Deputy Secretary William J. Burns today stressed that the United States is harnessing tremendous opportunities and growing linkages across the Pacific.
In his remarks at World Affairs Councils of America National Conference, Mr. Burns said the Pacific will be the most dynamic and significant part of the world for American interests for many decades to come.
“It already includes more than half of the world’s population, many of its most important economies, key allies, and emerging powers. I recommend to all of you a recent article in “Foreign Policy” magazine in which Secretary Clinton spells out her vision for “America’s Pacific Century.” -Mr. Burns
He stated that the growing economic and political ties across the Pacific are part of a broader narrative of the politics of integration of the 21st century that stretches and challenges traditional geographic concepts and bureaucratic structures. He added that in each of these regions, the United States is bolstering relationships with existing strategic partners, and enlisting emerging powers to address global problems and join us in crafting the 21st century rules of the road.
“And, just as crucially, these are places with booming middle classes where U.S. businesses can tap new markets and reach new consumers to drive the U.S. economic recovery forward. It is not a coincidence that the three free trade agreements the President signed into law last month were with Pacific Rim partners.” -Mr. Burns
He stressed that to harness the tremendous opportunities in the coming decades, the United States must adopt a new concept of our foreign policy and strategy that pays greater attention to the growing linkages across the Pacific – and that leverages its core relationships on both sides.
According to Mr. Burns, Asia’s rise has been so dramatic that it is not just remaking Asia’s cities and economies – it is redrawing the geostrategic map.
“To give one example, half the world’s merchant tonnage now passes through the South China Sea. As Asia undergoes profound changes, we need to develop the diplomatic, economic and security architecture that can keep pace.” -Mr. Burns
He emphasized that U.S. leadership in implementing such an architecture will pay them dividends this century and help the Pacific to reach its full potential, just as American investment in building a comprehensive and lasting network of institutions and relationships across the Atlantic has paid off many times over.
“As we look to the future, we start from a position of strength. America is a resident diplomatic, military and economic power in the Pacific – and, as Secretary Clinton says – we are there to stay. The foundation of our policy remains our historical alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand, which is our oldest treaty partner.” -Mr. Burns