11 July 2024

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is to visit Washington and will attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and ASEAN related meetings in New York next week, according to an informed source.

The trip, which will take place from September 20-29, has been described as a “significant visit” by the senior Thai minister, who will meet with his US counterpart and hold numerous bilateral meetings with Thailand’s friends.

The source, who asked not to be named, said that the visit comes at a crucial time as the UN General Assembly prepares to deliberate over key global issues, ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to regional issues, including the situations in Afghanistan and Myanmar. “Thailand’s role and voice are crucial,” said the source.

During his visit to Washington, the Foreign Minister will discuss the state of Thailand-US relations with senior American officials. Both Vice President Kamala Harris and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin skipped Thailand during their visits to the region last month, prompting speculation that bilateral ties were in limbo.

During his trip, Don is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, ASEAN foreign ministers and key UN members. After his confirmation by the US Senate at the end of January, Blinken called Don to discuss bilateral relations and the regional situation.

ASEAN has agreed to hold an informal ministerial meeting, on the side lines of the UNGA, which will also touch on the collective ASEAN efforts to combat the coronavirus, as well as the situation in Myanmar. Thailand, through the Thai Red Cross, has already provided humanitarian assistance to Myanmar’s Red Cross.

Last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an international pledging forum to help Myanmar. The forum received a total of US$8 million, both in cash and in kind. Thailand also contributed US$350,000 to the fund. Since the coup in February, Thailand has been providing the people of Myanmar with various forms of assistance worth more than 24 million baht.

Don, a former Thai ambassador to Washington and the UN, got to know key policy makers in the Biden Administration during his tenures in the US.

By Thai PBS World’s Political Desk