Thailand pledges peace talks to address Myanmar conflict

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Thailand’s newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs has underscored the country’s commitment to fostering peaceful dialogue to address the conflict in Myanmar.

During the Meet the Press#1 event held yesterday, Maris Sangiampongsa shared his foreign policy agenda under the banner Ignite Thailand, Re-ignite Thai Diplomacy. He stressed the significance of maintaining strong relationships with neighbouring countries to bolster Thailand’s stability, citing the Myanmar crisis as a direct threat to border security.

“Our foreign policy on neighbouring countries should focus on mutual peace, which would create a collaborative effort to seek mutual benefits.”

Maris highlighted the impact of the Myanmar conflict on the Thailand-Myanmar border and expressed Thailand’s desire for peace in Myanmar to restore border security and mitigate the conflict’s effects on Thailand.

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“We have to prioritise Myanmar in the security area. Furthermore, we want to be a key player in making sure a peace dialogue happens to solve the problem in Myanmar effectively.”

Maris also noted the importance of humanitarian assistance, stressing that it must be accepted by all parties involved.

“We want to see the fighting stop and it is our most important concern. Still, we have to keep in mind that this issue is fragile and needs to be worked on slowly.”

In addition to addressing security concerns, Maris pointed out the need for collaboration with Myanmar on issues such as illegal businesses, call centre scams, and drug trafficking.

Myanmar conflict

Thailand’s foreign policy will also focus on the Six Countries, One Destination initiative to enhance cooperation in tourism among neighbouring countries. Maris believes that Thailand can leverage its soft power policy to promote integration and creativity in tourism efforts, which could help maintain peace and foster good relationships with neighbouring nations.

He mentioned that Laos, often dubbed the battery of Asia, could be a partner in renewable energy projects involving wind energy, solar energy, and hydroelectricity. Malaysia, on the other hand, is seen as a crucial ally in achieving peace in southern Thailand and along the Thailand-Malaysia border. Maris anticipates that collaboration in the southern special economic zone will strengthen ties and boost economic development for both countries.

For Cambodia, Maris announced plans to open the Royal Thai Consulate General in Siem Reap and promote cooperation in systematic logistic management.

Maris also aims to rebuild Thailand’s trust within the international community through a business-led approach.

“Thailand disappeared from the world’s radar for a long time because of our internal political conflicts, and it needs to regain the trust of international communities. We have lost many opportunities, wasted time, and the country’s true potential.”

To restore Thailand’s global standing, Maris emphasised the importance of trade and investment, particularly through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. He plans to visit these emerging economies to lay the groundwork for successful negotiations by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, reported Bangkok Post.

“These countries have strong economic potential. I will try to visit those emerging economies and lay the foundation to ensure the success of PM Srettha’s negotiations during his visits to those markets.”

He also introduced the Friends from Thailand initiative, aimed at increasing the role of Thais in people-to-people diplomacy. Maris concluded by reiterating that trade, investment, and business would be the main focus areas for regaining international trust.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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