By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Thai Ambassador to Mexico Rommanee Kananurak paid homage to both her country’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (who passed away at age 88 in October 2016) and her new king, his only son Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, with a diplomatic reception and buffet lunch at the Presidente InterContinental Hotel in Mexico City’s Colonia Polanco on Monday, Dec. 3.
During the event, Kananurak explained that because of the Thai people’s deep love and respect for the late monarch, the Southeast Asian nation continues to hold its national day on his birthday, Dec. 5.
“It is a special day when we, the people of Thailand, express our heartfelt gratitude to our beloved monarch’s works and contributions to improve the lives of Thais in all walks of life,” she said.
Bhumibol, who was the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, was esteemed both nationally and internationally for his humanitarian works and commitment to Thailand’s most marginalized rural communities.
He also developed a Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) for sustainable development and environmental protection that became a role model for other nations.
Kananurak pointed out that, as of 2013, the United Nations has recognized Dec. 5 as World Soil Day in recognition of Bhumibol’s tireless work in soil conservation and erosion prevention.
“It is no wonder that, since 1980, the anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had also been celebrated as Thailand’s Father’s Day,” the ambassador said.
“Since His Majesty’s passing two years ago, his son, Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, continues to celebrate Dec. 5 as Thailand’s national day, to commemorate (his father’s) selfless and tireless dedication to improve the quality of life of the Thai people.”
Kananurak said that using Bhumibol’s SEP model, Thailand has managed to maintain a sustainable and stable development program that has ensured an equitable social order and national harmony.
The country’s new 20-Year National Strategy, enacted in 2017 and based on security, competitiveness, human capital, social equality, green growth and public administrative reforms, has set a guideline for Thailand to become a fully developed nation by 2037, she said.
Thailand has likewise earmarked $43 billion to promote technology and innovation, along with technology-driven investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Kananurak said.
At the same time, she said, Thailand is broadening its international trade relations through the enactment of 12 free-trade accords with 17 countries.
Regarding Mexico, which has maintained warm diplomatic relations with Thailand since 1975, Kananurak said that there continues to be close bilateral consultations on both the political and economic fronts.
“We have seen rising interest by the private sector, with some Thai companies exploring investment opportunities in Mexico, while other have already committed to working with Mexico and are considering establishing a physical presence here,” she said.
Combined two-way trade last year amounted to $6.4 billion, making Mexico Thailand’s largest trade partner in Latin America, and Thailand Mexico’s sixth-largest trade partner in the Asia Pacific region.
Kananurak concluded her speech by thanking former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his administration for their “vision in expanding relations” with her country and region, and saying that she “looked forward” to working with the new Mexican administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who took office on Dec. 1.
Thailand, which was the birthplace of the now-expanded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967, will assume the chairmanship of that organization in 2019.
Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power.
A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy.