Hillary Clinton says threats to start war with North Korea “dangerous, short-sighted“

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is seen speaking, in this undated photo received via the BBC, during an interview at Claridge's hotel for the BBC's Andrew Marr Show which was broadcast in London, Britainon on October 15, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Hillary Clinton says threats to start war with North Korea “dangerous, short-sighted“

SEOUL: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed President Donald Trump’s “dangerous and short-sighted” war of words with North Korea Wednesday, saying his Twitter tirades only benefitted Pyongyang’s attention-seeking ruler and hurt Washington’s credibility.
Clinton lost last year’s presidential election to the insurgent Republican despite having decades of experience in politics.
Tension has been running high for months as the White House’s new incumbent and the North’s Kim Jong-un trade threats of war, with Trump dubbing Kim “Rocket Man” and being called a “dotard” in response.
In recent months Pyongyang has carried out multiple launches of missiles potentially capable of reaching the US mainland, and its sixth nuclear test.
But Trump’s tit-for-tat with the young, autocratic ruler of the isolated regime only dents Washington’s credibility and helps Kim bask in global attention he seeks, the former secretary of state told a forum in Seoul.
“I am worried about some of the recent actions from the new administration that seem to raise tensions. Our allies are now expressing concerns about America’s credibility and reliability,” she said.
“Picking up fights with Kim Jong-un just puts a smile on his face. It’s like picking fights with NATO and the EU which puts a smile on Putin’s face,” she added, referring to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s escalating verbal threats have sparked concerns of potential conflict on the peninsula, especially after he warned this month that “only one thing will work” on the North, without elaborating further.
Such “cavalierly threats to start a war are dangerous and short-sighted,” Clinton said, adding the regime would be “thrilled” to get the “personal attention of the leader of our country.”
Without once mentioning Trump by name, she also said she was “very concerned that the new administration is draining the government of the expertise” in diplomacy over the North.
“There are few Asia experts of senior level left at the State Department,” she said.
Alienating Washington’s allies in Asia, where the clout of the world’s No. 2 economy China has been rising to rival the US, could have “grave consequence,” she said: “If we pull back, it leaves a vacuum for others to fill.”
How to curb Kim’s weapons ambitions is expected to be a major focus of Trump’s trip to Asia next month that includes Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing among its stops.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who was also in Seoul on Wednesday for talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, defended Trump’s comments.
“The regime in Pyongyang is unpredictable and not transparent,” he told reporters. “We and our allies have to be prepared for any eventuality. For that reason the president... said all options are on the table.”
Clinton, the former first lady who served as the US’ top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 under president Barack Obama, suffered a shock defeat to Trump in the 2016 election.
She felt “so responsible” for the defeat, she said, but also blamed multiple factors including sexism, misogyny and Russian intervention she recounted in her recent memoir “What Happened.”
Moscow, she said, was “trying to destabilize every democracy.”
“It’s not going to end at 2016 American campaign... it’s an ongoing threat,” Clinton said, describing the suspected Russian campaign as “so successful... and very effective propaganda.”
Trump’s presidency has been overshadowed by allegations that his campaign team colluded with Russia during last year’s election.
Moscow has faced accusations of state-sponsored cyberattacks on countries including Germany and France to influence election results — allegations it has steadfastly denied.


Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

Updated 24 May 2018
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Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

TUTICORIN, India: A protester shot during demonstrations against a copper plant in southern India died of his injuries Thursday, officials said, the 13th victim killed by police fire.
A curfew remained in pockets of Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu state where police used live ammunition to disperse protesters this week, provoking international outrage and demands for an immediate investigation.
Calls for the copper smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to be closed had been building in recent months, with residents complaining it was polluting their city.
The resistance came to a head Tuesday when police stopped a crowd of thousands from protesting outside the factory.
Cars and buildings were set ablaze and rocks hurled at police, who responded with live fire. Eleven demonstrators were shot dead and many people injured in the melee, including 20 police.
Another protester died Wednesday when he was struck by rubber bullets in a second day of protests.
The latest victim died in hospital Thursday, two days after being injured, doctors said.
“He was brought in a critical condition with bullet injuries and died today,” a doctor at the local hospital said.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu has ordered an inquiry but defended the actions of police, which the state’s opposition leader called “mass murder.”
“The police have a duty during protests to maintain law and order, but lethal force can only be used if there is an imminent threat to life,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.
“Tamil Nadu authorities need to carry out a prompt and credible investigation to determine if police used excessive force.”
Internet services have been blocked across the city for five days. Police justified the blackout to stop the spread of information that could incite further violence as they search for those behind Tuesday’s arson attacks.
Environmentalists and locals say the factory contaminates water and air, claims its owners deny.
The company has sought to renew the license of the temporarily non-operational plant and hopes to double its production capacity.
But a state court Wednesday ordered that it cease any further construction at the new site.
The ruling came just hours after Tamil Nadu’s pollution board ordered the existing plant be shut and its power supply cut until a verdict is made on its licensing application.