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US' Kerry set to travel to Myanmar, Australia and the Solomon Islands

WASHINGTON -- Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry will travel to Myanmar, Australia and the Solomon Islands later this month, the State Department said Saturday.

The Aug. 8 to 13 trip will kick off in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw on August 9 where Kerry will meet government leaders and attend a series of gatherings, including the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit ministerial.

“Engaging the region's multilateral institutions is one of the key aspects of U.S. commitment in Asia to promote peace, stability, and prosperity,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in announcing the trip.

During his stay in Myanmar, Kerry's agenda will also include bilateral meetings.

From the Southeast Asian nation, Kerry will head to Sydney Aug. 11 to 13 for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), at which he will be joined by Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.

On Aug. 13, he will continue on to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, for meetings with government leaders and wreath-laying ceremonies at the World War II Guadalcanal American Memorial and the Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers Memorial.

Later that day, Kerry will leave for Honolulu, Hawaii, to give a speech.

American friendships are prospering in the Asia-Pacific region, where President Barack Obama's pivot to that part of the world is anchored on reinvigorating alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia.

Washington has also coaxed Myanmar away from China and drawn out Malaysia.

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