Get-together Dinner to Welcome New Ambassador of Laos and NSC’s Senior Director for Asian Affairs
It was a great pleasure for Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, as Chair of ASEAN Committee in Washington, to host a welcoming dinner for Ambassador Mai Sayavongs, new Ambassador of Lao PDR to the U.S. and Mr. Dan Kritenbrink, new Senior Director for Asian Affairs of National Security Council, at his Residence. Ambassadors, charge d’ affaires and representatives of ASEAN embassies were also presented.
Ambassador Sayavongs, who arrived in Washington D.C. only one day before this welcoming dinner, is no stranger to Washington. Indeed, he had served at the Embassy of LAO PDR in Washington D.C. twice during 1997-2003 and 2009-2012. Mr. Kritenbrink arrived only 12 days earlier from Beijing, where he served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy, to lead the Asian team at NSC.
The authentic Thai foods from the Residence’s kitchen were served while the conversations, both in light and substantive topics, were very much enjoyed. Mr. Kritenbrink took the opportunity to reaffirm President Barack Obama’s commitment to ASEAN as it is a central part of the Rebalance to Asia policy. He also recognized the importance of ASEAN as a neutral platform, where major powers can comfortably interact, and its potential as a constructive partner in various aspects of cooperation both regionally and globally. Strengthened relationship between the U.S. and ASEAN is also one of his priorities in the next 18 months.
Ambassador Sayavongs, along with ACW Ambassadors and representatives, expressed the readiness to cooperate with the U.S. both in traditional and non-traditional security issues, be them climate change, pandemic diseases, human trafficking among others, to achieve win-win outcomes for both sides. Ambassador Pisan also encouraged the U.S. Government to increase its investment in infrastructure projects in the region, which Thailand alone will invest 70 billion dollars in the next 8 years for its infrastructure projects.
The dinner ended with a good note and a good start of close cooperation between ASEAN representatives in Washington D.C. and newly appointed counterparts to strengthen US-ASEAN relations.