Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has extended an official invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin for a state visit in the coming year, an announcement made during his visit to Beijing on Wednesday.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has resulted in Putin becoming internationally isolated, with only a handful of allies remaining by his side.
In light of the purported mass displacement of Ukrainian children to Russian territory, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Putin’s apprehension.
Despite not being a signatory party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, Thailand has chosen to continue its diplomatic overtures with Russia.
In the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum organized by China, Mr. Srettha and Putin convened on Tuesday evening, deliberating over the expansion of both trade and cultural connections.
“I invited him to visit Thailand next year,” Mr. Srettha conveyed on Wednesday.
“President Putin likes Phuket; I understand he travels there often,” he disclosed, referring to a Thai resort island.
According to an official statement from the Thai government, Putin has indeed agreed to the invitation, although a specific date for the visit has not yet been determined.
While conversing with Srettha, Putin expressed concern about the decrease in bilateral trade, attributing it to “volatile global circumstances,” as reported by the TASS Russian news agency.
President Putin lauded the enduring and intimate diplomatic ties with Thailand, underscoring the mutual advantage of fortifying their alliance, especially in the cultural and tourism sectors.
The interpersonal dynamics between the two countries remain strong, and 2024 has been designated as a year dedicated to cultural exchange and tourism, enhancing the bond between Thailand and Russia. Thailand has witnessed over a million Russian tourists this year.
The Prime Minister also conveyed to Putin Thailand’s recent decision, made on October 16, to extend the duration of stay for Russian tourists in Thailand from 30 days to 90 days.
During his rare journey abroad, the Russian leader has utilized the opportunity to engage with several leaders, among them Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
This marks only his second venture beyond the former Soviet territories since February 2022, following Russia’s dispatch of an imposing military force into neighboring Ukraine in what it calls its “special military operation.”
World leaders have gathered in China to participate in the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, a visionary project conceived by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The BRI, initiated by Xi in 2013, is an ambitious plan aimed at overseeing the development of worldwide infrastructure, transportation, and energy networks that link Asia with Africa and Europe.