Remarks at Joint Vision 2020 Signing Ceremony by Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper

Remarks at Joint Vision 2020 Signing Ceremony by Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper

November 17, 2019
Ministry of Defense, Bangkok

Minister Prayut – Thank you for welcoming me here to the Kingdom of Thailand on my first visit to your country as Secretary of Defense.  I greatly appreciate Thailand’s role in hosting this year’s ADMM-Plus, and thank you for serving as this year’s ASEAN Chair.

Our two nations share a deep history, and have maintained a strong and durable friendship for the past 200 years.  Together, we possess a vision for defense cooperation that advances our mutual security over the long-term, preserves regional stability, and promotes our shared interests and values.

Today’s signing of Joint Vision 2020 reaffirms our mutual commitment to the U.S.-Thai Alliance, and to a future of even deeper cooperation.  In Joint Vision 2020, we chart a course for increased interoperability, force modernization, information sharing, and expanded exercises and training.  This vision demonstrates our determination as an alliance to be more active together in the region to advance our mutual security interests.

The Indo-Pacific remains the United States’ number one priority region.  We are committed to supporting our allies and partners here to ensure that all nations have the opportunity to pursue security and prosperity, free from external coercion and intimidation.  It is important that we work together to uphold the international rules-based order that has enabled our shared security for decades.  We believe ASEAN is central to this effort, and we are grateful to Thailand for its leadership role this year, to include cohosting the first-ever U.S.-ASEAN Maritime Exercise last month.

We also appreciate Thailand serving as a co-chair with the United States for the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Maritime Security.  This is an important venue for improving interoperability amongst Southeast Asian nations, and preserving the security and openness of vital international waterways.  We must continue to protect the rights of all nations by promoting freedom of navigation, overflight, and other lawful uses of the seas.

I’m pleased with the direction that our bilateral relationship is heading as exemplified by Joint Vision 2020.  It’s clear that the United States and Thailand are allies who have a common interest in peace, stability, and prosperity.  Our militaries, and our nations, have much to gain from our continued work together.

Thank you again Minister Prayut for the productive meeting this morning.  I look forward to our continued discussions throughout the next two days.