US-ASEAN Business Council Offers Condolences on the Passing of H.E. Virachai Plasai, Ambassador of the Kindgom of Thailand to the United States

(Washington, D.C.) The Board of Directors, members and staff of the US-ASEAN Business Council offer their sincere condolences to the Plasai family, the Royal Thai Government, and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand on the passing of H.E. Virachai Plasai, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States.  Ambassador Virachai passed on March 16, at age 58, after a battle with a myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of bone-marrow cancer. 

"I am deeply and personally saddened by the loss of a beloved friend and great champion of Thai-U.S. relations,” said Alexander C. Feldman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council.  “Ambassador Virachai was a great leader in establishing Thailand's role on the international stage, and he served his country with enormous poise and dedication.  He brought a special, deeply personal touch to diplomatic relations and his love of music and understanding of how the power of that music could unite people made a deep impact on all those he touched.  I will always remember watching him on stage in Bangkok in an impromptu performance which clearly showed his love of music and his mastery of guitar, as well as how he used a jazz concert at the Library of Congress to mark the 185th anniversary of the establishment of U.S. – Thai relations.  We will miss him deeply, and we express our deepest sympathies to his family and the Royal Thai Embassy during this tragic time of mourning.” 

Ambassador Virachai’s commitment to supporting Thai-U.S. relations, the Council and its members was clear from the very beginning of his tenure in Washington, D.C.  Just days after his official confirmation as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States, Ambassador Virachai flew to Bangkok to join the entirety of the Council’s 2018 Business Mission to Thailand.   

Ambassador Virachai's diplomatic service began in the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987.  He rose steadily through the ranks, serving as Ambassador of Thailand to the Netherlands from 2009-2015 and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations from 2015-2018, before starting his tenure as Ambassador of Thailand to the United States in June 2018.  While Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Virachai successfully served as Chair of the Group of 77, the largest grouping of countries at the United Nations, in 2016. 

The Ambassador was also a leading international litigator, becoming well known to the Thai public in 2012 for his poise and capability as Thailand’s lead litigator in the International Court of Justice for the case contesting claims for ownership between Thailand and Cambodia over the Temple of Preah Vihear.  Ambassador Virachai also served as a member of the Thai Government’s legal counsel for several disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and as a panelist and arbitrator for several WTO cases.  

The Council will deeply miss working with Ambassador Virachai and will always remember his great contributions to the Washington, D.C. community and the advancement of the U.S.-Thai economic relationship. 

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.