11 Jan 2010

Clinton visit signals policy change, says academic

3:29 pm on 11 January 2010

An academic in New Zealand says the U.S secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to the Pacific early on in her tenure is signalling a change in U.S. foreign policy.

Mrs Clinton will this week visit Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia.

In Papua New Guinea, she will hold bilateral talks and meet civil society leaders to discuss women's issues and environmental protection.

Victoria University's senior fellow for strategic studies, Terence O'Brien, says contrary to her predecessors, Mrs Clinton is taking a keen interest in aid issues.

"Hillary Clinton made a big speech on aid in Washington, which is the most notable speech made by an American secretary of state on aid for a long time. And in that context, making visits which have an aid slant, the PNG visit can be explained in that way."

Terence O'Brien says it'll depend on other factors, such as economic issues, whether the US will follow through with its plans.