Hillary Clinton pledges security in South Pacific
By Matthew Lee ,AP
September 2, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday pledged renewed American commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific, where tensions are rising between China and its smaller neighbors over territorial disputes and many nations face threats from climate change.
Speaking at a meeting of leaders of South Pacific island nations, Clinton said the United States would not abandon its long history of protecting maritime commerce in the region and serving as a counterbalance to domination by any single world power.
However, she played down the idea that the U.S was acting "perhaps as a hedge against particular countries." She said America wants to cooperate with China in the vast Pacific and encouraged other countries, including those in the region, to do the same.
"The Pacific is big enough for all of us," she told reporters at a news conference with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, whose country handles defense and foreign relations for the Cook Islands.
Yet she pointed out that China's interests in the region are not necessarily the same as others, a point she also made clear earlier this month on a trip to Africa when she contrasted U.S. goals for that continent as aimed at adding rather than extracting value. The comment was a veiled shot at China, which some complain is using its overseas investments to exploit resources at the expense of local populations.
"Here in the Pacific, we want to see China act in a fair and transparent way," Clinton said. "We want them to play a positive role in navigation and maritime security issues. We want to see them contribute to sustainable development for the people of the Pacific, to protect the precious environment, including the ocean and to pursue economic activity that will benefit the people."
Earlier, at the meeting, China's Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said China was already engaged with the region in a positive way.