Thailand has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leader’s Meeting (APECLM) in November, Thai PBS World has learned.
The invitation is special, because France is a leading member of the European Union and not a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). It would be Macron’s first visit to Thailand since he became France’s president in 2017. He is currently serving a second term.
Several countries have shown interest in attending the Bangkok APEC leaders’ meeting because it is an opportunity to meet person-to-person for the first time in three years within the APEC framework. The EU, the United Kingdom and India are also countries which Thailand planned to invite, due to their close economic ties with Asia-Pacific nations.
APEC members have not met face to face since 2019, after the scheduled meeting in Chile was cancelled due to domestic turmoil over the rising cost of living. The pandemic in 2020 and 2021 also prevented the leaders from meeting in person.
According to an official, Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich country, could be the host’s guest at the APEC event in Bangkok as well. After attending the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, the newly appointed Saudi Prime Minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is scheduled to visit Bangkok. Thai-Saudi ties have been improving since January, after more than three-decade of frozen relations.
Of the APEC leaders who were scheduled to attend the summit, only Biden will be missing. “He will miss the opportunity to meet allies and friends in person. Harris will try to do his job,” said the official. Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have confirmed their participation.