Clinton's Asia trip starts in Tokyo, N. Korean issue central

May 21, 2010 10:49

TOKYO — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off a three-nation tour of Asia on Friday that was supposed to focus on U.S.-China economic issues but is being overshadowed by a crisis over North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship.

Clinton landed in Japan for the first leg of the tour that will also take her to China and South Korea. At all three stops, her agenda will be dominated by heightened tensions stemming from an international investigation that blamed North Korea for torpedoing the vessel.

Input from the three countries will be key to determining an appropriate response, especially with fears that too tough a reaction could provoke new hostilities or spark chaos in the region. The Obama administration has said it wants South Korea to lead the way in coming up with possible responses.

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