Trade and Economic OfficeI should like to express my grateful thanks to Taipei Times for this opportunity of addressing its esteemed readers on the occasion of the Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand. \nEvery year, December 5th is the special day for the Thai people to celebrate the auspicious occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthday Anniversary which is regarded the National's Day as well. This year marks His Majesty's 77th Birthday Anniversary and is His Majesty's the 58th year of the reign. \nHis Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born at Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. on Monday, December 5, 1927, being the third and youngest child of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla, who was then studying medicine at Harvard University, and Princess Mother Sri Sangwan. His Majesty's title at birth was His Highness Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej, meaning "Strength of the Land with Incomparable Power". This name becomes prophetic as His reign advances through various critical periods and the Thai nation evolves more and more around the throne as the sole source of unity and strength. \nAfter the Law of Succession bestowed on him the arduous but challenging function of the Thai Crown, His Majesty decided to study Law and Political Science at Lausanne University, Switzerland, in order to equip himself with the proper knowledge for government. \nHis Majesty ascended the throne on June 9, 1946. Then on May 5, 1950, there was a grand coronation ceremony according to ancient tradition. His Majesty and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit were married on April 28, 1950 and Their Majesties have four children namely, Their Royal Highness Princess Ubol Ratana, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and Princess Chulaborn. \nHis Majesty serves as the longest reigning monarch in the world. Since His accession to the throne, His Majesty has relentlessly devoted himself both physically and mentally for the development and well being of the Thai people. \nHis Majesty's work amounted to more than four thousands projects touch on diverse fields with special emphasis on improving the quality of life, preserving natural resources and the environment as well as developing occupational opportunities for the people. His Majesty has visited Thai people in every region of the country, especially the Thai rural inhabitants. \nSuch examples of His Majesty's concern for the well-being of the Thai people and their standard of living have truly demonstrated His fidelity to the Oath of Accession which reads, in part: "to reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people." His extraordinary devotion to the cause of the people's happiness has earned His Majesty the abiding, the respect and deep affection of the nation, as well as the genuine admiration of Thailand's friends all over the world. Recently, His Majesty was presented with the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award which is the highest award conferred by the UN-HABITAT to individuals, projects or institutions in recognition of significant contributions to improving human settlements. \nOn this auspicious occasion, as the celebrations and State Ceremonies in honour of His Majesty are being held in Thailand, I would like to invite the Taiwanese people to join with us in commemorating this happy event. \nToday also brings to mind the close economic relations between Thailand and Taiwan. Taiwan has been an important economic partner of Thailand for over ten years. Taiwan is among the top ten export markets of Thailand. Investment from Taiwan ranks the 3rd largest of foreign direct investment in Thailand with total accumulative investment volume of around 10.94 billion US dollars. Taiwan's entrepreneurs have invested in Thailand because of Thailand's political stability, free market economy, good established infrastructure, similar Buddhism and oriental culture. \nIn addition, Taiwan is the home of the largest Thai workers in the world. These Thai workers have contributed to the competitive edge of Taiwan's economy. They work tirelessly in the manufacturing industries and infrastructure projects including subway, high speed railways and the Taipei 101 Building which is now the tallest building in the world. \nOn the other hand, the numbers of Taiwanese paying visit to Thailand for business, commerce, culture and tourist has reached 500,000-700,000 each year. This high number reflects the common sharing and understanding between the two peoples, and that of Thailand and Taiwan. \nOn agriculture, apart from the 33 years of technical cooperation between the Royal Project Foundation and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) of Taiwan, both sides have signed the Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation on July 24, 2003 which will bring closer the cooperation on agriculture between Thailand and Taiwan. \nFor the first half of the year 2004, the Thailand's GDP is still at the high growth rate of 6.4 percent though the Thai economy has faced the slight slowdown growth caused by the Avian Influenza and the rising of oil prices. Thailand now clearly enters into a new phase of sustainable growth and development. Domestic demand, foreign direct investments and domestic direct investments, exports and tourism are key factors for the full recovery of Thai Economy. The New Bangkok International Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport will be ready for operation in September 2005 with capacity of handling at least 45 million passengers per year. \nThe new airport will stimulate the development of a great range of economic, social and tourism-related growth in Thailand as well as will tremendously facilitate the investors from Taiwan to the greatest extent in coming years. \nOn this auspicious occasion, as the celebrations and state ceremonies in honour of His Majesty the King are being held in Thailand, I would like to invite the Taiwanese people to join with us in commemorating this happy event.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
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