Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, briefed the press today on Secretary Clinton's upcoming travel to the Asia Pacific region. Assistant Secretary Campbell said, "... it is Secretary Clinton's sixth major trip to the region; seventh if you include the shorter trip that we took to Hawaii and then had to turn back for the Haiti tragedy last year. This trip has many stops and it is intended to send a strong message of U.S. engagement on a range of issues -- strategic, political, multilateral. We'll be dealing with some of the key institutions that are evolving in Asia and also economic and trade as well.
"Secretary Clinton sets off tomorrow morning. Her first stop will be in Hawaii where she will have some preliminary discussions with our commanders in Hawaii -- Admiral Walsh, CINCPACFLT, and Admiral Willard, our Commander of U.S. Forces in the Pacific. She will be meeting later tomorrow afternoon for a substantial intense interaction with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Maehara from Japan. At that session, we will review all aspects of our bilateral relationship, every -- all the areas of coordination and consultation ranging from recent security developments to prospects on the economic and trade front.
"...The following day, Secretary Clinton will be giving a major address on U.S. strategy, accomplishments, and the way forward in the Asia-Pacific region....This speech will talk about areas where we intend to focus our activities in the upcoming period, including high-level diplomacy with our allies and partners, the preparations for President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington in the early part of 2011, steps to prepare for both the G-20 in South Korea and APEC in Japan, and also recognition that at the economic level 2011 is emerging as a very consequential, in many respects, make-or-break year for the United States.
"...In Guam, the Secretary will meet with U.S. forces and troops that are stationed in Guam or are moving through. She will also have a bilateral meeting with the governor and also representatives from Guam there on the base. From there, we will proceed directly to Hanoi. In Hanoi, the Secretary will represent the President -- special representative to the President -- to the East Asia summit meeting that is underway. Secretary Clinton will make a presentation as a guest of the chair on October 30th.
"...From Hanoi, we will travel to Hainan Island, where Secretary Clinton will have a meeting with her counterpart in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, State Councilor Dai Bingguo. At that session, we will review the various issues in the U.S.-China relationship, make sure that we're making adequate preparations for both the upcoming G-20 meeting, APEC, and particularly for the session that will take place in January when Hu Jintao will visit the United States, or in early part of 2011.
"From there, we will proceed to Cambodia. In Cambodia, Secretary Clinton will do a variety of stops, both to highlight civil society projects, other issues in which the United States is deeply engaged, like the Peace Corps. We will have high-level meetings with the foreign minister, with the prime minister. We will have an opportunity to review the tragedies that have befallen Cambodia in the past through the visits to the genocide museum, perhaps interactions with counterparts on the ongoing trial there about the Khmer Rouge period.
"At every stop, the Secretary will highlight both political and economic interactions, a desire to promote U.S. exports and see a more forward engagement on economic matters.
"...From Cambodia, we will go to Malaysia -- again, both these countries, the first visit for Secretary Clinton. In Malaysia, the Secretary will have an opportunity to interact with Prime Minister Najib and his key cabinet on a range of issues. Few countries have come as far in terms of our bilateral relationship as the one between the United States and Malaysia; enormous progress on a range of issues -- proliferation issues, political coordination, and strategic dialogue. And I think you will see the flourishing U.S.-Malaysian relationship on full display.
"From Malaysia, the Secretary will make a number of stops that we, unfortunately, had to cancel after the tragic earthquake in Haiti forced her to postpone that trip, so we will be stopping in Papua New Guinea. Obviously, Papua New Guinea is a -- there's been enormous petro finds, natural gas and the like, but there are important issues on the island of biodiversity, issues associated with the status of women, and also questions associated about how the current government plans to manage this tremendous windfall that will be coming to the people of Papua New Guinea through this massive find of petroleum and natural gas.
"From Papua New Guinea, we will proceed directly to New Zealand. The Secretary, while in New Zealand, will reaffirm, really, a recommitment to a relationship that has not received as much attention over the course of the last 25 years between the United States.
"...From there, we will go to Australia -- Australia, our anchor of our relationship in the Pacific, underscoring strong, political, and security ties there. She will be with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for what we call our AUSMIN meetings. There, in Melbourne, she will have an opportunity to interact intensively with new Foreign Minister Rudd and also meet new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, along with Steve Smith the new defense minister for Australia, who she has worked closely with when he was foreign minister. A whole range of issues in terms of coordination on Asia-Pacific security issues, coordination on some trade-related issues, and on issues in South Asia.
"On the way home, we will stop in American Samoa. And here, I just want to underscore that we often talk about stepping up our game in the Asian Pacific region. In that formulation, the A gets a lot more attention than the P, the Pacific. You will note on this particular trip that the Secretary will be stopping in three Pacific islands -- American Samoa for a quick meeting there on the way home.
"...So as you can see, it's a very diverse trip. It covers our engagement with the multilateral institutions of Asia that are evolving -- the great important powers of Northeast Asia, high-level diplomacy with Japan, with China, with South Korea. A lot of the key emerging states in Southeast Asia where we have had, frankly, only infrequent visits in the past, the Secretary very much looking forward to those stops."
You can read the full transcript here.