Paul Lachine

Hillary Clinton in Beijing

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to make her first overseas trip to Asia, particularly China, was a smart one. It is inevitable and right that she will bring up Tibet, human rights, and other contentious issues in Beijing, though all evidence suggests that she will do so in the context of a re-formatted US-China relationship that places collaboration at its heart.

NEW YORK – Hillary Clinton is off to China. The US Secretary of State’s decision to make her first overseas trip to Asia, particularly China, was a smart one and, if done with aplomb, could yield enormous returns for the Obama administration as it attempts to re-establish world leadership.

The fact that Clinton chose to go to Asia now, when the State Department remains unsettled – with no ambassador in Beijing, many old officials having departed or leaving, and many new appointees still unseated – attests to her determination to stake out Asia as her own area.

What she brings to this task is openness and an eagerness to construct a new architecture for Sino-US relations. But, even as a host of other issues come into play, strengthening this most important of bi-lateral relationships requires a new, underlying common interest. Paradoxically, the challenge of climate change is a good place to look.

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