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Kjetil Paulsen (ambassador). Photo: Tu An Ngo.Kjetil Paulsen (ambassador). Photo: Tu An Ngo

Greetings from the ambassador. Up-date after one year

Last updated: 09.10.2015 // It has been a year since I took up my post as Norway’s ambassador to Thailand in September 2014. This year has been extraordinary in many ways.

Last year, on 26 December, I participated in the commemoration of the victims of the Asian Tsunami in Khao Lak. This event was a strong reminder of the vulnerability this region has for natural disasters. After the event, I have visited national and regional institutions working on improving disaster preparedness. I have seen impressive progress, even if more needs to be done. 

On 17 August this year, we witnessed yet another disaster. More than 20 people were killed and many more wounded in a horrific bomb attack at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok. The scale of the attack was unprecedented. The motives are still unclear. We have not yet overcome the feeling of shock and grief we all felt that day. We offer our sympathies for those affected. Norway stands by the Thai people in their hope that all the perpetrators behind this meaningless attack will all be captured and brought to justice.

Events like these make most of us realise that Thailand is not isolated from the world around.

Europe and Norway now face a large inflow of refugees from our neighbouring region and must deal with this challenge comprehensively. Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries must work together to address this region’s challenges. Southeast Asia faces large migration flows, but also security challenges, persistent transnational crime and various human rights violations.

We are all part of one global community. In this age no country is protected from humanitarian crises, with the human suffering and despair this entails. Southeast Asia and Europe alike must plan for and contribute to resolving problems that occur on our doorstep, and even within our own house. This is because we have a common obligation and a common goal; to protect those who need protection. In our respective regions we must plan together. Furthermore, we must plan not only to respond but also to prevent. 

Norway supports some of this work with development aid. We are also proud to be a sectorial dialogue partner with ASEAN, furthering our cooperation with this important region and at the same time contributing to regional integration and regional strengthening.

Bilaterally, I am happy to report that the relations between Norway and Thailand remain strong. Political consultations between our two ministries of foreign affairs were held in Oslo in September this year at Permanent Secretary level. It was noted at the meeting that the bilateral trade between the two countries continues to grow and may reach 5.5 to 6 billion NOK at the end of the year. Part of the reason for the excellent growth in export from Norway to Thailand is due to seafood. Import of fresh (not frozen) salmon has grown 186% in one year. Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (the former Petroleum Fund) has now invested about 23 billion NOK in Thailand, divided between 50% in private companies and 50% in Government guaranteed bonds. About 150.000 Norwegian tourists are expected to Thailand this year, at the same time as Thai tourism to Norway has been rising. This is good news indeed.

I presented my credentials to the King of Cambodia in June. This means that I now can start operating as an “ordinary” Norwegian ambassador in the country. I look forward to visiting Cambodia again soon. Norwegians People’s Aid, Save the Children Norway and the Norwegian Peace Corps all have impressive operations in the Country.  

On our website you can find more information about Norway and our relations with Thailand and Cambodia. You can also find us on Facebook, or e-mail us on

Innovation Norway continues to work with the Norwegian seafood industry as well as inbound tourism industry to Norway and a number of Norwegian start-ups in Thailand. Feel free to contact them by e-mail

Finally, I wish you all some excellent pre-Christmas months.


Kjetil Paulsen

The Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia