US and Thai defense leaders look to the future in the Indo-Pacific > US Department of Defense > Defense Department News
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III hosted Thai Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Pentagon yesterday to build on the more than 200-year history between the two countries.
Thailand is America’s oldest friend and ally in the Indo-Pacific, and for centuries the two nations have worked closely together to bolster security in the region, Austin said.
Austin also announced that he will make his first trip to Thailand as defense secretary next month.
Austin thanked the prime minister for the help Thailand has given the United States over the years. He pointed to access to the Thai airfield U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy. He also thanked the Thai people for hosting Exercise Cobra Gold, one of the largest military exercises in the region. Austin was glad the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the exercise and said the United States will be back at full scale for fiscal year 2023.
“Today, I look forward to discussing our access and presence initiatives, other joint training opportunities, and other issues of mutual concern, including border security,” Austin said. “And we’ll be talking about new ways to strengthen our alliance for years to come.”
The Secretary and the Prime Minister mentioned the cooperation between the two countries on COVID-19. “We faced challenges together as allies — including the pandemic — where we cooperated on response efforts and medical research,” Austin said.
The Prime Minister thanked the United States “for providing the COVID-19 vaccine and other key medical equipment which has been of great benefit to our country. This reflects the close cooperation between Thailand and the States States, dating back more than 189 years”.
The Prime Minister further said that COVID-19 is an example of the “new form of threats that all nations are facing. This is an area where the Thai and US militaries can also cooperate to further protect our society and strengthen our infrastructure in this area”. Regarding.”
The Thai government is also working to modernize and professionalize the armed forces in response to an increasingly complex security environment, Prayut said. He said they will base military standards on US forces. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United States for supporting us in terms of military equipment and equipment, which has played an important role in ensuring our military readiness and the modernization of our armed forces,” he said. -he declares. “The United States has also provided us with support for training on various programs, and the knowledge and experience from the courses is essential to developing our armed forces and promoting its professionalization.”