Secretary Clinton: U.S. Strengthens Pacific Partnerships

February 16, 2009
Dignitaries Greet Secretary Clinton Upon Her Arrival to Tokyo

About the Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton serves as the U.S. Secretary of State.

I am delighted to post my first entry to the DipNote community upon arriving in Tokyo, the first stop on my first trip as Secretary of State.

In addition to Tokyo, I will also be visiting Jakarta, Seoul, and Beijing this week where I hope to demonstrate America's sincere intention to develop broader and deeper relationships with nations throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Over the past 30 years, I've had the privilege of traveling to a very different Asia. Today, Asia is on the cutting edge of so many of the world's innovations and trends. In making my first trip as Secretary of State to Asia, I hope to signal that we need strong partners across the Pacific, just as we need strong partners across the Atlantic. I have become fond of saying that America is as much a transpacific power as it is a transatlantic one.

The Obama Administration believes that the futures of the United States, countries in Asia and around the world are increasingly inextricably linked. As you may know, I spoke from the Asia Society in New York City on Friday afternoon where I outlined the opportunities that I see for stronger bilateral, regional, and global cooperation and ongoing collaboration to deal with the economic crisis, to strengthen our alliances, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to build on efforts to face challenges like climate change, clean energy, pandemic healthcare crises and so much more.

As I've said before, America cannot solve the problems of the world alone, and the world cannot solve them without America. A Chinese aphorism says, "When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully together." The wisdom of that aphorism must guide us today.

During my travels, I intend to take advantage of new social media tools so the State Department can share its diplomatic work with a broader audience. I invite you to use these tools and become a part of this conversation. Be sure and visit DipNote throughout the week for updates from the trip. If you have questions for me during my trip and beyond – send me a question through the newly launched Ask the Secretary feature at



Minnesota, USA
February 25, 2009

Lauri R. in Minnesota writes:

Dear Madame Secretary,

Thank you for your leadership and all of the work you do.

I was proud to see the news footage of you during your trip. Keep up the good work.

Nevada, USA
February 25, 2009

Kenneth in Nevada writes:

With current global challenges for a wide variety of peoples, I believe that finding commonality with all is the mission objective. From Secratary Clinton to the biggest underdog. Forein relations can be improved with social media tools. The very fact that all people are evolving, utilizeing past and future progression in Astronomy,Geology,Oceanography,History,Religion,sociology,politics; Is my basic example. The world wide common goals create the opportunity to bridge these necessary gaps. The examples of my Ideas cannot be explored in this forum. My Ideas are vast, specific to all roles of all people. Apllying my theory of magnatism, there should allways be commonality identifyed,analysis, subsequent action, and resoloution. I have vast knowlege of challenges home and abroad, with limited education, and most importantly, my interest and role in bridgeing these gaps peacfully. Given the opportunity I would offer my ideas and self to help the ever challenging tasks for peace,working relations, and overall progression of the world.

Ras B.
United Kingdom
February 26, 2009

Ras in the United Kingdom writes:

....A Chinese aphorism says, "When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully together." The wisdom of that aphorism must guide us today.
this is really great....

... general Omar Ahmed Hassan al-bashir is is a close friend to China, and China and Sudan are in a common boat, while we the refugees and the poor on an other boat...My dear lady those leaders are killers.

Connecticut, USA
February 26, 2009

Michael in Connecticut writes:

I am proud of you Madam Secretary. You've been an Attorney, First Lady (AK,U.S.), Senator (NY -- my home state, voted for you in 2000), Presidential Nominee, and now Secretary of State. What a journey it's been. You leave behind you a proud legacy and you have blazed a trail that many while admire over the course of history. You make every American proud as you continue on as an American servant. Thank you for serving us all.

Bob M.
Nevada, USA
March 1, 2009

Bob M. in Nevada writes:

Madam Secretary,

I've been a supporter for many years. I am proud to know you are representing our country from the department of state. My concern surrounds the nuclear activities of various countries. This situation is far to similar to that of an earlier time, only more frightening. In what way can ordinary citizens (I admit that my technology skills are lacking.) of many countries can converse regarding hot topics? I see this as the next courtroom of public opinion.

Best wishes Mrs. Clinton.

Mary F.
March 5, 2009

Mary F. in Canada writes:

Hello Madam Secretary or more commonly known to me as Mrs. C. What a wonderful surprise to find your website, I thought I would never be able to e-mail you again. I heard President Obama tell me to tell him and I couldn't get through on his website so I will tell you. I thought I told you along time ago, if the countries of the world killed every hound dog of the afghan breed the conflict in the middle east would be all over, as my Dad would say "Mark my words" It is the ugliest excuse of a dog I have ever seen and the American troops have been wearing what is called dog tags since my cousins from Buffalo and I last got to-gether when we were elementary school students. Let commmon sense prevail, human beings created in the image and likeness of God are more precious than any hound dog so when is something going to be done about it. I e-mailed our Federal Member of government with the same scenario yesterday. Well I hear you giving em the word so I will sign off. By for now. Respectfully the above.

Oklahoma, USA
March 7, 2009

Ruth in Oklahoma writes:

Madame Secretary,

As someone who has been to China and lived there a short year I realize that during this time of transition in that country it is difficult to address issues in public that many here seem to not quite understand. In China to get anything done on human rights you will have to show respect first and make gains second. That is the way it is there. The Chinese people are fiercely proud of the gains their country has made in the last few years and will quickly point out that they are working very hard on humans rights issues and have made gains. They will also quickly point out the many violations in your own country of which they are keenly aware.

I used to believe in a more forward approach on this issue with China but, having lived there now I have reconsidered and believe you are doing the right thing. China will only retaliate more if you go too far in public with them and too far in China is any disrespect at all. Also, our economy is in so much trouble right now and so dependent on a good relationship developing with China that it is better for everyone to be diplomatic.

Yes, China has relationships with others we do not condone or care for. We are much more likely to have a good influence on China's future decisions if we open the doors even wider in our relationship with them. I saw astounding changes there. The Chinese people do not want to turn back the clock. They are enjoying more freedoms than ever before and are a diverse and modern society. I trust they will prevail with our help and with your leadership in ever more changes in that country with regards to human rights. I know that is your goal.

I am so glad to know that you are our Secretary of State. These situations are in good hands and progress will be made as you are so well respected in that country. Many young Chinese women spoke to me about how hopeful they were that you were running for president! Their enthusiasm and spark for justice showed me that our view of the Chinese as having no power or fire for human rights is wrong headed. They indeed risk more and care more in some ways than we can ever understand in a free republic.

God Bless you and keep you Madame Secretary and thank you for your efforts around the world on our behalf.

Ruth F.

April 15, 2009

Will in Australia writes:

So encouraging to see the partnership stance taken by the new Government. I think it bodes well for the future of Global relations.

Oklahoma, USA
April 20, 2009

Michael in Oklahoma writes:

Glad your are making your way around Asia for relations. We do need this. On a home note. I was layed off my job in the oilfield a while back. This is scary when this field is laying off in such a fashion. I am doing ok and I am really not that upset with this for reasons I will discuss. The reason I worked such a harsh job is to provide enough money for my wife to go to school. What I saw being done to the enviroment is something that can't be undone. If you only had a clue of the harsh chemicals that are being released into are water supplies by spills or intentionally. Sorry, can't spell very well. Anyway, my point is why do we continue to play with oil and natural gas. Simple water has all the power we need for vehicals and energy. How long will we play this game and destroy our enviroment. We can let the other countries go the oil route and we can set an example by doing change that will save us and our economy. I know people think I am crazy, but think of what a future would be like without oil. Our whole world revolves around it, we are at war because of it, and we risk world war because of it. Who will have the courage to stand up against the oil companies. I mean before I was layed off the oil companies I worked for were shutting in their wells to drive the price of oil and natural gas back up. HHO I think is the split that could fuel everything. If no one has heard of it, google it. It is a proven technology that has been kept quiet. HOW LONG TO WE LIVE A LIE AND ALLOW THESE PUNK OIL COMPANIES TO CONTROL THE WORLD?

June 29, 2009

Mike in Canada writes:

Glad you are making your way throughout asia. It's key we build our relationships with them.

Hawaii, USA
July 2, 2009

Skyfox in Hawaii writes:

I would like to know why the FSOT was scheduled during the King Kamehameha celebration weekend in Hawaii. Was this an unintentional faux pas made by DOS testing reps., or was it an oversight by ACT? Either way, I felt it needed to be discussed. The lack of cultural sensitivity may be construed by others as a direct insensitivity by departmental officials. What if the test were held on MLK day, et alii?

I would like to believe that the State Department is a little more sensitive to cultural issues, especially in dealing with cultural issues inside our own country in the for testing schedules, especially as this is a direct reflection of potential bureaucratic insensitivity towards even outside cultures.

As I had to fly to an entirely other island for testing (there are no testing centers on the Big Island), this was an added hardship that Honolulu residents did not have to factor in. I had to board two cats, make hotel and flight reservations, find the location of the testing center, etc. As I am not thoroughly acquainted with HNL, my taxi driver tried to take me to the wrong location over 15 minutes from the actually test center, even after I was specific in my directions. I hope this would be factored into the overall testing equation, as those from HNL have some distinct advantages.

My biggest concern, again, was the fact that the test was administered on the weekend of a such culturally significant state holiday, which to me warranted a departmental policy concern and matter worthy of attention.

As I am part Native American Indian, I especially feel a sensitivity for and a synchronicity with many Hawaiian people and their culture. I do hope the department considers significant state holidays and the coincidence of scheduled testing that might otherwise be administered a week or two, prior or post significant state holidays.

California, USA
July 7, 2009

Eileen in California writes:

Perhaps the Secretary can see past China, Japan and Indonesia in order to recognize the other 17 Pacific Island Nations that have been summarily neglected by U.S. diplomacy in the past 30 years. We need to validate and support the Pacific Island Nations especially in these tough economic times. We need to partner with New Zealand and Australia in providing guidance support and aid to these countries. Please don't forget to visit: the Solomon Islands, PNG, Palau, FSM, Tonga, Cook and all of the othre true "Pacific Nations" that are anxious to come to the Partners table.

July 31, 2009

Henk in Belgium writes:

It is indeed important to also partner with the other countries (Pacific Island Nations). It's not because their economy doesn't grow as fast as those of China and Japan that you have to neglect them. Some of these countries are in need and are desperate for some guidance.

Henk (from Belgium)



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