Clinton pledges to strengthen Asia-Pacific relationships
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off a 10-day trip through the Asia-Pacific region today with a speech at the East-West Center, during which she pledged more work to strengthen relationships in the region — and to build new ones.
“The United States is back in Asia,” she said. “I want to underscore that we are back to stay.”
Clinton added that the United States is “inextricably linked” to Asia and the Pacific.
Clinton delivered the policy address on the U.S. vision for Asia-Pacific multilateral engagement at the East-West Center's Imin Center at 2 p.m.
During a question-and-answer session, Clinton also addressed the upcoming APEC conference in Honolulu next year.
She said the gathering of political leaders from across the region will showcase the Islands as a “model for the imagination, what could be in the 21st century in many of the countries that will be visiting.”
She added, “The opportunity for Hawaii, which is such as meeting place for East and West, is just extraordinary. You have a lot of very smart experienced leaders ... and experts in this state who can put together a program that not only showcases the culture, the history, but the diversity.”
The speech was not open to the public.
About 150 people were invited to the gathering, including Gov. Linda Lingle, former Hawaii governors, U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, and state lawmakers.
Clinton will leave the Islands for Australia tomorrow.
The East-West Center is a research organization founded 50 years ago by Congress to promote relations with Pacific nations.
Clinton, who arrived on Oahu yesterday afternoon, also visited Naval Station Pearl Harbor today and presented a wreath aboard the USS Arizona Memorial.
She was escorted by Lt. Gen. Daniel J. Darnell, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.
This is the first stop of a 10-day trip for Clinton that will take her to Australia, New Zealand and Papua, New Guinea.
This week’s trip is meant to strengthen U.S. relations with key partner nations in the western Pacific.