The U.S. Ambassador: Thais Alone Choose Their Government

The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Robert F. Godec, held a press conference on Tuesday, June 27, reiterating that the U.S. hasn’t interfered in Thai politics.

The Embassy of the United States in Bangkok has provided a full text of his press conference as follows:

Thank you for coming today. I have been in Thailand for nine months and had the opportunity to travel across the country and meet with Thai in all walks of life. As I have done so, I have seen the beauty of the Thai culture and the grace, warmth, energy, creativity, and values of the Thai people. It has also been clear how deep the connections are between our two countries.

Our diplomatic relations with Thailand go back 190 years and we have accomplished a lot together over time. In just the past year, Thailand has hosted visits from our Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, our top trade official, and our CDC director. We also signed a Strategic Communique to take our relations into the 21st Century.

Today, broadly, we have remarkable cooperation in trade, investment, health, law enforcement, education, security, and many other areas.

A top priority over the past year has been expanding trade and investment ties. In March, Bangkok hosted Trade Winds, which is the U.S. government’s largest trade mission. The strong interest of U.S. business in Thailand was underscored when I was in Washington a few days ago and met with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.

This interest is reflected in the growing trade and investment between our countries. The U.S. is Thailand’s top export market and overall bilateral trade has grown 50 percent in the last two years. In one concrete example of expanding trade, the first shipment of Thai pomelos left Bangkok last night for U.S. supermarkets.

Another priority has been to expand educational exchanges. We hope to send more Thai students and faculty to the United States and bring more Americans here. To help do so, in March, we hosted 80 Thai and U.S. academic institutions and discussed way to increase exchanges and joint research programs.

We’ve also been working together to meet global health challenges through our efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic and our long-standing collaboration at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) – with its groundbreaking research on HIV-AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases. Our cooperation in this area goes back a long way as is clear in the current Thai drama hit, “The Royal Doctor,” which features the work of Dr. Dan Beach Bradley, the American doctor who introduced modern surgical techniques to Siam.

Our shared commitment to the security partnership and to preparing for humanitarian crises and natural disasters is also strong as demonstrated by our recent Cobra Gold exercise, the largest in years.

Looking ahead, there is more we can accomplish together. For example, deepening our collaboration in the digital world, creative industries, clean energy, and space research hold promise for our partnership.

I’d like to turn for a moment to the recent Thai election. I congratulate the Thai people for their impressive turnout and their commitment to making their voices heard. The United States, as a fundamental value, supports free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections.

Given the persistent pernicious conspiracy theories, let me be very clear: we categorically reject the false rumors that the United States interfered in the Thai election. We do not support any individual candidate or political party. We support only the democratic process. It is up to the Thai people, and the Thai people alone, to choose their government.

Thais, just like Americans, value freedom, justice, democracy, and sovereignty. We look forward to working with the next government.

Let me end by saying what a privilege it has been to live and serve here for the last year, and how much my wife Lori and I appreciate the hospitality and warm welcome of the Thai people. It has truly been remarkable, and we greatly appreciate it.