Thailand and South Africa - Celebrating 20 years of Diplomatic Relations
Opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Nonsiri Buranasiri, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand on the occasion of the Concert celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa.
7 March 2013
The Aula, University of Pretoria
Your Excellency Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim,
Acting Senior Vice-Principal Professor Robin Crewe,
South African Military Services Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to welcome all of you to the Concert celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa. Thank you very much for joining us this evening.
The year 2013 commemorates the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa. Tonight’s concert aims to celebrate our friendship and recognize our historic achievements of the past 20 years. Thailand and South Africa have always enjoyed close and cordial relations during the past decades at all levels. The synchronized performance you will enjoy tonight between the VIVA Pop Opera group from Thailand and Ovuwa and Medu groups from University of Pretoria is the great evidence of the wonderful people to people relations between our two countries.
This year, we look forward with great anticipation to the upcoming exchange of visits by H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand to South Africa and H.E. the President of South Africa to Thailand. I am confident that the upcoming exchange of visits by our leaders will further bolster our cooperation as well as serve as a testimony to our close relations.
South Africa is Thailand’s largest trading partner in Africa while Thailand is South Africa’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. I am very pleased that during the past five years, bilateral trade between Thailand and South Africa has been growing at a steady pace and reached over 4 billion dollars last year.
Given this impressive growth, there is more room for growth in trade and investment between our two countries. The Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria through our Commercial Office has been actively promoting Thailand and our products through various channels such as hosting two of our annual “Thai Trade Shows” in Johannesburg and Cape Town each year as well as showcasing Thailand in numerous local exhibitions throughout South Africa. We also organize Taste of Cape Town, Taste of Johannesburg and Taste of Durban each year; to let the people here know more about Thailand, especially our Thai Cuisine and Thai Spas. Now there are more than 100 Thai restaurants and over 80 Thai spas in South Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The concert tonight highlights cordial ties between Thailand and South Africa as well as strong bond between our peoples. I am confident that these people-to-people connections, especially among our youths, will continue to lay a solid foundation for our two countries’ partnerships for years to come. Thank you for joining us and enjoy the evening. ขอบคุณครับ