Thailand’s foreign policy, from the perspective of the Move Forward party, should see the country acting as a “middle power” with principles and dignity, adhering to a rules-based international order and able to speak out freely, without fear of superpowers.
Presenting a lecture to students of the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University on “Thailand’s Challenges and Opportunities vis-vis ASEAN and the Super Powers”, Pita said that Thailand’s role in ASEAN, and ASEAN’s role as a regional grouping, has declined over the past five years, citing the fact that many world leaders chose to visit Vietnam and Indonesia, instead of Thailand, and some world leaders did not attend the ASEAN Summit, but assigned their deputies to do so.
If the Move Forward party were in government, Pita said that Thailand would open a humanitarian economic corridor at the Thai-Myanmar border, to provide shelter to Myanmar people displaced by the war in their country and allow them to work legally on Thai soil.
He said Thailand should play a pro-active role, both directly and through ASEAN, in pushing for peace talks between the warring factions in Myanmar, leading to free and fair elections in the country.
The Move Forward party leader said that Thailand should take the lead in grouping together all the downstream Mekong riparian countries, to increase their bargaining power for the fair sharing of the river’s water with China.
Emphasis should be given to inclusive diplomacy, as well as the use of soft power, to explore economic and trade opportunities, he said, adding that Thailand should negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement with the EU, on top of the ASEAN-EU agreement.