BANGKOK, Feb 16 – Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwannakhiri on Wednesday said that he and Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot will join a trade exhibition in Cambodia Feb 17 and meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Mr Trairong said he was scheduled to speak to the Cambodian business community on global economic problems as a threat to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the Thai-Cambodian business summit.
The deputy prime minister said that on the occasion he would be given an opportunity to meet the Cambodian prime minister, but he would not raise the issue of the ongoing border dispute. However, if the Cambodian leader raises the issue, Mr Trairong said he would be ready to discuss it.
Mr Trairong said he was confident that his visit will help strengthen ties between the two countries. He said he agreed with Hun Sen’s comments in an interview that he did not want the border dispute to escalate. The discord should end so that it will not affect trade between the two countries. No matter how a clash happens, both countries continue trade and are still neighbours.
It is the government’s policy to boost border trade with Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The official visit to Cambodia as a neighbouring country will include meeting of Thai businesspeople and their counterparts in that country. The border conflict should not escalate to cause any negative impact on trade and investment, he said.
Mr Trairong said he would discuss ihis visit to Phnom Penh with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Thursday morning prior to his departure to Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways said the Thai-Cambodian border dispute did not affect the company’s operations. The passenger load on flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh remains normal at about 60 per cent as most passengers are foreign tourists. (MCOT online news).