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The PM speaks to the media at the Sheraton Grande conference

Inspiring Island: What the PM Said About Phuket

Sunday, February 22, 2009
PM on Phuket: Photo Album Above

CHINA, Korea and Japan will support a regional plan to stave off sharp economic downturns with a special 120 billion-dollar currency fund initiative.

The process represents a breakthrough for the Asean (Plus Three) meeting at the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket resort on Phuket today.

On a lightning-fast visit to the Asean gathering on the island, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told the media that the deal gave Asean self-reliance and freedom from other groups.

He singled out Phuket for its recovery from the tsunami, saying: ''I hope that our economic foundations will remain strong and help us withstand the global economic crisis, just like how Phuket has recovered.''

He highlighted the need to prevent protectionism and urged the Asean nations to maintain trade around the region as a salve for the economic downturn.

''In light of the ongoing economic and financial difficulties, strengthening economic cooperation among Asean Plus Three is imperative,'' he said in a lunchtime speech to delegates.

''And with this mindset, the finance ministers should assume a vital role in enhancing and fostering deeper regional financial cooperation in response to the current global economic crisis.''

With a total population of more than two billion (one third of the world's population) 16 percent of the world's gdp (nine trillion US dollars) and more than half of the world's reserves, (3.6 trillion dollars) the enlarged group had an important role to play, he said

The PM added that the Phuket meeting sent a strong message that Asean is keen to resolve the present crisis.

Khun Abhisit has been in Indonesia for talks on the economy and Rohingya boat people and following the full Asean summit will jet off in April with his counterpart PM for the G20 summit in London.

Indonesia is the only regular member of the 20-nation world body from South East Asia.

Approval of the special currency fund came today after Singapore, previously reluctant, agreed to the arrangement. The 10 Asean countries will meet 20 percent of the fund while the ''Plus Three'' contribute 80 percent.

Finance ministers and senior officials from the Asean (Plus Three) nations hope the plan will help to stave off the worst effects of the global economic downturn.

The multi-billion dollar fund should help countries in the region cope as financial turmoil hits their key trading partners in Europe and the United States.

Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij urged Asean to expand the eventual fund to $120 billion, up from the initial figure of $80 billion.

Trade protectionism is also on the agenda, a major concern as countries urge their citizens to purchase locally-produced products or travel domestically to reduce capital outflows.

Thailand's export figures are approaching recession levels and around the region export figures have plummeted by double-digits in recent months as demand for cars, electronics, electrical appliances and other goods has vanished.

Today's decision, part of the Chiang Mai Initiative established after the 1997 economic crisis, should be ratified at another meeting of finance meetings in May.

Thailand currently holds the rotating chair of Asean. Other members are Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

All Asean members except Singapore and Cambodia sent their finance ministers to this weekend's meeting.

The Japanese finance minister was also unable to attend and sent a representative.

What the PM said about Phuket


''I AM SURE many of you may still recall that this island was hit by the tsunami a couple of years back. It is now clearly visible that Phuket has successfully recovered from that unfortunate incident and has become livelier and more robust than ever.

''I hope that Phuket's recovery stems from its strong foundations which are the key ingredients, and I hope that the recovery will serve as an inspiration for the region.

''Phuket's wonderful setting will provide a congenial environment for a successful meeting, and [I hope] that the energy of Phuket will invigorate Asean (Plus Three) to keep on working for the betterment of our peoples for years to come.

''Like Phuket, I do hope that the global economy will recover soon.

''I hope that the international community will be active and sincere in their cooperation.

''I hope that our economic foundations will remain strong and help us withstand the global economic crisis, just like how Phuket has recovered.''

The Asean Conference

Phuket's Asean Talkfest Promotes Island
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Will financial chiefs from 13 nations dealing with the world's economy this weekend be dreaming of happier times relaxing on Phuket's beaches? That should be a suitable spur for action.
Phuket's Asean Talkfest Promotes Island

The Union Dispute

Laguna Dispute Latest: Back to Work As Usual
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The dispute at Laguna Phuket took a new turn when staff at the Banyan Tree said they were locked out on Sunday. However, it turned out to be a misunderstanding.
Laguna Dispute Latest: Back to Work As Usual

The Phuket Economy

Air Traffic Figures Explode Recovery Strategies
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Marketing Phuket and Thailand becomes more difficult as countries perceived as being tourism prospects succumb one by one to global economic fatigue.
Air Traffic Figures Explode Recovery Strategies

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Saturday December 4, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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