US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has started her first overseas mission as President Obama’s chief diplomat. Her destination: Asia.
Previous Secretaries have chosen Europe or The Middle East as their first official trip – visiting Asia is a symbolic gesture aimed at impressing the Chinese in particular. Professor Tomohiko Taniguchi of Keio University said: “China is rising, India is rising, Japan is still the second largest economy in the world. Combined with the United States, Japan represents slightly more than 30 per cent of the world output. That sort of consideration may have resonated very well among policy circles in Washigton DC.” In Japan Secretary Clinton will discuss a new pact on the re-alignment of US forces in the Pacific. More than 50 thousand US troops are stationed in Japan. The plan is to move 8,000 to the Pacific island of Guam which will eventually be a base for 25,000 US Marines and their families.