Thai PM leaves Bangkok for official visit to Australia

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BANGKOK, May 26 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left Bangkok this morning for an official visit to Australia during May 26-29 as a guest of the Australian Government and as part of activities celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Australia.

The premier was accompanied by Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, Industry Minister Pongsawat Svasti as well as a group of prominent Thai businessmen.

The purpose of the visit is to enhance Thai-Australia strategic partnership across a full range of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, energy security, food security, exchanges in science and technology, as well as to reassure all stakeholders of Thailand’s political stability and economic growth.

Furthermore, the prime minister will meet with the Thai community in Sydney, to listen to the views and problems faced by Thai businesses in the food industry in particular. This is to foster the government’s policy of “Thailand: Kitchen to the World”.

Most importantly, during the visit, Prime Minister Yingluck will meet with Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and relevant ministers to follow-up on the development of Thai-Australian relations.

Both Thai and Australian premiers will discuss cooperation in regional and international frameworks, particularly with ASEAN and the East Asia Summit (EAS). Moreover, both leaders would witness the signing of a Joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Education and Training and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Young Political Leaders’ Exchange Program which will further strengthen ties between the two peoples.

In addition, Thai business figures from PTTEP, Baan Pu, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating, Loxley, Mitr Phol, CP Group, Surapon Foods, CENTRAL Group, as well as the Federation of Thai Industries and the Board of Trade of Thailand will be meeting their Australian counterparts.

The Prime Minister will also meet with corporate leaders from major Australian industries including Bluescope Steel, Kingsgate (Mining), Australia-New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) and leading companies in the auto-parts industry.

The visit to Australia of PM Yingluck is viewed as symbolising the strengthening of relations at the leader level. The last visit to Australia by a Thai prime minister was by Thaksin Shinawatra in 2004 to sign the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).