U.S. praises Thai role in ASEAN as summit concludes

The U.S. showered praise on Thailand for its performance as chair country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019 as the group’s second summit this year came to a close in Bangkok last week.

“Thailand has proven itself as an excellent chair this year, and we congratulate Thailand on its success,” David Stilwell, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the Bangkok Post in an interview.

The ten leaders of the ASEAN countries met in Bangkok on November 4-5 for their second summit of this year, the East Asia Summit, and related high-level meetings. The East Asia Summit (EAS) includes ASEAN and the leaders of its eight dialogue partners in the Asia and Pacific regions: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

Speaking as the summit opened, Stilwell lauded Thailand for its role in fostering consensus to produce ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, a visionary document that differs from but complements the U.S. strategy for the region.

“We expect that Thailand will use its position as chair of the East Asia Summit and related meetings to lead the region to a strong, unified view on addressing its most pressing issues, including DPRK denuclearization, the Rakhine state crisis, and ongoing escalation of disputes in the South China Sea,” Stilwell said.

Stilwell added that ASEAN’s Outlook “shows great convergence with the values that the United States has upheld and championed over the past 70 years of our presence in the Indo-Pacific, including openness, transparency, inclusiveness, good governance, and respect for international law.”

photo courtesy of  https://www.asean2019.go.th