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Kerry in Singapore to talk Asia trade before regional security meeting in Malaysia

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SINGAPORE — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Singapore to talk up an Asia trade agreement that has hit snags in final negotiations.

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to an interpreter during a press conference following a meeting with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 in Doha. Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah on Monday backed the deal on Iran's nuclear program as the best available option, after talks in Doha with US Secretary of State John Kerry. (Brendan Smialowski/pool photo via AP)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to an interpreter during a press conference following a meeting with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 in Doha. Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah on Monday backed the deal on Iran's nuclear program as the best available option, after talks in Doha with US Secretary of State John Kerry. (Brendan Smialowski/pool photo via AP)

Kerry arrived in the Southeast Asian city-state Tuesday and is to give a speech highlighting the benefits of the so-called "Trans-Pacific Partnership." He will then travel to Malaysia for a regional security forum at which China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea will likely be a major focus.

In Singapore, Kerry will stress the importance of trade in the Obama administration's pivot to Asia and the key role the trade agreement can play. The speech comes just days after Pacific Rim trade ministers were unable to reach agreement on the deal, which would cover nearly 40 percent of the global economy,

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