Thai prime minister to visit Manila today
- Pia Lee-Brago () - January 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will visit Manila today to further strengthen bilateral relations the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced yesterday.

It will be Shinawatra’s first visit to the Philippines since she assumed her post in August 2011.

President Aquino will receive the prime minister in the morning to exchange views on bilateral and regional issues that are of mutual interest to both countries, including bolstering economic engagement between the two countries.

The two officials will also discuss ways to further strengthen the implementation of existing cooperation in the areas of energy, agriculture, defense, culture, education, combating drug trafficking and disaster risk reduction and management, among others.

They will also share perspectives on significant developments in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

The President will host a luncheon in honor of the Thai Prime Minister after the meeting.

The visit is one of the highlights of the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Thailand, which is being commemorated this year.

In a related development, the President conferred yesterday the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross) Gold Distinction on former Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo in recognition of his exemplary service and active commitment to his responsibilities as foreign relations official of his country.

In simple ceremonies prior to their luncheon meeting at the Music Room of the Palace, Aquino awarded the senior Order of Merit on Yeo for his meritorious and exceptional work to foster better relations between his country and the Philippines.

Witnessing the conferment ceremonies were government officials led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Also in attendance were Singaporean Ambassador to Manila A. Selverajah and the honoree’s wife, Jennifer Yeo.

 

P-Noy meets US senators

Meanwhile, President Aquino met with former US presidential aspirant Sen. John McCain and three other American senators Tuesday night.

Other members of the US Senate who paid a courtesy call on Aquino in Malacañang were Joe Lieberman, Sheldon Whitehouse and Kelly Ayotte.

McCain, Lieberman and Ayotte are all members of the US Senate armed services committee.

Last week, the President also met several members of the US Congress who arrived in the Philippines.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the visiting US congressmen expressed their confidence in the reform agenda of the Aquino administration.

He said the Aquino government would continue with its thrust to curb corruption, fight poverty and promote good governance in the country.

With the administration’s achievements in the past one and a half years, Lacierda said these would indicate forthcoming changes that would continue in the coming years.

McCain, a former prisoner of war, served as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War. He was first elected to the US House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and led the fight to eliminate wasteful government spending, and spearheaded the strengthening of the US armed forces.

He currently serves on the following Senate committees during the 112th Congress: ranking member on the Senate armed services committee; committee on health, education, labor and pensions; committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, and committee on Indian affairs.

McCain lost his campaign against US President Barack Obama in the 2008 US presidential election.

Lieberman, on the other hand, has been in the US Senate for more than 20 years championing environmental issues. Lieberman is best known for his Democratic vice presidential run in 2000.

He is a strong advocate for investing in American public schools, empowering parents, and challenging all students to meet higher academic standards. Regardless of income, Lieberman helped students go to college and develop the skills they need to succeed in the global economy. – With Aurea Calica

AQUINO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EDWIN LACIERDA FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA AND TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT GEORGE YEO GOLD DISTINCTION GRAND CROSS LIEBERMAN PRESIDENT AQUINO
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