KAHALA (HawaiiNewsNow) - She calls Hawaii 'America's bridge to the East'. For the second time this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an official visit to the islands and highlighted how Hawaii plays a key role in American foreign policy.
Hawaii has long been considered the gateway between East and West. Now, even more so, as the Obama administration focuses more attention on Asia and the Pacific.
"I know how the very diversity and dynamism of Hawaii says so much about what is possible, not only in our own country, but in countries throughout the Pacific," Clinton told a room full of invited business leaders, politicians, servicemembers, and others.
In her speech at the Kahala hotel, Clinton unveiled U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. It calls for strengthening ties with old allies, like Japan and South Korea, and cultivating relationships with China, India, and Southeast Asian nations. She dubbed the strategy the three D's of foreign policy - defense, diplomacy, and development.
She says, "We will continue to stand for what we believe is in America's interest and what we are absolutely convinced is also in the interest of Asia."
Clinton's long-time friend, Hawaii's senior Senator, Democrat Daniel Inouye, says the speech was one of the most comprehensive he's heard on Asia-Pacific strategy. "I think it was good for all countries to notice that there's a whole pattern that they will all fit into."
Attention will also be on the region – and Hawaii – next November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC meeting in Honolulu.
"I look forward to returning to Hawaii for the APEC leaders summit when we will take stock in what we have accomplished and how far we have come and to look to the leaders and the people of Hawaii to continue to show us the way," says Clinton.
Clinton will be doing a seven nation sweep of the region over the next two weeks - stopping next in Vietnam for the East Asia summit.