Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes!

A year ago, the internet was all abuzz about the pending wedding of Chelsea Victoria Clinton to Marc Mezvinsky. We knew the site was Rhinebeck, N.Y. People were arriving, and in Hillary-Hood we wondered about the gowns, the hair, and whether we would get to see any good pictures. Cable news and networks had teams covering the arrivals and the doings around Rhinebeck. There was much excitement in the air, and rumors were flying about who was or was not on the guest list. Everything was very secret. The first glimpse we got of the Clintons that day came in the evening when Bill and Hillary Clinton showed up at a reception given in their honor the night before the wedding. We did not see the bride or groom that night.

So, here we are a year later, and all the drama on cable news today is over the negotiations on Capitol Hill to save the country from default on its debt. It seems almost unreal that our great country could be on the verge of economic disaster - unnecessary, avoidable disaster, at that. The leadership vacuum has never been more obvious. Once again the president got on Saturday morning TV and read us a laundry list of the terrible things that will happen if the bad Republicans do not fall into line. Well, I think we all have known what is on that list for weeks and did not need yet another George W. Bush style speech from Barack Obama to remind us. Both of these presidents use the same rhetoric: statement of the obvious. I could have given that speech without the teleprompter! Where is the speech about what he is going to do to save us from the disaster? Why is this White House so afraid of the 14th Amendment?

To assuage my anxiety and yours I offer this lovely slideshow of two great leaders who are afraid of nothing. Neither of these two people would hesitate to take the reins of leadership in this crisis. So, in the words of the eloquent Sarah Palin, "How's that hopey changey thing workin' out for ya?"

Enjoy the show! The SOS could not have looked more glamorous! Just exquisite! She is beautiful enough to be a movie star, but I have a better job in mind for her.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hillary Clinton Sends Greetings to Morocco and Switzerland

As I have said in the past, I do not post the remarks the Secretary of State sends out to countries on their national days as a routine. I post them when they are somehow particularly significant. Back in May, I posted her remarks on Yemen's national day. It was significant due to ongoing events in that country. The following day she issued a statement critical of Yemeni leadership.

So in that vein, I am posting these national day greetings. Morocco is one of our oldest allies. When she was our newly-minted SOS, in April 2009, and received Moroccan Foreign Minister Fihiri at the State Department, Secretary Clinton stated:

I think Morocco was the very first country that recognized us, going back a long time.

The first! The very first! Well, then certainly we owe our very oldest friend and ally a shout out on their national day! Bonne Fête!!!!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by Abdeslam Jaidi, Moroccan consul to the United Nation upon her arrival at Marrakech airport early on November 1, 2009. She is scheduled to meet on Monday and Tuesday with her Arab counterparts attending the sixth Forum for the Future, jointly organised by Morocco and Italy. The Forum for the Future is a joint initiative between the Group of Eight industrial powers and some 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, along with the European Commission and the Arab League. AFP PHOTO ABDELHAK SENNA/POOL (Photo credit should read ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Ima

Morocco National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 29, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send my warmest wishes to King Mohamed VI and the Moroccan people on the occasion of your country's national day this July 30.

During this time of profound change in the Middle East and North Africa, the United States supports your efforts to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and good governance. I congratulate King Mohamed VI and the Moroccan people on the peaceful constitutional referendum held July 1, and welcome it as an important step toward democratic reform.

Morocco is a longstanding friend, partner, and ally of the United States. Wherever you celebrate this special day, know that the United States stands with you. I look forward to continuing to strengthen this partnership as we work together toward our common goals.

It is the Swiss Confederation's 720th Birthday! Yes, 720!!! Amazing. Curiously, for a country many of us have always considered progressive, Switzerland's women were not granted suffrage until 1971. Here is a very interesting and instructive timeline on the granting of suffrage to women. We are happy that they finally updated their status in that regard!

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) is welcomed by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey before the signing ceremony of Turkey and Armenia peace deal in Zurich October 10, 2009. Turkey and Armenia plan to sign a deal to end a century of hostility stemming from the World War One mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces although it could fall prey to nationalists further down the line. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (SWITZERLAND POLITICS)

Happy Birthday, Switzerland!

Statement On the Occasion of Switzerland's National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 29, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the people of Switzerland on the 720th anniversary of your republic this August 1.

In the seven centuries since the first Federal Charter was signed, the Swiss Confederation has played an important role in world affairs. Your rich history of neutrality gives you the ability to mediate and reconcile difficult conflicts. You have been a vital partner for over 30 years representing American interests in Iran and other countries throughout the world.

America’s Founders were inspired by the ideas and values of early Swiss philosophers like Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui and Emer de Vattel, and the 1848 Swiss Constitution was influenced by our own U.S. Constitution. Swiss commitment to democracy is an example for nations and people everywhere who yearn for greater freedoms and human rights.

As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States stands with you and we look forward to a future filled with friendship and cooperation.

Hillary Clinton In Retrospect July 2010

Well, we have no new pictures today. This time last year, the Clintons were preparing for Chelsea's wedding. I thought I would share, once again, these pictures from July 27, 2010, as Mme. Secretary arrived for a final fitting of her MOTB gown, which, you will remember, was truly fit for a princess. Happy Anniversary, Chelsea and Marc!

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for July 29, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 29, 2011


9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton joins Deputy Secretary Burns’* meeting with Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Wang Yi, at the Department of State.

9:20 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries of the regional bureaus, at the Department of State.

10:00 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with regarding the 100,000 Strong Initiative, at the Department of State.


3:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s multilateral meeting with Benin President Boni Yahi, Guinea President Alpha Conde, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, and Cote D’ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, at the White House.


*Bill Burns newly named Deputy Secretary of State as of yesterday. The announcement was released last night.

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 28, 2011

Today, Bill Burns began serving as the Department of State’s newest Deputy Secretary of State, alongside Tom Nides. I am grateful for Bill's decision to continue his nearly 30 years of service to the American people as we implement President Obama’s ambitious foreign policy agenda.

As our most senior Foreign Service Officer, Bill has advanced U.S. interests all over the world. He has been on the frontlines during some of the most significant foreign policy breakthroughs in recent years, from building international consensus on free trade, to curbing the nuclear threat posed by Iran, to nurturing democracy in the Middle East, to helping negotiate the historic START arms control treaty with Russia.

Wherever he has served, Bill has set the standard for leadership in our Senior Foreign Service. He is our country's senior-most professional diplomat for a reason -- he is the best in this business, a role model for generations of Foreign Service Officers and someone whose counsel both the President and I hold in the highest regard.

I look forward to working even more closely with Bill to tackle some of the most difficult challenges we face, as we help build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hillary Clinton at the Norwegian Embassy

The Secretary of State was out of the country when the horrific attacks in Oslo and the Island of Utoeya occurred. This morning, she took the opportunity to visit the Norwegian Embassy in D.C. to express her sympathy and sign the book of condolence.

Video: Secretary Clinton at the Development Exchange Awards

Remarks at USAID's Saving Lives at Birth Development Exchange Awards Ceremony "77 Inventions That Could Save Moms and Babies"

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, DC
July 28, 2011

Oh, Raj, thank you so much. Well, I want to begin by, of course, thanking Raj for his leadership, his imagination, innovation, his extraordinary commitment to the work that USAID does and the really driving force behind translating into reality what we have hoped to see happen. And I am delighted to be with you again to lend my voice and support for the goal of protecting the health and lives of mothers and children at birth.

I would echo what Raj said in thanking all of our partners. This is a great opportunity for us to internationalize our innovative efforts to bring to the table those who have such a track record in accomplishing positive changes, but also share our vision about what is possible.

I also want to express my sympathy and solidarity with the government and people of Norway. I just came from the Norwegian ambassador’s home, signing the condolence book, and it is just a commonplace statement to make, which is that Norwegian people and successive governments have been so generous and supportive in ending conflicts, in bringing people together, in pioneering development, and we’re very grateful, First Secretary, that you are here representing the people and Government of Norway.

We have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of all of the changes that are occurring in the world today and put them to work on behalf of development. We know that it’s moving so quickly, there is no way to keep up with the fast-paced global innovation contest that is happening on products and goods and services, but we can do our part to make sure that we harness all of that scientific and technological capacity on behalf of the poor and the needy. And we want to do development more effectively, that has been our goal. We want to teach people to fish, not just keep providing fish to them. We want to change systems; we want to find ways to leverage the assistance we provide to change the way governments care for their own people. We want to deliver the highest possible impact for each and every taxpayer dollar that we spend, and one of the ways we’re doing that is seeking out good ideas and putting them to work.

So in reaching out to the global community, NGOs, international partners, and working with likeminded governments and foundations and other institutions, we have established this program of Grand Challenges. And few challenges are as persistent or heartbreaking as the health of mothers and children, because we are well aware that the single most critical window for maternal and child health occurs from the onset of labor to 48 hours after childbirth. And for too many people in too many places, what should be a moment of great joy ends in tragedy.

You know the statistics: a woman still today in 2011 dies in childbirth every two minutes. In 2009, according to the WHO, 2.6 million children were stillborn, one million newborns die every year in the two days after birth, and we just cannot watch that happening without saying, “How can we prevent these deaths?” And we know this can be impacted on when pregnant women have access to adequate nutrition and prenatal care, lifesaving medicines, skilled health workers when they do give birth. And we’ve seen progress. From 1990 to 2008, the global maternal mortality rate dropped by 34 percent; in some places like Bangladesh, even more – it went down 40 percent. In Nepal, it has now dropped 50 percent, and I have to say, very proudly, in large measure due to USAID programs and interventions.

And yet over her lifetime, a woman in Sub-Saharan Africa today remains 136 times more likely to die in childbirth than one in a developed country. So how do we find affordable, scalable, sustainable ways to change the equation? How do we reach women and children in faraway places? How do we make it our priority to put this on the agenda of governments that have not always paid enough attention? Well, we wanted to mobilize a global community of innovators, and so many of you are representing that global community.

We identified three major barriers to saving lives at birth. First, a lack of medical technologies appropriate for the community or clinic setting. Second, a shortage of trained, equipped caregivers in positions to help. And third, a lack of demand – too many mothers still don’t know about the care they need and where and how they can find it.

So in March we issued this challenge, and we said, “Bring us your best ideas.” And as Raj said, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response. From Nairobi to Islamabad to Palo Alto, people have answered the call. Now, I don’t yet know who the winners are; I’m going to leave that to the judges. But I want to tell you that so many of your submissions, which were reviewed to me, are so exciting that, whoever the winners are, you’re all winners, and you all need to continue to pursue the innovation that was selected to bring you here.

For example, if you are dealing with the very common problem of bleeding during childbirth or a postpartum hemorrhage, the most common treatment, a drug called Oxytocin, is delivered by injection. And you know injections are complicated; you require sterile equipment, trained medical personnel, the drug degrades if it isn’t kept cold, which is very difficult to do in a lot of the settings we’re concerned about. And so we know that new mothers in many communities bleed to death without access to the right medicines. There was a very disturbing article on the front page of I think The New York Times in the last week about what is happening in Uganda, a country that has had more attention and has developed more facilities, but even there has not kept up with the demand that is required.

So converting that medical intervention into an aerosol spray that can be inhaled through a simple disposable device immediately after childbirth – no needles, no cold storage, no bloodborne diseases – has the potential to save many lives. Or working continuously to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS – ideally, women receive treatment during their pregnancies that will prevent transmission, and if they don’t, those who are in the process of delivery, they have a 24 hour window after birth to get their children to a clinic to receive medication to prevent their child from contracting HIV. But think about it: Within 24 hours of birth, you’re exhausted, you may be recovering; how are you going to get your child to where the child goes? Because we still don’t have enough clinics and other settings where all these services are available in one place.

It’s been a particular cause of mine, and it’s part of the driving motivation behind our Global Health Initiative is don’t make these women travel hours to get their HIV/AIDS treatment and then travel in a different direction to get maternal care and then travel in a different place in order to get the kind of high, tertiary care treatment for delivery. So now researchers are developing a pouch that can last for months and, apparently, looks like something that you get at a fast food restaurant, like one of those little ketchup containers. And then a mother can have it on hand and will be able to care for her child immediately.

So we have lots of great ideas that are here, and to the 600 entrants all over the world and to the 77 finalists and the eventual winners my message is the same: Please keep going with these ideas. There were so many great ideas. And figure out ways, and we will try to help you figure out ways to make them scalable, sustainable, deliverable interventions. And this is the kind of creative approach toward enhancing development that I think is in the best interests of the people whom we are hoping to serve, but it’s also necessary in these times of great budgetary strains on all governments, not just my own, so that we can deliver higher impact in way that will keep our publics continuing to support this very important work.

So I thank Raj and his team for hosting us today, and I really commend all of you for participating. I wish everybody the very best and to the finalists, when you are announced, congratulations. But to every one of us, please – these grand challenges shouldn’t stop with the announcement of winners. We have to keep making our best efforts in order to overcome the challenges that we are aiming at. So I’m grateful to you and I want to do everything I can to support you, and we will work through USAID with all of our partners to deliver better development results for the entire world.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for July 28, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves after signing a book of condolence at the Norwegian Embassy on July 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. Clinton made the visit to give condolence to the people of Norway for their loss in the July 22, 2011 twin attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Public Schedule for July 28, 2011

Public Schedule
Washington, DC
July 28, 2011


8:45 a.m. Secretary Clinton signs a book of condolences at the Norwegian Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, DC.
Contact Ms. Jannicke Jaeger at or 202-247-7998 for more information.

9:10 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at USAID’s Saving Lives at Birth Development Exchange Awards Ceremony “77 Inventions That Could Save Moms And Babies,” in the Atrium Hall of the Ronald Reagan Building.

11:30 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, at the Department of State.

1:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Egyptian Major General Murad Muwafi, Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, at the Department of State.


3:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama at the White House.

4:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Administrator Shah and the USAID senior leadership, at the Department of State.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomorrow on Hillary Clinton's Agenda

Secretary Clinton to Deliver Keynote Remarks at the Saving Lives at Birth Development Exchange Forum

Media Note

Washington, DC
July 27, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver keynote remarks Thursday, July 28, at the Development Exchange Forum to highlight the need for accessible health services for women at the time of birth. She will also commend 77 finalists of the Saving Lives at Birth program for their extraordinary dedication to this issue. This event will take place at approximately 9:15a.m. in the Atrium Hall at the Ronald Reagan Building.

These 77 innovators from around the globe will be in Washington, DC to display their ideas in an open marketplace for the final stage of a competition that aims to find novel ways to deliver new technologies and services to mothers and newborns who live in rural areas of the world and don’t have access to health facilities.

To read more about the project, the 77 finalists, and their ideas, please visit

SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON: Public Schedule July 27, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 27, 2011


9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.

10:00 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with 2011 European Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellows, at the Department of State.


2:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, at the Department of State.

3:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, at the Department of State.

4:05 p.m.
Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the annual summer intern summit, at the Department of State.

4:30 p.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: Hillary Clinton Remarks at Lower Mekong Summit and Meeting with Councilor Dai

These videos were released by the State Department today. She is commenting at the Lower Mekong Partnership summit and also at her meeting yesterday with Bingguo Dai.

Hillary Clinton: A Bold Diplomatic Response to the Leadership Deficit

Hillary Rodham Clinton is perhaps the fiercest defender of the U.S.A. and its interests that I have seen, live, in my time on earth. I have often stated here that I thank God daily for allowing me to be her contemporary.

In this vitriolic, uncertain climate we have come to accept lately as our quotidian environment, many of us have lost faith that our great country and the Party of Roosevelt can endure in its historic, traditional position of greatness in the world. Hillary Clinton has been working very hard these past weeks to assure our friends and allies, partners that she has worked tirelessly to cultivate over two-and-a-half years as Secretary of State, that this is and will remain a great and solvent country. (See posts here of her past two weeks of travel from Europe through Asia.) Those years have yielded hundreds of trade agreements, entrepreneurial efforts and treaties, business summits, and MOUs all crafted under the seal of our current Secretary of State.

But do the American people share her faith? Current polls say "no," and last night's "pep talk" by President Obama is unlikely to alter that. He who made his career on oratory cannot sustain it without putting his words into action. Erosion of the public trust cannot be allayed by levees built of words. The people need to see concrete seawalls constructed against this AA rating tide and its predicted consequences. Perhaps the most serious deficit this country suffers is not economic, but rather a deficit of bold, sure leadership.

An incisive post by my friend Tanya Domi illustrates the situation brilliantly. Thank you, Tanya, for the outstanding analysis!

The Beginning Of The End Of The Obama Presidency

by TANYA DOMI on JULY 26, 2011


Before or on August 2, President Barack Obama, a Democratic Party nominated president, will in fact, sign into law a bill that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.

Obama will sign a Republican measure to cut the first and second rail of Democratic Party politics, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who launched America’s social and political compact following the dark days of the Great Depression during the 1930s.


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for July 26, 2011

Public Schedule for July 26, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 26, 2011

12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, at the White House.

3:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, at the Department of State.

4:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Videos: Secretary Clinton on Relationships with China, Japan, and Korea at ASEAN

This evening the State Department posted these three short videos from Mme. Secretary's sojourn in Asia. Two of them were around sideline meetings at ASEAN, and one is of her remarks at the beginning of the summit. Enjoy!

Hillary Clinton in Asia Today: Pictures and Commentary

To provide a glimpse into Mme. Secretary's day today, I am including some remarks from today's press briefing. The speech to which Ms. Nuland refers was the posted previous to the public schedule.

Victoria Nuland
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DCJuly 25, 2011
MS. NULAND: Well, I think the Secretary spoke very clearly, obviously in Hong Kong, about the fact that she has great confidence, that we have confidence, that we’re going to get through this, and that you have democracy in action as the two parties on the Hill work towards an agreement and work with the President on this.

There have been a lot of questions around the world, as people try to understand how our system works, how our democracy works, about where all of this is going, so that was one of the reasons why the Secretary felt it was important to make a strong statement about democracy in action and about the fact that we will come through this, and about the adjustments that our strong, democratic economy has been able to make over time whenever we faced these kinds of challenges.

More broadly, though, I hope you caught the key themes of her speech, which were to ensure that not only in the East Asian region, but around the world, that we are working together on the basis of open, free, transparent, and fair market systems in which all countries can compete on the basis of a level playing field, whether they are developing nations, developed nations, and all businesses can compete, whether they’re big businesses or small businesses.

I think what we have are countries, leaders, businesses trying to grapple with how the American system works. They see us engaged in a democratic debate about what the right moves are going forward in the U.S. economy, but a lot of countries find our system hard to understand. So those are the kinds of questions we get – how long will this go on, are you confident that there’ll be an agreement? And I think it was important for the Secretary to make a strong statement of confidence that our system will produce a good result not only for the American people, but for the world economy as a whole.


QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit more the upcoming meeting in New York between U.S. and North Korea? Who’s leading the delegation and when it’s going to take place; what’s your expectation?

MS. NULAND: In terms of the timing, we’re looking at the end of the week. I don’t know whether the precise date – Thursday or Friday – in New York has been set. I think you know that the expected DPRK representative is Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kae-gwan, and I think you heard the Secretary speak to what we’re looking for in this meeting, that we see this as a preliminary session where we’re going to lay out very clearly our expectations for what will be necessary to not only resume Six-Party Talks, but to improve direct engagement between the U.S. and the DPRK.


QUESTION: Was there any outcome regarding those issues come out when she was meeting the State Councilor Dai Bingguo and the other officials on the North Korea issues?

MS. NULAND: They did talk about North Korea today. They met for more than four hours in Shenzhen. And it was very broad-ranging conversation about the U.S.-China relationship, about our shared interest in regional issues, but North Korea was certainly one of the subjects of the meeting.

More that four hours! Comes in a close second to that six-plus hour meeting with Bibi Netanyahu at the Waldorf last December. (I think it was the Waldorf.) I want to say here and now that for someone who took a pay cut from what she voted for as her predecessor's salary (for Constitutional reasons), this Secretary of State certainly gives us more than our money's worth. But, of course, she has never been in any of this for the money, or even for the credit. All she cares about is that the work gets done.

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for July 25, 2011

Public Schedule for July 25, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 25, 2011


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Hong Kong and China. She is accompanied by Under Secretary Hormats, Assistant Secretary Campbell, Assistant Secretary Shapiro and Director Sullivan. Click here for more information.

9:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, in Hong Kong.

10:30 a.m. LOCAL
Secretary Clinton meets with Hong Kong Legislative Council leaders, in Hong Kong.

11:05 a.m. LOCAL
Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Consulate Hong Kong, in Hong Kong.

12:00 p.m. LOCAL
Secretary Clinton delivers remarks on “Principles for Prosperity in the Asia Pacific” to Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong.


2:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, in China.

Secretary Clinton's Remarks on Principles for Prosperity in the Asia Pacific

Remarks on Principles for Prosperity in the Asia Pacific


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Shangri-La, Hong Kong
July 25, 2011

Thank you very much, Mr. Chipman, and thanks to all of you for being here today. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Mr. Ronnie Chan, chairman of the Asia Society, and Mr. Norman Chan, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

And I am so pleased to be here and to have this opportunity to speak with you today, and it was made possible by the U.S., Hong Kong, and Macau chambers of commerce and the Asia Society. And I thank the chamber very much on a personal level for its support of the U.S. Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. I have been called the mother of the pavilion, which is actually one of the nicer things I’ve been called – (laughter) – during my very long public career.

And I am delighted to be back in Hong Kong, a city I have admired ever since I first visited about 30 years ago when my husband, who was then governor of Arkansas, led the first ever trade mission to East Asia from our small state. Hong Kong stood out then, as it does today, as a symbol of the open exchange of goods and ideas. People were drawn to this place from every part of the world, even far away Arkansas, as evidenced by a good friend of ours from Arkansas, Nancy Hernreich Bowen, who is here with us today.

Now, since that time, Hong Kong has changed a great deal. Certainly, the skyline attests to that. And after all, few things have stood still in East Asia. But one thing about Hong Kong has not changed – the principles that find a home here. Under the “one country, two systems” policy, this remains a city that bridges East and West and looks outward in all directions, a place where ideas become businesses, where companies compete on the merits, and where economic opportunity is palpable and real for millions of people, a place that defines the fierce and productive economic competition of our time.

That is why businessmen and women continue to flock to Hong Kong, and an opportunity to meet some of the Americans who have called Hong Kong home for 20, 25, even 30 years. And it is why I have come here today to talk about how the nations of this region and the United States can intensify our economic partnership on behalf of ourselves, each other, and the world, and how together we can work toward a future of prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere.

But before I talk about where we need to go together, let’s consider how far we’ve come. The economic rise of the Asia Pacific region is an astonishing historic achievement that is reshaping our world today and into the future. In Hanoi, bicycles and water buffalo have given way to motorcycles and internet cafes. Small Chinese fishing villages like Shenzhen have become megacities with their own stock exchanges. And while much work remains to improve labor practices and expand access to the formal economies, the numbers tell a powerful story.

Thirty years ago when I first came to Hong Kong, 80 percent of the people of this region lived on less than $1.25 a day. By 2005, that number had dropped to 20 percent. In the Lower Mekong Region countries, per capita GAP has more than tripled in the last 20 years. And in Thailand alone, the poverty rate fell from 42 percent in 1988 to 8 percent today. Never in history have so many people climbed so far, so fast.

And though this progress is largely due to the hard work and ingenuity of the people of Asia themselves, we in the United States are proud of the role we have played in promoting prosperity. Of course, we helped Japan and South Korea rebuild, patrolled Asia’s sea lanes to preserve freedom of navigation, promoted global shipping, and supported China’s membership in the WTO. Along with our treaty allies – Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and Philippines, and other key partners like New Zealand and Singapore – we have underwritten regional security for decades, and that in turn has helped create the conditions for growth.

And the U.S. continues to contribute to Asia’s growth as a major trade and investment partner, a source of innovation that benefits Asia’s companies, a host to 350,000 Asian students every year, a champion of open markets, an advocate for universal human rights, and a guarantor of stability and security across the Asia Pacific. The Obama Administration has made a comprehensive commitment to reinvigorate our engagement as a Pacific power – shoring up alliances and friendships, reaching out to emerging partners, and strengthening multilateral institutions.

These efforts reflect our optimism and enthusiasm for what is happening in Asia today. Of course, countries in this region are grappling with challenges. We all are. But we are bullish on Asia’s future, and while the United States is facing its own difficulties, make no mistake: We are bullish on America’s future too.

America remains an opportunity society – a place to excel, a country of possibility and mobility where a brilliant idea hatched in a college dorm room or a product invented in a garage can find a global market and grow into a multibillion dollar company. Our workers are the world’s most productive. Our inventors hold the most patents. And today, we are reinvesting in our fundamentals – infrastructure, clean energy, health, and education. And we are doing the critical work of shoring up our financial system so that it protects investors and curbs excesses.

Now, as I have traveled around the region, a lot of people have asked me about how the United States is going to resolve our debt ceiling challenge. Well, let me assure you we understand the stakes. We know how important this is for us and how important it is for you. The political wrangling in Washington is intense right now. But these kinds of debates have been a constant in our political life throughout the history of our republic. And sometimes, they are messy. I well remember the government shutdown of the 1990s; I had a front row seat for that one. But this is how an open and democratic society ultimately comes together to reach the right solutions. So I am confident that Congress will do the right thing and secure a deal on the debt ceiling, and work with President Obama to take the steps necessary to improve our long-term fiscal outlook. Through more than a century of growth, the American economy has repeatedly shown its strength, its resilience, and its unrivaled capacity to adapt and reinvent itself. And it will keep doing so.

As we pursue recovery and growth, we are making economics a priority of our foreign policy. Because increasingly, economic progress depends on strong diplomatic ties and diplomatic progress depends on strong economic ties. And so the United States is working to harness all aspects of our relationships with other countries to support our mutual growth. This is an issue I recently addressed at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and will again in a larger speech about America’s strategic and economic choices this fall. But economic issues have been front and center in my travels during the past two weeks – to Greece, which is working to put itself back on the path to economic stability, and to four rising centers of economic growth: Turkey, India, Indonesia, and then China.

Now, naturally, much of our economic diplomacy is focused on East Asia and the Pacific. The American Chamber in Hong Kong represents 1,200 companies, and thousands more looking to this region for new customers and markets. Last year, American exports to Hong Kong totaled $26 billion – that's more than the Indonesian export amount of $20 billion -- and our exports to the Pacific Rim were $320 billion, supporting 850,000 American jobs.

Now, numbers like these reflect how closely America’s future is linked to the future of this region. And the reverse is true as well. Because the future of the Asia-Pacific is linked to America’s. We are a resident power in Asia—not only a diplomatic or military power, but a resident economic power. And we are here to stay.

Now, while the U.S. economy and those in the Asia-Pacific are well positioned to grow together, our success -- neither of ours -- is preordained. Prosperity is not a birthright, it’s an achievement. And whether we achieve it will be determined by how we answer a defining question of our time: How do we turn a generation of growth in this region into a century of shared prosperity?

The United States approaches this question with great humility, and with hard-won lessons learned from overcoming difficult economic challenges throughout our history.

We must start with the most urgent task before us: realigning our economies in the wake of the global financial crisis. This means pursuing a more balanced strategy for global economic growth – the kind that President Obama and President Hu Jintao have embraced, and the G20 is promoting.

This demands rigorous reform by all nations, including the United States and the countries of Asia. We in the United States are in the middle of a necessary transition: we must save more and spend less. And we must not only save more and spend less, we must borrow less, as well. Our partners must meet this change with changes of their own. There is no way around it: Long-term growth requires stronger and broader-based domestic demand in today’s high-saving Asian economies. This will raise living standards across the region, create jobs in America, improve business for many in this room, and help stabilize the global economy.

For years, my image of the global economy was an inverted pyramid resting on the shoulders of American women, since we are the primary consumers in the world. And therefore, it seems to me that that is no longer a sustainable model. And so we have to change how we do business internally and externally. And, above all, we must reach agreement on the rules and principles that will anchor our economic relationships in the coming decades.

Last March in APEC meetings in Washington, I laid out four attributes that I believe characterize healthy economic competition. And these are very simple concepts, easy to say, hard to do: open, free, transparent, and fair. Hong Kong is helping to give shape to these principles and is showing the world their value.

First, we must seek an open system where any person anywhere can participate in markets everywhere.

Second, we must seek a free system, one in which ideas, information, products and capital can flow unimpeded by unnecessary or unjust barriers. That is why President Obama has mobilized a government-wide effort to attract foreign investment to America. Now, in the past, foreign investment has been seen as controversial. But today we know it helps create growth and jobs, and it can attract American dollars held overseas back into the U.S. economy. As we welcome investors to our country, we hope that all investors, including those from America, will receive an enthusiastic welcome overseas.

Third, we must seek a transparent economic system. Rules and regulations need to be developed out in the open through consultation with stakeholders. They must be known to all and applied equally to all. Hong Kong is a testament to the power of transparency, good governance, the rule of law, freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, and a vibrant civil society, all of which help to explain why so many people choose to do business here.

Openness, freedom and transparency contribute to the fourth principle we must ensure: fairness. Fairness sustains faith in the system. That faith is difficult to sustain when companies are forced to trade away their intellectual property just to enter or expand in a foreign market, or when vital supply chains are blocked. These kinds of actions undermine fair competition, which turns many off from competing at all.

A growing number of countries in Asia are proving the value of these principles. And the United States deeply believes in them, because their value has been proven time and again, not only in times of prosperity but also in times of hardship, as well. At the end of the Vietnam War, there was a thriving commentary around the world on the idea of America’s economic decline. That seems to be a theme that kind of repeats itself every couple of decades. But all the while, then and now, these principles were nurturing a system of entrepreneurship and innovation that allowed two college students to found a small tech startup called Microsoft. And today, they are helping power companies like Solyndra, a green-energy startup in California that began producing solar panels in 2007 and now installs them in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Every time in history when the United States has experienced a downturn, we’ve overcome it through reinvention and innovation. Now, these capacities are not unique or innate to the people of the United States. They are activated by our economic model, which we work hard to keep open, free, transparent, and fair, a model that has its imperfections but remains the most powerful source of prosperity known to humankind.

Of course, no nation is perfect when it comes to safeguarding these principles, including my own. We all recognize the temptation to bend them. And we all recognize the inevitability of human nature's capacity to look for ways around them. Some nations are making short-term gains doing that. Some developing countries—admirably focused on fighting poverty—might be slow to implement at home the same rules they benefit from abroad. And a number of nations, wealthy in the aggregate but often poorer per capita, might even think the rules don’t apply to them.

In fact, all who benefit from open, free, transparent, and fair competition have a vital interest and a responsibility to follow the rules. Enough of the world’s commerce takes place with developing nations, that leaving them out of the rules-based system would render the system unworkable. And that, ultimately, that would impoverish everyone.

The businessmen and women of Asia seek the benefits that these principles offer. Malaysian manufacturers want access to markets overseas. Indian firms want fair treatment when they invest abroad. Chinese artists want to protect their creations from piracy. Every society seeking to develop a strong research and technology sector wants intellectual property protections because, without them, innovation comes with a much higher risk and fewer rewards. People everywhere want to have the chance to spend their earnings on products from other places, from refrigerators to iPods.

Now, these four principles are easily uttered and embraced, but they do not implement themselves. So our challenge is always to translate them into practice. And my country is hard at work doing that, and we encourage other governments to join us in this effort.

The United States is taking steps to promote these principles around the world through multilateral and regional institutions, new trade agreements, and outreach to new partners, to enlist us all in the quest for inclusive, sustainable growth. These steps are connected to and build upon the work we are doing to revitalize our own economy.

First, we are working through regional and international institutions to achieve balanced, inclusive, and sustainable growth. That starts with our commitment to APEC, the premier organization for pursuing economic integration and growth in the Asia-Pacific region. And President Obama is pleased to be the chair and host of APEC this year in Hawaii.

We want APEC to address next-generation trade and competition challenges, like strengthening global supply chains; empowering smaller companies to connect to global markets; promoting market-driven, non-discriminatory innovation policy. We are pursuing a low-carbon agenda by working to reduce barriers to trade in clean-energy technologies, and we hope to reach agreement on implementing transparency principles to promote economic growth and the rule of law on a 21st century field of play.

Because burdensome regulations and incompatible sets of rules in different countries can hold back trade and growth every bit as much as tariffs, we are also working at APEC to find common ground on transparent, effective regulation, with broader public consultation and better coordination. The quality of the rules we put in place is just as important as our willingness to enforce them.

And I have to mention that discrimination against women is another barrier to fair competition and economic growth. A 2007 United Nations study found that the Asia-Pacific loses at least $58 billion of economic output every year because of restrictions on women’s access to employment and gender gaps in education. So, as host of APEC, we are organizing a high-level Summit on Women and the Economy in San Francisco this September.

We are also working though the World Trade Organization to address continuing challenges to fair competition. Take government procurement. The purchases that governments make represent an important part of the global economy, and citizens everywhere deserve to know that their governments are getting the best product at the best prices. Consistent with the WTO Government Procurement Agreement that we signed, America lets companies from other nations who have signed that same agreement compete for appropriate American Government contracts. We would naturally expect countries that want access to our government contracts to offer our companies genuine access to theirs in return.

Across the full spectrum of international institutions—the G8 and G20, the IMF, OECD, ILO, WTO, and others—we are working to level playing fields and encourage robust and fair economic activity. Just as the WTO eliminated harmful tariffs in the 1990s, today we need institutions capable of providing solutions to new challenges, from some activities of state-owned enterprises to the kinds of barriers emerging behind borders.

We also support innovative partnerships that develop norms and rules to address these new concerns. We should build on the model of the Santiago Principles on sovereign wealth funds, which were negotiated jointly by host governments, recipient governments, the World Bank, IMF, OECD, and the sovereign funds themselves. This code of conduct governing sovereign investment practices has reassured stakeholders – investor nations, recipient nations, and the private sector. And it may prove a useful model for other shared challenges, like ensuring that state-owned companies and enterprises compete on the same terms as private companies.

As a second step, 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-US Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS, will eliminate tariffs on 95 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports within five years. 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. So, whether you are an American manufacturer of machinery or a Korean chemicals exporter, this deal lowers the barriers to reaching new customers.

But this trade deal isn’t simply about who pays what tariff at our borders. It is a deeper commitment to creating conditions that let both our nations prosper as our companies compete fairly. KORUS includes significant improvements on intellectual property, fair labor practices, environmental protection and regulatory due process.

And let me add that the benefits of KORUS extend beyond the economic bottom line. Because this agreement represents a powerful strategic bet. It signals that America and South Korea are partners for the long term—economically, diplomatically, people to people. So, for all these reasons, President Obama is pursuing congressional approval of KORUS, together with necessary Trade Adjustment Assistance, as soon as possible. He is also pursuing passage of the Colombia and Panamanian Free Trade Agreements as well.

Now, we have learned that, in our system, getting trade deals right is challenging, painstaking work. But it's essential. We consider KORUS a model agreement. Asian nations have signed over 100 bilateral trade deals in less than a decade, but many of those agreements fall short on key protections for businesses, workers, and consumers. There are a lot of bells and whistles, but many of the hard questions are glossed over or avoided.

Beyond that, there is now a danger of creating a hodgepodge of inconsistent and partial bilateral agreements which may lower tariffs, but which also create new inefficiencies and dizzying complexities. A small electronics shop, for example, in the Philippines might import alarm clocks from China under one free trade agreement, calculators from Malaysia under another, and so on—each with its own obscure rules and mountains of paperwork—until it no longer even makes sense to take advantage of the trade agreements at all. Instead, we should aim for true regional integration.

That is the spirit behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP, which we hope to outline by the time of APEC in November, because this agreement will bring together economies from across the Pacific—developed and developing alike—into a single trading community.

Our goal for TPP is to create not just more growth, but better growth. We believe the TPP needs to include strong protections for workers, the environment, intellectual property, and innovation. It 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.

We are working to ensure that the TPP is the first trade pact designed specifically to reduce barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises. After all, these are the companies that create most of the world’s jobs, but they often face significant challenges to engaging in international trade. So, the TPP aims to ensure fair competition, including competitive neutrality among the state-owned and private enterprises.

The idea is to create a new high standard for multilateral free trade, and to use the promise of access to new markets to encourage nations to raise their standards and join. We are taking concrete steps to promote regional integration and put ourselves on a path over time to bring about a genuine Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.

Finally, we need to pursue strategies for achieving not just growth, but sustainable, inclusive growth. Now, it is a maxim of mine that foreign policy must deliver results for people. Because ultimately, our progress will not be measured by profit margins or GDP, but 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 futures.

The United States supports a number of endeavors to promote inclusive growth in the region. Our Millennium Challenge Corporation, for example, makes large-scale investments in partner countries to reduce poverty through growth. We have a compact with the Philippines to invest in roads, community development projects, and more effective tax collection. We are negotiating a compact with Indonesia to promote low carbon development, and we began a threshold partnership with Timor-Leste earlier this year to fight corruption and improve children's health.

Across the region, we are partnering with governments to encourage and help them uphold their commitments to inclusive growth by practicing good governance, providing public goods like health and education, and creating tax systems that improve revenue collection and ensure that everyone pays their fair share. We are supporting civil society and citizens alike in holding governments accountable, supplying job training and networking, and being a strong voice for bringing opportunity to places where it is scarce.

And we are working very closely with the private sector. Two years ago, I created a Global Partnership Initiative to support a new generation of public-private partnerships focused on everything from protecting and developing the Lower Mekong region to helping more families gain access to clean cookstoves, to protect them from the harmful smoke that kills two million people worldwide every year, and puts black soot carbon into the atmosphere.

We also launched the Global Entrepreneurship Program, to identify promising entrepreneurs, training them, linking them with mentors and potential investors, advocating for supportive policies and regulations, helping spread best practices. And we are supporting initiatives like Partners for a New Beginning, which supports economic opportunity, education, science and technology exchanges between the United States and Muslim communities worldwide, and we just opened a chapter in Indonesia.

We are connecting entrepreneurs with Diaspora communities in the United States that are eager to help fund new projects in countries where they have family ties. And we are looking to the private sector to help us. There are so many ways that we are grateful to the private sector. After all, it drives what we are talking about today. But we do need to try to consider, even within the constraints of modern financial practices and expectations, not just short-term benefits but long-term consequences. The work that each of you do in your businesses can help lift people’s lives, promote human rights and dignity, and create new markets, creating a virtuous cycle. Or it can further ensnare people in poverty and environmental degradations, creating a vicious cycle.

So that’s our agenda, and you can see why I’ve come to Hong Kong to talk about it, because here, we have a perfect example of what can be done and how important it is to lead in the economic realm with the kind of principles that Hong Kong has developed on. Now, we know very well that the future is arriving at a breathtaking pace, and the choices we make today will define what is possible economically for so many millions of people

And so while the specifics are forever changing, many of the ideals that guided us in the 20th century are the same ones we need to embrace in the 21st – a belief that a good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from or from whom, a willingness to embrace change, a culture driven by marriage, faith in the notion that a rising tide of economic growth and innovation can improve everyone’s quality of life whether they live in Hong Kong or Appalachia. It is up to us to translate those enduring principles into common practice, shared prosperity, the opportunity for as many people as possible on both sides of the Pacific to live up to their God-given potential.

And what is standing in the way of achieving that vision? Well, there are many issues and challenges we can enumerate, but ultimately, it comes down to leadership – leadership in both the public and the private sector. We were blessed over the last part of the 20th century with farsighted and effective leaders in many parts of the world, leaders who set the rules that created the economic growth that we enjoyed in the 20th century, leaders who changed course in their own nations and catalyzed the extraordinary growth that we have seen in a country like China, leaders who had visions, private sector leaders who were able to look over the horizon and understand the consequences of not just this quarter’s results but the decades. We need that leadership again. We need it everywhere. And we need it both in governments and in business. That’s why the partnership between the public and private sectors is so essential.

Sitting in the office of the Secretary of State and knowing that I’m here in this position after so many luminaries in my own country have held it, it is a very humbling experience. And I often marvel at what they achieved. And I think a lot about George Marshall and Harry Truman and the Marshall Plan. What an amazing decision – to rebuild former enemies with an eye toward the future. And I think about it in very personal terms, because at the end of World War II, my late father had served in the Navy, so when he left service as so many men of that time did and returned to private life, the last thing he wanted to hear his president or secretary of State say was, “Guess what? We’re going to still be taxing you to send money to Germany, to Europe. We’re going to rebuild Japan because we believe it is in the best interests of your children.”

But it wasn’t only our public leadership who sounded that note. It was also our business leadership as well who basically said, “Okay, we get it. And we’re willing to do our part as well.” In fact, when support for the program was flagging, the White House and the State Department called the heads of large corporations and universities and asked them to fan out across the United States making the case. So the United States invested $13 billion over four years, which in today’s money would be about 150 billion.

Imagine leaders today in either government or business going to their people and saying something similar. When the Berlin Wall fell, Helmut Kohl said, “We’re going to pay what it takes to reunify Germany and we’re going to rebuild our neighbors because the wall is gone,” and people said, “Oh, what a incredible investment of our money. We won; we should be the ones getting all the benefits.” But no; it was a decision that was supported by both government and business.

We face a lot of similar challenges today, and we need visionary leaders in both government and business. But those leaders need to be guided by these principles. Whether we’re talking about politics or economics, openness, transparency, freedom and fairness stand the test of time. And in the 21st century, every citizen who is now potentially connected with everyone else in the world will not sit idly by if those principles do not deliver, and if governments and business do not make good on when we’ll provide long-term opportunity for all.

This agenda is good for Asia, it’s good for America, it’s good for business. Most importantly, it’s good for people. And I absolutely believe it will help us create more a peaceful, stable, and prosperous world for the rest of this century. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hillary Clinton in Asia: A Meet-and-Greet with Mission Staff and Wheels-Up Bali... Wheels-Down Hong Kong!

Meeting with Staff and Families of Mission Indonesia and Mission ASEAN


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Bali, Indonesia
July 24, 2011

AMBASSADOR MARCIEL: Okay, we have a joint venture partnership here, of David Carden and I, who will do the easiest job in the world, which is introducing the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton.

It is wonderful to have you here. Thanks for spending so much time. This is, of course, part of the team, but a big part of the team. They all have been working very hard, very grateful for your time, and all looking forward to getting back to Jakarta tonight, so we can continue all the great work of partnership.


AMBASSADOR CARDEN: Thank you. It is a challenging, introducing somebody who needs no introduction, but it seems only right that I should do it, because I wouldn't be here without her.

I simply want to say that I have not been in this whole-of-government family very long, but I have been here long enough to know that the job that we do out here is made an awful lot easier by this woman. The leadership and the vision that she brings to this job may not be unprecedented, but it is hard for me to believe that that's not the case. So it is my pleasure to introduce the United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness. Well, this has been an extraordinary couple of days here in Bali. And I have a new rule. Every international conference should be in Bali. (Laughter.) And the President is looking forward to coming back soon. You are going to get rid of me, and then immediately have to turn around and get ready for him. So I hope you have a few days of respite.

But I wanted to thank each and every one of you. Certainly our bilateral mission and our ASEAN mission -- I just am so grateful and impressed by the work that you have done. And I think that we can agree that both of our ambassadors are doing a first-rate job. I want to thank both Scot and David. Their leadership and their passion is evident in the work that they and you do together. They are a real dynamic duo. Their partnership is a model for what we hope to achieve in a whole-of-government approach, not only in Jakarta, but around the world.

Let me just say a few words about David and the ASEAN team. (Laughter.) The ministerial meetings were terrific. Everybody, with the preparation that you put into it, I want to thank you, because it certainly paid off. It makes a big difference to have a dedicated team to ASEAN.

And, as some of you know, I was determined to do that from the very first time I visited back in 2009, when we said we would sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. I came back, told the White House, "We are going to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation." They said, "The what?" (Laughter.) I said, "You know, it's a friendly, cooperative" -- but it has worked out very well, because we do believe that we have deepened and broadened our relationship.

I know that, for those of you working on the ASEAN mission, it has felt like a start-up, because it is a start-up. We are the first country to have named an ambassador. And you didn't have a lot of resources, you didn't have a lot of space, and you certainly didn't have a lot of sleep. So it is triply impressive, what you have accomplished in such a short period of time.

And then I want to thank and recognize Scot, who I have the privilege of working with before he was confirmed to be our Ambassador. And Scot was an absolutely essential member of my team before he came out to Jakarta. And his help in organizing the comprehensive partnership joint commission meetings is so appreciated. We heard great reports this morning. And I just want to thank you, thank you, Scot, for all you are doing to strengthen our relationship.

And I know education has been a major priority. Because after 9/11, student visa applications fell way off. But through EducationUSA you have helped to change that. And last year alone, student visa applications for the U.S. increased 20 percent. And 95 percent of those applications were approved.

On the scientific front, you have been very active, and it is clearly paying off: @america, the interactive, high-tech outreach space that was recently completed -- in the mall, right -- something that former Under Secretary Judith McHale was so enthusiastic about, she must have reported to me about it 100 times, because it's where the people are. We closed down American centers all over the world for security reasons, and made it also difficult for people to come to the embassy or some other location. So now we are going to where people are.

And I also know the climate change discussion you convened earlier this year had great success, bringing together scientists, business leaders in green technologies, NGO reps, government officials, and even former vice president Al Gore. But that is kind of above and beyond the day-to-day work that you do every single day.

I know that you are assisting the 50,000 Americans who visit Bali every year. You have engaged with youth groups and are educating them about scholarship and exchange opportunities, as well as creating the science and energy partnerships, and telling America's story.

So, I want to thank you. And I know you do it under difficult circumstances. Sixty years has taken its toll on the Jakarta chancery. And as you prepare for a transition into a new facility, I know you've been working out of sheds and temporary buildings. Sometimes the power goes out, or the water stops running. But your commitment doesn't stop in any way, and I thank you for that. And I thank family members who support you here in Indonesia, and back home.

And I particularly want to thank our local staff, because you are the backbone of our operation, as you are around the world. Year in and year out, ambassadors and counsels general and Foreign Service officers and secretaries of state come and go, but you stay. And you provide the continuity and the experience and expertise that we need. And that is greatly appreciated.

I also want to thank our security team. We have 550 security guards throughout the country. Thank you for all you do to protect us. And I know you put a lot of energy into protecting us, and you put a lot of energy into organizing volleyball tournaments. So I don't know who won the last one, but I know it brought friends and family together, and raised everyone's spirits. So thank you for that, as well.

So, really, this has been a smooth, productive set of meetings. And I am grateful to you. And I look forward to continuing to work with both ambassadors and with the tremendous teams that support them. President Obama and I believe that Indonesia is one of the most consequential relationships for both of our countries in the 21st century. And we are going to do everything we can to put it on the strongest possible foundation for years to come. Thank you all very much.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves from her plane prior to her departure from Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Sunday July 24, 2011. The United States said that it has invited a top North Korean envoy to New York for "exploratory talks" on the possible resumption of the six-party negotiations on denuclearisation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the North's vice foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, would visit the US "later this week" for the talks -- the first such contacts for almost two years. (AP Photo/ Saul Loeb, Pool)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disembarks from her plane upon arrival in Hong Kong on Sunday July 24, 2011. The United States said that it has invited a top North Korean envoy to New York for "exploratory talks" on the possible resumption of the six-party negotiations on denuclearisation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the North's vice foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, would visit the US "later this week" for the talks -- the first such contacts for almost two years. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, pool)