Clinton pushes democracy on Mongolia trip

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday urged Asian nations still loath to embrace democracy to look to the example set by some emerging countries, praising Mongolia as a model.

Clinton told an international women's forum she had long "been inspired by the Mongolian people's commitment to democracy".

"This is the right time to talk about democracy in Asia, as many countries in this region grapple with the question of which model of governance best suits their society and circumstances," she said.

Without naming countries such as communist-run China, Clinton dismissed arguments from some Asian nations that democracy "is unsuited to this region's history, perhaps even antithetical to Asian values," that it threatened stability or was a privilege of wealthy Western nations.

"It is true that clamping down on political expression or maintaining a tight grip on what people read, or say or see can create the illusion of security. But illusions fade, because people's yearnings for liberty do not," Clinton said.

She warned that "countries that want to be open for business but closed to free expression will find that this approach comes at a cost: it kills innovation and discourages entrepreneurship."

Clinton arrived in Mongolia as part of a whirlwind tour which has already taken her to Paris, Kabul and Tokyo.

On Tuesday she flies to Hanoi for a visit focusing on bilateral and economic ties as well as talks with group of senior American businessmen.

She will visit Laos on Wednesday -- the first US secretary of state to travel there in 57 years -- before attending a series of regional forums with ASEAN nations in Cambodia.

"One of the overarching objectives of this trip is to underscore a strong commitment across the board in Asia," a senior State Department official, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters travelling with Clinton.

One of the tough issues up for discussion will be the tensions in the South China Sea, he added.

Clinton met with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Monday, a key leader of the country's peaceful 1990 revolution, and praised six rounds of parliamentary elections held since she last visited 17 years ago.

"If you want to see democracy in action, if you want to see progress being shaped by leaders who are more concerned about lifting up their people than fattening their bank accounts, come to Mongolia," she told the forum.

The country, sandwiched between Russia and China, ended seven decades of Soviet-backed rule in 1990 and has since undergone a relatively peaceful and successful transition into a stable democracy.

However, corruption is generally recognised as a major problem in Mongolian politics and disputes over the previous parliamentary elections in 2008 triggered riots that left four people dead.

Mongolian politicians are locked in a dispute over last month's parliamentary elections, after official results showed the opposition Democratic Party won the most seats, but not enough for a majority.

Elbegdorj urged all parties to work together to form a ruling coalition, but some parties allege that a new automated voting system used to elect the Great Hural, Mongolia's 76-member parliament, failed.

Clinton only briefly touched on corruption -- even though Transparency International ranks Mongolia 120 out of 182 countries surveyed on its Corruption Perceptions Index -- the same ranking as Iran, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Julian Dierkes, an expert on Mongolia from the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research, warned in the Wall Street Journal that corruption was placing the legitimacy of last month's elections at risk.

Clinton pointed to successful recent elections in Taiwan, East Timor, the Philippines and India as examples of what can be done.

"Consider all that has been achieved in Burma," she urged, highlighting the recent releases of prisoners in Myanmar, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who on Monday took up her place in parliament.

Mongolia's economy grew 17.3 percent last year due to a stunning mining boom, as some of the world's biggest mining firms moved in to exploit copper, coal and gold reserves estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options