New foreign minister to focus on economy, stability and technology
Thailand's new foreign minister aims to make the country known on the global stage and contribute to improving the quality of life for its citizens while increasing the nation's income.
The formation of the government by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and the appointment of ministers have been followed closely both by political pundits and the media. One key political position is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and this role has been given to Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara Phra Phahitthanukorn, a former Permanent Secretary to the ministry.
In fact, Parnpree is well acquainted with the diplomatic world. His grandfather served as the foreign ministry's permanent secretary and was also the ambassador to several countries. His father worked for the foreign ministry too and as a child, Parnpree often accompanied him on diplomatic trips abroad.
But while there were several opportunities for the young Parnpree to study overseas, his family opted to send him to Thai schools throughout his youth. However, after completing his undergraduate studies at Chulalongkorn University, he headed abroad to pursue his master's and doctoral degrees.
With his familiarity with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from a young age, Parnpree feels like he has truly returned home.
His hope is that the ministry will gain greater international recognition during his tenure, and would also like to increase public relations efforts that would allow the public to see more of the ministry's work.
Parnpree has discussed the government’s and his own policy directions with high-ranking civil servants and officials in the ministry and is providing additional policy guidance to diplomats in the areas of economy, stability, and technology to address the wider geopolitical situation faced today.
These policies underline the importance of creating diplomatic relationships and implementing appropriate strategies in each country, for example focusing on technology with Japan and South Korea, and emphasising economy, stability, and technology with major powers like the United States and China.
Parnpree also sees the importance of negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), particularly pushing forward the negotiations for the Thailand-EU, Thailand-UK, and Thailand-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTAs.
The Ministry will invite Thai ambassadors stationed abroad to return home to participate in the annual meeting of Thai ambassadors and consuls, which will take place this November. During this event, the prime minister will meet and share policies in all three areas with the envoys.
Parnpree believes that the current foreign policy must be suitable for the prevailing circumstances and practical, both in international and domestic contexts and is confident that under PM Srettha's leadership, Thailand can play a more significant role on the global stage. He notes, however, that this will require cooperation with various ministries, officials, and the public.