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President Obama's First Stop in Asia Is in Thailand

Summary: 
The first nation on the itinerary for President Obama's Asia trip is Thailand -- America's oldest friend on the continent, with diplomatic ties stretching back nearly 180 years.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton tour the Wat Pho Royal Monastery

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton view the Vihan of the Reclining Buddha while touring the Wat Pho Royal Monastery with Head Monk Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

The first nation on the itinerary for President Obama's Asia trip is Thailand -- America's oldest friend on the continent, with diplomatic ties stretching back nearly 180 years.

Though his stop to the country lasted for less than one full day, the President visited a Buddhist temple at the Wat Pho monastery, met with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, held a joint press conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and enjoyed a dinner hosted by the prime minister at the Government House in Bangkok.

President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador Kristie Kenney, left, meet with King Bhumibol Adulyadej

President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador Kristie Kenney, left, meet with King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand, at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Before the dinner, President Obama toasted the character and strength of the Thai people.

"Everything that I’ve felt -- your dignity, your resilience, your friendship, your warmth -- that is the foundation of our alliance," he said. "It’s why you were the first Asian nation to reach out to America after we won our independence. It’s why in Asia, to this day, we can say Thailand is our oldest friend. And we are extraordinarily proud of that friendship, and we are especially pleased to see the excellent leadership that, Madam Prime Minister, you are providing as you continue this country’s path of democracy, freedom and development."

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offers a toast during an official dinner with President Obama (November 18, 2012)

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offers a toast during an official dinner with President Barack Obama at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


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