Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Statement from President Clinton and Secretary Clinton on the Passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

Hillary and I send our heartfelt condolences to the people of the Kingdom of Thailand on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. For seven decades, he worked to improve the lives of the Thai people, brighten their future, and be a good neighbor, as I saw when we worked together to support Timor-Leste, the first new nation of the 21st century.  His Majesty deepened ties between the U.S. and Thailand, our first ally in Southeast Asia.  He was a true servant leader, acting with wisdom, strength, humility, and genuine care for the welfare of all people.  I was honored to visit Thailand as President on the 50th year of his reign when we celebrated our shared love of jazz music, and Hillary was grateful to have had the opportunity, with President Obama, to visit with His Majesty on her last trip to Thailand.

His Majesty was a kind, good leader. Our world needs more leaders like him today. We send our thoughts, prayers, and support to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, and His Majesty’s entire family.


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Mme. Secretary and the President flew out of Bangkok on their way to Burma on Air Force One.

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Today Mme. Secretary visited the the Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok, Thailand with President Obama.  She fits right in with the lovely surroundings in this beautiful royal blue silk pantsuit that is cut just right for her.

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Here is our girl arriving at Don Muang international airport in Bangkok, Thailand.


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This schedule completely obliterates any chance that she will be in D.C. for hearings on the Hill next week.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 9, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Perth and Adelaide, Australia; Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon, Burma; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 11-20, 2012.

On November 11, Secretary Clinton will travel to Perth, Australia to join U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, and Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) to discuss security cooperation and other regional and global issues. In Perth, Secretary Clinton will meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr. She will also visit the new Western Australia – United States & Asia Centre (USAC). She will then travel to Adelaide where she will meet with Australian business leaders as well as visit Techport Australia, Australia’s largest and most advanced shipbuilding facility.

Secretary Clinton will travel to Singapore on November 16-17 to meet with senior government officials, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, on a wide range of issues.

On November 17, Secretary Clinton will travel to Bangkok, Thailand. She will join President Obama and his delegation on November 18 for meetings with Prime Minister Yingluck and other senior Thai officials to underscore our strong alliance and discuss shared priorities and regional issues in advance of the ASEAN East Asia Summit.

Secretary Clinton will accompany President Obama to Burma on November 19, and join his meetings with Burmese President Thein Sein and Chair of the National League for Democracy and Member of Parliament Aung San Suu Kyi.

Secretary Clinton will also accompany President Obama on his travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 19-20 to attend the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting and the East Asia Summit.

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


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 13, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. I’m delighted to welcome Foreign Minister Surapong back to the United States. I know he was a student here, I think, in Washington – or in Ohio, in Ohio. And to also welcome you on your first official visit here.Now the United States is very proud of our strong friendship with the Kingdom of Thailand, representing an alliance that is now 179 years old and indispensible in our pursuit of promoting shared values, regional peace, and security. Tomorrow, U.S. and Thai officials will be holding the fourth round of the U.S.-Thailand Strategic Dialogue, where they will discuss deepening our cooperation, including on disaster assistance, trade and investment opportunities, peace keeping, human rights, people-to-people exchanges, and protecting the environment.

We support the Kingdom of Thailand assuming a greater leadership role in the region. And we look forward to working with Thailand in pursuing our common objectives for maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific.

FOREIGN MINISTER SURAPONG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am very pleased to join Madam Secretary for the Fourth Thai-U.S. Strategic Dialogue in Washington. Madam Secretary, it is a pleasure to see you once again, and thank you for your invitation and your warm hospitality. I look forward to discussing with Madam Secretary on a number of important issues of common interests for our two countries.

Our two countries have had a longstanding relationship. Next year, it will marks 180 years of our relation. Today, we see this relationship as a strategic partnership with positive developments to – in Southeast Asia and East Asia. We seek to enhance this partnership to, in particular, our trade and investment ties to benefit our people. As partners, we will work together to deal with regional and global challenges.

Finally, we welcome the U.S. greater engagement with Southeast Asia and East Asia. We believe that this would help contribute to regional peace and stability, which is important for economic growth and prosperity of the region. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister. Thank you.

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Interview With Khun Nina of Puying Teung Puying


Sports Science Center
Bangkok, Thailand
November 17, 2011

QUESTION: First of all, Madam Secretary, we would like to thank you very much for showing your support to the Thai people. It’s very kind of you. And, well, how did you feel when you were in the shelter next door, visiting flood victims?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that I love Thailand and I love the Thai people, and I’ve been very distressed about these terrible floods, which are a historic, horrible event for your country. And I wanted to come to show solidarity and friendship with the Thai people.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I was so pleased to come to this very bright, cheerful complex where people are being well taken care of. I got to visit with some of those who have been displaced and hear a little of their stories. But I am very confident that Thailand is going to come back in even stronger ways. So I’m here to show not only solidarity and sympathy, but confidence and optimism.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. And do you think the U.S. will be able to help Thailand in any way after – especially after the floods have gone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And last night I announced some additional ways we intend to help. We’re just at the beginning of our help, because Thailand’s one of our oldest allies in the world, and we care deeply about what happens to your country. So what we have done is to put together both our civilian experts, our military experts. We have a ship in the harbor that has helicopters to work with your military to survey what’s going on. We’re going to try to reopen one of the airports, the Don Mueang Airport, so that can be useful again. We obviously have been providing survival kits, boats, generators, those kinds of immediate emergency responses.

And we are also looking at helping you recover some of your cultural and religious sites that have been inundated. I saw pictures of beautiful temples and statues surrounded by water. So we have a whole plan, but I feel strongly that we will only do what the government and the people of Thailand wish us to do, so we’re good partners.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your kindness.


QUESTION: And earlier this year, we understand that you were also badly hit by the Mississippi River floods, right?


QUESTION: How did you go through it, and any advice to Thailand?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve had a lot of floods in the last 10 years. The most famous, perhaps, is the Katrina flood in New Orleans. And that’s why I believe floods – I mean, you have typhoons and cyclones and hurricanes and earthquakes and tornados and fires. There’s many different kinds of terrible natural disasters, as we just saw in Japan. There’s something about a flood, though, that is so hard because it takes so long.


SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s there for weeks, even months, before it drains. And that can take a toll on people’s spirits. The few people I had a chance to talk to – they don’t know when they’re going to get to go home. One said maybe two weeks; one said maybe a month. That’s hard. And children are out of school. I saw some beautiful little children. I asked a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy if they liked school, and they do and they want to get back to school. So it’s very draining, so to speak, debilitating.

And it’s particularly hard on everyone, but women and children, who have to keep all the family together and have to repair what has been damaged while their husbands are trying to get back to work and try to rebuild – it takes a toll on everyone. So I urge that people get prepared, be patient, but be very determined. And even some of our private companies are contributing money to try to help rebuild houses. So there’ll be a lot of work to do.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And how have you found it? Have any of you been personally affected by the floods, or have you been —

QUESTION: Filamae — her house is flooded.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, still right now?


SECRETARY CLINTON: And how much water?

PARTICIPANT*: Higher – far from knees. And black water.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the black water. It’s terrible, isn’t it?


SECRETARY CLINTON: And you have to keep your children away from the water because there’s so much disease and pollution in the water. And you have to be prepared to, unfortunately, throw a lot of things away because they can’t be salvaged.

I’m so sorry. When do you think you’ll get to go home? When will you get to go home to your home?

PARTICIPANT: I stay in the condo near my office.


QUESTION: She’s got another place to stay.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good, good. Well —

QUESTION: Maybe in a month or so?

SECRETARY CLINTON: In a month maybe. I looked at a map as to where the water has to drain out, and I think there’s the immediate problems we have to deal with. But what we found in our big floods of the last 10 years is that we did some things in our country that made it worse.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, because, like for example, around New Orleans we put up a lot of levies, which are barriers to the water and trying to keep the Mississippi River and flood waters in a channel. Well, Mother Nature is more powerful than that, and it used to be that the water could go into the farmland and then it would dissipate. But it was kept channeled, and so it would just rush down and then it would flood. And so we’ve had to look at flood control; we’ve had to look at how we manage our rivers.

And there are so many great rivers in Southeast Asia – Mekong, for example – that as you develop and you have more businesses and more factories and more homes you take away land that used to be drainage land, wetlands. So we’re having to do this around the world, and it’s a big wake up call for all of us.



QUESTION: Well, Madam Secretary, a lot of people in Thailand are suffering at the moment.


QUESTION: Anything you’d like to say to them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I first want to tell our Thai friends that our hearts go out to you and to all of you who are suffering and to everyone who has been affected by this flood. But we are not just offering sympathy. We’re offering friendship; we’re offering support. I want to thank the many, many Thai citizens who have come to help. As I was coming in, I saw people volunteering as medical workers, as haircutters, as babysitters for babies. There’s so many things that the Thai people are doing to help each other.

And I want to tell you that we will be with you, not just now, but in years to come, because we believe in Thailand. We value greatly the Thai culture and the alliance and partnership we’ve had over so many years.

QUESTION: Well, actually, for now can we please get into women issues, for a big year?


QUESTION: Well, these days we see more and more female world leaders.


QUESTION: How do you feel about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am thrilled. And more female broadcast leaders as well. (Laughter.) I have worked on behalf of women’s opportunities my entire life. And in my life, I’ve seen so many positive changes. And I think young women today have such opportunities, if they’re educated, if they’re willing to work hard, if they’re willing to make the commitment. And it’s complicated, because many of us want to have families and work, and trying to get the right balance in your life is still not easy. But so many more young women are doing it, and more determined.

I met with your prime minister last night, and I’m very proud of her, because, boy, she came into office and – wham – I mean, just really faced a big set of challenges. And it’s hard. I’ve been in politics. I’ve been in leadership positions. It’s hard for men or women, but – let’s face it – women are held to a different double standard. And therefore, we feel like we have to work even harder, do even more, to prove ourselves. So we’re making progress, but there’s still a long way to go.

And Thailand is a place where women have played roles outside the home for many years. There are still places in Asia where that’s not true, and there are certainly places in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa where women are still denied basic rights. They don’t have the right to an education; they don’t have the right to vote; they don’t have the right to drive a car; they don’t have the right to get credit. They just – they’re not yet even legally viewed as equal to men. So we have our work still ahead of us.

QUESTION: One very, very last question, Madam Secretary. What are your future plans in the world of politics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve announced that I am not going to serve another term as Secretary of State and I am not going to return to political life. I think I’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s been incredibly exciting, a great honor for me. But I want to focus on women and girls and do everything I can to make sure that I do what is possible to give more women and girls opportunities, and there are other issues that I’m interested in. But I think it’s time to take a bit of a break.

It’s very maddening to come to Thailand – not during this emergency, which was a very specific visit – but when I come as Secretary of State, I go to meetings. I go do official things. I don’t get to walk around. I don’t get to travel around the country. I did that when I was first lady. I went to the north. I had a wonderful experience. So I’m looking forward to spending some time in different places that I’m interested in, like Thailand.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time, Madam Secretary.


This short video is not from the interview but was made at the evacuation center.

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Evacuation center, posted with vodpod

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The photos are not from her embassy visit, but from her stop at a flood evacuation center directly afterwards.   The Thai people have remained amazingly cheerful throughout this crisis.

Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Bangkok


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Bangkok, Thailand
November 17, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Oh, what a great way to start our day together. And I want to begin by thanking the ambassador. Thank you to the ambassador for her leadership. As you probably know, Ambassador Kenney is one of very best, and we are really greatly admiring and appreciative of her leadership here. I also want to thank our deputy chief of mission – where is our DCM Cefkin? Okay. Good. There you are back there. Thank you – and everybody for making this visit possible.

I don’t like to come to areas where you’re already overly stressed until people at least can take a breath. But I did want to come to show our solidarity and support for the government and people of Thailand. It was very important to me personally, and I thank you for adding the work that comes with planning a visit like this on top of everything else you do every day.

And I’m pleased that I’ll be going with the ambassador now to an evacuation center, where I can meet some of the people directly affected. And last night, I was also very pleased to announce additional aid that will be coming to Thailand, a whole-of-government effort in our government, civilian and military. And I hope that we can send a strong message that, as devastating as these historic floods have been, Thailand will come back even better. The resilience and the optimism of the Thai people will definitely win the day, and the United States will be your partner every step of the way.

And I want to thank you for everything this community has done. I’ve heard so much about it, and I am grateful for all of it. For example, you’ve donated more than a million dollars in relief supplies and disaster assistance. You have a Marine team surveying flood damage. You’ve got AID and ELCA working on – with their Thai counterparts to also assess damages. You’ve donated boats and life-vests to the Thai authorities, supplied satellite assistance, prepared first aid packages, volunteered at kitchens, given blood, packed sandbags, just about everything.

And all of this – while most of you may have been spared from the ravages of the flood, but I know that hundreds of our local staff have been flooded out of their homes, and I heard of the teenage daughter of one our staffers who was trapped on the second floor of her house for three weeks. So I appreciate your dedication. Many of you have continued to come to work, despite your own personal hardships. And I’m just extremely grateful to you.

And our U.S. staff, thank you for raising more than $25,000 for your Thai colleagues. Our community liaison office has been especially busy getting housing for displaced families, doing what we can to keep children occupied since schools are closed. And I know many of you opened your homes, people like Lenore Nash, a first tour office manager, who has taken in a family of three. Charles Hughes, an assistant GSO, has turned his apartment over to a local colleague who has a small baby. The ambassador has lost track of how many people are at her residence. (Laughter.)

These are difficult times, but you have come through one more time, just as many of you did during the riots when Bangkok was ablaze with burning buildings and violence. And we are supporting the peaceful transition, the free, fair election that was held in August, because we so value our relationship with Thailand and the strong democratic traditions and institutions that we are supporting.

Now, I want to thank you also for making it possible for me to brag on you, which I love doing everywhere, that once again you have demonstrated the highest values of this mission and this post. And I want thank U.S. Government and locally engaged staff alike. And I’m not forgetting Chiang Mai. Hello, Chiang Mai. I know you’re still keeping your eyes and ears open on all that’s going on, political activities in Burma, drug traffickers, human traffickers, and the like. I had a great visit to Chiang Mai many years ago, and so I have some visual image of where you are, and I thank you for your service.

So whether you are one of the doctors, scientists, or experts working in our government agencies to find cures to some of the world’s most dangerous diseases – we’ve made some big breakthroughs here in preventing HIV transmission from mother to child – or you’re processing visas, you’re doing the post support unit, processing paperwork for FSOs all over the region, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan and so much more, you really exemplify what we mean by smart power.

So I am deeply grateful to you. As I said in my press event with the prime minister last night, we are optimistic and we’re confident we’re going to do everything we can to help our friends recover from this terrible, historic flood.

So now let me just quickly shake hands as I’m on the way to the evacuation center. Thank you all so much. I hope eventually you get a little bit of rest, but I’m grateful to each and every one of you. (Cheers and applause.)

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Just a reminder;  The whole State Department budget is one-half of 1% of our entire budget, so please do not freak out that we are helping.  Last night on TV I saw a Somalian baby who had been near death and so heartbreakingly thin that I cried.  For very little money, with food we provided, he is healthy, happy, and chubby!  Babies should be chubby.  They have a lot of growing to do.  What we are doing for Thailand needs to be done.  Americans have hearts.  If we forget or lose that,  we are doomed.  Secretary Clinton will not allow us to forget – not while she has breath in her body.

Oh, and by the way,  climate change;  it’s real!

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Secretary Clinton: November 2011 » Joint Press Availability With Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Joint Press Availability With Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Government House
Bangkok, Thailand
November 16, 2011

MS. CHAISAENG:Good evening ladies and gentlemen, viewers at home, and members of the media. I am Thitima Chaisaeng, government spokesperson. We will now have a joint press conference with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Secretary of State of the United States Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton is on a visit to Thailand during 16 to 17 November, 2011. So firstly, may I invite Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, to deliver a statement to the press, which will be followed by Secretary Clinton’s statement.PRIME MINISTER YINGLUCK: Madam Secretary, Excellencies, distinguished members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by welcome Secretary Clinton to Thailand once again. This is always a pleasure for us here in Thailand to welcome our friends from the United States. As like my country with many share value and belief, Thailand and the United States are allies and strategic partner that have long enjoyed close tie for friendship and cooperations.

This is why I regret very much not being able to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii earlier this week. Secretary Clinton graciously expressed strong support for my decision to stay at home during the time of need. And we both look forward to my meeting with President Obama during East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting in Bali in a few days’ time. As a full-fledged democracy once again, after the July general election and with the (inaudible) mandate of the people, my government and I look forward to working even closely – closer with the United States to promote our bilateral ties as well as to address regional and international issue of common interest and concern.

First and foremost, though, I wish to place on record our thanks and appreciation to President Obama as well as the government and people of the United States for the assistance extended to us to support of our flood relief effort. The assistance, be it financial, technical, or (inaudible) was not only generous, but timely. Given the increased (inaudible) of severity of national disaster in the regions and elsewhere, the need for closer cooperations on disaster management cannot be overemphasized. In this connection, Thailand has been in discussion with the United States about possibility of using the U-Tapao Airport for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, (inaudible) propose, especially on rapid deployment in case of disaster in the regions. (Inaudible) standard operations – operating procedure, and enhancing skill and readiness for (inaudible) capabilities.

We in Thailand stand ready to work in the partnership with the United States on this very important issue, the damaging effect of natural disaster on crop. Cultivation and food production is also an issue of the greatest concern, one that is directly related to food security. This is an issue that we will have to address as well as in order to ensure the well-being of our peoples. I also reaffirmed that this government attach high priorities to promoting political reconciliation and social cohesion. This is being done through our strong support for ongoing work for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and providing fair and equitable remedy to all those affected, reconciliation and stabilities, good governance, enhanced (inaudible), universally acceptable rule of law. I believe we are regaining the confidence and trust of Thai people and the world.

With the APEC meeting just conclude, I also wish to take opportunities to congratulate the United States for the successful chairmanship of APEC during this (inaudible) significant progress was made toward its mission to regional, economic (inaudible) and to the (inaudible) goal for free and open trade and investment.

Lastly, I want to say how much we welcome the United States continued engagement with Asia, and Southeast Asia in particular. I, therefore, look forward to my bilateral meeting with President Obama on Saturday. Given the base and depth of our partnership, as far as our similar outlook on many of the challenge and opportunities now before us, there is much Thailand and the United States can do together. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good evening, everyone, and thank you very much, Prime Minister, for welcoming me so warmly back to Bangkok. It is a pleasure to be here to renew the ties that have bound the United States and Thailand together for so many years. Our nations are connected through not only security cooperation and business ties, but the democratic values we share and the bonds of family and friendship that link our people.

During this past century, we have stood by each other in times of challenge, and we are proud to stand with you now in this time of challenge as you contend with the worst floods of your nation’s history. Tomorrow, I will visit one of the largest flood evacuation facilities and talk with flood victims. And in the days and weeks ahead, the United States will continue to identify ways we can provide both military and civilian assistance to help save and restore lives, to support Thailand’s long-term recovery and rebuilding.

We have worked closely and continuously with the Thai Government from the start of these floods. Early on, we responded to requests for assistance by providing emergency support, including water pumps, boats, generators, survival kits. And as the needs grew, we intensified our efforts. Assessment teams are on the ground now to prepare for U.S. contributions to help Thailand restore vital infrastructure and services and address public health needs. We are providing direct medical services and improving hospital readiness.

One of our ships, the USS Lassen, is now in port with crew and helicopters to assist in the recovery efforts. One of our major areas of focus will be to help the Thai Government reopen the Don Muang Airport, Thailand’s second-largest airport, to resume commerce and tourism, and also help reconnect people with their families. We will also help the Thai police return to full strength by assisting them in reopening police stations when it is possible to do so. And we are identifying sites that hold historical significance to the Thai people to help protect and restore monuments of Thailand’s proud and ancient culture.

I want to emphasize that although, of course, we are all focused on the immediate needs, the United States will be with you for the long run. We are working to help Thailand improve its capacity to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters like these floods. And we will support Thailand’s economic recovery as a trade investment and development partner. I recognize that these floods pose an early and serious challenge to the new Thai Government and to the hard-won peace that the Thai people achieved after the political violence that you have endured in recent years.

The United States stands firmly behind the civilian government of Thailand and the work it is doing to consolidate strong democratic institutions, ensure good governance, guarantee the rule of law, and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We encourage the government to move forward with a political reconciliation process, which is critical to Thailand’s long-term stability and security. As it does so, it can also count on support from the United States.

We had an opportunity to discuss not only bilateral and regional issues, but global ones – how to deepen commercial ties and expand trade, how to strengthen security cooperation on issues ranging from proliferation to maritime security, which will be discussed at the East Asia Summit. I’m very pleased that the prime minister will be attending the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. I fully supported, as did President Obama, her decision not to travel to Hawaii for the APEC meeting because of the press of business here at home.

But Thailand is a leader, and having the prime minister present for the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting is very important. For more than 170 years, our alliance has helped keep our nation and our region secure, and that has, in turn, permitted us all to become more prosperous and freer. There is such a long history of cooperation between us, and that will continue far into the future. The United States – not only our government, but our people – are committed to the people of Thailand and to the government. We are proud and grateful for this alliance. It has delivered results, and now we have to ensure that it continues to deliver results for both of our people for decades to come.

Thank you, Prime Minister.

MS. CHAISAENG: Thank you. May I invite members of the press to ask two questions? Today, I was contacted by two members of the press. One will be from AFP. The other one will be from the Bangkok Post.

Please, identify your name. AFP. Yes, please.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you, Madam Prime Minister. I wanted to follow up a little bit on what you’re talking about the political reconciliation. You mentioned that with the floods, Madam Secretary, with the floods that it was important to have reconciliation. For both of you, do you feel that all sides in Thailand are on the same side right now at this time of floods? Are people working together? What are the signs you see on that?

And if I can kind of follow up to the prime minister, there have been reports that your cabinet is working on an amnesty that could potentially affect former Prime Minister Thaksin. I wanted to see if you could comment on that, say whether that is true, and if so, why?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will start by reiterating that we have encouraged the Thai Government to continue to move forward with the political reconciliation process, to address the violence that surrounded the political unrest of recent years, particularly through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Thailand. This encouragement from us comes from our shared commitment with Thailand to democratic values and institutions that underpins both of our nations and our alliance.

And we are encouraged by the many steps that the government continues to take to consolidate strong, democratic institutions, to ensure good governance, to guarantee the rule of law, and to protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The free and fair elections that were held in Thailand in August demonstrated Thailand’s commitment to the democratic process. It is certainly up to the government and people of Thailand to determine exactly how to proceed, but we are encouraging it and quite heartened at the steps we have seen taken.

PRIME MINISTER YINGLUCK: (Inaudible) to go back to your questions, your question is – sorry that I missed this cabinet meeting because by coincident of the trip that – to go back, was on Monday night. And in this detail, I think I’ll – the deputy prime minister will handle this. But normally in the process, that will be the common process, and everything we have to make sure that it’s (inaudible) law and then will be applied for everyone. Thank you.

MS. CHAISAENG: Yes. The second question, please.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary of State, (inaudible) from Bangkok Post. Could you elaborate the additional $10 million that you announced today? How would this – will it be expedited? And also the Don Muang project, how could that be – the drain and repair thing? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Let me begin, again, by offering, on behalf of President Obama and our government and all of the American people, my sincere condolences to those who have lost so much during this terrible flooding. We’ve had our own experience with natural disasters, including terrible flooding. And I personally think that as terrible as natural disasters of all kinds are, flooding is probably the worst. It’s hardest to control, it’s hardest to end, it’s hardest to begin the recovery process because it is just such a long-term process for, first, the waters to rise and then to recede. And so we have great sympathy for what the people of Thailand are going through.
Since the beginning of the flooding, we have been in close consultation, working with the Thai Government, both the civilian authorities and the military authorities, to assess needs and assist flood victims. And we have provided funding, as you may know, to the Thai Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration to quickly procure and distribute relief supplies. One thing we have learned is that it is not for the United States to determine what you need. You tell us what you need, and then we try to respond.

So we are working to open the Don Muang Airport, because that’s a high priority of the Thai Government. It will provide not only an additional staging area, but also hopefully get tourism moving so that people will come to beautiful Thailand, as they historically have done for this upcoming season. We also were told that working with public health was important and providing technical management assistance to the flood management system, as well as immediate flood relief in the form of pumps and boats and generators. All of that is in process, and one of the reasons why our government sent the USS Lassen to the harbor, where it arrived today, is because of its helicopter capacity to work with the Thai military and disaster officials to be able to quickly respond.

Now I know that anytime there is a disaster like this, people are in a state of shock and great despair, because oftentimes they see everything they’ve worked for either washed away or flooded. And we have great sympathy for that, but we commend Thailand’s resilience in the face of this historic disaster. We have a lot of confidence in the government and people of Thailand, that not only in this rescue period but in the periods to come, the restoration and recovery period and the rebuilding period, that you will come back even stronger. Thailand’s progress has been remarkable to all of us who have watched over the last 20 years, and we expect even more from Thailand in the future.

We’ve also been working with our U.S. companies to assist in flood relief efforts and to ensure their continued investment in Thailand. And I’m very proud that Coca-Cola is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity on reconstruction projects, and Chevron has donated $2 million toward relief and recovery. So it’s not only our government what we are doing; it’s also our private sector. And the prime minister and I discussed other ways going forward that we will work together.

So we know this is challenging work, but it is work that we are committed to doing. Thank you.

MS. CHAISAENG: Thank you. (In Thai.) Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the press conference for today. Thank you very much, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Secretary of State of the United States Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for delivering their statements to the press. And also, Madam Secretary, thank you very much for visiting Thailand and thank you for your support for developing the cordial relationships between Thailand and United States of America.

Lastly, thank you, everyone, for joining the press conference. Goodbye.

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There are not many pictures, but they are too cute not to share. I love this jacket as well as the burnt orange version. Humor me. (I am also relieved that she got out of Manila unharmed. Paint balloons were thrown at her motorcade. Her car was not hit, but the lead car had paint on the windshield! Yikes!)

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