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Thailand and South Africa celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Friendship

29 January 2018

The year 2018 marks an important occasion for both Thailand and South Africa to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa, as both countries also will together celebrate the centenary of His Excellency Former President Nelson Mandela’s Birthday.

Relations between the two countries officially began in 1992 with the establishment of the Consulate-General Office in Johannesburg and Bangkok, respectively. Only a year later, the ties grew stronger with the establishment of full diplomatic relations on 9 December 1993 and consequent establishment of respective embassies in South Africa and Thailand. In 2003, South Africa and Thailand celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the relations with various special events which were held throughout the year. One of the highlight of the relations was when His Excellency Former President Nelson Mandela visited Thailand in 1997 and had an audience with His Majesty the late King Bhumibol of Thailand, which represent a culmination of the spirit of goodwill and friendship that existed between the peoples of the two countries.

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, the Royal Thai Embassy, in collaboration with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, as well as partners from public and private sectors will host various commemorative activities, both in South Africa and Thailand, throughout the year 2018. The planned activities will encompass various areas of cooperation, including political, trade and investment, tourism, cultural exchanges, and charitable activities. The activities are designed to attract participants and engagement of the public and private sector.

Acknowledging that the people form the core of relations, the Royal Thai Embassy will further promote people-to-people exchanges. To this end, the Royal Thai Embassy will work with relevant authorities in both countries to further increase the number of tourists between the two countries, with a goal of achieving 100,000 tourists yearly from South Africa to Thailand in the near future while tourism figures from Thailand are also expected to increase gradually. Thailand is currently considered as one of the most popular holiday destinations for South Africans, while South Africa is considered as one of the more exotic travel destinations for younger Thai travelers looking for unique experiences.

Although seemingly a world apart, the two countries share various similarities. The people of Thailand are well-known for their hospitality in the same way that South Africans are also known for their friendliness, as in the spirit of Ubuntu. Both countries also have unparalleled natural attractions, as well as unforgettable tourist destinations which ranks high in the bucket list of many people, such as Phuket and Cape Town. Both countries also have unique cultural heritage that is well-known all over the world, whether it be Thai Food, Muay Thai Boxing, or Braai Culture and Kwaito Songs. Another important similarity can be found through the love for elephant that exists in both Thailand and South Africa, as the majestic animal played an important part in culture and arts of both countries. Moreover, Thailand and South Africa also share common policies and values in regard to such issues as Democracy, Human Rights, Free and Fair Trade, and are willing to work together in international fora, such as the United Nations and G20.

Moreover, it could be said that Thailand and South Africa serves as a regional gateway for one another, with both countries considered a leading hub of trade and investment in their respective regions. Thailand is considered as South Africa’s largest trading partner in the South East Asia Region, with over 3.2 billion USD in two ways trade in 2017, while South Africa is Thailand’s largest trading partner in the Africa continent. This year, Thailand will work closely with South Africa to further increase trade and investment between the two countries in areas of mutual benefit, such as hospitality industry, agriculture, and motor industry.

This year’s celebration would mark the beginning of revitalized ties between the two countries. The Royal Thai Embassy is committed to further strengthen the ties between the two countries and would work hard to develop mutual ties that work towards the benefit of the peoples of both nations.

Royal Thai Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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January/February 2020

 
 
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