Thai foreign minister on visit to Washington
PUBLISHED : 13 Feb 2024 at 17:31
WASHINGTON, DC – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has shown support for Thailand setting up a humanitarian corridor along the border with war-torn Myanmar, and acknowledged the kingdom’s strategic importance in the region, according to Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara.
The visiting Thai minister met Mr Blinken on Tuesday to discuss issues including security, the economy and Thailand’s humanitarian initiatives regarding Myanmar.
“The meeting was very successful. The US has shown strong interest in Asean and sees Thailand’s strategic importance in the region,” said Mr Parnpree.
“We also talked about the Myanmar situation, with Mr Blinken agreeing to the Thai idea of a humanitarian corridor. He said the US stood ready to support us. I’m sure there will be further discussion about more collaboration on dealing with the Myanmar crisis,” he said.
Mr Parnpree said he shared with Mr Blinken concern about cybersecurity at the Thai-Myanmar border and said both sides would be involved in collaborative prevention.
During his trip, the foreign minister also met US senator Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and international cybersecurity policy.
They discussed ways to enhance US-Thailand bilateral relations and exchanged views about Myanmar, with Mr Van Hollen also reportedly speaking positively about Thailand’s humanitarian initiative.
Mr Van Hollen meanwhile expressed concern about the eight remaining Thai hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. Mr Parnpree said he asked the US official to help coordinate their release.
Mr Parnpree also met with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; Amos J Hochstein, deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and senior adviser for energy and investment; and senator Tammy Duckworth, a member of the committee on foreign relations.
Ms Duckworth and Mr Parnpree discussed ways of promoting defence cooperation including raising quotas for Thai military personnel to attend a US military academy, cooperation in modernising the military and other potential areas of cooperation.
Ms Duckworth also expressed her support for the senate resolution marking the 190th anniversary of Thai-US diplomatic relations.
“The meeting was very important to strengthen our longstanding relationship and strategic partnership with the US,” Mr Parnpree said.