Press Release

20 August 2013

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to host the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to host Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will host the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul, on his Working Visit to South Africa from 21 to 22 August 2013.

During his visit, Deputy Prime Minister Surapong will have bilateral consultations with Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to discuss matters of mutual interest. The objectives of the visit will be to review the entire scope of bilateral relations between South Africa and Thailand, to redefine and refocus on the priority areas of bilateral cooperation in order to maximise existing opportunities, to strengthen the excellent relations and bonds of friendship that exist between South Africa and Thailand and to discuss a range of regional and international issues of mutual concern to the two countries.

South Africa and Thailand celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations this year. Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in December 1993, a solid bilateral relationship has developed between South Africa and Thailand, characterized by strong state-to-state and government-to-government relations that include cooperation at many levels, bilateral as well as multilateral. Over these past two decades, Thailand has become South Africa’s biggest trading partner in Southeast Asia and South Africa has become Thailand’s biggest trading partner on the African continent. Thailand today is also the second most important destination for South African tourists. According to official South African trade statistics, the total volume of bilateral trade in 2012 was R26,8 billion, up from R19,8 billion in 2011.

One of the key issues that the Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will discuss is the need to balance trade between the two countries by focusing on value-added goods and services and the removal of obstacles to market access for each other’s agricultural products.

In an international multilateral context, Thailand is an important partner and ally for South Africa in Southeast Asia. The country is a founder member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and strongly supports that organisation’s efforts to promote economic development, social integration and stability throughout the region and participates fully in international and regional organizations. Thailand has contributed troops and UN force commanders to the international peacekeeping effort in East Timor and troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In late 2010, it sent naval ships to the anti-piracy task force off the coast of Somalia and troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

For more information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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