On Thursday, November 10, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, site of the APEC Leaders' Meeting November 8-13. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton outlined a vision for "America's Pacific Century." The Secretary said:
"...From the very beginning, the Obama Administration embraced the importance of the Asia Pacific region. So many global trends point to Asia. It's home to nearly half the world's population, it boasts several of the largest and fastest-growing economies and some of the world's busiest ports and shipping lanes, and it also presents consequential challenges such as military buildups, concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, natural disasters, and the world's worst levels of greenhouse gas emissions. It is becoming increasingly clear that in the 21st century, the world's strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas. And one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decades will be to lock in a substantially increased investment -- diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise -- in this region.
"Across the United States Government, under President Obama's leadership, our diplomats, military leaders, and trade and development experts are hard at work reinforcing our relationships in the region to set us on a course for broad and lasting progress.
"Events elsewhere in the world have also lined up in a way that helps makes this possible. The war in Iraq is winding down. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan. After a decade in which we invested immense resources in these two theaters, we have reached a pivot point. We now can redirect some of those investments to opportunities and obligations elsewhere. And Asia stands out as a region where opportunities abound.
"We have a model for what we and our partners in the region are working to achieve. It is what the United States and our partners in Europe achieved together in the past 50 years. The 20th century saw the creation of a comprehensive transatlantic network of institutions and relationships. Its goals were to strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and defend our collective security. And it has paid remarkable dividends, in Europe itself, in our thriving two-way trade and our investment, and in places like Libya and Afghanistan. It has also proven to be absolutely critical in dealing with countries like Iran. The transatlantic system is and always will be a central pillar of America's engagement with the world.
"But today, there is a need for a more dynamic and durable transpacific system, a more mature security and economic architecture that will promote security, prosperity, and universal values, resolve differences among nations, foster trust and accountability, and encourage effective cooperation on the scale that today's challenges demand.
"And just as the United States played a central role in shaping that architecture across the Atlantic -- to ensure that it worked, for us and for everyone else -- we are now doing the same across the Pacific. The 21st century will be America's Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region.
"Now this goal is not ours alone. It is one that many across the region hold. I have heard from many different counterparts across the Asia Pacific an urgent desire for American leadership, which has brought benefits to this region already for decades. The United States is proud of our long history as a Pacific nation and a resident diplomatic, military, and economic power. And we are here to stay."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.