'The future belongs to Asia,' says Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State seeks to woo Pacific Rim finance ministers, saying US is turning back on ailing EU

Tokyo

The 21st century will belong to Asia. That at least is the opinion of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in a speech yesterday declared the countries of the Pacific Rim to be at the forefront of America's plans.

Speaking in Hawaii at a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders, Ms Clinton dealt another blow to the rapidly waning influence of the western hemisphere when she said that the world's biggest economy was shifting its focus away from Europe's limping markets and towards Asia's high-growth powerhouses.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the world's strategic and economic centre of gravity will be the Asia-Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to western shores of the Americas," Ms Clinton said. "One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investment in this region."

The speech signalled an attempt by the American administration to build greater trade links with its Pacific neighbours. Following Ms Clinton's speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) conference, finance ministers from the region expressed anger at the economic chaos in Europe. "People are dismayed at the failure of the Europeans to get their act together," said the Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan.

The comments were echoed by the US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who said the world will now look to Asia for economic leadership. "We are all directly affected by the crisis in Europe. But the economies gathered here are in a better position than most to take steps to strengthen growth in the face of these pressures."

Many economists in Hawaii believe that Europe's economic problems will accelerate the rise of China, which holds more than $3trn (£1.9tn) in foreign exchange reserves, and other countries in the region. In September, Beijing promised to buy up some European debt but warned the developed world first to "put its house in order". Two months on, talks are in deadlock over China's insistence that it will only provide cash in return for a greater say in decision-making in the International Monetary Fund. "We are willing to help, but we are not a charity," Chinese sources told Reuters.

Nonetheless, Mrs Clinton issued a thinly veiled warning to China that Washington had no intention of ceding ground to the fast-rising giant, which overtook Japan last year as the world's second most powerful economy. Other markets in the region are almost replicating China's 9 per cent a year growth, underpinned by cheap manufacturing and low levels of debt.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project