By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin (Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government)

MANILA – Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is expected to visit the Philippines within the year, his foreign minister announced Thursday.

In a press conference in Makati City, visiting Thai Foreign Minister Maris Sangiampongsa said the two governments are now preparing for his trip, which will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-Thailand diplomatic relations.

The official neither elaborated on the agenda nor the targeted date but said this would be part of the series of high-level visits between the two states.

Also this year, he said Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo will visit Thailand for the convening of the 6th Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting between Manila and Bangkok.

In his speech, Manalo said this meeting would allow the two countries to take stock of the bilateral relations, and “review and explore, if not agree, on new areas of cooperation”.

Manila and Bangkok are now in discussion to strengthen ties on trade and investments, tourism, education, food security, defense, and renewable energy, among others.

Sangiampongsa went on an official visit to the Philippines ahead of the 6th JCBC to discuss with Manalo a number of issues, including ways to address transnational crimes and the situation in the South China Sea, Myanmar and Gaza.

On regional issues, Manalo said he briefed the Thai official on the current developments in the South China Sea and reiterated that the Philippine position has been “consistent, clear, and firmly anchored on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea”.

“I reaffirmed the Philippines’ continued commitment to ASEAN’s centrality and ASEAN’s goal of peace and stability in the region,” he said.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two top envoys affirmed the need for peace in the region, with Manalo expressing Manila’s firm support for a two-state solution and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (PNA)