Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NSA's Tom Donilon's Asia-Pacific Speech

From the White House:

The Asia Society
New York, New York
Monday, March 11, 2013

“The United States and the Asia-Pacific in 2013”

As Prepared for Delivery –

Thank you, Henrietta, for that kind introduction and for your service, both in government and here at the Asia Society.  And thank you, Suzanne, for bringing us together today.  I am honored to be with you, especially in these beautiful surroundings.  For almost sixty years, this organization has connected cultures— Asian and American—our ideas, leaders and people.

Of course, one of those people, a real presence here at the Asia Society, was your chairman and my friend of thirty years, Richard Holbrooke.  Richard was famous for his work from the Balkans to South Asia.  But he was also a real Asia hand as the youngest-ever Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia.   Richard dedicated himself to the idea that progress and peace was possible—a lesson we carry forward, not only in Southwest Asia, where he worked so hard, but across the Asia-Pacific.  I’ve come here today because this project has never been more consequential—the future of the United States has never been more closely linked to the economic, strategic and political order emerging in the Asia-Pacific.

Last November, I gave a speech in Washington outlining how the United States is rebalancing our global posture to reflect the growing importance of Asia.  As President Obama’s second term begins, I want to focus on some of the specific challenges that lay ahead.

This is especially timely because this is a period of transition in Asia.  New leaders have taken office in Tokyo and Seoul.  In Beijing, China’s leadership transition will be completed this week. President Obama and those of us on his national security team have already had constructive conversations with each incoming leader.  We’ll be seeing elections in Malaysia, Australia and elsewhere.  These changes remind us of the importance of constant, persistent U.S. engagement in this dynamic region. Read the rest