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>Hillary visits Asia to ‘signal’ importance to US

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>US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China this month, choosing Asia for her first trip to send a “tremendous signal” about its importance to US foreign policy, AFP reports quoting a spokesman.
Clinton leaves February 15 for the tour to discuss “common approaches” to challenges like “the financial markets turmoil, humanitarian issues, security and climate change,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Thursday.
Her choice of Asia for her first trip “is a tremendous signal of the importance of Asia to (the US) foreign policy agenda,” Wood said. “It’s growing in size, in influence, prosperity.”
Christopher Hill, a career diplomat who was Washington’s top nuclear negotiator with North Korea, will travel with Clinton to Asia, a State Department official told AFP speaking on condition of anonymity.
Hill is also a leading candidate to be the next US ambassador to Iraq, but the decision has not been finalized yet, another State Department official said earlier.


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