The Nation, March 2, 1998
JAKARTA – Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai arrived yesterday for a short meeting today, with Indonesian President Suharto on the economic situation in South Asia, which is facing its worst economic crisis in decades.
Before leaving Bangkok, Chuang dismissed reports that he would discuss Indonesia’s proposal to set up a currency board, saying he would talk to the president about the economic situation in the region.
The prime minister also said he would discuss whether the two countries could resort to a counter-trade system during the economic crisis. “I will discuss with president Suharto which ways we can do bilateral trade at a time when we both do not have money,” he said.
Chuan was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi and Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan.
A Thai diplomat here told The Nation the meeting between the two leaders, who have known each other for several years, will take place this morning at the presidential palace.
The diplomat said Chuan was to return to Bangkok as soon as he finishes the meeting, although his fight schedule hat not yet been fixed.
“No luncheon, no dinner,” he said. It is not clear whether Chuan is to meet Suharto’s next deputy B.J. Habibie.
Meanwhile, Suharto, said yesterday I front of 1.000 strong People’s Consultative Assembly that he will do everything to restore Indonesia’s ailing economic.
Suharto delivered his nationally broadcast speech for almost two hours, detailing the problem Indonesia is facing, ranging from the sudden collapse of the rupiah last August to dramatic price hikes and increased unemployment.