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US supports Thailand’s role as regional leader, says Pompeo

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be visiting Thailand for Asean meetings later this month, says Washington hopes for transparency and good governance in the newly formed Cabinet under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

“We support transparency and good governance around the world and will continue to work with the Thai people and the Royal Thai government to this end, Pompeo said on Tuesday.

The US looked forward to deepening the alliance between the two nations and building on more than two centuries of friendship, he said.

While prioritizing a desire to retain its alliance with Thailand, Donald Trump’s administration has softened the US’s stance on the need for democracy and human rights in the Kingdom. Prayut staged a coup to topple an elected civilian government in 2014 and created laws and mechanisms to perpetuate his power ever since.

His new Cabinet, which contains many former ministers, was finally sworn in on Tuesday following the general election held nearly four months ago.

The US-Thailand alliance remains strong, said Pompeo, and the US continued to support Thailand’s role as a regional leader, including its chairmanship of Asean this year.

Pompeo is scheduled to attend the meeting of senior Asean officials in Bangkok from July 29 to August 3, when it will highlight his country’s strategy for the Asean and Indo-Pacific regions amid the rise of China.

“Our alliance will grow even stronger as we work together to advance goals common to both countries, such as security, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and throughout the world,” said the Secretary of State.

America’s top diplomat will also have a meeting with countries in the Mekong Basin - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand - under the framework of the Lower Mekong Initiative.

His goal will be to maintain American visibility amid the negative environmental impacts of China’s vast infrastructure development projects in the Mekong, notably hydro-power dams and navigation improvement.

Published : July 17, 2019

By : The Nation