Message from Mrs. Nualpan Mahakun,Executive Director of Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei
On behalf of the Thailand Trade and Economic Office, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Taiwan News for presenting this special supplement to celebrate the 78th Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. This year marks His Majesty's 59th year of reign since his coronation in 1946. Next year will be greatly significant for the Thai people in every corner of the world because they are going to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne.
Apart from being the longest reigning monarch in the world, His Majesty is also one of the most hard-working heads of state. Throughout his 59 years on the throne, he has engaged in activities covering not only affairs of the state but also other diverse fields. His numerous development projects not only bring direct benefits to the Thai people but can also be applied worldwide. The Artificial Rain Project and the Chaipattana Aerator are examples of his initiative and invention that can be useful in agriculture and the conservation of the environment. All these contributions are encapsulated in His Majesty's name "Bhumibol," which means "Strength of the Land."
His extraordinary dedication to the cause of the people's happiness has earned him the abiding respect and deep affection of the Thai nation, as well as the genuine admiration of Thailand's friends all over the world. In May this year, he was presented with the "Golden Sheaves," meaning a bunch of golden rice, from the Administrative Board of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association in recognition of his remarkable initiative in growing rice as a staple food of the Thai people, thereby sustaining agricultural development in remote and impoverished areas.
As we live together in a global village, His Majesty has also warmly extended his thoughtfulness to the victims of hurricane Katrina by graciously offering 15 tons of Thai rice from the Royal Project. More relief supplies have been sent to Pakistan to alleviate the suffering of the people in the earthquake-hit area.
I am very pleased to mention that, for more than 30 years, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) of Taiwan has played a great and important role in continuously assisting His Majesty to help the poor hill tribe people in the northern mountains of Thailand to plant highland fruits and vegetables as substitution to opium. Today people in the area have a better life and sufficient economy. Furthermore, there is no more opium in Thailand. Taiwan's sincere friendship and meaningful assistance are always remembered and praised by His Majesty and his people.
Furthermore, on behalf of the Royal Thai government, I would like to extend my profound gratitude to Taiwan for the humanitarian assistance extended to the people affected by the tsunami disaster in southern Thailand. The quick response of the Taiwanese search and rescue team put Taiwan on record as among the first 10 countries to rush to Thailand to help in the relief efforts. We have been overwhelmingly impressed by the kind hospitality and thoughtfulness of the Taiwanese people. We have recovered from the tsunami and an early warning system for future calamities has been set up to ensure the safety of local residents and foreigners. We are once more ready to welcome all Taiwanese visitors to our Land of Smiles.
Thailand and Taiwan lay claim to being neighbors because we sit side by side at the international forums, such as during the meetings of APEC and the WTO. Our names begin with the same letter, "T." People often confuse Taiwan with Thailand and vice versa. Every year, 400,000 to 500,000 Taiwanese people visit Thailand for sightseeing, golfing, shopping and doing business. Taiwan ranks third as investor in Thailand with total accumulative investment volume of US$11 billion. In the first nine months of this year, Thailand has made the 13th ranking as trade partner of Taiwan. The trade volume is US$4.775 billion with Thailand registering a trade deficit with Taiwan for the 4th consecutive year.
Taiwan's growing economy makes it the home of 100,000 Thai workers, who significantly contribute to Taiwan's economy. The Thai workers have helped construct the main infrastructure in Taiwan such as the mass rapid transit systems in Taipei and Kaohsiung. In this regard, I would like to ask the Taiwanese authorities to step up efforts to take care of the Thai workers. My colleagues and I are ready to join hands with the Taiwanese people to work not only for a better quality of life for the Thai workers but also for the good of the Taiwan economy.
Please allow me to bring you good news. Thailand's new international airport is due to open in June next year. With Thailand at the economic core of mainland Southeast Asia, we expect the Suvarnabhumi Airport to become a new major gateway to neighboring countries, even emerging tightly integrated into the infrastructure of the region and facilitating the economic activities, traveling, tourism as well as enhancing Thailand's competitiveness in the international market. The World Bank ranked Thailand the 2nd easiest country to do business in. Compared to other Asian cities, our costs of living and of doing business are low.
The political situation in Thailand is stable. Our highly skilled and motivated work force is expanding steadily. The ASEAN Free Trade Area is going to happen in 2010. In such excellent atmosphere, we are looking forward to welcoming more Taiwanese people to Thailand in the years to come.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to invite all Taiwanese friends to join me in celebrating the 78th Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as well as the long-lasting friendship between the peoples of Taiwan and Thailand.
Long live His Majesty the King.