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Clinton to Visit 3 Pacific Nations

Trips to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia to focus on security, development, environment

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits three Pacific nations this month in a tour focusing on security, development, the environment and maintaining strong bilateral ties.

The State Department says Clinton will preface the trip in Hawaii, where she will give a policy speech January 12 on "multilateral engagement" in the Asia-Pacific region. She will also meet with leaders of the U.S. military's Pacific Command.

The top U.S. diplomat is to travel on to Papua New Guinea, where the State Department says she will meet with government officials as well as civil society leaders to discuss environmental protection and women's empowerment.

Clinton then heads to Auckland, New Zealand for talks with Prime Minister John Key and other officials. She also will meet with U.S. and New Zealand veterans at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Moving on to Australia, Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will meet their Australian counterparts in annual consultations on global and regional security challenges.

Clinton's trip runs from January 11 through January 19.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.