Clinton Arrives in Thailand for ASEAN Security Conference

BAGKOK (RPRN) 7/21/2009–U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Thailand Tuesday for meetings with Thai officials and to attend a regional security conference expected to focus on the North Korean nuclear threat, Burma’s human rights record and terrorism.

Following a five-day visit to India, Clinton will meet with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva after her arrival in Bangkok. She will head to the resort island of Phuket on Wednesday for the Association of Southeast Asia Nations Regional Forum before returning to Washington Friday.

During her visit to India, the two countries signed two agreements that could pave the way for large-scale Indian purchases of U.S. military equipment and civilian nuclear technology.

Clinton and her Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, announced the pacts Monday at a joint news conference in New Delhi.

In one agreement, India approved two sites where U.S. companies will have exclusive rights to build nuclear power plants. The projects are estimated to be worth $10 billion.

The other agreement — known as end-use monitoring — is intended to ensure that highly sophisticated U.S. military technology provided to India is not sold or otherwise transferred to other countries.

Clinton and Krishna also said they had agreed to launch a strategic dialogue that will involve a wide range of U.S. and Indian government agencies.

Secretary Clinton called the relationship between the United States and India a “good news story” despite differences on key issues. Foreign Minister Krishna described the two countries as “global partners” that can address the world’s most urgent challenges.

But Clinton’s visit was not without discord. On Sunday, India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rejected adopting binding limits on carbon emissions under a proposed global climate change treaty.

Secretary Clinton, who insisted India can make emission cuts without harming its economy, expressed confidence that the two sides can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way they produce, consume and conserve energy.

Earlier Monday, Clinton met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.