Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Remarks With Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Government Guest House
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 10, 2012


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Minh, for your warm welcome today. It’s wonderful being back in Vietnam, and I appreciate this opportunity to reaffirm the growing and mutually beneficial partnership between our two nations.

I fondly remember my first visit here in the year 2000, and it’s remarkable now on my third visit as Secretary of State to see all the changes and the progress that we’ve made together. We’re working on everything from maritime security and nonproliferation to public health and disaster relief to promoting trade and economic growth. And of course, as the Minister and I discussed, we continued to address legacy issues such as Agent Orange, unexploded ordnance, and accounting for those missing in action as well.

Vietnam has emerged as a leader in the lower Mekong region and in Southeast Asia, and the United States and Vietnam share important strategic interests, with the recent implementation of the Vietnam visa on arrival program, we anticipate much for the future. When the Foreign Minister and I travel to the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh, we will have a chance to engage with our colleagues such as regional integration, the South China Sea, cyber security, North Korea, and the future of Burma.

The United States greatly appreciates Vietnam’s contributions to a collaborative, diplomatic resolution of disputes and a reduction of tensions in the South China Sea. And we look to ASEAN to make rapid progress with China toward an effective code of conduct in order to ensure that as challenges arise, they are managed and resolved peacefully through a consensual process in accordance with established principles of international law.

The Foreign Minister and I discussed these and many other issues, including our interest in deepening cultural, educational, and economic ties. We have a business delegation with us on this trip, and I will be meeting with them later.

I will also help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the return of the Fulbright Program in Vietnam. Nearly 15,000 Vietnamese students study in the United States each year. They come home and contribute to Vietnam’s continued development, and we are very much hoping to deepen our ties even further by sending Peace Corps volunteers to Vietnam in the near future.

When I visit with the American Chamber of Commerce and a number of both Vietnamese and American business leaders, we will look for ways to expand trade and investment. As the Minister and I were discussing, it has increased from practically nothing in 1995 to more than $22 billion today. In fact, in just the two years that – between now and 2010, it’s grown more than 40 percent.

So we’re working on expanding it through a far-reaching, new regional trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would lower trade barriers while raising standards on everything from labor conditions to environmental protection to intellectual property. Both of our countries will benefit. And in fact, economists expect that Vietnam would be among the countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership to benefit the most. And we hope to finalize this agreement by the end of the year.

Higher standards are important, because if Vietnam is going to continue developing and transition to an innovative entrepreneurial economy for the 21st century, there will have to be more space created for the free exchange of ideas, to strengthen the rule of law, and respect the universal rights of all workers, including the right to unionize.

I want to underscore something I said in Mongolia yesterday. I know there are some who argue that developing economies need to put economic growth first and worry about political reform and democracy later, but that is a short-sided bargain. Democracy and prosperity go hand in hand, political reform and economic growth are linked, and the United States wants to support progress in both areas.

So I also raised concerns about human rights, including the continued detention of activists, lawyers, and bloggers, for the peaceful expression of opinions and ideas. In particular, we are concerned about restrictions on free expression online and the upcoming trial of the founders of the so-called Free Journalists Club. The Foreign Minister and I agreed to keep talking candidly and to keep expanding our partnership.

So again, Minister Minh, let me thank you for your hospitality and thank you for coming back from Cambodia to meet with me. I greatly appreciate that effort that you made, and we look forward to continuing both our bilateral and regional cooperation.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)


MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Thanks very much. Madam Secretary, Egypt’s highest court and its top generals rejected President Morsi’s call to reconvene parliament, and that’s setting them on a direct collision course. What do you think this does to the political stability in Egypt? And do you view that as a matter of a power grab or a defense of democracy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I think it is important what is happening into context. There was a largely peaceful revolution, competitive elections, and now there is an elected president, the first ever in Egypt’s very long history, and the United States remains committed to working with Egypt, both the government and civil society to assist it in completing a democratic transition, in particular, dealing with a lot of the difficult economic and security issues that the new government will have to face. But I think it’s important to underscore that democracy is not just about elections. It is about creating a vibrant, inclusive political dialogue, listening to civil societies, having good relations between civilian officials and military officials where each is working to serve the interests of the citizens, and democracy really is about empowering citizens to determine the direction of their own country.

And I’m well aware that change is difficult. It’s not going to happen quickly. We’ve seen over the last few days that there’s a lot of work ahead of Egypt to keep this transition on course, and we urge that there be intensive dialogue among all of the stakeholders in order to ensure that there is a clear path for them to be following and that the Egyptian people get what they protested for and what they voted for, which is a fully elected government making the decisions for the country going forward. And the United States has been a partner with Egypt for a long time. We want to continue to work with them to promote regional stability, to prevent conflict, to try to protect our mutual interests in the region. The relationship is important to us. It’s also important to Egypt’s neighbors.

So I look forward to meeting with and talking to President Morsi and other leading Egyptian officials along with representatives from a broad cross section of Egyptian society when I’m in Egypt this weekend to hear their views. But we strongly urge dialogue and a concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems that are understandable but have to be resolved in order to avoid any kind of difficulties that could derail the transition that is going on.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)

MODERATOR: That’s a question for you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Is it for me? Ah. (Laughter.) I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that. As we discussed, I have worked very hard to make sure that the United States is addressing the Agent Orange issue. It is a legacy issue that we are – we remain concerned about, and we have increased our financial commitment to dealing with it. The Minister and I discussed consulting on having a long-term plan so that we can look not just from year to year, but into the future to try to determine the steps that we can both take. The Minister also mentioned the idea of getting the private sector involved in remediation efforts, and we will certainly explore that as part of this ongoing discussion.

And then with respect to missing in action accounting, the United States greatly appreciates Vietnam’s cooperation over more than two decades in our efforts to account for missing U.S. personnel. In fact, we began that effort even before we established formal diplomatic relations back in 1995. When I visited with my husband when he came as President in 2000, we went out and saw the work of the joint American-Vietnamese teams, and I was deeply moved by that. And we want to continue that work. It’s work that we believe very strongly in. Through these efforts, we’ve repatriated and identified nearly 700 Americans. But nearly 1,300 personnel remain missing, and when Secretary Panetta was here, Vietnam announced that it would open areas that had previously been restricted, and we’re very appreciative of that. And we want to do more to help Vietnam recover their missing as well. So there’s a lot for us to be doing, and we want to be as focused in the follow-up as possible.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Brad Klapper from AP. You’ll be going as well to Israel next week and – in another effort to promote peace efforts. At the same time, the Palestinian Prime Minister has – Palestinian President has approved the exhumation of former leader Yasser Arafat amid claims that he may have been poisoned by Israel. In this kind — is this kind of atmosphere conducive to any progress on peace? And if there were any evidence uncovered to suggest or even create more suspicion regarding Arafat’s death, what would that mean for peace efforts? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bradley, I’m not going to answer a string of hypotheticals. Nobody can predict what may or may not come of such action. I’ll be going to Israel to discuss a broad range of issues that are of deep concern to Israel, to the United States, and to the region and certainly the ongoing efforts to create a conducive environment for the peace processes among them. But it’s not the only important matter on our agenda. But I think that we are not going to be responding to the rumors or the suppositions that others are making. I will await whatever investigation is carried out. But I also look forward to continuing my dialogue with the Palestinians. As you know, I met with President Abbas in Paris a few days ago. I look forward to seeing other Palestinian leaders as well. So I think there is a broad discussion that is important for us to have without in any way prejudging the outcome of any individual issue.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)



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Well finally the State Department has released details about Mme. Secretary’s current travel itinerary.  Here goes – it is extensive – just under two weeks.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt and Israel

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 5, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt and Israel departing Washington, D.C. on July 5.

In Paris on July 6, Secretary Clinton will attend the third meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. At that meeting, the Secretary will consult with her colleagues on steps to increase pressure on the Assad regime and to support UN-Arab League Special Envoy Annan’s efforts to end the violence and facilitate a political transition to a post-Assad Syria. Secretary Clinton will consult with French leaders regarding next steps on Syria as well as on a number of other key areas of global concern. As part of her ongoing consultations with senior Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the Secretary will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss both parties’ efforts to pursue a dialogue and build on President Abbas’ exchange of letters with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Secretary will then travel to Tokyo to attend the July 8 Conference on Afghanistan, where she will reaffirm our enduring commitment to the Afghan people and join the international community in supporting Afghanistan’s development needs for the “transformation decade” to begin in 2015. As part of the mutual commitments made by the international community and Afghanistan at the Bonn conference last December, the Afghan Government in turn will lay out its plan for economic reform and continued steps toward good governance. She will also have discussions with Japanese Government counterparts on bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern.

In Ulaanbaatar on July 9, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Batbold and address the meeting of the Governing Board of the Community of Democracies, as well as an international women’s conference.

In Hanoi on July 10, the Secretary will meet with senior Vietnamese leaders. She will witness the signing of several agreements covering education exchanges and commercial contracts and meet with representatives of U.S. and Vietnamese business communities.

Secretary Clinton will arrive in Vientiane on July 11. This groundbreaking visit to Laos marks the first by a Secretary of State in 57 years. The Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and other senior government officials to discuss a variety of bilateral and regional issues, including the Lower Mekong Initiative and ASEAN integration efforts.

Secretary Clinton will arrive in Phnom Penh on July 11 to participate in regional conferences, to both chair and attend ministerial events and to participate in bilateral meetings with Cambodian officials. Regional conferences include the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting, and the U.S.-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference. Secretary Clinton will co-chair the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial as well as chair the Friends of the Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting. Secretary Clinton will also participate in bilateral meetings with senior Cambodian leadership. After Phnom Penh, Secretary Clinton will travel to Siem Reap to lead the largest delegation of U.S. business representatives to Cambodia for an ASEAN event at the ‘Commitment to Connectivity – U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum.’ While in Siem Reap, Secretary Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the Lower Mekong Initiative Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Dialogue on July 13.

On July 14, Secretary Clinton will travel to Egypt to express the United States’ support for Egypt’s democratic transition and economic development. From July 15-16, she will meet with senior government officials, civil society, and business leaders, and inaugurate the U.S. Consulate General in Alexandria.

This will be followed by a stop in Israel on July 16-17, where she will be meeting with the Israeli leadership to discuss peace efforts and a range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual concern.

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America’s Pacific Century


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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Remarks With Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Remarks following signing ceremonies
Hanoi, Vietnam
October 30, 2010

PARTICIPANT: Ladies and gentlemen, the first signing ceremony with the agreement between the Ministry of (inaudible) and the State Department of the United States of America. (Inaudible.) And may I invite the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Gia Khiem and Secretary of State of America Madam Hillary Clinton to take to the stage and to witness the signing of the agreement.

(The agreement was signed.) (Applause.)

We invite (inaudible) from Vietnam Airlines and Mr. Seborn (ph) from Boeing to take the stage and may I invite (inaudible) from the Ministry of Information and Communication and Mr. Markel (ph) from Microsoft to take to the stage. And now with the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem and Secretary Clinton, we are witnessing the signing of the agreement for the Boeing 787-9 between Vietnam Airlines and Boeing. (Applause.) For the next signing, may I also invite Minister Le Doan Hop, Minister of Information and Communication of Vietnam. With the signing of these agreements, we are looking at an increase of trade between our country and (inaudible). (Applause.) Thank you very much and now the signing ceremony ended. We now invite Madam (inaudible) to begin the press conference. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister. It is a pleasure to be back in Hanoi again and to have the honor of witnessing the completion of the major agreement between our nations. Boeing and Microsoft are two of America’s great companies and the partnerships you have cemented today will provide tangible benefits both to Vietnamese and to Americans.

I’m also very pleased to see the agreement regarding the United Nations Convention Against Torture signed. This convention represents a decades-long commitment by the international community to respect human rights and dignity. The United States is honored to support the people of Vietnam as they reaffirm their commitment to this cause by ratifying this convention.

The agreement is a direct result of the dialogue on human rights between our two countries. Further proof that discussions of even difficult issues can produces real results.

As some of you know, this is my second visit to Hanoi this year and it is a sign of the importance that the United States places on our relationship with Vietnam, with Southeast Asia and with the entire Asia Pacific region. This week marks the first time ever that the United States has participated in an East Asia summit and I would like to thank Prime Minister Dung for inviting me to be a guest of the chair at this gathering. President Obama is looking forward to joining the East Asia Summit next year in Indonesia.

The United States is committed to engaging with the East Asia Summit over the long term, because we believe it can and should become a key forum for political and security issues in the Asia Pacific. The EAS also provides and opportunity to consult directly with leaders from across the region. I had a number of productive meetings last night and today with my counterparts and other leaders from South Korea, Russia, China, India, Vietnam, and others. I’d like to give a brief readout from my discussions both with the prime minister and the foreign minister.

It is clear that our countries have reached a level of cooperation that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. We have moved beyond a painful past and built a relationship that is built on mutual respect, friendship, and a common interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Asia Pacific region. In our discussions, we reaffirmed our shared interest in working toward a strategic partnership and we covered a wide range of other issues. We talked about the importance of our growing cooperation on maritime security, search and rescue operations, and disaster relief.

This year’s typhoons have been particularly devastating for the Vietnamese people, making our joint efforts in this area more urgent than ever. And like all friends of Vietnam, we were saddened by the tragic loss of life in the recent floods here and I want to extend my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses. As we cooperate more closely on disaster relief, we are broadening our security exchanges to include three annual dialogues that will strengthen our military to military ties and result in concrete benefits for the Vietnamese people.

We also had an excellent meeting this morning on the Lower Mekong Initiative and Vietnam is a real leader in looking for ways we can cooperate to mitigate against the environmental damage that is occurring in the Lower Mekong Basin.

On trade, our two countries have already made great progress. Fifteen years ago, our bilateral trade was about $450 million. Last year it was more than $15 billion. And the foreign minister and the prime minister and I talked about how to expand this trade relationship, including through the Transpacific Partnership. The United States, Vietnam, and seven other countries finished a third round of negotiations on the TPP this month and we hope that Vietnam can conclude it in internal process and announce its status as a full member of the partnership soon.

In health, the United States has provided substantial funding for Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen its health system, and combat HIV/AIDS, Avian Flu, and emerging pandemic threats. Next year, we will start work on a $34 million project to remove the dioxin from the soil at Da Nang Airport, a legacy of the painful past we share, and a sign of the more hopeful future we are building together.

Climate change, as we head into negotiations in Cancun this November, we hope to work with Vietnam and other countries to build on the progress that we made in Copenhagen. In addition, at the meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative, we discussed how to work together to adapt to the effects of a changing climate. And we had a very constructive discussion about the potential impact of building dams on the Lower Mekong. The United States has recommended a pause before major construction continues, and we will sponsor a study of this issue.

Now, although the partnership between our two countries is strong and getting stronger, as with all friends we have areas of disagreement. One of those areas concerns human rights. While the agreement we witnessed being signed today is certainly a step in the right direction, the United States remains concerned about the arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, the tax on religious groups, the curbs on Internet freedom, including of bloggers. Vietnam has so much potential, and we believe that political reform and respect for human rights are an essential part of realizing that potential.

The last time I was here, in July, we celebrated 15 years of relations between Vietnam and the United States. This time we celebrate 1,000 years for Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam. And I want to extend my congratulations to the citizens of this beautiful city, and my best wishes to all of the people of Vietnam. I look forward to working with you, and with the people of Vietnam, to expand our work, our partnership, and our friendship in the years to come. Thank you so much.


MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, because we too believe that education is one of the most important parts of our relationship. And it is one where we have seen positive growth.

For the past three years, we have brought together Vietnamese and American academics, government leaders, private sector entrepreneurs to discuss how we can better collaborate in promoting education. During that time, the number of Vietnamese students studying in the United States has nearly tripled, rising to more than 13,000. And we are strongly supporting educational exchanges and academic collaboration, including through the Fulbright program and our English language program.

We also are committed to working with Vietnam as Vietnam reforms its education system, and fostering private U.S.-Vietnam education programs, including an American style university.

So, we think there is unlimited potential here. And in my two trips over the last four months I have had a number of young people tell me that they would love to study in the United States, they would love to learn English, and we want to help those young people achieve their goals.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Hi, good afternoon. I am with NPR. China’s government has expressed some displeasure about the U.S. role in the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands dispute, including your remarks with Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara. I am wondering. Given the situation, what can the U.S. do, if anything, to act as a mediator or a broker in this situation?

I am also wondering if Foreign Minister Yang had any reassurances or clarifications to offer, as its been reported, on China’s rare-earth exports policy? And also, does he have any suggestions of what China can do to break the impasse of North Korean nuclearization? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to the Senkaku Islands, the United States has never taken a position on sovereignty, but we have made it very clear that the islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan. We have certainly encouraged both Japan and China to seek peaceful resolution of any disagreements that they have in this area or others. It is in all of our interest for China and Japan to have stable, peaceful relations. And we have recommended to both that the United States is more than willing to host a trilateral, where we would bring Japan and China and their foreign ministers together to discuss a range of issues.

On the rare-earth minerals matter, the foreign minister, Minister Yang, clarified that China has no intention of withholding these minerals from the market. He said that he wanted to make that very clear. Now, the fact is that they’re called rare-earth for a reason; they are rare. And the United States, along with other allies — Japan and Europe and elsewhere — are going to be looking for more resources and looking for more sources of these rare-earth minerals. So, while we’re pleased by the clarification we received from the Chinese Government, we still think that the world, as a whole, needs to find alternatives and to find new sources, which we will be pursuing.

And, finally, I spoke at length with both President Lee of South Korea, with my Japanese counterpart when I met with him in Honolulu, and with Minister Yang on North Korea. This is a matter of great concern to all of us, and we continue to urge the North Koreans to return to the negotiating table, to pursue what they began in 2005, which were a series of commitments to take irreversible steps for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So we stay in very close touch with our Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Russian counterparts to do what we can to try to move North Korea on to a more productive path.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when President Obama came into office and I became Secretary of State, one of our highest priorities was to reaffirm our commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. The United States is uniquely situated in the world as both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. And we not only wanted to deepen our bilateral relations, as we are with Vietnam, and as we have with other countries in the region, but we wanted to participate more actively in the regional institutions like ASEAN.

So, one of the very first trips that I made — actually, the first trip I made as Secretary of State — was to East Asia, including going to the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, and committing that the United States would accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, so that we could be a participant in the activities of the ASEAN regional forum, and make a real commitment to the ASEAN nations organization.

We also believe that the East Asia Summit, where you bring other countries in addition to the core ASEAN countries together to discuss political and security matters, is a very important forum for the United States to be part of. I said earlier today at the East Asia Summit meeting with the leaders that where issues of a political, economic, and security consequence are being discussed in the region, the United States wants to be there.

We were very pleased that Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN in 2010, has facilitated our participation, and invited us as a guest of the Chair. And we were delighted when we were offered the chance, along with Russia, to join. The United States has deep, lasting relationships in the Asia-Pacific, and we want to be a good partner, a good friend, a good neighbor. And I think one of the ways we can demonstrate that is by being an active participant in organizations like the East Asia Summit.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Khiem.

You mentioned you raised human rights issues and these recent arrests with the foreign minister. I am just interested in what he told you, and how you accepted the response. And maybe the foreign minister can talk about that.

And also, an interesting part of the evolving U.S.-Vietnamese relationship is the civil nuclear cooperation agreement. I was interested in what the status is of those negotiations, and if the U.S. will allow Vietnam to produce its own nuclear fuel enriched uranium, an element of that agreement. And I was interested in where that stands. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are (inaudible).

PHAM GIA KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Human rights is an issue of great importance to the United States, and we regularly raise our concerns, as I did last evening with the Prime Minister, and again today with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. We not only raise this in general, but specifically with concerns regarding severe sentences for political activists, attacks on bloggers, restrictions on Internet freedom, and religious freedom, tightening control over research organizations and the media. We raise these at all levels, both here in Hanoi, and in Washington, including through our dialogue on human rights.

And as I said in my opening remarks, the signing of the Convention against Torture arose directly out of our dialogue on human rights. And I have been very reassured by the comment that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have made, that they want to engage with the United States on these issues, that they want to hear from us and our views on these matters. And we will continue doing so consistently and over time, as we make the case that Vietnam’s rise, which was so impressive in the economic arena, will become even more dramatic and sustainable as those economic gains are matched by improvements in political freedom and in human rights.

With respect to the status of the 123 negotiations, we concluded a memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation in March. And we are continuing our efforts to expand civil nuclear cooperation. We have not yet opened formal negotiations on the 123 agreement, but we look forward to doing so. In fact, President Obama’s invitation to the Prime Minister to attend the nuclear security summit in Washington last April was one indication of the importance we attach to our cooperation with Vietnam in this area, and we look forward to making progress on it.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. (In Vietnamese.)

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The busy day previewed in yesterday’s press briefing (see prior post) has yielded a plethora of images. There are too many to tag for specifics, and until now there are not statements or remarks released to accompany any of them. Nevertheless, these images say a great deal. First of all there are new foreign ministers and prime ministers from some countries (like Japan’s Maehara whom she met in Hawaii, and Australia’s Julia Gillard). She is no longer the “new kid in school.” For perhaps the first time in my memory of her SOS tenure and in my photo archives of summits, conferences, conventions, and the like, she is NOT front and center and NOT dressed in a bright color in the class picture. She is near the end at the left, in black and looking tiny – but she usually does look tiny. I especially love the pictures of her waving. Those big blue eyes, that bright smile, and her always positive attitude look so reassuring to me. I hope our friends and allies find them so as well.

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Thanks to P.J. Crowley in today’s Daily Press Briefing, we get to see a little preview of Mme. Secretary’s schedule for tomorrow!  Here is what he outlined.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
October 29, 2010

Tomorrow, she will have a breakfast meeting with counterparts from the Lower Mekong Initiative Countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia; discuss regional challenges in health, education, and the environment. She’ll have a couple of bilaterals as well, I believe, including the president of Korea, as well as her counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov. I’m going to have full clarity on her schedule tomorrow.And then she will, having attended the dinner of the East Asia Summit this evening, she’ll also represent President Obama tomorrow as a guest of the chair and the first-ever participation in the East Asia Summit. And comprehensive discussions will also follow with her Vietnamese counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Khiem. And there, we expect to get into expanded discussion and that will include the human rights situation in Vietnam.

Busy, busy, busy as a pretty little bee!

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Secretary Clinton’s October 29-30, 2010 Visit to Vietnam

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 29, 2010

Secretary Clinton returns to Hanoi on October 29 for her second visit to Vietnam in just over three months. In Vietnam, she will attend the East Asia Summit and host a meeting with her counterparts in the Lower Mekong Initiative, reflecting the Obama administration’s commitment to deepening multilateral engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Secretary Clinton will continue discussions with her Vietnamese hosts on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. Her return visit underscores the U.S. commitment to sustained engagement in the region and reaffirms our interest in broadening and deepening our relationship with Vietnam, an increasingly close partner and emerging regional leader. 

Enhancing Partnership with Vietnam. The Secretary will highlight expanded cooperation in security, nonproliferation, environment, health, education, and trade during her bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders, complementing her discussions with senior Vietnamese officials in Hanoi in July and in the United States over the past year. This progress underscores how far the U.S.-Vietnam relations have come since we normalized diplomatic relations in 1995.

  • Annual two-way trade has gone from just $450 million to nearly $16 billion during the past 15 years. In 2009 – an otherwise difficult year for trade – U.S. exports to Vietnam rose 11 percent, reaching $3.1 billion. Vietnam’s participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and its status as a “next tier” market in the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) further demonstrate our improving economic ties.
  • Significant advances in our security ties include three annual security dialogues; cooperation on maritime security, search, and rescue; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and peacekeeping training. This year alone we have signed an MOU on civil nuclear cooperation and Vietnam joined both the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Megaports Initiative, designed to prevent the spread of nuclear materials. Ship visits are another continuing success story. In just the past three months, Vietnamese officials made an off-shore visit to the USS George Washington; the USS John S. McCain made a port call to Danang; and the hospital ship USNS Mercy made a second visit to Vietnam under the Pacific Partnership program.
  • The number of Vietnamese students studying in the United States has more than doubled in the last three years, making Vietnam the ninth-largest source of foreign students.

Speaking out for Human Rights and Religious Freedom: Advancing our relations with Vietnam allows the United States to promote its core values and discuss our differences on human rights and religious freedom more candidly and openly. The United States acknowledges progress when warranted, but continues to urge the national government and local officials to bring an end to continued abuses. As she did in July, the Secretary again will raise the arrests and convictions of peaceful dissenters; restrictions on the internet, including blocks on Facebook; and attacks on religious groups. She will continue to encourage political reform in Vietnam.

Building Multilateral Cooperation with Southeast Asia. This has been an important year for U.S. multilateral engagement in the region, starting with the Secretary’s participation in the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July, followed by President Obama’s hosting of the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting in New York in September, and Secretary Gates’ attendance at the inaugural ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus in Hanoi earlier this month. Building on those successes, the Secretary will meet for the first time on October 30 with the leaders participating in the East Asia Summit (EAS), which is an increasingly important forum on regional political and security issues. President Obama plans to attend the EAS in Jakarta next year, and the United States will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2011. Growing U.S. engagement with and contributions to the work of these emerging institutions is a priority of the Obama Administration and reaffirms our leadership role in the region as an Asia-Pacific nation.

Strengthening Engagement with the Lower Mekong Countries: On October 30, the Secretary will meet with her counterparts from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia for the third time since July 2009 to discuss regional cooperation on capacity-building in health, environment, education, and infrastructure. At the meeting the ministers will discuss plans to explore permanent and sustainable operating structures for the Lower Mekong Initiative, an important vehicle for bolstering regional capacity to address some of the most pressing challenges confronting the region.

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