Thai PM in Singapore on seventh ASEAN circuit visit

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BANGKOK, Dec 8 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday made her official one-day introductory visit to Singapore, the seventh country of the 10-nation circuit to all Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to strengthen bilateral ties and closer cooperation after assuming office in August.

She earlier visited Myanmar, the Lao PDR, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Ms Yingluck and her entourage left Suvarnabhumi Airport for Changi International Airport by a Royal Thai Air Force aircraft.

Upon her arrival, the Thai premier was to go to the National Orchid Garden inside the Singapore Botanical Gardens, where an orchid will be named in her honour.

Then, she will attend an official welcome ceremony at the Istana, the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, before meeting with her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.

They are expected to discuss the close ties between the two countries that cover trade and investment.

The two leaders will strengthen the existing bilateral mechanism for stronger relations including the Prime Ministerial Retreat and the Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship (STEER)

STEER was launched by former prime minister Goh Chok Tong and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra when Mr Goh visited Thailand Feb 18-20, 2002 to promote closer economic cooperation between Singapore and Thailand. Under the agreement, Thai and Singapore agencies would meet regularly to foster closer economic integration and cooperation.

Ms Yingluck, Mr Thaksin’s sister, will take this opportunity to affirm Thailand’s readiness to cooperate with Singapore bilaterally and multilaterally to achieve mutual goals on establishment the ASEAN Community in 2015.

The Thai premier is scheduled to call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam who was elected Singapore’s seventh president on Aug 27.

Ms Yingluck will attend an official dinner hosted by Mr Lee before returning to Thailand.