BANGKOK, August 10. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet on Thursday with Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.
Lavrov arrived on a working visit to Bangkok on Wednesday evening from Jakarta where he had met with his Indonesian counterpart and ASEAN secretary general.
"The two countries’ top diplomats will discuss in detail the current state of and prospects for expanding cooperation in various spheres and will coordinate their positions on current international and regional issues," the Russian foreign ministry said.
Apart from that, the Russian foreign minister will visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok where he will make an entry in the book of condolences over the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016.
Development of cooperation
The Russian foreign ministry stressed that relations between Moscow and Bangkok rely on long traditions of friendship and are noted for a high level of trust and mutual support.
"Bilateral cooperation is progressively developing at the current stage, with political dialogue becoming closer and contacts between legislative bodies, ministries and agencies expanding," the ministry said.
"During talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Thailand’s Prime Minister Chan-ocha on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN summit (in Sochi on May 19, 2016 - TASS) and talks between the Thai prime minister with [Russian Prime Minister] Dmitry Medvedev (in St. Petersburg on May 18, 2016), the sides reiterated their commitment to bring bilateral cooperation up to a level of strategic partnership and outlines priority areas of its futher development," the ministry noted.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, a major aspect of the Russian-Thai relations is mutual coordination of efforts within the United Nations and other international organizations and forums. "It is based on close or identical positions of the two countries on most of current topics of the global agenda, first of all, on issues of forming a new architecture of security and cooperation in the Asia Pacific region," the ministry underscored. "Russia and Thailand are committed to further cooperation, including within such forums as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting."
Moscow and Bangkok see it as their goal to expand economic and investment cooperation, the ministry said, adding that the leading role in it is played by the joint Russian-Thai commission of bilateral cooperation.
"Meetings of its working bodies that were held earlier in the year confirmed mutual commitment to the implementation of mutually beneficial projects in various areas of economic cooperation," the Russian foreign ministry noted. "The next meeting of the commission is expected to be held before the yearend."
"Bilateral trade went up by 41% in January-May 2017, to reach 726 million U.S. dollars." The ministry said. "Major Russian exports are mineral products, chemicals, metals and metal products. Imports include machines and equipment, chemicals, food products and agricultural raw materials."
The ministry noted growing tourism flows to Thailand from Russia. "In the first quarter of 2017, about 489,000 Russians visited Thailand, which was by 44% more than in 2016," the ministry said. "It is planned to open a Russian consulate on the Island of Phuket and establish a honorary consulate on Ko Samui, which will encourage further growth of tourism flows."
"As for humanitarian cooperation, major attention is focused on the expansion of training exchanges," the ministry pointed out. "Direct partner ties have been established between Thai and Russian universities, with dozens of Thai nationals being admitted to Russian higher education establishments every year."
Thus, according to the Russian foreign ministry, about 200 Thai citizens are currently studying in Russia, with the federal budget paying for 100 of them. "In the 2017-2018 academic year, thirty-four more Thai citizens are expected to be admitted to Russian universities at the expense of the federal budget," the ministry added.