US to Spend $284m on New Chiang Mai Mission

Chiang Mai US Consul General Sean K O’Neil said a new building for the US Consulate General in Chiang Mai would be ready in March 2024, with a project budget of US$284 million.

“[W]e have been operating in the same place for 72 years. It is time to move to a modern, safe, and environmentally-friendly office building,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil added that when an American Consulate General office first opened in northern Thailand in 1950 to oversee 15 provinces in the region, all US missions since have been handled from what was originally a residence next to the Ping River and White Pagoda.

O’Neil said the design would take inspiration from Thailand’s Lanna culture yet also feature high-tech advances to help achieve its eco-friendly goal. 

O’Neil also dismissed criticisms that the large investment was part of Washington’s aim to contain China’s growing influence in the Mekong region.

“I have heard the rumors like everyone else. It is unfortunate, because … that ignores the work Thais and Americans have been doing through these 72 years to improve the livelihoods of people in the North,” O’Neil said. 

According to O’Neil, the US and Thailand have profited from their cooperation in various areas, including health, education, security, environmental protection, and reducing transborder crime.

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