Clinton Announces $10 Million in Aid for Thai Flood Relief

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged $10 million in aid and the assistance of a U.S. naval ship for flood ravaged Thailand.

The top U.S. diplomat announced the assistance after talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Wednesday in Bangkok. She says the USS Lassen has docked at a Thai port with crew and helicopters to assist in recovery efforts and assess ways to restore the country's infrastructure.

Her visit coincides with that of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Ban on Wednesday said he was “deeply saddened and humbled” after viewing the affected areas, adding that the world body is ready to help the government's relief efforts.

Millions of people have been affected by the floods which began in July, mostly in Thailand's northern and central areas.

Earlier Wednesday, Clinton visited the Philippines to re-affirm a 60-year-old mutual defense treaty between the two countries.

The visit comes amid heightened tensions between the Philippines and China over a maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

Clinton said the United States does not take any position on varying claims to potentially oil- and gas-rich areas of the vital waterway. She said the competing claims should be settled according to the international law treaty, a position that backs the Philippines in the dispute.

Clinton made the remark during a visit to Manila ahead of the Southeast Asian summit in Bali, Indonesia, where the South China Sea dispute is expected to be discussed.

The Philippines has complained of several incidents in which Chinese naval vessels have interfered with oil and gas exploration efforts off its shores.

However China claims ownership of virtually the entire South China Sea on historical grounds, and says it has acted appropriately in its own sovereign territory.