Thai PM visits Manila

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — President Macapagal-Arroyo rolled out the red carpet for Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who arrived in the country yesterday for a one-day official visit.

The Prime Minister and his party planed in at about 1:30 p.m. at the Villamor Air Base on board a Chartered flight Airbus 319CJ-RTAF 225 from Bangkok, Thailand.

He was met at the airport by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Thai Ambassador to the Philippines Kulkumut Singharana Ayudhaya.

The arrival honors were held at the Bahay Pangarap at the Presidential Security Group compound across Pasig River. The Philippines is the first stop of Vejjajiva’s visit to countries that are members of the Association Southeast East Asian Nations, his first after becoming head of government in December last year.

A bilateral meeting immediately followed the welcome ceremonies which lasted for 40 minutes, which according to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde was “very cordial and very warm.”

Remonde said the President and Abhisit discussed a wide range of issues during their bilateral meeting, including the need for ASEAN to be strong in its position against Myanmar whose junta recently meted out prison sentence to popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi and North Korea ’s nuclear missile attacks.

He said the two leaders also took up trade, investment and tourism relations between the two countries. He cited the Thai premier’s commitment to give the Philippines greater access to Thai foods and rice, reactivation of the joint trade commission and the possibility of joint package tours for Thailand and the Philippines .

Remonde said the President is “very happy” for the visit of Abhisit, which also comes on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Philippine-Thailand relations. He said the Thai premier on the other hand congratulated the President for being the first Southeast Asian leader to be given the opportunity to meet with US President Barack Obama. Abhisit was set to leave last night after a state dinner to be hosted by the First Couple.