At the Government House, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, ASEAN Secretary-General, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister and Acting Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri disclosed gist of the meeting as follows:
The Prime Minister congratulated ASEAN Secretary-General for his assumption of the position early this year, and expressed confidence that his expertise and experiences would well contribute to the success and advancement of ASEAN. He affirmed Thailand’s commitment to support ASEAN Secretary-General, and to uphold multilateralism and regionalism. ASEAN will continue to be a major part of Thailand’s foreign policies.
The ASEAN Secretary-General was confident on ASEAN’s advancement and progress in all aspects, as numerous external partners have expressed interest to forge relations and cooperation with the region. He thanked Thailand for its role in promoting ASEAN’s cooperation and integration.
Both parties discussed other issues of mutual interest:
Thailand is pleased that ASEAN continues to play an important role in promoting regional peace and economic growth despite so many challenges, be it, climate change, economic volatility, and great power wars. The Prime Minister endorsed acceleration of economic recovery and competitiveness enhancement through existing agreements, especially the RCEP. Both sides also recognized the importance of ASEAN’s digital transformation to strengthen and connect ASEAN supply chains, and to elevate regional economy in line with the new global trade context. Thailand fully supports implementations under ASEAN digital initiatives, while the ASEAN Secretary-General affirmed ASEAN’s priority on digital transformation. The Prime Minister also mentioned cyber threats, which is a challenge ASEAN member countries should join force to tackle. ASEAN Secretary-General was called on to take action in a holistic manner for tangible outcome.
The Prime Minister and ASEAN Secretary-General also discussed capacity building and preparedness against wide-ranging challenges that have great impact on people’s safety and quality of life, i.e., epidemics, climate change, natural disasters, etc. Thailand is ready to closely cooperate with all concerned parties to support ASEAN in responding to emergencies and disasters in an effective and timely manner. The ASEAN Secretary-General affirmed ASEAN Secretariat’s commitment to promote cooperation in this endeavor, and thanked Thailand for hosting several ASEAN’s centers.
The Prime Minister also thanked ASEAN Secretariat for its constant support on Thailand’s role as ASEAN Coordinator in Sustainable Development, which has led to a number of tangible results. Both parties came to terms on the need to work together to drive sustainable development agenda as ASEAN’s key strategy, and Thailand welcomes recommendations from the ASEAN Secretariat to promote cooperation in this area. The country is also pleased with the progress in ASEAN’s Post-2025 Vision development, which the Prime Minister hoped to be comprehensive and forward-looking in a bid to help strengthen ASEAN and empower the people in the region.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to mention cross-border haze situation, which has currently become the region’s serious threat, and called on ASEAN Secretary-General’s support and liaison in seeking solutions to the problem, especially on reduction of hotspots to quickly improve the situation. Haze situation not only affects Thailand, both in terms of health and tourism, but also the neighboring countries. The ASEAN Secretary-General agreed to seek immediate solutions to the haze problem through ASEAN’s cooperation mechanisms.
Both sides also agreed to maintain balanced relations between ASEAN and major powers. Thailand, as Coordinator of ASEAN-Japan Relations, stands ready to cooperate with all parties in carrying out various activities on occasion of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan relations. The country hopes to receive good support from the ASEAN Secretariat.
Thailand hopes that the ASEAN Secretariat plays a more active role in liaising with all concerned parties on such common issues as sustainable development, connectivity, and disaster management, to ensure efficiency and to prepare for future challenges, i.e., the aging society, climate change, etc.
The ASEAN Secretary-General thanked Thailand for placing importance on the aforementioned issues, and affirmed ASEAN’s readiness to provide full support to ASEAN member countries on sustainable management of the aging society. (PRD)