Rumsfeld discusses security

Agence France Presse

Bangkok, June 6:

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today to discuss regional security concerns and to thank him for Thailand’s help to US rescue and relief work after the December tsunami. Rumsfeld was welcomed with an honour guard in the palm tree-lined courtyard of the defence ministry, where he reviewed troops before heading into a meeting with Defence Minister Thammarak Issarangkura Na Ayutthaya. He later met Thaksin for about 30 minutes, Thammarak told reporters. “The US raised the issue of setting up a centre in Malaysia to look over the Malacca Strait because of the pirate problem there,” Thammarak said. “The United States wants many countries, including Thailand, to cooperate on this. However, Thailand is still studying how it might be able to cooperate,” he added. The Malacca Strait is one of the world’s most important stretches of water, with 50,000 ships carrying one third of the globe’s trade passing through it each year.