News / USA

Clinton Pledges Asia Engagement, Urges More Political Openness in China

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, discussing U.S. Asia-Pacific policy Tuesday in Hawaii, said an easing of political controls in China would be in that country's best interests. Clinton held critical talks on the future of U.S. military bases in Okinawa with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on the US vision for Asia-Pacific multilateral engagement at the East-West Center in Honolulu, 13 Jan 2010
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on the US vision for Asia-Pacific multilateral engagement at the East-West Center in Honolulu, 13 Jan 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Clinton, in a policy speech at the U.S.-sponsored East-West Center in Honolulu, said the Asia-Pacific relationship is a priority for the administration of President Barack Obama, who spent some of his formative years in Hawaii and in Indonesia.

She said the United States is committed to seeking a cooperative and mature relationship with China, one that is not "knocked of course" when differences erupt on specific issues.

And, in response to a question from a Chinese student at the policy center at the University of Hawaii, Clinton said China would benefit from a more-open society.

"We hope that there will be increasing openness, politically, in China," Clinton said. "We hope that there will be an opportunity for more of the Chinese people to exercise the full range of human rights and freedom.  And, we say that to our friends in China in the leadership meetings that we have and it is something that we believe would be in the best interests of China."

The secretary spoke on the eve of her departure for Papua-New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia on what will be her fourth trip to the Asia-Pacific region since taking office.

Clinton has put heavy stress on the United States returning to a major political role in the region, after what was seen as a preoccupation by the Bush administration with Iraq and other matters.

She departed from a prepared text to deliver what appeared to be an indirect swipe at her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, who broke long standing tradition by not regularly attending ministerial meetings with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"We need to recognize that these regional organizations are very important to the actors that are in them," Clinton said.  "And, the failure of the United States to participate demonstrates a lack of respect and a willingness to engage.  And, that is why I made it very clear upon becoming Secretary of State that the United States would show up."

Earlier, Clinton met at a resort hotel with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, whose left-leaning government has irritated American officials by reconsidering a 2006 bilateral agreement to alter the U.S. military presence on Japan's southern island, Okinawa.

The deal, a product of years of negotiations, provides for moving some U.S. forces from Okinawa to Guam, while relocating the key Futenma Marine base farther from populated areas.

The new Japanese government has suggested it might seek additional cuts in an Okinawa presence the United States sees as critical to regional security.

Heard through an interpreter at a news conference with Clinton, the Japanese minister said Tokyo aims for a decision by May.

"We've now have a change in government in Japan and there are different views within the coalition government," Okada said.  "And, against that backdrop, we have set a time-line of May.  And, within the coalition government we're working on studying a replacement site.  We will come up with a conclusion by May so that they'll be a minimum impact on the Japan-U.S. alliance.

For her part, Clinton said that, both in terms of protecting Japan and limiting the impact of U.S. bases on Okinawans, the 2006 "road map" should be followed.

"The United States has already made decisions based on that road map, which was accepted by prior governments," she said. "So we want to work closely with our alliance partner and reach the best outcome for Japan and the United States. And, as I have said several times already, we think the realignment road map provides the best way forward."

A senior official told reporters traveling with Clinton the United States has no choice but to work with the new Tokyo government on the issue.

He says, despite strong views on both sides over the base issue, the overall relationship is much too important to be "held hostage" by one issue.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid