Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hillary Clinton in Thailand: Last day of ASEAN Conference

Today, July 23rd, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was still in Phuket, Thailand for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) summit.

She and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem shook hands at the end of a group photo session for the ASEAN meeting. Some other Foreign Ministers present were Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, Kasit Piromya of Thailand, Anifah Aman of Malaysia, Nyan Win of Myanmar, Murray McCully of New Zealand, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi of Pakistan, Zacarias Albano da Costa of East Timore, Alberto Romulo of the Philippines, Rohitha Bogollagama of Sri Lanka and probabaly many more.

On the shedule for today, Secretary Clinton delivered a Joint Press Statement with Thai FM Kasit at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket, Thailand. Read her full remarks here or watch below:

Then she held bilaterals with the Foreign Minister of Thailand Kasit, and another with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi before having lunch and posing for a photo with the participants of the forum.

Afterward, the Secretary held a Press Conference. She responded to questions during the news conference and she urged Asian nations to vigorously enforce the latest U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

"I was gratified by how many countries from throughout the region spoke up and expressed directly to the North Korean delegation their concerns over the provocative behavior we have seen these past few months.

Unfortunately, the North Korean delegation offered only an insistent refusal to recognize that North Korea has been on the wrong course. In their presentation today, they evinced no willingness to pursue the path of denuclearization. And that was troubling not only to the United States, but to the region and the international community...

The United States and its allies and partners cannot accept a North Korea that tries to maintain nuclear weapons to launch ballistic missiles or to proliferate nuclear materials. And we are committed to the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner...

The bottom line is this: If North Korea intends to engage in international commerce, its vessels must conform to the terms of 1874 or find no port. Our goal in enforcing these sanctions and others imposed earlier is not to create suffering or to destabilize North Korea. Our quarrel is not with the North Korean people. In fact, it was the North Korean leadership that rejected humanitarian aid from the United States and forced us to suspend our food aid program.

So let me be clear: As we work to end the regime’s nuclear program, we remain committed to the well-being, dignity, and human rights of the people of North Korea. We will continue to work closely with other governments, international organizations, and NGOs to address human rights violations and abuses perpetuated by the regime. We will maintain our support of NGOs working to improve human rights in North Korea. And we will keep funding Korean language radio broadcasting for the same purposes, and we will soon announce a special envoy for North Korean human rights..."

After this, the Secretary held a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Smith and separately with Indonesian Foreign Minister Wirajuda at ASEAN.

The final official meeting for the Secretary in Thailand was the first ever US - Lower Mekong ministerial meeting. She was joined by Cambodia's foreign minister Hor Namhong, Lao's foreign minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thailand's foreign minister Kasit Piromya, and Vietnam's deputy prime minister and foreign minister Pham Gia Khiem. After a long day, and a long trip, Secretary Clinton Departs Phuket, Thailand late Thursday on route to Washington DC. Can't wait to welcome her back!

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