U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently on a ten-day, six-nation visit to the Asia Pacific. According to U.S. State Department officials, Mrs. Clinton’s visit will further emphasise the U.S, commitment to stability in the Asia Pacific. She began her trip in the Cook Islands, where she met with officials from Australia, New Zealand and other South Pacific island nations.
Mrs. Clinton then headed to Indonesia, where she met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan. While in Indonesia, Mrs. Clinton expressed hope for progress over the increasing tensions in the South China Sea. However she also said that she was optimistic over progress made with regards to the code of conduct governing the South China Sea. While at the ASEAN headquarters, Mrs. Clinton said that the U.S. was supportive of ASEAN’s move towards greater integration.
“We want to do all we can to advance ASEAN’s goal of integration because we have an interest in strengthening ASEAN’s ability to address regional challenges in an effective, comprehensive way,” she said.
Upon arrival in China, Mrs. Clinton met with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. She is also scheduled to meet with President Hu Jingtao and Vice President Xi Jinping. Mrs. Clinton is likely to press the Chinese leaders over China’s territorial disputes in the South China and East China Seas. According to analysts, Mrs. Clinton is also likely to look for China’s cooperation on wider diplomatic concerns over Syria and Iran.
After visiting China, Mrs. Clinton will head to East Timor, Brunei, and Russia, where she will be standing in for President Barack Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Report: Clinton arrives in China with hopes over sea tensions [Channel NewsAsia, 4 September 2012]
Report: Skepticism Greets Clinton in China
[The Wall Street Journal, 4 September 2012]
On 2 September 2012, Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie began his four-day visit to India. This is the first visit by a Chinese Defence Minister in eight years, and comes amidst Indian fears of China’s increasing activities Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. During the trip, General Liang and his counterpart, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, are expected to discuss about their neighbours, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the security challenges they will face when NATO forces pull out from the region in 2014.
General Liang also discussed border security with Mr. Antony, and at a meeting on Tuesday, the defence ministers agreed to resume joint military exercises that were frozen two years ago. The ministers also agreed to hold high-level official exchanges, conduct joint maritime search-and-rescue exercises, and to strengthen anti-piracy operations in Somalia.
Report: Chinese, Indian defence ministers agree to resume joint military exercises in sign of thaw [The Washington Post, 4 September 2012]