Mon, February 16, 2009
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U.S. Secretary of State Clinton kicks off Asian tour

2009-02-15 21:34:06 GMT2009-02-16 05:34:06 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses at the Asia Society New York Headquarters, United States, Feb. 13, 2009, two days before she kicks off a four-nation Asian tour. (Xinhua Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses at the Asia Society New York Headquarters, United States, Feb. 13, 2009, two days before she kicks off a four-nation Asian tour. (Xinhua Photo)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton left for Asia on 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 to deal with common challenges.

Clinton will visit Japan from Feb. 16 to 18, Indonesia from Feb.18 to 19, the Republic of 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 on 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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