Peters welcomes civilian rule in Thailand
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 February 2008
Peters welcomes return of civilian rule in Thailand
Foreign Minister Winston Peters today welcomed Thailand’s return to parliamentary democracy after 16 months of military rule.
“Thailand is a close and long-standing friend of New Zealand. The restoration of a democratic government there is good news for the Thai people, and also for their friends around the world,” Mr Peters said.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his Ministers on taking office. New Zealand looks forward to working with Thailand’s new government to build on our already strong strategic relationship.
“New Zealand and Thailand are fellow members of regional organisations such as APEC and the East Asia Summit. We have a solid relationship in the context of ASEAN, and we also work closely together in international organisations like the WTO and the United Nations,” Mr Peters said.
New Zealand and Thailand celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations two years ago.
A bilateral Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) entered into force in 2005, and in the 18 months to June 2007, the value of New Zealand exports to Thailand increased by more than 30 per cent, making it our 16th largest export market.
Further bilateral trade negotiations on services and government procurement are mandated to take place in 2008 under the CEP agreement.
Thailand is also New Zealand’s largest source of overseas students from Southeast Asia, while two-way tourism is in excess of 100,000 visitors per year.