Travel to Russia
On August 9-10, Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov will pay a working visit to Thailand at the invitation of Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Don Pramudwinai.
During his visit, Mr Lavrov will conduct talks with his counterpart Mr Pramudwinai and meet with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. He will also visit the Grand Palace to sign the book of condolences in remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The foreign ministers of the two countries will discuss in detail bilateral cooperation and prospects for enhancing it, with emphasis on implementing the agreements reached at the top level in the past few years, and compare their positions on urgent international and regional issues.
Russian-Thai relations are based on the long-standing traditions of friendship and are distinguished by a high level of trust and mutual support. A programme of events, including performances by artists, exhibitions and the joint issue of stamps, has been prepared to celebrate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The programme reflects the long-standing relations and traditions of mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries.
Bilateral cooperation is making steady headway. The two countries are deepening their political dialogue and expanding contacts between their legislative bodies, ministries and departments.
During Mr Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s talks with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi on May 19, 2016 and his meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on May 18, 2016, the sides confirmed their commitment to turn bilateral cooperation into strategic partnership, and determined its priorities.
Mutual coordination of efforts in the United Nations and other multilateral organisations and forums is an important component of bilateral relations. It is based on coinciding or similar positions on the majority of urgent global issues, primarily, the formation of a new structure of security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region. Russia and Thailand intend to continue working together at different venues, including the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
The two countries intend to deepen their economic and investment cooperation. The leading role in this respect belongs to the Russian-Thai Mixed Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, which is co-chaired on the Russian side by Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov. The meetings of its working bodies in the first half of this year confirmed the sides’ interest in implementing mutually beneficial projects in different areas of economic cooperation. The commission will hold a regular meeting before the end of this year.
In January-May 2017, bilateral trade increased by 41 per cent to reach $726 million. Minerals, chemicals, metals and metal products dominate Russia’s exports to Thailand. Imports include machines and equipment, chemical and food products, and agricultural raw materials.
The two countries are paying much attention to educational exchanges in humanitarian cooperation. Their leading universities have established direct contacts. Recently, Russian universities have been accepting dozens of Thai citizens a year. (In all, we have about 200 Thai students, including a hundred under a government agreement.) In the 2017-18 academic year, Russian universities plan to admit another 34 Thai citizens at the federal budget’s expense.
The Russian Centre is actively operating in Thailand under the aegis of the Russian World Foundation. Talks on opening a Russian Centre for Science and Culture are underway.
The number of Russian tourists in Thailand is steadily increasing. About 489,000 Russian citizens visited Thailand in the first quarter of 2017, which is 44 percent more than in the same period of 2016. The planned opening of the Russian Consulate on Phuket Island and the establishment of the Honorary Consulate on Samui Island will facilitate tourism growth.
Mr Lavrov’s visit to Thailand aims to enhance positive dynamics in bilateral relations, which fully meets the long-term interests of our countries and promotes the security and steady development of South East Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region as a whole.