It’s only been a few days since the re-election of Barack Obama as the President of the US. Now comes the news from the White House that US President Barack Obama will be visiting Thailand this month. It is part of a three-leg tour that will also take in Cambodia and Myanmar. In Cambodia, the president will attend the East Asia summit in Phnom Penh and meet with leaders of ASEAN. According to Thai media, the US President will arrive in Thailand on the afternoon of 18th November. He will then stay the night before flying to Cambodia. The White House has not confirmed these dates yet.
US Ambassador to Thailand @KristieKenney tweeted this morning: “It’s official! President Obama to visit Bangkok this month!”. Although this is the first time for a US President to visit Cambodia and Myanmar while still in office, this will be the 7th time for Thailand. The US and Thailand have had diplomatic relations for 180 years. The first recorded contact between Thailand (then known as Siam) and the United States came in 1818, when an American ship Captain visited the country, bearing a letter from U.S. President James Monroe. A Treaty of Amity and Commerce was first signed on 20th March 1833.
For the latest news about the official visit by US President Barack Obama to Thailand please follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow. The official hashtag is #BOrakBKK. The letters “BO” stand for “Barack Obama”. The word “rak” is Thai and means “love”. The final word is “BKK” which obviously stands for “Bangkok”. So, it reads as “Barack Obama loves Bangkok”.
OFFICIAL VISITS BY US PRESIDENTS TO THAILAND:
- October 1966 President and Mrs. Johnson make a State Visit to Thailand. King Bhumipol presents the President with an honorary doctorate in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University.
- December 1967: President Johnson visits the US Airbase in Khorat. In the same year, their Majesties King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit visit the United States a second time.
- July 1969 President Richard M. Nixon visits Bangkok and is presented a key to the city by Chalit Kulkanthorn, Mayor of Bangkok
- November 1996: President and Mrs. Clinton visit Thailand in celebration of the 50th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne. President Clinton is awarded a Degree of Doctor of Economics honoris causa from Chulalongkorn University.
- October 2003: President Bush visits Thailand to attend the 11th Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit meeting.
- August 2008 President George W. Bush visits Thailand
In 1971, California Governor Ronald Reagan visited Bangkok as President Nixon’s representative. Visit the US Embassy Bangkok website for a timeline on key events in US-Thai relations. Wiki also has this article.
US President Barack Obama will only be in Bangkok a short time. His full schedule is not known yet. But whatever he does, he will most likely feel at home due to the Americanization of the city. Everything from food to events and attractions have American influences. So, what do you think an American could eat in Bangkok to make him feel at home? Maybe a visit to BKK Bagels at Chitlom? Or how about a BBQ at the Great American Rib Company on Sukhumwit Soi 36? Let me know your suggestions.