MANILA, Jan 19 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III pledged on Thursday to strengthen bilateral ties and expand broad-based cooperation.
Ms Yingluck and her entourage arrived at the Philippine capital Thursday morning and were welcomed by President Aquino at his official residence. The two leaders then had a discussion, followed by a one-hour plenary meeting.
At a joint news conference, the Thai premier thanked the Philippines for their warm welcome and for their assistance when Thailand faced the flood crisis, while expressing condolences regarding the recent flood in the Phillippines.
Ms Yingluck said she believed her travel to the country will strengthen the ties of both nations, as the Philippines and Thailand were co-founders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and have similar types of democracy and governance.
The success of the discussion will be based on the mutual benefits of the peoples of both countries and the region, she noted.
The Thai premier also asked for the Philippine president’s support to resolve double taxation, which is the main obstacle to Thai investors.
In addition, she also asked Manila to help the Thai private sector to invest more easily in the Philippines, while urging it to prepare the two countries’ fifth bilateral joint commission meeting to cooperate on matters of economy, education, drug problems and transnational criminals.
Concerning food security, the Philippines and Thailand are ready to join hands on the issue, particularly on rice, which Thailand stood ready to export more rice to the Philippines, according to Ms Yingluck.
The Thai premier also said Thailand is to support peace and security in South China Sea.
Both countries are determined to successfully create the ASEAN Community in 2015 in order to link with its member states and other countries, she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Aquino praised democracy in Thailand and said the Philippines is ready to cooperate with Thailand at both bilateral and multilateral levels such as in terms of stronger trade and investment as well as studies and joint natural disaster prevention between both nations.
As the Philippines is interested in importing Thai fruit, the president noted that obstacles to trade will be reduced and said he will assign his agriculture minister to visit Thailand to discuss reducing mutual trade barriers, particularly for agricuttural produce.
Mr Aquino hosted a luncheon at his residence for the Thai premier and her delegation, after which the group left for Thailand in the afternoon.