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US secretary of state to visit China quake area

world Updated: Jun 20, 2008 08:38 IST

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to visit the earthquake-devastated region of China at the end of a round-the-world trip next week.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey on Thursday said that the secretary will meet with Chinese government officials and representatives of aid organisations in the quake-damaged city of Chengdu en route to Beijing on June 29.

She will be the highest-ranking American to inspect damage from the May 12 earthquake that ravaged mountainous Sichuan province and killed almost 70,000 people.

The Beijing visit will be Rice's last stop on a June 23-30 tour that will take her to Germany, Japan and South Korea earlier.

In Berlin, the State Department said, Rice will attend an international conference to support Palestinian security and rule of law. She also will meet there with German and European officials.

From there, Rice flies to Kyoto, Japan, for a ministerial meeting of the Group of Eight industrial nations for discussions on health, disease prevention and open markets. The G-8 summit will be at Lake Toya, Japan.

Separately, Rice also will join her counterparts from Japan and Australia for a discussion of global issues and cooperation in East and South Asia and the Middle East, the State Department said.

In Seoul on June 28-29, Rice will consult with Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and other Korea officials. The department said discussions will include economic issues, coordination of the six-party anti-nuclear talks with North Korea, alliance issues and regional cooperation.