Secretaries of State: More Trips to Asia-Pacific?

Matthew Hanzel Avatar

During my research (for my thesis), it is important to know how many trips (and days) are spent by three U.S. secretaries of state, Colin Powell (2001-2005), Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) and Hillary Clinton (2009-2013). As many of us know, Secretary Clinton, under President Obama, is doing this ‘pivot’ strategy, otherwise known today as ‘rebalancing,’ toward the Asia-Pacific region. The intention is to signal an increasing attention to this growing region, and the United States finds it important.

Is it true that Secretary Clinton—realizing the pivot strategy—goes to the Asia-Pacific region more than her predecessors? Here’s the data.

What you need to understand is that I focus more on the number of days spent in the region. The data for Secretary Powell is taken from here, Secretary Rice is taken from here and Secretary Clinton is from here. I count the number of days myself, and they do not include in-flight days.

Secretary of State

Year (Term)

Days of Travel

Colin Luther Powell Term I, 2001-2005

51 days

Condoleezza Rice Term II, 2005-2009

54 days

Hillary Rodham Clinton Term I, 2009-2013

77 days

This shows how Secretary Clinton travels to the Asia-Pacific region significantly more than her two predecessors. While this may not be correlated directly, I believe this shows how the Obama administration is really serious to the emerging region.

The following is the list of travels to Asia-Pacific done by Secretary Clinton.

No Country Remarks Dates Days in the Country Days in Parallel
1 Japan Met with Foreign Minister Nakasone 16/2/2009-18/2/2009 3 6
2 Indonesia Met with Foreign Minister Wirajuda and ASEAN Secretary General Pitsuwa [sic] 18/2/2009-19/2/2009 2
3 Korea, Republic of Met with Foreign Minister Yu; gave an address at Ewha Women’s University 19/2/2009-20/2/2009 2
4 China, People’s Republic of Met with Foreign Minister Yang 20/2/2009-21/2/2009 2
5 Thailand Met with Prime Minister Abhisit and Foreign Minister Kasit. Attended the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and Regional Forum in Phuket 21/7/2009-23/7/2009 3 3
6 Singapore Attended APEC Forum and Ministerial meetings 10/11/2009-12/11/2009 3 9
7 Philippines Met with President Arroyo and Foreign Secretary Romulo. Announced new disaster relief program 12/11/2009-13/11/2009 2
8 Singapore Attended APEC Leaders’ Meeting with President Obama 13/11/2009-16/11/2009 4
9 China, People’s Republic of Accompanied President Obama. Dedicated the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 16/11/2009-18/11/2009 3
10 Japan Met with Foreign Minister Okada 21/5/2010 1 6
11 China, People’s Republic of Visited the Shanghai 2010 Expo and attended a dinner for sponsors of the USA Pavilion. In Beijing, attended the second meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue 21/5/2010-26/5/2010 6
12 South Korea Met with Foreign Minister Yu 26/5/2010 1
13 South Korea Commemoreated the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. Visited the DMZ. With Secretary of Defense Gates, atteded a 2+2 meeting with South Korea’s Foreign Minister and Minister of National Defense and with President lee Myung-bak 20/7/2010-21/7/2010 2 4
14 Vietnam Attended the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and Regional Forum Ministerial. Discussed the Lower Mekong Initiative 21/7/2010-23/7/2010 3
15 Vietnam Attended the East Asia Summit and the Lower Mekong Initiative meetings 29/10/2010-30/10/2010 2 10
16 China, People’s Republic of Met with State Councilor Dai Bingguo 30/10/2010 1
17 Cambodia Met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Namhong 30/10/2010-1/11/2010 3
18 Malaysia Met with Foreign Minister Aman 1/11/2010-3/11/2010 3
19 Papua New Guinea Met with Prime Minister Somare and visited a mangrove reforestation project 03/11/2010 1
20 New Zealand Met with Prime Minister Key and Foreign Minister McCully. Visited the U.S. Antarctic Center 3/11/2010-5/11/2010 3
21 Australia Attended the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation. Met with Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Rudd 5/11/2010-7/11/2010 3
22 South Korea Met with President Lee and Foreign Minister Kim 16/4/2011-17/4/2011 2 2
23 Japan Met with Prime Minister Kan and Foreign Minister Matsumoto 17/4/2011 1
24 Indonesia Attended the ASEAN Regional Forum and the U.S.-Lower Mekong Ministerial meetings, the Second U.S.-Indonesia Joint Committee meeting, and the U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea Trilateral meeting 21/7/2011-25/7/2011 5 5
25 China, People’s Republic of Met with the Hong Kong Executive and Legislative Council, and with State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Shenzhen 25/7/2011 1
26 Philippines Signed the Manila Declaration and a Partnership for Growth agreement. Received the Order of Lakandula 15/11/2011-16/11/2011 2 5
27 Thailand Met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Announced flood recovery assistance 16/11/2011-17/11/2011 2
28 Indonesia Attended the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting. Addressed the Millenium Challenge Corporation signing ceremony 17/11/2011-19/11/2011 3
29 South Korea Attended the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness and the Partnership for Growth Meeting 30/11/2011 1 3
30 Burma Met with President Thein Sein, Foreign Minister Lwin, Aung San Suu Kyi, and civic and minority representatives 30/11/2011-2/12/2011 3
31 China, People’s Republic of Attended the 4th joint meeting of the U.S.-China Economic and Strategic Dialogue and the 3rd U.S.-China High Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange 2/5/2012-5/5/2012 4 4
32 Japan Met with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. Attended the Conference on Afghanistan 7/7/2012-9/7/2012 3 3
33 Mongolia Met with President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Sukhbataar Batbold. Addressed the International Women’s Leadership Forum, the Leaders Engaged in New Democracies Network, and the Community of Democracies Governing Council 09/07/2012 1
34 Vietnam Met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Attended an American Chamber of Commerce Reception 10/7/2012-11/7/2012 2 4
35 Laos Met with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith 11/07/2012 1
36 Cambodia Met with Prime Minister Hun Sen. Attended the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia Summit Ministerial Meetings and the East Asia Regional Forum Retreat. Attended a Friends of the Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting. In Siem Reap, met with the Prime Minister of Thailand and the President of Burma, addressed the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy Dialogue, and attended a U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum 11/7/2012-13/7/2012 3
37 Indonesia Met with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, President Susilo Yudhoyono and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan. Discussed U.S.-Indonesian Comprehensive Partnership 3/9/2012-4/9/2012 2 5
38 China, People’s Republic of Met with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and State Councilor Dai Bingguo 4/9/2012-6/9/2012 3
39 Timor Leste Met with President Taur Ruak and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao 06/09/2012 1
40 Brunei Met with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Foreign Minister Prince Mohamed. Inaugurated Brunei-U.S. English Language Enrichment Project 6/9/2012-7/9/2012 2
41 Australia Met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Robert Carr, and Defense Minister Stephen Smith. Opened the Perth USAsia Center. Attended the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations 13/11/2012-15/11/2012 3 8
42 Singapore Met with former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam 16/11/2012-18/11/2012 3
43 Thailand Met with President Yingluck Chinawat [sic]. Joined President Obama 18/11/2012-19/11/2012 2
44 Burma Accompanied President Obama. Met with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 19/11/2012 1
45 Cambodia Attended U.S.-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting and the East Asia Summit 19/11/2012-20/11/2012 2

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