U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled Friday to Mumbai, India, the first stop on a weeklong visit to that country and Thailand, where she will attend meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Her goal is to “broaden and strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and India” on issues such as climate change and nonproliferation, according to a State Department briefing held before she left. Pakistan also is expected to be on the agenda, given the tense relationship between that country and India, both nuclear powers. Clinton plans to spend two days in Mumbai and one in India’s capital city of New Delhi before heading to Bangkok to meet with Thailand’s prime minister. From there, she travels to Phuket for the ASEAN summit. Her trip ends July 23. ASEAN summit organizers said North Korea plans to send a representative to the annual gathering. While State Department officials said Clinton has no plans to meet with the North Koreans, they didn’t rule out the possibility of a discussion. North Korea rankled the United States and several Asian nations when it fired several short-range missiles toward the Sea of Japan on July 4, an act that the U.S. watched closely and South Korea called provocative.
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The recent firings come amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. North Korea conducted a nuclear test in May, and it fired test rockets and threatened U.S. and South Korean ships near its territorial waters. The U.N. Security Council voted in early July to expand and tighten sanctions on North Korea. Clinton’s trip to the region also comes amid two hotel bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian authorities believe two suicide bombers checked into the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and carried out coordinated bombings Friday morning, killing themselves and at least six victims and wounding more than 50 others. Watch more on the Jakarta bombings »
It is unclear what group is behind the attacks on the Marriott and the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel, Gen. Bambang Hendarso, Indonesia’s national police chief, said at a news conference. He warned that the death toll could rise. Eight American nationals were among the wounded, according to the U.S. State Department.