WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the passing of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej:

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to our friends, the people of Thailand, as they mourn the passing of their revered Monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“As the second son, King Bhumibol was not groomed for the monarchy but took the throne unexpectedly as a young man. He has become not only the world’s longest reigning monarch, tirelessly serving the Thai people for seven decades until the age of 88 years, but also one of the most beloved.

“King Bhumibol championed the development of Thailand and led the country into an unprecedented period of growth and prosperity. In spite of the incredible wealth of the Thai monarchy, he remained approachable and engaged at all levels of Thai society. It would not be uncommon for the King to personally visit impoverished areas in the Thai countryside to assess the needs of his people. In the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s, the King urged his subjects to overcome the economic challenges through restraint and moderation.

“The King’s influence steadied Thailand in their fight against communism at a time when many countries in Southeast Asia struggled to navigate Cold War politics. Though he vowed not to take sides in politics, the King was a constant and stabilizing force during Thailand’s challenging political times.

“During this time of mourning in Thailand, we remember, along with our Thai friends, the many contributions of King Bhumibol. We also look forward to close collaboration with the Thai government and the Thai people as we offer our enduring support for the development of robust democratic institutions that will undergird the flourishing of Thai society in the years to come. In my view, there could be no more fitting tribute to the legacy of a beloved King.”