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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 21 July 2014  

Vietnam, Thailand hold fourth political consultation

Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh and Thailand’s acting Minister and Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow co-chaired the fourth annual Vietnam-Thailand political consultation in Bangkok on July 17.
At the meeting, the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as joint cabinet meetings, the Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade or joint working group on politics and security.
They reached consensus on coordination to build plans for activities celebrating the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Thailand diplomatic ties in 2016.     
As regards to national defence – security, Vietnam and Thailand will increase the exchange of visits to share intelligence information and anti-crime experience, hold more joint patrols and consider the establishment of a deputy-ministerial defence dialogue mechanism.        
On economics, the two countries will make it easier for their business communities to establish trade and investment ties with the goal of lifting two-way trade to 15 billion USD by 2020, while speeding up the implementation of major Thai-invested projects in Vietnam in the fields of petrochemicals, oil refinery, thermoelectricity and development of industry complexes.     
The two sides also agreed to work together to enhance road connectivity and coastal transport as well as promote cooperative mechanisms in the Mekong sub-region framework.     
Sihasak affirmed that Thailand always wants to strengthen its strategic partnership with Vietnam.    
Deputy FM Vinh suggested Thailand create conditions for Vietnamese workers to continue their normal life in the country. The two sides vowed to sign a memorandum of understanding on labour, and launch a consular consultation mechanism to deal with issues involving consular protection, fishermen and drug smuggling.     
In addition, the two countries will work more closely with other ASEAN members to achieve the ASEAN Community by 2015 as well as continue their coordination at other regional and global forums, especially the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Asia – Europe Meeting.     
The two sides shared deep concern over the East Sea issue and emphasised ASEAN’s role and principles as reiterated in the bloc’s Six-Point Principle statement and the May 10, 2014 statement on the East Sea issue.     
They agreed to increase talks with other ASEAN member states for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the East Sea, while pushing for an early formation of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, building trust, and settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law.     
Deputy FM Vinh stated that China’s deployment of its oil rig and a fleet of ships in Vietnam’s waters is a serious violation of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the DOC.     
He stressed that the international community and ASEAN should firmly prevent similar violations from reoccurring while stepping up efforts for the sake of peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea.     
Vinh also expressed wish that Thailand will keep up the good work in its role as the coordinator for the ASEAN – China relations.    
The fifth consultation will take place in Vietnam next year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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