U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins a tour of the Asia-Pacific region Monday, focusing on security, development, the environment and maintaining strong bilateral ties with several countries.
Clinton will start the trip in Hawaii where she will meet Tuesday with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. The United States and Japan are involved in a dispute over the relocation of the U.S. Futenma air base at Okinawa.
Under a 2006 agreement, the Marine base is to be moved from a crowded urban area to a coastal region within Okinawa prefecture. But some political factions in Japan say the base should be moved off Okinawa altogether.
The top U.S. diplomat will continue on to Papua New Guinea, where the State Department says she will meet with government officials as well as civil society leaders to discuss environmental protection and women’s empowerment.
Clinton’s 10-day trip will also take her to New Zealand and Australia.
She will hold talks with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and other officials in Auckland. She also will meet with U.S. and New Zealand veterans at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Moving on to Australia, Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will meet their Australian counterparts in annual consultations on global and regional security challenges.
Clinton is scheduled to return to the U.S. January 19.
‘Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.’