King RAMA IX AND THE VATICAN
Pope St. John Paul II became the first pope to visit Thailand, May 10–11 in 1984. The pope told King Rama IX that his visit was not only to return the courtesy when the king visited his predecessor Pope John XXIII in 1960 but to also personally thank Thailand for welcoming refugees which he said was an exemplary example of humanity.
King Rama IX told the pope he observed how Christianity had grown in the kingdom and recognized how the relationship between Thailand and the Vatican first began hundreds of years earlier during the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
The king also acknowledged Pope St. John Paul II as a symbol of peace and a light of humanity.
During his visit, the pope also visited refugee camps where he called for world attention to the predicament of thousands of refugees who fled conflict and oppression in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.