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Shaping The Pacific Century


U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns

Deputy Secretary Burns highlighted the United States’ commitment to enhancing security, prosperity, and human dignity.

"As far out as I can see into the 21st century, no region will be more consequential for American interests and for the shape of the global system than the Asia-Pacific," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

Stretching from Southwest Asia to the western coast of the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region matters enormously to the rest of the world because it holds more than half the world’s population, and generates half of global economic output and global trade.

“Alongside all that economic dynamism there remain huge challenges – military buildups, maritime disputes, nuclear proliferation, massive environmental problems, festering inequality, corruption, and rising nationalist currents,” he said.

Deputy Secretary Burns highlighted the United States’ commitment and strategy to enhancing security, prosperity, human dignity, and effective regional institutions for cooperation.

“Security and stability in the region are essential for continued economic growth,” Deputy Secretary Burns said. “For that growth to be sustainable and equitable, we will need to work together to strengthen the foundations of a rules-based, free, transparent, and market-oriented economic order in the Asia-Pacific . . . [which] is precisely the vision behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership . . . If we get this right, our economies stand to gain millions of new and better jobs, billions of dollars of new investment, and processes that will lower barriers to trade while strengthening intellectual property and protecting the environment and the health and safety of our citizens.”

“Nor can we afford to take our eyes off the enormous opportunity to advance human dignity and good governance,” he continued. “The promise of stability, when based on the denial of human dignity, economic opportunity, and universal rights, is a false promise.”

“As a Pacific nation in the midst of a Pacific century, [the United States is] fully committed to this historic undertaking of [rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific],” Deputy Secretary Burns said in conclusion. “[It] is the great challenge of our time . . . [And] no challenge, and no test, will matter more to the United States in the new century unfolding before us.”
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