FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: A very good afternoon, dear colleagues from the media. (In Indonesian.) I would like to begin once again by welcoming and expressing our appreciation to Secretary Clinton, as well as her delegation, for having attended and participated actively in this second Joint Commission meeting between the United States and Indonesia.
I had begun our discussion this morning by expressing one key thought. First, that during the past few days, as you are aware, Secretary Clinton has given Bali to attend the ASEAN-U.S. meeting, the East Asia Summit meeting at the ministerial level, as well as the ASEAN Regional Forum. And during the course of those sets of meetings, Indonesia and the United States worked very closely, all for the purpose of promoting peace, stability, and prosperity for our region.
But I have also suggested the idea that all those endeavors would not be possible without being anchored by strong bilateral relations, as Indonesia and the United States today enjoy. And that is why today’s second JMC is extremely strategic and extremely important. As colleagues will be aware, the JMC process was launched last September 2010 for the purpose of injecting momentum and ensuring concrete (inaudible) to the vision of a comprehensive partnership between Indonesia and the United States.
And during the course of that period, since September 2010 until today, we have seen, based on the report that we have just now received from the six working groups — namely the working groups on democracy and civil society, working group on climate and environment, working group on education, on trade and investment, on security issues, and on energy — based on the submission from the six working groups, I think both Secretary Clinton and I feel ever more confident that the comprehensive partnership between our two countries are in a good state, and that we are actually further deepening and strengthening our collaboration and partnership.
And more specifically, each of the working groups were able to share with the Secretary and myself the kind of progress they have made in their own respective domain, and lay out the concrete work plan for their year ahead, in order to ensure that the momentum is maintained.
More specifically, as you are aware, come next November, in 2011, we are to have the East Asia Summit here in Bali. And on that occasion, we are anticipating, of course, the first participation by the United States, by President Obama, to that summit. And, at the same time, there will be, no doubt, a bilateral meeting between the two presidents: of Indonesia and President Obama. In other words, the work that we are doing now, today, of the JCM, becomes a useful (inaudible) for us to be able to take stock where we are and where we wish to become next November.
So, all in all, I would say, Secretary, it has been — and I am sure you would agree with me — a most productive meeting, and encouraging, as well, because not only have the working groups been extremely diligent and energetic in their work over the past few months, but they continue to be driven by a sense of wanting to achieve better achievement and identifying more potentials for the future.
Of course, besides the issue of bilateral relations, the Secretary and I had the advantage on this occasion to compare notes on various regional and international issues, following on from the discussions that we have been having at the ASEAN Regional Forum, as well as the East Asia Summit at the ministers level.
That is by way of introduction for myself. I should now like to give the floor to Secretary Clinton to also deliver her remarks. Please.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. I want to express my appreciation to the Foreign Minister and the delegation from Indonesia for not only welcoming us today, but preparing the opportunity for such a productive second meeting of our joint commission. As the foreign minister said, we covered a lot of ground. I want to just touch on a few of the highlights.
First, we discussed how to increase trade and investment between our countries. Because while Indonesia is the largest economy in ASEAN, trade between our two countries still lags between others in the region. For example, our trade this year with Indonesia was $20 billion, but our trade with Malaysia was $40 billion. So we want to look at what are the impediments and the potential barriers. How do we reduce tariffs? How do we create more dynamic trade and investment between Indonesia and the United States?
Secondly, we discussed how we can work together more closely to protect the environment and to address the challenge of climate change. I know that is something that the Government of Indonesia and President Yudhoyono has been particularly focused on. I emphasize that, as we enter the final stage of negotiations on a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact that aims to promote low carbon development, we look forward to the quick creation of an accountable national trust fund to implement the compact, and to spur sustainable growth here in Indonesia.
Third, we discussed our shared goal of expanding educational exchanges. And I was so pleased to hear the report from the two chairs of the education working group. We are well on the way to doubling the number of Indonesians who study in the United States, and increasing the number of American students who come to study in Indonesia. We have expanded study abroad initiatives, such as our Fulbright Program, and we are eager to continue to build on that, as we will at a higher education summit to be held in Washington on October 31st.
Finally, we discussed Indonesia’s growing role as a regional and global leader, and the important leadership that Indonesia is providing in ASEAN, in the ASEAN Regional Forum, in the East Asia Summit, in APEC, in the G-20, in all the major multilateral fora where the hard problems facing us in the world today are addressed.
This is an exciting time, and I was very impressed by the work that has been done by the working groups. And I think that this comprehensive partnership is, indeed, producing results for both of our people. Because, after all, we have to report to the people of Indonesia, and the people of the United States. And I think they can be reassured that we are not meeting for the sake of meeting; we are meeting to build relationships, to explore potential, and to deliver results for both of our people.
So, again, let me thank the Foreign Minister for his hospitality and his friendship, and to commend you, Marty, on the excellent job done in hosting these important gatherings in the last week.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much, Hillary. Before opening the floor for questions, may I express a sentiment which I am sure Hillary would want to associate herself to, as well? Once again, to reaffirm and communicate our (inaudible) with regard to the attacks that took place in Norway just recently, the loss of life, of innocent lives lost, and our condemnation for that event, yet, at the same time, our confidence in the strength of the Norwegian nation, of its government, to be able to overcome this particular challenge, and that we, as members of the international community, stand by them in expressing our solidarity and support.
QUESTION: Thank you very much (inaudible). I have a question for you, ma’am, and one question to you, Mr. Marty.
First question, I would like to know what is your opinion on how ASEAN works on problems such as the border disputes (inaudible), issues of human rights (inaudible), and especially South China Seas issue. And do you think that we should always be (inaudible)?
My second question. There has been (inaudible) on the human (inaudible) Indonesia following the statement of Human Rights Watch. How (inaudible) participation of human rights in Indonesia, especially (inaudible).
And to Mr. Marty, (inaudible).
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Ah, right. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me begin with responding. I want to commend Indonesian leadership of ASEAN this past year. Because of its active role in promoting a resolution to the border disputes between Cambodia and Thailand. Indonesia played that role very effectively, to the point that both countries have asked Indonesia to continue playing such a role, even after its chairmanship of ASEAN expires.
And I think the international court of justice’s decision about the disputed territory between two ASEAN members itself highlighted the importance of ASEAN continuing to seek a permanent resolution.
Secondly, with respect to human rights in Burma, we discussed that in our meetings, in the ASEAN Regional Forum, and in the U.S.-ASEAN dialogue. And I think it is very important that we continue to press the new Government of Burma to take action that will demonstrate a break with the past. And again, here I commend Indonesia’s leadership, both as chair of ASEAN, in reaching out to the new government, but also, based on your own experience, I think there is much for Indonesia to share, as to how you make a successful peaceful transition to a democracy as vibrant and successful as the one here in Indonesia.
And with respect to the South China Sea, as you know, that took up a great deal of our time in discussions, both prior to and during the meetings. I have to comment Indonesia’s leadership again. Because, as chair of ASEAN, Indonesia led the way to the adoption of the declaration of conduct. I think that it is important for all of us to realize what is at stake here. Because, clearly, the South China Sea is absolutely essential to global trade. At least 50 percent of all global trade goes through the South China Sea every single year. And it is important for us to support freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, so there is no question as to the rights of every nation for its ships, its goods to pass through the South China Sea. But it is especially important for the region.
And the United States takes no position on any claim made by any party to any disputed area. What we want to see is a resolution process that will be aided by the code of conduct that ASEAN is working toward, based on the Declaration of Conduct, and that the principles of international law will govern, so that there can be peaceful resolution of all the claims. In order to achieve that, every claimant must make their claim publicly and specifically known, so that we know where there is any dispute. And secondly, all claims must be related to territorial characteristics.
So, we think that it was an important first step, but only a first step in adopting the Declaration of Conduct. And we commend, again, Indonesia’s leadership in achieving that, and urge that ASEAN move quickly — I would even add urgently — to achieve a code of conduct that will avoid any problems in the vital sea lanes and territorial waters of the South China Sea.
With respect to — you had two questions in there — with respect to human rights, we have a working group in our Commission on democracy on human rights. We had a very positive discussion about those important issues during the reporting from that working group, and we look forward to continuing to support Indonesia in its important leadership on democracy and human rights, not only in the region, but globally. And, therefore, we look forward to continuing to make progress.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: If I may just also add to the point that Secretary Clinton has made on the South China Sea, Indonesia is acutely aware of the need to maintain momentum. Of course, the conclusion of the guidelines just now — a couple of days ago now — is a very important development. I would not wish to underestimate its importance. But, at the same time, it reminds us of the further work that needs to be done maintaining momentum, maintaining a sense of urgency. And we have a road map at the back of our minds of what needs to happen between now and then, whenever the “then” is. But you can be assured that we have a clear outline and expectations of what needs to happen. And not least, of course, the identifications of elements for Code of Conduct within the process of its eventual conclusion, as well.
On the specific question asked — addressed to myself, namely Indonesia and the United States with regard to the East Asia Summit, as you are very much aware, of course, the process, the very process of United States participation and addition to the East Asia Summit was, among others, a product of a process that Indonesia and the United States bilaterally (inaudible) about.
I remember my first conversation with you, Hillary, in Singapore, if I am not mistaken, at the sideline of a conference. This was an issue that you raised then. And, therefore, even from the beginning, the United States and Indonesia have been engaged in a very thorough way to discuss, to compare notes of our strategic vision of what the East Asia Summit is all about. And now that the United States is part of the East Asia Summit, it is our task, together with the other members of the EAS to give flesh to this — to give value to this forum. And I think that the discussion that we had yesterday was extremely instructive — a couple of days ago now — among others, to ensure that the East Asia Summit, besides discussing the five priority issues that we have been discussing, also deepen and broaden its engagement or discussion on so-called broad strategic issues.
The East Asia Summit must provide solutions to many of the region’s challenges, and opportunities, as well. And I am glad that, with the United States being part of the equation, being part of the architecture, then the chances of having this summit providing that answer is suitably enhanced. Thank you.
QUESTION: I am going to follow up on a couple of human rights issues. Foreign Minister, do you believe that the change that occurred in Myanmar, Burma, this year is sufficient for Burma to take its place, for instance, as head of ASEAN? I don’t believe the United States thinks so. I mean you both can comment on that.
And in advance of the Secretary’s visit, a number of media groups, a human rights group, issued statements critical of Indonesia’s handling of the situation in Kampar, saying that aid groups and journalists were being barred, and that there were reports that — of a crackdown on the indigenous people. And I was just wondering if you both can comment on those specifics.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you. In a way, the questions are somewhat related, as relates to human rights and democratization.
One thing that we have learned in the course of our decade-long now — nearly — democratization is that it is a process. It is impossible to have a snapshot of one moment in time and sort of decide, “Are we there yet, or are we not there yet?” And this is most definitely the case with respect to Myanmar. Myanmar is obviously a work in process, in terms of democratization. To put it more — in a more — I guess — yes, I don’t want to use — describe it as a work in progress.
But it is very much related to the issue of chairmanship. As you know, at the moment, the decision has not been made by ASEAN. When we last met as foreign ministers, the decision has been left — not quite done yet. But we have to see and have a sense of — comfort level whether Myanmar is actually prepared and ready to assume chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014. I am aware — we are aware — of the responsibilities and the expectations that is inherent in a particular country chairing ASEAN, especially on the eve of 2015. So we are well aware of that, and we are going to have plenty more discussions among ASEAN member states to ensure that there is a real comfort level about the issue.
On the issue of human rights situation in Indonesia, the kind of concerns that we have expressed, many — we hear such comments and expectations on a regular basis. But the only thing is nowadays it is also a concern that is shared by all Indonesians alike. So it doesn’t take an external party to suggest to us we need to do this and that, because it is being — efforts are being made to ensure that our own democratic and human rights expectations are fulfilled, as we expect them to be.
But, you know, as Secretary Clinton has said, we have this working group within this forum on human rights and civil society that has been working not only in promoting bilateral cooperation on human rights issue, but also increasingly now, of cooperation of a multilateral character, as well, a lot of experience sharing that we are disseminating to some other countries in transition, including in the Middle East and North Africa, which shows the potential demonstrative effect that countries like Indonesia, working together with United States, can impact — impart upon our partners, as well. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we greatly appreciate Indonesia’s leadership in promoting progress toward political reconciliation and democracy in Burma. And, as the foreign minister said, Indonesia’s own recent history provides an example for transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions.
And we have, in many different settings, expressed our deep concern about the oppressive political environment in Burma. We have called on the newly-elected government to release political prisoners, open a meaningful dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi by utilizing decision-makers who can respond to her legitimate suggestions and concerns, and we will continue to press for the kind of changes that we see benefiting the people of Burma in the future.
With respect to Papua, the United States supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which includes the Papua and West Papua provinces. We, of course, believe in open dialogue between Papuan representatives and the Indonesian Government to address grievances and support development. But, as the Foreign Minister said, this is a matter for the Indonesian Government, and they are addressing it. And we hope to see full implementation of the special autonomy law for Papua, which is a commitment on the part of the Indonesian Government to address many of the concerns that have been expressed.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary and Mr. Foreign Minister. I want to ask about how far this relation has progressed since you (inaudible), especially about the (inaudible) and security sector.
And then, what will U.S. President Barack Obama of United States bring to the East Asia Summit next November? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that there has been a discernable amount of progress in the relationship between the United States and Indonesia under the Obama Administration. President Obama came to office very committed to deepen, broaden, and strengthen the bilateral relationship between our two countries. And, based on the work that I have overseen, and that I have been able to analyze, given the work of the Commission, I am very pleased by the progress that our bilateral relationship is making.
We, on both sides, have more to do. And so, this is a continuing process that we will be focused on. I know President Obama is looking forward both to attending the East Asian Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, and his bilateral meetings with President Yudhoyono and others. But this is a very important relationship, one that the United States highly values, and that we are deeply invested in. And I think, based on the progress we have made in a very short period of time, there is a tremendous potential for future cooperation.
QUESTION: Hi. I am Anthony Kuhn with NPR, National Public Radio of the U.S., and I would like to hear both from Secretary Clinton and Minister Marty on this.
To go back to the South China Sea, Secretary Clinton, you have asked claimants to back up their claims in international law. This is probably the most — as China would put it — core interest, or core matter, the thorniest issue you could raise. It has taken the better part of a decade just to come up with a non-binding resolution that says very little about what to do when there are spats. What about the medium term? What about the short term?
What do you propose to address — to prevent incidents which you say threaten security? Might you — although you are both not claimants in this — for example, engage in diplomacy in, say, to claimants, at least try to get to your different domestic departments in line, reading from the same page on this issue? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Anthony. I think that the progress that we saw this year stands in marked contrast to our meeting last year. The achievement of a declaration, as you point out, had been a long time coming, thanks to the hard work and leadership of the foreign minister and the Indonesian Government as chair of the ASEAN meeting, as well as the ARF. There has been progress on the dialogue between China and ASEAN.
The Declaration is a first step. Nobody claims it is more than that. It is a first step. It needs to be quickly followed up on by the code of conduct. There needs to be a lot of dialogue between ASEAN and China in their already-existing mechanism. And the rest of the world needs to weigh in, because all of us have a stake in ensuring that these disputes don’t get out of control. And in fact, the numbers have been increasing. The intimidation actions of (inaudible), of cutting of cables, the kinds of things which will raise the cost of doing business for everyone who travels through the South China Sea, which, as I said earlier, is half of all global commerce.
So, we support a collaborative, diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve all of their disputes. What we do not support, and are strongly against, is the use or threat of force by any nation to advance its claims. Therefore, we think simultaneously there needs to be a very concerted effort to realize a code of conduct, and there needs to be a call by the international community for all parties to clarify their claims, both land and maritime, and to conform them to international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on Law of the Seas.
This is the way the world is supposed to work. And in the 21st century, this is the way it must work. Because no nation can, on its own, manage everything that needs to happen. And those days are and must be over. And, therefore, we have to have the kind of cooperative, collaborative effort that Indonesia has led.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Well, thank you very much for that question. Collaborative and cooperative mindset is an effort — is certainly exactly the kind of spirit and outcome we are promoting as Indonesia, as ASEAN chair, for our region. Of course, the obvious recent manifestation among others has been on South China Sea, as well as on the Thai-Cambodia situation.
In other words, we are keen to avoid for our region the kind of fault lines and schisms and divisions that may not be — that would not be to the interest of any countries in this part of the world. And the South China Sea, the guideline itself, the Declaration and its guidelines, when you look at it, it may not seem to suggest much. It may not. However, if you look at the broader picture of what it represents, the fact that after about eight years, finally, this year, after much strong effort, and in contrast to — like Secretary Clinton said, in contrast to last year’s ambience and conditions, we were able to get this done. I think that is a good start. And it is an asset for us to develop on.
The key point here is that we must make sure that this is not the end of the line. This is but the beginning. And I can assure you that Indonesia, as chair of ASEAN, we have a road map — as I said before in my earlier remarks, we have a clear road map of what needs to happen between now and, say, November. That is the next junction, when we will be having the summit of ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, to ensure a constant sense of progress and momentum. Because we do sincerely and genuinely feel letting things not going anywhere, letting things be state of status quo can be possibly destabilizing, and creating uncertainty and opening up the potentials for miscalculation. And this is what we wish to avoid. Transparency, in terms of intent, in terms of claims, is extremely important.
But all this must be done within the diplomatic process. And I don’t mind having very difficult debate — frank and candid, as we say it in diplomatic parlance — as long as it is all done in the construct of a conference room, rather than out there at sea. And there has certainly been, as Secretary Clinton said, recent incidents at sea. I am afraid it is a general trend, not only in the South China Sea; the other seas of all parts of the world also have been marked by tensions. The militarization of fishing vessels, for example, that — how fishing vessels have been protected by the navies of different countries and creating incidences at sea, and these are very serious developments.
That is why, among our initiatives just now, was to have a maritime forum for our region, an East Asia or Asia Pacific ASEAN maritime forum, where all the different assets of maritime ocean issues can be discussed in a cohesive way. Indonesia, you recall, is an archipelago. It is a country that is not small, made up of some 17,000 islands. We used to think of the oceans as a factor that divides us. But, thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers, the oceans, the seas between the islands, becomes an issue that binds us in accordance with this archipelagic outlook.
Now, we would like to think that East Asia and the Asia Pacific, a great deal of which is made up of the seas, can also have a similar integrative outlook, to look at the seas as a potential for cooperation, rather than a source for conflict and tensions. That is certainly the kind of outlook we would like to promote. Thank you very much.
TRADE MINISTER PANGESTU:
We have heard some exciting news that, for instance, Google is evaluating coming to Indonesia, and Facebook, who came to Indonesia a few weeks ago, may also be interested. And yesterday, it was mentioned that the entrepreneurship delegation from the U.S. who came a few days prior to this summit, many on their first visit to Indonesia, felt that the potential here was 10 times more than expected. So all good news, and it is really – coming and seeing and believing, I think, is the key word. And some of our winners already got some investors, so this is not just a summit, but there are real results.
I think our hard work is just beginning – that is to provide the right environment and ecosystem for entrepreneurship to ensure that the potential is realized, that the young entrepreneurs who are our future are provided access to walk the first mile and be sustained to reach the last mile. Not all will become billionaires, but as Tarun Khanna from Harvard Business School said, it is not about the few billionaires that is important; it is better to create billions of entrepreneurs.
It now gives me great pleasure to invite our distinguished keynote speaker. She is someone who truly understands what entrepreneurship means, and more importantly, the power and potential of women-run small and medium-sized businesses to drive economic growth. She and I share the same belief that when women progress, countries progress, and when women progress, we achieve economic development, reduction of poverty, and the human race takes a great leap. We believe real and strategic action must be done, and I believe this is something that is a commitment of Secretary Clinton. Women comprise more than half of the world’s population, yet they are also 70 percent of the world’s poor and two-thirds of those who are not taught to read and write; that women get much less of the loans available despite the fact that they are better at payback of these loans.
Her commitment is clear. My intelligence tells me that no matter how busy or tight your schedule is, she always finds time in her travel to meet with women who are advancing their societies and growing their countries’ economies. Some said that the number of times she has visited has been up to 85 countries in the 232 days since taking office in January 2009. This is from Bloomberg. And that is why she has become a champion of women’s access to credit, to markets, to communications technology, to training and mentoring and so much more. Her passion and commitment were instrumental in the many initiatives and public-private partnership programs to grow women’s business leaderships in the Middle East and many other programs, including the one that launched at APEC last year. We hope that such initiatives can also be launched in this region.
So please welcome the U.S. Secretary of State, a champion for social and economic entrepreneurs everywhere. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, may I invite you now to the podium, please. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here. I’ve been looking forward to coming this afternoon, and I want to thank all of you for being part of this exciting ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit running simultaneously with the ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. I want to express my appreciation to Minister Pangestu. She has been a terrific leader and host for this summit. I’m very grateful to her. I also want to thank our Indonesian hosts as well because so many of you have done a lot of the heavy lifting, so to speak, in order to make this a success. And I want to thank the Global Entrepreneurship Partnership Initiative chair, Chris Kanter. I want to thank our team from Washington who have been tireless in their promotion of entrepreneurship, and all of the Indian, Indonesian officials and others from across the ASEAN region.
Before I begin, I want just to express my heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with the people of Norway. The United States strongly condemns any kind of terrorism no matter where it comes from or who perpetuates it, and this tragedy strikes right at the heart of the soul of a peaceful people. Norway is well known for its efforts to resolve conflicts, bring people together, it sets a high example for social entrepreneurship. And this terrible event is especially heartbreaking because so many of the victims were young people under the age of 25, and our hearts go out to their families and to the Norwegian people and government. And this just reminds us what a precious gift we all have of our lives, and I think we are called to make the most of it for ourselves, but also for our communities, our countries and humanity.
I am delighted to participate in this first ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit. And I congratulate all of you, the entrepreneurs and investors, the government officials and development experts who are exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, creating new opportunities and even making investments. Now, Indonesia is the natural choice to hold this first summit. This is, as you know, one of the three largest democracies in the world in a dynamic region that is increasingly at the heart of global commerce and growth.
Like so many other countries, Indonesia is also home to an enormous population of young people. Almost 75 million Indonesians are under the age of 18. Now, those young people are growing up in a world very different than the one I grew up in, and they are connected in ways that I could never have imagined even 10 years ago, let alone a long time ago when I was that age. And the jobs and opportunities that they need and deserve cannot and will not be created by governments alone no matter how large a public sector grows. And while traditional corporations and established industries are very important, the fact is they too are unlikely to create all the jobs needed for the future.
So what we need to do is what you have been doing – tap the creativity and innovation of citizens, men and women alike. I like to say that talent is universal but opportunity is not. We can begin to change that if we find ways to unleash people’s potential, help good ideas take root and flourish. And potential entrepreneurs are all around us. They are anyone with the imagination to conceive of a new product, process, or service, the ability, persistence, and sheer hard work to turn that idea into something real.
Now, my father was an entrepreneur. He had a small fabric printing business and he employed one or two workers to help him, depending upon the level of his business orders. But he also enlisted my mother, my brothers, and me. One of my earliest memories as a little girl is standing at a very long table on which a very long roll of cloth is laid and helping to lift a screen, a silk screen, from place to place and then helping to hold the squeegee of the paint to push it over the screen and then lift it up and continue down the table.
So my father, who was a man of modest means – he didn’t have a lot of money, he had no personal connections of any sort – it was just his sheer hard work, his shoe leather as well as his brain power. And he made his business succeed. Now, he did not become a millionaire or a billionaire, but he supported his family, he sent us to college, he gave us a very comfortable life through his own persistence, his self confidence, and a willingness to take risks.
Now, when I was growing up, we called that the American dream and it attracted tens of millions of immigrants to our shores and still does. Entrepreneurship has been written into the DNA of the American people. But I have now traveled enough to see that there are people all over the world with the talent and the drive to achieve the same goals. So I have learned that this is also a universal dream.
Earlier this week, in Chennai in Southern India, I visited the Working Women’s Forum, a community organization that provides microfinance loans, training and support so that very poor women can start their own small businesses and participate in the formal economy. I met a woman there who had come with her family as a refugee from Burma. She stood up in front of a very crowded room, including television cameras, and told her story in a very confident presentation.
She talked about how when she arrived, she and her family had nothing, that there were predatory lenders charging high interest rates for what she wanted to do, to start a small business to support herself and her family. She talked about the pressure she was under from her family members to stay home, but her answer was, “Well, who is going to put food on the table? Who is going to provide the means for us to send the children to school if we do not all work?” And she ran into other obstacles that would have really paralyzed someone who was there all alone.
But fortunately, the Working Women’s Forum was there to help her. She had none of the advantages that allow entrepreneurs to thrive. But when she joined this women’s group, the door was finally open and now, she is supporting her family. She and her husband are sending their children to school and they’re following their own dreams.
That’s really what this summit is about. I mean, it talks about entrepreneurship, but it’s really about dreams, isn’t it? Because this story can be told millions of times over in every country on every continent, and we’re here today because we believe in the power of opportunity and entrepreneurship to transform lives and lift up communities. And we’re committed in the Obama Administration to helping entrepreneurship grow further and faster all over the world, and this summit is evidence of that.
But we need to tackle the obstacles. It’s not enough just to bring together in one place experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders with young people with good ideas even who have already started their businesses. We need to tackle the obstacles that entrepreneurs face – cumbersome government regulations, corrupt officials who demand a bribe before issuing a business permit, and for women like the woman I met in Chennai, cultural norms that might prevent her from handling money or owning land.
The United States wants to work with you to bring down these barriers. That means reducing the time it takes to open a business here in this region. It means connecting entrepreneurs with investors, not only in their own countries, but outside them, as has happened here. Improving the business climate by protecting intellectual property rights; if you come up with a good idea, it should be protected so that you can then make the most of it and spin it off into who knows where it might go, and of course, making it easier for foreign investors to find local projects worthy of support.
And we particularly want to encourage women entrepreneurs, because, as the minister said, no economy can thrive if it leaves half the population behind. In fact, a recent United Nations study estimated that in the Asia Pacific region, the untapped potential of women has cost the region more than $40 billion in lost GDP over the last decade. So we’re supporting new microfinance projects, building peer networks, and offering mentorships with American businesswomen.
This really builds on what President Obama emphasized in his 2009 speech in Cairo and that we reaffirmed at the entrepreneurship summit last year in Washington – American became a global economic power by nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation, by setting the conditions in which entrepreneurs like my father could thrive and ideas could flourish. And we believe other countries can do exactly the same by embracing this model.
That’s why we created the Global Entrepreneurship Program and why we are supporting initiatives like Partnerships For a New Beginning, which recently opened a local chapter here in Indonesia. With a network of public and private partners, we are identifying promising entrepreneurs like all of you here, helping to train them, connecting them with mentors and potential investors, while advocating for supportive policies and regulations and always, always talking about what actually works in the real world. We have led delegations of businesspeople and investors to Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, where they met with entrepreneurs. And we are connecting entrepreneurs all over the world with Diaspora communities living in the United States who actually want to support projects back in their ancestral homes.
I am pleased to announce that Indonesia is one of the five countries around the world in which the United States will work to foster angel investor groups and connect them with startups and entrepreneurs. And there is no shortage here in Indonesia, which is why we chose Indonesia. In the run-up to this summit, 500 Indonesians entered our business plan competition, running the gamut from high-tech innovators to more traditional brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs.
And many of them are here with us today. One of the prizes went to Indomog, an online payment gateway that offers vouchers for internet gainers. Another went to Gojek, which offers a motorcycle, taxi, and delivery service to Jakartans frustrated by traffic gridlock, which sounds very familiar for someone who comes from New York. Finalists have found new customers and new investors and, as the minister said, some have already received investments. One has received pledges for a million dollars’ worth of startup capital. And everyone, all 500 of you – (applause) – drew up a plan and took a chance on it. And I’d like all of the 500 who are still here who were chosen to please stand up so that we can applaud all of you, because you’re really what this is all about. (Applause.)
We want to see stories that are successes repeated here in Indonesia, across the ASEAN region, and around the world. Now, why would the United States be doing this? I think it’s fair to ask. Why are we doing this? Well, partly because we really come from a culture that thinks if we can help other people do better, that’s good for them and it’s good for us. It makes for a more prosperous, peaceful, stabler, more secure world. If people are given the opportunity to live up to their own God-given potential, they are more likely to make a contribution to their families, communities, countries, and indeed the world.
We’re also doing it because we think it works. We think that our own experience demonstrates that. And we have seen over now 235 years, but particularly in the last 150 years, we have seen people come from many of the ASEAN nations to our country with nothing in their pocket except a big dream that they hope to be able to realize. And yes, they worked hard, but they had worked hard back home. What was different is they now had the opportunity to profit from their work.
So when I travel around the world and I go to countries that are still not democracies, still putting up major barriers to women, still interfering with both men and women starting businesses, it breaks my heart because since I know people from practically every country on earth who have come to my own, I know that there are millions and millions more back where they came from who could be just as successful as that businesswoman or that doctor or that academic or whoever who came to the United States. And it wasn’t that they worked harder; it was they had a chance to profit from their work.
So we know this works, and we know too that free and open societies are more likely to benefit more people over a longer period of time than any other kind of society. And it’s not only a chance to vote in elections, as important as that is. It’s not only a free press, as critical as that is, or democratic institutions in a government that is transparent and accountable and produces results for people. It is whether there’s a free market and an economy that works for people who get up every day and work hard.
Now, not everybody is going to invent Google or Facebook, but they can be like my dad was. They can have their own small business, their own piece of that American dream or that Indonesian dream and they can do well for themselves and they can make a difference to the next generation. My mother never went to college. My father went to college on a football scholarship. He was a great athlete, not a great student. But because he could build a business, he was able to make our lives more and give us education and greater opportunity.
So we may come from different places and we certainly have different histories, different cultures, ethnicities, religions, all the things that too often separate human beings. As opposed to making us more interesting to each other, it too often provides gaps or gulfs, even, between us knowing one another and working with one another. But if you really look at what many of us know to be true, that the power of the individual, that the person with the good idea who is willing to work hard can do much more than grow a business.
As an entrepreneur, you literally can help shape the future, not only with your product or your service, but with your dream. So thank you for dreaming, thank you for being part of this first ever ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit, and please know that the United States believes in you, believes in your dreams, and wants to do whatever we can, working with you to help you realize them for the betterment of yourselves, your families, your communities, and a country like Indonesia. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Her Excellency Secretary Hillary Clinton, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and especially all of you young Indonesian and ASEAN entrepreneurs who will chart the next big chapter of the future of the region. Let me first of all welcome Her Excellency Secretary Hillary Clinton and thank her and the State Department, especially those from the Global Entrepreneurship Program, for the support in organizing this regional entrepreneurship summit. I would also like to thank the Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia and partners for all their hard work and passion and commitment. You can all pat yourselves in the back because you can literally feel the buzz of excitement in the room about the potential of Indonesia and the region.
I have just completed my second trip to Burma.
During my two-day trip, I met with a wide variety of stakeholders inside the country. In Nay Pyi Taw, I held consultations with the Minister of Science and Technology, the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Information and the Spokes Authoritative Team, the Union Election Commission, the Labor Minister, and the head of the USDA.
In Rangoon, I met with a number of community leaders of ethnic minority groups, the National League for Democracy, key members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs, a variety of political players, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
This trip comes as part of a process the Obama Administration launched last year. In February 2009, Secretary Clinton announced that we would undertake a review of our Burma policy, stating clearly that neither sanctions nor engagement, when implemented alone, had succeeded in influencing Burma’s generals. Over the course of the seven months of the policy review, we consulted widely and deliberately in order to seek the best ideas from around the world and at home. The result of that extensive review was to launch a policy of pragmatic engagement with Burma’s leadership. We have engaged in senior-level dialogue with the regime. Yet we have not lifted sanctions, nor have we abandoned our commitment to the people of Burma. Our strategic goal for Burma remains unchanged: we wish to see a more prosperous, democratic Burma that lives in peace with its people and with its neighbors.
The United States has approached this engagement with goodwill. We continue to consult and coordinate closely with key countries, including those within ASEAN, the European Union, with India, Japan, China and others, and a number of players outside governments seeking a more positive future in Burma.
The key objective of my trip to Burma was to underscore the purposes and principles of our engagement, and to lay out the reasons for our profound disappointment in what we have witnessed to date.
During various discussions with Burma’s senior leadership, we have outlined a proposal for a credible dialogue among all stakeholders in Burma that would allow all sides to enter into such a dialogue with dignity. Unfortunately, the regime has chosen to move ahead unilaterally – without consultation from key stakeholders – towards elections planned for this year. As a direct result, what we have seen to date leads us to believe that these elections will lack international legitimacy. We urge the regime to take immediate steps to open the process in the time remaining before the elections.
We have also asked for greater respect for human rights and the release of political prisoners. The regime has detained many of Burma’s brightest and most patriotic citizens, citizens that could contribute greatly to ensuring a more prosperous future for their country. Instead the regime has silenced them, dispersing them to remote locations throughout the country where the generals hope they will be forgotten. They are not.
We have raised our persistent concerns about the increasing tensions between Burma’s ethnic minorities and the central government that have resulted in violence along the country’s borders. The regime has ratcheted up the pressure on Burma’s ethnic groups in preparation for this year’s elections, forcing countless innocent civilians to flee. Burma cannot move forward while the government itself persists in launching attacks against its own people to force compliance with a proposal its ethnic groups cannot accept. The very stability the regime seeks will continue to be elusive until a peaceable solution can be found through dialogue.
Finally, we have urged Burma’s senior leadership to abide by its own commitment to fully comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1874. Recent developments call into question that commitment. I have asked the Burmese leadership to work with the United States and others to put into place a transparent process to assure the international community that Burma is abiding by its international commitments. Without such a process, the United States maintains the right to take independent action within the relevant frameworks established by the international community.
Although we are profoundly disappointed by the response of the Burmese leadership, I remain inspired by those outside the government with whom I met. I admire the resolve of Burma’s ethnic groups that wish to live in peace and to have a representative stake in the future of their own country. I respect the difficult decision Burma’s political parties have taken regarding the upcoming elections. Some have decided to participate, some will not. It is the right of a free people to make those decisions for themselves, and the United States respects their decisions.
I would like to take a moment to applaud the leaders of the National League for Democracy – a political party that has struggled for more than two decades to improve the lives of the Burmese people – with whom I held a lengthy meeting. Although having been denied a legal framework in which to operate by the regime’s own flawed rules, its leadership remains committed to working on behalf of and for the Burmese people. The United States will continue to stand behind all those working to support Burma’s people, including the National League for Democracy, however it may constitute itself in the future.
Finally, I was again moved by the perseverance and the commitment Aung San Suu Kyi has shown to the cause of a more just and benevolent Burma and to the Burmese people themselves. She has demonstrated compassion and tolerance for her captors in the face of repeated indignities. It is simply tragic that Burma’s generals have rebuffed her countless appeals to work together to find a peaceable solution for a more prosperous future.
The strength and resilience of those who struggle continue to inspire us. The United States stands by the Burmese people in their desire for a more democratic, prosperous, and peaceful nation.
MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)
MINISTER KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. It is a real pleasure for me to be back in Vietnam. And I have had the good fortune of observing the evolution of our relationship over the last 15 years ever since my husband, President Bill Clinton, took steps to normalize our relations. And we came on our first visit 10 years ago, which was a wonderful opportunity for me to see so much of the progress that was taking place. And now upon my return, I am looking forward to seeing even more.
My meetings today are very important to furthering our bilateral relationship. I think that Minister Khiem and I had candid and productive discussions on issues, as he said, ranging from trade and investment to health and education, to good governance, human rights, humanitarian and security issues. The Obama Administration is prepared to take the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to the next level on these issues and in new areas of cooperation. We see this relationship not only as important on its own merits, but as part of a strategy aimed at enhancing American engagement in the Asia Pacific and in particular Southeast Asia. We spoke about a range of challenges affecting regional security, including Burma, North Korea, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and we welcome Vietnam’s constructive leadership and its excellent contributions to ASEAN, including its very important role as ASEAN chair. We also discussed our growing cooperation on civil nuclear power and counter-proliferation efforts. Vietnam is an active partner in both areas.
In the past three months alone, Vietnam participated in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit, endorsed the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism, and signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States on civil nuclear cooperation. Now, as with any country, we do not agree on everything. We have different experiences historically and culturally, but we had candid discussions about the issues we do view differently. The United States is committed to working with nations everywhere to help strengthen civil society as a fundamental ingredient of political, economic, and social progress. And Vietnam, with its extraordinary dynamic population, is on the path to becoming a great nation with an unlimited potential. And that is among the reasons we express concern about arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, attacks on religious groups, and curbs on internet freedom.
We look to work in a spirit of cooperation and friendship to support efforts to pursue reforms and protect basic rights and freedoms. And we are particularly seeking to promote economic progress in Vietnam through broad-based growth built on Vietnam’s integration into the regional and global economy. We discussed our shared interest in expanding trade to create jobs in both countries. And I am very much supportive of Vietnam’s participation as a full member in the Trans-Pacific partnership. As Vietnam embarks on labor and other reforms, the American businesses that are investing in Vietnam can provide expertise that will aid Vietnam’s economic and infrastructure development.
Mr. Minister, we have a full and formidable agenda. But I believe our discussion today has helped lay the foundation for continued progress in our relationship. So again, let me thank you for the warm hospitality and the discussions that we’ve enjoyed on this auspicious occasion. Thank you, Minister.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Madam Secretary of State and with that, I would like to invite journalists to ask questions. We have only two questions for the journalists; one from Vietnam and one from the U.S. side. I invite VTV.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) May I introduce myself? I’m (inaudible) from the Television of Vietnam News. My question goes to Madam Secretary. What is the specific plan for the U.S. in cooperation with Vietnam to deal with the consequences of the wars in Vietnam?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The minister and I discussed the concern that both Vietnam and the United States have about Agent Orange and the consequences that it produced in the people here. As you know, we have been working with Vietnam for about nine years to try to remedy the effects of Agent Orange and I told the minister that I would work to increase our cooperation and make even greater progress together.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) I invite the question from other journalist. Kim Ghattas from BBC, please.
QUESTION: Question to the Secretary first. I would like to ask you about Burma. You’ve expressed in the past concerns about the possibility that Burma is pursuing a nuclear program, that it has connections with North Korea on that front. I was wondering whether you were planning to present any evidence to members of ASEAN about your suspicions. And if you could tell us a little bit more about how you feel one year on or ten months on about how your efforts to engage Burma are actually going.
And to the minister, the Secretary said that she’d raised the issue of human rights and I was wondering what your response was.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to problems in Burma and the impact not only on the people of that country, but on the neighbors as the outflow of refugees continues and the consequent instability because of that. I believe that the ASEAN nations correctly raised yesterday in their meeting their concerns about Burma and particularly the planned elections that Burma has said will be held, but without providing any details, even the date, raising questions about their commitment to such elections. I’ve also shared with the minister our concerns about the exporting by North Korea of military materiel and equipment to Burma. We know that a ship from North Korea recently delivered military equipment to Burma and we continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear program. So this is a matter that is of concern to ASEAN and it is of concern to the United States. And we will be discussing further ways in which we can cooperate to alter the actions of the government in Burma and encourage the leaders there to commit to reform and change and the betterment of their own people.
MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)
MINISTER KHIEM: (Via interpreter) With respect to human rights issue, we discussed this matter and this is, I think, that the difference between Vietnam and the U.S. I believe that the best way to have – enhance the mutual understanding is through promoting the dialogues. This is a very positive way and let me enter some more points that human rights have common values, but it also has its typical features, because it depends a lot on the cultural and historical backgrounds. And it is very important to work closely together to share the views and (inaudible) together during our talk. I appreciated very much the opinions of President Obama regarding human rights. He said that there’s no perfect way and each country should select their own ways, depending on the circumstances of the nation and the human rights values shouldn’t be imposed from the outside. And I also value very much the observation from Madam Secretary at the university in 2009, that the human rights should (end of audio)
It is an honor to represent the United States for the first time in the East Asia Summit.
I want to thank the leaders of the EAS for inviting the United States to participate in this forum. The conversations that take place here are of great consequence for every country in the Asia Pacific region, and the United States looks forward to being a part of them.
I bring greetings from President Obama. He shares my commitment to seeing the United States formally join the EAS and becoming your partners in a constructive and sustained effort to strengthen stability and prosperity throughout the region.
Today I would like to outline five key principles that will guide the United States’ engagement with the EAS. They all stem from one overarching goal: to help strengthen and build this organization as a key forum for political and strategic issues in the Asia-Pacific.
First, we are making an enduring commitment to this institution. We offer sustained and consistent presidential engagement—starting next year, when President Obama attends the 2011 Summit in Jakarta. We hope to work closely with the members of the EAS on its agenda and its initiatives, as well as on identifying more potential areas for cooperation. It is in that spirit that I’ve come to Hanoi today—to listen, to consult, and to collaborate.
Second, as the EAS evolves, we believe that ASEAN should continue to play a central role. Its leadership is essential to greater cooperation across the region, and its members can help this institution translate dialogue into results that benefit all our peoples. We share ASEAN’s vision of EAS as a forum where leaders can have intimate and informal discussions on important political and strategic issues. As I said earlier this week, we view ASEAN as a fulcrum for the region’s emerging regional architecture.
Third, given its membership and its growing stature, we believe that the EAS should pursue an active agenda that involves the most consequential issues of our time—including nuclear proliferation, the increase in conventional arms, maritime security, climate change, and the promotion of shared values and civil society.
Fourth, we believe that the discussions in this forum should complement and reinforce the work being done in other forums. There are many regional institutions in the Asia-Pacific, including the EAS, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting. Each of them plays an important role in the region’s peace and prosperity. It is important for these organizations to remain flexible, because as they evolve over time, it may be appropriate to refine their respective missions so that they can make the most of their strengths.
Finally, as we engage with the EAS and other institutions, we will continue to leverage the strength of our bilateral relationships, starting with our alliances. We will consult closely with our treaty allies—Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines—as the foundation of our engagement in the Asia-Pacific, and we will continue expanding our emerging partnerships with a wide range of countries, from New Zealand to India, China to Indonesia, both in the EAS context and beyond.
These are the principles that will guide the United States’ engagement with the East Asia Summit.
With these principles in mind, we look forward to joining discussions that you have had over the past few years on key strategic and political issues. I would like to use this opportunity to suggest specific areas where it would be especially helpful to coordinate our efforts.
One is nuclear nonproliferation. President Obama has set forth a vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and the United States is committed to taking practical steps to achieve this vision over time. We have signed a historic arms treaty with Russia, and we are working with the international community—including many around this table—to hold North Korea and Iran accountable to their international obligations. We have expressed our strong support to the ASEAN Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and we look forward to working with the EAS to support and strengthen the global nonproliferation rules of the road.
Maritime security is another area in which we can all benefit from close cooperation. The United States has a national interest in the freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce. And when disputes arise over maritime territory, we are committed to resolving them peacefully based on customary international law.
With regard to the South China Sea, we are encouraged by China’s recent steps to enter discussions with ASEAN about a more formal binding code of conduct.
Climate change will affect every country in the world. But the people of this region could experience the worst effects, in the form of rising waters, extreme weather, droughts and famine, and mass migration. We look forward to working with the EAS to build on the Copenhagen Accord as we seek lasting solutions to this challenge.
Finally, I believe we can work together to advance human rights. While the United States agrees that no country can impose its values on others, we do believe that certain values are universal—and that they are intrinsic to stable, peaceful, and prosperous countries. Human rights are in everyone’s interest. The United States has worked with the ASEAN Secretariat and individual ASEAN members to promote these values throughout the region, including in countries where very real challenges remain. We look forward to working with the EAS on an affirmative agenda for strengthening democratic institutions and advancing human rights.
Let me conclude by once again thanking the leaders of the EAS for inviting the United States to participate in this important forum. We are committed to working with you at the highest levels, because together we have an opportunity to make real progress toward a world where all our people are free, prosperous, and safe. Thank you.
The United States welcomes the October 19 launch of the Human Rights Resource Center for ASEAN (HRRCA) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in Indonesia and funded with support from the Department of State along with other dialogue partners, the HRRCA will pursue research, training, teaching, capacity building, and raising awareness of human rights issues and the rule of law throughout the ASEAN region. The Center will be based at the University of Indonesia and serve as a hub for universities around the region to support the promotion of human rights, including universities in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Partner institutions include University of Indonesia, Mahidol University (Thailand), Pannasastra University (Cambodia), Ateneo University School of Law (Philippines), University of Malaya (Malaysia), National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University.
The United States applauds ASEAN’s growing focus on respect for human rights and good governance as reflected in the ratification of the ASEAN Charter in 2008 and the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights in 2009. The Department of State looks forward to supporting the Center in its completion of a baseline study of human rights and the rule of law status throughout the region.