Amir in Thailand for ACD Summit
Asian leaders try to boost integration
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.