For her first overseas trip as US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton is to visit Asia. Addressing members and guests of the Asia Society, in New York today, Secretary Clinton said “The Obama administration will focus on strengthening U.S. ties with Asia.”
On a conference call to reporters in Washington DC, after the address, the Secretary said “I am very excited about my upcoming trip to Asia and I am pleased that this will be my first trip as Secretary of State. I think it’s important to signal that we intend to develop broader and deeper relationships not only with the countries I’ll be visiting, but with other nations throughout Asia and the Pacific.”
Secretary Clinton said the opportunities she sees are:
stronger bilateral, regional, and global cooperation rigorous engagement and collaboration on the economic crisis to strengthen alliances prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons work on climate change, clean energy, healthcare pandemics
Specifically on North Korea, the secretary said, without detail, “we hope North Korea will refrain from provocative actions and words at this time.”
The US plans to work through the Six-Party Talks, discussing with South Korea, Japan and China, how best to get the negotiations back on track.
To move the discussions forward, the Obama Administration is willing to normalize bilateral relations, replace the longstanding armistice agreements with a permanent peace treaty, and assist, along with others, in meeting the energy and economic needs of the North Korean people. In order for these things to happen, North Korea must be genuinely prepared to completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear weapons program.
Mike Lavalee asked how the stated approach to North Korea differed from that of the Bush Aministration. The secretary answered the question by saying “we intend to genuinely consult with our allies and partners with respect to North Korea.” She also said the US envoy to North Korea would be announced soon, after those discussions.