Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - Monday, December 2, 1996 ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v32; Issue n48 Remarks at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok

Monday, December 2, 1996


ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v32; Issue n48


Remarks at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. (Thailand)(Transcript)

Total number of pages for this article: 4 FULL TEXT



� November 26, 1996



� The President. Thank you very much. Dr. Thienchay, Dr. Kasem, to the

students and faculty who are here, citizens of Thailand, my fellow

Americans. Especially I would like to thank the glee club who sang. They

did a marvelous job. Thank you very much for your music.



� I am delighted and honored to be here today at a great center of

learning that is a living memorial to Thailand's glorious past, yet with

a mission focused on the future; an institution that is proudly and

distinctively Asian, yet reaching out to the entire world. And in the

faces of the young people who are in this audience, we all see the

shining promise of tomorrow.



� I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here today about

the future of the United States, Thailand, and the entire Asia-Pacific

region we'll share in the 21st century. Three years ago, I took my first

trip overseas as President to Japan and Korea. Now, shortly after my

reelection, again my first trip is to Asia, to Australia, the

Philippines, and Thailand. In Australia, at APEC, in my meetings with

the leaders of China, South Korea, Japan, and your own nation, I have

reaffirmed America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. That

commitment is stronger than ever, for in the 21st century America's

future cannot be secure if Asia's future is in doubt.



� I wanted to visit Thailand for quite some time now, but I am

especially glad to be able to join you in this historic year as we

celebrate the life and work of His Majesty the King. The close ties

between our two nations go back to 1833, when America signed a treaty of

amity and commerce with the Kingdom of Siam. Those early bonds of

friendship have endured the test of time, anchored by our security

alliance, strengthened through our comradeship in Korea, in Vietnam,

kept sharp and ready through Cobra Gold, the largest exercise involving

United States forces anywhere in Asia.



� Our nations are partners in prosperity as well. We enjoyed some $18

billion in two-way trade last year alone. We've forged important

agreements in civil aviation, the protection of intellectual property,

and the tax treaty I was honored to witness just a few moments ago here

in Bangkok today.



� More than ever, our people are also joined by ties of culture and

community. My country has been strengthened by the contributions of

literally tens of thousands of Americans of Thai descent. And from

Southern California to Houston to New York, our culture has been greatly

enriched by the graceful temples, the ancient traditions, the exotic

flavors of Thailand which now have a home in the United States.



� Now we must deepen our partnership for the demands of the 21st

century. The United States and Thailand, for all the distance and

differences between us, share a common vision, the dream of an

Asia-Pacific region where economic growth and democratic ideals are

advancing steadily and reinforcing one another. That dream is coming

true here in Thailand today, to the benefit of your people, this region,

and the world.



� Consider just how much the world has changed since President Johnson

spoke here at Chula 30 years ago. The cold war is over. ASEAN, born in

the throes of the Vietnam war, last year welcomed Vietnam as its newest

member. Thailand has become an economic powerhouse. The economies of

east Asia are the fastest growing in the world. The new global economy,

spurred on by continuous explosions in information and technology, is

transforming the way we live and work and communicate, collapsing the

distances between us as the free flow of goods and the free flow of

ideas are bringing tremendous opportunities for people throughout the




� Of course, for all its promise, the 21st century will not be free of

peril. Aggressive rogue states, global crime networks and drug

traffickers, weapons proliferation, and terrorism, all these will

continue to menace our security.



� The nations most likely to succeed in this new world, to succeed in

seizing the opportunities and meeting the threats of our time, are those

that respond to the needs and aspirations of their people, promote

commerce and cooperation instead of conflict, and have the openness and

flexibility to harness the winds of change.



� Thailand is proving that proposition every day. Yours has been the

world's fastest growing economy over the last decade. You are laying the

groundwork for an Asia of the future, where ancient cultures are linked

by modern communications; where a vast and diverse region is joined by

values of hard work and enterprise and shared benefits. This benefits

the United States alone with more than 2 million jobs and 40 percent of

our trade now tied to the Asia-Pacific region.



� In the face of this, some have argued that democracy actually hinders

economic growth in this region and in developing nations. But we need

look no further than the economic vitality of Thailand, the Philippines,

Taiwan, South Korea to see that economic growth and democratic

development can go hand in hand. Indeed, in the information-based

economy of today and tomorrow, free market democracies have unique

advantages. Freedom and democracy strengthen the prospects for strong

and enduring economic progress.



� A wave of democracy has swept the Earth in recent years, from Hungary

to Haiti, to South Africa, to Cambodia, to Mongolia. More than half the

world's people now live under governments of their own choosing, for the

first time in all of human history.



� Here in Thailand, last week's elections were a further milestone in

your democratic journey. As always in elections, there were winners and

there were losers. I can say that; I have been a winner and a loser.

[Laughter] And while losing is not as good as winning, whenever power is

transferred peacefully and democratically, everyone in that nation is a




� The United States is proud to have supported democracy's march across

Asia. We do not seek to impose our vision of the world or any particular

form of government on others. But we do believe that freedom and justice

are the birthright of humankind. The citizens of Thailand, Japan, Hong

Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand - Taiwan - show us that

accountable government and the rule of law can thrive in an Asian

climate. The people of Cambodia and Mongolia proved that change is

possible in difficult circumstances. The brave reformers in Burma led by

Aung San Suu Kyi remind us that these desires know no boundaries. Their

aspirations are universal because they are fundamentally human.



� Every nation of the Asia-Pacific must preserve the best of its

traditions while pursuing the benefits of progress. But surely we can

all agree that human dignity and individual worth must never be

undervalued or abused. The United States will continue to stand with

those who stand for freedom in Asia and beyond. Doing so reflects not

only our ideals, it advances our interests. A nation that respects the

rights of its own people is far more likely to respect the rights of its

neighbors, to keep its word, to play by the rules, to be a reliable

partner in diplomacy and trade and in the pursuit of peace and




� It is in that pursuit that the United States will continue to maintain

our strong Pacific presences, with 100,000 American troops to safeguard

our common security. We are reinforcing our five core alliances here,

including our very special alliance with Thailand. We're helping Asia to

build new security structures to promote stability and peace. But let me

be clear: Our presence is not aimed against anyone or any nation. Its

aim is to benefit everyone and every nation through greater security and

stability for all.



� Safeguarding stability, we know now, requires more than military

strength. In a world grown closer, both the rewards of cooperation and

the costs of conflict have risen dramatically. just yesterday we saw a

real result of working together as the APEC leaders, with strong support

from Thailand, enforced early completion of an information technology

agreement which would cut to zero tariffs on products from

semiconductors to software by the year 2000.



� Imagine the benefits to the students in this auditorium and those just

outside and in booming countries the world over as ideas become even

more open and accessible to people, as the information revolution

spreads to even more eager minds. Imagine the even greater benefits

which will come to that one-half of the world's population which,

believe it or not, are still 2 days' walk from the nearest telephone.

They cannot participate in this world we are trying to imagine and

create unless we all join together to spread the benefits of the

information revolution to everyone and to do it now.



� But let us not be blind to the fact that as barriers crumble and

borders blur and progress spreads quickly, so, too, can trouble spread

quickly in this new world. We have only to look at the spread of

environmental degradation, HIV and AIDS, weapons of mass destruction,

terrorism, drug trafficking, the rise of organized crime. These forces

of destruction defy traditional defenses, just as traditional barriers

can no longer keep out ideas, information, and truth. No nation is

immune to the forces of destruction, and none can defeat these threats




� Therefore, we must work together. The United States is working with

Thailand to ease the toll that economic growth has taken on your

environment. Many American environmental companies are working here for

a healthier future not only in Thailand but beyond your borders. Our

Embassy here is our regional headquarters for working on issues like air

pollution and climate change throughout the area. Thailand is helping to

lead the way. Recently you became the first developing nation to ban the

production and import of refrigerators with ozone-destroying CFC's, and

I thank you for that.



� We are also working with Thailand to help stop the terrible AIDS

epidemic, now spreading faster in Asia than in any other region of the

world. Again, Thailand stands on the very frontlines, setting a strong

example in promoting AIDS prevention. But even with declining rates of

infection, the public health problem is enormous. We in America will do

our part by promoting dramatic increases in research and development of

new drugs. I am happy to say that in our country in the last 4 years the

average life expectancy for those with HIV and AIDS has more than

doubled. We will continue to do our part, but you must continue to work

as only you can here, as well.



� The United States Agency for International Development helped to

launch the Thai Women of Tomorrow Project to assist young women in

finding better prospects than the prostitution that puts their lives at

risk. The First Lady visited that project the day before yesterday when

she traveled to Chiang Mai to see the project started by faculty members

at Chiang Mai University. Of course, this is important to try to turn.

these young women and their families away from destructive life habits.

But as the First Lady has said all over the world, it is not enough to

protect women and girls from those who would exploit them; we must all

work together to open wide the positive doors of opportunity so that

every person in every free society can contribute and share in its




� Our cooperation is nowhere more essential than in the fight against

the increasingly interconnected and global forces of organized crime.

For left unchecked, these criminal conglomerates, multinational masters

of the underworld, will distort free economies, derail fragile

democracies, debilitate our societies with corruption and violence and




� Thailand and the United States are close and committed partners in the

fight against drugs. We cannot afford to rest in the struggle, for the

lives of too many millions of our young people are at stake. Thailand is

setting a strong example for other nations. With the help of Their

Majesties, the King and Queen, you have helped to give farmers the

opportunity to give up the cultivation of opium in favor of other more

productive crops. You have drafted money laundering legislation which we

hope will soon be passed. You have helped to deter drug trafficking

through your country by toughening your northern border patrols.



� And our extensive cooperation in law enforcement is clearly paying

off. In 1994, Operation Tiger Trap dealt a crippling blow to a major

trafficking network in Burma, enabling the arrest of 14 drug kingpins, 2

of whom have now been extradited to the United States. In all your work

in this area, Thailand is sending a clear signal to drug lords: We will

fight you; we are determined to stop you. And America has a clear signal

to Thailand: We will stand with you all the way. On behalf of General

Barry McCaffrey, who leads our Nation's antidrug effort and who is with

me today, and all those children whose lives we are helping to save, I

thank the Thai Government and the people of Thailand for moving away

from the scourge of narcotics.



� We know we must do more to fight illegal drugs at the source. Burma

has long been the world's number one producer of opium and heroin and

now is also making methamphetamines. The role of drugs in Burma's

economic and political life and the regime's refusal to honor its own

pledge to move to multiparty democracy are really two sides of the same

coin, for both represent the absence of the rule of law. Every nation

has an interest in promoting true political dialog in Burma, a dialog

that will lead to a real fight against crime, corruption, and narcotics

and a government more acceptable to its people.



� Whether we are fighting drugs, combating AIDS, trying to open bright

new futures for our children, or working to protect the planet we share,

Thailand and the United States are making our partnership work for our

people, for we both know we have much more to gain from standing

together than by going it alone. And we both appreciate how much can be

achieved when dialog and democracy are the lifeblood of two nations'

relations with each other, when policies are made through consensus, not

coercion, and when people everywhere are given the tools and the chance

to make the most of their own lives.



� Working together, the United States and Thailand can help lead the way

to an Asia-Pacific region in which economic success and greater freedom

advance together and support one another, a region in which growing

opportunity is matched and strengthened by increasing freedom,

stability, and security.



� We still have challenges to meet. We still have opportunities to

seize. We still have much to learn from one another. But I am confident

we will do all these things, because we know that by working together

and working with others we can build a Pacific community based on shared

interests, shared values, and shared dreams. It is my great honor,

therefore, to be here today to reaffirm America's enduring engagement in

the Asia-Pacific and our lasting and proud friendship with Thailand.



� Thank you very much.



� [At this point, the degree of Doctor of Economics was conferred upon

the President.]



� The President. Thank you very much. Let me just briefly say that -

first, to the distinguished officials of the university who voted this

degree, I thank you very much. When I heard the president reading the

degree citation, I have to tell you what I was thinking was I wish that

they had made that available to the voters in my country before the last

election. [Laughter] But I thank him for it very much.



� I understand that in many quarters this great university,

Chulalongkorn, is known as the Harvard of Thailand. Now, I never made it

to Harvard - [laughter] - but if I had to choose, I feel so thoroughly

elevated today in my wonderful robes and with my degree, I prefer to

have been awarded the degree here. And I thank you. I think every time I

go back now to my wonderful friends in Massachusetts and at Harvard, I

will always - at least a part of me will always think of Harvard as the

Chulalongkorn of the United States. [Laughter]



� Thank you very much, and God bless you.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 1:05 p.m. in the auditorium. In his

remarks, he referred to Thienchay Kiranandana, president, and Kasem

Suwannakul, university council chairman, Chulalongkorn University; King

Phumiphon and Queen Sirikit of Thailand; and Burmese opposition leader

Aung San Suu Kyi. A tape was not available for verification of the

content of these remarks.



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