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Korean Tensions Focus of Clinton's Asia Tour

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on her way to East Asia for talks on sensitive issues including the international inquiry that accused North Korea of sinking a South Korean warship.

Clinton left Washington Thursday for Tokyo, the first stop on her tour, which also will take her to China and South Korea.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed that Clinton will discuss North Korea's suspected torpedo attack during her visits with regional leaders.  Forty-six South Korean sailors died when the naval vessel went down two months ago.

Clinton is due to meet Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.  The talks in Tokyo will include Mr. Hatoyama's plan to move a U.S. Marines air base currently on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Washington wants Tokyo to abide by a 2006 agreement, negotiated with Japan's previous government, that called for relocating the Futenma base to another location on Okinawa.

Clinton travels to China next, to visit the U.S. pavilion at the Shanghai Expo on Saturday before joining other high-ranking U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing for economic talks.

U.S. officials say the Beijing meetings will include discussion of China's currency.  Washington accuses Beijing of keeping the yuan artificially weak to make Chinese exports cheaper on the global market.

Secretary Clinton is due to end her East Asian tour with a brief visit to South Korea.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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