The United States has denied claims by a local Thai group that its new consulate in Chiang Mai is being used for covert military purposes, including supplying arms to rebels in Myanmar.
Nicole Fox, spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Bangkok, said such claims made by the Peoples of Thailand group are false.
“The construction of the new consulate building in Chiang Mai is part of the US State Department’s broader efforts to modernize diplomatic facilities around the world, from Morocco to Mexico,” Ms. Fox said.
“The new building reflects the depth and breadth of our relationship with Thailand,” she said.
The claims were published in an open letter from Nitithorn Lumlua, representative of the “Peoples of Thailand” group. It was addressed to US President Joe Biden and asked him to reconsider the purpose of the consulate.
The letter says the group hopes the establishment of the consulate will not turn the tourist town into a militarized zone.
The open letter urged Mr. Biden to reconsider the consulate used by armed Central Intelligence Agency personnel.
The letter also called on the United States to end its arms embargo on Myanmar through Thai borders, as Thailand’s position on Myanmar’s internal political conflict is neutral.
The consulate is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
In February, the White House released the US Indo-Pacific Strategy and said Thailand had a key role in the region as a US ally.
Additionally, the United States and Thailand held their annual Cobra Gold military exercise earlier in February.
Some Thais wondered if the United States had decided to locate its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators in Thailand.
Others have also speculated that the establishment of a new consulate in Chiang Mai will become a new base for the latest US spy technology.