The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-1 in favor of Clinton. The full Senate is expected to confirm the appointment shortly after President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Clinton Backs Six-Party Talks for Ending North Korean Nuclear Program
At her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton expressed support for the Chinese-led six-party negotiations aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program. But she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the negotiating process championed by the Bush administration is being reviewed.
President-elect Barack Obama said during the campaign that he was willing to try face-to-face diplomacy with leaders of adversary countries, like North Korea, if it would help resolve key problems.
But in her Senate testimony, his Secretary of State-designate said both she and the incoming President believe the six-party process, underway since 2004, has merit both as a negotiating vehicle and as a channel for bilateral dialogue with Pyongyang.
Hillary Clinton told the confirmation hearing that she and outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have had several long conversations on the six-party process as part what she said is an “aggressive review” of North Korea policy by the Obama team.
Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton told senators Tuesday that the Obama administration will exercise “smart power” in international affairs with diplomacy taking the lead.
Clinton made no direct criticism of the outgoing Bush administration, but she clearly suggested that it was overly-ideological and relied too much on military power, rather than diplomacy, to project U.S. influence.
In an opening statement at the Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the secretary-designate said the Obama administration will seek a world “with more partners and fewer adversaries.”
Clinton said she and President-elect Obama believe that foreign policy must be based on a blend of principles and pragmatism, and not rigid ideology, emotions or prejudice.
“I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural, picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terrence declared that in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first. The same truth binds wise women as well,” she said.
Clinton signaled that she intends to build up the U.S. diplomatic corps, noting that Defense Secretary Robert Gates – who will be a Republican holdover in the new administration – has said the State Department and other U.S. civilian agencies abroad have been under-funded and under-manned for too long.
The secretary-designate outlined the general principles of the incoming administration but offered few specifics, saying key issues such as the idea of opening a U.S. diplomatic post in Iran, remain under review.
She did stress a continuing U.S. commitment to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians, pointedly expressing concern about civilian casualties on both sides resulting from the current conflict in Gaza.