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Diplomacy is National Might

An article by Bhumarat Taksadipong published in Post Today on 15 March 2018 talks about the official visit to Italy, Belgium and the EU of Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in early March. He pointed out that diplomacy is one of the effective means to pursue national security and Thailand has been successfully using it to safeguard national survival and interest since the 19th century.

The recent visit of the Foreign Minister was made possible after the EU resumed normal relations with Thailand in December 2017 following a 3-year suspension of high level contact. However, it should be noted that during the said period, relations at other levels proceeded as usual since both sides have mutual interests across several sectors. Thailand also constructively served as coordinator between ASEAN and EU, which contributed to the drafting of a 5-Year Action Plan and the resumption of negotiation of the ASEAN-EU FTA. The author believes that the political development in Thailand was one major factor considered by the EU in normalizing relations with Thailand.

In his meeting with dignitaries of the EU, Foreign Minister Don informed the progress of Thailand’s implementation to resolve Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and its intention to protect the rights of labourers in the fishing industry. The author cited a report of the ILO that surveyed and interviewed foreign labourers in 14 provinces which indicated that there is much progress in tackling the problem on 4 issues, namely lesser cases of violence against labourers, lesser cases of underage labourers, higher wage for labourers, and at least 43% of foreign labourers already have written work contract.

As for relations with the US, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has met the US President on many occasions. Other high ranking American representatives have also paid their visits to Thailand. This demonstrates the strategic significance of Thailand in the region.

Source: Post Today, 15 March 2018

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