Morning Brief: Clinton in Japan

Top Story Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her first trip abroad by visiting Japan today, describing relations with the country as a “cornerstone” of U.S. foreign policy. Clinton also emphatically (if somewhat euphemistically) criticized North Korea’s planned long-range nuclear missile launch as “very unhelpful.” Clinton also announced that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso would ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588462_090217_clinton5.jpg
588462_090217_clinton5.jpg

Top Story

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her first trip abroad by visiting Japan today, describing relations with the country as a "cornerstone" of U.S. foreign policy. Clinton also emphatically (if somewhat euphemistically) criticized North Korea's planned long-range nuclear missile launch as "very unhelpful."

Clinton also announced that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso would be the first foreign leader to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Feb. 24. The two leaders will discuss coordinating responses to the financial crisis.

Top Story

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her first trip abroad by visiting Japan today, describing relations with the country as a “cornerstone” of U.S. foreign policy. Clinton also emphatically (if somewhat euphemistically) criticized North Korea’s planned long-range nuclear missile launch as “very unhelpful.”

Clinton also announced that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso would be the first foreign leader to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Feb. 24. The two leaders will discuss coordinating responses to the financial crisis.

Aso will likely relish the opportunity to get away for a few days. His approval ratings are below 10 percent according to some polls and his government suffered yet another setback today as Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa announced his resignation after he appeared visibly intoxicated at a G7 press conference.

Asia

The number of civilians killed in the Afghanistan conflict jumped 39 percent last year.

Cambodia began its first trial for perpetrators of the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Pakistan agreed to restore sharia law in the Swat Valley region in order to pacify a Taliban revolt. 

Middle East

A Hamas official says the group may be planning to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Egypt is cracking down hard on smuggling through the Gaza tunnels.

Germany’s foreign minister is visiting Iraq.

Africa

Sudan’s largest rebel group signed a peace accord with the central government.

15,000 Congolese have fled to Southern Sudan to escape the Lord’s Resistance Army, says the U.N.

Gunmen have attacked two oil facilities in Southern Nigeria.

Europe

European stock markets fell after a negative report from rating agency Moody’s.

Russia’s industrial output fell 20 percent in January.

Slovenia may act to prevent Croatia from joining NATO.

Americas

Bolivia’s Evo Morales is in Moscow where he secured a deal to receive Russian helicopters.

Barack Obama has been cultivating support from Republican governors.

The justice department is preparing a critique of the Bush administration’s interrogation practices.

Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi-Pool/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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