Thai Ambassador to Viet Nam Tanee Sangrat: We hold high expectation for Viet Nam

TGVN. Thai Ambassador to Viet Nam Tanee Sangrat is hopeful that, assuming the “dual” responsibility as ASEAN Chair 2020 and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, Viet Nam could become a bridge connecting Southeast Asia with multilateral forums worldwide.
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thai ambassador to viet nam tanee sangrat we hold high expectation for viet nam
Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Tanee Sangrat.

Ever-growing bilateral relations

Viet Nam and Thailand kicked off 2019 with the 3rd Meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, where Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh met Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai. At the meeting, both sides agreed to elevate the nature of the bilateral relations by successfully carrying out the Action Program to implement the Strategic Partnership in 2014-2018. The two countries also concurred with the close coordination to promptly conclude the Action Program for the next stage.

According to the Ambassador, Thailand is currently Viet Nam’s leading trade partner in ASEAN and is enjoying steadily growing trade ties with Viet Nam. Viet Nam represents a promising investment destination. To date, Thai businesses have invested approximately 10 billion USD into the Vietnamese market, making Thailand one of the 10 biggest foreign investors in Viet Nam. Particularly, this achievement has yet to include the mergers and acquisitions of Vietnamese businesses, Thai-Vietnamese joint ventures and the investments from Thai companies based in foreign countries to Viet Nam.

Moreover, people-to-people exchange is flourishing, especially in the field of tourism. The number of Vietnamese tourists to Thailand soared to exceed 1,000,000 visitors in 2019. At the same time, the number of Thai tourists to Viet Nam rose by 50% compared to 2018, with approximately 500,000 visitors.

The highlight of the Viet Nam-Thailand relations in 2019 was visits by high-level leaders of both sides. The two countries co-hosted the 3rd Meeting of the Viet Nam-Thailand Joint Commission in Thailand in January. From 23-24 January, Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister of Thailand, General Prawit Wongsuwan visited Viet Nam and had a meeting with Defense Minister, General Ngo Xuan Lich.

In August, President of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and the high-level delegation of the National Assembly attended the 40th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 40) and paid an official visit to Thailand, at the invitation of Speaker of the Thai House of Representatives, Chair of AIPA 40 Chuan Leekpai. During the visit, President of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan held talks with the Vietnamese community in Thailand.

A wonderful year for Thailand – the Land of Smiles

In 2019, “The Land of Smiles” was occupied preparing and organizing the general election to choose new National Assembly and Prime Minister. Shortly afterwards, the new government assumed the ASEAN Chair 2019 and successfully fulfilled the role.

Sharing with The World and Vietnam Report, Ambassador Tanee Sangrat has said, the most outstanding accomplishment of Thailand over the past year is the satisfactory conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN and its five trading partners, after seven years of over 28 rounds of tough negotiations. To realize the signing of this agreement, Thailand, with the strong support of ASEAN members, including Viet Nam, made great efforts to expedite the negotiation process so that it could take took place almost once a month. Ambassador Sangrat expects that, under the leadership of Viet Nam, in 2020, ASEAN could bring India back to the negotiation and then officially join the RCEP.

The official theme of ASEAN 2019 was “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. With this spirit, the collaboration among member countries enabled ASEAN to approve the ASEAN Action Plan on Combating Marine Debris. Besides, ASEAN countries have published an important document entitled “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific”, implemented the “Master plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025”, and at the same time launched the “ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue”. These successes were achieved under three ASEAN pillars.

Furthermore, 2019 was the first time ASEAN and China had agreed to complete the first draft framework of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). In 2020, Thailand hopes that Viet Nam, with the support of ASEAN members, could achieve the best outcomes with China including a second draft of the COC.

thai ambassador to viet nam tanee sangrat we hold high expectation for viet nam

A bridge to the multilateral forum

In 2020, Viet Nam have to take on “dual” responsibilities as ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Great obligation comes with high expectation; in particular, Viet Nam is expected to act as a bridge connecting the Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific with multilateral forums in the world.

Following this expectation, Viet Nam will bring forward and clarify the region’s common issues, especially security issues, at multilateral forums. Viet Nam could also promote cooperation between the United Nations and ASEAN, as the Association is one of the leading regional blocs in numerous areas. By furthering this cooperation, ASEAN could then strengthen its centrality.

Ambassador Sangrat believes that all ASEAN countries are in the learning phase, from learning the experience of ASEAN members to learning how to chair all activities of such a large organization as ASEAN. In 2019, Thailand also learned a lot from ASEAN members to bolster regional cooperation. And Viet Nam has always stood side by side and helped Thailand in the ASEAN Chairmanship 2019.

According to the Ambassador, the theme “Cohesive and Responsive” that Viet Nam has chosen in 2020 is proper and trendy. Under this theme, Viet Nam will focus on ASEAN centrality and identity, since the Association’s efforts and successes at times haven’t been well-known among its member states.

Besides, since the world is constantly changing and ASEAN is faceing a great deal of challenges such as the trade wars and the situation in the East Sea, Viet Nam will focus on strengthening ASEAN’s capacity, particularly the way the member countries cooperate in order to achieve more reliable results in the future

“All of these issues need to be addressed at ASEAN’s meetings during Viet Nam’s chairmanship.” Ambassador Sangrat emphasized.

A novel yet familiar Viet Nam

Although Ambassador Tanee Sangrat presented the letter of credence to the Party General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong in August 2019, he has been working in Viet Nam for about a year. Prior to this tenure, the Ambassador had been to Viet Nam several times on working trips, as such, he was no stranger to the S-shaped country.

However, this is his first time experiencing life in Viet Nam. He adapts to Ha Noi with ease, since the life here and in Bangkok are not much different. Ha Noi has traffic jams, so does Bangkok, but he can still easily drive his wife and children around Ha Noi. In addition, the Ha Noi’s weather is much more comfortable than the heat in Bangkok.

His greatest desire is to travel across Viet Nam, to visit majestic mountains in the North and romantic beaches in the Central to admire all Vietnamese beauty. Above all, Ambassador Sangrat wishes to have some chats with Vietnamese ethnic groups, notably the Thai people who can speak the Thai language.

Like Viet Nam, Thailand have a Lunar New Year holiday, when the Ambassador has planned to return to Chiang Mai with his wife and children to visit his parents. “Ushering in the Lunar New Year, may I wish readers of The World and Vietnam report great luck, full of joy and good health” - said Ambassador Tanee Sangrat.

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