The History Of US And Thailand Relations Is A Long One
August 1, 2016
The history of United States and Thailand relations is actually quite a long one. This might come as a slight shock to some people, as Thailand is often known for sex tourism and political oppression, things not commonly found in nations with longstanding good relations with America.
However, given Thailand’s geographic location between the world’s largest democracy of India and near the military buildup and naval expansion of China, in addition to its growing popularity as a tourist destination, having strong diplomatic relations with Thailand is in the best interest of the United States.
Surprisingly, bilateral relations between the republic of the United States of America and the kingdom of Thailand trace all the way back to the year 1818, when the United States was still a relatively new nation finding its place on the global stage. For nearly two full centuries, the two countries have enjoyed many years of diplomatic partnership and at some times actual alliance.
At the time, Thailand was known as Siam. The country received a visit from a captain of an American ship. He had on his person a letter directly from James Monroe, who was president of the United States at the time.
It was from this encounter that Thailand not only wound up having a formal and full diplomatic relationship with the United States, but was actually the first Asian nation to do so!
Relations were maintained throughout that century, with noted gifts given by American officials, such as Andrew Johnson during his Presidency. Relations have been closer since World War II, with a number of treaties reaffirming economic ties and the ability of businesses in both countries to participate in the markets of the other. Following nearby Japan and China, America is Thailand’s largest trading partner in the world.