World News Brief, Wednesday February 18

Hillary heads to Asia; Japanese government could collapse; Cambodia war crimes tribunal begins first hearing; Obama to sign stimulus package; first anniversary for Kosovo

TOP OF THE AGENDA: Hillary Clinton's Asia Trip

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kicks off her first trip overseas, a four-country trip to Asia, with a visit to Japan. At the airport in Tokyo, she said, "I have come to Asia as my first trip as secretary of state to convey that America's relationships across the Pacific are indispensable to addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century" (Japan Times). Clinton invited Prime Minister Taro Aso to be the first leader to meet Barack Obama in Washington (Bloomberg). She also signaled a shift in tone on the U.S. approach to North Korea, emphasizing the potential for future cooperation with the United States (Times of London). Writing for the Atlantic Online, Robert Kaplan examines the significance of Clinton's trip including a visit to Indonesia. "Because Southeast Asia has become an area of intensive Chinese commercial expansion, the best way for the new administration to subtly and responsibly counter China’s growing influence is by regularly visiting this region, which Indonesia dominates geographically in a maritime sense," he writes.


In a CFR conference call, a China expert and a Japan expert discuss what to anticipate from Clinton's trip.

A Timeline outlines the history of the U.S.-China relationship.


PACIFIC RIM: Japanese Gov't Looks Shaky

After slurring his speech at a G7 meeting, the Japanese finance minister has resigned (WSJ), prompting speculation that the government of Prime Minister Taro Aso could collapse (Bloomberg).

CAMBODIA: The chief torturer of the Khmer Rouge went on trial for crimes against humanity today, as the UN-backed Cambodia war crimes tribunal begins its first hearing (Reuters).



- Obama to sign stimulus.

- Kosovo marks its first anniversary.


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