Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections hasn’t changed Thailand’s opinion on the relationship between Washington and Bangkok. In a meeting with top state officials, from ambassadors to consuls and representatives to more than 90 countries, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that for Thailand it doesn’t matter who is the next US president, the US-Thai relationship of more than 180 years will still be cherished.
“We have to adjust to change. Things keep changing. I have not been indifferent to change. Instead, I have been keeping abreast of it. We have to adhere to a balanced foreign policy. We are in the middle. We have to think about what we can do for the best interests of our country,” concluded the Prime Minister.
Mr. Chan-o-cha’s opinion was strenghtened by Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, who was among the officials present at the meeting, whose stated purpose was an exchange of opinions under the government’s reform targets and 20-year national strategy.
“The world keeps changing everyday. The US presidential election will bring about change. We have to be prepared for change in areas of security, economic and social fields. If we are well-prepared, we will be able to talk to any country on any and every matter,” said Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.
But the new United States, with president Donald Trump at the helm, might not be interested of a complex relationship with Thailand, because of the protectionist and home-based policy assumed by the new administration, said Mr. Pongkwan Sawasdipak, a lecturer of international relations at Thammasat University.
“It can be expected that Trump may not promote values such as freedom and human rights. (…) They may not care about the Thai government,” added Mr. Pongkwan.
Across Thailand, the economical impact of the new White House Administration is still assessed, with business leaders still divided on wether Trump is better for Thailand than Hillary Clinton. Most agree there will be changes in international trade, with the US closing some of its markets to Thai exports, but on the long term, most people agree Trump’s plans for America to close the door on imports are hardly feasible.
At the moment, the United States are Thailand’s third largest economic partner, after China and Japan.