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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Media Availability with Deputy MoD Thailand

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
June 02, 2002

(Media availability in Singapore after bilateral meeting with Gen. Yuthasak Sasiprapha, deputy minister of defense of Thailand. The minister spoke through an interpreter.)

Wolfowitz: Good morning. I just had a very good discussion with the deputy defense minister of Thailand. We have a long and close relationship with Thailand, which is a treaty ally. We've been cooperating with them closely over the last ten years or much longer actually in counter drug activities. And it's a natural base for continuing to work with them on counter terrorism. Thailand's a very good ally and it's a close relationship. It was a good conversation.

General, would you like to add a word or two?

Sasiprapha: Since the meeting of the Prime Minister Thaksin when he visited the United States this past December, we in the Ministry of Defense would like to reiterate our support of the U.S. in the fight against international terrorism.

Q: Do you have plans to join Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia in regional anti-terrorism actions?

Sasiprapha: Yes. In the trilateral agreement between Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, Thailand is in the process of endorsing this, which I believe on the eleventh of June this month, the Parliament of Thailand will endorse this. And if it is endorsed on the eleventh we will join.

Q: General, have you seen an influx of any al Qaeda into Thailand as a result of the campaign in Afghanistan?

Sasiprapha: Not that we know of. No influx.

Q: Have you taken any steps along your borders?

Sasiprapha: We have increased our personnel in the border areas and the airports so that we can screen all the passengers, all the people who have been passing through our check points not only along the border but also in our airports.

Wolfowitz: And just now we agreed to look into the possibility of providing some additional counter terrorism training for Thai military.

Q: What type of training?

Wolfowitz: We're going to explore that. The general expressed an interest in that kind of training and we'll see what we have available.

Q: Would this along what's going on in Georgia, Yemen, ... forces?

Wolfowitz: More likely -- no, the conditions are really different. I mean Georgia is quite different. I think it's probably much more along the lines of the kind of thing we do with Thai military in counter drug activities, closer to intelligence sharing and surveillance kinds of thing, but I am speculating, folks.

What the useful thing about a meeting like this is to learn from the deputy defense minister that this is something that their military is interested in. Now we go back home and find out what we have and might be useful.

Q: There is a real larger play on the anti-terrorism activities in Cobra Gold this year, how did that work?

Sasiprapha: The results have been extremely good. We are very pleased with the results of the past training, which was conducted last month. And we believe next year would be a lot better.

Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.