Russia-Thailand: a way to new heights

Contribution to 120th anniversary of Russian-Thai diplomatic relations

Article of H.E. Mr. Igor Morgulov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, published in "The Nation" on June 6, 2017


Russia-Thailand: a way to new heights

Russia and Thailand share long-standing friendship. In 2017, we are celebrating the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and looking back at the history of friendship between the Russian Emperor Nicolas II and King Rama V of Siam.

In Russia, we highly value such a long-time relationship with Thailand. Frankly speaking, throughout its history, we have witnessed both ups and downs in our bilateral cooperation, but the most important thing is that during the difficult times we have always supported each other.

Today, having gained a significant momentum, these relations are on the rise. Both sides have reached an agreement to build bilateral cooperation with a view to upgrading it to the level of strategic partnership.

There are solid grounds for that. Moscow and Bangkok are united in their commitment to the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and non-interference in internal affairs. We share common or close approaches to the key global and regional problems, including combating new challenges and threats. The Russian-Thai relations are characterized by mutual respect and substantial political dialogue. In 2003, President Vladimir Putin paid a state visit to Thailand. In 2007, he welcomed Her Majesty Queen Sirikit in Moscow. Time and again Russia has been visited by other members of the Thai royal family. In May last year in Sochi, President Putin had a meeting with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. 

Heads of our governments established intensive contacts too – over the last two years Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and General Prayut have exchanged official visits. They also met twice on the sidelines of international meetings. Regular exchange of delegations has become a usual business on all fronts.

Thailand is one of Russia’s key trade partners in Southeast Asia. Mutual trade has been showing strong growth trend recently, growing 18 percent since the beginning of the year. Investment cooperation is also growing steadily. Energy and financial cooperation is gaining momentum. We share a common desire to develop science and technology. Our countries have many talented scholars and engineers and I am confident that by joining our efforts we can achieve even more spectacular progress in moving economies of Russia and Thailand to innovative path.

Thailand is a favorite tourism destination of Russian citizens. Last year 1.1 million Russians visited the Kingdom, while that flow increased by 37 per cent in the first quarter this year. The number of Thai nationals visiting our country and getting acquainted with its history and culture is also on the rise. 

More than 30 events and activities in both Bangkok and Moscow are planned to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, including numerous exhibitions, touring theater companies, fairs, sporting events, scientific seminars and conferences. What is very important is that the anniversary events are being arranged not only by governments of the two countries, but also by regional authorities, universities, creative teams, non-governmental organizations. The celebration is truly national in scope!

I am confident that a very good year for Russian-Thai relations lies ahead of us and I wish all our Thai friends peace and further prosperity.

Igor Morgulov
Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia

 

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