Prime Minister Srettha recently opened up about his initial experiences in office during a candid interview with The Nation’s TV news channel. Reflecting on his first two months as the head of the state, he revealed an intense schedule filled with significant conclusion and diplomatic exchanges with several leaders of neighbouring countries.
The intent of these international dialogues was not solely for the purpose of strengthening ties but was also a significant part of a broader strategy. This strategy revolved around mobilising foreign investment into Thailand’s growing economy, and took PM Srettha on a whirlwind tour of Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong to rally investors.
The Thai Prime Minister described his interactions with China’s President Xi Jinping as particularly insightful. These conversations pertained mainly to infrastructural development across the Asean region and possible future links extending all the way to Europe and Africa. Srettha underscored the importance of proposing innovative ventures, specifically in developing high-speed trains between Laos and Thailand, to promote regional connectivity.
PM Srettha also elaborated on the mega ‘Land Bridge’ project in Southern Thailand. It is hoped that this bold endeavour will amplify Thailand’s strategic geographical advantage, luring multinational companies to shift their production bases to Thailand.
Discussing his interactions with Asean leaders, Srettha shared that many discussions corresponded with his government’s policy initiatives aimed at stimulating investment and job creation. The goal is to expand the Thai economy by an ambitious 5% in the coming decade.
When queried about his upcoming itinerary, Prime Minister Srettha confirmed his visit to Laos on October 30th. Following this, he will journey to San Francisco on November 12th to partake in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, aiming to lure more foreign investors towards Thailand. Referring to his reputation as the ‘salesman’, Srettha emphasised the importance of maintaining mutually respectful relationships with all countries.
The conversation also veered into the haunting conflict between Israel and Hamas. PM Srettha expressed genuine sympathy for the lives lost, mentioning that Thailand has been in dialogue with Thai business groups, chambers of commerce, and industry associations regarding assistance and security for Thai workers. He shared that, tragically, thirty Thai nationals have succumbed to the hostilities initiated by Hamas against Israel.
Addressing the prickly subject of deploying private negotiators, Srettha voiced the sensitivity surrounding this issue and assured that measures are in place to liberate Thai hostages. He highlighted Thailand’s tireless efforts, both in public and behind-the-scenes, to repatriate Thai workers. He conveyed the collective longing of the stranded nationals to return home and expressed his anticipation of substantial progress by October 23rd.