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Top US envoy to visit China, Japan
Updated: 2006-01-18 17:29

US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is due to depart on a tour of Japan and China to discuss security and trade issues, including Iran's disputed nuclear program, the US State Department said.

Top US envoy to visit China, Japan
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo is welcomed by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in Washington in this December 8, 2005 photo. Zoellick is to visit China from January 23 to 25. [Xinhua]
Also, the chief US envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue, Christopher Hill, paid a quick visit to Beijing, the US embassy said, just hours after Kim Jong-Il left the Chinese capital.

On his way to Japan, Zoellick was scheduled to visit the US Pacific Command on Thursday and Friday for talks with senior US military officials, the State Department said in a statement.

In his first visit to Japan as Deputy Secretary of State, Zoellick planned to discuss with his Japanese counterparts tsunami relief, avian flu, the "war on terrorism," developments in the region, diplomacy in the Middle East and a planned donors conference for Afghanistan, it said.

Zoellick also would focus on access to Japanese markets for US beef exports during the January 22-23 visit.

"It is good news for American producers and Japanese consumers that Japan is beginning to restore market access to US beef. We will continue to work with Japan and other trading partners to make sure US beef is treated fairly based on internationally recognized standards," Zoellick said in a statement.

The US diplomat was to proceed to China from January 24 to 25, meeting senior Chinese officials amid continuing US concern over nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.

"I look forward to a good exchange of views in Beijing on security and proliferation issues -- particularly in Northeast Asia, and Iran" among other topics, Zoellick said.

After Beijing, Zoellick was scheduled to travel to Chengdu, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where he hoped to meet regional authorities and to visit the Chengdu Panda Research Base.

From China, Zoellick was due to travel to the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, the State Department said.

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