As Taylor mentioned here yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Asia this week and her trip should give us plenty to talk about. Clinton is traveling to Asia where she will “seek to develop a strong coordinated response to the global financial crisis between the U.S. and Asia’s economic powers during her four-nation regional tour.”
Mrs. Clinton cited, in particular, China’s “robust stimulus plan” as the type of action the Obama administration is hoping to see from Asian nations in an effort to reenergize the global financial system.
“I will be discussing with [Asian countries] the approaches that they’ll be taking” to stimulate their economies “and seeking greater cooperation,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters aboard en route to Alaska from Washington. “The Chinese have a very robust stimulus plan…They are taking internal steps.”
Mrs. Clinton arrives in Tokyo Monday evening and will then travel to Indonesia, South Korea and China.
Clinton will be meeting with “religious readers, university students, and business leaders across the region” and she has “described her trip as primarily a listening tour to learn more about how Washington can develop partnerships to combat key economic, security or environmental issues.” Clinton said that “the information she gathers will feed into the Obama administration’s review of its Asia policy.”
“We have a very broad agenda to deal with when it comes to China,” Mrs. Clinton said. “This first trip will be intended to find a path forward.”
Mrs. Clinton said she’s raise human rights issues in China when she takes part in a town hall meeting in Beijing.
The timing of Clinton’s trip is impeccable given the news that Japan’s economy is tanking again, at the “fatest pace” since the 1970’s:
The sharp downturn is exposing the vulnerability of Japan’s export-driven economic recovery. The dismal figures also place Japan firmly among the worst-hit in the global crisis, dwarfing economic declines in the United States and Europe.
And speaking of the timing of Clinton’s trip to Asia, as Clinton was in flight to Tokyo, there was news that “North Korea was threatening to fire a missile.”
“The North Koreans have already agreed to dismantling,” she said. “We expect them to fulfill the obligations that they entered into.”
The secretary has warned North Korea “to avoid any provocative action and unhelpful rhetoric.”
Clinton said her trip will demonstrate a new U.S. commitment to work with Asian leaders on “problems that no one nation, including ours, can deal with alone.”
Clinton also promised to meet with families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and ’80s.
She said, “We do want to press the North Koreans to be more forthcoming with information.”
Needless to say there should be plenty to talk about as we start of the week with a jolt of java and what appears to be the beginning of an interesting week for Secretary Clinton in Asia.
[Originally published at TaylorMarsh.com]