The Prime Minister is accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa. The visit coincides with weeks of climate change activism and events in New York, Thailand and worldwide.

Prayut Chan-ocha received a warm welcome in New York when he arrived on Sunday. The Thai Prime Minister is in New York to address the UN on climate change in his role as Chairman of the ASEAN group of nations. The PM is also expected to meet Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and will be drumming up inward investment into Thailand.

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Thai Prime Minister greets expats from Thailand in New York on Sunday as he arrived in the afternoon for his 5-day visit to the city where he will meet world leaders and address the UN on climate change.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha arrived in New York on Sunday afternoon to a warm welcome from assembled expats led by the Thai consul in the city Nipon Phetpornprapass. The PM is accompanied on the trip by Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai as well as Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa.

Well-wishers from the Thai expat community in New York and other states come to greet the PM

A crowd of well-wishers from the Thai expatriate community in New York and other states on the East coast were also on hand outside the hotel to greet and shake hands with the Thai government leader. Inside, the prime minister met 150 guests in a function room of the luxurious Plaza Athenee Hotel, a 5-star establishment on New York’s 64th street.  

Address the 74th Session of the United Nations

The prime minister is in New York to address the 74th Session of the United Nations where he is expected to address climate change in his role as Chairman of the ASEAN group of nations. It comes in a week when climate change activism is to the fore with student protests in Thailand and around the world including an appearance by youth activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden before congress and various events in Washington and New York.

Concern about the 2015 climate change accord

Prior to the trip, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson explained the emphasis this week on climate change issues. ‘It is the first high-level meeting since leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. They will follow up on progress after reports of potential failure emerged. We must ensure that we do not compromise resources for future generations.’

Thailand’s sufficiency economic thinking and sustainable development goals highlighted

It is expected that the prime minister will highlight Thailand’s sufficiency economy philosophy to the UN in line with sustainable development goals. Thailand will be joining the UN Economic and Social Council in 2020 and the prime minister will also be drawing attention to Thailand’s approach to health coverage. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson last week highlighted the success of Thailand’s approach: ‘We are among countries which called for the high-level meeting on this issue two years ago. We can share success stories. Gold cardholders can now receive medicines over the counter. We also set a good example by encouraging volunteers to provide public health services.’

Meetings with UN boss and Australian Prime Minister

During the trip which will last until Friday, the prime minister will meet UN Secretary-General Guterres as well the President of the UN General Assembly Tijjane Muhammad Bande from Nigeria. There is also a meeting scheduled with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Warm welcome for US investment in Thailand 

The prime minister will give a speech at the Asia Society in New York and will also make a presentation to the US-ASEAN Business Council. He will use both occasions to underline Thailand’s desire and welcoming attitude to inward US investment to the kingdom.

Sunday poll – on the mind of the Thai public 

This follows a NIDA poll in Thailand on Sunday which showed the Thai public wants to see the government prioritise work on the slowing economy. Nearly 45% listed it as the top priority well ahead of any other issue. By comparison, less than 2% were interested in moves to amend or rewrite the Thai constitution at this time.

Further reading:

Thailand’s health service the sixth best in the world according to new world healthcare index

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