Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha met with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Bangkok on Friday (18 Nov), signing agreements to expand diplomatic relations that were restored this year after more than three decades of downgraded ties.
The two leaders presided over the signing of five agreements, pledging to increase trade and investment between the two countries, promote tourism and deepen cooperation in energy.
Gen Prayut held bilateral talks with the crown prince on the sidelines of this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok. Saudi Arabia was invited as a guest of the APEC host country.
Ahead of the meetings, Deputy Government Spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek said, “Cooperation in trade, investment and labor is already underway.”
The two countries restored full diplomatic ties in January when the Thai premier visited Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the crown prince.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, “The restoration of ties has mutual benefits for both countries,” adding that investment, infrastructure and public health were important areas.
Ben Kiatkwankul, partner at government affairs advisory, Maverick Consulting Group, said Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify the economy away from oil into industries like food and agriculture, which makes Thailand a good partner. He added that Thailand stands to benefit from energy-related projects and medical tourism.
Since January, exchanges between the two countries have included an agreement between state-owned energy firms Saudi Aramco and Thailand’s PTT for cooperation in carbon capture and crude oil sourcing. In October, Thailand hosted the Saudi-backed circuit LIV Golf Invitational.
Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih in November also attended a business forum in Bangkok meeting agriculture firms like CP Foods. (NNT)