“President [Barack] Obama made a smart and a strategic commitment to rebalance our interests and investments in Asia. My commitment to you is that as a Pacific nation that takes our Pacific partnership seriously, we will continue to build on our active and enduring presence.” So began U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a speech given at the Tokyo Institute of Technology during his first trip to the Asia Pacific Region.
”President Obama said right here in this very city in the first year of his presidency, that the Pacific Ocean doesn’t separate us so much as it connects us. I feel the same way about our shared principles and values, which bring us closer, closer together than we often imagine.” Secretary Kerry said as he laid out the history and the trajectory of the U.S.-Asia Pacific relationship as our partnership grows in both depth and breadth.
Secretary Kerry addressed the economic growth within Asia over recent decades. “The past few generations have produced an extraordinary period of prosperity in Asia. It has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty across the entire region and it has fostered dynamic, innovative economies that today are fueling global growth. Today, it is fair to say that Asia is quite simply the world’s most dynamic region.”
He then turned to the future, “[E]verybody understands some of the challenges of the last century have survived into the 21st century: the pursuit of nuclear weapons, maritime disputes, climate change. They all threaten stability. We have a choice. We can either stand still and see them as obstacles, or we can join together and move forward and see them as opportunities.”
Secretary Kerry closed by noting the future will bring an even closer, more connected partnership between the United States and the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. “Though our journey may sometimes seem a million miles long, my friends, it is fully within our power to choose how we take our next step.”