ADB Renews Partnership with Thailand with Opening of New Office

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (12 January 2005) - ADB today further strengthened its long-term partnership and commitment to Thailand with the opening of its resident mission in the country. Thailand's Finance Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, and ADB President Tadao Chino unveiled a plaque to signify ADB's presence in Thailand.

The resident mission will further enhance ADB's presence in Thailand and help strengthen its operational activities in the region. It will also enable ADB to become more responsive to the development needs of the country.

"The new resident mission will help us gain a better understanding of Thailand's development needs, and forge a closer partnership with the Government and people, as well as with nongovernment organizations and the private sector," said Mr. Chino.

"It will also help ADB and Thailand work together to realize an integrated, prosperous, poverty-free, and peaceful Asia."

Mr. Chino expressed confidence in Thailand's ability to continue with its development pace, and to continue to play an important role as a regional economic, financial, and communications hub in Asia and the Pacific.

"ADB and Thailand have a shared vision of an Asia and Pacific region where income disparities are reduced, poverty is eliminated, and prosperity benefits all," said Mr. Chino.

Thailand has been playing an important role in fostering regional and subregional cooperation initiatives, including the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program, and in providing financial and technical assistance for its neighboring countries.

Earlier, Mr. Chino conveyed his condolences to the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster, and expressed confidence in Thailand's own capabilities to restore normalcy of the affected areas and meet the rehabilitation requirements. "We at ADB have been saddened that so many precious human lives were lost and important assets were destroyed by this disaster. I would like to take this opportunity to assure all of you that ADB stands ready to assist the Governments and peoples of the affected countries in the region."

Mr. Chino announced in Jakarta last week that ADB is prepared to provide up to $675 million in support for several countries affected by the December earthquake and tsunami for initial rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Rajat Nag, Director General of ADB's Mekong Department, expressed his gratitude to the Government and the people of Thailand for the support and assistance ADB has received over the past few years in preparing for the resident mission's opening.

"With the establishment of the Thailand Resident Mission, we at ADB are looking to working even more closely with the Government to forge a new and stronger partnership in pursuing our common objective of a more integrated and more prosperous GMS," he said.

Thailand is one of ADB's founding members and to date ADB has provided 84 loans totaling $5.4 billion in various sectors including energy, transport and communications, social infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources and finance.