Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha begins a visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, to strengthen bilateral relations with one of the Middle East’s most important players, according to a high level source at Government House.
The two-day visit will mark a new milestone in Thai-Saudi relations, which were established in 1957, as both countries have agreed to move forward in their bilateral relationship.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai visited Saudi Arabia in January 2020, marking the first visit by a Thai foreign minister in 30 years. The aim was to normalise the long stalled relationship.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the cooperative framework for countries in the Asian region, which was set up by Thailand in 2005 to promote closer economic cooperation among Asian economies, which also includes major economies in the Middle East. The ACD headquarters is located in Kuwait City.
During the ACD summit in Bangkok in 2016, Prayut held talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and both sides decided to repair their relationship.
During the oil boom in the 1970’s, several hundred Thai workers held jobs there. Saudi Arabia was one of the most popular destinations for them. At the moment, Thai workers represent only a small number of foreign workers from Southeast Asia.
Relations between the two kingdoms have been further strengthened by the visit to Saudi Arabia in January 1984 of a Thai delegation, led by Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Prapas Limpabhandhu and high-ranking officials from the Ministries of Interior, Commerce and Agriculture and Cooperatives, as well as representatives from the Thai Parliament and the private sector.
Thailand and Saudi Arabia have always shared similar views on major regional and international issues, especially those of vital importance to international peace and security. Both countries are working closely and supporting each other’s position in the United Nations and at other international fora.
Saudi Arabia is among the Middle Eastern countries providing scholarships, enabling Thai Muslims from Southern Thailand to pursue higher education.