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2010-01-12 | A Year of U.S. Engagement and Leadership in Asia-Pacific

A Year of U.S. Engagement and Leadership in Asia-Pacific

12 January 2010

Secretary Clinton makes unprecedented four trips in her first year

Office of the Spokesman
January 12, 2010



*Secretary Clinton is delivering a policy address in Honolulu, Hawaii. A transcript of her remarks as delivered will be forthcoming.*

Today's policy address by Secretary Clinton at the East-West Center in Honolulu caps a year of renewed American engagement and leadership in Asia and the Pacific. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have personally invested in the region. The Secretary broke with tradition and traveled to Asia for her first official visit. By the end of this week, she will have made an unprecedented four trips to the region in her first year in office and touched every corner - from northeast Asia to southeast Asia, from China and India to the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand - meeting with heads of state and people from across the region. President Obama made a landmark trip to Asia as well, as he and Secretary Clinton have worked bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure that the U.S. is not only "back" as a partner in the Asia-Pacific region, but there to stay.

• Bolstering Friendships and Alliances. In just her first year in office, Secretary Clinton has visited each of our Treaty Allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and now Australia. She has kept in nearly constant touch with leaders throughout the region, from the State Department in Washington to the UN General Assembly in New York to the climate talks in Copenhagen, cementing partnerships based on close cooperation, coordination, and consultation.

• Addressing Global Challenges with China. Secretaries Clinton and Geithner co-chaired the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which established a forward-leaning platform for broad, deep interaction between our governments on the most important issues in the bilateral relationship. And they will travel to China later this year for the next round of the Dialogue to build upon this foundation of cooperation.

• Strengthening the U.S.-India Relationship. The President has signaled the importance of the U.S.-India relationship, inviting Prime Minister Singh for the administration's first State Visit. Secretary Clinton made an early visit to India, and together with External Affairs Minister Krishna, launched the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to work together on major challenges such as climate change, security, and development.

• Building Cooperation with Southeast Asia. Secretary Clinton is strengthening partnerships with the nations of Southeast Asia, signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN, committing to establish the U.S. Mission to ASEAN based in Jakarta, and participating in the first ever U.S.-ASEAN Summit. She also met with the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in Phuket to launch the Lower Mekong Initiative, which seeks to deepen multilateral engagement on issues such as the environment, health and education. And during her first trip as Secretary, she announced the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership with Indonesia, extending cooperation with the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

• Curbing Proliferation in North Korea. Through tough diplomacy, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have worked with regional players to curb North Korea's nuclear program, gaining passage of UN Security Council resolution 1874, strengthening sanctions against North Korea and proving that there are real consequences for those who flout international norms of peace and security.

• Reaching Beyond Governments. The Obama administration has also engaged directly with the people of the region. President Obama spoke about freedom of expression with students in a town hall in Shanghai. And Secretary Clinton has met with business leaders in Mumbai, students in Seoul, civil society leaders in Manila, and women in Jakarta. Her visit to the U.S. pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo highlighted the U.S. commitment to taking a lead on innovation. She even appeared on "The Awesome Show" in Indonesia.

• Engaging with Burma. Since Secretary Clinton announced a review of U.S. Burma policy, the Obama administration has opened up pragmatic engagement with Burma, engaging not only the government, but all stakeholders - including political parties, ethnic minority groups and the opposition - to reaffirm the goal of a peaceful, stable, prosperous, unified and democratic Burma that respects the rights of all of its citizens. Secretary Clinton has worked closely with ASEAN allies and others, including participating in the Friends of Burma meeting at the UN General Assembly. And she dispatched Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the highest level U.S. delegation to Burma in years, as a crucial step in beginning pragmatic engagement.

• Pursuing Shared Interests through Multilateral Engagement. Secretary Clinton led the U.S. Delegation to the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial. President Obama and Secretary Clinton represented the United States at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders and Ministers Meetings, which bring together the heads of 21 economies with the goal of facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.