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Belgian prince leads group to boost ties

Mar 18. 2013
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By The Nation

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Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium yesterday landed with a delegation of ministers and hundreds of leading businesspeople on an official visit to Thailand to boost economic cooperation.

The prince and his wife, Princess Mathilde, arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thai Airways International Flight TG 935 at 5.40am.

Representing His Majesty the King in welcoming the prince was Jittapat Krairirk, His Majesty’s deputy principal private secretary; Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana; and the deputy governor of Samut Prakan province.

The Belgian prince and princess visited the famous Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchawora-mahawihan – better known as Wat Pho – in Bangkok yesterday afternoon, touring several of the Buddhist temple’s well-known landmarks, including the Reclining Buddha, guided by an English-speaking senior monk.

His Majesty the King will grant an audience to the Belgian crown prince on Friday. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Thai economic ministers will also be granted an audience so the Thai ministers will have a chance to discuss economic cooperation with the Belgian delegation.

The Belgian crown prince, who is honorary chairman of the Belgian Foreign Trade Board, will receive a briefing on Thailand’s outlook for the two countries to work on economic cooperation and to boost bilateral trade.

During the six-day visit ending Friday, the Belgian crown prince will chair a ceremony to launch repairs on the Thai-Belgian Friendship Bridge and will see Belgian firms at work on the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong province.

The royal visitor will also visit a sea-farm project under His Majesty’s initiative in Phetchaburi. Princess Mathilde will attend several activities to promote the role of women in society and business. She will also meet leading Thai businesswomen and representatives of international organisations.

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