By THE NATION
US ambassador Michael George DeSombre, Consul General Sean K O’Neill and Chiang Mai governor Charoenrit Sanguansat jointly presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the new US Consulate General building in Chiang Mai on Friday.
The new US consulate will be located on the Super Highway (Chiang Mai-Lampang) road in Nongpakrang subdistrict and will replace the Cold War relic on Witchayanond Road by the Ping river, which was built in 1950.
It is the oldest operating foreign consulate in Chiang Mai and the sole US consular presence outside Bangkok.
“Seventy years ago the first consulate building was built in Chiang Mai, and we hope that the new building will stand at least 70 more years to represent the long standing relationship between US and Chiang Mai province,” said DeSombre.
Part of the consulate’s mission, said the US, was to target transnational crime in the North, including narcotics trafficking and trafficking in persons. “We also believe that the construction of new Consulate General building will help create more than 400 jobs for local people,” added the ambassador.
The new Consulate General building will be located on 16.5 rai of land under a construction budget of $284 million (Bt8.8 billion). Construction is expected to complete within 2023.