Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hillary at the Asia Society: We Are Ready to Listen

Secretary Clinton was at the Asia Society in New York yesterday and made this remarks (47:16) on "U.S. and Asia: Two Transatlantic and Transpacific Powers." Some excerpts below from that speech. Read the whole thing here:

Today, it is tempting to focus our attention on the tensions and perils of our interdependence, but I prefer to view our connectedness as an opportunity for dynamic and productive partnerships that can address both the challenge and the promise of this new century.

And that’s what I want to talk about today, how the United States is committed to a new era of diplomacy and development in which we will use smart power to work with historic allies and emerging nations to find regional and global solutions to common global problems.


So I leave for Asia ready to deliver a message about America’s desire for more rigorous and persistent commitment and engagement, ready to work with leaders in Asia to resolve the economic crisis that threatens the Pacific as much as any other region, ready to strengthen our historic partnerships and alliances while developing deeper bonds with all nations, ready to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Asia, ready to expand our combined efforts on 21st century challenges like climate change and clean energy, pandemics, and income inequality.


And we are ready to listen. Actively listening to our partners isn’t just a way of demonstrating respect. It can also be a source of ideas to fuel our common efforts. Too often in the recent past, our government has acted reflexively before considering available facts and evidence, or hearing the perspectives of others. But President Obama and I are committed to a foreign policy that is neither impulsive nor ideological, one that values what others have to say. And when we have differences, which we will, we will discuss them frankly and specify those which limit our capacity to cooperate.


Even with our differences, the United States will remain committed to pursuing a positive relationship with China, one that we believe is essential to America’s future peace, progress, and prosperity.

An ancient Chinese story tells of warring feudal states, whose soldiers find themselves on a boat together crossing a wide river in a storm. Instead of fighting one another, they work together and survive. Now, from this story comes a Chinese aphorism that says, “When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully together.” The wisdom of that aphorism must continue to guide us today.

She will will travel to Asia this weekend, departing Washington, DC on February 15. Secretary Clinton will visit Japan (February 16-18), Indonesia (February 18-19), the Republic of Korea (February 19-20), and China (February 20-22).

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