The relationship between the United States and Asia is of considerable importance to me. In recent years, economic interdependence between the United States and Asian nations has increased greatly. More than one third of America’s global trade is conducted in the region.
Our country is committed to social equality, economic development, and democratic governance in Asia. With increased globalization and interdependence, we cannot ignore the deterioration of labor and environmental standards across the Asian continent. The environmental cost of industrialization often extends beyond physical borders, and needs to be addressed if we are to protect our valuable ecosystems for future generations. In addition, the outsourcing of employment to countries in Asia has created a host of social, economic and environmental problems. I continue to push for policies that will ensure our trade policies are not to the detriment of international labor standards, the environment, or American employment.
Although many countries in Asia are moving toward addressing human rights abuses, disappearances, torture, police abuse, and human trafficking still exist. I have always advocated for the protection of human rights and will continue to make every effort to promote peace and democracy in the world and protect those who defend these principles.
In addition, countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Indonesia have taken positive steps to combat terrorism. Terrorism, coupled with military buildups, poses a real and imminent threat to Asia's population and the global community. Above all else, the Korean peninsula, Taiwan Strait, Kashmir, and the volatile border between Afghanistan and Pakistan make the region the locus of conflict flashpoints. Given the current developments in North Korea, I am convinced that the solution to the ongoing crisis over the development of that country's nuclear and missile capabilities lies in conducting effective negotiations that include the United States and regional countries. It is in the United States' and the rest of the worlds' common interest to learn from the lessons of the Cold War and prevent any new nuclear arms race.