Clinton Heads to China in Sign of New Direction
Secretary of state breaks tradition by visiting Asia first
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 10:30 AM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts before being introduced at a town hall meeting with employees at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – As a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton asserted that America's relationship with China was the country's most critical. Now as secretary of state, Clinton is moving to make China a priority—on Sunday, she is scuppering tradition by visiting Asia, not Europe, on her first trip abroad. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the focus on China may help Washington make progress on issues ranging from the military to global warming.

Insiders say that Clinton may use her visit to announce a program to fund green projects in China, such as environmentally friendly buildings. In Beijing, officials are interested to discover just who in the Obama administration will be leading the way on China policy—some US officials have postured that Joe Biden will take the lead on US-China relations. Clinton will also visit Japan and South Korea on her Asian tour.