Thailand, N. Zealand ink MoUs on education, aviation cooperation

Srettha welcoming Luxon whose visit marks the first visit of a New Zealand prime minister to Thailand in 11 years. - The Nation/ANN

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday (April 17) welcomed his New Zealand counterpart Christopher Luxon to Government House in Bangkok on Luxon’s official visit to Thailand, the second stop of his South-East Asian mission.

Srettha and Luxon then witnessed the signing of the two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between Thai and New Zealand agencies.

They are an agreement between Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission and New Zealand’s Massey University, and an agreement on supply, repair and maintenance support between Thai Aviation Industries Ltd and New Zealand’s NZSkydive Ltd.

In the joint press conference that followed, Srettha said he was honoured to welcome Luxon and his delegation, which marks the first visit of a New Zealand prime minister to Thailand in 11 years.

Srettha said he and Luxon engaged in a comprehensive and constructive discussion, along with a very fruitful exchange of views with the New Zealand business delegation, with the shared objective to increase cooperation and expand partnership between the two countries.

Srettha said both parties agreed to elevate Thailand-New Zealand relations to a “strategic partnership” by 2026 or sooner, which will mark the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

He added that Thailand and New Zealand also committed to strengthen defence and security cooperation under the Thailand-New Zealand Defence Cooperation Plan, deepen cooperation to tackle transnational organised crime, especially on human and drug trafficking, cybersecurity, as well as countering terrorism and violent extremism.

The two governments agreed to intensify economic cooperation through setting a goal to triple two-way trade by 2045. This will coincide with the Thailand-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership (TNZCEP), which itself had tripled bilateral trade since its inception in 2005.

Srettha promised that cooperation with New Zealand on science, technology and innovation, including agri-tech, smart farming, food-tech, renewable energy, precision medicine and digital technology, will also be strengthened.

He also expressed hope that the meeting with New Zealand business representatives would open doors for future investments in Thailand, particularly in targeted industries and projects, including the Land Bridge Project.

The two prime ministers welcomed the progress made to enhance people-to-people relations, as New Zealand is home to some 13,000 Thai nationals, and has always been a popular and enriching destination for Thai students and scholars. Collaboration on education and culture will be further reinforced.

On tourism, Thailand and New Zealand agreed to prioritise visa facilitation as well as resumption of direct flights to achieve the goals of welcoming 100,000 New Zealanders to Thailand and 40,000 Thai tourists to New Zealand by next year.

The two leaders also discussed their countries’ roles in contributing to regional and international peace, stability, sustainability, and prosperity.

Thailand welcomes New Zealand’s intention to become a development partner of ACMECS (Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy), which aligns with New Zealand’s strategic partnership with Asean and its aspiration to become a comprehensive strategic partner of Asean by 2025.

Srettha thanked New Zealand’s PM for his support on Thailand’s request for membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as for New Zealand’s support on Thailand’s candidature to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2025-2027.

In closing, Srettha expressed confidence that bilateral collaboration and the connection between people of the two countries would fortify friendship and partnership for many decades to come. - The Nation/ANN

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Thailand , New Zealand , Srettha , Luxon , MoUs


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