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Thai Foreign Policies


“...foreign policy is a vital component of overall policy in national administration…”

In the Policy Statement of the Council of Ministers, delivered by General Prayut Chan-O-cha, Prime Minister, to the National Legislative Assembly on 12 September B.E. 2557 (2014), aspects relating to foreign policy are evident in various parts, particularly in headings 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11.


Policy Statement delivered by PM to National Legislative Assembly

Policy 1: Protecting and Upholding the Monarchy

It is an extremely important duty of the Government to uphold, and protect the monarchy. Proper legal, psychological, and ICT measures will be employed to cope with those having malicious intent against the monarchy. The Government will also disseminate accurate information, knowledge, understanding, and facts about the Royal Family and royal duties, with an aim to create awareness and foster humble gratefulness towards the monarchy, the Father and the Mother of the land, and spiritually create unity among the people of Thailand.
 
Ultimate security will be provided to the Royal Family and the Monarchy. Meanwhile, His Majesty the King’s royal initiatives and projects will be promoted so the Thai people can be aware, adopt, and apply the royal principles and initiatives in their work for sustainable development.
 
Policy 2: Maintaining National Security and Foreign Affairs
 
Among the urgent issues we need to address is the realization of ASEAN Community in 2015. New trade channels will be opened. Special economic zones will be developed, as well as border management. Land, marine and aerial security, suppression of transnational crimes, and creation of confidence among neighboring countries will be promoted.  Capacity of joint military operations among in ASEAN member countries will also be enhanced in order to gain mutual trust and promote collaboration, particularly on disaster mitigation, prevention and suppression of conflicts, and peace building. Other policies related to security include development systematization based on the AEC framework, and border management (both land, marine, and aerial territories) to accommodate Special Border Economic Zones.
 
Nine strategies, laid out by the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) to address violence in the southern border provinces, will be implemented. Negotiation will be made for the sake of sustainable peace among the Thais, be it, Buddhists and Muslims. His Majesty the King’s principle of “Understanding, Reaching Out and Development” will be adhered to. We will not consider the problems as acts of secession since we are all Thais. Intervention of international communities will not be necessary. The Government will adhere to the process of justice, principle of laws, and human rights while promoting socio-economic development in line with the local needs, culture, and social landscape.
 
On narcotics, arms trade, human trafficking, and forced labor, these problems are considered urgent issues that need immediate attention and action through strict law enforcement. The Government will emphasize more on prevention rather than suppression. Implementation of works must be integrated, inter-connected, and comprehensive.
 
On foreign affairs, Thailand will strengthen relations with other countries on the basis that foreign policy is a key component of comprehensive policies for administration of state affairs, both in political, economic, or social aspects. Integrated diplomacy will be employed to maximize direct and indirect public interests, such as in the protection of Thai poeple and their benefits overseas, educational and cultural exchange, trade, human resources development, and internationalization of perspectives.
 
Policy 3: Reducing disparities in Society and Creating Opportunities to Access Public Services 
 
The Government has given priority in addressing social disparities in terms of income and quality of life to mitigate difficulties of the underprivileged for them to attain equal opportunities like other groups of people in the society. Problems of agricultural land shortage and invasion of conserved and protected forests will be addressed in a concrete and sustainable manner through provision of land tenure to those residing outside of the protected areas or prevention against changes of tenure to those who are not farmers. Modern technologies, such as observation satellites, will be utilized in handling overlapping land claims, land demarcation, and wildlife protection. Ministries and departments must use the same sets of map.
 
On land allocation, those who do not own a land will be grouped and provided with plots of mutual land. With the Government’s support, they will not have to make any investment, but will be able to share benefits from the land. This is just an idea to be experimented. In attempt to reduce inequalities, the Government will create career opportunities and income security for all types of workers, formal and informal, including women, the disadvantaged, the disabled, and the elderly. Legal migrant workers will be treated with impartiality. Quality of labor will be enhanced. One stop service centers will be established to facilitate migrant workers.
 
Collaboration on employments between the public and private sectors will be promoted. The Government will also focus on social protection and a savings system in a bid to solve the problem of informal debts. Sustainable and efficient household accounting and community welfare will be promoted to bring about better quality of life for the disadvantaged, the disabled, the elderly, women, and children.
 
Government’s intention to solve problems related to social disparities can never be achieved if the people are unethical. The 12 core values of Thailand which are earlier announced are, therefore, of high importance.
 
Policy 4: Education, Learning, and Fostering Religion, Arts and Culture
 
Education is a foundation to production of human resources, and the nation’s future. The Government will employ education, religion, art and culture, and pride in Thai history in building a stronger society full with virtues and ethics.
 
Large-scale educational reform will be part of the reform plans by the National Reform Council. The Government is putting emphasis on formal education. Every ministry and department, especially the Office of the Non-formal and Informal Education and Ministry of Education, are collaborating on developing the quality of Thai people by encouraging self-learning and development. Morality, lifetime learning, and reading habit will be promoted in the people of all age groups. The Government will improve efficiency of educational loan system to open more opportunities to the poor. Vocational education and integrity of vocational students will be promoted in attempt to reduce violence among this group of students. Business sector will be urged to provide financial support on R&D in addition to the Government support. Acquisition of foreign language skills is to be promoted, especially for business and formal purposes.
 
When it comes to educational achievement, quality of teachers is also a key. Application of IT and distance learning through satellite educational programs are of great benefits to many schools. The question, however, is how we can have teachers who are highly capable, ethical, and who can foster good relationship with students. The student-centered approach should be adopted in order to create an education system to move the country forward to the desired direction.
 
Policy 5: Improving the Quality of Public Health Services and Public Health
 
We want to make this happen in a short time by laying a stronger foundation of health services across the country. A committee will be established to oversee all three aspects of health security work to make sure that people receive and can access a comprehensive care on an equal standard. We will focus on prevention of disease rather than curing. A comprehensive health security system will be in place and more decentralized. Monitoring system of epidemics, emerging diseases, and re-emerging diseases will be strengthened.
 
Information regarding human trafficking, surrogacy, labor in the fishery industry, and agricultural labor has to be available in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ database. Related authorities must be able to communicate to foreigners about the Thai Government’s measures concerning human trafficking, alien workers, and more. Ministry of Foreign Affairs must be able to answer any question regarding these issues.
 
The Government will collaborate with other sectors to address issues of medical ethics, such as surrogacy, organ transplant, and stem cells. Strict laws will be enforced to bring serious punishment to all those involved in these controversial and illegal movements. We also see teenage pregnancy as a social problem which would consequently lead to economic losses.
 
Policy 6: Enhancing the Country's Economic Potential
 
Economic development must be sustained. NCPO has already made progress in stimulating the economy. Some sectors have recovered, while some have not.
 
In the emergency phase, the Government will stimulate national economy through acceleration of spending of pending budget in investment for FY 2014, and use of the Government’s budget. In 2015, the budget of 2.575 trillion Baht will be allocated to every province according to their needs and order of priorities. Politics will not have a role in budget allocation. In terms of investment, efficient investment activities will be developed. Proposal for investment supports will be quickly considered and approved. Approved investments must be in line with the Government’s needs and must be environmental friendly. Infrastructure projects such as mass transit projects could be jointly invested by the private sector. Investment activities will be done with transparency and with pleasant investment climate. Protests and conflicts would really ruin investment atmosphere.
 
Urgent measures will be implemented in attempt to mitigate farmers’ plights. Assistance will first be provided to those having more difficulties. On exports, the Government will work on the development of border economy. Export values and products will be categorized according to destinations for the policymakers to be able to determine the right policy directions. Product certification process must be streamlined so that shipment licenses could be issued faster. The Government expects businesses at all levels to steer themselves toward the same direction. They should be well aware of Government and ministry policies. This way, the public and the private sectors will be driven together and with a joint committee in place.
 
About tourism, many countries have relaxed their outbound travel alerts to Thailand. Tourism sector must come up with tourist incentives through improvement of facilities, toilets, cleanliness and safety of tourist attractions. Tourism packages should be designed to offer diversified ‘Thainess’ experiences, such as experiences on nature tourism, history, art and culture, local wisdom, and health. Safety standard and quality control for products and services must be improved. Related authorities have to work hard in facilitating tourists, and suppressing crimes against tourists, as well as seeking new tourist markets.
 
Water resources management is another matter which needs to be addressed. To make this effective, city plans must be clearly drafted. Small-scale water sources must be available across the country, especially to cultivated lands, so that at least people have water supply for consumption. The Government will also find other ways for water management.
 
Energy prices will be restructured as part of the energy reform. Taxes, state interests, and private interests will be adjusted and balanced. The Government will also promote alternative energy and renewable energy, as well as provide new sources of energy.
 
Tax collection system for both personal income and corporate income tax will be improved. Business taxes will be restructured. The Government will broaden tax base to include estate tax, land tax, and construction tax, by the end of this year. Low-income earners must be least affected by taxation. One important thing is also to engage these people into the tax system by encouraging them to earn higher incomes. Tax abolition must not be done simply to serve the rich.
 
The Government is also planning for more incentives for domestic investment. Development of infrastructure in transport, public vehicles, and double- and single-track rail lines are underway. Public transit connections, including sky train connections, are being developed. Suvarnabhumi Airport’s second-phase expansion is also progressing. U-Tapao Airport might be used as a commercial airport to promote tourism. More airports will be developed as well as the country’s aviation system as a whole. Capacity of air and marine transports must be enhanced, while watercourse excavation has been included in the Government’s water management plan.
 
Agricultural production must be improved. Rubber Research Institute of Thailand will be established to promote rubber use in other domestic productions, especially in areas supported by the BOI. Investments today are required to use 50-70% domestic raw materials. If demand-supply for the agricultural sector is not clearly determined, zoning of crop rotations will not be able to implement. Agricultural cooperatives should play an important role as a vendor and producers of agricultural processing for exports. Learning centers must be established. Agricultural processing will be promoted from upstream to downstream. High-technology industries will be promoted. Manufacturing process has to be modernized.
 
To keep up with the emerging digital world, the Government needs to lay a foundation for the digital economy and ICT development. State-owned enterprises have to adapt themselves to global changes, and compete in creating new technologies which will boost income to the country. Digital products, hardware, software, and communications devices have to be innovated and branded. State enterprise services should be standardized to promote creative economy. SMEs will be together developed as they need to rely on each other.
 
Policy 7: Promoting Thailand's Role and Exploring Opportunities in the ASEAN Community
 
Thailand must be ready for the realization of ASEAN Community in 2015. Road infrastructure, regulations, and public facilities must be developed, as well as border trades. The Government will rush in connecting and networking all economic sectors, trade, security, and investment sectors in the ASEAN region. Trade agreements and negotiation such as those under FTA or WTO will be promoted. Establishment of a center for the purchase and export of agricultural products from neighboring countries is also planned. This will prevent smuggling and counterfeiting. An economic committee composing of economic ministers will meet on a regular basis to discuss changing economic situations. Trade related regulations will be adjusted and procedures will be streamlined through a single-window system. The issue of property rights will also be addressed. We have to decide which properties to be registered, such as those of the SUPPORT Foundation under the Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, and His Majesty the King’s initiatives, as well as plagiarism related to art and culture.
 
The Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) is a cross-ministerial issue on which concerned security, economic, and foreign affairs offices have to collaborate. Capacity enhancement of small-scale entrepreneurs and elimination of middlemen system will also be addressed. Spatial development has to be concretely implemented economic zones, trade stations, and center to purchase agricultural products from neighboring countries must work as an interconnected network both in the aspects of transport system and culture.
 
Six border crossing points will be further developed. Five of the twelve special economic zones which were earlier determined throughout the country will be initially implemented this year. Competitiveness of Thai entrepreneurs of all levels will be enhanced to prevent heavy flow of labor in a wake of ASEAN Community next year. On domestic investment, apart from industrial estates, the Government has a policy to establish small-scale factories in rural and remote areas where public utilities are available to promote local employment and create small-scale industrial networks nationwide.
 
Policy 8: Developing and Promoting the Use of Science, Technology, Research and Development and Innovation
 
Innovation is important. R&D should be conducted to maximize potential of Thai brands and create new innovative products. R&D must be in line with the public needs and promoted agricultural /industrial sectors, not just for the purpose of upgrading individual’s academic standings. Budget for R&D will be increased in the topics related to national demands.
 
On the development of IT system, analysis centers, laboratories, research institutes and centers will be established. Research incentives should be enhanced, while legal barriers must be eliminated. IT development must be feasible for further commercial use. Joint investment from foreign investors will be welcome. Large-scale investments that use clean energy and wastewater treatment system, as well as using domestic raw materials will be promoted. More scholarships will be provided to support technology-related studies. The Government will encourage foreign companies to appoint Thai citizens as part of their management team, or they can set up subsidiaries in Thailand with Thai citizens in management positions.
 
Policy 9: Maintaining the Security of the Resource Base and Creating Balance between Conservation and Sustainable Use
 
Intrusion of state lands for commercial purposes will be handled. On garbage management, a number of garbage disposal areas must be increased to meet public demands. Waste segregation and production of sewage energy will be promoted. State lands have to be well administered. Power plants will be built in every region of the country to ensure power security. Disposal of chemical wastes must be cautiously managed. Establishment of new factories and plants must take into account well-beings, and insurances of local communities in the vicinity. Land problems will be addressed based on the royal principle on co-existence of people and forests. Economic crop plantations will also be promoted.
 
Complete database for farmers, lands and other related information must be up to date. Establishment of Land Bank will be contemplated. Land resources utilization will be promoted. Land tenancy issues will be addressed, as well as water management in all aspects.
 
Policy 10: Promoting Administration of State Affairs that Upholds Good Governance and Prevents and Suppresses Corruption and Malfeasance in the Public Sector
 
Corruption of all levels must be suppressed and eliminated. National Reform Council will work on sustainable reform of public administration to ensure there are no longer limitations, redundancies, and interventions. State Budget Monitoring Committee will continue to do its work. A European audit company may be hired to ensure transparency of 3 mega-projects, such as water management, and infrastructure projects. Anti-corruption will be intertwined in every single policy. Good governance will be promoted in all aspects. The efficient Damrongdhama Center will continue receiving petitions and complaints. Moving and reposition of public officials will be done with impartiality and appropriateness, as well as power decentralization and law enforcement. All have their rights in public resources.
 
Revision of laws and judicial process is another major issue. In an urgent phase, major laws will be revised to be more up to date, and to accommodate national competitiveness. Modern technology and forensic science will be applied to strengthen law enforcement. Database connection, justice funds, protection of the underprivileged, money laundering, and tax measures will also be addressed.
Policy 11: Improving Laws and the Judicial Process
In a civilised society, adherence to the rule of law means that the law is supreme, not individuals or arbitrary decisions by government officials. For the rule of law to be respected depends not simply on whether laws exist, but the requirement that such laws are consistent with reality and the needs of the people, just, and protective of human rights. Moreover, there must be a judicial process that is easily accessible, up to international standards as well as modern and just. Otherwise, it might become a cause of endless conflict and rancor. 






Updated by : Royal Thai Consulate General - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Last Updated : 17/04/2017

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