Press Release : Intervention by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand At the Emerging Economies and Developing Countries Dialogue 5 September 2017, at Xiamen, People’s Republic of China news3

Press Release : Intervention by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand At the Emerging Economies and Developing Countries Dialogue 5 September 2017, at Xiamen, People’s Republic of China

Intervention by

H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

At the Emerging Economies and Developing Countries Dialogue

5 September 2017, at Xiamen, Peoples Republic of China

President Xi Jinping,

Excellencies,

1. It is my honour to join today’s dialogue and I thank China for inviting Thailand. This reaffirms China’s role as a bridge builder, following last year’s invitation to Thailand, as Chair of the G77, to attend the G20 Summit. This is an opportune time for Thailand to be a part of the connection between BRICS, ASEAN and developing countries during this time of global uncertainty and challenges. To achieve the UN 2030 Agenda, all countries must cooperate and no one must be left behind.

2. Anti-globalization has affected confidence in multilateralism and regionalism. However, Thailand believes that our respective policies - from  China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership, India’s Act East Policy, the African Union's Agenda 2063, Brazil’s Strategies for the Internalization and Localization of the 2030 Agenda and Egypt’s Vision 2030, all share the common objective of attaining SDG goals.

3. BRICS members and the 5 guest countries account for more than 46% of the global population, more than 30% of the world’s GDP and up to 46% of the world’s international reserves. Given such potential, we can create an open, just, and inclusive world where everyone can grow together. I believe, as so do we all, that we can build a complementary “Partnership for Development” with our combined potentials, diversity, and strengths, be it knowledge, expertise, capital, technology and resources for the people’s well-being, as well as regional and global peace and prosperity.

4. In this regard, I wish to share my views on 4 issues:

5. First, development must begin with building strength from within and, at the same time, ensure that our neighbours grow together. The key to sustainable development is self-reliance. Thailand adheres to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s sufficiency economy philosophy, or SEP, that highlights moderation, reason and resilience, based on wisdom and virtue. With this philosophy, my government has strengthened the country by emphasizing people-centered development policies that are economically, socially, and environmentally balanced, while upgrading infrastructure and prioritizing national reform. During our G77 chairmanship last year, we shared our SEP development experience and we stand ready to cooperate with BRICS to assist  third countries, through international cooperation and private sector engagement including public, private and people partnership. 

6. Thailand believes we have to prosper together with our neighbouring countries, ASEAN and the international community. Therefore, the “Thailand + 1” policy aims to expand investment and cooperation with our international partners to our neighbours by drawing upon each country’s strengths. 

7. Second, forging partnerships to enhance comprehensive connectivity is important to ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth. Such partnerships will help expand transportation and communication opportunities, access to education and businesses, as well as spread development and equal income distribution to all sectors, reducing gaps and uplifting people’s livelihoods. 

8. Thailand’s geographical location allows us to serve as a link between ASEAN and other regions.  We attach great importance to cooperation with all countries in infrastructure development and comprehensive connectivity for all, such as the development of the East-West Economic Corridor that is in line with India’s Act East policy, the North-South Economic Corridor, and the Eastern Economic Corridor, and advancing connectivity master plans in ASEAN and other platforms such as ACMECS, IORA and ACD. This complements China’s Belt and Road Initiative and will lead to connectivity for inclusive development in Asia and beyond. For example, the Thai-China high speed rail cooperation will enhance connectivity in accordance with the 2030 Vision for ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership.  

9. A key challenge in developing infrastructure is a stable source of funding. Thailand reiterates our recommendation at the BRICS and BIMSTEC Dialogue last year, on the importance of cooperation and coordination between development banks, including BRICS’ New Development Bank and AIIB as alternative sources of funding for developing countries with preferential loan conditions.

10. People-to-people connectivity is another key dimension for fostering understanding, reducing conflict and smoothening integration. Apart from promoting tourism and cultural exchanges, I propose that BRICS builds partnerships to develop smart human capital through educational cooperation, including vocational training, exchange programmes, and cooperation between educational institutions and the private sector. This will promote the capacity and skills of our workforce, to meet the demands of the market and digital society, while cooperation in R&D will allow appropriate and affordable transfer of technology.

11. BRICS can also play a leading role in promoting digital connectivity, including development of regulatory framework, infrastructure, data security and human capital. This will enhance closer people-to-people connectivity and expand trade and investment through e-commerce and Fintech, especially SMEs which makes up more than 90 per cent of the region’s business. 

12. In the next 5 years, Thailand will assume chairmanship of 3 important regional frameworks, namely: ACMECS, ASEAN, and APEC. Thailand stands ready to work in close partnership  with all countries towards strategic connectivity and to coordinate regional infrastructure planning which will nurture real intra- and inter-regional integration.

13. Third, partnership for development must bear in mind sustainability. Therefore, I commend and support BRICS’ determination to foster economic growth that goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection, by reaffirming the commitment under the Paris Agreement and enhancing cooperation in promoting, exchanging and developing new technology.

14. Fourth, every country has different economic and social foundations. Partnership must be mindful of stakeholders’ needs and constraints and make use of all channels including North-South, South-South and tripartite cooperation. In this regard, I am confident that the principle of good governance to which BRICS adheres will ensure mutual trust and successful cooperation.

Excellencies,

15. On this note, I thank BRICS for its leading role on reform of global economic governance and ensuring that globalization and the digital economy brings benefits to and are open and just for developing countries, as well as equipping our human resources for future changes. These efforts will create a conducive environment for development, as reflected in all 4 agenda items of BRICS this year.  I hope BRICS will focus on real implementation by prioritizing cooperation on practical activities, especially infrastructure, people and digital connectivity as well as developing countries’ access to funding.  Clear objectives for each year and effective evaluation will bring security, prosperity and sustainability for all regions and the world. 

16. Thank you.