PM's trips are not for fun: Thai Foreign Minister

PM's trips are not for fun: Thai Foreign Minister
Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchai-kul (left).

The prime minister's trips abroad are not group tours for personal fun - they serve missions for national interest in accordance with the government's foreign policy platform, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchai-kul has said.

"It is me who plans, sets agendas and arranges trips for the prime minister with her close consultation," Surapong said, dismissing claims that Premier Yingluck Shinawatra makes foreign trips for personal interest and fun.

"Our prime minister is very charming. She [receives] a lot of invitations to visit foreign countries and receives a warm welcome everywhere."

Yingluck holds the record for making the most frequent foreign trips while in office. She has made 56 trips to 43 countries around the world over the past two years, since taking office in 2011.

"Well, that's less than me since I have already visited 51 countries to carry on my job and make arrangements for the prime minister," Surapong joked.

"Travelling a lot is no fun at all," he said. "Sometime we have to visit countries where we are not familiar and the premier has to pack instant food with her as we cannot eat local food."

Surapong said the government's platform for foreign policy focused on relations facilitating economic activities with all countries for development.

"Our policy is clear. We are friends of all and foes of no country. We trade with everybody and we will invest everywhere," he said.

The government champions peace and stability, as such things are basic requirement for economic development, trade and investment, he said.

The prime minister's foreign visits were conducted according to a strategic plan. In her first year, Yingluck visited neighbouring countries in ASEAN and East Asia; China, Japan and South Korea.

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