NEW YORK, June 13 – Looking cheerful and confident, former United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underscored Asia’s importance for the United States as she reminisced on Thursday of her four years as the US’ top diplomat.
During a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations — America’s leading foreign policy think-tank — she recalled that her first foreign visit as secretary of state was to Asia as a manifestation of the US administration’s rebalancing of interest or, as some tend to call it, the Asia pivot.
She said the rebalancing of interests was one of the strategic moves made in the first four years of the (US President Barack) Obama Administration.
The US had always been a Pacific power but there was a “widespread feeling among our friends that the US has, basically, vacated the field,” said Clinton, who is being tipped by the overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party as its presidential candidate for the 2016 election.
“There is no doubt that much of the world history will be shaped in Asia. That’s why, I decided to first go to Asia…I went to Indonesia to sign a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, committing the US to be an active participant in the Asean region and eventually, become a member of the East Asian Summit.
“Our goal was to support and embed the US in the multilateral architecture of Asia. It was also to assure our allies such as Japan, that we remain committed to them.
“We want to try to have a broad dialogue with China. Our dialogue with China will be about economics but we had a lot of strategic questions to be addressed.
“I worked with Tim Geithner (former treasury-secretary) and progress is being made on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) issue. The (US) president will require fast-track authority from the Congress (to push the TPP),” she added.
Obama, who attaches priority to the TPP, also raised it in his recent talks in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
During the session, Clinton also provided a virtual “tour” of global flashpoints, saying that the situation in many parts of the world was worrisome.
Clinton, whose latest 656-page memoir book, ‘Hard Choices’ has hit the stands, providing insights, sprinkled with interesting anecdotes, into not only the Department of State but her encounters with a number of world leaders.