Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, led a pivotal assembly of the country’s most distinguished envoys recently. The seat of this significant gathering was none other than Thailand’s cosmopolitan heart, Bangkok. Hosted annually, the meeting saw 97 of Thailand’s eminent ambassadors, consul generals, and heads of Thai permanent missions congregating from 97 different countries. This concerted conference serves as an essential platform for Thai diplomats to shape and manoeuvre foreign policy in alignment with the nation’s interests, especially when the world appears to be evidently divided.
Commencing on a Monday and culminating on Friday, the forum witnessed intensive discussions and brainstorming sessions. The core objective lies in comprehending the government’s foreign policy and formulating a robust action scheme for the years 2024 and 2025. Parnpree underlined the crucial themes to be discussed, encompassing proactive economic diplomacy, trade, the enhancement of soft power, and other significant topics like land bridge megaprojects and green industries. The target was to derive insights that can prove beneficial for driving foreign policy initiatives that have real and measurable outcomes.
Bahiddha-Nukara expressed his optimism regarding the outcome of the forum. As he sees it, the goal is to aid Thailand to pinpoint its most effective stance in a polarised international landscape to best protect its national interests. Furthermore, he emphasised that simply executing customary tasks isn’t sufficient for a country like Thailand, standing firm on its commitment to adopt a proactive approach for effective results. Minister Parnpree radiated assurance that the path of proactive economic diplomacy would serve as a robust mechanism to propel economic growth and uplift the populace’s well-being. He also acknowledges the increased awareness of foreign affairs among Thai residents.
The theme of the forum, ‘proactive diplomacy in a polarised world’, aimed to shed light on diverse matters that required the application of foreign policy proficiency in the context of the increasingly divided and competitive global landscape. For instance, on Tuesday, various themes such as the Thai-US relationship, the evacuation of Thai workers amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the creative economy were up for discussion.
Later in the week, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made a noteworthy contribution by explaining policies and discussing the international challenges and opportunities for Thailand. The revival of the Saudi Arabia market, connectivity and collaboration in the Mekong subregion, and the Thai entertainment industry’s presence in Mexico and Peru were among the long list of subjects discussed.
Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai announced that overseas commercial counsellors would be present at the forum with a workshop scheduled for Thursday. This workshop was planned to include representatives from the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers’ Association, and the Thai National Shippers Council. Phumtham emphasised the importance of coordinating with Chinese trade officials in various provinces for further trade cooperation discussions.
With such a proactive approach to handling foreign affairs, Thailand seems poised to make its distinctive mark in the global arena while ensuring the prosperity and well-being of its citizens. All eyes are now on the results that this high-profile forum will yield in the coming days.