Good afternoon. I want to thank Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama for taking time to meet with us, for his hospitality during our visit, and for his dedication to maintaining the close relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Thailand.
During my visit to your country, I met with members of the Thai Supreme Court, representatives of law enforcement, and American officials working here to maintain the cooperation between our two countries on legal matters. That cooperation has been substantial over the years, and, has made the citizens of both of our countries safer.
It was 175 years ago that the United States and Thailand signed our first Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Thailand is our oldest partner in Asia, and one of our closest friends. There are many interests and values that bind our nations, but some of the most important include our joint fight against international organized crime and human trafficking.
Organized criminals seek to exploit the openness of our borders for profit and power. They look for safe havens in what they hope are hidden corners of the world, from which they can steal from our people and corrupt our institutions. The government of Thailand has joined the United States in taking a strong stand against these criminals, and sending a message that we will work together, across borders and regardless of borders, to stop them.
And our countries have worked together effectively to fight the horrible crime of human trafficking. This modern-day slavery goes on in every part of the world, as traffickers prey upon the vulnerable, deceiving them and forcing them to work or perform sex acts against their will.
Combating this crime has been a priority for the United States, and I know that it is a concern for Thailand as well. We stand ready to help your prosecutors and police in any way we can in this important struggle.
In these and other areas of law enforcement, our cooperation has been, and will be in the future, vital to our success. And in all of these areas, we are helped immeasurably by the strong bi-lateral extradition relationship between our countries. The transfer of criminals to stand trial when they have done or planned to do their damage and when the evidence against them can be found and prosecuted has truly been a cooperative effort that has benefited both of our countries and our people.
I'd like to thank the Foreign Minister for the strong leadership he has shown on these and other issues, and the Thai people for their friendship.