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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    9 July 2012

Clinton headed to Indochina countries and ARF


US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was to leave for Europe, Asia and the Middle East Thursday including a four-day visit to Cambodia, the State Department said.

A statement said Clinton would visit Vietnam and Laos before arriving in Phnom Penh next Wednesday for events related to the annual meeting of Asean foreign ministers.

Clinton is scheduled to take part in the Asean Regional Forum, the East Asia Foreign Ministers Meeting and the US-Asean Post-Ministerial Conference.
She will also co-chair a meeting of ministers involved in the Lower Mekong Initiative and chair a separate ministerial meeting of "friends of the Lower Mekong," the statement said.

After bilateral meetings with senior Cambodian officials, Clinton will lead the largest-ever delegation of US business leaders to Cambodia to a US-Asean Business Forum in Siem Reap. The theme of the forum is "commitment to connectivity," the statement said.

In Siem Reap, Clinton will also deliver the keynote address at a Lower Mekong Initiative dialogue on gender equality and women’s empowerment before leaving for Egypt the next day.

Before arriving in Cambodia, Clinton is scheduled to travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam and Laos.

In Hanoi next Tuesday, she will meet with senior Vietnamese leaders and witness the signing of several agreements covering education exchanges and commercial contracts. The secretary will also meet with US and Vietnamese business leaders, the statement said.

On Wednesday, she makes what the State Department describes as a "groundbreaking visit to Laos," the first by a US secretary of state in 57 years.

While in Vientiane, she will meet Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and other senior government officials to discuss a "variety of bilateral and regional issues, including the Lower Mekong Initiative and Asean integration efforts."

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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