Prayut plans first overseas trips to Myanmar, Italy PM accepts invite for Asem summit

1 October 2014 | Wassana Nanuam & Patsara Jikkham | Bangkok Post


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make his first overseas trip next week to Myanmar for the Asean chairmanship, government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalap said Tuesday.

Gen Prayut accepted the Myanmar government’s invitation to visit the country on Oct 9-10 and the prime minister will use the opportunity to introduce himself and exchange views on bilateral issues, Dr Yongyuth said.

The premier also decided to attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Milan, Italy from Oct 16-17. Leaders from 51 Asian and European member states will attend. Gen Prayut will explain Thai political developments at the meeting.

The main topics for discussion with Myanmar’s leader during next week’s visit will be border cooperation and migrant worker and refugee issues, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Tuesday.

Gen Prayut is also expected to discuss the Dawei project — development of a deep-sea port, industrial estate and pipeline — with president Thein Sein. Talks at Asem will focus on economic issues, but climate change and the Ebola epidemic will also be on the table, Mr Sihasak said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sihasak hailed Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn’s trip to the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week as a success, saying the international community has regained confidence n Thailand.

Gen Tanasak, who is also deputy prime minister, received a warm welcome from United States Secretary of State John Kerry, according to Mr Sihasak.

“There was a report saying the secretary of state did not shake hands with Gen Tanasak, but this is not true as I witnessed their greeting,” he said.

Mr Kerry held talks with 10 Asean foreign ministers at the Asean-US meeting during the annual UNGA.

After his speech, Gen Tanasak held brief talks with several foreign representatives who expressed understanding over the political situation and urged Thailand to follow its roadmap to democracy.

“They understand the situation and want Thailand to have transparent politics as well as sustainable elections and assured us their support will continue,” Mr Sihasak said.

Gen Tanasak also met the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said he wanted to see the country return to practising peaceful politics.