Press Statement
William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Bangkok, Thailand
July 16, 2010

Under Secretary Burns Statement: I’m delighted to be here in Bangkok. I’m also delighted that Thailand is my first stop on a tour of Southeast Asia over the course of the next week. I want to thank the Minister for his warmth and hospitality as we began the first session of our strategic dialogue over the course of this morning and look forward to continuing it this afternoon. Our conversation this morning was extraordinarily productive. It was a reminder of how much the United States and Thailand have to gain by working together, bilaterally, regionally, and on a range of global issues as well. It’s important to recall the progress we’ve made over recent years in areas like education; we marked this week the 60th anniversary, for example, of the Fulbright scholarship program. We also look forward to launching a new Creative Partnership between the United States and Thailand in which the United States seeks to contribute to Thailand’s own creative economy initiative, and seeks to connect universities, corporations, and other aspects of American society with their Thai partners to help further develop innovation and modernize the Thai economy, in the interests of both of our countries. We know this has been a difficult period for Thailand, and as friends, Americans have been deeply saddened by the violence and the deaths which have occurred in recent months. We strongly support the peaceful resolution of political differences, making full use of Thailand’s democratic institutions. We’re convinced that tolerance, genuine reconciliation, and respect for human rights are the keys to realizing the full potential of Thailand’s enormously talented people. So once again Mr. Minister, thank you very much.

Foreign Minister Kasit’s Statement [delivered in Thai]

Question: Ambassador Burns, you are here for a strategic dialogue would you elaborate on it? What is the significance of it? My second question is you’re here in Bangkok which is under a state of emergency, how does it feel to be here in Bangkok under a state of emergency? How concerned is the Obama administration that Thailand and its democratic institutions could be undermined?

Under Secretary Burns Reply: On your first question, the strategic dialogue was inaugurated several years ago. This is the first session we’ve done in about a year and a half, and I think it’s an important opportunity for us, not only to learn from one another, but to look at ways in which we can cooperate more effectively across a range of regional issues in what is truly one of the most dynamic regions in the world today. With regard to your question about the state of emergency, clearly the United States hopes that the state of emergency, that the decrees can be lifted as soon as possible. The position of the United States is very clear. We believe that our friends in Thailand best serve their own interests through the peaceful resolution of the political differences which do exist, making full use of Thailand’s democratic institutions. And that is something that we firmly believe is in the best interests of this society and that’s what we will continue to support.

Foreign Minister Kasit [in Thai]: Thank you.

Under Secretary Burns: Thank you.