The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) has pledged to use Thailand as a hub for investment in Southeast Asia, the PIF chief said.

The fund’s chief, Yasir bin Othman al-Rumayyan, met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Royal Thai Air Force Airport in Don Mueang on the morning of May 15.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana quoted Prayut as telling the PIF chief that relaxed travel restrictions in Thailand will help boost cooperation between the two kingdoms. He also told the fund chief that Thailand was ready to further develop bilateral ties, which are already improving.

Thanakorn quoted the PIF chief as saying that he was meeting Prayut under the instructions of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is also deputy prime minister and defence minister of Saudi Arabia.

Rumayyan said he had been instructed to discuss cooperation between the two countries, especially on trade and investment in energy businesses such as petroleum and gas surveys.

The two sides also discussed e-sports and soft power cooperation, the spokesman said.

The Saudi fund chief also told Prayut that Saudi Arabia hopes to hold bilateral talks with Thailand to build opportunities for trade and investment. He added that Saudi Arabia will also use Thailand as an investment hub for the region.

Thai-Saudi relations had been stalled since 1989 over a scandal dubbed the Blue Diamond Affair, which involved stolen jewels and a string of murders.