Clinton embarks on wide-ranging Asia trip
August 30th, 2012
07:57 PM ET

Clinton embarks on wide-ranging Asia trip

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was heading to Asia on Thursday for a wide-ranging trip that will take her from the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean to China and Russia farther north.

The State Department says the week-and-a-half-long trip is intended to emphasize a strong, long-term U.S. focus on the entire Asia-Pacific region.

"It is a very long, very diverse trip, but the concurrent themes that run through this is a strong, determined effort on the part of the United States to underscore our rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific region, to make clear that we're here to stay, that we are engaged on an array of issues - strategic, political, commercial," a senior State Department official told reporters ahead of the trip.

"It spans not just Asia, not just Northeast Asia but Southeast Asia and, increasingly, the Pacific," the official said.

Clinton's first stop will be the Cook Islands, host of this year's Pacific Islands Forum, one of the region's most significant political institutions. She plans to talk with leaders there about regional challenges with health issues and climate change, as well as commercial interests and problems like illegal fishing.

After that, Clinton plans to head to Indonesia, which is emerging as a major player in the ASEAN, or Association of Southeast Asian Nations, regional forum, and to Beijing, where the official said a full range of U.S.-China issues will be on the table - including developments on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.

Among the other items on the Beijing agenda may be the dispute that flared earlier this month over the South China Sea.

Countries like Vietnam and the Philippines lay claim to some areas of the South China Sea, but China has declared "indisputable sovereignty" over all of it. When the U.S. State Department earlier this month urged more Chinese diplomacy in the dispute, China blasted Washington for confounding the issue.

"I think one of the messages that we seek to carry on this trip is that it is absolutely essential that cooler heads prevail in every capital," the senior State Department official said.

The official said the best place for dialogue on the South China Sea is between China and the ASEAN forum.

Clinton may also have to deal with another long-running maritime dispute, this one involving a group of islands in the East China Sea claimed by China, Japan and Taiwan. Furious anti-Japan protests erupted across China this month when a Japanese group sailed to one of the disputed islets and symbolically waved Japanese flags.

The State Department official said the United States is ready to play a "steady outside role" when it comes to such decades-long territorial disputes in Asia.

After Beijing, Clinton plans a commercially focused visit to East Timor, visiting a coffee plantation to highlight the decade-old nation's economic development.

A brief visit to Brunei will follow, where Clinton plans to "renew friendships" while sitting down for dinner with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The official said Brunei has been a very helpful partner to the United States in the Middle East and with educational initiatives, and that it seeks more commercial collaboration with the United States.

Closing out Clinton's trip will be a visit to Russky Island off Vladivostok, Russia, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum. In particular, Clinton plans to discuss intellectual property issues and hold meetings on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade group that came up during last year's APEC summit in Hawaii, the official said.

Japan, Canada and Mexico were among the nations that last year expressed interest in the partnership.

Clinton is also expected to talk with her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, about issues including Syria, Iran and the Balkans, the official said.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Politics
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Nittany Lion


    August 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    I just heard recently that Condi Rice said that she was more effective in the position then Hillary.Boy after she crawled out from under Bushs desk who knew where she was,she sure as heck didn't ,did she!!She didn't do squat on any foriegn policy plans,republicans tell me one because like Bush she was hardly around was she!!Bush took off 477 days off on his first two years,that's why people called him the ghost president because he was never around ,was that the reason of his effectiveness?Maybe that was the republicans plan,out of sight,out of mind,he most certainly was the latter...But Rice didn't help anything either,she was Bushs go to gal when he needed a pep talk to reassure him he's number one because Cheney wouldn't do it ,republicans know that too!!If you want future problems politically let Condi keep running her mouth,it'll be nice connecting her to your past Bushs debacles ,ya know she helped,ya can't say otherwise!!

    August 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Its rather late in the day. The emerging China-Russia alliance and China's increasing influence not only in this region but wherever oil and other natural resources are to be found, has been consolidating while we remained focused on our ill conceived disastrous wars. And strategically unrewarding, failed policy in the M.East.
    Our military incursions and widening ring of bases has made Russia wary and reemerge as a force and China to boost its military prowess.

    August 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    To the detriment of America's interest @Pete our foreign policy hasn't changed much from the Bush-Cheney era of insanity.
    President Obama's stated changes never took shape on the ground.

    August 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hope

    Who... What?



    Why is she getting all cozy with our enemies?

    Amerika – Where you can try to buy anything...

    Even Friends!


    No stop in South Korea?


    August 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. -Fat Racist- (R-Ohio)"Wahhhh!"

    After she gets back she's going give the POTUS a little Kung Pow!

    August 31, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hope

    Yeah, right, Jeff...

    She's probably got freetrade agreements, Trader.

    August 31, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hope


    I don't belong in any community safety programs...

    Doesn't that sound a lot like a homeowners association?... Neighborhood Watch? You get my drift, right. I, personally, care about everybody on the list, but, it sounds corny.

    I opt out... I love freedom.

    August 31, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Besides... they broke the mold when they made me.

      I Stand Alone and... rules are made to be broken, imo.


      It's every man for himself, woman, too.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Happy Trolling... Jeff Frank, or whatever you call yourself, at the time!


      August 31, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Jeff Frank isn't a troll: he plainly states his 3 different names he posts under...
      I will agree they broke the mold with you, however, lol.
      I don't know why he started that list, but I do know *he's* not our prolific troll.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hope


    That's the word...


    {note to myself}

    August 31, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. allthingsgeography1

    Reblogged this on All Things Geography.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hayek

    How about studying some of that Chinese capitalism and then teaching it to 0bama. Just whatever you did with Arab Spring, don't do anymore of that. It worked out so well, didn't it?

    August 31, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Shawn from bk

    our president is doin a great JOB BUSH,the r Tteason this country jack up blame him

    August 31, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Manager from Burger King

      Shawn, are the restrooms clean like I told you? Get back to work, stop blaming Bush, and NO 0bamacare did not legalize medicinal marijuana during your breaks.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Your burgers suck and they lead to obesity.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manager from Burger King

      Shawn made them. Blame him.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frieda


      August 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hot young intern

    Bill sent her away so she wouldn't cut into his convention action.

    August 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hope

    It's cool...

    I'm outta here.


    It was fun... but, I don't waste my time with lunatics, and don't care about your troll hunt. But, good luck... LOL!

    August 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      @ banasy©

      Let the Celebrations begin!

      August 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |