Thai ambassador Nikorndej Balankura wrote to Việt Nam News on the birthday anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej:
December 5 has and will always be a date of great significance for the Thai people.
The date marks the Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great. During his reign, this date evolved to become Thailand’s National Day and also the Thai Father’s Day; a reflection of how His Majesty the late King is regarded as the soul and father of our nation.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great dedicated his life toward the well-being and prosperity of the Thai people, making contributions across multiple disciplines, such as education, sustainable development, agriculture, art, engineering, culture and music, among others.
|The Grand Palace in Bangkok. Photo courtesy of the embassy
Most recognised of his accomplishments is His Majesty’s work in the field of development. In 2006, His Majesty received the UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the over 4,000 royal initiatives and projects founded during His Majesty’s reign.
Those initiatives include research and advocacy on soil utilization and resource management, which led to December 5 being designated World Soil Day by the United Nations in 2013 in acknowledgement of His Majesty’s tireless efforts.
Those initiatives also led to the nationwide adoption of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy or SEP; a guideline cultivated by His Majesty the late King that emphasises how individuals and communities should establish strong basic economic foundations through the core principles of moderation, reasonableness and resilience in order to ensure sustainable growth.
Today, Sufficiency Economy Philosophy projects are found throughout Thailand and also widely adopted abroad, including in Viet Nam. The SEP Project in Thai Nguyen province aims to contribute to community development, especially in agroforestry, tourism, and tea production. Acknowledged by the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, this is a model project and a prime example of the meaningful and constructive cooperation between Thailand and Việt Nam.
In recent years, the world has faced many uncertainties. The COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale conflicts, supply chain disruptions, etc., have and will undoubtedly continue to have long-lasting consequences on the global economy. That being said, it is heartening to see that Asia, and Southeast Asia in particular, has shown great resilience throughout these trying times. Thailand and Việt Nam have both had commendable cross-sectoral performance and growth in the past year, as international travel has resumed and the global atmosphere has shifted toward post-COVID recovery.
Bilaterally, Thailand and Việt Nam enjoyed 18 per cent growth in trade volume in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. This year, trade volume has already shown another 17 per cent increase compared to last year. This is indicative of the strength of cooperation and potential for prosperity between Thailand and Viet Nam when our countries join hands and work together.
On this note, during the Vietnamese President’s official visit to Thailand on November 16, 2022, our two leaders reiterated their commitment to increase our bilateral trade volume to between US$25 billion to $30 billion by 2025.
As we embark on the 10th anniversary of our Strategic Partnership in 2023, Thailand and Việt Nam should look toward taking on a more proactive role in shaping the new and emerging international system. Through coalition-building and agenda-setting, Thailand and Việt Nam can increase our countries’ leverage and strategic position, as well as that of sub-regional and regional groupings such as ACMECS, ASEAN, and APEC.
Most recently, Thailand hosted the 2022 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Bangkok during November 14-19, an event that demonstrated even closer cooperation between Thailand and Việt Nam. Not only did President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc attend the AELW, but he also made a four-day official visit to Thailand by invitation of the Thai Prime Minister. The Vietnamese side supported Thailand as Chair to achieve consensus on the APEC Leaders’ Declaration, the APEC Ministerial Joint Statement, and the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy.
The bilateral outcomes of the visit ranged from the Plan of Action for the Thailand – Việt Nam Strengthened Strategic Partnership for 2022 – 2027 and the establishment of Sister City relations between Thai and Vietnamese provinces, to Memorandums of Understanding between our financial institutions and between our Chambers of Commerce.
Such substantive and positive deliverables point to the multi-layered friendship that Thailand and Việt Nam enjoy and will continue to build on. Together, we shall work to ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for our countries and peoples, as well as contribute strategically to geopolitical balance at the regional level and on the global stage. VNS