Thailand Foreign Relations

U.S & Thailand Relations

U.S and Thailand relations date back 200 years.

  • Thailand is a key U.S. security ally in Asia. Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have significantly expanded diplomatic, security, and commercial relations.
  • The first documented contact between the United States and Thailand was recorded in 1818. The first agreement signed with Thailand was the 1833 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, ratified by King Rama III, the U.S. Congress, and President Van Buren.
  • The United States and Thailand are signatories of the 1954 Manila Pact of the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), which, together with the Thanat-Rusk communiqué of 1962 and the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance, constitutes the basis of U.S. security commitments to Thailand. In 2003, the United States designated Thailand a Major Non-NATO Ally.


The United States cut $4.7 million in financing for arms following the 2014 coup.

Thailand and the United States co-host Cobra Gold, the Indo-Pacific region’s largest annual multinational military exercise. Since 1950, Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential supplies, training, and assistance in the construction and improvement of facilities. As part the mutual defense cooperation, developed as a joint military exercise program that engages all the services of each nation and counts an annual slate of more than 400 military exercises and engagements.

China & Thailand Relations

Thailand established diplomatic relations with the PRC on 1 July 1975.[8] It remains as a key regional ally of China, with growing cooperation between both countries. For an evaluation of Sino-Siamese relations, see Siamese Inter-State Relations in the Late Nineteenth Century: From An Asian Regional Perspective.


Thailand purchased a Yuan-class submarine from China. costs $390 million each. China is building submarine facilities at Sattahip naval base, which the PLA-Navy now has access to.

Thailand’s navy says it wants to acquire three Chinese attack submarines as a counterbalance against the two European-built ones that Malaysia already has. [SCMP]

Thailand had plans to purchase more Yuan-class submarine from China but had to delay the new submarine deal after public backlash & budget constraint.

Thailand purchased 50 China made VT-4 main battle tanks. The BT3000, is a Chinese third generation main battle tank built by Norinco for overseas export.

China canal to cross Thailand into the Indian Ocean

The Thai Canal, also known as Kra Canal or Kra Isthmus Canal, refers to proposals for a canal that would connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea.

Thailand is considering China investment of $30 billion for digging the canal. The idea of building such a water route dates to the 17th century, but it is now being discussed as part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which concerns many of Thailand’s neighbors.[1] Caution – American perspective of the canal could be perceived as bias against China’s influence in the region.

Thailand has claimed that it is not only in talks with China but also with India, USA as well as Australia to build the Kra Canal.

Canal Impact on Malaysia and Singapore

The canal would compete directly with ports in the Strait of Malacca area, including Port KlangTanjung Pelepas, and Singapore.

The Thai Canal Has been shelved due to budget constraints due to the CoronaVirus

Signatory to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization Treaty

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954.

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