ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
King urges Thais to perform duty for national interest
HUA HIN, Dec 5 - Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej urged all Thais to do their duty for the national interest, stability and unity in his birthday address today.
In his 86th birthday speech, the King thanked all Thais for their blessings and reminded them of their duty to the country.
"Thailand has been peaceful for a long period of time because the Thai people are united and perform their duty accordingly for the national interest," the monarch said.
His Majesty emphasised that Thais should realise this principle and continue performing their assigned duty for the national interest, stability and security.
The monarch granted an audience to members of the royal family, cabinet members, the parliament speaker as well as senior civil servants and military top brass at Rajpracha Samakhom Pavilion this morning in a rare public audience and the first time outside the capital.
The royal guards of honour pledged an oath of allegiance to HM the King. The three armed forces fired a 21-gun salute in honour of the monarch.
A large number of well-wishers lined up along the route outside the Klai Kangwon Palace since last night to get a glimpse of the monarch. As the King's motorcade passed by, the well wishers chanted "Long Live the King" to show their love and respect for the monarch.
The capital city of Bangkok marred by street clashes between police and anti-government protesters near the prime minister's office returned to normal since Wednesday in preparation to celebrate their beloved monarch's birthday.
King Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, is a guiding light and unifying figure for his subjects in time of crises in the past.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent goodwill message to King Bhumibol for his 86th birthday.
"I have been very pleased to see relations between our two countries and our people grow even stronger over the past year, I send you my very best wishes for continued happiness and prosperity," the Queen said.
United States President Barack Obama yesterday also sent goodwill messages to the Thai monarch.
"President Obama offers his warmest congratulations to His Majesty on behalf of the American people on the occasion of his birthday today," said a statement posted on the website of the US embassy in Bangkok.
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