CHIANGRAI TIMES– The US Defense Department on Thursday said senior Pentagon officials met with Thai defense officials earlier in the day, conducting United States – Thailand Defense Strategic Talks.
Described by the Pentagon as the two allies’ “premier forum for coordinating security policies and consulting on a wide array of security issues”, the Defense Strategic Talks were chaired by US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia Pacific Security Affairs Mark Lippert and Thai Permanent Secretary of Defense General Thanongsak Apirakyothin.
The Pentagon said in a statement the discussions reflect “enduring American and Thai commitment to cooperation and consultation on security issues based on shared priorities and mutual respect”, and both nations resolved to continue “strengthening the alliance as a true 21st century partnership that aims to promote a peaceful, secure, and prosperous region and contribute to global stability.”
Both delegations reaffirmed the importance of bilateral and multilateral interoperability and readiness, and look forward to “next steps” for the alliance, including their commitment to continue senior defense dialogues and future senior defense official visits.
The United States has been shifting its strategic priorities to the Asia Pacific region, and senior US officials, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey have visited Thailand in the past months.
The Defence Committee selected Gen Thanongsak Apirakyothin as the new permanent secretary for defence and ACM Prajin Jantong the new chief of the Royal Thai Air Force Gen Thanongsak is an assistant army chief and was backed for his new job by ACM Sukumpol.