11 July 2024

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, former strategy chief of Pheu Thai Party and now leader of the Thai Sang Thai Party, has met with Thai born US senator Tammy Duckworth (D) in Washington D.C. to discuss cooperation between the two countries in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Duckworth expressed concern over the COVID-19 situation in Thailand and wants to persuade the Biden administration to donate more vaccines. So far, the US has donated 2.5 million doses of Pfizer to Thailand, 1.5 million of which have already been delivered.

Senator Duckworth also said that the US government is ready to deliver the remaining one million doses, but the Thai government has not yet returned the required response document.

She also pointed out that, if Thailand joins the COVAX program, more vaccine could be allocated to help the Thai government inoculate more of its population, adding that the US government is ready to support countries in the Indo-Pacific region joining the COVAX program. So far, Indonesia has received 12.6 million doses and South Korea received 1.5 million under the program.

Khunying Sudarat took the opportunity to thank the US government for donating vaccines to Thailand. She also saidthat regional administrations around the country are interested in purchasing more mRNA vaccines, to which Duckworth responded by saying that she will help in the coordination, depending on whether the Thai government will help.

Khunying Sudarat also mentioned bilateral trade and investment, as the US economy is recovering, presenting an opportunity for Thai exporters. The US Senator then revealed plans to invite businessmen in the US to hold meetings with various industries in ASEAN countries towards the end of this year, except Thailand. This prompted Khunying Sudarat to ask the Senator to invite them to discuss plans with Thai businessmen as well, to revive trade and investment between the two countries.