Trip Information Page | Interactive Travel MapUpdate: Secretary Clinton was scheduled to travel to the Pacific January 11-19, 2010. However, due to the devastating earthquake in Haiti and its severe aftermath, Secretary Clinton announced on January 13 that she would return immediately to Washington, DC.
About the Author: Kurt Campbell serves as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
This week, Secretary Clinton will be visiting the Asia-Pacific, her fourth trip to the region since she was sworn in as Secretary of State almost a year ago. We just landed in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the Secretary will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Okada, have briefings at the United States Pacific Command and give a major policy speech at the East-West Center, which commemorates its 50th anniversary this year.
Following her stop in Hawaii, Secretary Clinton will then make her first visit to the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea. In Papua New Guinea, the Secretary will have an opportunity to view some projects that are involved with sustaining one of the most diverse biological habitats on the planet. And she'll have a chance to meet with the Papua New Guinea's leaders, the prime minister and the foreign minister, as well as the governor-general.
When we say "the Asia-Pacific,” sometimes the Pacific does not get as much attention as it should. One of the efforts of the Obama Administration has been to step up our engagement in the Pacific Islands. When Secretary Clinton was in New York for the UN General Assembly, she had a chance to meet with Pacific leaders as part of this overall effort, and we plan to ramp up our cooperation on climate change and renewable energy.
After Papua New Guinea, she'll go to New Zealand. The United States and New Zealand are working more closely together in a range of areas. We coordinate on our strategies for aid and assistance and the promotion of democracy in the Asia-Pacific region and particularly in the Pacific. More recently, New Zealand has been actively engaged on the ground in Afghanistan.
From New Zealand, the Secretary will travel to Australia. One of the things that we've seen, in recent years, is that Australia has become one of the closest American allies and a valuable partner on a range of issues, not just traditional security issues. The purpose of this trip is our yearly meeting, which we call AUSMIN or the AUSMIN ministerial, in which Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton meet with their counterparts in Canberra, Australia to review aspects of our very strong alliance. Secretary Clinton also plans to make her first trip to Melbourne where she will participate in several public events.
As I reflect on this trip, I think one of the things that we've seen over the course of the last year is President Obama and Secretary Clinton very much committed to stepping up our game in the Asia-Pacific region. We want to send a message that this critical period in Asia's history is understood in Washington and that we are committed to working closely not just with our partners and our allies and our friends but with others in the Asian-Pacific to underscore our deep commitment to this region.