US dismisses rumour of missile base at Chiang Mai consulate
The US Embassy has commended Thailand for joining the UN vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while also rejecting rumours that its Chiang Mai branch will be used as a missile base.
“We commend Thailand for joining the overwhelming majority of countries that voted at the UN to demand that Russia immediately cease its use of force in Ukraine,” US Chargé d' Affaires and acting Ambassador Michael Heath told Thai media on Thursday.
Thailand joined 141 countries in supporting the resolution to condemn Russia during an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on March 2.
Heath condemned the conflict as “Putin’s war of aggression”.
“Ukraine posed no threat to Russia, and Putin alone bears responsibility for the senseless violence and invasion of sovereignty,” he said, adding that the US will continue to seek a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the war.
Heath also dismissed rumours that the US was building a bunker under its new consulate in Chiang Mai to store missiles and spy equipment targeted at China.
“America has had a consulate in Chiang Mai for 72 years and we are proud to be the oldest foreign consulate in northern Thailand. For 72 years, the consulate has been on the site of a beautiful old house that was never designed to be an office so we are excited about finally moving into a new modern office building,” he said, explaining why the consulate was moved.
“Like all US diplomatic facilities worldwide, the new consulate office building must meet high physical security requirements and is designed to meet modern environmental standards. This new building will also better enable us to provide services to the people of the region and the tens of thousands of American nationals who call northern Thailand home.”
He said the US government needed a consulate in Chiang Mai because about 17,000 Americans live in the northern city.
He said the old consulate may be turned into a learning centre or library.