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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Thailand on Thursday, January 19, agreed to expand their “functional cooperation” on education, the fight against illegal drugs, and disaster risk reduction management.
Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra paid President Aquino a visit in Malacañang, where the held bilateral talks.
President Benigno Aquino III said that during their “fruitful and wide-ranging discussion” on regional and global issues, the Thai government would invite its investors to support the Philippines’ Public-Private Partnership Program.
She also said that Thailand is prepared to increase its rice exports to the Philippines. “Thailand is ready to export more rice to the Philippines,” Shinawatra said.
Shinawatra, 44, is the youngest sister of former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Prior to entering politics, she was a highly successful business executive, and was once the president of the country’s largest mobile phone operator.
Both countries are celebrating 63 years of bilateral ties.
Below is the statement of President Aquino on the visit:
On behalf of the Filipino people, I cordially welcome Her Excellency, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as well as her entire delegation. This is her first visit to the Philippines.
For sixty three years, the Philippines and Thailand have had a dynamic and fruitful partnership, one of the oldest and strongest bilateral relationships in Southeast Asia.
This morning, Prime Minister Shinawatra and I had very good discussions: it was an illuminating exchange of views on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest to both our countries.
The past year has been very uncertain for many countries around the globe. And now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work together to make sure that our region not only stays afloat, but also makes marked progress over the next few years. The challenge for our neighborhood is to maximize our gains, by strengthening trade liberalization and investment facilitation; and it comforts me that we have a partner like Thailand in this endeavor.
I believe the good Prime Minister will agree with me that the resilient economies of the Philippines and Thailand are the product of our shared commitment to free trade and investment. Our open markets have paved the way for the exchange of goods and services that have translated into billions of US dollars. Capital and investment are pouring in. Businesses are expanding beyond our borders.
The Prime Minister and I are pleased at the excellent economic relations of our countries. Thailand is one of the Philippines’ largest trading partners. Philippine companies, led by the San Miguel Corporation, the Universal Robina Corporation, and the Liwayway Food Corporation, also have active operations in Thailand, as I informed Prime Minister Shinawatra earlier today. And this dynamism also extends to our tourism sector: last year, the Philippines welcomed more than 30,000 Thai tourists, with each tourist arrival having a multiplier effect on the economy by stimulating local businesses and creating more job opportunities for my countrymen.
I also took the opportunity to invite Thai companies to invest in my government’s PPP program. The private sector is a vital partner in fulfilling our growth and development objectives. The government is committed to providing the enabling environment for private sector participation through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
Outside of our robust economic engagement, the Prime Minister and I agreed to further expand our functional cooperation in key areas such as education, combating drug trafficking, and disaster risk reduction and management. In this context, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thailand for its assistance to our country in the wake of the massive flooding, destruction and loss of lives wrought by typhoon Sendong.
On developments that impact on the stability and continued prosperity of our region, I discussed with Prime Minister Shinawatra the position of the Philippines on the issue of the West Philippine Sea (WPS). I reiterated our position that a rules-based approach is the only legitimate way to address the disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
The Prime Minister and I also had a fruitful exchange of views on our countries’ efforts towards ASEAN Community building. I underscored the Philippines’ commitment to building an ASEAN Community that is founded on the bedrock principle of compassion and respect for the rights and welfare of its peoples. I also informed the Prime Minister of the Philippines’ major advocacies in the ASEAN, which includes connectivity, maritime security, food security, migrant workers’ protection, disaster management and biodiversity. I was pleased to learn about Thailand’s own priorities, and to note synergy and congruence in our countries’ thrusts.
Finally, Prime Minister Shinawatra and I agreed to continue working toward enhancing our countries’ excellent partnership and productive engagement both in the bilateral and multilateral arena. On this matter, we both acknowledged the value of regular and sustained policy dialogue. We both look forward to Manila’s hosting of the 5th Meeting of the Philippines-Thailand Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), which will allow us to substantially discuss ways to further strengthen the implementation of our existing cooperation in the areas of energy, agriculture, defense and culture.
I am confident that our fruitful and auspicious meeting this morning will contribute greatly to ensuring further benefits to bilateral relations between the Filipinos and Thais.
Below is the statement of Prime Minister Shinawatra:
I wish to express my appreciation to His Excellency President [Benigno] Aquino III, the government and people of the Philippines for the warm welcome extended to me and my delegation during this visit. And also, on behalf of Thai people, we’d like to give our condolences to the people of the Philippines about the typhoon <late last> year.
This visit further enhances the close relationship between our two countries that our fellow Asean member states do share the value of democracy and rule of law. I am pleased to inform you that the President and I had fruitful and wide-ranging discussion on many matters of mutual interest as well as regional and global issues.
I express my appreciation for the kind assistance from the government of the Philippines and the Philippines’ allies to the victims of flood in Thailand last year. These floods remind us that we must work closely together to protect our people from national disasters.
I also congratulated the President on the success of the anti-corruption policy under his leadership. Thailand is ready to provide support to Thai investors who wish to invest in the Philippines under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs.
On bilateral issues, the President and I are satisfied with the result of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), the program on the setting up of the energy forums and cooperation on education, narcotic preventions and transnational crimes. We are pleased that the draft convention on the avoidance of the double taxation and the prevention of the fiscal —- with the respect of the tax and incomes is expected to be signed at the next meeting of the joint commission.
Thailand appreciates the Philippines’ high support for Thai investors and willingness to remove some of restrictions on trade and investment. Thailand is also ready to export more rice to the Philippines as part of our cooperation on food security.
Both our two countries reaffirm our commitment to Asean communities in 2015 and to promote connectivity in the regions. Together, we hope to create an Asean community that is people-centered, centered to the regional architecture and plays important role in global affairs.
Lastly, to ensure a concrete outcome, I have assigned the minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Ambassador of Thailand to the Philippines to follow up on our discussion today. Thank you very much for your kind attention. Thank you. – Rappler.com