14:55 GMT31 May 2020
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    Thailand’s resorts might not be as crowded as usual at the end of July, since it’s the middle of the rainy season. But it’s definitely a busy period in the capital Bangkok, which is hosting top level ASEAN ministerial meetings.

    Foreign ministers from ASEAN’s 10 member states – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar are gathering in Bangkok this week to hold a series of talks.

    Thailand’s capital is hosting a number of ASEAN-related events this year, but the 52nd Foreign Ministers’ meeting is one of the most important.

    ​Despite being a regional forum with a focus on Southeast Asia, ASEAN, which was established in 1967, says it is now open for cooperation with other international clubs, such as the Shanghai Cooperation organisation.

    ASEAN Thailand 2019
    © Sputnik /
    ASEAN Thailand 2019

    Even though Russia is not part of the core ASEAN framework, it has been a member of the broader East Asia Summit – a bloc, which also includes China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United States, since 2011.

    ​On a bilateral level Russia and Thailand are aiming for broader economic cooperation, with US $10 billion in mutual trade the current goal. In 2018 alone, annual trade between the two nations saw a 17% increase, with agricultural trade growing by 39%.

    Tourism also plays important role in bilateral relations between Moscow and Bangkok, with 1.5 million Russians visiting Thailand last year.

    ​Sergey Lavrov’s visit, which will be concluded on 31 July, will be followed by a number of Russia-related events in Thailand. A Russia-Thailand business forum will kick off in August in the capital, with a focus on cooperation in robotics, pharmaceuticals, transportation, agriculture, and banking. And in September a bilateral forum on digital cooperation (which is also one of the key ASEAN priorities), will be held in Bangkok, with Russian companies presenting the latest telecoms and computer security technology.


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