Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton in Japan

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 9, 2012
Secretary Clinton With Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba July 8, 2012

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the July 8 Conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo, Japan, where she reaffirmed our enduring commitment to the Afghan people, met with Afghan civil society leaders, and joined the international community in supporting Afghanistan's development needs.

Building on the decisions made in Bonn and Chicago, as well as the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, the United States joined over 70 partners in Tokyo to underline our continuing support for Afghanistan's efforts to strengthen itself and provide a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for its people through the conclusion of the security transition in 2014 and into the Transformation Decade. In Tokyo, the international community and Afghanistan agreed to a different kind of partnership built on the principles of mutual accountability. In the Tokyo Framework, the government of Afghanistan and the international community agreed to a list of priority reforms, on important steps to improve the effectiveness of international assistance, and how we will collectively review progress moving forward. The international community made clear its intent to support Afghanistan, while recognizing that sustained financial support is only possible, and only responsible, if Afghanistan successfully implements its program of necessary governance and economic reforms and maintains a political system that reflects its pluralistic society, including the equality of men and women, and remains firmly founded in the Afghan Constitution. You can read more about the conference here.

Capitalizing on the opportunity afforded by the Tokyo Conference, Secretary Clinton, Afghanistan Foreign Minister Rassoul, and Pakistan Foreign Minister Khar convened the first ministerial-level Core Group meeting and reaffirmed that the purpose of the Core Group is to enhance cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States to support an Afghan peace and reconciliation process.

While in Japan, Secretary Clinton also had discussions with Japanese government counterparts on bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern. In remarks with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, Secretary Clinton said:

"...We also discussed the opportunity to strengthen our economic relationship, and the United States welcomes Japan's interest in the Trans Pacific Partnership, which we think will connect economies throughout the region, making trade and investment easier, spurring exports, creating jobs. The TPP is just one element of our increased focus on the Asia Pacific, but it is important that we recognize that the Japanese-American relationship is really at the cornerstone of everything we are doing in the Asia Pacific. We are not only treaty allies; we are friends and partners with common interests and shared values.

"When I leave Japan, I will be traveling to Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, where I will deliver a common message: The United States is a partner in the Pacific working not only to promote security, but also to create greater economic opportunity, support democratic reform, spark innovation, and strengthen the ties between and among our people."

One example of the connections between the American and Japanese people is the Tomodachi Initiative, a public-private partnership that supports Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties, and deepen the friendship between the United States and Japan over the long-term.

During her visit to Japan, Secretary Clinton participated in a Tomodachi event at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Tokyo, where she said:

"The United States and Japan are allies. We are partners. But we have a special responsibility to keep creating a better world, not just for ourselves but for those who have so little and who need so much. Today I spent at the Tokyo Conference that the Japanese Government has done an excellent job in preparing and holding today. And Japan has been very generous to Afghanistan, a country far away, over the last 10 years, because there was a commitment by the Japanese Government and people to help someone else in need. And Japan historically has been very generous with aid and support to people who were suffering.

"When the disaster of the earthquake and the tsunami and then the nuclear plant meltdown happened, it would have been very easy for Japan to say we can't continue helping anybody else because we have so many needs ourselves. But as we heard today at the conference, Japan did not stop helping Afghanistan and other people, even while you had to do so much for your own citizens. I think that is the spirit of Tomodachi, and I think Japan has set a great example for the world."

Secretary Clinton is on travel to France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, and Israel. You can follow her trip on www.state.gov.

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