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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid