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Clinton to spend a few hours in Guam before leaving to Vietnam

By Therese Hart SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Oct. 28, 2010) – United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will spend several hours to meet and greet United States troops, give a 20 minute speech and meet with Gov. Felix Camacho, Lt. Gov. Mike Cruz and a few Guam representatives.

During a media briefing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell confirmed that Clinton’s plane will refuel on Guam, giving her a few hours to meet with troops and speak to local island leaders.

"We will stop in Guam. In Guam, the Secretary will meet with United States forces and troops that are stationed in Guam or are moving through. She will also have a bilateral meeting with the governor and also representatives from Guam there on the base," said Campbell.

Shawn Gumataotao, deputy chief of staff of Camacho, confirmed yesterday that the governor and lt. governor will have some dialogue time with the Secretary.

The governor has three items to bring up with Clinton, said Gumataotao.

"What is the D.C. pulse related to the U.S. contribution of the Guam buildup. In essence, the funding for the buildup," said Gumataotao.

He reiterated that Japan is expected to contribute US$6 billion and the United States US$4 billion toward the buildup.

Camacho will also ask Clinton about the status of the Futenma replacement base in Okinawa since it has a direct impact on Guam.

He will also ask Clinton’s support for the Marianas China visa waiver which will spur Guam’s flat economy, said Gumataotao.

The Department of Homeland Security has still not decided on Guam’s request to allow it to admit Chinese tourists under its discretionary parole authority.

Speaker Judi Won Pat has been invited to the briefing and will have an opportunity to speak with Clinton.

Derek Mandell, assistant press secretary from Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo’s Guam office said that they have not received official word that Clinton will be stopping on Guam, but if it she does, then a representative from their office will be in attendance.

Campbell said the Secretary’s trip "has many stops and it is intended to send a strong message of United States engagement on a range of issues strategic, political, multilateral. We’ll be dealing with some of the key institutions that are evolving in Asia and also economic and trade as well."

Clinton will travel to Hawaii and will meet with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara from Japan to discuss among other issues, the importance of the United States-Japan alliance as a "cornerstone of American engagement in the Asia-Pacific region."

"At that session, we will review all aspects of our bilateral relationship, all the areas of coordination and consultation ranging from recent security developments to prospects on the economic and trade front," said Campbell.

Clinton’s Asia tour includes visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa.

It is Clinton’s sixth major trip to the region and this will be the longest trip of her tenure to date, said Campbell.

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