US army chief of staff Gen James McConville and Ambassador Michael George DeSombre met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House yesterday (July 10) to discuss cooperation between the two nations.
After the meeting, government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said the prime minister had thanked the US for facilitating repatriation trips and helping Thailand combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gen Prayut expressed his condolences over the thousands of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the US and gave his moral support to those vigorously fighting the pandemic, according to the spokeswoman. The prime minister also said he believed that the US would win its battle with the virus and develop a vaccine soon, Ms Narumon told media at a press briefing yesterday.
The US army chief of staff commended Thailand for its successful handling of COVID-19, according to Ms Narumon.
The prime minister was quoted as reaffirming Thailand’s readiness to work with the US to restore the Thai economy. The prime minister also said that Thailand would facilitate investment by the US private sector in the country, according to Ms Narumon.
Gen McConville also met Thai army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong to discuss Thai-US military relations and signed the Thailand and United States Army-to-Army Strategic Vision Statement.
The statement outlines the vision and objectives the two army chiefs have as they work to deepen the 65-year-old US-Thai military alliance and prepare it for the future.
The signing follows on the heels of the Joint Vision Statement signed between US Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, and the prime minister during Asean meetings in November 2019.
“Our alliance has a long and productive history, and now we are taking on 21st century challenges together,” said Gen McConville.
“Our two nations typically have hundreds of military trainings and events each year, and we are working in unison with the Royal Thai Government to ensure that all of our training scenarios will be done with the utmost care with regards to the pandemic,” the general continued.
Gen McConville also visited the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (Afrims), a joint US-Thai infectious disease centre that has been on the cutting edge of pandemic research for decades. Thai and American scientists at Afrims are working side by side to try and defeat the world’s most deadly viral diseases, such as malaria, dengue and COVID-19.
Gen McConville arrived in Thailand on Thursday for a two-day visit, the first since the government began lifting COVID-19 control measures.