Clinton to leave for third trip to the Asia-Pacific in a year

Beginning with Cook Island,Clinton will travel to Indonesia,China,Timor-Leste and Brunei.

Written by Agencies | Washington | Published: August 29, 2012 11:03:35 am

In her third trip to the region within year,US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will embark on a two-week visit to the Asia Pacific region .

Beginning with Cook Island,Clinton will travel to Indonesia,China,Timor-Leste and Brunei. She will end her trip by leading the US delegation to APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting on September 8-9 in Russia.

“We have been emphasising the pivot to Asia for some time now. The Secretary is personally very invested in that. This is the second or perhaps third trip already this year to Asia,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland,underlining the importance the region holds for the Obama administration.

“The Pacific Islands grouping has been one that she has been working with and nurturing all the way through. She met with the Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers at the UN General Assembly last year. They invited her to be the first Secretary in some years to come to this forum,and she accepted,” she said.

On the issue of South China Sea dispute,Nuland said multilateral conversation over a code of conduct that “keeps with” international law and the Law of the Sea Treaty is the “best way” to address such disputes and the US “continues to urge” for the same.

“With regard to the South China Sea,I think it’s going to come up first on the ASEAN stops in Jakarta,probably in Brunei. We have been encouraging,ASEAN to have a unified position and to work from a position of unity with China,and obviously it will come up in China as well,” Nuland said.

In the Cook Islands,Clinton will attend the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Post Forum Dialogue on August 31 as part of US intensive engagement and ongoing collaboration with Pacific Islands.

“Her visit will emphasise the depth and breadth of American engagement across economic,people to people,strategic,environmental,and security interests,” she said.

The visit represents a “concerted effort” by the US to strengthen regional multilateral institutions,develop bilateral partnerships,and build on alliances three core elements of US strategy toward the Asia-Pacific,she noted.

Clinton will lead the highest-level US inter-agency delegation in the 41-year history of the Forum with senior officials from the Departments of State,Defense,and Interior,Nuland said.

In Jakarta on September 3,Clinton will discuss with senior Indonesian officials the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and its respective engagements on regional global issues.

In Beijing September 4-5,Clinton will meet with senior Chinese leaders.

“Discussions are expected to cover a wide range of issues of importance in the US-China relationship as part of our efforts to build a cooperative partnership,including

preparations for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other upcoming multilateral meetings and numerous bilateral,regional,and global issues,” Nuland said.

On September 6,Clinton will become the first Secretary of State to travel to Dili,where she will emphasise US support for the young democracy of Timor-Leste in her meetings with senior officials.

In Brunei,Clinton will meet with senior officials to emphasize the importance of the increasingly vibrant US-Brunei relationship.

She will also highlight the US-Brunei ASEAN English Language initiative and discuss Brunei’s 2013 chairmanship of ASEAN.

The final stop on Clinton’s trip will be Vladivostok,where she will lead the US delegation to the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting September 8-9.

She will discuss issues like trade liberalisation,food security,and green growth including initiatives to fight wildlife trafficking,with heads of state and other regional leaders,including business representatives.

Clinton would also meet her Russian counterpart on the occasion.

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