Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Germany, South Korea, and Japan. In Japan today, Secretary Clinton met with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, and they announced an agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments to create a new public-private partnership to support reconstruction efforts in Japan. Secretary Clinton said:
"I wish to convey in person to the Japanese people my country's admiration for your strength in the face of this multi-dimensional crisis of unprecedented scope. We pledge once again our steadfast support for you and for your future recovery. We are very confident that Japan will demonstrate the resilience that we have seen during this crisis in the months ahead as you resume the very strong position that you hold in the world today."
In South Korea, Secretary Clinton met with President Lee Myung-bak at the Presidential Blue House and with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan to discuss cooperation on regional issues. Secretary Clinton also spoke to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Seoul about the Korea Free Trade Agreement. The Secretary said:
"The U.S. and Korea already have one of the most vibrant trading relationships in the world, one that accounted for nearly $88 billion last year. Korea is our seventh largest trading partner, and the United States is South Korea's third largest trading partner. Our $38.8 billion in exports to Korea already support approximately 230,000 American jobs, a point that I make often with our friends back home.
"But the truth is we know we can do more and create more jobs if we can lower the barriers to trade between our countries. I know that many of you in this audience, American and Korean alike, have long been supporters of KORUS, because you know it will deliver significant benefits. The tariff cuts alone will increase exports of American goods by $11 billion, supporting tens of thousands of American jobs. And the South Korean ministry of knowledge economy estimates that within a decade KORUS alone will grow South Korea's economy by six percent. KORUS also contains very strong protections on labor standards, the environment, intellectual property rights, and regulatory due process. We believe all of those are essential to creating a level playing field and making sure that trade actually delivers for people."
In Germany, Secretary Clinton met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, celebrated the life of Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke at the American Academy in Berlin, and received the Walther Rathenau Prize. The Secretary also attended the NATO Foreign Ministerial. Following the meeting, the Secretary said:
"...We have tackled a full and formidable agenda. On Libya, we built on the momentum created by Wednesday's Contact Group meeting in Doha. We put out a strong statement that clarified the military aims of our mission and carried forward the unified message of Doha. Our European and Arab allies and partners all agree: Attacks on and threats of attacks against the Libyan people must stop; Qadhafi's forces must withdraw from the cities they have forcibly entered and occupied; humanitarian supplies must be allowed to reach civilians, especially those in cities under siege."
Earlier in the week, Secretary Clinton condemned the Qadhafi regime's continued attacks on Libyan civilians, and President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, and President Nicolas Sarkozy released a joint op-ed on "Libya's Pathway to Peace," which appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Le Figaro, and Times of London.
As the week began, the United States welcomed the decisive turn of events in Côte d'Ivoire, as former President Laurent Gbagbo's illegitimate claim to power came to an end. President Obama said, "This represents a victory for the democratic will of the Ivoirian people, who have suffered for far too long through the instability that followed their election. Today, the people of Côte d'Ivoire have the chance to begin to reclaim their country, solidify their democracy, and rebuild a vibrant economy that taps the extraordinary potential of the Ivoirian people."
Under Secretary of State Judith McHale welcomed the establishment of the World Press Freedom Day 2011 website. The United States will be hosting World Press Freedom Day events May 1-3 in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation. This year's World Press Freedom Day focuses on the theme "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers."
Ambassador David Huebner in New Zealand shared how the U.S. Embassy in Wellington is embracing 21st century media tools, and our colleagues at the U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad described how they are using social media to connect with young Indians.
As we celebrated Pan American Week, our colleagues at the U.S. Embassy in Peru told us how they are using hip-hop and graffiti to engage youth, and those at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador described a special event with First Lady Michelle Obama for a group of students at San Salvador's Superate Centers. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Matthew Rooney told us about his travel to Panama, where he met with Central American energy ministers to discuss ways we can advance clean energy and cooperation on climate change issues.
In Washington, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, honored extraordinary women at the 10th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, and celebrated the achievements of the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.
Pacific Partnership 2011 continued on its humanitarian mission to Tonga and demonstrated what can be accomplished when bringing together a team of people representing civilian and military entities from the United States and partner nations.
As the week concluded, we gained insights into Afghanistan's history through cultural diplomacy and remembered a piece of our own history by joining Major League Baseball to honor baseball great Jackie Robinson.