Former GOP Veep candidate Sarah Palin made her first speech abroad at one of Asia’s largest annual investment conferences in Hong Kong today. The event was carefully hyped and stage-managed by the hosts, French-owned brokerage house CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, with no press allowed into the venue. Even conference participants had to be “on the list” and show ID to get into the speech. (Local media were so keen to get the story that they staked out the Grand Hyatt hotel, frantically calling anyone in town with Republican Party connections.)
Nonetheless, in good Hong Kong-style, someone managed to sneak a recording device into the room and the transcript leaked.
The 80-minute talk was a broad affair, touching on everything from Alaska and trade protectionism to U.S. relations with China. The former governor took a realist’s view of the authoritarian regime, calling for cautious engagement. “We can, must, should work with a ‘rising China’ to address issues of mutual concern,” she said. “But we also need to work with our allies in addressing the uncertainties created by China’s rise.”
Unlike the Obama Administration, which has pandered to China’s unelected leaders, downplayed human rights and snubbed the Dalai Lama, she spoke out strongly in support of China’s democrats. Mrs. Palin also took a swipe at the Obama White House’s trade policies, noting: “We want an Asia open to our goods and services.” She labeled the White House-approved tariffs against Chinese-made tires “a mistake” and called on Congress to get the South Korea free trade agreement passed.
CLSA was thrilled by the speech, which brought the brokerage more press in a day than it’s received in a year. In the French spirit of egalite, the closing night’s entertainment will be left-wing icon Sheryl Crow.
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