We're ready for Apec: PM
Prayut warns against disrupting summit
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says Thailand is ready to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November while also warning against any attempts by political activists to disrupt the meeting.
Gen Prayut on Monday chaired an online meeting of a national committee tasked with preparing for the summit at Government House.
Speaking after the meeting, the prime minister expressed confidence that the collaboration of related agencies will ensure the summit is a success.
"The issues that Thailand will raise at the meeting are what the government has always attached importance to and taken action accordingly to solve, such as revitalising the economy after the pandemic, facilitating trade and investment, taking a balanced approach to dealing with global warming, and the Bio-Circular- Green (BCG) economic development model," Gen Prayut said.
"I would like to ask people and all sectors to support the country's hosting of Apec as this is a large-scale economic meeting comprising 21 member countries. Just don't ruin the country's reputation," Gen Prayut said.
Asked whether he was concerned political activists might disrupt the summit, Gen Prayut said: "They should know where their boundaries are. This is not a personal issue, but it is about the national interest.
''We should learn a lesson. Do we want a recurrence?" he said, referring to unrest that disrupted an Asean summit in Pattaya in 2009.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Taisaranakul said on Monday the meeting agreed to designate Nov 16-18 as a special public holiday for Bangkok and its surrounding provinces -- Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon.
"The special holiday is intended to ease traffic and facilitate travel by attendees and better ensure security for Apec leaders.
"However, agencies that must provide public services, such as courts of justice, hospitals and banks can use their discretion whether to remain open on these days," said Ms Traisulee, adding that the proposed special holiday will be presented for cabinet approval.
Ms Traisulee said that the meeting also approved a plan to issue commemorative coins to mark Thailand hosting the Apec summit, while a number of agencies gave updates on their readiness for the Apec ministers' meeting as well as the Apec Business Advisory Council and the Apec CEO Summit that will take place ahead of the main gathering.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai expressed confidence that the country's experience in hosting past regional meetings and summits would prove invaluable ahead of Apec 2022.
He said a number of foreign leaders have already accepted their invitations, though he refused to reveal how many.
Mr Don brushed aside concern that the Russia-Ukraine war and the tensions between the United States and China following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Taiwan might dampen attendance.
The foreign minister said that he and his Asean counterparts held a meeting in Cambodia recently to discuss issues related to Taiwan, Ukraine and Myanmar.
It is hoped these conflicts may have eased by the time of the summit, he added.
"We need cooperation from the people and all sectors to support Thailand in hosting the summit.
"If the host country is in turmoil, there can be as bad an outcome as there was in 2009 in Pattaya. In order to gain international recognition, the domestic situation is crucial. If the domestic situation is not favourable, this will affect not only the meeting, but also tourism, trade and investment," Mr Don said.