US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged for greater democratic freedom across Asia in a recent trip to Mongolia, alluding to China’s contrary views, reports the Financial Times.

Clinton highlighted democratic reforms in other Asian countries, such as Mongolia, Myanmar and East Timor. The FT reports Clinton as saying, “democracies were more politically stable, more reliable neighbours and were better at encouraging innovation.” China’s view, on the other hand, is that “too much political freedom could undermine stability and damage the economy”.

China is in a crucial time before its once-in-a-decade leadership transition, prompting the government to tighten its reins over political and economic issues to establish a powerful stance. Its hardline controls, including aggressive territorial claims and internet censorship, has pitted the country against Western ideals of democracy and human rights.

Mrs. Clinton, as part of the US policy called the “pivot to Asia”, will visit several Asian countries to foster ties. The Secretary of State will also attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia, encouraging the region’s proposed Code of Conduct for disputes in the South China Sea between some ASEAN members and China.