สุนทรพจน์ : คำกล่าวเปิดการประชุมคณะกรรมาธิการร่วมว่าด้วยความร่วมมือทวิภาคีไทย – รัสเซีย ครั้งที่ ๗ โดยนายดอน ปรมัตถ์วินัย รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ เมื่อวันที่ ๒๗ ธันวาคม ๒๕๖๑ ศูนย์ข่าว กต.

สุนทรพจน์ : คำกล่าวเปิดการประชุมคณะกรรมาธิการร่วมว่าด้วยความร่วมมือทวิภาคีไทย – รัสเซีย ครั้งที่ ๗ โดยนายดอน ปรมัตถ์วินัย รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ เมื่อวันที่ ๒๗ ธันวาคม ๒๕๖๑

Opening Remarks
by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand,
at the Meeting of the Seventh Session of the Joint Thai-Russian Commission on Bilateral Cooperation
27 December 2018 
 
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Your Excellency Mr. Denis Manturov, Co-Chairman of the Joint Commission,
Distinguished Delegates,
 
On behalf of the Thai delegation, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Your Excellency and members of the Russian delegation to Thailand. I believe you find this JC meeting well timed as it provides a good opportunity for you all to briefly escape from the icy winds of Moscow.  
 
It is no exaggeration to say that in the past 4 years, Thai-Russian relations have been very dynamic as manifest in high-level exchanges of visits and meetings seen nearly every year. Prime Minister Medvedev visited Thailand in 2015 while Prime Minister Prayut visited Russia in 2016. Moreover, Prime Minister Prayut and President Putin met twice on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in 2017 and most recently in Singapore this past November on the sidelines of the East Asia and ASEAN-Russia Summits where several issues were satisfactorily discussed that did lay the ground work for our further cooperation as well as for today’s meeting.  
 
And of course, another of our relation’s recent highlights was the celebration of 120 years of diplomatic relations and friendships between our two countries last year when Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn paid a visit to Russia and when Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov paid an official visit to Thailand. 
 
Today’s meeting is another one of our highlights, and I am very pleased to co-chair this meeting with Your Excellency, as it provides us with yet another opportunity to consolidate progress in our push for the realisation of a strategic partnership. 
 
Mr. Co-Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
 
Our bilateral relations today have become very comprehensive, covering a wide range of issues. This is well exemplified by the several sub-commissions and working groups that we have, encompassing cooperation on economic matters and trade, agriculture, finance and banking, environmental protection, tourism, energy, military and security. More than 30 agreements have also been signed covering a diverse range of issues, half of which were signed during the past 5 years.
 
The Joint Commission, in which there is representation from various government agencies, is therefore an excellent mechanism to take stock of our relations thus far, and to discuss ways and means to achieve further concrete outcomes for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples. 
 
Three and a half years have elapsed since our last Joint Commission meeting in Moscow in 2015. Much has been achieved during this long gap between our Joint Commission sessions. But much also remains to be done, not least the achievement of our set target of bilateral trade turnover of 10 billion USD by 2020. Our latest trade statistics show that during the past 9 months of this year, our trade reached 2.6 billion USD, an increase of nearly 30 percent from the same period last year. So one of our main tasks today is to find ways to close this remaining gap of more than 7 billion USD to reach our set target within the next two years.  
 
Another important task is to ensure that the complementarities between our two economies be realised to their full potential. Russia’s advancements in science, technology and innovation would significantly contribute to Thailand’s striving for innovation-based economic development and successful implementation of our Thailand 4.0 policy. 
 
We also welcome Russian investments and cooperation in the development of our Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) as well as in our target industries such as nanotechnology, electronics and computer technologies, energy, aerospace, transport and defence. The visit by Russia’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development along with 51 major business representatives to Thailand this past February is a good starting point for such collaboration.
 
On our part, Thailand, as a major food producer and exporter, stands ready to cooperate with Russia to help ensure food security. Thailand’s strategic location on mainland Southeast Asia as well as our potential connectivity hub, linking Southeast Asia with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, could be fully utilised by Russia to serve as its gateway to the greater ASEAN market. With Russia’s support, the conclusion of an FTA between Thailand and the EAEU would significantly boost our trade and economic cooperation to their full potential. Thailand could and should become the lynchpin of Russia’s Turn to the East policy, at least towards ASEAN.   
 
This is particularly true for next year when Thailand is the ASEAN Chair. We hope to welcome Russian delegates from the highest level and stand ready to work closely with our Russian partners to enhance the Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Russia. To this end, we look forward to welcoming President Putin next year, which would provide strong impetus to the elevation of not only ASEAN-Russian relations but also Thai-Russian relations to a strategic level.   
  
These are challenging tasks but I am certain that with our joint efforts and strong determination, they can be done. And I am also confident that with the continued mutual goodwill and friendship between our two countries and peoples, Thai-Russian relations will continue to flourish far into the future.