Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is starting her familiarization trips to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with Brunei Darussalam as the first country, on September 10.
Thailand and Brunei Darussalam have enjoyed close and friendly relations. Since they established diplomatic ties in January 1983, the two countries have consistently exchanged high-level visits and cooperated in various areas under the frameworks of both regional and international cooperation.
After Brunei Darussalam, Prime Minister Yingluck will visit Indonesia on September 12, when she will hold talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on bilateral relations, especially on energy cooperation and joint ventures in the halal industry. Thailand and Indonesia celebrated the 60 years of diplomatic relations last year. Indonesia has helped create better understanding about the situation in the southern border provinces of Thailand among the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC).
After Indonesia, the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Cambodia on September 15 and Laos on September 16. Prime Minister Yingluck said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand is accelerating efforts to strengthen relations with ASEAN partners. Regarding relations with Cambodia, the Prime Minister said that Thai-Cambodian conflicts would be settled through diplomatic negotiations, taking into account the protection of Thailand’s sovereignty.
As for bilateral trade ties, efforts would be made to facilitate cross-border trade, so that it would be able to continue as usual. In negotiating with Cambodia, the Government would use diplomatic means rather than personal relationships.
Speaking to members of the diplomatic corps based in Thailand on September 5, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul pointed out that the Thai government hoped to build closer ties with neighbors and every country through “soft power diplomacy” and cooperation. Thailand hopes to build an ASEAN Community, which is more connected and competitive with people at the center. The Government also wants to promote economic growth and development through trade and investment.
One of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration’s urgent policies seeks to restore relations and develop cooperation with neighboring countries and other foreign countries. It will focus on preparing Thailand for the ASEAN Community by 2015.
Among the Government’s longer-term policies in the area of foreign affairs, the Government would promote unity and cooperation among ASEAN Member States, promote the country’s constructive role and interests in international organizations, promote technical cooperation with other developing countries, and promote close cooperation with Muslim countries and international Islamic organizations.