The United States is committed to engagement with all states, including traditional allies, rising powers and potential new partners, and states with whom we disagree. The Secretary explained our approach in her address to the Council on Foreign Relations on July 15, 2009. She indicated we would "lead with diplomacy, even in the cases of adversaries or nations with whom we disagree. We believe that doing so advances our interests and puts us in a better position to lead with our other partners."
Engagement with rising powers and new partners has delivered tangible results. We have opened and deepened our conversations with many important new partners.
The establishment of a Bilateral Presidential Commission with Russia, as part of our efforts to "reset" relations, has expanded our engagement to a broader range of issues, including collaboration on child protection and anti-trafficking; furthering disarmament and strengthening nuclear security; promoting energy efficiency and healthy lifestyles; advancing cooperation on innovation and entrepreneurship; and, increasing people-to-people contacts through educational and cultural exchanges, and sports diplomacy.
Our Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China has facilitated whole-of-government engagement on issues ranging from economic policy to security challenges. Our outreach to a range of states in the Near East and North Africa has afforded new cooperation, such as a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on freedom of expression, jointly sponsored by the United States and Egypt.
We have also engaged with both Iran and North Korea. In October 2009, Under Secretary Burns held the highest-level talks with Iranian officials in decades during meetings in Switzerland. In December 2009, Ambassador Bosworth traveled to Pyongyang for three days of talks with North Korean officials. Engagement with states with whom we disagree has delivered in two key areas. First, by talking with governments with whom we disagree, we have gained critical insight into their interests, incentives, and goals. Those insights have enhanced our understanding of those governments, our ability to influence them, and, ultimately, the collective potential of the international community to change their behavior. Second, where dialogue alone does not change a state's behavior, our willingness to engage with governments with whom we disagree makes it far easier for us to bring together a wide range of partners to exert collective pressure when necessary. Many of our key partners want to know that we are willing to give dialogue and diplomacy our full support before supporting our efforts to increase pressure on Iran when Iran does not reciprocate. For example, passage of tough sanctions against North Korea contained in UNSCR 1874 was made easier by our willingness to engage with North Korea concerning its denuclearization.
With respect to states with whom we disagree, our expectations for engagement are realistic. We recognize that engagement alone is unlikely to immediately alter a government's behavior. Likewise, we recognize that engagement cannot be open-ended. It is, nonetheless, a critical element of a broader strategy that involves both a willingness to talk and the will to bring a diverse range of partners together to exert collective pressure where necessary.