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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit Thailand


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit Thailand

US Thailand
Antony Blinken will visit Thailand. | Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Bangkok, Thailand after attending the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

Blinken’s trip was initially scheduled for 2021, but was cancelled for COVID-19 related reasons. During his visit, Blinken will meet with the Thai Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. He will discuss China’s growing diplomatic and strategic clout in Southeast Asia, building on the success of Thailand’s 2022 APEC, the crisis in Myanmar, and cooperation on health and climate issues.

The Secretary of State will likely try to leverage the US alliance with Thailand, on the back of a fresh pledge by the Thai government to complete construction on a $5.2 billion Chinese-Thai railway deal. Expect that the US may offer major concessions to attract greater Thai support for President Biden’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Expect today’s visit to nevertheless further deepen already warm relations between Thailand and the US. With issues such as growing Chinese belligerence in the South China Sea, and a malignant conflict in Myanmar weighing heavily on Thailand and its regional partners, it is likely Thailand will continue to see the US as a key partner and source of stability despite Chinese investment and diplomatic maneuvering.

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