I have agreed to work on that.

Because for me, it is a lifelong commitment. I’m thrilled when a young woman like Norzie sits here as one of the questioners. And when I travel and I meet governments and civil society in various countries, I do keep kind of a running count in my head: How many women are at the table, how many women are making the hard decisions?

And Malaysia and the Sisters in Islam movement that I was privileged to learn a little bit about earlier today, I think is breaking ground and setting an example, not just for the Muslim world but for the world in general. It is not possible in the 21st century to disenfranchise half the population and expect that there will be progress for the next generation. So I am very committed to this agenda because it’s not for me kind of an add-on, it is a core issue, because the empowerment of women worldwide is one of the pieces of unfinished business in the world today.

There are different cultural, historical, religious experiences from each of our histories, but the overall imperative to find ways to empower women and to give young women the tools that they can make the most out of their own lives should be on the agenda of every country in every part of the world. And I’m looking forward to working with the minister and the women that I met today to learn more about what is happening in Malaysia and to help support mutually the goal of having more women be given the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potential.

MR. TALIB: I’d like to go back to what happened behind closed doors, but I think Norzie is very interested to ask some questions, too.

MS. CHEK: I’d just like to start out with asking you (inaudible). America’s relationship with Malaysia has largely been seen to be basically about trade and people-to-people exchanges. Given the weight of Asia in the international system today, how do you think Malaysia’s role will expand in terms of being a close ally of America within the region as opposed to, say, maybe India or China, for that matter?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we are absolutely convinced of in the Obama Administration is that Asia as a region will be instrumental in shaping the future for the entire world, and that individual countries within Asia, not just China and India, who obviously because of their size will play a significant role, but other countries that have the potential to be influential power centers, including Malaysia, will have an increasing opportunity to illustrate that.

So in our meetings with your government officials and even in my conversation with the prime minister earlier today, we of course talked about our bilateral relationship but we also talked about the role that Malaysia is playing in the Trans Pacific Partnership, a new free trade agreement that will enhance market access, but also working to support Afghanistan and the people there with training and medical services. Malaysia has an opportunity to be a real leader when it comes, as I learned from the governor of the central bank, in Islamic financing, which will provide a different approach to financing which can be very economically important.

Malaysia has played a central role in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the United States has just become more deeply involved. And I was just in Hanoi, where I saw your prime minister before he got sick, and he was a key player in the issues in the East Asia Summit. So it is clear to me that Malaysia, both by geography, by economic dynamism, by the role that Islam plays, which is a role that is not divisive, as it is in some parts of the world, has a real opportunity to be a thought leader in a number of significant areas going forward.

MS. CHEK: It has also been said that there are no permanent friends, just permanent interests. Would it be wrong to assume that America’s presence in Asia is to ensure that there are multiple power centers (inaudible) instead of just one power center?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I said yesterday in Phnom Penh – I was in Cambodia and speaking to a very large group of young people in a town hall setting, and it was fascinating the questions they asked. And one of the questions was did I think it was a good idea for Cambodia to be dependent on China, or did Cambodia need to balance its relationships.

I’m a big believer in balance. I think that every country needs to have a series of partnerships and relationships, because although it is an old saying that there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests, it is important to know who your friends are and it is important to deepen and broaden relationships so that when interests are diverse you can still find ways to communicate and to work for common goals.

When we work with countries around the world, and we have a global reach, as you know, we may be working with ten things with a country. And on five of those we’re already in agreement, and on three of those we’re working to understand each other better, and on two of those we may be in disagreement. But that doesn’t interfere with our desire to better understand each other and to find common ground wherever we can.

You see, I think in today’s world there is a conflict going on between the forces of integration and moderation, and the forces of disintegration and extremism. And this is across all regions, all religions, all ethnicities. There are those who are using the tools of the global commons to promote divisive and extremist viewpoints. And I think it’s important for countries to always keep our eye on the fact that, unfortunately, a small minority can be disproportionately influential unless people of common sense and shared humanity speak out. And it’s not only within countries, it’s between and among countries.

So we have a broad agenda with many countries, and it’s really rooted on developing mutual respect, mutual trust, and that should last whether interests come and go. So I’m very committed to looking at the world through that kind of lens.

MR. TALIB: You said the crowd, the audience, would want to ask some questions, but before I pass the mike to them, one more question. You said something about Malaysia being a thought leader. How do you foresee this going forward in terms of creating a more mutually understanding and harmonious vision in the world between – especially between the West and Islamic countries, for instance? How do you see that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, it is up to the people of Malaysia themselves to determine that, but from my observation and my discussions with not only Malaysian officials and citizens but also observations, the work, for example, on Islamic finance very largely influenced if not created right here in Malaysia. Is that true, governor? I think that that was a very creative approach. Sisters in Islam, which brings women together who have common interests and certainly a common goal of promoting women but within Islamic traditions. The way that Malaysia is looking at boosting the economy but also protecting the environment, where we are partnering with you. Malaysia has a big stake in how we deal with climate change, and there can be some creative ways of dealing with deforestation or with coral, with species of animals.

I think on so many different issues, when people are talking about creative problem-solving, I often hear references to what Malaysia is doing. So I think not only in the bridge with the Islamic world and the rest of the world, but on these specific issues Malaysia has the opportunity to be creative, to think outside the box, to come up with ways of addressing problems that can bring the rest of the world’s attention to you.

So I’m certainly not in the decision-making framework here in Malaysia, but I am very, very impressed by what I have seen and heard and look forward to learning more and cooperating more as we take on these common issues that will confront us.

MR. TALIB: Another question?

MS. CHEK: No, we’ll take questions from the floor if there are any.

MODERATOR: Okay, let’s have hands. Can we start off with one of the students from the floor? Anyone? Yes. You look like a student so I assume you are, okay. (Laughter.) Could you introduce yourself?

QUESTION: Okay, my name is (inaudible). I am from UAE, fourth-year medical student. First of all, congratulations on your daughter’s wedding. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

QUESTION: My question is what do you think is the main reason behind China’s current economic rise as opposed to America’s decline?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think America is in decline. (Laughter.) I think that you have in China an economy that is largely state-dominated and decisions that are made from a centralized governmental perspective and a commitment, which I actually commend, by the Chinese leadership to try to raise the standard of living of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. That is a worthy goal and that goal is being pursued with great vigor by the Chinese government, and the results are coming in, although there is a long way to go because you have 1.3 billion people who need to be given services and to be given incomes and jobs. So it is a very important economic growth story.

On the other hand, the political space for opposition, for speaking out within China, has not grown, and there is a mismatch that eventually will have to be remedied between people becoming more active economic consumers, and then as they do so, wanting to be heard and wanting to be part of the political future of their country.

In contrast, you take Malaysia, which is growing dynamically economically but also has a very robust political system. So I think that China has a lot of very positive results from their economic growth, but I will predict to you that I don’t know whether it’s 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, there is an inherent contradiction between economic freedom and the lack of political freedom, and so there will have to be adjustments made.

Now, if you compare China to India, India is also making progress economically while maintaining a very large, sprawling, pluralistic democracy. So it’s a little bit harder to do to try to keep the economy and political systems moving forward together. And I think they’re two very interesting models, and we have to follow and watch both of them.

But I will tell you I am optimistic about America’s future because our fundamentals are so strong. And we go up and down. You can look at our history where we have challenges. But as Winston Churchill famously said, “In America they finally get around to doing the right thing after trying nearly everything else.” (Laughter.) And we do have that tendency where we have an incredibly contentious political environment but our economic fundamentals are strong, and we’re going through a patch where we have, for us, high unemployment that will have to make some adjustments. And some of you know that my husband, when he left office, had a balanced budget and a budget surplus, and now we have a very big deficit and we’re going to have to deal with that.

But I’m very confident that it may not be – the two things that you should never watch being made: sausage and legislation in the American Congress. (Laughter.) So I am convinced that there will be a very, very strong and positive future for the United States as well.

MODERATOR: Can we take one more question (inaudible)? Yes.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary Clinton, my name is (inaudible). I’m a new media practitioner. In 250 years of American foreign policy, now we see that U.S. has an Islam-friendly foreign policy. I’m asking you a question from social responsibility perspective. The last three natural disasters have affected a lot of Muslims, being in Pakistan they had a great flood a few months back, and Indonesia they had a tsunami recently and volcano eruption. Is America playing more active role in being a global citizen and giving more social responsibility to the Muslims which is 80 percent in Asia? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, yes, and I think if I’m not mistaken, our total contribution to the people of Pakistan after the floods is the highest in the world, probably close to $400 million plus a lot of other in-kind contributions, American military helicopters rescued tens of thousands of people, we provided water purification kits and meals. So we’ve been very active in helping with the recent devastating floods in Pakistan.

With respect to Indonesia, the terrible tsunami that was so devastating to Aceh, my husband, as you might remember, was asked by former President Bush to work with the first President Bush to be the head of our humanitarian efforts. And then my husband went on to be the United Nations Special Representative for Indonesia after the tsunami and spent a great deal of time and the United States was a key leader in helping for the recovery and reconstruction of Aceh.

In this current situation in Indonesia, we’ve offered help. The Indonesian Government’s capability has increased quite significantly. They are accepting some help from foreign governments, but they’re also doing a lot on their own. We talked with the president and the foreign minister when we saw them in Hanoi.

So the United States stands ready. And because we do have a global reach, we are able to move more quickly than many countries to get supplies deployed to locations where natural disasters hit. And the premise of your question is an interesting one because I’m not always sure that the people in countries, particularly but not exclusively Muslim-majority countries, know how much aid the United States offers. And that’s our fault that we haven’t done a better job in conveying and communicating our concern and our desire to help in times of distress. But we stand ready to do so and we have done it consistently over a number of years.

MODERATOR: Madam Secretary, I recall that sometime in April this year there was this presidential summit on entrepreneurship.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

MODERATOR: And I believe you made some statements there and you said something about wanting to provide assistance to promote entrepreneurship in Muslim-majority countries. What has happened to that initiative? Is it coming to Malaysia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We have followed up on that and we are doing a number of things. We’re providing mentoring programs, special exchange programs. Malaysia has a very entrepreneurial culture and it is not as necessary in Malaysia as it is in North Africa and in the Middle East, in Central, South-Central Asia, so our programs may not be as evident here in Malaysia because there’s already such a dynamic small and medium size business environment. And you have good laws and you have systems that promote education and includes women.

So what we have done in our entrepreneurship outreach, I’ll give you two quick examples. We’ve started something called Tech Women, where we are bringing women entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to be mentored in Silicon Valley by women executives there, to be exposed to a lot of the recent advances in technology, to be part of networks, and to figure out ways that they can increase their understanding and skills so that they can be more successful back home.

Secondly, we have been setting up online programs so that not only the people who attended the entrepreneurship summit but people back in the countries can log on and get information and also get networked with people who can provide advice to them without ever having to leave their country.

So we’re using modern technology as a way of promoting entrepreneurship. We are heavily invested in micro-enterprise and micro-credit programs so that people can get the funding they need. And it’s not just for the smallest enterprises but for businesses that have already started that frankly have trouble getting access to credit. And again, a lot of women-owned businesses have trouble getting access to credit in many of these countries. So expanding access to credit in the Muslim world will be an advantage for everyone but could be a particular advantage for women-owned businesses.

So we’re working and we would welcome collaborations with businesses and educational institutions in Malaysia that can give us some good ideas about how to seed and support entrepreneurship in Muslim-majority countries.

MODERATOR: Do you have a question or – go ahead.

MS. CHEK: I have a question before we open the floor up.

MODERATOR: Go ahead.

QUESTION: I just wanted to take you back to the topic of Islam.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

MS. CHEK: Since the beginning, you’ve said that the Obama Administration has been intent on strengthening its leadership role (inaudible). Undeniably, the U.S. is seen as a key player in neutralizing a lot of conflicts around the world, but now it’s Islam against the West, versus Islam, if you will, to put it mildly and generally. How do you see America’s role as it stands, just going (inaudible) bridging the divide between Islam and the West?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Norzie, I hope there is not a conflict, and that is one of my goals is to prevent and avoid any sense of conflict between Islam and the West. I mean, Islam has, obviously, like any great religion, core principles but has different historical and cultural presentation, depending upon the country where it is found. And I think it’s important not to lump the West together and not to lump Islam together, but instead to look for ways that we can enhance mutual understanding, enhance mutual respect, learn more about each other.

The question the gentleman asked in the back about the United States humanitarian assistance in disasters affecting Muslim countries is something that we need to do a better job in talking about so that people know about it so they don’t think that for some reason the United States is not there when disaster strikes.

So I think that the United States has to do a better job, but so does the Islamic world in reaching out to one another, using institutions like ISTAC to have more exchanges and more understanding. And again, I would go back to this theme that religion has many different faces even within one faith. As a Christian, there are many different kinds of practicing Christians, and in my religion, like in any religion in the world in our history and in modern times, there are those who use religion for other purposes. They use religion to promote an ideology, to mask nationalistic ambitions; they use religion for personal power. I mean, we know that. I see it in my own religion and I’ve seen it over history.

So I think it’s important for especially Islam and Christianity to make it very clear that there is a great problem within any religion between those who exploit religion for extremist purposes and the vast majority of adherents to that religion. And I think we need to do more exchanges, more education, more understanding, which is why I am very impressed with what Sisters in Islam is trying to do and to build those bridges.

So it is a very – it’s a very easy issue to mischaracterize and have sensationalist headlines, because conflict sells, and we have to be careful about that. Therefore, more moderate voices need to be speaking out and stressing mutual respect and mutual understanding. And that’s part of how I see my role as Secretary of State, but I can only advocate it. The work has to be done by people of faith in different settings around the world.

MODERATOR: Okay.

MS. CHEK: Could I just ask one more question as a follow-up. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Okay.

SECRETARY CLINTON: She’s a good journalist.

MODERATOR: Go ahead, go ahead.

MS. CHEK: It’s just so exciting to have you here and you know these are the topics that Malaysians, I think, (inaudible) to ask you. I just wanted to ask you, the clash between Islam and the West can no longer be seen as a clash between nations. Now today, no one particular leader of the Muslim countries can claim to speak for Islam or is capable of speaking for Islam.

So what we see today are pockets of frustrated Muslim society who feel that their leaders are not doing enough in terms of addressing issues of conflict or crisis, if you will, with the Muslim community. For example, almost all Muslims, regardless of faction, oppose Israel and fight American support of the country as Washington’s fundamental affront against Arab interests.

Now given that, do you agree that America’s adversary today comes in the form of Muslims across the barriers of state and doctrine who are frustrated with America’s policy with regard to this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think this is a very, very controversial and difficult issue, and I appreciate your raising it because I know that it is a theme that runs through our relations with many countries and in particular with Muslim-majority but not exclusively with Muslim-majority countries.

And it has become a much greater international issue. I can tell you from my own experience when I was First Lady in the 1990s and I would travel around the world, outside of the Middle East the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was rarely mentioned. Now, 15 – 10-15 years later, it’s on everybody’s television screen, it is in everybody’s consciousness, so it is frequently raised. So it has a much broader base of awareness in the world.

And for the United States, we are committed to a two-state solution. We believe that Israel has a right to exist and that the Palestinians have a right to a state. I was the first American associated with our government who ever said that back in the late ‘90s. It has been a personal commitment of mine as First Lady, as senator, now as Secretary of State. And it is a particularly complex issue for a number of reasons, but let me just quickly tell you that I am working very hard to create the necessary trust between the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership for each of them to make decisions that are difficult politically.

If you – I know it might be very difficult to do this, but I always like to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I find it very helpful to try to figure out if I were an Israeli or I were a Palestinian, how would I see the world?

And if you put yourself into the Israelis’ shoes, the Israelis believe that they have tried, they made an offer to Yasser Arafat – my husband was part of that at Camp David in 2000 – and it was for a state and it was to resolve all issues. And for internal political reasons, it was not accepted. I mean, the Israelis would argue that if that had been accepted, there would have been a state now (inaudible). The Israeli leader, Yitzhak Rabin, who was working toward that, was murdered by an extremist Israeli.

So Israel believes that they have acted in ways that have not been reciprocated, including withdrawing from Lebanon and withdrawing from Gaza, and then being fired on by rockets. So if you reject Israel’s right to exist, your answer is, well, that doesn’t matter. But if you, as I do, accept their right to exist, then you can see why they are somewhat concerned about how to move forward.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, they feel like they have demonstrated in the last several years in particular under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad that they can build the institutions of a state. In fact, the World Bank said in a recent report that given what the Palestinians have done, they will be ready for statehood.

And so they say to the Israelis we are now a mature or a maturing set of institutions and we’re ready for statehood. And the Israelis say, well, how are you going to protect us from rockets? And the Palestinians say, well, you’re just going to have to trust us on that. And the Israelis say, well, we need more than that.

So that gives you a flavor of what are very real issues between two people who I want to see share the same piece of real estate. So I am working endlessly to try to work out an agreement that each of them can accept. And it is important for a country like Malaysia to support the Palestinians in their state building. And the United States is the largest donor to the Palestinian people, larger than any Arab country, larger than anyone else. And we will continue to help the Palestinians build toward a state, but the only way to get there in a secure, lasting fashion is through negotiation.

So I’m well aware that many people say, well, why is the United States so supportive of Israel? Well, we are also very supportive of the Palestinians and we are very supportive of the Arab Peace Initiative from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. But we want to take what are paper commitments and translate it into real world decisions, and that’s what I’m committed to doing. And any support that Malaysia can give to the Palestinians to keep up this very good state-building effort so that they’re ready for statehood will add to the ability to finally reach that agreement.

MODERATOR: Okay. Madam Secretary, not only do we have audience here in ISTAC, but we have remote audiences, one in Kuala Lumpur in KLC library, the other one in (inaudible) in east Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay.

MODERATOR: We are trying to establish communication with them in a short while. While we’re waiting for that, can we have a question from (inaudible). I know everybody’s looking at me giving some kind of look, please take my question. (Laughter.) I saw you (inaudible). Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, good afternoon. I’m (inaudible) from (inaudible) Technology Malaysia. I just watched CNN and Al Jazeera this morning, okay, about I think the support that President Obama is having right now at this moment, and I think when he came to power, the majority, I would say many people in Malaysia have high hopes, as I think the rest of the Muslim world, right? But as Secretary of State, how confident are you that the noble intentions of President Obama will be realized when, at the moment, I think he himself is having challenges winning the hearts of the American people? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say as someone who’s been involved in American politics at the highest level for about 30 years, longer than I care to admit, every president who’s elected, I think going back to sometime in the 1800s, the party of the president loses seats in Congress in the first election after the inauguration of the president.

So if that happens in our election, and it may or may not – a lot of the pundits say it will, the same thing happened to my husband – it is sort of the way American politics keeps itself in the center. So a new president gets elected, he usually does an enormous amount his first two years, and then everybody in America says, well, that’s either not enough or that’s too much. That’s kind of the – it’s like Goldilocks. You know that story, it’s too hot, too cold, it’s not right. So they send a message to the new president by voting out members of Congress of his party. And we had that in 1994 and we have it in most of the – what are called midterm elections.

But what President Obama has achieved in his first two years is very lasting and very important. Just a few things. In the foreign policy arena, the President’s commitment to move the world toward one without nuclear weapons is important for every country. And the Nuclear Security Summit that your prime minister attended in Washington last April is a very strong indication that the leaders of the major countries in the world want to protect their people from nuclear materials getting into the wrong hands, from rogue regimes that get nuclear weapons and then threaten their neighbors. So that is a very significant step combined with the treaty that the United States and Russia have signed to continue to decrease our nuclear stockpile.

The balancing act that had to be done in the global economy in the immediate days after President Obama came into office, I personally believe that President Obama’s leadership at home and abroad working with countries like China, like India, like others, prevented a global depression. Now, it’s hard sometimes to get credit for what did not happen, but I believe that President Obama, when history looks at what he did, will get enormous credit.

At home, what the President has accomplished in healthcare, which is, from my own experience, a very difficult political issue in the United States that I worked on when Bill was president, and the fact that President Obama has passed major healthcare reform, will stand the test of time. Even though a lot of our special interests have everybody all upset about what was in the bill, it will change the way American healthcare is delivered and paid for. It will help millions of Americans. And again, when the dust settles, I think people will see that.

So there are many other examples I could give you. In the financial reform area, the President forced through a bill that will end bank bailouts, which will require our banks to be more responsible, which will be good for Malaysia as well for the United States.

So there are so many important initiatives that were passed in these first two years. So the political winds blow back and forth, but I think you’ll find with President Obama he’s a very steady captain of the ship and he believes that what America needs to do is hard, politically challenging, but must be done. So I think that no matter what happens in our election, you will see him immediately after the election going to India, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, continuing to promote his agenda, which I think is right for America and right for the world.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Can we have some time now to go to KL Lincoln Corner at the KL City Library? Can we have the video feed? There we go. KL, can you hear me?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR: There we are. Okay. The representative from Kuala Lumpur KL City Library is (inaudible). (Inaudible), is that you?

QUESTION: Yes.

MODERATOR: Okay. You have a question to Madam Secretary? Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Okay. Hello, good afternoon and welcome to Malaysia, Madam Secretary. My name is (inaudible). I am university student from (inaudible). (Inaudible) the question I will like to ask. Madam Secretary, how can Malaysian women play a supporting role in national development, (inaudible), and multicultural society? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for the question. And one of the many assets that I think Malaysia has for the 21st century is the multicultural diversity that you have in your country. The world is very diverse, and countries that can demonstrate how to have inclusive economies and inclusive political systems and accommodate different backgrounds are countries that are likely to be more successful in the long term. So I think Malaysia starts with an advantage.

And as this young woman asked, from my perspective based on the very successful Malaysian women that I know of and some of whom I met earlier today, women are playing a role and I hope will continue to play an even greater role. The young women who are studying in your colleges and universities today are going to be equipped to play not only a significant role in Malaysia but a significant role on the global stage on behalf of Malaysia – Malaysian businesses, Malaysia governmental policies, Malaysian NGOs and civil society.

So I think you can sort of guess from the comments that I’m making, my assessment is that Malaysia has an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate leadership and to serve as a model for other countries throughout the world. And I am very, very hopeful that the young people of Malaysia will demonstrate a commitment to this multicultural, pluralistic model that Malaysia has become and show the way for other countries who can’t quite figure out how to do it. They can’t figure out how to have an inclusive economy or an inclusive political system and they are handicapping themselves because of that. So Malaysia has a lot to teach, not just Asia but the entire world.

MODERATOR: Okay, now can we go to Kuching for a while? (Inaudible.) Thank you very much. They’ve been waiting for us as well. Okay, in Kuching, the one in the center. Madam Secretary, the one in the center on the live feed. It’s (inaudible), can you hear me?

QUESTION: Yes, I can hear you.

MODERATOR: Go ahead with a question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) good afternoon. You look great today. My name is (inaudible) and I am from university (inaudible). Before I can state with my question, I would like to welcome you to (inaudible) and also wish you happy (inaudible).

Okay. so I’ll proceed with my question. This is my question. Female education rates have progressed steadily worldwide, in many countries even outperforming and outnumbering their male counterparts (inaudible). These advances have yet to translate in greater (inaudible). Global education changes (inaudible) cultural and institutional changes are still slow. Please, can’t you tell us how (inaudible)? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. I believe so strongly that education is the key to individual advancement and to social development. And it’s going to be one of the key areas of our partnership with Malaysia. Our new ambassador, Paul Jones, who arrived only seven weeks ago, has already gotten out and met a lot of you, and we’re going to work closely together with your government, with your universities, and others to help design programs that will meet the needs of Malaysian students. And teaching English in rural areas, which is something that’s already been identified to us as an issue; more science, technology and research exchanges, as the vice chancellor from the university mentioned to me. So we’re going to be looking for a deep partnership on education.

The other part of your question about young women who do well in education not yet perhaps feeling as though they have an equitable chance at jobs and positions once they finish their education is something that has to be addressed in every society. And if the women leaders that you have already in Malaysia, demonstrating that you have very competent women who are at very high levels in every aspect of Malaysian life, should help to send a message to both young men and young women that decisions about jobs and professions should be made on merit. The best person, man or woman, should be given the opportunity to prove him or herself.

And I think that there will be a greater awareness of that. And I hope that here in Malaysia young women, who, like in my own country, are actually attending university at a higher percentage than young men and in many fields of study are actually doing very well, will be given the encouragement to pursue their academic and their professional desires.

Now speaking from my own experience and the work that I’ve done for many years, I know that for many young women – not all, but for many young women – being involved in the business world or the professional world does not mean you also do not want to be a wife and mother. And so the balancing of your family responsibilities with your work responsibilities remains one of the biggest challenges for women around the world. And many women have to sequence their careers as to how they do the jobs that they’re given and still fulfill their responsibilities to their family.

And society should support that because we don’t want to lose the talent of these educated young women. What we want – at least I will say this as a personal opinion – we want educated young women having families and raising the next generation and making that commitment to their children’s upbringing and education.

So every society has to figure out how to do that balance. And I have to say in my own country we still don’t have it right. It’s very, very hard for many young women to manage their careers and manage their families, and too many young women decide that they just can’t do both. And I think that’s a loss. I mean, if it’s a personal decision, I’m all for it. But if it’s a decision by default, I can’t imagine having a high-powered career and being able to care for my children the way I would like to, therefore I won’t have children, I think that’s a loss for society.

So how we balance this continues to be a challenge for nearly every society that I’m aware of, and I hope that this young woman who asked the question believes that here in Malaysia she will be able to excel in school, have an important career to her, make a contribution to her society, and if she chooses, also be a wife and mother.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Madam Secretary. We have one more question before we (inaudible) the stage. Yes.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I’m from the 40 percent non-Muslim population of the country. My name is (inaudible). I recently came back from Duke University with a Ph.D. in political science, a Fulbright scholar – I’m proud to say that – came back in April or May. I just wanted to let you know, assure you that despite – regardless of who is in power at a governmental level, there are a lot of initiatives which are going on in Malaysia here which come directly as a result of our positive experiences in the U.S. Let me just give you three very shortly. You are familiar with Teach for America, of course, (inaudible). Teach for Malaysia is starting very, very soon.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Teach for Malaysia is starting very, very soon.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great.

QUESTION: I wanted to let you know – and run by Malaysians, inspired by the resources and also for Teach First, and as well as Teach for America, Teach International is helping them out. And I think many Malaysians who are overseas want to come back and contribute to this cause.

Second thing that I wanted to let you know is that Malaysians in the United States – actually, Malaysian students meet up independently in very small pockets – (inaudible) and Stanford – they are going to meet up in Boston next year to talk about their own learning experiences in the U.S. and how do you want to bring that back to Malaysia. One example of that is, for example, many of these students come back every year to give a very, very cheap workshop at about 10 U.S. dollars for two days to teach Malaysian kids and to give them advice on how to apply to the best schools in the U.S., research schools, universities, as well as liberal arts schools which many Malaysian otherwise would not know. I myself have been advantaged (inaudible) of that because I’ve hired – gotten to know and hired someone from your own alma mater, Wellesley, who was here on a gap year doing a different kind of consulting work.

And I think I just wanted to leave you – you’re not going to some bad news tonight and I know for tomorrow as well. But regardless of what happens in the political field, there are things happening at the P-to-P level and G-to-P level that are – that will continue to have a good impact formulations as a result of positive experiences dealing with the U.S.

And I had a great time at Duke as well.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent, excellent. (Applause.) Let me reinforce those ideas because it is this people-to-people exchange that can be informal, like the young woman from Wellesley that you had a chance to speak to, and it can be more formal programs, and we want to do both.

And the idea of Teach for Malaysia is so exciting because I know that there are many successful Malaysian students who have studied both in Malaysia and the United States or in other countries who could be very important in the lives of less privileged young people who might not have the exposure and the experience that many of us have had in our own societies, so I would encourage you to take that idea. And this kind of volunteer outreach is really at the core – my belief that these people-to-people exchanges within societies and across national boundaries are going to be even more important in the future.

And we can either have positive exchanges or negative exchanges. And therefore, the more we can put into ensuring more positive exchanges, the better we will understand each other. And the more opportunities young Malaysian students will have to come to the United States, and I would like to see more American students coming to Malaysia.

QUESTION: I think – have we time for it?

MODERATOR: We have an extra 10 minutes.

QUESTION: We have an extra 10 minutes, okay. I just wanted to ask – I find you amazing because you have been traveling. You have been to Vietnam. You are now going to Papua New Guinea and Australia and New Zealand and all that. When do you play mother-in-law? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I thank the questioner for the good wishes about my daughter’s wedding, which was truly one of the highlights of my life. It was absolutely wonderful. And she and her husband live in New York, so not far from where we live. You know I work in Washington as Secretary of State, but my husband and I live in New York. And so we’re able to get together, probably not as often I would like, but probably as often as they would like – (laughter) – as the mother and mother-in-law. And it is – it’s wonderful having a grown-up child. And those of you who’ve had that experience know exactly what I mean. It is so gratifying and incredibly touching to me to watch my daughter launching her own life like this.

Also, email is a great invention. You can not only stay in touch but offer advice long distance and you don’t have to see their faces when they receive the advice, whether they like it or not. So it’s been for me a very wonderful experience on the personal level, and I’m very grateful. My husband and I feel blessed that my 91-year-old mother lives with us and my daughter is launched in the world, and it’s a very good feeling about the cycle of life and the contributions that we each make to it.

MS. CHEK: I’m equally amazed with your energy level. And I wanted to ask, and I want you to answer honestly, it’s been said that you’re smarter than your husband. Is that true? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Now, I don’t – Norzie, I don’t know if you’re married. Are you married, Norzie? (Laughter.)

MS. CHEK: I am. I am.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But that is one of those questions that is a “no win” question. (Laughter.) First of all, I will say this because I really believe it, I think my husband’s the smartest person I’ve ever met, and he says the same about me so that said — (Laughter.) (Applause.)

But it – we have been married for 35 years and we have known each other for 39 years, so much more than half of our lives. And we started a conversation when we were in law school and it never flags. I mean, it just keeps going on every issue under the sun. So I feel very fortunate to have a life partner who is endlessly interesting and so committed to helping other people. I mean, he is truly – got the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. And so we have an extraordinary time because we’re both able to support each other, but also learn from each other and create new ideas with each other. So I feel very, very lucky indeed.

QUESTION: What do you do to unwind? I mean, (inaudible) a very stressful job.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah.

QUESTION: But what do you do to unwind?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I try to catch up on my sleep. I try to exercise as regularly as I can. The weekends, when my husband and I are home, we like to go for long walks. We live in – north of New York City and there are a lot of nature preserves that we take our dogs to and we go for long walks. We like to go to movies and go out to dinner – just normal things that take your mind off of the day-to-day pressures of this kind of set of responsibilities.

MODERATOR: All right. I was given the signal that we have 10 minutes for the floor, only exclusively for the floor. Let’s go all the way – yes, you’ve been waiting for (inaudible).

QUESTION: Yeah, I will take you away from Malaysia to Afghanistan. I’m (inaudible), teaching political science. As you know that I don’t look like an Malaysian but I’m proudly from Malaysian society and I think —

SECRETARY CLINTON: If you could put the microphone up, sir.

QUESTION: This is Malaysia’s contribution to the Afghan society right from the 1990s, so he brought – they brought us here and that we are educated, but we wanted to go back. But I was told the United States abandoned us in 1990. So I want assurance that this time U.S. does not abandon us so therefore we can have a peaceful life. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, thank you for that question and I hope you will have a chance and that you take it to go back. What you say is true. In 1989 when the former Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the United States and much of the world breathed a sigh of relief and we did leave. And we left behind, frankly, some of the very problems that now are causing so much heartache in Afghanistan. The United States along with our Arab allies and European allies were the major supporters of creating the Mujaheddin, of arming them, of training them, of financing them, and one of them was named Usama bin Ladin. And religion was used as a means of enlisting nationalistic feelings against the Soviet Union. And then when it was over, those feelings do not disappear, that organization does not end, and it was unfortunate for Afghanistan, for Pakistan, and for much of the rest of the world that we all said, “Well, thank goodness that that’s over.”

Now, you know because you’re from Afghanistan that there was a terrible period of the Soviet invasion followed by another terrible period of warlords and Mujaheddin fighting and then followed by another terrible period of the Taliban. So the people of Afghanistan have suffered through 30 years of occupation and war. And the United States is committed to helping the people of Afghanistan recover and rebuild and the story is not told as often as I would like, but many positive things have happened in Afghanistan in the last 10 years with the fall of the Taliban.

At that point in time, there were about 700,000 children in school in Afghanistan and they were all boys. There wasn’t a single official school available for girls. And now there are about 6 or 7 million kids in school and about 40 percent of them are girls. The university is back open; it is coeducational. Some professors have come back and are teaching once again.

Agricultural produce is starting to flow. Markets are starting to open. Businesses – there’s been a recent discovery of a lot of mineral wealth in Afghanistan, if handled correctly, could be a boon. If not, it could be a source of massive corruption. There’s a lot of positive opportunity, but it is still a very difficult situation.

And the United States is committed to helping to build the Afghan security forces, both the military and the police forces and we thank Malaysia for helping on a number of areas with Afghanistan, including providing medical assistance in Afghanistan. And we are working with the government to build their capacity, and we’re hoping to see continuing progress. But I would not sit here and tell you that it is easy, because 30 years warfare has taken a terrible toll. And it is important that the international community try to help the people of Afghanistan recover. And hopefully, someday, you’ll be able to return and teach there what you’re teaching here in Malaysia.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Okay. We have one question here. She’s one of the Facebook members who – apparently Malaysia has the biggest number of Facebook friends in the world. She happens to be one of them. And you may want to share with them – Madam Secretary – why you are here – why you choose interview here before you pose the question.

QUESTION: I’m here because I am excited and you are actually my role model. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

MODERATOR: But the primary reason why you were chosen to be (inaudible).

QUESTION: Because I’m interested in a lot of issues and especially foreign policy and I think you are the right person to answer the question. Anyway, first of all, selamat datang ke Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: Welcome to Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: My first question – I have two questions. My first question is about woman participation in politics. As we see, even though we have more than 50 percent in most of the university in Malaysia comprising of women, but in terms of politics, woman participation, it’s quite low, mostly are male dominated and a very few women in top ministerial role and no woman in the top two posts before. So in terms of breaking the glass ceiling, I think you know better than all of us. So I would love to know – for you to share your experience.

Secondly, it’s about ASEAN. As we know, ASEAN is increasing – South Asian nations increasingly affected by disaster. And ASEAN, although an infant in this area, are working to assist as we see in the 2005 tsunami in Asia as well as 2008 Nargis Cyclone in Myanmar. So what is the U.S. foreign policy toward ASEAN in terms of dealing with this pressing issue in terms of climate change as well as humanitarian crisis? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Let me take your second question first. One of the areas that the United States wants to partner with ASEAN and ASEAN nations is in disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation partly for the reason that you have already mentioned. The weather patterns are becoming more intense. And the effects of those intense weather events is causing more damage. So we need to do a better job preparing for disasters, so we don’t just reinvent the wheel every time a cyclone strikes, a tsunami strikes, an earthquake, a flood. We need to position material. We need to have a plan for how we’re going to respond. The United States is happy to be one of the leaders in that. We have to work on climate change so that we mitigate the effects of climate change, which unfortunately will either cause or exacerbate weather problems.

And ASEAN would play a key role in that. So we are talking with ASEAN about how we can do this. And I think it’s a very important question because the cost of these disasters are going up, and we have to be better prepared.

Finally, on your question about women in politics, well, I think it is fair to say that no matter what society you’re in, it is challenging for women in politics. It is just a very difficult road to walk. And you have to have a pretty thick skin, number one. (Laughter.) One of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of our very esteemed president during World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, once said that if a woman wants to be in politics, she needs to grow skin like a rhinoceros. (Laughter.) And do you still have rhinos in Malaysia? (Laughter.)

So I think you – if you’re going to be a woman in politics, you cannot complain about how hard it is, because it is hard. You just have to be prepared as best you can to participate. And it is true that there remains something of a double standard globally about women in politics. I’ll tell you a funny story. Probably Finland has more women in high positions per capita than any country in the world. The president, the prime minister, the head of the central bank at one time, I mean, the defense minister are all women. And yet today, they will tell you, even though they are in these high positions, that when they go out to campaign and do political events, the press will still report on what they’re wearing. (Laughter.) So that seems like it goes with the territory.

But I am very convinced that more young women and women of all ages need to participate in the politics of their country. I’m not saying that women are better or worse. I’m just saying that we bring different perspectives to a lot of the issues that our countries face, and our voices need to be heard at the highest levels of domestic and foreign policy. So for any young woman who believes she has skin like a rhinoceros and is willing to be scrutinized about her hair, about her clothes, about all those things, it’s a very exciting career. You get to meet people you would never meet. The challenges are very intellectually demanding. Learning more about yourself so that you can better present yourself and communicate and form coalitions to get things done – it’s very rewarding.

But it is hard and it’s probably become harder because of intense media scrutiny. And it’s not just from the professional media, but everybody with a cell phone can record everything you say and everything you do. And that’s an extra burden that you just have to be ready to accept. So I hope that – just as in my own country, I hope both more young women and young men choose to pursue politics because we’ve got to have the best of our young people in our political systems in order to make the best decisions for the future. So I commend that to you.

MODERATOR: Okay. Now, looking at a question that – their hand’s raised. We really hope that you can stay, like, throughout the whole day but —

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: — we understand that your schedule is extremely tight, but let’s take one final question from this gentleman over here.

QUESTION: Thank you. Welcome to Malaysia, Secretary of State, and let me just give you a brief perception of what I think Malaysia is, but not yet appreciated by the United States. In 50 years, we have reduced poverty from 37 percent something down to 3 percent. And in 50 years, we have taken agricultural children and made them engineers who work in Cyberjaya. No other country in the world has systematically and schematically reduced and moved an entire generation of people from the third sector, which is agriculture, to the first sector.

So I think we are a global model, but unfortunately – I studied in the U.S., so I am thankful that I can articulate my ideas, but unfortunately, United States has never understood the potential of Malaysia. You still think Saudi Arabia is better or Indonesia is better politically or the Philippines is better politically. (Laughter.)

So let me suggest to you, Minister, that you seriously consider sending your – finally, your public policy students, international relations students for a semester abroad in Malaysia. We will teach them cross-cultural communications in really significant ways, because we are going into a very multicultural world. And unless you remove the ethnocentric world view, you will not appreciate the others better. That’s just my advice. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s – (applause) – that is advice that I’m going to take. (Laughter.) And as I said early on, the way that Malaysia has developed economically and politically, so that you had inclusive economic growth but a vigorous political system is the model for the 21st century. And countries that do one without the other, I don’t believe in 50 years will see the results that Malaysia has produced.

So I do think there is a very rich opportunity for more cross-fertilization between the United States and Malaysia, and one of the first things that Ambassador Jones and I will do is to try to create a program for an exchange of our policy students, and also perhaps some of our think tanks that need to be more closely connected and working together, and if you will be sure to come to see Ambassador Jones, we will follow up on this idea. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Okay. Unfortunately, we have to stop right here. Any last words for (inaudible)? Thank you very much once again for the questions, and those who were not able to ask a question, probably you might want to post a question on the U.S. Embassy Facebook wall or something similar, then – again, thank you very much once again. Can we give a big hand to Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton? (Applause.) It’s been such an honor to have you. Hope you have a wonderful stay here in Malaysia, although it’s short, and we welcome you once again, again, and again to Malaysia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. This day is like the appetizer, so – (laughter) – I have to come back for the full meal. Right, Ambassador, (inaudible)? Thank you. Thank you all very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you. My pleasure.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

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Ah! Finally, some word from Malaysia! She could not meet with the PM since he is hospitalized, but she did have a phone conversation with him.   Here she is with Foreign Minister Anifah Aman

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Remarks with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 2, 2010

 

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, before we begin, allow me to outline the flow of the events. The conference will begin with opening remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia followed thereafter by an opening statement by the Secretary of State of the United States of America. We will then proceed to the Q&A session. In view of time constraints, only four questions will be answered by the two ministers, two questions from the Malaysian-based journalists and two from the U.S. side.

It is now my pleasure to invite the Honorable Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman to deliver his opening remarks.

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: Thank you very much. Good afternoon and I am indeed very pleased to welcome Excellency Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and her delegation to Malaysia. This is indeed a very meaningful visit, and not least because it is the first bilateral visit by a U.S. cabinet member since 1995. And it was Excellency Warren Christopher.

The Secretary of State and I, with our respective delegation, had a very productive bilateral meeting this afternoon and which provided us the opportunity to discuss bilateral, regional, and also international issues of mutual interest. We recognize the warming of relations between our two countries under the present leadership of Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Excellency President of America President Barack Obama. We acknowledge the excellent bilateral cooperation that exists in a range of fields, including defense, education, security, and counterterrorism. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology Cooperation which will be held later this afternoon augurs well for our relationship.

We discussed the upward trend in the bilateral trade between our two nations and I stressed to Secretary Clinton that Malaysia views the U.S. as a very valuable and important partner to Malaysia, and in 2009 U.S. is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner, and for the period of 2004 to 2009 the U.S. was ranked as the second largest foreign investor in Malaysia so far as the manufacturing sector is concerned. And as of 31st of December 2009, 663 manufacturing projects totaling U.S. dollar 13.5 billion were implemented. These projects provided job opportunities for 160,000 people in Malaysia.

In addition to the very strong trade and investment relationship, we have very significant people-to-people links. We have nearly 5,000 students in the U.S. and a high number of American tourists visiting Malaysia each year. The total number of tourist arrivals from United States to Malaysia in 2009 was recorded at 228,000 as compared to 223,000 in the year 2008, so there’s an increase of Americans coming to Malaysia.

Malaysia also thanked the U.S. for its support in our participation in the Trans Pacific Strategic Partnership, TPP negotiations, and both sides expressed hope that our efforts to deepen the bilateral and multilateral economic relationship continue to bear fruit.

We discussed the issue on the cooperation in education with both sides committing to enhance educational cooperation, focusing on the teaching of English by facilitating and encouraging more people-to-people exchanges. I commended the U.S. Government on the various educational programs currently carried out by its Embassy in Malaysia. I believe that Malaysia stands to benefit greatly from the American expertise in teaching English, which is why we would like to work with the U.S. in bringing more of its teachers to Malaysia in the future and to assist in our efforts to improve the command of English, but also more importantly for those young Americans to come to Malaysia and especially to get to know the Malaysian people closer.

On the multilateral front, I took the opportunity to brief the Secretary of State on the Honorable (inaudible) Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib’s proposal on the 65th United Nations General Assembly to establish a global movement of moderates to combat the process of extremism irrespective of religion or creed which breed intolerance and distrust. I am heartened, too, by the U.S. support for the idea, and we both agreed all countries should encourage and support this initiative that promotes mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and rejects extremists who undermine the universal values of religion.

I also stressed that Malaysia is supporting the U.S. increasing engagement in Southeast Asia region, particularly in ASEAN. We commended on the fruitful discussions held between ASEAN leaders and President Obama at the second ASEAN-U.S. leaders meeting in New York recently and the commitment expressed by all parties to strengthen ASEAN-UN cooperation. Malaysia is also happy to welcome U.S. as a member of the East Asia Summit and believe that U.S. participation in East Asia Summit along with Russian further – Russia further harness the full potential of the EAS so that it remains relevant and effective in addressing current as well as future challenges.

On the Middle East process, I reiterated Malaysia’s support for all the efforts of the international community to find just, lasting, and comprehensive and peaceful settlement to the Palestinian-Israel conflict, including recent U.S. initiative in hosting direct peace talks in September 2010. Malaysia regards the U.S. as crucial player in attaining a durable solution in the Middle East conflict and hope U.S. continues to play a vital role and exercise impartiality in the Middle East peace process.

We also discussed Afghanistan, and Malaysia is proud to stand with the international community in support of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. I informed the Secretary that on the request of the Afghanistan Government, Malaysia has dispatched Malaysian armed forces medical contingent comprising of 40 officers and men, and have been deployed in Afghanistan central province of Bamiyan to undertake the humanitarian mission of providing medical and healthcare services to local population.

And I also took the stress to Secretary of State that Malaysia is unique in the sense that of those medical volunteers that went there, there are a couple of women doctors and nurses that will assist greatly in the need for the medical services in Afghanistan.

To conclude, I am very pleased with the productive discussion held today and I sincerely thank Secretary Clinton for the commitment expressed to elevate our ties, and I candidly believe that Malaysia-U.S. bilateral relations will continue to grow (inaudible) for the mutual benefit of our two countries. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister, and it is a great pleasure for me to be here with you for this very productive bilateral consultation. I want to begin by wishing Prime Minister Najib a speedy recovery. I’m sorry we were not able to meet in person, but I did have a phone call with him earlier today and hope that he is back to full speed soon. And I look forward to seeing the deputy prime minister later this afternoon and signing some very important memoranda.

Since day one of the administration, President Obama and I have made it a priority to reengage with the Asia Pacific. We know that much of the history of the 21st century will be written in this region, because it is the center of so many of the world’s greatest opportunities and biggest challenges. So the United States is committed to strengthening our ties and we are particularly enthusiastic about deepening, broadening, and strengthening our relationship with Malaysia.

We already have a strong partnership based on common values like respect for cultural diversity, pluralism, religious tolerance, along with our very important trade, business, and investment ties. We know that Malaysia is a leader in this region, and as I said earlier in the event at ISTAC, increasingly being looked to as both a thought leader and a model globally.

So the foreign minister and I had much to talk about, and let me just briefly mention some of the issues we discussed. The United States wholeheartedly endorses Prime Minister Najib’s call to promote religious moderation. We know that extremists exist in every religion. History has proven that, unfortunately, time and time again. But extremism is not a path to building sustainable prosperity, peace, stability, or democracy. It only promotes conflict and hardens hearts. So we very much welcome the prime minister’s call for a global movement of moderates and we are eager to support him and other leaders who take up this call to promote interfaith dialogue.

If we’re going to increase understanding among people, then we need to expand the ties that connect us. And we are exploring that around the world, but in particular we are very committed to expanding people-to-people engagement between the United States and Malaysia.

Later today, I will participate in the acknowledging and signing of three major agreements that will deepen our work together: first, a Memorandum of Understanding between our two governments designed to expand our collaboration on research and development of new technologies; second, a partnership between the Government of Malaysia and Johns Hopkins University to build a new medical school and teaching hospital here in Malaysia; and finally, the sale of 50 Pratt & Whitney airplane engines to Malaysia Airlines which will create new jobs in both countries.

We can also increase our people-to-people ties through education and student exchanges. President Obama and I admire the prime minister’s vision for dramatically improving English language instruction through a new partnership between the United States and ASEAN. Speaking a common language, the language of computers, of technology, of business and investment, does create a powerful bond. And as I spoke with the foreign minister, we’re getting to work immediately on how to implement that.

We’ve already begun delivering on the prime minister’s vision by doubling our program that helps young Malaysians get access to high-quality after-school English programs. And as the foreign minister and I agreed, our teams will begin discussing how to further expand English language learning.

Opening our minds to new ideas is an important part of building long-term security and stability, but we also have to confront hard realities, including the spread of nuclear weapons. With the passage of the Strategic Trade Act, Malaysia now has powerful new tools for preventing proliferation by making it easier to stop shipments of nuclear fuel, weapons parts, and other equipment especially to states that are flouting their international obligations such as Iran and North Korea. Implementing the act quickly and effectively will deny nuclear proliferators the opportunity to use Malaysian territory to further their goals. I am very grateful for the help that Malaysia is giving to the leaders and people of Afghanistan. The military medical mission that Malaysia has deployed, including physicians and nurses and, in particular, much-needed women doctors, are making a significant contribution in helping Afghans rebuild after 30 years of conflict.

Finally, we are pleased that Malaysia joined last month’s negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership. That is a pact that would expand markets and create a level playing field for people in every country that does participate. I know there are tough issues to work out, as there always are with these agreements, but Malaysia’s leadership in this region for greater economic growth is absolutely essential.

Our countries have a lot in common, and I am very excited by what I’ve already heard here in Malaysia. I told someone earlier that this short visit, my first, is but the appetizer. (Laughter.) So I intend to return in the future for the full banquet – (laughter) – and spend more time getting to hear firsthand from the people of Malaysia and working to strengthen the friendship between our two countries.

Thank you again, Minister.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman and Secretary Clinton, for your statements. We will now proceed to the question-and-answer session. I would now invite Mr. Arshad Mohammed of Reuters to ask the first question. It is also requested that you speak up a bit so the question could be heard clearly.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, as you know, the State Department’s Annual Report on Human Rights in Malaysia specifically states that the United States regards the prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as politically motivated. Did you raise that issue with the foreign minister or do you plan to raise it with the deputy prime minister this afternoon?

Second, the Chinese foreign ministry has issued a statement describing the U.S. position that the Senkakus fall under the security treaty with Japan as both totally wrong and essentially rejecting the idea of three-way talks that would cover that particular issue. Have you given up the idea of three-way talks (inaudible), or are you still going to try to move ahead with that despite the Chinese rejection?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, as to the first question, it’s well known that the United States believes it is important for all aspects of the case to be conducted fairly and transparently and in a way that increases confidence in the rule of law in Malaysia. Our Embassy maintains good relations with both the ruling coalition and the opposition as important participants in the democratic process here in Malaysia, and we will continue to support Malaysia’s progress in strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law.

With respect to your second question, the recommendation that I made to both Japan and China to have more frequent discussions between the two of them, and the offer that I made that the United States would be willing to host a trilateral with both Japan and China if that would facilitate dialogue stands. And it is not only about one issue. There are many issues that need to be discussed that I hope Japan and China will find an appropriate format in which to do so.

But we will continue to maintain our position that we take no approach toward the sovereignty over the islands. But our interpretation of our security alliance with Japan has been consistent over many decades now, and we do hope that Japan and China will find more opportunities to discuss whatever differences they have between them.

QUESTION: Did you raise the Anwar case or do you plan to?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Our teams raise it on a consistent basis.

QUESTION: But not you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have raised it and we have continued to raise it and it is part of our ongoing dialogue.

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: And now if I can just add, Secretary Clinton, I have had the opportunity to explain some to foreign ministers, my counterpart, regarding the so-called political prosecution about Anwar. Now, what surprises me is that if there is a political prosecution, I think you have to give credit to (inaudible) national government is much smarter. We may as well stop Anwar before he becomes a member of parliament, rather than bring it to the open trial in a court. And I do not wish to comment much because it is before the court and (inaudible), but what I can assure you as a member of parliament and also as a member of the cabinet, that it is my interest and our interest to make sure Anwar get a fair trial. Because if there is such thing as political prosecution, if it can happen to Anwar, so it can happen to the rest of us.

So being an open trial, I think the world will be able to judge what will be the outcome. Now, again, I’d like to stress that it is actually a complaint by his employee and it is a private complaint. And I think it will be great injustice if you were to deny that individual his fair share of justice in this country. And I have also had people, leaders of some countries, asking us for the government to intervene, not to prosecute Anwar. I think it would be also a gross misconduct on our part if we do not allow the independence – or if we interfere the independence of judiciary. So we have faith – I have faith in the independence of the judiciary and we will (inaudible) it doesn’t bother us one bit whether Anwar will be getting a favorable judgment otherwise, but what bothers us is that there will be a fair and open trial. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our next question from (inaudible) from Bernama, our national news agency.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: Would you like to answer?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I was unable to meet with the prime minister today because of his illness. And that had an impact on my schedule here in Kuala Lumpur. Officials from the United States and the State Department have been in regular contact with Anwar Ibrahim, will continue to be in touch with him, and we’re watching his case very closely. And I think that what the foreign minister said about a free and open trial is exactly what we would expect.

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: Yeah, and so far as we’re concerned, I have no objections at all if Secretary Clinton wants to see Anwar Ibrahim. I think it’s customary for leaders when they come to any country just instead of her just seeing the government leaders, but also the opposition leaders. But in this instance, if I can just add on the precautions, because it is – the case is before the court. So we do not want to give the wrong signals to the people. And secondly, as a member of the (inaudible) national government, now we have (inaudible) elections in both Galas and also in parliamentary in Sabah.

So we do not want individuals or parties to be construed as if America or Secretary Clinton is assisting these people. So we fully appreciate the gestures that Secretary Clinton has given. And also as I said, this is a continuous engagement. I think we did mention that in my last visit to America. But nevertheless, (inaudible) we welcome any clarifications that America needs or any – for that matter, any country that needs from us. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay, I’m sorry. Because we are pressed for time, the next question will be the last one. The next question from the U.S. media from Mr. Lachlan Carmichael from AFP.

QUESTION: Yes, hello. Could you both discuss a financial contribution that Malaysia could make to Palestinian state building? The Secretary mentioned it during her town hall meeting.

And two, Secretary Clinton, when you return to the United States, will you see Prime Minister Netanyahu? And given the fact that (inaudible) represents the one month – the end of the one-month period that the Arabs gave you to get Netanyahu to stop settlement building, does it represent a last-ditch effort to save the peace talks that were launched in Washington on September 2nd?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Do you mind starting?

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: Okay, I’ll start on the first part first. Yes, Secretary Clinton did mention about Malaysia’s possible contribution to Palestine. And I fully support that. And I fully support that Malaysia and Malaysian companies should actually look into the possibilities of investing, especially Secretary Clinton was mentioning in the West Bank, which of course is very attractive for any investor to come in. And we will certainly look into that and we will do everything possible and especially one of the – I think one of my trip – my visit to that part of the world, I will try to bring some business people so that they can see for themselves and how Malaysia can participate in the reconstructions or rehabilitations of part of that Gaza and West Bank. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I thank the foreign minister for that commitment. It is very important for friends of the Palestinian people to support the state-building efforts that are ongoing. They are reflective of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to have their own state, and under the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority has made significant progress as recently analyzed by the World Bank in building the institutions for a state. So it is part of our efforts in the United States to bring about a two-state solution that will provide the environment in which Israel has security and in which the Palestinian people have a sovereign, viable state. And you can’t do that just by signing an agreement, although we are working very hard to achieve that. You do that by helping the Palestinian people be ready for successful statehood.

We are working every single day in working to achieve a return to negotiations. And I will be talking with and meeting with anyone anywhere that could possibly contribute to that. I don’t yet have any specific schedule, but that may be scheduled later. But the bottom line for the United States, we are the single biggest supporter of the Palestinian people. We give more money than anyone else in the world to the Palestinian Authority. And we think it is important for other countries to also be contributing to assist the Palestinian people. I was very pleased that just recently Saudi Arabia, which has been a consistent supporter, announced an additional $100 million contribution. And we are very encouraged that many of our Asian friends who support a Palestinian state will be helping to provide government support and, as the foreign minister said, bringing private sector representatives to make investments.

This is one of the highest priorities of President Obama and myself. So it is something that we are working very hard on and it’s complex. It’s something that we came – we have come close to. When my husband was President, we came close. There was a very generous offer at that time coming from the Israelis that did not result in a negotiation. There were negotiations then between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert before he left office. So we are well aware that this is not only a high priority for the United States, but it’s a high priority for the world. And that’s why we must be united in trying to bring about a peaceful resolution of all of the outstanding issues in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and that results in a state for the Palestinian people. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ANIFAH: Thank you very much.

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