Australia and Thailand signed another Strategic Partnership Plan yesterday in a bid to further strengthen bilateral ties as well as those with the broader Southeast Asian region.
The respective foreign ministries co-hosted a signing ceremony for the Joint Plan of Action (POA) to implement the Thailand-Australia Strategic Partnership (2022-2025) and give bilateral relations an extra boost.
“The joint plan of action is a way to amplify and expand the extensive practical cooperation between the two countries, which has existed for seven decades,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said after the document-signing ceremony.
“I hope that over those decades we have together demonstrated our willingness to help each other in times of need, including the Tham Luang Cave rescue,” she said, referring to the successful rescue of a junior football team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand in July 2018.
Ms Wong said 19 Australian agencies have committed to work with Thailand under the partnership. Practical forms of cooperation will include such areas as lowering emissions, trade and security, Bangkok’s transition to electric vehicles for public transportation, building climate-resilient cities, other examples of green energy transitions, breaking the glass ceiling for women in business, and strategic economic cooperation between two countries.
This POA also covers strategic defence to boost regional security.
“I used the phrase ‘middle-size pal’ [to describe Australia] and that middle-size country shares many of the same aspirations as the region in which we all live,” she said.
“I would like to say that Australia will seek deeper engagement in Southeast Asia. As you know, Australia is committed to Asean centrality, and Asean as an institution, and we want to work together with all of our Asean partners to shape this period of change together, including through the development of ‘Southeast Asia Economic Strategies 2040’,” she added.
Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the document signed yesterday was the fruit of efforts first conceived on Nov 13, 2020, when the prime ministers from both countries signed the Joint Declaration of the Strategic Partnership. He hailed it as an important milestone as the two sides fete the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.