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BANGKOK - Adm. John C. Aquilino met with senior Royal Thai Navy leaders and had the unique opportunity to witness Thailand’s royal barge procession during a Dec. 10-13 visit to further strengthen the relationship between the two navies.
At the invitation of Adm. Luechai Rutdit, the Royal Thai Navy’s commander-in-chief, Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, was among the distinguished guests during the procession on the Chao Phraya River that marked the final rite in the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X).
Fifty-two ornate barges powered by 2200 Royal Thai Navy oarsmen sang Thai chanties as they paddled down the river in formation for the crowd of more than 10,000 people who lined the river bank.
“I was privileged and honored to be invited by Admiral Luechai, my friend, to witness the amazing event. It was truly a once in lifetime opportunity,” Aquilino said.
Aquilino met with Luechai, along with other senior Royal Thai Navy and military leadership during his visit. “Admiral Luechai and I discussed ways to strengthen our long-standing partnership and the importance of increased interoperability, information sharing and ways to expand the maritime partnership between our two countries,” Aquilino said.
Thailand and the United States both benefit from our shared cooperation, operations and exercises,” Aquilino added. “Exercise Cobra Gold and Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) are both great examples of large multilateral events where the United States and Thailand partner.” While in Thailand, Aquilino also took time to learn more about the Thai culture and toured the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. The galleries house displays about the history of Thailand and its Grand Palace and the performing arts.
The United States and Thailand established relations in 1818 and signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833, formalizing diplomatic relations. The Treaty of 1833 was the United States’ first treaty with a country in Asia, making Thailand truly our oldest friend in the region.
Thailand is a key U.S. security ally in Asia, and the country’s stability and growth are important to the maintenance of peace in the region. Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have significantly expanded diplomatic, security, and commercial relations.