Clinton to Attend Pacific Islands Forum Talks, APEC Forum
By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
IIP Staff Writer
August 28, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend two significant Asia-Pacific forums in the span of two weeks, beginning in the Cook Islands and ending in Vladivostok, Russia, the U.S. State Department said August 28.
Clinton begins her two-week trip in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum’s Post Forum Dialogue on August 31, and then travels to Indonesia, China, Timor-Leste, Brunei and finally Russia, department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Clinton’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum talks is part of “our intensive engagement and ongoing collaboration with the Pacific Islands. Her visit will emphasize the depth and breadth of American engagement across economic, people-to-people, strategic, environmental and security interests,” Nuland said.
The Pacific Islands Forum is a group of 16 independent, self-governing states. The members include Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum, but in 2000 the name was changed.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is based in Suva, Fiji, and the current secretary-general is Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa.
Since 1989, the United States and 13 other dialogue partners have met in a Post Forum Dialogue at the foreign minister level.
Nuland said in her prepared statement that the visit by the secretary represents “a concerted effort to strengthen regional multilateral institutions, develop bilateral partnerships, and build on alliances — three core elements of U.S. strategy toward the Asia-Pacific.” Clinton is leading the highest-level U.S. interagency delegation in the 41-year Forum history with senior officials from the departments of State, Defense and Interior, Nuland said.
On September 3, Clinton meets with senior Indonesian officials in Jakarta at the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. Nuland said the talks will focus on engagements on regional and global issues.
Clinton travels to Beijing September 4–5 for meetings with senior Chinese leaders on a wide range of issues critical to U.S.-China relations, Nuland said. It is part of U.S. efforts to build a cooperative partnership, including preparations for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum that is being hosted by the Russian government in Vladivostok.
Clinton will become the first U.S. secretary of state to travel to Dili on September 6, and in meetings scheduled with senior officials will emphasize U.S. support for Timor-Leste. Nuland said Clinton will next meet with senior Brunei officials to emphasize “the importance of the increasingly vibrant U.S.-Brunei relationship.” While in Brunei Clinton will highlight the U.S.-Brunei English Language Enrichment Project for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and discuss Brunei’s 2013 chairmanship of ASEAN.
Clinton is leading the U.S. delegation to the annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting September 8–9 in Vladivostok.
“The secretary will discuss trade liberalization, food security and green growth, including initiatives to fight wildlife trafficking,” Nuland said.
While in Vladivostok, Clinton will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. She last met with Lavrov in June in St. Petersburg, Russia.
APEC is a 21-member forum that is focused on economic growth and trade, regional economic integration, and economic and technical cooperation.