Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Secretary Clinton's October 30-November 1 Visit to CambodiaOffice of the SpokesmanWashington, DCOctober 30, 2010
Secretary Clinton’s two-day trip to Cambodia October 30-November 1 highlights the United States commitment to enhanced, sustained, and comprehensive engagement in Southeast Asia, as well as our desire to assist the Cambodian people in their efforts to recover fully from decades of conflict, to achieve political and legal reforms, and to strengthen economic development. This trip is the first Secretary of State visit to Cambodia since then-Secretary Powell visited in 2003.
The United States has a strong interest in a Cambodia that contributes to regional stability, upholds democratic values, and integrates fully into the international economy. Our wide-ranging assistance programs touch on all aspects of Cambodian life and affirm these strategic interests. Secretary Clinton will encourage Cambodia to continue its recovery from conflict and its progress on democratic development. She will stress the importance of a credible opposition and respect for human rights in a stable, well-functioning democracy and highlight our interest in seeing Cambodia continue to play a constructive role in regional stability. She will also express appreciation for the country’s rich cultural heritage and underscore the critical role Cambodia’s young citizens play in the country’s future prosperity and development.
Sustained and Deep Engagement with Cambodia: Our engagement with Cambodia achieves a variety of political, security and humanitarian objectives. The United States provided Cambodia more than U.S. $70 million in foreign assistance this year, which goes to addressing issues such as human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, corruption, maternal and child health, and humanitarian mine action. Our maturing security cooperation with Cambodia represents a joint commitment to ensuring international peace and security, and continuing the transformation of the Cambodian Armed Forces into a transparent, accountable, and professional military. The U.S. partnership with the Lower Mekong Initiative is another example of how we are engaging with Cambodia to promote a multilateral response to the transnational challenges we all share, such as climate change and infectious disease.
A Democratic, Secure, and Prosperous Future for Cambodia: Our commitment to a democratic, secure, and prosperous Cambodia is reflected in the nearly $7 million we have contributed to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Khmer Rouge Tribunal), which seeks to bring to justice the Khmer Rouge senior leaders and those most responsible for the atrocities of the late 1970s, while also serving as a model for Cambodian rule of law, judicial independence, and national reconciliation. While in Cambodia, Secretary Clinton will visit Tuol Sleng, the former Khmer Rouge torture and interrogation center, will emphasize the need to fight corruption and improve transparency in all parts of the government, and will meet with opposition leaders to highlight the importance of a vibrant political arena where all voices are heard.
The Role of Cambodia’s Youth: The Secretary’s participation in a town hall event will provide an important opportunity to have a free-flowing discussion with Cambodia youth about challenges and opportunities facing the country, and how the United States can help. In turn, her outreach to Cambodia’s youth will promote an even better understanding of the United States and our shared values.
Clinton arrives in CambodiaOctober 31, 2010 - 5:29AM
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Cambodia, where she will visit the famed Angkor Wat temples and meet Cambodian leaders.
The chief US diplomat arrived in Siem Reap early Sunday on a flight from China's Hainan island, where she briefly met Chinese officials following her attendance at a regional summit in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
This is my favorite picture of the day! I defy anybody to resist that smile!
Interview With With Tran Thi Huong Thuy of VTVHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateHanoi, Vietnam
October 30, 2010
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thanks for fitting the interview into your busy schedule, and welcome back to Vietnam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: This is the third time you visit our country.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: What is your overall impression?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so impressed. I loved coming here with my husband back in 2000, when we were able to go both to Hanoi and to Ho Chi Minh City and go shopping and go out and visit people and go out to eat. And we came away with such warm memories. We bought some art, which hangs in our house today. We bought some plates which we use all the time. We just have a wonderful reservoir of good feelings about Vietnam.
And then, when I came back in July, and now again for this trip, I am very impressed by all of the positive changes that I see.
QUESTION: You have participated in many major ASEAN events this year. So, in your opinion, how has Vietnam played its role as the chairman of ASEAN in the year 2010?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think Vietnam has done an excellent job as chairman. The leadership that Vietnam has provided to focus on some challenging issues, their invitation to us and to Russia to come as guests of the Chair, and to enable us to become members of the East Asia Summit, the work that we are doing with Vietnam in the Lower Mekong Initiative to try to prevent the climate change effects that are going to hurt people in Vietnam and Cambodia and Thailand and Laos, I have been very impressed with the leadership role that Vietnam has played.
QUESTION: And how would you comment on the relationship between our two countries?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the relationship is getting stronger and stronger. Our commercial relationship is growing, our people-to-people relationship -- I am personally committed to assisting more students from Vietnam to go and study in the United States and more students to come from the United States to Vietnam. We are working on all kinds of security issues, disaster preparedness issues, health issues. We are working to try to remediate the effects of dioxin left over from our painful past.
So, I think in so many areas our relationship is getting deeper and broader and I want to keep building it even better.
QUESTION: What is the significance of U.S. participation in the 2010 East Asia Summit, and the welcomed U.S. membership into this regional forum in the future?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the United States, under President Obama and myself, has made it clear we are committed to East Asia, we are committed to the Asia-Pacific region, and we want to be involved. We want a seat at the table, because we can bring a lot of resources and a lot of experience and support.
So, when I became Secretary of State, my first trip was to Asia. I went to Jakarta, visited the ASEAN headquarters, said that we wanted to be more active in ASEAN. We have become more active. And then we wanted to join the East Asia Summit. Thanks to Vietnam's leadership we are now a member of the East Asia Summit.
So, there are many reasons why joining the East Asia Summit to discuss political and security matters is important for the United States. And we look forward to being a very active member.
QUESTION: Yes. And one last question. What is your opinion about the prospect of economic cooperation between the United States and Vietnam?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the opportunities for economic cooperation are unlimited. I just witnessed the signing of two commercial agreements between Vietnam and Boeing Corporation to buy new jet liners for the Vietnamese airlines, and between Vietnam and Microsoft to obtain up to date computer systems. And I think there are so many businesses from the United States investing in Vietnam.
We see Vietnam as a real growth opportunity. So I will do everything I can to promote trade and commerce and foreign direct investment that is mutually beneficial to the people of Vietnam and the people of the United States.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. And this might be late, but congratulations on your daughter's wedding, and all the best.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. We had such a wonderful time. I was just so happy for her.
# # #
Remarks With Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem
Secretary of State
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.)
FOREIGN MINISTER KHIEM: (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.)
FOREIGN MINISTER KHIEM: (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.)
# # #
Friday, October 29, 2010
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. CrowleyAssistant Secretary
Daily Press BriefingWashington, DCOctober 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!
Accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak, she walked past an honor guard at the airport and was transported to an ASEAN Summit dinner party.
There, as expected, she encountered Indian PM Singh.
She posed with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his wife Tran Thanh Kiem.
And greeted Australian PM Julia Gillard.
She always seems to have some little secret to whisper to South Korea's President Lee.
I know I am biased, but it looks to me like she was the Belle of the Ball!
She also participated in a conference with PM Nguyen.
Check back later for an update if you, like me, would love to see a video of this. Hillary is always so natural and adorable with the troops ... something so ... um ... Commander-in-Chiefish about her.
Meeting with U.S. Armed ForcesHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateAndersen Air Force Base, GuamOctober 29, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Please sit down, those of you who have a place to sit. It is wonderful to be here and to be back in Guam and to thank you in person for what you’re doing every single day for our country. I just flew in from Honolulu and I could see out the window of the plane the vastness of the Pacific and I felt all the better that you were here in Guam standing watch and providing defense, not only for Guam and the United States, but for so many of our friends and allies in this region.
I want to thank Governor Felix Camacho for being here today and thank him for his service to the people of Guam. And I’m grateful for the leadership of Rear Admiral Paul Bushong, Commander of Naval Forces Marianas and Brigade General John Doucette, Commander of the 36th Wing, and I think that’s a Global Hawk sitting there. So I see the signs, welcome to Global Hawk country. And I just saw some of the imagery and I think I recognized my cousin on the street.
We have men and women here from the Army, the Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard. So let me ask you: Who’s here from the Army? Whoa, lonely group. (Laughter.) A hardy, brave group in this outpost of everyone else. What about here from the Navy? (Applause.) (Laughter.) Oh, I could barely hear you all. Who’s here from the Navy? (Applause.) All right. What about the Marines? (Laughter.) (Applause.) Well, I don’t think you’ll be lonely for too long. What about the Air Force? (Applause.) Now, I don’t have a noise meter up here, but I think it’s pretty close between the Air Force and the Navy. And how about the Coast Guard? (Applause.) (Laughter.) And I met a National Guardsman, too. How about the National Guard? (Laughter.) Oh, yeah.
Well, I am delighted to see and to hear every single one of you and I know that some of your units have just come back from deployments all over the Pacific from our Medevac detachment unit in Basra, Iraq. Thank you for your service. From Afghanistan, thank you for your service. (Applause.) We are grateful to each and every one of you and we’re also grateful to your families. Because I know that maybe one of you is actually in uniform, but the entire family serves. And so please express my appreciation to them as well.
I’m here on my sixth trip as Secretary of State to the Asia Pacific region, because this is the center of much of the change and many of the challenges of the 21st century. I gave a speech, I guess it was yesterday now in Hawaii, outlining some of those changes and challenges and explaining what we are doing to meet them. We are engaging evermore actively in this region with our allies, our partners, with emerging powers, with institutions that are being built in order to keep the peace, advance prosperity and stability. This is an opportunity for me to come to Guam, the home of 170,000 very loyal American citizens who care deeply about our country and who are part of our extended defense.
I will go from here to Vietnam, a country that we are developing stronger relationships with that were unimaginable even 10 years ago, let alone 40 years ago. And then for me it is on to China for a brief stop to discuss the upcoming trip to the United States of President Hu Jintao, then to Cambodia and Malaysia and then on to Papua New Guinea and then to New Zealand, Australia and my last stop will be American Samoa. In just a few weeks, President Obama will be visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea as well. So you can see we’re paying a lot of attention to what’s going on in the Asia Pacific region, because the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. And one of our goals coming into office 20 months ago was to reassert the American presence in Asia. And everywhere I travel on your behalf, I hear from leaders and citizens alike that they are glad America is back.
As we step up our engagement, we will depend more than ever on each of you. The men and women of our armed forces are one of the most important assets we have for engaging in the world. And your mission is evolving for the 21st century and no one understands that better than you do. You’re called to provide a wide range of services and activities in a variety of places. For instance, earlier this year, sailors from Guam were part of a five-month humanitarian deployment of the USNS Mercy delivering medical and dental care to the people of Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Palau. America’s military might married to our values, our humanitarian compassion is what sets us apart. No one doubts the ferocity of our defensive and offensive ability. But everyone counts on who we are as Americans and how we convey those fundamental connections human being to human being.
And after the devastating earthquake in Haiti last January, the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle that’s based here was used to survey the damage and identify safe landing places for aircraft carrying relief supplies. I know that firsthand, because every day I saw the images and, with a group of us from across the government, tried to plot out how we could most quickly deliver services and figure out how to move people to safety. These humanitarian missions are some of the purest expressions of American generosity and I thank you for showing what is the best about all of us.
More and more you are also called on to cooperate with forces from other countries. And these efforts strengthen our joint security and they show our allies that we remain deeply committed to them. I had a two-hour meeting yesterday in Honolulu with the Japanese foreign minister and we discussed a broad range of matters. But it’s important to Japan, to South Korea, to the Philippines, to Australia, to Thailand, who are our allies with whom we have security agreements that the United States is there. And increasingly, it is important to other nations that we are as well.
I know that today the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 is hosting members of the South Korean military for joint training and identifying and implementing a plan to eliminate improvised explosive devices. Those of you who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan know what a scourge those IEDs are and how important it is we do even more to prevent them and to find them and to destroy them before they harm any of our people or innocent civilians. This is the kind of collaboration that saves lives and improves the relationship between us and other countries.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that while there’s an obvious upside to serving in Guam – I was looking out the window of the plane. The last time I was here, it was dark. So I didn’t see those beaches as clearly as I did this time. I know it comes with a downside as well. Many of you miss your families. Although, in today’s world you can communicate instantaneously and virtually with them, it’s not the same. So I’m sure there are times when you feel very, very far away. And I can’t resist saying as a mom, I hope you’re calling and emailing often so that people know that you’re okay out here in the Pacific.
With Veteran’s Day approaching, I want you and your families to know that the American people remain grateful and proud for your service. The dedication and sacrifices of the American military are very obvious in this region. We’ve been there standing sentinel. We’ve been there defending and taking the fight to those who would undermine freedom, our way of life, and the opportunity for millions and millions of others to have a chance to live up to their own God-given potential. It’s a great honor for me to have a chance to come here and personally express the appreciation and gratitude of all of those who may not know your names and may never come to Guam, but because you’re here, they sleep more soundly at night.
I look out at all of you and it makes me very proud to be the Secretary of State of our great country. In fact, everywhere I go and every place I visit being able to say I represent the United States of America never ever ceases to send a chill down my spine. My dad was a World War II Navy vet. And I know from my own growing up how important it is that you’re on duty for me, for my family, for your families, and for all of us and for future generations. Thank you and God bless you.
Public Schedule for October 29, 2010Washington, DCOctober 29, 2010
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to the Asia Pacific region, accompanied by Assistant Secretary Campbell. For more information, clickhere.
8:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Dung, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)
8:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a dinner for the East Asia Summit, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)
Secretary Clinton's October 29-30, 2010 Visit to VietnamOffice of the SpokesmanWashington, DCOctober 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.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Another home run out of the park! So well delivered! Superb! The first line is a riot. Very cute, Mme. Secretary! Your hair looks beautiful.
America's Engagement in the Asia-PacificHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateKahala HotelHonolulu, HIOctober 28, 2010
Aloha. The original idea for this speech is that we were going to do it outside. And if you saw the front page of the newspaper this morning where I was being greeted by Admiral Willard with my hair straight up in the wind – (laughter) – we decided we didn’t want another story about my hair. (Laughter.) So we appreciate the hotel accommodating us and allowing us to meet inside, although granted the lure of the beauty of Hawaii is right out those doors.
I want to thank the senator for his introduction, but much more than that, for his friendship, his leadership, and his service to our country. There isn’t anyone active in public service today who has done more in more capacities to really represent the American dream and to firmly root it in the soil of his native Hawaii and to represent, in the very best American tradition, the soldier, the Medal of Honor winner, the senator, and just an all-around wonderful man. (Applause.) And of course, it’s absolutely a treat to see him here with Irene and to have a chance to see both of them is a special pleasure for me.
I also want to recognize Congresswoman Mazie Hirono who is here. Thank you so much Mazie. (Applause.) And Mayor Peter Carlisle – Mayor, thank you for being here. (Applause.) I think both Senator Akaka and Congressman Djou were unable to come, but I want to recognize Senator Colleen Hanabusa who is here. Thank you so much Colleen for coming. (Applause.) And when you’ve been in and around American politics as long as my husband and I have been, you make a lot of friends over the years. And I’m so pleased that George Ariyoshi and John and Lynne Waihee and Ben Cayetano are here as well. Those are wonderful friends who we served with and got to know over the years. (Applause.) And I want to recognize Admiral Willard, our PACOM commander; Australian ambassador to the U.S., Kim Beazley. I know there are also students from the East-West Center, and there are some high school students. And I thank the students particularly for being here and all of the sponsors of this occasion.
I’m delighted to return to Hawaii. As Charles Morrison said, my trip last time was cut short by the terrible earthquake in Haiti. But this is the birthplace of our President and America’s bridge to the East, and it is where I am kicking off a seven–country tour of the Asia-Pacific region.
I’ve been looking forward to this trip for some time. From Hawaii it will be onto Guam and then Vietnam and Cambodia, then Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia, and American Samoa. It is an itinerary that reflects Asia’s diversity and dynamism. And it complements the route that President Obama will take in just a few weeks when he visits India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. Together, the President and I will cover a significant portion of this vital region at a pivotal moment, after nearly two years of intensive engagement. And everywhere we go, we will advance one overarching set of goals: to sustain and strengthen America’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific region and to improve security, heighten prosperity, and promote our values.
Through these trips, and in many other ways, we are practicing what you might call “forward-deployed” diplomacy. And by that we mean we've adopted a very proactive footing; we've sent the full range of our diplomatic assets – including our highest-ranking officials, our development experts, our teams on a wide range of pressing issues – into every corner and every capital of the Asia-Pacific region. We have quickened the pace and widened the scope of our engagement with regional institutions, with our partners and allies, and with people themselves in an active effort to advance shared objectives.
This has been our priority since Day One of the Obama Administration, because we know that much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia. This region will see the most transformative economic growth on the planet. Most of its cities will become global centers of commerce and culture. And as more people across the region gain access to education and opportunity, we will see the rise of the next generation of regional and global leaders in business and science, technology, politics, and the arts.
And yet, deep-seated challenges lurk in Asia. The ongoing human rights abuses inflicted by the military junta in Burma remind us there are places where progress is absent. North Korea’s provocative acts and history of proliferation activities requires a watchful vigilance. And military buildups matched with ongoing territorial disputes create anxieties that reverberate. Solutions to urgent global problems, like climate change, will succeed or fail based on what happens in Asia. This is the future taking shape today – full of fast-paced change, and marked by challenges. And it is a future in which the United States must lead.
Because the progress we see today is the result not only of the hard work of leaders and citizens across the region, but the American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who protect borders and patrol the region’s waters; the American diplomats who have settled conflicts and brought nations together in common cause; the American business leaders and entrepreneurs who invested in new markets and formed trans-Pacific partnerships; the American aid workers who helped countries rebuild in the wake of disasters; and the American educators and students who have shared ideas and experiences with their counterparts across the ocean.
Now, there are some who say that this long legacy of American leadership in the Asia-Pacific is coming to a close. That we are not here to stay. And I say, look at our record. It tells a very different story.
For the past 21 months, the Obama Administration has been intent on strengthening our leadership, increasing our engagement, and putting into practice new ways of projecting our ideas and influence throughout this changing region. We’ve done all this with a great deal of support from leaders on both sides of the political aisle who share our vision for America’s role in Asia. Together, we are focused on a distant time horizon, one that stretches out for decades to come. And I know how hard it is in today’s political climate to think beyond tomorrow. But one of my hopes is that in Asia and elsewhere we can begin doing that again. Because it took decades for us to build our infrastructure of leadership in the world, and it will take decades for us to continue and implement the policies going forward.
So now, at the start of my sixth trip to Asia as Secretary of State, I am optimistic and confident about Asia’s future. And I am optimistic and confident about America’s future. And I am optimistic and confident about what all of these countries can do together with American leadership in the years ahead.
So today, I’d like briefly to discuss the steps that the Obama Administration has taken to strengthen the main tools of American engagement in Asia: our alliances, our emerging partnerships, and our work with regional institutions. And I will describe how we are using these tools to pursue this forward-deployed diplomacy along three key tracks: first, shaping the future Asia-Pacific economy; second, underwriting regional security; and third, supporting stronger democratic institutions and the spread of universal human values.
Let me begin where our approach to Asia begins – with our allies. In a vast and diverse region, our bonds with our allies – Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines – remain the foundation for our strategic engagement. These alliances have safeguarded regional peace and security for the past half century and supported the region’s remarkable economic growth. Today we are working not just to sustain them but to update them, so they remain effective in a changing world.
That starts with our alliance with Japan, the cornerstone of our engagement in the Asia-Pacific. This year, our countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of our Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. But our partnership extends far beyond security. We are two of the world’s three biggest economies, the top two contributors to reconstruction in Afghanistan, and we share a commitment to leading on major global issues from nonproliferation to climate change. To ensure that the next fifty years of our alliance are as effective as the last, we are broadening our cooperation to reflect the changing strategic environment. I covered the full range of issues that we face together in my two-hour discussion and then my remarks with the foreign minister from Japan yesterday.
This year also marked a milestone with another ally: the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, which Secretary Gates and I commemorated in Seoul this past summer. And in two weeks, our presidents will meet in Seoul when President Obama travels there for the G-20 summit.
Our two countries have stood together in the face of threats and provocative acts from North Korea, including the tragic sinking of the Cheonan by a North Korean torpedo. We will continue to coordinate closely with both Seoul and Tokyo in our efforts to make clear to North Korea there is only one path that promises the full benefits of engagement with the outside world – a full, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.
The alliance between South Korea and the United States is a lynchpin of stability and security in the region and now even far beyond. We are working together in Afghanistan, where a South Korean reconstruction team is at work in Parwan Province; in the Gulf of Aden, where Korean and U.S. forces are coordinating anti-piracy missions. And of course, beyond our military cooperation, our countries enjoy a vibrant economic relationship, which is why our two Presidents have called for resolving the outstanding issues related to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement by the time of the G-20 meeting in Seoul.
Next year marks another celebration – the 60th anniversary of the alliance between Australia and the United States. In two weeks, I will finish my tour of this region with a visit to Australia for the 25th anniversary of the Australia-U.S. ministerial; it’s called AUSMIN. And Secretary Gates and I will meet with our counterparts, Foreign Minister Rudd and Defense Minister Smith. And I – we’ll also meet with Julia Gillard, Australia’s first woman prime minister, and have a chance not only to consult with the leaders, but also to give a policy address about the future of the alliance between Australia and the U.S.
With our Southeast Asian allies, Thailand and the Philippines, the United States is working closely on an expanding range of political, economic, environmental, and security-related issues. This summer, we launched our Creative Partnership Agreement with Thailand, which brings together Thai and American universities and businesses to help develop the innovative sectors of the Thai economy. With the Philippines, we will hold our first ever 2+2 Strategic Dialogue this coming January. And last month, I had the pleasure of joining President Aquino in signing a Millennium Challenge Compact to accelerate economic development and decrease poverty in the Philippines.
With each of our five allies in the region, what began as security alliances have broadened over time and now encompass shared actions on many fronts. And we will continue to ask ourselves the hard questions about how to strengthen the alliances further, tailoring them for each relationship to deliver more benefits to more of our people.
Beyond our alliances, the United States is strengthening relationships with new partners. Indonesia is playing a leading role in the region and especially in regional institutions. As chair of ASEAN next year, Indonesia will host the 2011 East Asia Summit. And as the creator of the Bali Democracy Forum, it is a leading advocate for democratic reforms throughout Asia. Our two presidents will formally launch our new Comprehensive Partnership Agreement during President Obama’s visit to Indonesia next month.
In Vietnam, we are cultivating a level of cooperation that would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago. Our diplomatic and economic ties are more productive than ever, and we’ve recently expanded our discussion on maritime security and other defense-related issues. Vietnam also invited us to participate as a guest at the East Asia Summit for the first time this year. That opens up a critical new avenue for cooperation. And though we still have our differences, we are committed to moving beyond our painful past toward a more prosperous and successful relationship.
Few countries punch as far above their weight as Singapore, and we’re working together to promote economic growth and integration, leveraging Singapore’s leadership in ASEAN and the role it has played in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And in Malaysia and New Zealand, our diplomats and development experts are bringing their talents to bear and building stronger ties on every level, including increased trade, people-to-people exchanges, and efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
In a crowded field of highly dynamic, increasingly influential emerging nations, two, of course, stand out – India and China. Their simultaneous rise is reshaping the world and our ability to cooperate effectively with these two countries will be a critical test of our leadership. With growing ties between our governments, our economies, and our peoples, India and the United States have never mattered more to each other. As the world’s two largest democracies, we are united by common interests and common values.
Earlier this year, we launched the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. And one of the core issues we addressed is India’s growing engagement and integration into East Asia, because we believe that India is a key player in this region and on the global stage. That’s why President Obama is also beginning his own major trip to Asia next week with a stop in India. His trip will bring together two of our top priorities – renewed American leadership in Asia and a U.S.-India partnership that is elevated to an entirely new level.
Now, the relationship between China and the United States is complex and of enormous consequence, and we are committed to getting it right. Now, there are some in both countries who believe that China’s interests and ours are fundamentally at odds. They apply a zero-sum calculation to our relationship. So whenever one of us succeeds, the other must fail. But that is not our view. In the 21st century, it is not in anyone’s interest for the United States and China to see each other as adversaries. So we are working together to chart a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship for this new century.
There are also many in China who believe that the United States is bent on containing China, and I would simply point out that since the beginning of our diplomatic relations, China has experienced breathtaking growth and development. And this is primarily due, of course, to the hard work of the Chinese people. But U.S. policy has consistently, through Republican and Democratic administrations and congresses supported this goal since the 1970s. And we do look forward to working closely with China, both bilaterally and through key institutions as it takes on a greater role, and at the same time, takes on more responsibility in regional and global affairs. In the immediate future, we need to work together on a more effective approach to deal with North Korea’s provocations to press them to rebuild ties with the South and to return to the Six-Party Talks.
On Iran, we look to China to help ensure the effective implementation of global sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. On military matters, we seek a deeper dialogue in an effort to build trust and establish rules of the road as our militaries operate in greater proximity. On climate change, as the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, w have a shared responsibility to produce tangible strategies that improve energy efficiency and advance global climate diplomacy.
On currency and trade, the United States seeks responsible policy adjustments that have been clearly articulated by Secretary Geithner and a better climate for American businesses, products, and intellectual property in China. Looking beyond our governments, our two countries must work together to increase the number of students studying in each country. And we have an initiative called 100000 Strong to promote that goal. And on human rights, we seek a far-reaching dialogue that advances the protection of the universal rights of all people. We will welcome President Hu Jintao to Washington in early 2011 for a state visit. The United States is committed to making this visit a historic success. And I look forward to meeting with my counterpart, State Councilor Dai Bingguo later this week to help prepare for that trip.
Now, our relationship with our allies and our partners are two of the three key elements of our engagement in the Asia Pacific region. The third is our participation in the region’s multilateral institutions. When I was here in Hawaii 10 months ago, I spoke about the importance of strong institutions for Asia’s future. And let me simply state the principle that will guide America’s role in Asian institutions. If consequential security, political, and economic issues are being discussed, and if they involve our interests, then we will seek a seat at the table. That’s why we view ASEAN as a fulcrum for the region’s emerging regional architecture. And we see it as indispensible on a host of political, economic, and strategic matters.
The United States has taken a series of steps to build stronger ties with ASEAN, including acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and opening a U.S. mission to ASEAN. Secretary Gates recently returned from Hanoi where he participated in the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting. President Obama has personally engaged with ASEAN leaders twice to signal how seriously the United States takes our engagement. And we’ve taken a leading role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, where we have discussed ongoing security issues such as North Korea and the South China Sea. On the latter issue, we are encouraged by China’s recent steps to enter discussions with ASEAN about a more formal, binding code of conduct.
With regard to APEC, we see this as a pivotal moment in which APEC can revitalize its mission and embrace a 21st century economic agenda. And we admire Japan’s forward-leaning leadership at this year’s APEC. They have defined a new path forward for APEC on trade liberalization and promoted specific efforts to increase business investment in small and medium enterprises.
We have been closely collaborating with Japan to prepare the way for our own leadership of APEC next year, and that will build on the leaders meeting here in Honolulu. And I appreciate the Host Committee members who are here for your support of this important meeting. Our aim is to help APEC evolve into an important, results-oriented forum for driving shared and inclusive, sustainable economic progress.
The United States is also leading through what we call “mini-laterals,” as opposed to multilaterals, like the Lower Mekong Initiative we launched last year to support education, health, and environmental programs in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. And we are working through the Pacific Island Forum to support the Pacific Island nations as they strive to really confront and solve the challenges they face, from climate change to freedom of navigation. And to that end, I am pleased to announce that USAID will return to the Pacific next year, opening an office in Fiji, with a fund of $21 million to support climate change mitigation.
Now, immediately following this speech, I will leave for Hanoi, where I will represent our country at the East Asia Summit. This will be the first time that the United States is participating and we are grateful for the opportunity. I will introduce the two core principles that the Obama Administration will take in its approach to the EAS—first, ASEAN’s central role, and second, our desire to see EAS emerge as a forum for substantive engagement on pressing strategic and political issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, maritime security, and climate change.
So these are the primary tools of our engagement —our alliances, our partnerships, and multilateral institutions.
And as we put these relationships to work, we do so in recognition that the United States is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the Asia Pacific—because of our history, our capabilities, and our credibility. People look to us, as they have for decades. The most common thing that Asian leaders have said to me in my travels over this last 20 months is thank you, we’re so glad that you’re playing an active role in Asia again. Because they look to us to help create the conditions for broad, sustained economic growth and to ensure security by effectively deploying our own military and to defend human rights and dignity by supporting strong democratic institutions.
So we intend to project American leadership in these three areas—economic growth, regional security, and enduring values. These arenas formed the foundation of American leadership in the 20th century, and they are just as relevant in the 21st century. But the way we operate in these arenas has to change—because the world has changed and it will keep changing.
The first is economic growth. One theme consistently stands out: Asia still wants America to be an optimistic, engaged, open, 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 the dynamic markets of Asia. These are essential features of the rebalancing agenda of our administration.
Now, for our part, we are getting our house in order—increasing our savings, reforming our financial systems, relying less on borrowing. And President Obama has set a goal of doubling our exports, in order to create jobs and bring much-needed balance to our trade relationships.
But achieving balance in those 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.
When free trade is done right, it creates jobs, lowers prices, fuels growth, and lifts people’s standards of living. I mentioned our earlier – I mentioned earlier our hope to complete discussions on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement to permit its submission to Congress. We are also pressing ahead with negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an innovative, ambitious multilateral free trade agreement that would bring together nine Pacific Rim countries, including four new free trade partners for the United States, and potentially others in the future.
2011 will be a pivotal year for this agenda. Starting with the Korea Free Trade Agreement, continuing with the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, working together for financial rebalancing at the G-20, and culminating at the APEC Leaders Summit in Hawaii, we have a historic chance to create broad, sustained, and balanced growth across the Asia Pacific and we intend to seize that.
Sustained economic progress relies on durable investments in stability and security—investments the United States will continue to make. Our military presence in Asia has deterred conflict and provided security for 60 years, and will continue to support economic growth and political integration.
But our military presence must evolve to reflect an evolving world. The Pentagon is now engaged in a comprehensive Global Posture Review, which will lay out a plan for the continued forward presence of U.S. forces in the region. That plan will reflect three principles: Our defense posture will become more politically sustainable, operationally resilient, and geographically dispersed.
With these principles in mind, we are enhancing our presence in Northeast Asia. The buildup on Guam reflects these ideas, as does the agreement on basing that we have reached with Japan—an agreement that comes during the 50th anniversary of our mutual security alliance. We have also adopted new defense guidelines with South Korea.
In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, we are shifting our presence to reflect these principles. For example, we have increased our naval presence in Singapore. We are engaging more with the Philippines and Thailand to enhance their capacity to counter terrorists and respond to humanitarian disasters. We have created new parameters for military cooperation with New Zealand and we continue to modernize our defense ties with Australia to respond to a more complex maritime environment. And we are expanding our work with the Indian navy in the Pacific, because we understand how important the Indo-Pacific basin is to global trade and commerce.
Now, some might ask: Why is a Secretary of State is talking about defense posture? But this is where the three D’s of our foreign policy—defense, diplomacy, and development—come together. Our military activities in Asia are a key part of our comprehensive engagement. By balancing and integrating them with a forward-deployed approach to diplomacy and development, we put ourselves in the best position to secure our own interests and the promote the common interest.
This is true for our forces on the Korean Peninsula maintaining peace and security, our naval forces confronting piracy, promoting free navigation, and providing humanitarian relief for millions of people, and our soldiers and civilians working closely with friends and partners in Southeast Asia to train, equip, and develop capacity for countries to respond swiftly to terrorist threats.
More than our military might, and more than the size of our economy, our most precious asset as a nation is the persuasive power of our values—in particular, our steadfast belief in democracy and human rights.
Our commitment to uphold and project these values is an indispensable aspect of our national character. And it is one of the best and most important contributions we offer the world. So of course, it is an essential element of everything we do in U.S. foreign policy.
Like many nations, we are troubled by the abuses we see in some places in the region. We join billions of people worldwide in calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi; her imprisonment must come to an end. And we are saddened that Asia remains the only place in the world where three iconic Nobel laureates—Aung San Suu Kyi, the Dalai Lama, and Liu Xiaobo—are either under house arrest, in prison, or in exile.
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.
And I would like to underscore the American commitment to seek accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred in Burma by working to establish an international Commission of Inquiry through close consultations with our friends, allies, and other partners at the United Nations. Burma will soon hold a deeply flawed election, and one thing we have learned over the last few years is that democracy is more than elections. And we will make clear to Burma’s new leaders, old and new alike, that they must break from the policies of the past.
Now, we know we cannot impose our values on other countries, but we do believe that certain values are universal—that they are cherished by people in every nation in the world, including in Asia—and that they are intrinsic to stable, peaceful, and prosperous countries. In short, human rights are in everyone’s interest. This is a message that the United States delivers every day, in every region.
Now, we also know that we have to work with these countries on many issues simultaneously, so we never quit from promoting all of our concerns. We may make progress on the economy or on security or on human rights and not on the other one or two, but we have to have a comprehensive approach. And what I have described today is a mix of old commitments and new steps that we are taking. And through these steps, we will listen, we will cooperate, and we will lead.
Of course, it is the people of Asia who must make the tough choices and it is their leaders who must make an absolutely fundamental choice to improve not just the standard of living of their people but their political freedom and their human rights as well. Asia can count on us to stand with leaders and people who take actions that will build that better future, that will improve the lives of everyday citizens, and by doing so not just grow an economy but transform a country. We make this commitment not just because of what’s at stake in Asia, we make this commitment because of what is at stake for the United States. This is about our future. This is about the opportunities our children and grandchildren will have. And we look to the Asia Pacific region as we have for many decades as an area where the United States is uniquely positioned to play a major role in helping to shape that future.
I know how much Hawaii serves as that bridge to the Asia Pacific region, and I know how the very diversity and dynamism of Hawaii says so much about what is possible not only in our own country but in countries throughout the specific. So we will continue to stand for what we believe is in America’s interest and what we are absolutely convinced is also in the interests of the people of Asia as well. And I look forward to returning to Hawaii for the APEC Leaders Summit when we will take stock of what we have accomplished and how far we have come, and to look to the leaders and people of Hawaii to continue to show us the way.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)