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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in a recent speech that nearly a year into the administration of President Barack Obama, it "should be clear that the Asia-Pacific relationship is a priority of the United States. ... We are working to deepen our historic ties, build new partnerships, work with existing multilateral organizations to pursue shared interests, and reach beyond governments to engage directly with people in every corner of this vast region," said Secretary Clinton:
"We start from a simple premise: America’s future is linked to the future of the Asia-Pacific region; and the future of this region depends on America. The United States has a strong interest in continuing its tradition of economic and strategic leadership, and Asia has a strong interest in the United States remaining a dynamic economic partner and a stabilizing military influence."
The region's eclectic mix of influential actors, from rising powers to traditional leaders and the increasing influence of Southeast Asia, is the continent's key strategic feature, said Secretary Clinton. And the United States plays a central role in helping to deal with the difficulties that individual states and this region confront," she said:
"U.S. involvement and leadership in Asia-Pacific institutions, ranging from our support for and contributions to APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] to our response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, can benefit everyone. We can provide resources and facilitate cooperation in ways that other regional actors cannot replicate or, in some cases, are not trusted to do. No country, however – including our own – should seek to dominate these institutions. But an active and engaged United States is critical to the success of these."
"The ultimate purpose of our cooperation," said Secretary Clinton, "should be to dispel suspicions that still exist as artifacts of the region’s turbulent past, and build in their place a future of openness, honesty, and progress for all of our people."