Hillary Clinton Gives Policy Speech on Oahu


Sec. Hillary Clinton discusses the U.S.’s "forward deployed diplomacy" in the Asia-Pacific region.

This morning at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, the room was filled with powerful people, top military brass, politicians—including a few that are hoping to be elected next week—foreign dignitaries, local business leaders and, of course, the press.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a quick pit stop in Honolulu as part of a two-week trip. After giving a policy speech, she flew out to Vietnam for the fifth annual East Asia Summit, and afterward will make stops to Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. She came to Hawaii in part to resume the talks started during her January trip, which was cut short because of the massive earthquake in Haiti.

Clinton’s talk was invitation-only, but was livestreamed by the East West Center. She packed a lot into her roughly 45-minute speech, running through several initiatives the Obama administration is working on, including what she terms the “three D’s:” defense, diplomacy and development. More specifically she talked about the U.S.’s role in shaping Asia’s economies, regional security, overseas education institutions, global climate change and human rights issues.

“Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia,” says Clinton, adding that the Obama administration strives to “sustain and strengthen America’s leadership in the Pacific region and to improve security, heighten prosperity and promote our values."

Clinton also discussed the budding relationships with Indonesia, Singapore, India and China (although conceded that the U.S. and China have a “complex relationship.”)

She acknowledged the U.S. “can’t impose its values on other countries,” but that some of those values, such as human rights, are universal. She mentioned the human rights violations in Burma, North Korea and China, calling for a "watchful vigilance."

 “Asia can count on us,” says Clinton. This May, Clinton launched the “100,000 Strong: U.S. Students in China” initiative during a ceremony with Premier Wen Jiabao cabinet member, State Councilor Liu Yandong in Beijing. The program hopes to encourage student exchanges between the U.S. and China, with an end goal to have 100,000 American students studying in China over the next four years.

Clinton wrapped up her talk by highlighting upcoming international summits, including the Oct. 30 East Asia Summit, which marks the first time the U.S. was asked to participate. Next November, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit will be held in Hawaii. "Our aim is to help APEC evolve into an important, results-oriented forum."