State's Zoellick To Travel to Japan, China, Switzerland
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Japan and China January 19-25, and then on to Switzerland for meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos January 25-28, the State Department announced January 18.
While in Japan and China, Zoellick is expected to meet with senior officials, key opinion leaders and members of civil society to discuss security, economic and other issues in the bilateral, Asia-Pacific and global arenas. Philip Zelikow, the counselor of the State Department, will accompany the deputy secretary.
Zoellick will stop in Japan January 22-23, his first visit there as deputy secretary. He will discuss the U.S.-Japan alliance, review regional relationships in Asia and discuss the situation in the Middle East and the upcoming donors' meeting in London on Afghanistan. Zoellick also plans to discuss market access for U.S. beef and bilateral cooperation on key global issues such as the war on terrorism, tsunami relief and avian influenza.
In China January 24-25, Zoellick intends to review issues addressed through the U.S.-China Senior Dialogue, which he chairs with Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. The deputy secretary also plans to discuss security and proliferation issues, with particular focus on Northeast Asia and Iran. Also on the agenda, according to Zoellick, are the upcoming conference on Afghanistan in London, China's efforts to promote internal openness and reform and China's recent white paper on Africa.
Following his stop in Beijing, Zoellick will travel to Chengdu in Sichuan province to hear regional authorities' views on a changing China, according to the State Department press release.
From China, Zoellick will continue on to Davos, Switzerland, for meetings of the World Economic Forum January 25-28. While there, he is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on China.
En route to Japan, the deputy secretary will visit the U.S. Pacific Command January 19-20 for consultations with U.S. military officials.
Following is the text of the State Department announcement
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
January 18, 2006
Deputy Secretary Zoellick to Travel to Japan, China, Switzerland
January 19 – 28
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Japan and China January 19-25 to meet with senior officials, key opinion leaders and members of civil society to discuss security, economic and other issues in the bilateral, Asia/Pacific and global arenas. Accompanying Deputy Secretary Zoellick will be Mr. Philip Zelikow, the Counselor of the State Department.
Deputy Secretary Zoellick will be in Japan January 22-23 to discuss moving the successful U.S.-Japan alliance forward to face new challenges and opportunities, and to review regional relationships in Asia, including the current situation in Northeast Asia, the upcoming donors meeting in London on Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East. Mr. Zoellick is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Taro Aso and other senior officials and members of the Diet. He will also participate in a roundtable with private sector and civil society opinion leaders.
"As friends and allies, Japan and the United States have worked together for many years to promote peace, security, and democracy, and the United States deeply values our friendship with Japan. We are very pleased to work closely with Japan on key global issues such as the war on terrorism, tsunami relief and avian flu. It is good news for American producers and Japanese consumers that Japan is beginning to restore market access to U.S. beef. We will continue to work with Japan and other trading partners to make sure U.S. beef is treated fairly based on internationally recognized standards. I am looking forward to meeting with my Japanese colleagues and to hearing their views on the important security and economic issues before us," Mr. Zoellick said.
This trip will be Mr. Zoellick's first visit to Japan as Deputy Secretary of State. On Friday, January 13, Mr. Zoellick met separately with Sadakazu Tanigaki, Japan's Minister of Finance, and Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
In China from January 24 - 25, the Deputy Secretary will first visit Beijing, where he will discuss with senior foreign ministry and other senior Chinese government officials a broad range of bilateral and international issues. He will also review with Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo some issues that were addressed in the December 2005 U.S. - China Senior Dialogue that they led, and review preparations for the next Dialogue meeting later in the year.
"The United States and China are two large and important stakeholders in the international system, and it is in our shared interest to listen to one another and advance prosperity, peace and respect for human rights and the rule of law. I believe it is important to stay continually engaged with my Chinese colleagues," said Mr. Zoellick. "I look forward to a good exchange of views in Beijing on security and proliferation issues - particularly in Northeast Asia, and Iran - the upcoming conference on Afghanistan in London, China's efforts to promote internal openness and reform, and China's recent white paper on Africa. I am particularly interested in visiting Chengdu and hearing from regional authorities their views on a changing China."
The Deputy Secretary's visit is another step in finding ways in enhanced cooperation between the U.S. and China within the framework the Deputy Secretary outlined in his September 21 speech in New York "Whither China: From Membership to Responsibility?"
After Beijing, the Deputy Secretary will travel to Chengdu, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, where he will meet with senior local government officials and visit the Chengdu Panda Research Base. This stop will give the Deputy Secretary a chance to learn about the unique development issues facing China's interior provinces.
From China, Mr. Zoellick will continue on to the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland, where his participation will include a panel on China.
At the beginning of the trip, on the way to Japan, Mr. Zoellick will visit the U.S. Pacific Command January 19-20 for consultations with senior U.S. military officials regarding U.S. strategic priorities in the Asia Pacific region.