U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick will travel to Laos, Hong Kong and China's capital during his nine-day Asian trip beginning Tuesday.
The State Department says Mr. Zoellick will first stop in Laos to attend the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He will represent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has said a scheduling issue prevented her attendance.
U.S. officials say Mr. Zoellick will discuss President Bush's commitment to strengthen cooperation with ASEAN members on a variety of security, economic, and transnational issues.
He will also discuss bilateral issues with various ASEAN members before going on to Hong Kong, where Mr. Zoellick will become the first U.S. official to meet with Hong Kong's new Chief Executive, Donald Tsang.
From there, Mr. Zoellick heads to Beijing before returning to Washington.
Information for this report is provided by AFP.