President Obama on Whistle-Stop Visit to Bangkok

President Barack Obama made a brief visit to Thailand arriving in Bangkok yesterday before departing to Burma this morning. The United States president is on a tour of South-East Asia which culminates in the regional ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

His Majesty the King of Thailand granted President Obama an audience at the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok where the Thai monarch continues to convalesce following his treatment in September 2009. The US president handed the Thai king a photo-album as a gift which contained photos of all the US presidents His Majesty has met during his reign dating back to Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.

President Obama arrived at the Royal Thai Airforce Base at Don Mueang in northern Bangkok at 15.00 local time on Sunday and, accompanied by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, headed to Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) where they were greeted by the abbot of the temple. From there President Obama moved on to his audience with His Majesty the King before meeting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House where talks and a formal dinner were held. At the end of a busy day, President Obama met the US ambassador and US embassy staff at a sports complex at Chulalongkorn University before retiring to the Four Seasons Hotel on Thanon Ratchadamri. The US president departed Bangkok this morning on a flight to Burma.