Thai Ambassador: We still don't understand each other very well

'President Vladimir Putin's visit to Thailand last month is opening new perspectives for developing a better relationship between Thailand and Russia. Our relationship should be based on advantages for both countries,' said Thai Ambassador to Russia Sorayut Prompot at a roundtable entitled 'Perspectives for developing relations with Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Prompot said the there are still obstacles preventing the countries from improving relations, including tariffs and cultural barriers. 'We still don't understand each others language and culture and ways of thinking,' said Prompot. He added Russia as before looks at Southeast Asia as a market, where it can sell more weapons. Prompot also said that we could increase the sales of energy in the region and develop cooperation in the sphere of science, technology and culture.

Several members of ASEAN also talked about how other member countries didn't know enough about Russia. The ambassador from Singapore said that Russia's image is the KGB, oligarchs and mafia and it is important to change this perception. The Ambassador from Malaysia said that it is difficult for businesspeople from Asia to trade with Russia. They find a large bureaucracy, difficulties in trading and obtaining and extending Russian visas. Participants of the round table also answered that there is a low level of activity between the Russian regions and countries of ASEAN.

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