French President Macron accepts invitation to APEC meeting in Thailand

President of France Emmanuel Macron sent a letter to Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday confirming his attendance at the upcoming Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok next month from November 18-19.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thanee Saengrat confirmed Macron’s attendance this morning. In the letter, Macron said he was looking forward to meeting PM Prayut. It is the first time Macron will visit Thailand since taking on the role as French PM in 2017.

President Macron is a “special guest” at the event. France is not a member of APEC but Macron was invited to the summit by virtue of the country’s strong economic ties with APEC nations. Similar to how PM Prayut was previously invited to attend the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, despite Thailand not being a G20 member.

The UK and India were both invited to the summit despite not being APEC members due to their strong trade ties with Thailand. However, both countries cannot make it.

Cambodia is not an APEC member. However, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is probably hoping no one throws a shoe at him this time, has also officially confirmed his attendance in Bangkok next month.

Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud will potentially be in attendance. After all, he will be in southeast Asia attending the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, from November 15 -16.

The United States is a member of APEC. However, US President Joe Biden will not be attending the meeting because he has plans to attend his granddaughter’s wedding at the White House on November 19. The US is sending Vice President Kamala Harris to represent the US instead.

US leaders have a habit of sending officials to global leader summits in lieu of themselves. Former US President Donald Trump sent Secretary Vice President Mike Pence to attend the APECLM in Papua New Guinea in his place in 2018. Trump also sent a non-cabinet official to the ASEAN summit in his place in 2019. In 2013, Barrack Obama sent US Secretary of State John Kerry to attend the APECLM meeting held in Bali, Indonesia.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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