Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow represented Thailand at the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), ASEAN Plus Three SOM, and the East Asia Summit, held in Yangon, Myanmar, on 7-8 June 2014.
According to a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting discussed and followed up on the outcome of the 24th ASEAN Summit, including the implementation of the ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint.
The meeting also reviewed the progress of works by the High Level Task Force on Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Organs. As ASEAN is reaching 2015, the meeting reviewed the works and made recommendations to the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group for the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision. With regard to ASEAN’s external relations, the meeting reviewed the progress and made recommendations on ways to enhance cooperation with ASEAN dialogue partners.
Concerning ASEAN Plus Three SOM, the meeting exchanged views on regional and international issues and on the future direction of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation. In addition, it also discussed the preparations for the upcoming 15th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and 17th ASEAN Plus Three Summit, which will take place in Nay Pyi Taw in August 2014.
On Thailand’s part, there are three priority areas that need to move forward, namely, cooperation to promote regional connectivity, including the strengthening of cooperation between ASEAN-China Center, ASEAN-Korea Center, and ASEAN-Japan to promote people to people connectivity through information sharing and implementation of joint program, to effectively intensify financial cooperation, and to ensure progress in cooperation in food and energy security.
On financial cooperation, the Chiang Mai Initiative Multi-lateralization (CMIM) should be effectively utilized and also to strengthen capacity of the ASEAN Macroeconomic Research Office as international organization to give early warning, monitoring and make assessment on economic and financial situation of the region.
On food security, Thailand had contributed 5,000 metric tonnes of rice which was sent to the Philippines to aid victims of the Haiyan typhoon through ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (ATPERR). On energy security, Thailand would like to see further cooperation in exchanging expertise and good practices in renewable and alternative energy, especially in biofuels.
As for East Asia Summit SOM, the meeting discussed future direction in EAS and exchanged views on the regional and international issues, as well as prepared for the 4th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2014.
On Thailand’s part, it was pertinent to ensure that EAS would strategic leader led forum and proposed maritime security as a possible area for future cooperation. In this regard, Thailand will host the Regional Conference on the Future of Security in the Asia-Pacific: Emerging Challenges, Promotion of Conflict Management and Enhancing Cooperation in the Maritimes Areas on 17-18 July 2014, with a view to exchanging good practices on preventive diplomacy and drawing possible dispute settlement through maritime cooperation.
In addition, the Permanent Secretary told the EAS SOM meeting on developments regarding the political situation in Thailand as well as the roadmap to be implemented toward sustainable democracy. The roadmap consists of reconciliation, reform and election. Thailand also hoped that her friends and strategic partners would understand the context of how the coup occurred and look ahead in continuing to engage with Thailand as a founding and important member of ASEAN.