More active ASEAN role, balanced ties with superpowers expected under Pita
A new government under the leadership of Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat will see Thailand play a more active role in ASEAN and on the international stage, according to an academic in charge of foreign affairs of the party.
Thailand will move away from the current government’s practice of “quiet diplomacy” in dealing with the crisis in Myanmar and will balance its relations with China and the west, said Fuadi Pitsuwan.
Fuadi is known as one of the architects of Move Forward Party’s foreign policy which Pita on Monday said revolves around the 3-Rs of “revive, rebalance, and recalibrate”.
Pita, who is forming an eight-party coalition in the aftermath of his party’s stunning election victory on May 14, said he has appointed Fuadi, son of late Thai foreign minister and ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan, to take charge of his party’s foreign affairs.
Fuadi is a well-known international affairs expert and was actively involved in activities opposing the military coup and its legacy. Pita was his senior at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Speaking to Thai PBS World on Tuesday, Fuadi said that Thailand needs to revive its role in ASEAN. “Thailand needs to play a more active role in dealing with problems confronting the region, especially the crisis in Myanmar and the PM2.5 pollution,” he said.
Fuadi said that in the aftermath of the 2014 coup, Thailand was shunned by western countries and was seen as leaning more toward China. “We need to rebalance our relations with these countries by moving toward the center. Now we have more foreign policy and diplomacy tools. We have more options,” he said
By recalibrating its foreign policy, Fuadi said Thailand will seek to play a more active role on the international stage. “It could be in the areas of environment and climate change,” he said.
Commenting on what is known as “quiet diplomacy” pursued by the current Prayut government in dealing with the crisis in Myanmar, Fuadi said Thailand needs to make its voice heard more forcefully.
“There are times when you should stay quiet. But there are times when you should not be quiet. From now on, we should not be as quiet as we used to be. We can speak out on the basis of our democratic values,” he said, adding that Thailand is now in a position to reprimand the military junta in Myanmar and at the same time work with the diverse groups of those opposed to the regime.
During the press conference on Monday, Move Forward leader Pita said Thailand needs to be more vocal on some issues. “No words, no weight,” he said.
Fuadi said he was one of the over 50 people who helped formulate policies for the party.
“We brainstormed for over a year both off-line and on-line to come up with the set of policies for the party,” he said.