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  November - December 2009


Tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand,
the world’s longest reigning monarch. Blessed are all Thais to have a King of sincerity, compassion and plain common sense. For all those who respect His Majesty for his integrity, it was an immense relief and joy to learn that the great monarch is convalescing from his recent illness. In this humble tribute, commemorating His Majesty’s 82nd Birthday, AseanAffairs presents a snapshot of His Majesty’s life and works.

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Interviews with Key Players



Dr. Hanns H Schumacher
German Ambassador to Thailand

Thai-German Ties 151 years and Growing

Q: Political uncertainty has been a negative factor, deterring potential foreign investment. How does it affect German-Thai business ties?

A: We are observing the political unrest – and the efforts of the government in office to overcome them – very carefully and with concern. I do sincerely hope that Thailand will not further damage its key hub position in Southeast Asia. The country remains an attractive location for German investors. In 2008, according to the Board of Investment, we had 30 approved German investment projects, amounting all in all to more than 47 million euro, the statistics for 2009 from January -September show 21 investment projects with a net value of 21 million euro. This is a very positive development, adding to the already more than 500 German companies being present here. It is important for us that the Thai-German Joint Economic Committee , which we have reinvigorated in May in Berlin under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Economics and Technology zu Guttenberg and Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu, takes advantage of this momentum by identifying and opening up new areas of cooperation and business activities. The next meeting can hopefully take place in Bangkok in 2010.

Q: What are your impressions of Thailand as the German Ambassador and as an individual foreigner?

A: This is my sixth appointment as Ambassador and International Representative since 1993, covering all continents. Being a newcomer to Asia and to Thailand, I was surprised by the deep-rooted relationship our two countries have enjoyed over the last 151 years. It is quite amazing to see two countries being so closely linked to each other, which are more than 10,000 kilometres apart and which belong to different cultures and religions. Take just one example of the common roots, which Thai Civil and Public Law have in the German Law System. The “German Law Centre” at Thammassat University is living proof of it. And I was stunned to learn about the influence of Germans on Thai popular and classical music - with Peter Veit, known here as “Pra Chen Duryang”, the Grand Master of Music, being the composer of the Thai National Anthem. And when you add to that the scenic beauties and the polite people in “Amazing Thailand”, I am looking forward to a very pleasant stay here as a “Farang” (foreigner). Thailand remains the most popular destination for German tourists in the Far East – and quite rightly so!

Q: There have been talks about “political rifts” and “reconciliation” in Thailand. What can Thailand learn from Germany’s experience?

A: We Germans with our own difficult history of two world wars, two dictatorships in the last 80 years– the Nazi and the socialist one – and a painful process of unification, although finally successful, should be very sensitive to teach others! But it is more than evident that the process of regional integration, which was initially put in motion by a courageous German-French political initiative to reconcile two former arch-enemies, has been the turning point in our history. Without it, today’s peace and prosperity in Europe would have been unimaginable! I am heartened to see the present Thai Government at least trying to apply this lesson during its own presidency of Asean.

Q: Germany is known to be a strong supporter of sustainable development projects, including those in Thailand. How do those initiatives complement the “Sufficiency Economy” concept being practiced by some Thai businesses and communities?    .... Read the Complete Article Subscribe to ASEANAFFAIRS Magazine

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