US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Thailand for ASEAN meetings

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Thailand is again playing host to a series of high-level meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), some of which will also be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Cli

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Thailand is again playing host to a series of high-level meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), some of which will also be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Secretary Clinton will be in Thailand during July 21-23, 2009, first in Bangkok for meetings on bilateral Thai-US relations with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, followed by two days in Phuket where she will lead the US delegation to the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum.

Phuket is the venue for the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences, and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum, being held from July 17 to 23. All are being held at the Sheraton Grande Laguna and the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket.

About 1,200 delegates and 800 members of the international and local media are expected to attend.

Thailand and the US have a long-standing relationship dating back many decades in a wide range of social, economic, and cultural fields, all of which have played a major role in facilitating visitor flows.

The US is the eighth top source of visitor arrivals to Thailand. In 2008, visitor arrivals from the US totaled 602,680, a fall of 3.36 percent caused mainly by the global economic crisis and the 10-day closure of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in September 2008. In January–April 2009, US visitor arrivals totaled 214,610, a decline of 15.86 percent.

In 2007, US visitors had an average length of stay of 14 days per person, per visit, well above the 9-day average of all visitors to Thailand. They also enjoy spending money in Thailand, with an average daily expenditure of over US$135, generating US$1.1 billion for tourism income.

Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor for marketing communications, TAT, said the fact that these meetings were being held would go a long way towards assuring the world that Thailand was a safe and secure destination, especially for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, & Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

“These meetings are designed to shape the future of ASEAN’s economic, political, and financial landscape,” she said. “Thailand is very proud and honored to be hosting such historic events.”

The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, or AMM, is an annual meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers to discuss regional and international issues affecting the region.

The Post Ministerial Conferences, or PMCs, are annual meetings between the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the 10 dialogue partners, namely Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the European Union, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States of America.

Following the AMM, ASEAN will convene 10 ASEAN PMC+1 meetings with each dialogue partner. Topics for discussion are the status of dialogue relations and future directions.

The ASEAN Regional Forum, or ARF, is a 27-member group that includes the 10 ASEAN member states, the 10 ASEAN dialogue partners, and other countries. It aims to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues and to make significant contributions to efforts toward confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The inaugural meeting of ARF took place in Bangkok in 1994.

The Thai Defense Ministry has taken charge for ensuring security for the ASEAN meetings in Phuket. This October, Phuket will also serve as the venue for the 15th ASEAN Summit and related summits.

Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is often referred to as a tropical paradise. It is one of the most popular destinations among both Thai and international tourists and boasts excellent facilities for small- and medium-sized conventions and corporate events.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.