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Thai PM Discusses Trade, During Visit to Indonesia

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, shakes hands with Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra , left, before a meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 12, 2011.

The leaders of Thailand and Indonesia have promised to boost trade and security cooperation, a pledge made Monday during a visit to Jakarta by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The visit is the second in a series of so-called "get-acquainted" meetings for the new Thai leader, who visited Brunei Saturday. She travels Thursday to Cambodia, where she is expected to appeal for the release of two imprisoned Thai activists. On Friday, she's scheduled to visit Laos.

Yingluck said she and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono both are pleased with rapidly growing trade between their countries, and discussed other ways to expand economic cooperation.

"I view this visit as a success. President Yudhoyono and I had a very fruitful discussion covering all areas of cooperation ranging from bilateral, regional and multilateral issues," stated Yingluck.

She said the talks had been fruitful and covered regional as well as bilateral issues.

Yudhoyono said the leaders discussed Thailand's border dispute with Cambodia, which claimed 18 lives and displaced thousands of villagers during clashes this year. Indonesia, as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian nations, is acting as a mediator in the dispute.

"On the issue of the Thai-Cambodia border, that has become an international issue, I am pleased to hear from the prime minister that there is good progress. Prime Minister Shinawatra also planned to visit Cambodia in the near future. As ASEAN's chair, we welcome the progress and hope the problem can be solved peacefully,'' said Yudhoyono.

He said he was pleased to hear that Thai-Cambodian relations are improving since Yingluck took office in August.

The dispute is expected to dominate Yingluck's meetings in Phnom Penh. Thai officials say she will also appeal for the release of ultra nationalist activist Veera Somkwankid and his secretary, who were jailed in Cambodia for eight and six years respectively on espionage charges.

Veera is a legislator with the opposition Democrat party, which was defeated by Yingluck's Pheu Thai party in July. Winning his release would help foster reconciliation between Thailand's deeply divided factions.

Yingluck's elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, is also expected to ask for the release of the activists during a visit to Cambodia a day after Yingluck's. Thaksin, a former prime minister, was convicted in absentia on corruption charges by the former Thai government and lives in exile to avoid prison.

In Brunei, Yingluck met with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who expressed an interest in buying more jasmine rice from Thailand.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.