Secretary of State Clinton sets sights on North Asia for her first overseas trip

February 3rd, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Feb.3 (ANI): Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to visit Japan, South Korea and China, on her maiden official trip. FOX News reports that Clintons voyage is likely to begin next week. She may also tack on other stops, including possibly one in South East Asia, officials said on Monday.
The US State Department has not yet commented on Clinton’’s travel plans.
The trip would underscore the Obama administration’’s commitment to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, affirm its intention to maintain strong ties with Tokyo and Seoul and set the stage for broader engagement with Beijing that the president and his top aides have pledged, the diplomats said.
In a phone call on Friday, President Barack Obama told Chinese President Hu Jintao that he looked forward “to early contacts and exchanges between senior officials of our two countries,” according to the White House.
In written responses to questions posed during her Senate confirmation hearing last month, Clinton said she looked forward to making an early trip to Southeast Asia.
She noted a particular interest in traveling to Indonesia where she said she wanted to restart Peace Corps programs that were halted in 1965.
Visiting Indonesia, the world’’s most populous Islamic nation where Obama spent part of his early childhood, would serve a dual purpose: reaching out to Muslims and reassuring Southeast Asian countries of U.S. interest in the region. Many Southeast Asian nations felt neglected by the Bush administration.
Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Europe this week for a security conference in Germany and special envoy George Mitchell has already visited the Middle East. (ANI)

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