The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has had a meeting in Bangkok with his Thai counterpart, General Prayuth Chan-o-Cha, on the first full day of his week-long visit to Thailand.

The two leaders discussed a range of issues, including trade, military cooperation and other aspects of the relationship.

Fiji is seeking greater access to the Thai market for its manufactured and other products and is also encouraging foreign direct investment by Thai businesses.

Fiji has also invited Thailand to open a diplomatic mission in Suva and to have a high level presence at the forthcoming Pacific Islands Development Forum Summit in Nadi in September.

The Prime Minister described his visit to Thailand as a very important one for Fiji.

“While we have had diplomatic relations with Thailand for the past 42 years, I am the first Fijian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Thailand. We have a lot in common as nations, including our dependence on tourism and agriculture, and we can learn a great deal from each other if we take our relationship to another level. The message I conveyed to the Thai Prime Minster was that Fiji wants to build a strategic alliance with Thailand and develop a much closer relationship”, he said.

As well as paying a state visit to Thailand, the Prime Minister is also due to take up the Presidency of the 71st Commission Session of the United Nations Economic Social Council of Asia and the Pacific [UNESCAP]. He is also visiting a number of agricultural and forestry projects.

The Prime Minister arrived in Bangkok after his visit to Japan for the PALM7 Summit between Japan and Pacific Island leaders.

“I had a number of very fruitful meetings in Japan in which I was able to make a very strong pitch for Fiji’s leadership in the region. And this is also a key element of my visit to Thailand”, he said.

Accompanying the Prime Minister are the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and the National Disaster Management Office, Inia Seruiratu, and the Minister of Fisheries and Forest, Osea Naiqamu, who will also be holding talks with their Thai counterparts and inspecting agricultural and fisheries projects.