MODERATOR: Okay, very good. Go over here first, then we'll go to Robin.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your comments. My name is Oriana Skylar Mastro. I'm a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in the Asia Pacific security program, so it's not surprising I'm going to ask you a question about China.
You mentioned UNCLOS, and I agree that the ratification would give the United States more leverage. But as you know, China has a different interpretation of UNCLOS, specifically that naval passage or even civilian vessels that are engaged in activities that they find not to be peaceful would not be protected under that. I feel that a new Impeccable incident or an EP-3 now with the rising tensions between the two countries could be detrimental.
So my question is: I think this is broader view that the Chinese have that U.S. presence, economic or diplomatic, is destabilizing. In your interactions with Chinese leaders, what are you doing to convince them that that's not the case? Do you feel like you're being convincing? And if not, what are the main obstacles? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you might need a psychiatrist to answer that because we certainly have made it as clear as we possibly could that the Pacific is big enough for both of us, indeed for all of us, that the United States historically, for more than 150 years, has been a Pacific power just like we are an Atlantic power. We have a lot of treaty alliances in the region that we take seriously. We have trading partners and other commercial interests. So we're there to stay. We are present now and into the future. And being present means that we have our own views that we share with the Chinese and other countries in the region about what it means to be a responsible stakeholder, as we hope China is, with respect to all of these areas that you are referencing.
The efforts by the ASEAN nations to work toward a code of conduct with China over the South China Sea is certainly an effort we support. We are not involved in it. We're not doing it. It is something that they are doing for themselves. But it is important because you can't, in the 21stcentury, permit anyone's claims to territory that creates instability, tensions, and potentially conflict to be unanswered if you're going to try to maintain peace and security.
So we've explained this to the Chinese. Their response is: What we claim is ours. And our response is that's why we have processes and mechanisms, and what you're claiming is also being claimed by others. We have not just the South China Sea but the East China Sea, with the dispute between China and Japan, because for the United States being a global power, we could see the same thing happening in the Arctic, in the Mediterranean. I mean, it is not just about the South China Sea.
So, certainly the Chinese are going to assert the broadest claim they possibly can. But I think if we want a rules-based order that deals with everything from territorial disputes to intellectual property rights disputes, in order to maintain stability, peace, prosperity, then we have to stand up and speak out in support of these broad tenets. And we have made it abundantly clear we do not claim any territory, and we are not taking sides in any of the territorial claims.
So this is partly one of these long processes that we just keep working on. And I think what happened at the East Asia Summit, where the Cambodians tried to basically gavel the summit to an end and have a communiqué that made no reference to these issues, and was interrupted by the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and others, was a good sign, because those countries have every right to stand up for themselves. And that's why we would like to see a code of conduct and a process to try to resolve these disputes.
So I think that this is a work in progress. There isn't any shortcut to just continuing to raise it. At one point in one of my long discussions about this, one of my Chinese interlocutors said, "Well, we could claim Hawaii." I said, "Well, go ahead, and we'll go to arbitration and prove we own it. That's what we want you to do."
So I think that this is a learning process for everybody, because why are these now - these old territorial disputes coming to the forefront? Because people think there are resources, and they want to drill, and they want to find out what's there. And they think it's got material benefits for them. But it has to be done in a lawful way. And that's why I've advocated strongly that we accede to the Convention on the Law of the Seas, because it will strengthen our hand in making these cases.