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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a really great pleasure to welcome my colleague, my friend, the deputy prime minister, Don here to the State Department in Washington.  I’m particularly eager to continue the very good conversations we started in the fall.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We were supposed to continue them during a trip that I was making to Thailand.  Unfortunately, that was – that trip was shortened by COVID.  This meeting was almost shortened by COVID, but happily I’m back in time to receive my friend.

This is a momentous week with the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, and we’re gratified to have Thailand here in Washington for that.  Also in your leadership year of APEC, which we’ll be taking on —


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  — after you finish.  But a very strong shared agenda for a stable, peaceful Indo-Pacific that we’ll be working on.  We just came off of the first joint Strategic and Defense Dialogue between our countries, that I think was very successful, and I welcome you here to pursue the conversations we’ve been having.  Welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER PRAMUDWINAI:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Well, very nice to see you, members of the press, for the second time.  The first time was when I was here bilaterally, but this time around it was for the ASEAN 45th anniversary, a special leaders meeting.  But I’m glad I’m part of it, and then we can continue where we left off last time.

You mentioned about APEC.  Yes, definitely, we will be hosting it in November, and then you will take over chairmanship.

We have a lot more things to talk about, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

So let me assure that this encounter that we are having now will be much more productive than last time.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good.  Thank you.  Thank you, everyone.


U.S. Department of State

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