Hillary Clinton kicks off Asian tour

February 16th, 2009 - 5:11 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 16 (Xinhua) US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton left for Asia Sunday, kicking off her first trip abroad as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat, in an effort to build a closer relationship with four major Asian countries.

Clinton will visit Japan from Feb 16 to 18, Indonesia from Feb 18 to 19, South Korea from Feb 19 to 20, and China from Feb 20 to 22, the state department said in a statement.

Seeking stronger cooperation and mutual support in Asia for the United States would be a key mission for Clinton, who has repeatedly said: “America cannot solve the problems of the world alone, and the world cannot solve them without America.”

“When we consider the gravest global threats confronting us — financial instability and economic dislocation, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, food security and health emergencies, climate change and energy vulnerability, stateless criminal cartels and human exploitation — it is clear that these threats do not stop at borders or oceans,” said the secretary of state while addressing an audience at the Asia Society New York Headquarters Friday.

“Our relationships with each of the countries I’m visiting, and with all of our partners and allies throughout Asia and the Pacific, are indispensable to our security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the Obama administration hopes to deliver a message about America’s desire for “more rigorous and persistent commitment and engagement.”

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