U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Indonesia Wednesday on the second stop of her tour of Asia — her first trip abroad as America’s top diplomat.
She’s expected to huddle with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda Wednesday evening before meeting with President Bambang Yudhoyono the following morning. Clinton will “discuss the close and growing partnership with Indonesia and perspectives on common interests in Southeast Asia,” according to the State Department Web site. She began her trip in Japan, where she met with Prime Minister Taro Aso, as well as the foreign and defense ministers. Clinton left for Asia Sunday and is also slated to travel to China and South Korea to discuss a range of issues, including mutual economic recovery, trade, the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and reversing global warning. Her trip represents a departure from a diplomatic tradition under which the first overseas trip by the secretary of state in a new administration is to Europe.
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Clinton has said the Obama administration wants to “develop a broader and deeper” relationship with Asia, a region that has felt overlooked by the United States despite its growing global importance. Watch David Lampton of John Hopkins University discuss Clinton’s trip » She said of her tour before leaving the United States: “It demonstrates clearly that our new administration wants to focus a lot of time and energy in working with Asian partners and all the nations in the Pacific region, because we know that so much of our future depends upon our relationships there.”