Clinton heads to Asia to cement alliances with China
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is heading for Asia and the Pacific to cement ties with some of China's nervous neighbors, part of the Obama administration's efforts to counter Beijing's increasingly assertive stance.
The secretary of state leaves Wednesday on a two-week, seven-nation tour designed in part to allay regional concerns that as China's influence rises, Washington is retreating from its traditional role as the dominant Pacific Rim power.
Clinton begins in Hawaii, where she'll discuss regional security with top brass from the U.S. Pacific Command and Japan's new foreign minister. She is then going to Vietnam, whose relationship with Washington has warmed in recent years.
She will meet briefly Saturday with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on China's Hainan Island - a last-minute addition to the itinerary.