"I have become fond of saying that America is as much a transpacific power as it is a transatlantic one," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote yesterday in her first blog post on Dipnote, the State Department blog, as she kicked off her first major overseas trip.
Secretary Clinton is in Tokyo today, the first stop on her weeklong tour of Asia, which also includes stops in Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and China.
A few days before departing for her trip, Secretary Clinton visited the New York headquarters of the Asia Society, a non-profit organization that works to improve relations and understanding between the U.S. and Asian countries. She laid out the many common challenges we face and, in our interconnected world, the need to confront them cooperatively – including climate change, common military threats, and the global economic crisis:
"Our relationships with each of the countries I’m visiting, and with all of our partners and allies throughout Asia and the Pacific, are indispensable to our security and prosperity. When we consider the gravest global threats confronting us – financial instability and economic dislocation, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, food security and health emergencies, climate change and energy vulnerability, stateless criminal cartels and human exploitation – it is clear that these threats do not stop at borders or oceans. Pandemics threaten school children in Jakarta and Jacksonville. Global financial crises shrink bank accounts in Sapporo and San Francisco. The dangers posed by nuclear proliferation create worries in Guangzhou as well as Washington. And climate change affects the livelihoods of farmers in China’s Hunan province and in America’s Midwest. These dangers affect us all, and therefore we all must play a role in addressing them.
"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."