BANGKOK, Mar. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Lady Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is paying on Thursday an official tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and is scheduled to return home next Monday.
The woman leader, who will become the first Thai prime minister to pay an official visit to New Zealand in nine years, has been invited by her New Zealand counterpart John Key with whom she will meet in Wellington, the South Pacific island nation's capital. Thaksin Shinawatra, brother of the lady prime minister, was the last Thai leader who visited New Zealand in 2004.
Yingluck and Key will discuss bilateral trade, investment and cooperation on education, human resource development and agriculture, among other issues, according to Thai government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak.
Trade between Thailand and New Zealand has amounted to 1.6 billion U.S. dollars with the Thai side gaining some 430 million U. S. dollars in trade surplus.
More than 100,000 New Zealanders visited Thailand as tourists, compared to about 15,000 Thais traveling to New Zealand, throughout last year while an estimated 7,000 Thai students are currently advancing their studies in the island state.
A memorandum of understanding on educational cooperation between Thailand and New Zealand as well as letters of intent toward future cooperation on science, technology and innovation between the two countries will be signed during Yingluck's visit, the government spokesman said.
Besides, the lady prime minister will be conferred an honorary doctorate degree from the Auckland University of Technology for her outstanding international role and Thailand's first elected woman leader, he said.
On Sunday, Yingluck will proceed to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and hold bilateral talk with her Papua New Guinea counterpart Peter O'Neill.
Thailand, which has dealt some 360 million U.S. dollars in bilateral trade with Papua New Guinea, is seeking to increase investment in energy sector and expand markets for Thai food and farm products in the South Pacific archipelago state.
Accompanying Yingluck on her official trips to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyabhirom, Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal, Science & Technology Minister Voravat Ua-apinyakul and Prime Minister's Office Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal.