Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thai PM to first focus on Asean leaders

Nantida Puangthong
The Nation - September 5, 2014

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha would give priority to Asean countries when he embarks on overseas trips to introduce himself, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said yesterday.

The Foreign Ministry is consulting the prime minister on the schedule for his trip, he said.

There are plenty of international meetings - the Asia-Europe Meeting in Italy in the middle of October as well as the United Nations General Assembly late this month and Asean Summit later this year, he said.

"We are looking for convenience and the schedule of leaders of countries the prime minister should visit," Sihasak told reporters.

Foreign Minister Tanasak Patima-pragorn also needs to plan his introductory visit to neighbouring countries, he said. Tanasak is scheduled to visit China's Nanning for the Asean-China Expo in the middle of September, he said. The China trip would be Tanasak's first overseas visit as foreign minister.

Tanasak, who is also deputy chief of the junta's National Council for Peace and Order, is considering whether to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York late this month, Sihasak said.

"The UN conference would be a good opportunity for the minister to explain political developments in the country and the government's roadmap as well as meet foreign counterparts," he said.

Sihasak, who was in Tokyo for the Asean-Japan Forum meeting, said Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida had sent a letter of congratulations to Tanasak on his appointment as foreign minister.

Japan understood the political situation in Thailand and expressed satisfaction with the government's economic adjustment, he said after a bilateral meeting with Kishida.

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