The Obama administration is aiming to send a clear signal that the U.S. is committed to the Asia-Pacific by sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a two-week, six-nation tour of the region.
The State Department announced Friday that Clinton will leave next week for Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua-New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia. Portions of her trip will coincide with President Barack Obama's separate visits to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.
In Vietnam, Clinton will represent the U.S. at a summit of regional leaders before traveling to Cambodia and Malaysia to pledge U.S. solidarity with Southeast Asia. She will then move to Papua-New Guinea and New Zealand before joining Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Australia for meetings there. She returns to Washington on Nov. 8.
Due to her itinerary, Clinton will not participate in the annual foreign ministers meeting of the Asia-Pacfic Economic Cooperation forum in Japan, which precedes by just days a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders that Obama will attend in Yokohama, the State Department said.
Instead, Clinton will see Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara during a stopover in Hawaii on her way to Vietnam and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will attend the Yokohama meeting, department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.