Kerry recognizes long relationship U.S. has with Thailand

May 6, 2013 at 1:18 PM

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Thailand is a key partner to the United States on matters of security, the environment and the environment, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.

"I want to thank our friends in Thailand, who represent the longest security relationship, the longest partner that we have in Asia -- 180 years of a treaty relationship with Thailand," Kerry said before going into meetings with Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul in Washington.

Kerry called Thailand an "important partner" with respect to security issues, such as anti-piracy efforts, organized crime and counter-narcotics. In addition, Thailand and the United States partnered on a range of mutual concerns, including the environment, wildlife and species protection, refugees and anti-human trafficking efforts.

"So we have an enormously broad security relationship," Kerry said.

Surapong said his meeting with Kerry would offer a chance "to continue dialogue on our future partnership, especially as we mark 180 years of Thai-U.S. diplomatic relations this year."

"I am looking forward to a constructive discussion with Secretary Kerry on both bilateral and global issues of mutual interest," the foreign minister said.

He traveled to the United States from Bangkok Saturday and will return Wednesday.

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