Remarks With Thai Foreign Minister Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul Before Their Meeting

Statement

By:  John Kerry
Date: May 6, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. It's my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Surapong from Thailand here. Let me first congratulate him, congratulate His Majesty, the King of Thailand, who celebrates his 63rd anniversary on the throne today. I know normally the commemoration day is yesterday, but they celebrate today.
And I want to thank our friends in Thailand, who represent the longest security relationship, the longest partner that we have in Asia -- 180 years of a treaty relationship with Thailand. They are our partner in the largest multinational field exercise that takes place in the region. They are an important partner with respect to a number of security issues -- for instance, in Darfur, where they are partnering with us, as well as in the Horn of Africa, where they've been very productive with us in countering piracy, anti-piracy efforts.

In addition, we cooperate on a far range of issues, from the environment to wildlife protection, species protection, counter-narcotics, organized crime, other initiatives with respect to refugees and trafficking, anti-trafficking efforts. So we have an enormously broad security relationship, and Mr. Foreign Minister, we are very, very happy to welcome you here today. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SURAPONG: Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am very pleased to be here once again in Washington, D.C. Secretary Kerry, thank you for your kind invitation and warm hospitality. Last November, President Obama visited Thailand as his first stop in Southeast Asia after his reelection. His visit served to strengthen our strong partnership. My meeting with Secretary Kerry today will be a good chance to continue dialogue on our future partnership, especially as we mark 180 years of Thai-U.S. diplomatic relations this year. So I am looking forward to a constructive discussion with Secretary Kerry on both bilateral and global issues of mutual interest.

Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. Let's go work on the next 180 years.