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Thai PM to visit New Zealand

28 June 2004 Media Statement

Thai PM to visit New Zealand

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that the Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr Thaksin Shinawatra, will visit New Zealand on 6 and 7 July.

Helen Clark said Thailand was a key partner for New Zealand, and had last year hosted the APEC meetings with great success.

“This year our links are set to grow strongly as New Zealand’s engagement with the South East Asian region enters a period of stronger cooperation and deeper policy dialogue,” Helen Clark said.

“Bilaterally, New Zealand and Thailand are negotiating on a Closer Economic Partnership. Next week’s visit to New Zealand will be Prime Minister Thaksin’s first official visit here since his election in 2001.

“New Zealand’s diplomatic links with Thailand span almost fifty years going back to the opening of New Zealand’s Embassy in Bangkok in 1956. Thailand appointed its first resident Ambassador in Wellington in 1973 having opened its embassy in Wellington some years before.

“Thailand and New Zealand work together very closely in international fora, including the United Nations, APEC, the World Trade Organisation and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries. We have also operated alongside each other as peacekeepers, most notably in Timor Leste.

“The Closer Economic Partnership would permit both countries to benefit from the complementary nature of our respective economies. The first round of negotiations has just been completed, and it is timely that Prime Minister Thaksin is able to visit. It provides a good opportunity to review the progress in the negotiations and in a range of other matters where we have common interests.”

Seven ministers, including Thailand’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Commerce, Transport, Education, and Information and Communications Technology, will accompany Prime Minister Thaksin.

ENDS

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