Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Lindsey Ford Concludes Visit to Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines

Department of Defense spokesperson Lt. Col. Martin Meiners provided the following readout:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for South and Southeast Asia Lindsey Ford concluded her visit to Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines last week for a series of engagements with defense and military officials in all three countries.

DASD Ford’s trip began in Vietnam with a stop at Bien Hoa airfield outside Ho Chi Minh City, where DoD and the U.S. Agency for International Development are working to complete dioxin remediation efforts. In Hanoi, DASD Ford joined the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and representatives from U.S. industry to discuss opportunities to expand U.S. defense trade with Vietnam as part of broader efforts following the 2023 upgrade of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

In Thailand, DASD Ford co-chaired the 20th annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus Experts’ Working Group (EWG) on Maritime Security, marking the conclusion of three years of co-chairmanship with Thailand and the beginning of the EWG’s new co-chairmanship by Japan and the Philippines. She also met with Thai Ministry of Defence Director-General of Policy and Planning General Paiboon Vorranprecha to discuss opportunities to deepen bilateral defense cooperation, including on force modernization, cybersecurity, and defense trade. DASD Ford’s visit came on the heels of a successful U.S.-Thailand 2+2 Strategic and Defense Dialogue in March 2024.

DASD Ford’s final stop was in the Philippines, where she met with counterparts from the Department of National Defense, Department of Foreign Affairs, and National Security Council to advance bilateral initiatives to enhance information-sharing, interoperability, and bilateral security cooperation. ¬†DASD Ford also met with Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy, VADM Toribio Adaci Jr., and commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command, VADM Alberto Carlos, to discuss bilateral and multilateral opportunities to support the Philippines’ maritime capabilities and ability to operate safely, responsibly, and lawfully in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Robust U.S. engagement with allies and partners in Southeast Asia contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific,” DASD Ford said. “After visiting all three countries, it is clear to me that these relationships with the United States are stronger than ever.”


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