Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam arrived in Bangkok on Thursday (31 January) for a five-day official visit.
Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam arrived in Bangkok on Thursday (31 January) for a five-day official visit. The visit marks the second leg of a tour which will take him to 6 Southeast Asian nations.
Mr. Whitlam, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter, was greeted at the airport by Tahi Prime Minister Sanya Dharmasakti and other government officials.
The Australian Prime Minister's arrival was in complete contest to that of Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, whose visit earlier in January touched off a series of student riots.
Thousands of Thai school children lined Bangkok's streets. Cheering and waving Thai and Australian flags, the school children were given the day off especially for the occasion.
Soaking at a dinner given in his honour Thursday evening, Mr. Whitlam said that his country sought to cooperate with the countries of southeast Asia in strengthening regional cooperation. He also praised the new Thai civilian government as a "welcome focus" for freedom and national independence.
During his visit, Prime Minister Whitlam will hold wido-ranging talks with his Thai counterpart, Mr. Sanya. Regional politics and bilateral trade are expected to figure in their discussions.
Mr. Whitlam will visit Laos, Burma, Singapore and the Philippines before returning to Australia.