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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded her first tour abroad as the foreign policy chief of the United States after visiting first Japan, then Indonesia and South Korea, and finally China. Her tour shows that President Barack Obama’s administration is eager to work out long-term stable relations with these countries. It also shows that although the U.S. thinks China’s cooperation is needed to solve problems in Northeast Asia and other part of the world, it first needs a solid relationship with Japan and South Korea to effectively deal with China.

Ms. Clinton made it clear that the U.S. is committed to strengthening its alliance with Japan and South Korea. In Tokyo, she said the Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. In Seoul, she said that U.S. determination to defend South Korea is firm. She also told Japan and South Korea that the U.S. will push efforts through the six-party talks to secure “a complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea.”

Her visit to Indonesia, where Mr. Obama spent four years as a child and which is the most populous Muslim nation, points to Mr. Obama’s eagerness to improve America’s ties with Muslim nations. Ms. Clinton and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed that Israel and Palestinians should resume peace talks.

Ms. Clinton’s statement in connection with China that such issues as human rights and the situation in Tibet “can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis” shows that the U.S. regards China’s cooperation as indispensable in solving these problems. Ms. Clinton and her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi agreed that on top of the already existing “strategic economic dialogue,” the U.S. and China will have Cabinet level “strategic” discussions on political and security issues and environmental issues, including global warming. Ms. Clinton’s tour did not include India. It seems that the Obama administration does not want to create the impression that the U.S. is trying to contain China by working with Japan and India.

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