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Clinton's Asia Diplomacy

Ethnic Media Rate Her Trip to Korea, Japan, Indonesia and China

New America Media, News analysis, NAM Editors Posted: Feb 25, 2009

Editors Note: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just wrapped up a week-long tour of Asia, with state visits to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China. During the high-profile visits, Clinton focused on the economic crisis, climate change and rebuilding Americas image around the world. NAM editors asked ethnic media journalists how they would grade Clintons visits to their home countries.

Mikio Okada, president and Japanese editor, Nichi Bei Times, San Francisco, Calif.

Usually, when a new Japanese prime minister is elected, he makes the trip to Washington as his first trip abroad. This time around, I'm so impressed that the new secretary of state goes abroad as soon as the inauguration is over. This kind of movement, I don't remember from past cabinets.

I read one headline this morning, "Clinton Asked China to Continue to Invest in the US." I can connect these two things: the rapid visit to Asia with Please continue to invest in the United States. I can imagine Mrs. Clinton's visit to Japan and China is to continue the cash flow to the U.S.

Japan is in a difficult economic situation right now. They are having a harder time now. Of course, they want to help. The U.S. knows this. But the U.S. has to promote its interests. This is why the U.S. president sent Mrs. Clinton out to Asia to get as much cash as possible.

Japan is of course always worried about North Korea and its missile potential. [Japan] doesnt have weapons ... I mean they have defense force, not offensive force, but the economic crisis is very real. The main concern of the Japanese is economic.

Kai-ping Liu, editor, World Journal, San Francisco, Calif.

Its Hillary Clintons third official visit to China. She visited China for the first time in 1995 for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Clinton criticized China for its human rights and single-child policies, so she was boycotted by Chinese media. So, not many Chinese people actually knew that Hillary Clinton was in China at that time. The Chinese translation of her biography, Living History, was censored in China, which made Clinton very unhappy.

In 1998, the Clintons visited China when Bill Clinton was U.S. president. Bill Clinton made a public speech at the Shanghai public library, in which he said the United States is not supportive of Taiwans independence and separation [from] mainland China, and is not supportive to Taiwan joining international organizations as a country. The statement improved the relationship between the two countries.

This time, 11 years after Clintons last visit to China, the situation has changed a lot. China now holds a large amount of U.S. debt and the two countries have much more common interests. Clinton has to keep her personal attitude toward China personal, and talk to China from a common-interest perspective, so she can have good working relation with China. Now the biggest issue in both the U.S. and China is economic survival.

John Oei, publisher, Kabari Magazine/ www.kabarinews.com, San Francisco, Calif.

What is significant most of all for us Indonesian Americans and also for Indonesians in the homeland is that Pres. Obama's childhood included living some years in Indonesia, so Sec. Clinton carried with her that important heritage of Pres. Obama. We had also learned recently that Pres. Obama still speaks Indonesian, so we were very pleased and proud about that.

We received quite a few emails from readers expressing their excitement about [Clintons trip] and they are in fact already looking forward to Obama's visit. Some Indonesians say Sec. Clinton's visit to our homeland is a sign that the relationship between our two countries is getting better.

The most important issue for us is the fact that Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and that we hope that the Obama presidency will bring a stronger friendship between our two countries. In the Muslim world, the U.S. does not have a good reputation. Indonesians have felt neglected, so we hope this visit will improve that.

Joseph Leung, editor-in-chief, Sing Tao Daily, San Francisco, Calif.

When Obama was running for president, he criticized China, which created some tension between the two countries. When Chinas Premier Minister Wen Jiabao visited Europe, though he didnt name the United States, he said the country caused the global economic crisis.

Before setting out to China, Hillary Clinton said she would talk about Tibet and human rights just as her predecessors had done. But later, she changed her strategy, because from her more than a decade experience dealing with China, she knew clearly what Chinas response would be if she had pointed a finger to the Tibet and human rights issues.

She would not let talking about those things negatively affect her communication on the more important issues with China: the economic crisis, anti-terrorism and global warming. She may have talked about human rights in some closed-door meeting during her visit, but didnt make it appear in the public realm. Thats why her visit [improved] the United States and Chinas relationship.

One goal of Clintons China visit is to sell more U.S. debt. Clintons visit made China understand that though the current U.S. administration is Democratic, its practical and down to earth, rather than idealistic. So theres much room for future cooperation [between] the two countries.

Ibrahim Irawan, publisher and editor-in-chief, Indonesia Media, Glendora, Calif.

The visit of Hillary Clinton is good because it is the largest Muslim country in the world and more importantly, we believe that the U.S. can possibly do some small steps to help Indonesias low level of education. I think the U.S. can send some representatives to PESANTREN, a center for Muslim education in Indonesia and share not only the value of democracy but also try to explain to and enlighten many people there of the dangers of Islamic fanaticism, which have led to the actions of suicide bombers and terrorists. Illiteracy and religion have been used in the country to control people. Many times also because of illiteracy, many people don't seek adequate health remedies to illnesses and instead believe and rely on superstitions.

I think it was also very important that Sec. Clinton visited with Suciwati, the widow of a prominent activist, Munir, killed allegedly by the Indonesian military or intelligence units, a case that remains unsolved for four years now. Sec. Clinton then talked to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about this case and I hope that this will put pressure on the Indonesian government to further investigate this human rights violation case.

Jong Hoon Lee, editor-in-chief, Korea Daily, Los Angeles, Calif.

Hillary Clintons visit reaffirmed the alliance between the two countries by proving the two countries could work together on dealing with North Korea, which has resorted to a strategy of excluding South Korea and talking only with the United States. Had there not been a clear agreement on the security issue, tensions could have arisen which would contribute to destabilization of the Korean Peninsula and North East Asia. In the era of Global economy, it could hurt the local Korean American economy, which is directly tied to South Korea.

Related Articles:

Ethnic Media Answer Obama's Call for 'Remaking America'

Ethnic Media Cover Inauguration Day

Ethnic Media Voices Weigh in on Obama Administration

Our Man Obama -- The Post-Imperial Presidency


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