Ban Ki-moon invites Prayut to UN assembly

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has inquired about Thailand's progress in its road map to democracy during a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Japan.

Ban expressed hope that the country will succeed in bringing about a sustainable democracy, government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said yesterday.

Ban said Thailand's success in restoring democracy would help support UN missions. They met during the UN's Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai on Saturday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke at the event on Saturday.

Ban also invited Prayut to attend the UN General Assembly in New York in September. The invitation came hot on the heels of Prayut's statement in Bangkok on Friday that may have led some people to believe the United States has banned him from travelling to the US.

"For those countries that won't invite me, I'll send a deputy prime minister to visit instead.

"Even if the US won't let me visit, I am open for them to visit [Thailand] because we have longstanding relations lasting two centuries," Prayut was quoted as saying, when he took to the podium as a speaker at the 47th Wharton Global Forum at a Bangkok hotel.

Prayut said in January he was ready to attend the UN General Assembly to explain his road map.

Relations between Bangkok and Washington have been tense since Prayut staged a coup to bring down the elected government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra after months of conflict.

A top US diplomat, Daniel Russel, upset the government by saying the impeachment of Yingluck was political.

Ban also invited Prayut to attend the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

At the conference in Japan on Saturday, Prayut pointed out that economic disparity was one of the root causes of social conflict in the world, in particular the gap between agricultural and industrial countries.

The Thai PM has asked the UN to highlight the significance of price subsidies for agricultural produce as a way to reduce the economic disparity and enhance international co-operation.

He said many agricultural-based ASEAN countries were having to deal with falling crop prices.

Prayut said Thailand was willing to help the UN reduce disaster risks. The country had faced catastrophes such as severe flooding and the tsunami and had provided humanitarian assistance to countries hit by disasters.

He said Thailand wished to see the international community send a signal to the world to reduce disaster risks but the UN must realise the limitations and potential of each country in providing co-operation.