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Keynote Speech by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand at the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia Bangkok Conference

Time:2017-07-12 19:54:08    Views:7587    Origin:Boao Forum for Asia

Keynote Speech by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand  at the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia Bangkok Conference

July 11, 2017

His Excellency Vice-Chairman Zeng Peiyan,

His Excellency Secretary-General Zhou Wenzhong,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Royal Thai Government, I extend to you a very warm welcome. As of the original members of the Boao Forum for Asia, Thailand is pleased that the forum, known as the “Asian Davos” has gained prominence that goes beyond regional boundary. The Devavongse Varopakarn Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being the co-host of this year’s event signifies our continued commitment to meaningful contribution to this important initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is fair to say that globalization is at the crossroad. While it’s true that the globalized economic integration has produced more prosperity in the past 60 years than in the previous two thousand, globalization has its own systemic flaws that have brought to the fore today’s new challenges. National politics are gaining foothold across the globe, and a large number of people being excluded from the system as the result of growing income and wealth, inequality are getting more displaced and disenfranchised, posing a threat to social and political cohesiveness. The shrinking middle class and its employment will be further exacerbated by automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. The environmental degradation and perilous social impact problems will also have to be addressed effectively in order to uphold the mantles of globalization and its spirit.

That is the reason why this forum and its rle are more vital than ever before towards addressing these challenges and advancing a healthier global trade and economic integration.

With a 4.4 billion people accounting for more than 30 percent of the global economic output and with a nominal GDP of over 35 trillion US dollars, Asia has its fair share of responsibility towards charging a reformed path of globalization and redefining global interconnectedness. The goal should be to create economic growth that is more inclusive, more equitable, more balanced, more socially and environmentally nonhazardous, more sustainable and most importantly, one that is based on shared interest.

To this end, China has taken a leadership role with its Belt and Road Initiative. The infrastructure connectivity calls for more extensive cooperation in many other areas within the region and beyond. It is indeed a new tenet of globalization.

Thailand, on its part, is pursuing a major reform with our infrastructure sector to upgrade our transport and logistic system, as well as to establish the new economic corridors and industrial clusters that should spur further economic growth through trade and industrial connections within the country and regionally. The interlink between our undertaking and the Belt and Road Initiative, should mean our enhanced global outreach in terms of foreign relations, trade, economic, and technological cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

History is our teacher. There are no mistakes that have not been committed, nor have been success not achieved before. As such, we all must try to learn from history and avoid the Sisyphean quandary and futility.

For cooperation and prosperity to last, it must be well balanced. We can have overarching and ambitious initiatives and try to reach for the stars, but we must also take into account the lowest rung of the ladder; they count as well. The old thinking that “the strong do want they can and the weak suffer what they must” almost always lead to catastrophic end results, both for the strong and the weak.

Our late King Bhumibol Aulyadej has devoted his life fostering such balance. His most misunderstood Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is all about how to make everything hangs in the balance and “just right”. By so doing, prosperity will not implode or self-destruct, and it can be sustained, and wealth can be shared by all, maybe to different degrees, but shared. It is the philosophy that creates strength and immunity from within, and agility that withstands uncertainties and adversaries.

It is also about paying due regard to the environment and social safety net for they are part and parcel of what constitutes sustainable prosperity and growth.

The balanced approach and perspective also applies when it comes to national and international endeavor. A win-win cooperation is not about splitting the fruit of success in half, but making the sum of it larger than what the winning party can get with the zero-sum tactic. The win-win cooperation is based on shared interest and mutual respect. That’s what makes every relation viable and last. The beggar-thy-neighbor strategy is nothing but an equivalence of to be hoist with one own's petard.

We live in a world in transition---from the as-we-know-it social and economic paradigm, to one that is undergoing significant changes as the result of the Fourth Industrial revolution, with challenges abound. Increasingly, policy-makers and business leaders are recognizing the need for a new economic and social compact and framework. It is my hope that this forum and the discussions and exchanges it generates will ultimately represent a difference between success and failure of the new phase of globalization and its framework. For it’s not only all of us here in this room that would benefit, but the entire global economic system, as well as the prospect of prosperity and peace of the world.

And that should be the reason why we gather here today.

Thank you.