Clinton: 'Pivot to Asia' about promoting democracy, not countering China

ADVERTISEMENT
In her speech, Clinton praised Mongolia, which has been viewed as a shining democratic example in the region since it got rid of communism in its democratic revolution of 1990 and this year is hosting the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries. She went on to highlight recent elections in Taiwan, the Philippines and Timor-Leste and the democratic progress in Thailand and Burma to take a dig at China, without mentioning the country by name.

“These and other achievements across the region show what is possible,” she said. “And they stand in stark contrast to those governments that continue to resist reforms, that work around the clock to restrict people’s access to ideas and information, to imprison them for expressing their views, to usurp the rights of citizens to choose their leaders, to govern without accountability, to corrupt the economic progress of the country and take the riches onto themselves.”


Despite the dig, the State Department says it sees China as a partner and rival, but not an enemy. To underscore that point, Clinton is set to have a “very substantial session” with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the margins of the ASEAN summit.

“One of the things that we are seeking to underscore during this visit is ... a strong determination to show the region that the United States and China are committed to work closely together,” a senior State Department official told reporters traveling to Mongolia.

“There will be inevitable competition, but we want to channel that competition into areas that are productive. And we want to make very clear that the two countries are prepared to work in a constructive manner here in the 21st century.”