Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here today to witness the signing of the renewal of the Sister City agreement between Washington, DC and Bangkok. Thank you Mayor Gray and Governor Sukhumbhand for inviting me and for signing this important agreement. We are grateful that Ambassador Chaiyong is here with us today.
Since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton created the Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs in 2010, I have witnessed firsthand the overwhelming power of Sister City relationships in citizen diplomacy and cultural and economic exchanges across the United States and around the world.
I am delighted to see Mary Kane here today. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sister Cities International on the successful launch this week of a new brand to further their momentum and important work of strengthening global citizenship.
The United States is proud of our longstanding alliance and friendship with the Royal Kingdom of Thailand, and we are committed to its future. As Secretary Clinton has said, “Our nations are connected through not only our security cooperation and business ties, but the democratic values we share and the bonds of family and friendship that link our people.”
It is indeed fitting that our capital cities, Washington, DC and Bangkok are reaffirming their partnership to link city governments, business and cultural communities and citizens. I visited Bangkok last year and had the opportunity to meet Governor Sukhumbhand. I was struck by the beauty, vitality, and history of your city.
I believe that this Sister City relationship between Washington, DC and Bangkok will foster strong bonds across culture, politics, and business. It is a relationship between cities, but more importantly, a relationship between the people of those cities. On behalf of the U.S. Department of State and Secretary Clinton, I would like to congratulate Washington, DC and Bangkok on the renewal of their Sister City relationship.