On 28 March 2019, the Embassy the United States of America in Bangkok and Mae Fah Luang University held a special lecture entitled “U.S. Free & Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” presented by the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, H.E. Mr. Peter Haymond.
This event was held to establish better understanding of the Free & Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP)’s key pillars and its engagement with the ASEAN and Thailand among MFU students, staff and lecturers.
Among MFU’s guests of honor to the event were: Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, H.E. Mr. Peter Haymond, Mrs. Dusadee Haymond, Consul General of the United States of America,
Mrs. Jennifer A. Harhigh, and Chief of Politics and Economics from the Consulate General in Chiang Mai, Mrs. Vi Jacobs-Nhan.
In a lecture, H.E. Mr. Peter Haymond explained that the term ‘free’ in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy means the region are free to express opinions and freely choose the policies. Also, the term “open” includes fair and reciprocal trade, open investment environments, transparent agreements between nations, open access to seas and airways and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes. Realising the important change in Indo-Pacific region including the fast economic growth of India and the rise of China, the US highlighted expanded cooperation with all countries in this region.
Moreover, according to Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, ASEAN is central to this free and open vision as it is the US’s indispensable and irreplaceable strategic partner. ASEAN often acts as a neutral area for other countries to talk about various issues together.
The Chargé d’Affaires added that in the US’s perspective, Thailand has a close relationship with the US and it is a founding member of ASEAN located at the centre of the region. With the initiative of FOIP, the US will continue to work closely with Thailand in various issues especially public health and law enforcement.
Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Peter Haymond highlighted three pillars of the Indo-Pacific Strategy which are security, economic and governance. The security pillar responds to natural disasters, peacekeeping, countering terrorism and information sharing. For the economic pillar, the strategy focuses on energy security and access; cybersecurity and digital platforms and high-quality infrastructure. The governance pillar focuses on government’s accountability and transparency; integrity and inclusivity; and responsive access to information and participation.
Lastly, the Chargé d’Affaires emphasized that under the FOIP strategy, the US wants to work together with every nation to respect the sovereignty of others, to allow commerce flows and to maintain common security. The US also believe that this vision offers all countries in the Indo-Pacific
a bright and boundless future.
Altogether, all participants gained a deeper information and insights into the Free & Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and its engagement with the Indo-Pacific region especially ASEAN and Thailand. All useful information will help participants to be able to appropriately engage with the FOIP.