HAI PHONG, Vietnam (NNS)- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) concluded a seven-day trip to Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam Nov. 28.

SECNAV Ray Mabus began his Southeast Asia tour with a two-day visit to Bangkok where he met with several defense officials, including Thailand's Minister of Defense Prawit Wongsuwan, Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara and Thailand President of the Royal Thai Navy Advisory Group and Former Fleet Commander in Chief Adm. Soopakorn Booranadiloak to discuss the importance of U.S.-Thai relations to regional security.

"I am thankful for our strong maritime partnership," Mabus said. "Our stable military-to-military engagement is the cornerstone of any strategic partnership and can guide nations through periods of instability and political change. Thailand's armed forces have been a responsible voice and have acted with professionalism in politically charged environments. I applaud you for this and hope you will continue to play that role in the future."

The second part of Mabus' trip included an office call with Singapore's Chief of Navy Rear Adm. Chew Men Leong. During their meeting, Mabus discussed the relationship and the joint cooperation between U.S. and Singapore militaries.

"We deeply value our bilateral relationship with Singapore and are committed to ensuring security and stability in Southeast Asia." Mabus said. "Over the past five years, we have witnessed a substantial growth in the number of security cooperation events and military interactions that have benefited both sides."

Mabus also expressed thanks to Singaporean officials for their contributions in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf of Aden.

Mabus concluded his trip with a two-day visit to Vietnam where he met with military leaders in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam's Naval Headquarters in Hai Phong.

During his time in Hai Phong, Mabus had an office call with Vietnamese People's Navy Vice Adm. Nguyen Van Hien, where he expressed the importance of building a strong relationship.

"This marks the 15th anniversary of the normalization of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, and we should take pride in how far we have come over this period," Mabus said. "As we look to the future, there is great potential for our two navies to work closely together on areas of mutual interest like maritime security, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping operations."

For more news from the Secretary of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/secnav/.