11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha strongly advised Asia to be a strong advocate for sustainability, to be a more inclusive society and to be more resilient, noting that growth will be meaningless without being sustainable in today’s world, where growth is fragile, as he attended the 27th International Conference on the Future of Asia (Nikkei Forum) in Tokyo today (Thursday).

He said that he believes that economic recovery must go hand in hand with efforts to balance all things to achieve sustainability.

In his speech, the prime minister said that he wanted to share three things which Thailand believes Asia, as a whole, can use to transcend the status quo, while ensuring peace and security in the region.

Asian countries, he said, must keep their markets open and inclusive, to drive economic growth, and growth is possible when countries in the region are capable of timely adaptation to any disruptions or uncertainties, adding that Asia must continue to support a rules-based multilateral trading system and safeguard a free, fair and open trade and investment environment.

As far as Thailand is concerned, he said his government will continue to improve the business environment, to support trade and the environment while promoting competitiveness.

Thailand, he said, will continue to support a multilateral system, pointing out that APEC is another forum at which Thailand can show support as the APEC host this year.

As host, the prime minister said that, as the first priority, Thailand will encourage APEC to hold talks on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and, secondly, connect APEC in all respects, such as the APEC Safe Passage Task Force, to find ways to resume safe and seamless cross-border travel and, thirdly, balance all aspects for the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth.

Before presenting his vision for Asia, the prime minister explained why he decided to attend the Nikkei Forum in person this year.

First, he said Thailand regards Japan as a true friend.

Secondly, he said Thailand and Japan have enjoyed close economic relations, with Japan being the country’s second largest trading partner and, thirdly, Thailand is hosting APEC this year.

With Thailand as host, Cambodia as ASEAN chair and Indonesia as G20 president, the prime minister said this is a unique opportunity for the three to strive to work with their partners and other stakeholders to ensure a spirit of mutual cooperation for the benefit of all.

As Thailand is current country coordinator for ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations, the prime minister said the country is ready to work with Japan and other ASEAN member countries, to further strengthen their strategic partnerships.

The prime minister attended the Nikkei Forum last year via teleconference. This is his third in-person visit to Japan since 2019, when he attended the coronation of the Emperor of Japan.