Located in Southeast Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Thailand was originally settled more than half a million years ago. Thai kingdoms ruled the land, establishing Theravada Buddhism as the country’s official religion and developing a code of laws, until the 19th century. Europeans, especially the Portuguese, had contact with Thailand as early as the 16th century. In 1826, Thailand signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Kingdom, and in 1833, the US established diplomatic relations with Thailand (then known as Siam). Thailand was transformed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy in 1932, as the result of a bloodless coup. Several more followed in the years leading up to World War II, when the Japanese occupied the country.
Lay of the Land: Thailand, located in Southeast Asia, has been likened to the head of an elephant. The “trunk” extends along southeastern Burma, down the Malay Peninsula, and stops at the northern border of Malaysia. The “head” is circled by Burma on the west, Laos on the northwest, Cambodia on the east, and the Gulf of Thailand (Pacific Ocean) on the south. Peninsular Thailand is covered with tropical rain forest, and the northern section is mountainous. Central Thailand, the Chao Phraya river basin, is a rich agricultural zone, while the northeastern region consists primarily of a plateau forming part of the Mekong River watershed.
Thailand has been inhabited for more than half a million years. Archeological evidence suggests that early civilizations relied on Bronze Age technology and the cultivation of wet rice. During the 6th and 7th centuries, migrations from southern China brought Tai people to the region now known as Thailand. The Tai mixed with the Malay, Mon and Khmer civilizations.
Asian Tribune (English)
On March 20, 1833, the United States and Thailand (then Siam) signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the United States’ first treaty with a country in Asia.
Thailand represents a major source of US imports from Asia. In 2009, the United States imported $19.1 billion in goods from the Southeast Asian country.
Thailand’s Military Junta Outlaws Foreign Drugs
According to the U.S. State Department, conditions have remained relatively unchanged despite the political instability Thailand has faced the past two years. Security forces persisted with their abusive force and some were connected to extrajudicial, arbitrary, and unlawful killings. In the southern part of Thailand violence by ethnic Malay separatist insurgents against symbols and representatives of the government, as well as against civilians, has resulted in hundreds of killings in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, and Songkhla.
John A. Halderman
Appointment: Jul 13, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 23, 1882
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 1, 1885
Note: Commissioned to Siam.
Chaiyong Satjipanon became Thailand’s ambassador to the United States on April 18, 2012.
Born on September 14, 1953, Chaiyong was educated in Thailand and the U.S. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors) in political science and his master’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He earned his master’s degree and PhD, both in law and diplomacy, from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, which he attended after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1979.
In 1975, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked at the Department of International Organizations. The following year, Chaiyong served as a liaison officer to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Beginning in 1977 and for the next nine years, he was the third secretary for the International Conference Division in the Department of International Organizations.
In 1986, Chaiyong was made the first secretary at the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations office in Geneva.
Three years later, he served as counselor in the Department of Political Affairs’ Americas Division. In 1990, he switched to the department’s Southeast Asia Division. That same year, he became director of the Policy and Planning Division in the Office of the Permanent Secretary.
He was made deputy director-general of the Department of Economic Affairs in 1993.
The next year Chaiyong was stationed overseas in Sydney, Australia, serving as consul general in the Royal Thai Consulate-General.
In 2000, he was appointed ambassador attached to the Ministry in the Office of the Permanent Secretary. He also served as director-general of the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs.
He remained in Europe when he was appointed ambassador to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and to the Vatican in 2007.
Prior to being stationed in Washington, DC, Chaiyong was ambassador to South Korea. During this posting, he suffered a personal tragedy when his wife, Thitinart, became ill and died three days after arriving at Soonchunhyang Hospital in Seoul in September 2011. He later accused the hospital staff of medical malpractice, claiming her death was due to poor treatment. He filed a criminal complaint, but withdrew it before leaving the country for his post in the United States.
Official C.V. (Royal Thai Embassy)
Thai Envoy to Fight Wife’s Death in Seoul, Bangkok (by Kirsty Taylor, Korea Herald)
Kristie Kenney was appointed .U.S. ambassador to Thailand by President Barack Obama in July 2010, and was confirmed on September 29, 2010.