The Loi Krathong dinner party circuit in Canberra has been buzzing with the news that Thailand’s Ambassador, Kriangsak Kittichaisaree (pictured), will be leaving after less than two years in leafy Yarralumla. According to Thai media reports he will be moving to Taiwan, not as Ambassador (due to the one-China policy) but as Executive Director of the Trade and Economic Office.

Posting such an experienced diplomat to Taipei must surely mean that the Yingluck government is keen to improve its trading relations with Taiwan. Trade figures show that Taiwan is currently Thailand’s eleventh most important trading partner (after Japan, China, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and United Arab Emirates). With reports that the Trade and Economic Office is pushing for Thai mangosteens and pomelos to enter the Taiwanese market there are clearly some important challenges for Executive Director Kriangsak to get his teeth into. Apparently, progress on mangosteens is promising, but pomelo access looks a little further off.

Meanwhile another former representative in Australia has also been on the move. Kiattikhun Chartprasert was the Consul-General in Sydney (2007-2011) before becoming Director General of the Department of South Asian Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Suddenly he finds himself promoted to be a Deputy Permanent Secretary.

So who will be Thailand’s new Ambassador to Australia? The answer is Maris Sangiampongsa who has been Ambassador to Nepal since 2009. I don’t know anything about him (can any readers help?) but there is a whisper (surely it can’t be true!) that he is part of the Thaksin circle.