PRIME MINISTER CHAN-O-CHA: (Via interpreter) Today is a happy occasion for all of us. First and foremost, I’d like to warmly welcome you to Thailand.
I also wish to thank the Government of the United States and President Biden himself for the warm welcome afforded to me in Washington on the occasion of the ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit back in May. I hope to have the opportunity to welcome him to Bangkok for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting later this year, and on other occasions.
I note that this is a long visit for you, given that, prior to your arrival in Thailand, you attended the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Indonesia, and I hope the meeting went well.
I am pleased that we have continued our close and cordial relations between the – our two countries, and that our relations continue to increase in momentum. This is especially true, taking into account the important occasion next year of the 190th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. And I hope that we can – are able to convert this into tangible benefits and outcomes.
I also had the opportunity recently to meet with Secretary Austin here in Thailand, just this last month, having previously met in Washington back in May. What is important now is to push our cooperation, not only between Thailand and the United States, but between ASEAN and the United States, into tangible cooperation in areas such as public health and climate change, as well. As such, I am particularly pleased that just this morning we signed a Communiqué on the Strategic Alliance and Partnership between the two countries.
Both our countries and, indeed, the entire world have suffered from economic impacts from various crises in the past. I hope that this situation improves so that we can improve the livelihoods of our peoples.
On the specific issues concerning our bilateral cooperation, I understand that you had constructive and fruitful discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs this morning, and he has already relayed the messages from your meeting this morning. Today I wish to hear your thoughts on the various issues.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, thank you very, very much, Prime Minister. It’s wonderful to be here finally, a visited delayed but very much anticipated. I’m grateful to everyone for their wonderful hospitality, especially on a Sunday. So thank you.
And we did have very good conversations this morning. I think the statement that we signed together not only reaffirms the alliance between our countries, but also shows the breadth and depth of our partnership. And as the Deputy Prime Minister and I said, it sets the foundation for the next 190 years. So we will get to work on that.
But we were very pleased to have you in Washington for the ASEAN Special Summit, we’re committed to ASEAN centrality, and to our own partnership with ASEAN. We’ve very much appreciated your leadership with APEC this year, and we’re looking forward to taking the baton from you for next year. But meanwhile, we’ll look to the Summit in November.
And we’re very, very pleased, as well, that Thailand is an original member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Framework. This is – the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, excuse me. This is a very important opportunity for us to help shape the economy going forward in ways that really benefit our people in Thailand and the United States, and the work that we’re doing together on COVID, including through the Global Action Plan.
So it’s a pleasure to be with you, and to pursue the conversation, and to continue to strengthen the partnership between our countries. Thank you for having us.