Hillary Rodham Clinton: An Australian Conversation

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) with Sid Myer (L), Chairman Asia Society, in Melbourne on November 7, 2010. (William McCallum, Asialink)

MELBOURNE, November 7, 2010 – The United States has no better friend than Australia and the US is impressed with the way Australia has taken responsibility for helping its neighbors on issues of regional concern, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told young Australians during an Asialink Asia Society Australasia Centre forum.

"Leadership from countries like Australia and America and the strength of the alliance that binds us is more important that ever; not only regionally, but globally as well," noted Secretary Clinton, who has been traveling through the Asia Pacific region over the past two weeks to promote the strong engagement between the United States and many of Australia's regional neighbours.

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In opening remarks at today's event at the University of Melbourne, Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor of the University, described Secretary Clinton's visit to Australia as "exceptionally important for our region" and said he looked forward to the Secretary's reflections on the United States-Asia-Pacific relations, "as well as her perspectives on the future of the Australian-American alliance, which has been vital to our interests since the signing of the ANZUS alliance almost 60 years ago."

Vice-Chancellor Davis also acknowledged the role Asia Society had in bringing about the gathering, which was hosted by ABC1 Lateline's Leigh Sales and broadcast on the ABC.

Affirming the need for the partnership between the countries to keep evolving, Secretary Clinton said, "our future security depends on our abilities to adapt to emerging threats and unexpected challenges."  She also emphasized the need to work together on climate change and forge a close working relationship on regional development needs, "particularly on education, health, women's empowerment and sustainable economic development, as well as championing democracy and human rights."

Clinton also acknowledged that "China's rapid growth in recent years is among the most consequential development in the Asia Pacific," and how the relationships between "Australia and China...the US and China, and among the three of us is one of the most consequential that we have, so we're committed to getting this right."

Following her opening address, the secretary of state answered questions put to her from the audience, posted on Facebook, Twitter, and video link. (See "Clinton faces young Australians" on ABC News online).

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Reported by Meredith Hinze, Asialink Asia Society Australasia Centre