Amir in Thai­land for ACD Sum­mit

Asian lead­ers try to boost in­te­gra­tion

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah kicked off his of­fi­cial visit to Thai­land yes­ter­day as a part of an Asian tour that also in­cludes the King­dom of Brunei. The visit, the sec­ond of His High­ness the Amir to Thai­land since he as­cended to power in 2006, is meant to give im­pe­tus to bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion among Asian coun­tries. Dur­ing his stay, His High­ness the Amir will par­take in the 2nd Asia Co­op­er­a­tion Di­a­logue (ACD) Sum­mit, to be held in Bangkok dur­ing the pe­riod 8-10 Oc­to­ber.

In this Sum­mit, to be held un­der the theme: “One Asia, Di­verse Strengths”, the con­fer­ees will tackle a plethora of key is­sues re­lated to the po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, com­mer­cial, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal co­op­er­a­tion among other is­sues, as well as in­te­gra­tion among Asian coun­tries and other coun­tries of the world. They will also dis­cuss mat­ters of mu­tual con­cern and will use this fo­rum to en­cour­age all ACD mem­ber states to uti­lize the strength of the Asian di­ver­sity in driv­ing the ca­pa­bil­ity of all Asian coun­tries to bal­ance the global econ­omy.

The first sum­mit was held in Kuwait in 2012 upon an ini­tia­tive made by His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAh­mad dur­ing the 10th min­is­te­rial Asia co­op­er­a­tion di­a­logue fo­rum, hosted by Kuwait in Oc­to­ber 2011. The ini­tia­tive re­flected His High­ness the Amir’s vi­sion to make Asia an in­te­gral part of Kuwait’s am­bi­tious plan to turn into a re­gional com­mer­cial and fi­nan­cial hub. Dur­ing Kuwait Sum­mit, His High­ness the Amir pro­posed the launch­ing of a fund for fi­nance de­vel­op­ment projects in Asian non-Arab coun­tries with a cap­i­tal of $2 bil­lion, to which Kuwait pledged $300 mil­lion.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers from all ACD mem­ber states par­tic­i­pate an­nu­ally in dis­cus­sions and ex­changes of ideas on re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, which will en­hance un­der­stand­ing and trust among mem­bers, as well as con­sol­i­dat­ing strengths and for­tify com­pet­i­tive­ness of the mem­ber coun­tries. With 18 found­ing mem­bers at its in­cep­tion, ACD have ex­panded and now con­sti­tutes 34 mem­bers from all sub-re­gions in Asia. Nepal is the new­est ACD mem­ber state (March 2016). On the Kuwaiti-Thai re­la­tion, the two coun­tries have diplo­matic re­la­tions since 1963. Thai­land in­au­gu­rated its em­bassy in Kuwait in 1983 and Kuwait opened an em­bassy in Thai­land in 1997.

Dur­ing the Iraqi oc­cu­pa­tion of the Kuwait, the King­dom of Thai­land con­demned the Iraqi move and ex­pressed full sup­port to Kuwait. Af­ter lib­er­a­tion, Thai­land con­trib­uted to the UN peace­keep­ing forces de­ployed on the Kuwait­iIraqi bor­ders.

Eco­nomic re­la­tions date back to 1987, when the two coun­tries signed an eco­nomic and com­mer­cial co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment and formed a joint higher com­mit­tee. In 1998, Kuwait and Thai­land inked an agree­ment to avoid tax du­pli­ca­tion and a third agree­ment was signed in 2003 to en­cour­age mu­tual in­vest­ments.

In 2010, Kuwait hosted a fo­rum for en­hance­ment of com­mer­cial part­ner­ship be­tween Kuwait and Thai­land which was at­tended by the then Thai pre­mier Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra who an­nounced that the trade ex­change be­tween the two coun­tries surged by 185 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous five years. On tourism, Thai­land has been a fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion for Kuwaiti trav­el­ers due to its im­pres­sive na­ture and com­pet­i­tive ser­vices and prices. On the hu­man­i­tar­ian level, Kuwait was one of the first world coun­tries to rush to help Thai­land and other south Asian coun­tries with a $100 mil­lion-worth of re­lief aid af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing 2004 tsunami.—KUNA

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

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