Thailand, U.S. work to strengthen alliance 

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III traveled to Thailand, June 12-13, 2022 for his first visit to Thailand as Secretary of Defense. During his visit, Secretary Austin met with Thailand’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prayut Chan-o-cha, and had the opportunity to meet with U.S. defense personnel working in Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayut graciously hosted Secretary Austin at the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Defense, where they shared perspectives on regional security issues, and discussed opportunities to strengthen the U.S.-Thai alliance. 

Secretary Austin emphasized the United States’ long-standing friendship with Thailand, and highlighted the U.S. commitment to increasing the number of Thai students receiving professional military education in the United States. 

Secretary Austin and Prime Minister Prayut welcomed recent efforts to expand bilateral training and exercises, including through the establishment of a new working group on reciprocal access and training. Secretary Austin reiterated the U.S. desire to strengthen interoperability between the U.S. and Thai forces and to support Thailand’s modernization requirements.

The two leaders also highlighted priorities for cooperation in emerging technical areas, including cyber and space. Both sides welcomed the incorporation of space and cyber cooperation into major bilateral exercises such as Cobra Gold and agreed to continue to cooperate on cyber capacity-building. 

Finally, the two also discussed Thailand’s interest in enhanced defense industry cooperation. They praised the recent conclusion of a new bilateral defense technology agreement and agreed to develop a plan for future collaboration.

Photo credit: Chad McNeeley.  Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (left) and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-oca, in Bangkok, Thailand, June 13, 2022.

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