Thailand, US seek closer security ties

Thailand, US seek closer security ties

Joint efforts on cyber, marine threats dominate discussions

US Defence Secretary Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon pose for photographers during their meeting at the Pentagon. (Photo provided)
US Defence Secretary Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon pose for photographers during their meeting at the Pentagon. (Photo provided)

Thailand and the United States have agreed to strengthen cooperation on various aspects of security affairs including cyber and marine security, terrorism as well as transnational crimes.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Claire M Grady, Under Secretary for Management of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in the US on Wednesday.

Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said Thursday that Gen Prawit's April 21-27 visit was aimed at reinforcing bilateral ties on security affairs in areas where urgent action is needed, in addition to other areas of military cooperation.

Gen Prawit's visit was at the invitation of the US Department of Defence. The visit also produced substantial results which reinforced the strong bilateral ties to mark 200 years of Thai-US relations, he said.

Lt Gen Kongcheep said both countries agreed to intensify efforts to jointly work against various national threats.

Ms Grady said the department was ready to work with Thailand and also thanked the Royal Thai Police for lending full support to the Department of Homeland Security .

She also reiterated that integrated cooperation from both public and private agencies dealing with security affairs has contributed to many department successes over the past 15 years.

Ms Grady said the Department of Homeland Security needs to work with other countries to enhance its potential.

During their meeting, Gen Prawit thanked Ms Grady for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two nations, insisting Thailand was willing to help avert external threats which could jeopardise both countries' security.

The deputy premier said experience and knowledge acquired from the US would greatly benefit Thailand as they can be used in developing Thai security management systems.

Members of Gen Prawit's delegation also held meetings with other US security agencies.

They included a meeting with senior officials at the Nation Maritime Intelligence Integration Office (NMIO) which agreed about the exchange of maritime intelligence.

The NMIO also expressed gratitude to Thailand for taking part in an operation to crack down on pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, saying the operation was viewed as a concrete step toward combating threats which harm regional stability.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Thai Labour Ministry also handed a report on last year's crackdown on human trafficking to US anti-human trafficking authorities.

They also visited the US Solidarity Center, a workers' rights NGO, and exchanged information on the ministry's migrant labourer management policies, especially regarding the registration of migration workers. This has allowed workers to gain access to proper work benefits that help prevent them falling prey to human trafficking rings, they told the NGO.

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