Following is the text of a joint statement issued by the United States of America and Thailand at the conclusion of the United States – Thailand Strategic Dialogue on June 14 in Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was pleased to invite and host Foreign Minister of Thailand Surapong Tovichakchaikul in Washington, D.C. on June 13, 2012. Befitting the United States’ enduring treaty partnership with Thailand, Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Surapong engaged in a comprehensive discussion of bilateral, regional, and global issues that reflected the richness and breadth of our long-standing friendship. The two sides reaffirmed their mutual interest to further expand the U.S.-Thai strategic partnership to meet bilateral and regional challenges and to address new areas of cooperation in a dynamic, increasingly interconnected world.
Building on the direction of the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister, senior delegations from the governments of the United States and Thailand met for the fourth United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue on June 14. The delegations discussed political, security, and economic cooperation and the commitment the two countries share to promote peace, security, and prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Both delegations emphasized the importance of regional integration and the United States reaffirmed its support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving ASEAN-led regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific. The two governments underscored their continued support to increase cooperation in regional frameworks, including the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM+), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), and the East Asia Summit (EAS). During the Strategic Dialogue, the Thai delegation briefed the U.S. delegation on the ASEAN Connectivity initiative and key positive developments in the region, including progress in achieving the ASEAN Community by the year 2015. The United States emphasized its continued support for the ASEAN Community-building process.
Both governments underscored their dedication to work together as partners to promote development in the region. With this in mind, the two governments look forward to developing in the near future a Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA). The two delegations welcomed recent, positive developments and reforms in Burma/Myanmar and emphasized that it is important for the international community to continue to support in concrete ways democratization and national reconciliation.
The two governments underscored the importance of strengthening cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) activities and reaffirmed their determination to develop jointly a regional HA/DR training and readiness center in Thailand. They also announced the establishment of a joint working group to report progress on this initiative at the next U.S.-Thailand Strategic Dialogue.
The United States and Thailand expressed support for efforts at regional and international levels, including at the East Asia Summit, to promote maritime security, nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this regard, the Thai delegation informed the U.S. side that Bangkok is positively considering endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and ratification of the International Atomic Energy Agency Additional Protocol. The United States and Thailand also reaffirmed their common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce within the framework of international law.
Recognizing Thailand’s important strategic role and the United States’ stabilizing influence in the region, the two governments mutually decided to enhance their strategic partnership to further promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. The United States recognized Thailand’s efforts in dealing with cross-border challenges, including trafficking in persons and illicit narcotics and other transnational organized crimes, and emphasized the importance of a joint partnership with Thailand in addressing these challenges. The United States and Thailand also underscored the positive contributions of the jointly-managed Bangkok International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in providing training to law enforcement personnel throughout the region.
Reaffirming their commitment to expand economic opportunities for Thai and American citizens, the United States and Thailand reviewed the progress of the Thai-U.S. Creative Partnership, which was launched during the July 2010 U.S.-Thai Strategic Dialogue. Activities in 2011 included more than 40 events reaching over 4,000 partner participants, connecting innovative sectors of Thai and American industry, universities, and government organizations. The two governments directed the Joint Steering Committee for the Thai-U.S Creative Partnership to expand cooperation in the health, energy, and science and technology sectors. They also discussed the goal of concluding a Science and Technology Agreement as soon as possible.
Thailand and the United States look forward to future discussions on trade and investment issues, including regional trade trends, under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). In 2011, U.S.-Thai bilateral trade increased by 13 percent and reached $35 billion U.S. dollars. During this same period, U.S. exports to Thailand increased by 22 percent to $10.9 billion. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Thailand was $12.7 billion in 2010. The two governments recognized the importance of strengthening bilateral trade and investment and their positive contribution to their respective economies.
Both governments are dedicated to continued robust support for educational and cultural exchange programs, including the bi-national Fulbright Scholarship Program, the U.S.-supported International Visitor Leadership Program, and English language training programs. The delegations of the United States and Thailand decided to form a working group to further facilitate these people-to-people exchanges and to report progress at the next United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue.
The two delegations emphasized the importance of continued high-level consultations, including the exchange of high-level visits and the fifth Strategic Dialogue, to be hosted by Thailand in 2013, to further strengthen and deepen the U.S.-Thai partnership. The United States has also offered to host a second round of the U.S.-Thai Senior Defense Talks to discuss expanding security cooperation between the two countries. This year marks the 31st iteration of “Cobra Gold,” the largest multinational field exercise in the world. Cobra Gold, held annually in Thailand and co-hosted by Thailand and the United States, is designed to advance regional security, support capacity-building for partner nations, and advance multinational interoperability. This large-scale multinational exercise demonstrates the United States’ and Thailand’s commitment to our long-standing alliance and to a regional partnership that achieves prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific Region. The United States and Thailand look forward to co-hosting the 32nd annual Cobra Gold joint exercise in 2013 with participants from across the region.
In their meeting on June 13, Foreign Minister Surapong thanked Secretary Clinton for hosting the 2012 United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue and the two sides emphasized their commitment to the enduring U.S.-Thai friendship. Secretary Clinton reiterated U.S. support for democracy in Thailand and both leaders reaffirmed that the United States and Thailand share a mutual commitment to uphold the principles of strong democratic institutions, good governance, the rule of law, and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Secretary Clinton emphasized Thailand’s role as a vital strategic and development partner to the United States in the region and Foreign Minister Surapong welcomed the positive impact on both countries of decades of close U.S.-Thai friendship. The two sides look forward to continuing regular consultations on a broad range of regional and global issues, including at the 2013 United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue.