A swift return to democracy was a consistent theme laid out by Thai General Prayuth during his string of meetings – including discussions about Myanmar’s Dawei Special Economic Zone - which ended with bilateral talks with his counterpart Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 9.
At the end of their 45-minute talk, the two leaders issued a joint statement covering politics and security, people-to-people exchanges and co-operation on regional and international issues.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Abe said he hoped reconciliation would occur and democracy would return to Thailand swiftly.
At the same press conference, General Prayuth thanked Japan for its concern and reiterated the same message he had given earlier to the Japanese business federation Keidanren- that elections would be held at the end of this year or early 2016.
"I promise that Thailand will return as a strong nation," he said.
Earlier in the day, Japanese business leaders raised the issue of "a return to civilian leadership." General Prayuth assured Mr Abe he had no intention of retaining power, even after elections. He went into considerable detail about the process, as he had with Japanese business leaders earlier. Once the charter is completed in September, it will take several months for organic laws to be passed and pollswould be held at the end of the year or early in 2016.
All is going according to the roadmap, although martial law is still necessary to maintain order, General Prayuth told Mr Abe.
Apart from discussion about future cooperation and Japanese funding of Thailand’s railway system, they looked at investment and development of industrial zones in Thailand and further afield, including Myanmar.
In their joint statement, General Prayuth outlined Thailand's initiative to establish the first of six Special Economic Zones along the borders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia as part of a nationalstrategy to stimulate economic growth, attract foreign investment, foster development of border areas and support ASEAN integration.
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of promoting the Dawei Special Economic Zone in Myanmar through trilateral consultations between Japan, Thailand and Myanmar.
Japan will start procedures to meet the necessary conditions for equity investment in Special Purpose Vehicles, while Thailand said it looked forward to Japan's input on the project's master plan.
Courtesy of the Bangkok Post