"Our alliance with Thailand, in particular, is a key example of America's enduring commitment to the region, and it plays an indispensable role as a platform for projecting shared interests and values, and ensuring regional peace and security," said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns. In an address given in Bangkok, July 16th, at Chulalongkorn University, Under Secretary Burns noted that, "It is deeply in the national interest of the United States to see a stable, prosperous Thailand – a Thailand that will continue to be a strong strategic partner as we together meet the challenges of the 21st century."
The U.S., he said, "will continue to look to Thailand's deep historical experience in navigating the geopolitical currents in the region." Thailand, Mr. Burns observed, serves as a key pivot between territorial and maritime Asia and is a natural bridge between India and East Asian countries, with which India seeks stronger relations. "Amidst the significant changes and upheavals of the Asia-Pacific regional order," he said, "Thailand has remained a key driver of ASEAN's evolution, and a proponent of economic growth grounded in democratic institutions."
The U.S.-Thai alliance is built on shared values – commitment to democracy, a desire for good governance, accountability and transparency in the actions of governments, and a respect for the rights to peaceful freedom of assembly and expression.
"Even though Thailand has just experienced its worst political violence in a generation," said Mr. Burns, "we believe our Thai friends will draw upon these values to work together to resolve political differences peacefully." It is crucial, he said, "for all Thai leaders to promote dialogue and reconciliation, to recognize the legitimate grievances of Thai citizens, and to support the equal and impartial application of the rule of law." One hopeful sign of the strength and resilience of Thai democracy is that Thai political debate is once again taking place in Parliament and elsewhere in Thailand's public life.
Thailand has many challenges ahead as it undertakes political and economic reforms underpinned by respect for the civil rights of the Thai people. "The United States," said Under Secretary Burns, "stands ready to work with Thailand, one of our closest friends and one of our oldest allies, in the continued pursuit of peace, prosperity, and security."