Hillary Clinton is currently in Asia on her first international trip as secretary of state. With stops in Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and China, Clinton has addressed everything from Kim Jong Il's successor to US policy on Burma. Asian media has taken this opportunity to welcome the new American administration and weigh in on how US-Asian relations will change under President Obama and Secretary Clinton.
For the Korea Times, Arthur Cyr gives Hillary high marks for her decision to embark on the trip and her actions while there:
So far in Asia, Secretary Clinton is demonstrating she has done serious homework, is well briefed and articulate. Japan as the initial destination reflects a solid sense of history. In an era of global interdependence and integration of societies as well as economies, a very smart domestic politician may provide very effective leadership of American foreign policy.
A Japan Times editorial discusses their view of Clinton's visit to Japan:
Ms. Clinton apparently chose Japan as the first stopover in her first overseas trip as secretary of state to reassure Japan that the United States is not giving priority to its ties with China. But the U.S. regards Japan-U.S. ties as part of its large strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region. Japan needs to carefully study the Obama administration's strategy. The U.S. may call for more Japanese contributions to the stabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Japan should develop its own approaches to the issue based on its own principles and clearly present them to the U.S. before being told by Washington to do something.
The Taipei Times also acknowledges Clinton's commitment to the region and her willingness to assert herself and the United States there:
That Clinton chose to go to Asia now, when the US State Department remains unsettled -- with no ambassador in Beijing, many old officials having departed or leaving, and many new appointees still unseated -- attests to her determination to stake out Asia as her own area.
What she brings to this task is openness and an eagerness to construct a new architecture for Sino-US relations. But, even as a host of other issues come into play, strengthening this most important of bilateral relationships requires a new, underlying common interest. Paradoxically, the challenge of climate change is a good place to look.
The Chinese government should not underestimate Clinton's and Obama's commitment to this issue. As she said in a pre-trip speech at the Asia Society in New York: "Collaboration on clean energy and greater efficiency offers a real opportunity to deepen the overall US-Chinese relationship."
On Hillary's trip to Japan she met with the Foreign Minister, signed the Guam International Agreement and discussed Japan's concerns on North Korea, reports VOA News.
Secretary Clinton invited Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to Washington. He will be the first foreign leader to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. The February 24th summit demonstrates the commitment of the world's two largest economies to deal with the global financial crisis.
Japan has been a valuable security partner of the United States for almost fifty years. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Japan to meet the military, diplomatic, and economic challenges that lie ahead.
Secretary Clinton left a positive mark on Indonesia as many analysts in the region see her as starting a new era in American foreign policy. Mong Palatino blogs for Global Voices:
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Indonesia last Wednesday. She affirmed "Indonesia's role in handling global problems, including terrorism, protectionism, climate change and the economic crisis." Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world and the third largest democracy.
Aside from meeting the leaders of Indonesia, Clinton found the time to visit a slum community in Jakarta. She also appeared in a teen-oriented TV show.
Clinton landed in Beijing Friday night, February 20th, to a warm welcome from the Chinese, reports China View:
During her stay in China, Clinton is scheduled to meet with Chinese state leaders to exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"We stand ready to strengthen dialogue with the U.S., enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and promote greater development of bilateral relations in the new era," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular press conference on Feb. 19, ahead of Clinton's visit.
Channel News Asia reports that Hillary's visit is more about dialogue and mutual understanding than concrete policy agreements.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China is not expected to yield any major concrete agreements. But most analysts see it as an opportunity for both sides to gain a better understanding of each other.
Some observers, however, foresee problems as Mrs Clinton may continue her hardline stance against China on the issue of human rights.
Professor Jin Canrong, deputy director at the Centre for American Studies, Renmin University of China, said: "What politicians say during campaigns often differ from their actions when they take office.
Climate change is one of the key issues Clinton is expected to discuss in Beijing. China Daily reports that the Chinese people are ready to dig deeper into their wallets to support the effort to combat global warming and expect to work with the United States in this effort:
Cooperation on clean energy and clean technologies between China and the US, the world's two largest greenhouse gas emitters, are "expected to yield the quickest and most substantial results," said experts in a recent report released by US Asia Society and the Pew Center for Climate Change.
Strengthening Sino-US cooperation on clean energy would enable China to respond to those issues more effectively, while offering enormous business opportunities and considerable returns to American investors, said Zhou Wenzhong, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States.