Clinton in India, Thailand from July 17-23

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hold talks in India over the weekend on an "enhanced strategic partnership" before traveling next week to Thailand for talks with southeast Asian ministers, officials said Tuesday.
In her second trip to Asia since becoming chief US diplomat, Clinton will arrive in Mumbai on Friday, where she will pay tribute to the victims of the November attacks on the port city, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Clinton in India, Thailand from July 17-23
"She will meet with a broad cross section of Indian society in Mumbai," spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.
Clinton will then travel to New Delhi from July 19 to 21, during which she will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna during her trip to India, Kelly added.
"The secretary and minister Krishna will discuss the structure and elements of an enhanced US-India strategic partnership that will enable us to advance solutions to the defining challenges of our time and to enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century," he said.
Clinton said last week Washington and New Delhi intend to cooperate on an unprecedented range of issues.
"We are working hard with our Indian counterparts to create a very deep and broad strategic engagement," Clinton told reporters.
"And it is my hope that we'll be able to announce our intentions when I'm in India, and that we will be cooperating and working together across the broadest range of concerns that our two governments have ever engaged on," she said.
"I am very hopeful that the relationship between the United States and India, which has improved considerably over the last 15 years, continues on the path that we're on," the chief US diplomat said.
The secretary of state will later visit Thailand for talks with "Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromyato to underscore the importance of our alliance and our bilateral relationship," Kelly added.
The US top diplomat will also lead the US delegation to talks of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the southern isle of Phuket, Thailand from July 22 to 23, returning home to Washington on July 23.
In Bangkok, Thailand's government Tuesday said North Korea's weapons program would be discussed by ASEAN foreign ministers.
"During the meetings (ministers) will exchange views on the situation on the Korea peninsula," foreign ministry official Vitavas Srivihok told reporters.
But he said North Korea's foreign minister had declined to attend the summit, instead sending an ambassador-at-large to represent the reclusive nation.
Kelly remained vague when asked if Clinton would meet any North Korean delegates attending ASEAN. "I imagine that North Korea will be a topic at the ASEAN meeting," he added.
South Korea and China on Monday agreed to try to revive six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, after the North quit the talks and vowed to restart its atomic weapons program in the wake of its recent defiant nuclear test and missile launches.
Vitavas said other regional issues including democratic reform in Myanmar could be raised during the Phuket talks, as well as the region's economy and joint action on tackling swine flu.
Clinton, who leaves Washington for Mumbai on Thursday, traveled to Asia in February on her first trip as secretary of state, visiting Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China.

Tuesday, July 14th 2009

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