The foreign minister of Thailand says a trade pact with Japan will soon be finalized. As Yuriko Nagano reports from Tokyo, the Thai minister is trying to reassure foreign investors during a visit to Japan.
Thailand's Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram said Tuesday that Thailand is committed to finalizing a free trade agreement with Japan.
The minister is visiting Tokyo to help celebrate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He said that recent economic policy changes, including amendments to the Foreign Business Act, were to shield Thailand from currency speculation, and make Thailand a more attractive place for foreign investment.
"I think we do have stability. I think we do have confidence. I think there is confidence in the marketplace. And I think investments continue to come in," he said.
Nitya could not confirm if the free trade pact would be ready for signing when Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont plans to visit Japan in April.
In his comments to reporters Nitya went on to declare that his government was not a military one, but one committed to democracy.
The administration in Bangkok was installed by the armed forces following a coup in September that deposed elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Nitya said the government was at a "standstill" in 2006, with a "virtual paralysis" and a "deeply divided" society in the run-up to the coup.
Nitya says the current regime has been making progress in political reform and restoration of national unity. He said martial law has been lifted in most of Thailand, and efforts continue to find a solution to the violence in the south of Thailand.
"We know that there is a very small minority of people involved. The militants, they break the law. They will be brought to justice. So we're pursuing it, but through peaceful means," he added.
More controversially, Nitya said his government offered more freedom of the press than before.
Nitya repeated his government's position that a new constitution is being drafted ahead of a July deadline, and elections will be held next year.