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Diplomacy in Action



Date: 02/13/2009 Description: Text the Secretary graphic. State Dept Photo
Welcome to "Text the Secretary," a mobile and online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Secretary Clinton.

In this session, Secretary Clinton answers questions taken during her trip to India and Thailand, July 17-23, 2009. Secretary Clinton selected frequently asked questions and answered them here.

Date: 02/11/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton State Dept Photo
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary Clinton: Thank you very much for your participation in this "Text the Secretary" event during my recent trip to India and Thailand. Several themes appeared throughout all of your questions. Listed below are my responses to questions that represent the important issues you raised.

Ashish in Massachusetts asks:

On a recent trip to Mumbai, I had the opportunity to talk to many young migrant workers who arrive in the city from remote villages of the country in the thousands every week, earning a basic livelihood. In this process, they are permanently starved from an education, which could perhaps give them a better future some day. Do you feel that under the new administration, the United States would take a consistently active interest in monitoring and assisting the educational challenges of many children & young adults in developing countries?

Secretary Clinton:

Thank you for that thoughtful question.  You can look at the very best in Indian education, and it’s the best in the world. You can look at the technical education and it is to be envied. It is so effective. But millions and millions of children don’t have an adequate primary education or a secondary education or, certainly, college education.  India faces the challenge of so many people to serve in very rural areas, often without adequate infrastructure, so you have to come to grips with how you actually produce the schools that are needed, the teachers who will be dedicated, the curriculum and materials that are required.

When I was in Mumbai, I discussed education with volunteers from Teach India and Teach for India, whose passion for service lit up their faces as they talked about the importance of giving every Indian child the chance for an excellent education. The underpinning of global progress is education across the entire spectrum, from early schooling to the advanced research and post-graduate work.  It is truly up to all of us – families, governments, businesses, educational institutions – to do everything we can to give every child a chance to grow up and fulfill his or her God-given potential.

William in Kentucky asks:

How can we maintain good diplomatic relations with India while at the same time we are trying to claim our jobs back for the U.S. that went overseas?

Secretary Clinton:

I know that some Americans fear that greater partnership with India will mean lost jobs or falling wages in the United States. But if we manage our relationship well, both sides can benefit from India's economic progress. India's 6% growth rate is a bright spot amid the global economic downturn, and bilateral trade and investment flows between our nations have doubled in the last five years. The 300 million members of India's burgeoning middle class present a vast new market and opportunity. Our countries should work together to open that market and spread the benefits of sustainable prosperity. We and the rest of the world have a lot to gain from our enhanced cooperation.

Roz in Maryland asks:

Will India implement carbon sequestration measures and other efforts to combat global warming?

Secretary Clinton:

How India and the United States can work together to devise a comprehensive, strategic approach to climate change and a clean energy future was an important topic of my trip. We discussed it with leaders from both the Indian government and Indian businesses. We in the United States, under the Obama administration, are recognizing our responsibility and taking action.

The times we live in demand nothing less than a total commitment. The statistics are there for everyone to see. And as both of our nations reaffirmed at the Major Economies Forum just recently held in Italy, and moderated by President Obama, we need a successful outcome in Copenhagen later this year.

Now, we are under no illusion that this will be easy, because the challenge is to create a global framework that recognizes the different needs and responsibilities of developed and developing countries alike. And I not only understand, but I agree with the concern of countries like India. The United States and other countries that have been the biggest historic emitters of greenhouse gases should shoulder the biggest burden for cleaning up the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. Certainly President Obama has put our country on the path to doing that.

No one wants to in any way stall or undermine the economic growth that is necessary to lift millions of more people out of poverty. But addressing climate change and achieving economic growth, in our view, are compatible goals. And we know, as we look at the forecast of rising sea levels and changing rainfall and melting glaciers that India is a country very vulnerable to climate change. It is also a country most likely to benefit from clean energy policies that are key to economic sustainability in the 21st century.

So, that is why I am very confident -- and even more so after this trip -- that the United States and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume, and conserve energy. And, in the process, start an explosion of new investments and millions of jobs.

Kirk in Ohio asks:

What are your hopes in addressing the seemingly closer relationship between Myanmar/Burma and North Korea?

Secretary Clinton:

Thank you for that important question. On my trip I held consultations on security in Northeast Asia with our allies and partners in the Six-Party process, and had a very good discussion with the ASEAN nations and regional partners.

I was gratified by Burma’s statement and those of many other countries announcing an intention to implement UN Resolution 1874 regarding North Korea. Burma’s statement is significant because in the past, North Korea has provided Burma with materials now barred by Resolution 1874.

I think it’s important to stress that the international community’s response to North Korea’s actions has been unequivocal and nearly unanimous, leading to a new consensus around a common set of principles. The United States and its allies and partners cannot accept a North Korea that tries to maintain nuclear weapons to launch ballistic missiles or to proliferate nuclear materials. And we are committed to the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

As we work to end the regime’s nuclear program, we remain committed to the well-being, dignity, and human rights of the people of North Korea. We will continue to work closely with other governments, international organizations, and NGOs to address human rights violations and abuses perpetuated by the regime. We will maintain our support of NGOs working to improve human rights in North Korea. And we will keep funding Korean language radio broadcasting for the same purposes, and we will soon announce a special envoy for North Korean human rights.

As we enforce sanctions, we are open to talks with North Korea, but we are not interested in half measures. We do not intend to reward the North just for returning to the table. We will not give them anything new for actions they have already agreed to take. And we have no appetite for pursuing protracted negotiations that will only lead us right back to where we have already been.

Our policy is clear. North Korea knows what it has to do: return to denuclearization talks and fulfill its commitments under the 2005 joint statement to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and return at an early date to the nonproliferation treaty and to IAEA safeguards. The path is open, and it is up to North Korea to take it.

Secretary Clinton: Thank you everyone and I look forward to answering your questions during my next trip to Africa August 4-8, 2009.

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