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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Hong Kong to extol the virtues of American financial policies and values despite the currently poor state of the economy and the stalemate over the national debt.
In a speech Monday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here, Clinton will appeal to China and other Asian nations not to lose faith in the American model. U.S. officials say she will assure her audience that a deal on the debt will be reached and remind it that the United States has recovered from economic crises before. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the speech.
Clinton's comments come as world financial markets warily watch developments in Washington, where the White House and Congress remain deadlocked in a fiercely partisan debate over increasing the debt ceiling ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid an unprecedented default. China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, is particularly concerned.
In her speech, Clinton will acknowledge America's current problems but remind her audience of the resilience of the United States and stress that the country has recovered from previous economic crises, the officials said. She will urge Asia to embrace open, transparent and fair economic policies that have propelled growth in the past, they said.
Clinton will call on nations around the world to play by those same rules, the officials said. Countries that prosper from the international economic system should not be allowed to subvert it, she will say. They must end protectionism and ease other trade barriers as well as combat corruption and defend intellectual property rights, Clinton will say, according to the officials.
Her speech in Hong Kong is being delivered at the tail end of a 12-day, around-the-world diplomatic tour that began in Europe but has focused on Asia for the past week. Clinton arrived in this former British colony late Sunday after three days in Bali, Indonesia, where she attended a regional security forum at which North Korea and tensions in the South China Sea topped the agenda.
Before Monday's address, Clinton met with senior officials from Hong Kong's government. Afterward, she will drive to Shenzhen in southern mainland China for talks with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Clinton will return to Washington later Monday.