An article in Washingtonian about Thailand’s National Day in relation to the U.S.–Thailand friendship
December 5 marks a special day for people in Thailand and Thais around the world when they celebrate the Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great, as well as Thailand’s National Day and Father’s Day. The reason is evident. Throughout His late Majesty’s 70-year reign, Thailand underwent formidable transformation from an ‘underdeveloped country’ into an upper middle-income country. His late Majesty’s love and tireless devotion to the people, reaching out to and empowering the poorer and most vulnerable in remote areas was recognized by the United Nations with the first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award, and internationally upheld as the Development King. In fact, as a tribute to His late Majesty’s lifelong work on sustainable soil management, December 5 has also been designated as the ‘World Soil Day’ to raise global awareness on the importance of healthy soil, a matter so vital to climate change mitigation and sustainable food security.
Today, through thousands of royally initiated projects, the royal legacy continues under the new reign of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy continues to serve as a guiding light for the Thai government, the private sector and the Thai public to embrace sustainable development practices against the risks and uncertainties of the global economy and environment. Currently, the elected Thai government under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has adopted the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) as the national agenda, and Thai companies take the lead in Southeast Asia in Dow Jones’ Sustainability Indices while a growing number of Thai farmers have switched from single-crop farming to an integrated farming system.
On this day, the U.S. also enjoys a special place in the hearts of the Thai people as the birthplace of His late Majesty, who was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Indeed, Thailand takes great pride in the longstanding friendship with the U.S. from the first recorded contact over 200 years ago, to being the first Asian nation to conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce 188 years ago, to a longstanding Treaty partner and major non-NATO ally. Thailand is also the host to one of America’s biggest embassies in the world. Meanwhile, America is home to the largest Thai community abroad, scattered across all states, Thai expats and Thai-Americans have played an instrumental role in fostering bilateral ties.
Today, the U.S. and Thailand enjoy a robust bilateral trade and investment relations that continue to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partnership cuts across all areas of cooperation and extends to multilateral and regional fora such as the UN, ASEAN, Mekong and APEC. The latter of which Thailand has just taken over the rotating chairmanship and has set the theme ‘open, connect, balance’ for 2022 APEC.
The new U.S. administration under President Joe Biden has brought about renewed vigor to the U.S.–Thailand relation. Over the past six months, Thailand was honored to welcome high-level visits from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, Indo-Pacific Command and the Congress. Thailand also deeply appreciates the U.S.’s generous medical donation, particularly the timely vaccine donations, the second batch of which arrived in November, just as Thailand was re-opening its doors to foreign visitors.
As the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is ever so important for the U.S.to help build back better a promising future for the world through an early and sustainable global economic recovery sustained by a peaceful and stable global environment. Thailand is ready to work with our American partners in this endeavor and the opportunities are much abound for U.S. companies as Thailand embarks to upgrade its economy to industry 4.0 in sectors where U.S. technology takes the lead, such as digital economy, health and pharmaceuticals, energy and electric vehicles, to name a few. Already, U.S. companies enjoy a strong foothold in Thailand which has positioned itself to be a reliable partner in the global supply chain with a strategic location in the heart of the ASEAN economic community, a gateway between South and East Asia, and increasingly integrated in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that will enter into force early 2022.
On this auspicious day, all friends are invited to join the Thai people in celebrating Thailand’s National Day and the long-standing bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Thailand.
For more information about Thailand and the work of the the Royal Thai Embassy located in Washington, D.C., visit here.