Secretary Baker's address prepared for delivery before the Asia Society in New York City on June 26, 1989.1 Thank you for that introduction, and I am honored to be here. I am especially happy to appear before the Asia Society in the company of Japan's Foreign Minister, Hiroshi Mitsuzuka. As the representative of a great democracy, the Foreign Minister understands, as we all do, that a free government depends upon well-informed citizens who are active in public affairs. The Asia Society can, therefore, reflect with pride upon its contribution to America's understanding of East Asia and the Pacific rim. Each one of you, by participating in the [Asia] Society, makes a unique contribution to our national interests.
Our understanding of events in Asia and the Pacific has become all the more important because the postwar era is over. In Asia, as in Europe, a new order is taking shape. While the rites of passage will be painful-China proves that-it is an order full of promise and hope. I believe strongly that the United States, with its regional friends, must play a crucial role in designing its architecture.
There are major challenges to be met as the new order emerges. In Asia and the Pacific, as elsewhere in the world, the demand for democracy is the most vital political fact of our time. The Philippines and South Korea have made the transition to free government. But, as we have seen to our sorrow last year in Burma, and more recently in China, there are no guarantees of progress.
Another challenge stems from the very fact of the Pacific rim's economic success. Economic achievements carry new responsibilities. Explosive growth has been accompanied by imbalances that threaten the integrity of the open trading system.
Finally, we continue to face security challenges. Conflict continues in Indochina. And on the Korean Peninsula, there remains a heavily armed standoff. Elsewhere in Asia, the postwar security arrangements are being strained by economic constraints, changing threats, and rising nationalism. Yet without a regional consensus on defense, all other achievements will be put in doubt.
The Pacific region is clearly of great and growing importance to the United States. That is why President Bush and Vice President Quayle visited Asia within the first 100 days of the new Administration. In a few days, I will be traveling to Tokyo to meet with other donors to the Philippines Multilateral Assistance Initiative. Then, I'll go on to Brunei to meet my colleagues in ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations], one of the Pacific's most constructive regional organizations.
The purpose of my trip is to establish the framework for a new Pacific partnership. To build that new partnership, we need continued American engagement in the region's polities, commerce, and security. We …