At a time when Asean countries are jockeying for economic position after the Asean Economic Community was formed a year ago, Prayut Chan-ocha said that Thailand held the upper hand in attracting development opportunities, not least because of its access to neighbouring countries.
By bolstering strategic co-operation with Thailand, Korea could make inroads into Asean markets—and especially the four underdeveloped ones of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
"I hope that you will use Thailand as your gateway to Asean," Prayut said. "Most importantly, I do hope that you will see Thailand as your vital partner to serve vibrant [neighbouring] markets."
"Thailand's geographical location with most of its borders connected to neighbouring countries as well as strong economic fundamentals and political stability could serve as a dynamic gateway for trade between Asean nations… and a hub for the global value chain."
As Asean’s fifth-biggest trade partner, Korea could play an important role in the bloc’s economic integration by sharing its expertise, said the Thai dictator.
"Korea could play the role of an in-kind contributor for ASEAN economic integration by enhancing collaboration in areas of mutual interest and complementary advantages," he said.
"Korea's experience of innovation-led rapid growth will provide extensive knowledge and further deepen Asean and Korea friendship and cooperation," he said.