U.S. President Barack Obama met with the Thai prime minister Saturday as he wrapped up his nine-day trip through the Asia-Pacific region.
The bilateral talks with Yingluck Shinawatra, elected Thailand’s first woman prime minister in July, were Obama’s last stop before departing for home.
Obama congratulated Shinawatra on her “inspirational” election win, and offered condolences and assistance to those affected by the flooding in Thailand.
He also described Thailand as one of America’s oldest allies and spoke of the two nations’ great friendship. When Shinawatra expressed her regret at not having visited the United States, Obama responded by inviting her to Hawaii.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday said Thailand would benefit from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit while political stability would return Thailand to a leading role in ASEAN again.
Ms Yingluck said that ASEAN has clear intention to link countries in the region under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, including public-private partnership, which would contribute to ASEAN competitiveness and integration in all aspects.
Thailand would benefit from attending the summit, with the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea also joining the gathering, she said.
Ms Yingluck called from Bali, Indonesia where she is attending the ASEAN summit and related meetings.
The premier said that during the meeting, she reaffirmed Thailand’s political stability, which would enable Thailand to play an active role in ASEAN.
Ms Yingluck also briefed the meetings about Thailand’s flood rehabilitation plan to regain confidence among foreign investors and proposed ASEAN enhance cooperation in the management of flood disasters and water resources.
In this regard, ASEAN leaders adopted the Statement on Cooperation in Flood Prevention, Mitigation, Relief, Recovery, and Rehabilitation, which was proposed by Thailand. ASEAN Member States expressed appreciation for Thailand’s initiative on this important matter.
In addition, Ms Yingluck voiced support for ASEAN to play a more proactive role in the global community, pursuing a “forward strategy” to deal with global challenges more effectively.
During the meetings and bilateral talks, Ms Yingluck said more progress has been seen in the cooperation with Myanmar on their Dewai deep sea port which would facilitate logistics shipping from ports in the Andaman Sea to Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri.
On the North-South Economic Corridor project, a 4-lane 1,800-kilometre highway network connecting Kunming with Bangkok, she said many of Thailand’s provinces would benefit from the plan including Tak, Phitsanulok and Khon Kaen.
Ms Yingluck also said that she has discussed with China’s Prime Minsiter Wen Jiabao on a high-speed train project in Thailand and additional talks on the project were expected.
On the flooding situation in Thailand, the premier affirmed that inner Bangkok would be spared from flooding and the government would speed up the process of compensating flood victims.
She said that flood-hit provincial governors were assigned to inspect and evaluate damages and to restore facilities within 45 days