Regional Cooperation

Promoting Regional Co-operation

Thailandís geo-political position at the centre of the Asia-Pacific region gives it an important role to play in the regionís economic, social and political development. Thailand is especially important with regards her immediate neighbours and shares borders with Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. Thailand is committed to developing the full potential of this sub-region.

Trade and tourism are important income-generating activities for Thailand and this aspect dominated international relations in the region during 2000. In this regard, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) was the focus of attention. A common agreement was reached between Laos, Thailand, China and Myanmar on the use of the upper Mekong river for navigation. A similar kind of agreement was also made between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and India, for the joint promotion of the Mekong-Ganges in areas such as tourism education and culture.

Thailand also played an active role in the Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) scheme that promotes economic ties between countries in the Bay of Bengal area. In addition, she was involved in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum that encompasses over 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim.

Thailand was the Chair of the Standing Committee of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) from mid-1999 to mid-2000. Her chairmanship culminated in the successful holding of the annual ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Bangkok in July 2000, which included consultation sessions with foreign ministers of major developed countries on a wide range of issues. Thailand is also the chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministries (AEM) forum for a period of one year from October 2000 and was the host of the AEM meeting held in Chiang Mai in October 2000. Dialogue sessions with several major trading partners of ASEAN were held in conjunction with the meeting.

Furthermore, Thailand played host to the Annual Board of Governors meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which took place in May 2000, also in Chiang Mai.

All these events and factors are examples of Thailandís special place in the region and correspond to Thailandís regional focus and agenda, where it sees itself as the hub of the region, being able to benefit others through co-operation, whilst at the same time benefiting herself.


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