Joint Press Statement

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Australia-Thailand 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations; economic relations; technological innovation; renewable energy partnerships.
Bangkok, Thailand

Don Pramudwinai, Thai Deputy Prime Minister: Good evening to you all. I understand that I see more of the Australian press members than the Thai. Allow me to resort to the English language from the start. So we are very much delighted to welcome Senator and the Honourable Penny Wong here. This is her very first official visit to Thailand and certainly, we hope to see more high-level visits including official visits between our two countries on a number of occasions. This year is a very special year for our relations because we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations this year and that is certainly marking the milestone of our relationship and looking forward today to a week ahead, that Prime Minister of Australia will be joining our APEC summit meeting in Bangkok. And we are particularly pleased to have the opportunity to discuss and exchange views on a number of issues.

Just a while ago you have witnessed already designing of the implementation plan of our strategic partnership relations which was conceived back in 2020 and this could be for a period of five years. This has been the first key deliverable of our nations in accordance to the strategic partnership. And a while ago, before we signed, there were discussions on a number of issues, issues related to bilateral relations. We touched on the anti-trafficking person issue and also cybersecurity and digital economy. Then naturally we couldn't miss out the strategic economic cooperation arrangement between us.

We noted that Australian businesses have been in Thailand in a good number. But that good number is far from the number. We expect is a good number of 200 or something. But we are not being for the same number as the Japanese investment here. But we hope that one day Australia could match the Japanese up to, currently it is 7,000, but let's hope that by the year that we ended our partnership MOU which was signed a while ago, 2025, we will be seeing 10 per cent of this 7000 with 700 to be the least.

Now we also discussed a bit on energy and climate change because we would need that both countries should strengthen our cooperation on climate change. And the support that we certainly are looking forward to working on with Australia is the capacity building and technology transfer and those will be very much on real carbon ecosystem and through this sharing of information and the change of technical expertise and experiences between us. And obviously, we also touch on other issues. The Mekong subregion ACMECS, we welcome Australia being the member of the first batch of the development partner of ACMECS. This morning at our government meeting we also touched on ACMECS. We touched on the fact that what has been agreed by the government some time ago needs to be accelerated to the point that we could get all things done as expected or anticipated.

Now, we also dwell on some issues on ASEAN, naturally on APEC as well, because it's forthcoming, it's coming in two weeks’ time regional and global issues also touch partly. But of course, this will be discussed further during our dinner. So stay tuned. A lot more will be coming, but at least for today, you would notice that what had been worked out back in 2020 is now being shaped up, and concretised in the form of this joint plan of action. Then certainly we hope for many other or many concrete projects which will demonstrate our strong endeavour to cooperate more for peace and prosperity of the region. Thank you for the meantime.

Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: Thank you very much, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, for that warm welcome and for your kind words this afternoon. It's a great pleasure to be here in your beautiful country for my first bilateral visit as Australia's Foreign Minister. But it's an even greater honour to be the Foreign Minister who's able to come to celebrate our 70 years of diplomatic relations. I was saying to the Deputy Prime Minister we are very proud, deeply proud as Australians, of being a diplomatic partner for 70 years. It's a long time. And the longevity of the relationship says something about the breadth and depth of the relationship, a partnership that's based on mutual respect, on trust and understanding.

I share the Deputy Prime Minister's words about the signing today of our strategic partnership plan of action. It's a way of amplifying and expanding the extensive and practical cooperation between our two countries which has existed for seven decades. I hope that over those decades we have together demonstrated our willingness to help each other in times of need, including with the extraordinary Tham Luang rescue. Some 19 Australian agencies have made commitments to work with Thailand under this partnership on many areas of practical cooperation, including net zero health, trade and security. Things like working together on Bangkok's transition to electric public buses, working to make cities more climate resilient, working together on the green energy transition, a shared challenge, working to break down the barriers for women-owned businesses and working towards a strategic economic cooperation arrangement to see more joint activities aimed at promoting trade and investment in key sectors. I'd also make the point we share a longstanding defence cooperation relationship, a relationship which makes an important contribution to regional security.

We talked today, the Deputy Prime Minister and I, about how we might work together to augment the bilateral relationship and also to support the region. I used the phrase middle-sized powers. And as middle-sized countries, what I would say is we share many of the same aspirations for the region in which we live. Ultimately, Australia seeks, and I believe Thailand also seeks, a region that is peaceful and predictable. A region that is governed by accepted rules and norms, where all countries and all peoples can cooperate, can trade and thrive. A region in which sovereignty is respected regardless of size. So we share a region and we share a future. And I would say to you, Australia seeks deeper engagement with Southeast Asia, as you know, and the Deputy Prime Minister reminded me of this Australia has always been committed to ASEAN centrality and ASEAN-led institutions, and we want to work together with all of our ASEAN partners to shape this period of change together, including through the development of a Southeast Asia economic strategy to 2040.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also referenced the Mekong. I want to say very clearly how much we value Thailand's important role in the Mekong. Through our Mekong-Australia partnership, we are working with the region to improve economic resilience, infrastructure, water, energy and climate priorities.

In closing, I'd say this today we celebrate 70 years of bilateral cooperation. It's a proud partnership. It's based on broad and deep ties across areas which matter to us both. So I thank the Deputy Prime Minister. Thank you once again for your generous hospitality and your warm welcome. I look forward to welcoming you to Australia in the near future. But most of all, at this time, can I extend to you our very best wishes for a very successful APEC. I know how much the Prime Minister looks forward to attending. Thank you very much.

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