14 Feb 2009

Clinton vows to deepen US bonds with Asia

1:57 pm on 14 February 2009

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged to deepen US bonds with Asia in order to tackle the global economic crisis, climate change and nuclear proliferation.

On the eve of a tour of Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China, Mrs Clinton said in a speech on Friday she was "ready to work with leaders in Asia to resolve the economic crisis ... strengthen our historic partnerships and alliances" and develop "deeper bonds with all nations."

In her first foreign policy speech, Mrs Clinton also told the Asia Society, she was ready to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Asia.

She described North Korea's nuclear programme as "the most acute challenge".

Under a deal in 2007 with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, North Korea agreed to scrap its nuclear programmes in exchange for energy aid.

However, the talks stalled late last year when North Korea baulked at demands for inspections and other steps to verify disarmament.

Mrs Clinton is due to visit Japan between 16-18 February, Indonesia on 18-19 February, South Korea on 19-20 February and China on 20-22 February.