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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More