Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clinton 'round the world

By Carol Gee

The China story -- The (2/21/09) Financial Times headline, "US, China 'to help lead the world recovery'" foretells that the US and China have pledged to step up a high-level dialogue between the two countries which will address the global financial crisis, climate change and security issues. The visit adds to optimism that the U.S. and China might resume high level military talks at some point, according to the IHT.** Downplaying human rights issues, Secretary Clinton talked about the two countries "helping to lead the world recovery," and also expressed appreciation for China's continued purchases of US Treasury bonds. The Times continued:

The visit to Beijing was the last and arguably the most important stage of a week-long trip to Asia that also took her to Tokyo, Jakarta and Seoul.

. . . The visit has underlined the heavy interdependence of the two countries on many important issues. While the US is the biggest national market for China’s exports, China is the largest holder of US government debt. The two countries are now the largest carbon emitters on the planet.

Who's next -- While in South Korea, which is facing a possible dollar shortage due to the global credit crunch, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the subject of North Korea's possible line of succession after dictator Kim Jong-il, according to the IHT (2/20/09). Her remarks were controversial, cast as either a beginner's error with a taboo subject or refreshing candor that could shake loose the moribund diplomatic progress. The jockeying for power in North Korea raises the pressure on the United States, South Korea, China and other countries to revive negotiations," Clinton said.

Fruit basket turnover -- Secretary Clinton also announced the appointment of Stephen Bosworth, former ambassador to South Korea, to be her special representative for North Korea policy. He will take the post of Christopher Hill, who will become the ambassador to Iraq.

What's next -- North Korea has announced that it will launch another test missile. To quote further,

Clinton said she would explore whether the missile program should be included in the six-party negotiations with North Korea, which includes the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.

Clinton said she was interested in exploring whether neighbors like China could exert more influence on North Korea. "North Korea is on China's border, and I want to understand better what the Chinese believe is doable," she said.

"Cornerstone of American foreign policy" -- While in Japan on Tueday, SoS Clinton offered words of reassurance, the IHT (2/18/09) reported, along with meeting with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. Japanese PM Taro Aso will be the first foreign leader invited to visit the White House. She then detoured to Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday. IHT called both destination choices "steeped in symbolism. [Indonesia] is the first Muslim country she will visit and the start of what she said would be a 'concerted effort' by the Obama administration to bring a new message to the Islamic world."

Reference for extended background reading, from Asia Times Online (2/19/09): "China seeks road back to growth," by Pieter Bottelier

** IHT = International Herald Tribune -- the global edition of The New York Times

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Clinton’s comments seem to have sparked a lot of debate. Both this article and this video ( talk about the informal taboo that she broke talking about succession in North Korea, but I disagree. I agree with what is said here about it being ‘refreshing candor.’ She should not have to tiptoe around subjects just because they are taboo. We speak our opinions about other countries, so why should North Korea be any different?

    By Blogger Danielle, at 1:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home