During 13-14 November 2012 Her Excellency Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, paid an official visit to the United Kingdom at the invitation of the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Thai Prime Minister was accompanied by key members of the Thai Cabinet, namely Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Commerce, Minister of Industry, Minister of Transport, senior officials, and CEOs from prominent Thai enterprises.
On 13th November the Thai Prime Minister had an audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On 14th November the two Prime Ministers held bilateral discussions and exchanged views on various matters of mutual interest, bilaterally, regionally and globally. Both sides noted with satisfaction the increasing contacts and activities at all levels and in all dimensions of bilateral relations. They agreed to intensify efforts to elevate the already excellent state of their relations to an even higher plain.
To this end, both leaders have agreed to the establishment of a “Strategic Dialogue” as a high-level, consultative forum to set and monitor the future direction for their bilateral cooperation in all areas. This new mechanism will also serve as a concrete platform for both sides to exchange views on regional and multilateral issues and will be convened on a regular basis between high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, at a venue to be alternated between Thailand and the United Kingdom. To give a further boost to this new mechanism, the Thai Prime Minister expressed her kind offer for Thailand to play host to the first Dialogue at the time to be mutually agreed upon by both sides.
The two Prime Ministers also welcomed increasing two-way trade and investment, highlighted by the long-established presence and active role of the British private sector in Thailand which has made a significant contribution to this growth, making the UK Thailand’s second largest trading partner and one of the top three foreign investors from the European Union. The UK side also welcomed growing interest from the Thai private sector to expand investments in the United Kingdom. Both leaders welcomed progress made on the Thai-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and expressed their optimism that an early negotiation of an FTA will be beneficial for both sides. They also underlined their commitment to develop further partnerships both at the public and private levels in areas of mutual interest.
Both sides agreed to work together to share expertise and best practice in flood prevention, and to this end the UK offered to fund four senior Thai officials to attend a flood risk management course at Cranfield University.
Both leaders also agreed to promote further people-to-people contacts between the two countries. To this end, the Thai Prime Minister stressed Thailand’s commitment to ensuring safety and hospitality for foreign tourists. To facilitate a greater volume of exchanges, the British Prime Minister has announced that from 1 December 2012 student applicants will be able to access the priority visa service, which is already available to Thai business people and general visitors.
Both leaders expressed appreciation towards expanding cooperation in the area of education, especially on-going projects between the Ministry of Education of Thailand and the British Council on the English Language Teaching Assistance Programme, and Provision of English Language Applications for tablet PCs provided for school children by the Thai Government. They are confident that such collaborations will help prepare Thai workforce for ASEAN Community in 2015.
Moreover, both leaders welcomed the political and economic developments in Myanmar/Burma and underlined the need for the international community to further promote developments there.
Both leaders recognised the importance of ASEAN to regional peace and stability and the dynamism and economic potential of ASEAN’s 600 million population, Thailand’s potential to serve as a gateway to the region, and the role of the UK-ASEAN Business Council in increasing the UK’s trade and investment links.
As Thailand and the United Kingdom share similar values, the two leaders agreed to work more closely to tackle global challenges, such as transnational crimes, counter terrorism, maritime security, and climate change. Both sides reaffirmed their support for the ongoing reform of the United Nations and its principle organs with a view to making the United Nations more efficient and transparent. Thailand commended the United Kingdom for her role in the process to develop a successor framework to the MDGs and expressed her readiness to collaborate with the international community towards such goals.
The Prime Minister of Thailand conveyed her deep gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom and its people for the excellent hospitality extended to her and the Thai delegation. She extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to visit Thailand in the near future.