The itinerary signals that Clinton intends to take a closer interest in East Asia than did Condoleezza Rice, her predecessor. Rice in large measure delegated diplomatic matters concerning China to her deputies, sometimes skipping ministerial meetings in the region, to the frustration of diplomats there.
State Department officials have not yet announced Clinton’s travel plans. The foreign official spoke on condition of anonymity, in keeping with diplomatic protocol.
In her confirmation hearing, Clinton called for a new, “comprehensive” China policy that would incorporate a broad range of issues rather than just the economic questions that have dominated discussions for years.
Update: See “Agenda Uncertain for Hillary Clinton’s China Trip” from the Wall Street Journal’s China Journal blog.