Clinton’s Asian tour signals ‘new’ ties with region: report

Clinton’s Asian tour signals ‘new’ ties with region: report

HANOI, March 23 Kyodo

U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to three South Asian countries shows “an important adjustment” of policies and sets “a new foundation” for Washington’s ties with the region, the official newspaper of Vietnam’s armed forces reported Thursday.

In a commentary, Quan Doi Nhan Dan said Clinton’s trip is “more than just a rediscovery” of South Asia, which it has “long neglected.”

“The tour reveals an important adjustment of the U.S. policies toward, the re-establishment of its influence on, and the laying of a new foundation for its relations with South Asia on the threshold of the new century,” the commentary said.

It said the “careful preparation” for the tour manifested the “great expectation” of the United States from the visits.

“A look at the agreements signed and the contents of summit talks during the tour can reveal that economic cooperation, besides political and security issues, occupies a considerable position in the U.S. new cooperation policy toward the subcontinent,” it said.

The commentary said that while the U.S. was bogged down in post-cold war issues and crises in the Middle East and Southern Europe in the recent past, the South Asian subcontinent has strongly developed.

“Especially India, a county with a population of more than 1 billion and a major influence on developing countries, has established a relation of strategic partnership with Russia and China, and this is certainly undesirable to Washington,” it said.

The successful nuclear tests by India and Pakistan last year “startled” the U.S. and forced it to review its strategies towards Asia, which used to have a

stress on East Asia, it said.

Clinton is now in India, continuing his South Asian tour that took him to Bangladesh on Monday and will take him to Pakistan on Saturday.

“Although it is only several hours long, but the visit, plus Clinton’s meeting with Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is a clear and de-facto endorsement by the U.S. of the current administration in Pakistan,” it said.

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