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Remarks by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Transport at the 8th Thai Festival at 7.00 PM at the Royal Thai Embassy on 3 September 2009

03 Sep 2009

Your Excellency Ambassador Nopadol Gunavibool,
Royal Thai Embassy Singapore

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Thank you for inviting me to attend this 8th Thai Festival. It is a pleasure and an honour to be part of this annual event celebrating the vibrancy of Thai culture.

2. The friendship between Singapore and Thailand is longstanding. The bronze elephant outside of the Old Parliament House (or The Arts House) was a gift of King Chulalongkorn to Singapore in 1871, and stands as a reminder of the enduring friendship between our two countries.

3. The visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in April at President S R Nathan's invitation underscored the close ties our countries enjoy at the highest level. At the government-to-government level, the recent visit of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in June reaffirmed the strength of our bilateral relationship.

4. Singapore and Thailand cooperate closely across many fields, including education, defence, trade and investments. We also work closely within ASEAN, APEC and other fora. This year, Singapore will host the 9th Thailand-Singapore Civil Service Exchange Programme (CSEP) Coordinating Meeting and the 3rd Singapore Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship (STEER) Meeting, two important institutional links between our countries.

5. People-to-people exchanges between Thailand and Singapore have also risen steadily over the years. Last year, more than half a million Singaporeans visited Thailand. About 300,000 Thais visited Singapore.

6. The annual Thai Festival is an important avenue through which we can form closer ties and enhance mutual understanding between our peoples. These personal ties help to strengthen the foundations of our bilateral relationship. In an increasingly complex global environment, where the futures of our region's countries are increasingly intertwined, a strong partnership is crucial.

7. Thank you, once again, for your invitation. I wish you a very successful Thai Festival.