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Rice Embarks on Asian Tour to Discuss North Korea, Tsunami


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has embarked on a trip to Asia to discuss tsunami reconstruction and the North Korean nuclear program.

During a stopover for fuel in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, she told the Associated Press that she is confident China -- her first stop -- is committed to a nuclear-free North Korea. She added that the United States wants Beijing to do as much as it can to persuade Pyongyang to return to disarmament talks.

Of the five nations involved in talks with North Korea, China is considered to have the most influence over Pyongyang.

After China, Ms. Rice will visit the Thai resort island of Phuket to assess reconstruction efforts following a massive tsunami December 26. From there, she will move on to Japan and South Korea.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Bloomberg.

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