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PM annoyed at being criticised for reading blank sheets of paper


DURING his current visit to Japan to attend the  27th International Conference on the Future of Asia or Nikkei Forum, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at one point slammed critics who had said that he appeared to be reading blank sheets of paper during his flight there, Amarin TV and Matichon newspaper said today (May 27).

While hitting out at his critics for even focusing on his photos, Gen. Prayut explained that he was reading the airline’s magazine with the meeting files placed nearby.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Thailand,” he said.

He then pointed to the Thai media accompanying him on this trip and in a teasing tone said, “it’s all because of these guys.”

He then smiled and told everyone to have their meal at Tokyo’s Palace Hotel where he and his delegation were having lunch.

The Prime Minister also thanked the Thai team for the preparation they made for the Nikkei Forum both in terms of information and all that had to be carried out during this trip.

He added that his talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and various business confederations showed that they were satisfied and interested in the new Better Thailand policy and the country must continue to do better.

This is for the dignity of both Thailand and Asean with members of Asean together connecting with the rest of Asia, he said, adding that Thailand is the centre of Asean.

He pointed out that Asia often has a small role in the world stage despite its large populations and resources and therefore Asean and Asia must be strengthened.

During the Nikkei Forum Prayut had said that a new US-backed economic pact is further proof of how important and relevant Asia is today, according to an Associated Press report published by Telegraph Herald.

“Asia is still expanding and gaining more influence in terms of strategic and economic importance,” he said.

US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced earlier this week during a visit by Biden to Japan that 13 countries have joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a new trade pact that will help the United States work more closely with Asian economies on issues including supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anti-corruption efforts.

The signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. Together they represent 40% of the world’s GDP.

He stressed the need to increase economic growth by keeping markets open and inclusive as the world faces disruptions such as the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Sustainable economic growth is only possible when we are able to adapt to any disruption,” Prayut said.

Thailand is the host of next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit. Prayut said Apec is at a critical juncture, with a need to achieve peace and drive economic growth.


Top and Home Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reading a magazine that critics say are just some sheets of blank paper. Photos: Matichon

Also read: Thais in Japan hold anti-Prayut protest during Nikkei Forum

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