Clinton: US economic policy must look to Asia

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 8:29 PM
Clinton: US economic policy must look to Asia

It's time for the United States to look East and make sure economic concerns drive foreign policy, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will tell U.S. business leaders Friday.

Concerns about the rising power of China and the rest of Asia are clear in excerpts of a speech Clinton plans to give Friday morning in New York. The State Department released the excerpts Thursday evening.

As the U.S. pulls out of war in Iraq and brings troops back from Afghanistan, it must turn and focus on building the kind of cross-Pacific ties that the U.S. has had with Europe with decades, Clinton's speech says.

"Our great challenge is not facing down any single military foe, but upholding our global leadership at a time when power is more often measured and exercised in economic terms," the speech says.

China isn't mentioned by name in Clinton's excerpts, but it looms as the world's second largest economy and as a country that increasingly isn't shy about showing off its weapons as well as its wealth.

Clinton's speech takes aim at China in particular with her concerns about state control over growing wealth _ a reference to the ruling Communist Party's tight rein on key assets. For example, China last year startled world markets and governments by briefly putting controls on shipments of its rare earth elements, materials essential to high-tech products like cell phones, in a move apparently aimed at Japan during a heated diplomatic dispute. China accounts for 97 percent of world production of the metals.

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"Governments are entering markets directly through their cash reserves, natural resources and businesses they own and control _ and they are shaping these markets not just for profit, but to build and exercise power," Clinton's speech says.

"Today we see hybrid companies masquerading as commercial actors, but actually controlled by states and acting with strategic consequences."

More broadly, the U.S. must approach foreign policy issues with the goal of improving the troubled economy at home and finding solutions to strategic problems elsewhere, her speech says.

"To succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening," it says.

Clinton will give the speech at The Economic Club of New York.