About Us Thailand

Statement by H.E. Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

Mr. Chairman, President Nazarbayev,

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

I am delighted to attend this Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) for the first time, and I wish to thank the Government of Kazakhstan for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation. Allow me also to congratulate and welcome the Republic of Korea into our CICA family.  

There is no doubt that the existence and the progress of CICA has been the result of the visionary perception and farsightedness of His Excellency President Nazarbayev to whom I wish to record my special tribute. Because of his vision, Asia can benefit from a co-operation as wide-ranging and as important as CICA to build up our confidence, based on security and the culture of peace and tolerance, through dialogue and interaction. Because of his vision, Asia will further rise to greater strength with the sense of regional participation and willingness. I, too, am a firm believer in the strength of Asia. I believe in our continent’s rich potential if only we could turn our diversity and differences into a great source of strength instead of impediments to our economic and social development and regional harmony.

As the world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is rich in skilled manpower and natural resources, including oil/and gas. We possess over half of the world’s foreign exchange reserves. Yet we are also a region of diversity. The challenge before us is to manage Asia’s diversity well. To do so, we first need confidence building. Confidence building measures of a nation as much as those of a region require trust and understanding, based on interaction and willingness to find common solutions. This is why CICA is so crucial. Secondly, we need to build a network, a cobweb of development on such issues as economic and social matters that will take all of us on the path to sustainable development.

This is why the ACD or the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, which was created in 2002, the very same year as the First CICA Summit, is also essential. With 30 members, hailing from the far west to the far east and the north to the south of the Asian continent, many of whom are also CICA members, the ACD will enable Asian countries to better fulfil their economic and social potentials at each member’s own willingness, at the progress each member requires, but all undertaken entirely in an Asian cooperative spirit.

To say that CICA and the ACD complement each other may even be an understatement as far as I am concerned. To me, CICA and the ACD - the two sides of the same coin, the coin of the Rising Asia.

Without one or the other, such a coin will never come into existence and hence no rising Asia. It is imperative that members of both CICA and the ACD do realize the vitality and the significance of our cooperation as the two sides of the same coin for the future of our people and the Rising Asia.  

But that coin must also be placed in a circumstance where it shines and its value better appreciated. Therefore, the third element must come into play that is the role of other sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation. Thailand, as the only ASEAN member of CICA, can link the cooperation between CICA and ASEAN. Likewise, other countries can do so with their respective sub-regional groupings.

The ASEAN Regional Forum or the ARF, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC, and the Asia-Europe Meeting or ASEM whose membership comprises several CICA and ACD members, will serve as a bridge to link the strengthened Asia with our friends in other continents around the world.

The Rising Asia, however, can be fully realized not because we have all the cooperative frameworks in place, but because we all believe in making all them work in concrete terms, because we are prepared to shed our differences, because we believe that peace, security, and tolerance are pre-requisites to prosperity and sustainable development, and because we believe that the people of Asia deserve better living conditions, better welfare, and a better future.

In sharing the vision of a better Asia, members of CICA and members of the ACD can also engage in the exercise of experience sharing, making South-South cooperation work in real terms. On our part, Thailand can share its development experiences, especially the implementation of Sufficiency Economy, an alternative development philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand which has been internationally recognized and commended by the United Nations. We can share our experiences in the promotion of the Royal Projects in crop substitution for our farmers, and numerous human-centred development projects.

While infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and the avian influenza continue to threaten lives and affect our security, national efforts alone will not be sufficient. Health and prevention of pandemic diseases is another area Thailand can share our experiences with others. In HIV/AIDS, Thai researchers and doctors have been working with others around the world in the fight against this horrendous disease. As a country, we have also gained recognition for our success in identifying, containing and limiting the spread of the avian influenza.

I also see potential for cooperation on energy-related matters, for energy security is another very important issue which concerns us today. CICA and the ACD count both oil producers and oil consumers as members. To maximize the benefits, we should encourage the investment of oil profits in Asia, and in individual Asian countries. In this regard, the creation of a viable and attractive Asia Bond Market would encourage investment within Asia. It would also help absorb any excess liquidity that might lead to speculation in the financial and energy markets.

Mr. Chairman,

Asiafaces challenges in many shapes and forms. With joint efforts and cooperation, we can be of help to each other to realize our full potential. But first and foremost, we must help create a firm foundation of trust and confidence, followed by dialogues that lead to concrete results for the improvement of the lives of people throughout Asia.

With CICA, the ACD, and several other sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation, we have indeed embarked on the right tracks for our people. With these tracks, we can hope to look forward to peace, understanding, and prosperity based on the culture of peace and tolerance. We can hope to look forward to turning our diversity and differences into our strength and assets. We can hope to look forward to the stronger and the Rising Asia for the benefits of Asia and the rest of the world. And we can hope to look forward to the future where our next generations can look back to today with pride that we, the Leaders of Asia, have made the decision and commitments, with great vision and sincerity, for no-one but the people of Asia and the people of the world.

Thank you for your kind attention.