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Thailand calls on US to shift focus towards humanitarian issues, peace

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Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha participates in the ASEAN-US Special Summit at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, on May 13. Thailand has urged the US to engage more creatively with ASEAN to support sustainable recovery. AFP

Thailand calls on US to shift focus towards humanitarian issues, peace

Thailand has invited the US to invest in the Kingdom to mend broken linkages in the global supply chain, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on May 14.

The Thai premier spoke after participating in the 2nd ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. on May 12-13. The summit marked 45 years of ASEAN-US relations.

Prayut said Thailand urged the US to engage more creatively with ASEAN to support sustainable recovery.

Bangkok also advised Washington to shift its focus away from using force towards humanitarian considerations, he added.

Prayut was speaking against a backdrop of war between Russia and Ukraine, which is disrupting global supply chains, as well as China’s increasing assertiveness in Southeast Asia.

“On regional issues and conflicts, we have supported [the US] in solving issues in a peaceful manner and paying attention to humanitarian issues,” Prayut said.

He added that world powers should hold talks as soon as possible to secure global peace.

“Powerful countries face the issue of how to ensure world peaceful and citizens’ safety and how to take care of humanitarian issues,” he added.

Prayut went on to say that Thailand and the US discussed trade and investment in future industries such as digital, clean energy and electric vehicles.

The Kingdom invited the US to invest or set up supply chains in Thailand to fill gaps, he said, adding that Thailand was a suitable hub for important global trade.

“I think we have to adjust in many aspects to keep up with global changes – especially in industry and the economy – and find ways to boost Thailand’s income and GDP in the future,” he said.

Prayut also said he was ready to host US president Joe Biden at the 29th Apec summits in November, to strengthen the bilateral relationship and promote strategic partnerships. Thailand is this year’s chair of Apec.

Meanwhile, Biden promised to continue backing ASEAN’s centrality and promote cooperation under Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The US has also promised to spend over $150 million in initiatives to expand engagements with ASEAN in climate action, education, maritime cooperation and health security.

Both sides have also adopted the “Joint Vision Statement”, which sets out ASEAN and US commitment to advancing relations towards establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership in the future.

THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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