U.S. Seeks Cooperation in Asia-Pacific
Washington - The global architecture "is in need of some renovation" as emerging nations, such as those in the Asia-Pacific region, become the "key drivers of global politics and economics," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told future leaders of the U.S. Navy.
Speaking April 10 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Clinton said "the shape of the global economy, the advance of democracy and human rights, and our hopes for a 21st century less bloody than the 20th century all hinge to a large degree on what happens in the Asia Pacific." She said the United States seeks cooperation, not conflict, with the region's leading power, China.
Through mature and effective global institutions, disputes can be settled peacefully and nations can be mobilized into common action and "work toward rules and norms that help manage relations between peoples, markets, and nations, and establish security arrangements that provide stability and build trust," she said.
"We are not seeking new enemies. Today's China is not the Soviet Union. We are not on the brink of a new Cold War in Asia," Clinton said.
"Geopolitics today cannot afford to be a zero-sum game. A thriving China is good for America and a thriving America is good for China, so long as we both thrive in a way that contributes to the regional and global good," she said, adding that "a peaceful, prosperous Asia Pacific" requires "an effective U.S.-China relationship."
In less than 35 years, the United States and China have seen their trading relations and people-to-people connections expand, transforming from "two nations with hardly any ties to speak of to being thoroughly, inescapably interdependent," she said.
In this new era, seeing the rise of China and others on the global stage, "a just, open, and sustainable international order is still required to promote global peace and prosperity," Clinton said, and although "the geometry of global power may have changed, American leadership is as essential as ever."
Clinton said the challenge of North Korea's threat to launch a new long-range missile, after having given signals that it is willing to engage with the international community over its nuclear weapons program, "will give credence to the view that North Korean leaders see improved relations with the outside world as a threat to the existence of their system," she said, warning that "recent history strongly suggests that additional provocations may follow. "
But leaders in Pyongyang need to realize that "true security will only come from living up to commitments and obligations first and foremost to their own people," she said.
By contrast, recent developments in Burma offer "a meaningful opportunity for economic and political progress" as an example for the Asia-Pacific region, she said.
"We have to continue to have the patience and persistence to nurture the flickers of progress that I saw when I visited Burma, the first visit by a secretary of state in 50 years," she said, celebrating the fact that in recent elections Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was voted into parliament.
The rules and institutions that were designed for an earlier age in global politics "may not be suited for today," she said, and the United States and other countries now need to "work together to adapt and update them and even to create new institutions where necessary."
But at the same time, "there are principles that are universal and that must be defended: fundamental freedoms and human dignity; an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system; the peaceful resolution of disputes; and respect for the territorial integrity of states," she said.
"These are norms that benefit everyone and that help all people and nations live and trade in peace," and they have "helped fuel, not foil, the rise of China and other emerging powers such as India and Indonesia," she said, because they and other countries "have benefited from the security it provides, the markets it opens and the trust it fosters. And as a consequence, they have a real stake in the success of that system."
The historical record of the United States "may not be perfect," Clinton said, but it still shows that it has consistently tried to advance not only the interests of Americans, but also "the greater good" for the world, she said.
"It's 2012, and a strong America is welcoming new powers into an international system designed to prevent global conflict," Clinton said.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. )