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Secretary Clinton Leaves for Asia Tomorrow

May 19, 2010

She leaves Thursday morning. Here is part of the briefing about her trip:

MR. CROWLEY: Good morning and welcome to the Department of State. As we announced yesterday, the Secretary leaves tomorrow for a very important trip to Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul. Obviously, she’ll have important meetings in Tokyo and in Seoul on regional security issues, but at the heart of her visit to China will be the visit to the Shanghai Expo and most particularly the next round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with a number of counterparts from the U.S. Government and a range of officials from the Chinese Government. So to kind of put the trip into context and in particular outline our objectives for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, we have brought together senior officials from here at State and the Department of Treasury. We’ll start off with Kurt Campbell, our Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, also known as the ambassador to the Department of Treasury. And our Senior Coordinator for China Affairs at the Department of Treasury, David Loevinger, will follow and then they’ll answer your questions.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Thanks. Good morning, everyone. Let me just take a few moments, if I could, to lay out the schedule and then some of our hopes and plans for the next several days. Tomorrow morning, Secretary Clinton and her team leave for a weeklong trip to Asia. Our first stop will be in Tokyo. While in Japan, Secretary Clinton will meet with Foreign Minister Okada and prime minister, and during those sessions she will discuss a number of specific matters. We will review the developing security situation on the Korean Peninsula. We will discuss the recently concluded P-5+1 agreement on a common approach towards Iran. We will discuss the ongoing troubles in Thailand and we will also review our common approaches to engagement of China. We’ll also be discussing security and defense-related issues, including developments on Okinawa. We will be working closely with our Japanese friends to underscore the importance of our alliance. Prime Minister Hatoyama has been very gracious in inviting the Secretary to come by the residence and we’ll look forward to that.

We will then be off to Shanghai. In Shanghai, Secretary Clinton will visit the American Pavilion as part of the Shanghai Expo. This is a signature initiative that she has been involved in to bring into life this wonderful exhibit which highlights American life. This is one of the largest expos of its kind in history. A very substantial number of Chinese citizens and visitors from around Asia are expected. We’re very much looking forward to the opportunity to engage with Chinese friends and also with a number of American business groups and civic organizations while we are in Shanghai.

We then proceed to our primary stop, which is going to be in Beijing, for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. I think as you all know, if you look at the signature institutional innovations of the Obama Administration, in addition to the creation of the G-20, there has also been the creation of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, working closely with Secretary Geithner. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner convened this group of economic, political, and strategic players from across the Administration to engage in two and a half days of deep dialogue with Chinese friends on a host of issues, ranging from financial matters to regional concerns, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan-Pakistan, and also, obviously, pressing global challenges like climate change.

This is our second meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Our first meeting took place last summer. Obviously, Secretary Clinton will seek to underscore her continuing commitment to the principal issues that she underscored in 2009 which continue to animate U.S.-China relations, and that is cooperation on regional security matters, work together on global financial issues, and obviously, climate change as well.

This is one of the largest groups of cabinet and subcabinet officials from the United States ever to visit China. We’ll have a total group of almost 200 officials that will be there during this two-day session. It includes virtually all elements of the U.S. Government, also key players from the Department of Defense and U.S. Pacific Command as well.

After our time in Beijing, Secretary Clinton will proceed to Seoul, South Korea, where she will meet directly with Foreign Minister Yu and also President Myung-bak for close consultations, again, on both developments associated with the tragic sinking of the South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, but also other developments on the Korean Peninsula. And then we will be returning back to the United States next Wednesday.

That’s the general overarching game plan. This is Secretary Clinton’s fifth trip to Asia since she’s been sworn in as Secretary of State. Obviously, very critical issues across the spectrum. And in a few minutes, I’ll look forward to taking your questions. Thank you.

MR. LOEVINGER: Good morning. I think I’ll start talking about Secretary Geithner’s schedule over the next few days and then talk a bit about our objectives for the economic track of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

On Friday evening, Secretary Geithner will depart for Beijing, arriving Sunday morning. He’s going to have a working lunch with Governor Zhou of the People’s Bank of China, and then that evening he’ll have a working dinner with Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

On Monday, Geithner will deliver remarks at the opening session of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. And this is all going to be open press at the opening session. And he’s also going to deliver remarks at the opening session of the economic track. Again, that’s going to be open press.

I’ll get into a moment the substance of the discussions in the economic track, but that’s going to comprise the rest of Monday. Monday night, there’s going to be a welcoming dinner – a banquet – for both the strategic and economic track participants.

On Tuesday, in one of the innovations that Assistant Secretary Campbell talked about with the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, is we’re going to have a joint session of both the economic and strategic tracks to talk about development issues. And then in the afternoon, both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao.

They’ll also participate in closing statements, and again, that will be open press. And then both secretaries will conduct a U.S. press conference before Secretary Geithner departs Beijing.

Now let me just talk a bit about our objectives for the economic track. Our relationship with China is one of the most important in the world, and President Obama is committed to making it more beneficial to the American people. President Obama has underscored the very tight link between trade and U.S. job creation, and he has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to create 2 million additional American jobs. Combating barriers that prevent U.S. workers and companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets and ensuring that large economies like China with large current account surpluses depend more on their own domestic demand for growth, are key components of our efforts to achieve this goal of doubling exports in five years.

As the world’s largest and fastest-growing major economy, China presents enormous opportunities for U.S. companies and U.S. workers, but also some of our biggest economic challenges. The Strategic and Economic Dialogue allows U.S. and Chinese officials at the very highest levels to work together to address these challenges, to comprehensive and candid engagement and discussion. That’s why Secretary Geithner and Secretary Clinton are leading such a large delegation to Beijing.

While we hope to make progress on a range of issues, not all of the thorniest issues in our bilateral relationship will get resolved in a single meeting, and we will continue to promote U.S. interests in our bilateral economic relations with China using every tool – the S&ED, the JCCT, the G-20, other fora, and of course, WTO-consistent trade remedies.

Let me just tell you, on the economic side who’s going to be participating on the U.S. side. It’ll, of course, be led by Secretary Geithner. We’ll also have Ambassador Huntsman, Secretary Locke, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, Ambassador Kirk, CEA Chair Romer, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Holdren, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bernanke, President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank Hochberg, Chairman of the FDIC Sheila Bair, and Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency Zak.

Now, they’re going to be participating in the economic track, but again, as Assistant Secretary Campbell mentioned, one of the innovations is we’re bringing kind of the strategic side and the economic side of our governments together. And many of these participants that I just listed are also going to be participating in the strategic track.

On the substance of the discussions last year, we agreed with China that there are kind of four key areas in our economic relationship that we’re going to focus our engagement and discussions on. One is combating trade and investment barriers. Two is promoting a strong recovery and more balanced growth. Three is promoting more resilient, open, and market-oriented financial systems. And the last one is strengthening the international economic and financial architecture.

And I’ll just finish up by briefly talking about our messages in each of those sessions. On trade and investment, it’s clear that both the U.S. and China have benefited greatly from a rule-based global trade and investment regime, but it’s also clear that American workers and American firms and the U.S. Government have concerns about some of China’s trade and investment policies, most recently and perhaps most notably, some of China’s policies to promote what’s called indigenous innovation. Again, we have no problem with China promoting innovation. We do it. Lots of countries do it. But we want to make sure that they do it in a way that doesn’t close off markets for U.S. goods and services.

On promoting more balanced growth, again, as I said, our highest priority now is to create jobs for American workers, and this will require that both countries take steps to rebalance the way they grow. The U.S. economy is recovering, but U.S. households are rebuilding their wealth. We’ve seen household savings come up from the lows before the crisis, and also the Administration is very committed once the recovery is fully assured to bringing the fiscal deficit down to a sustainable level.

The implications for China is that the U.S. consumer is going to play a different role in this recovery than in previous recoveries. And it’s more important than ever that China accelerate its efforts to promote homegrown, consumption-based growth.

On promoting more resilient and open financial sectors, the U.S. and China face very different challenges. But at the same time, reforming our financial sectors and strengthening regulation and supervision is critical both to have strong and sustainable growth and reduce the risks of further booms and busts. We are also working very hard to strengthen cooperation among our financial regulators. This has to keep pace with the integration of our financial sectors to ensure the integrity of our markets, cut off regulatory arbitrage, contain systemic risks, and protect small investors from fraud.

Lastly, on strengthening the international financial and economic architecture, both the U.S. and China recognize that multilateral institutions and mechanisms – like the G-20, like the IMF, like the World Bank – have a very important role to play in supporting a strong recovery, job creation, global standards of good governance, open trade and investment, poverty reduction, and a strong international financial system. And we’re going to talk with China about ways we can work together to make sure that these institutions are both legitimate, effective, and have the resources to do their jobs.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. theprosecutrix permalink
    May 19, 2010 9:17 pm

    I hope she has a productive and fun trip with enough downtime. I’m leaving tomorrow too, but my trip will be shorter and nothing near as interesting as Hillary’s. Bon voyage, Madam Secretary. Stay safe.

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