Thai and Cambodian leaders have emphasized cooperation in border area development and the promotion of people-to-people contact. The issue was raised for discussion during the official visit of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Cambodia
Accompanying the Prime Minister during this trip were Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Social Development and Human Security Police General Adul Saengsingkaew, and Deputy Transport Minister and Secretary-General of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.
During his talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Prime Minister Prayut stated that the Thai government is pushing for the establishment of special economic zones in border areas. It has approved the development of Sa Kaeo and Trat provinces, which border Cambodia, as special economic zones. He proposed the formation of a working group, under the Joint Committee on Border Area Development and Connectivity (JCBD) between Thailand and Cambodia. Thailand is ready to host the second meeting of JCBD in early 2015.
Prime Minister Prayut said that Thailand is also ready to cooperate with Cambodia in improving the living conditions of Cambodian people living along the Thai-Cambodian border. It would continue to carry out projects on community development, public health, occupational development, skill training, and the solving of problems concerning human trafficking. These projects have received a positive response from Cambodians.
Thailand attaches great importance on public health development along the border and will continue to provide training for Cambodian public health personnel. Regarding labor cooperation, Prime Minister Prayut asked Cambodia to send more mobile teams to speed up the national verification process for Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand. More than 600,000 Cambodian migrant workers have registered with Thai authorities. He thanked Cambodia for reducing the passport fee for the migrant workers at four one-stop-service registration centers along the Thai-Cambodian border.
He said that Thailand is conducting a study on the opening of a new border checkpoint between Nong Ian in Sa Kaeo and Stung Bot in Banteay Meancheay. Both Thai and Cambodian governments will accelerate discussions between officials involved in order to open the border checkpoint soon.
Prime Minister Prayut also proposed that both countries organize joint packages to promote tourism between them. He reiterated that Thailand has a policy to encourage Thai business people to invest overseas, especially in neighboring countries. Cambodia is a major destination in terms of a production base, a labor source, and a market for Thai products, linking with southern Vietnam.
On this occasion, Thailand and Cambodia signed three memorandums of understanding: an MOU between Thailand and Cambodia on Bilateral Cooperation in Eliminating Trafficking in Children and Women and Assisting Victims of Trafficking, an MOU on Rail Route Connection, and an MOU on Bilateral Cooperation in Tourism.