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Secretary Clinton's Far East Departure

Jakarta, Indonesia, is among the scheduled stops for Hillary Clinton's first overseas trip as secretary of state.
Jakarta, Indonesia, is among the scheduled stops for Hillary Clinton's first overseas trip as secretary of state. (By Dimas Ardian -- Bloomberg News)
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By Al Kamen
Monday, February 9, 2009

Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision to travel to Asia on her first trip as secretary of state is a change from the practice of past secretaries, who have tended to favor Europe or the Middle East as an initial destination. Below are the first solo overseas trips of recent secretaries who took office at the start of a presidential term, compiled by our colleague Glenn Kessler. Note, for example, that Syria was a stop for Vance and Christopher and that neither Madeleine K. Albright (who included East Asia on her trip) nor Condoleezza Rice went to the Mideast.

· Clinton, Feb. 15-22: Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, China.

· Rice, Feb. 3-10, 2005: Britain, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Israel, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg.

· Colin L. Powell, Feb. 23-27, 2001: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Belgium.

· Albright, Feb. 16-24, 1997: Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Britain, Russia, South Korea, Japan, China.

· Warren Christopher, Feb. 18-26, 1993: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium.


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