Feb. 16, 2009
"Let me underscore the commitment the United States has to the denuclearization of North Korea and to the prevention of further proliferation."
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, talking tough on North Korea's nuclear program at a news conference in Tokyo on the first full day of her Asian diplomatic tour
It's only the first stop of her inaugural trip abroad, but Clinton is already making a splash. The Secretary of State makes it clear while in Japan that the U.S. is going to continue to take a hard line with North Korea on nukes despite the stalled six-party talks on the issue. Clinton insists that Pyongyang has already agreed to dismantle its nuclear program, and she expects the nation to fulfill its obligations.
As Clinton travels throughout the rest of the week, meeting with leaders in China, South Korea and Indonesia, she continues to bring the focus back to North Korea, again referencing its nuclear program and, surprisingly, bringing up the "uncertainty" that would accompany any succession there if Kim Jong-Il is ill or dies, as some observers have speculated of late.
Meanwhile, Richard Holbrooke, U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, wraps up his regional tour by holding talks with Indian leaders on alleged threats to the country from Pakistan-based militants in the wake of November's deadly Mumbai attacks.