"Tribute to King Rama IX of Thailand"
Senator Max Baucus
June 9, 1995
Today, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand begins the 50th year of his reign. It is my great pleasure to join Montana's Thai community in offering him congratulations and best wishes.
THE NINTH REIGN
King Bhumibol took the name Rama IX and opened the Ninth Reign of the Chakri Dynasty on June 9, 1946, just a few months after the end of the Second World War.
At the time, like the rest of Southeast Asia, Thailand faced severe questions. They arose from the end of colonialism in neighboring countries; the rise of radical ideologies worldwide; and endemic poverty, illiteracy and illness.
Today, Thailand is one of the anchors of the modern, prosperous Southeast Asia. Bangkok has become one of the world's great cities and commercial centers. The Thai political system is evolving into a stable parliamentary democracy; in fact, a new political campaign opens today as candidates across Thailand file their papers to run for Parliament. And the Thai economy grows by 7% or more every year.
Much of this extraordinary success is due to the wise guidance of King Bhumibol.
The King has led by example. He has embodied the ten traditional moral principles of Buddhist kings: charity toward the poor; morality; sacrifice of personal interest; honesty; courtesy; self-restraint; tranquility of temperament; non-violence; patience; and impartiality in settling dispute.
And he has led by action. Together, King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit have devoted decades to improving the lives of Thai people in rural and impoverished regions. They constantly travel the country's 73 provinces, meeting with villagers and staying close to the people. The results are obvious in improved public health, the spread of education to all Thai children and the renewal of traditional crafts and textiles.
KING RAMA IX AND THE UNITED STATES
King Bhumibol has also been a great friend of the United States. During his reign, the Thai-American relationship has grown from one largely based on American aid and political support, into a partnership for trade, prosperity, environmental protection and regional peace. And Thailand is about to fulfil the pledge he made in his 1967 Address to a joint session of Congress: to end reliance on American foreign aid.
The new maturity of Thai-American relations can be seen in our prospects for trade. American exports to Thailand more than tripled in the last seven years. They grew to nearly $5 billion last year, and now support nearly 100,000 jobs in America.
Prospects are especially good for my state of Montana. Our farmers and ranchers can supply a generation of newly affluent Thai consumers with top-quality wheat, beef and pork.
Montana environmental technology companies -- in areas from mine waste reclamation to clean coal technology, sustainable forestry and low-impact agricultural fertilizer -- can help Thailand address its fast-growing environmental problems. Firms like Mountain States Energy in Butte are already looking to the Kingdom for opportunity.
And people-to-people contacts between Thailand and Montana are growing fast. Thais like former Ambassador Birabhongse Kasemsri are helping to support the Montana economy, by coming as tourists to see our National Parks and visit our skiing areas. And in several cities, some of the newest members of the Montana family operate well-run small businesses like the Thai Deli in Missoula and the Thai Orchid Restaurant in Billings. They work hard, provide jobs and add a new touch of diversity to our state.
Mr. President, King Bhumibol is now the longest-reigning King of Thailand. And history is certain to rank his reign with those not only of the greatest Thai monarchs of the past -- Ramkamhaeng, creator of the Thai alphabet; Naresuan and Phra Narai in the Ayutthaya era; Mongkut and Chulalongkorn in the last century -- but the great constitutional monarchs of the world and the democratic leaders of modern times.
It is my great pleasure to join all the Thai Montanans in congratulating King Bhumibol as he begins the 50th year of his reign, and looking forward to many more to come.
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