Thailand and France have signed five memoranda of understanding (MoU)on areas ranging from defence and education to research, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday.

She was speaking after meeting her French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault at Government House. Mr Ayrault was on a two-day official visit to Thailand which concluded yesterday.

The MoUs are aimed at enhancing collaboration between Thailand and France on national defence, education,production of a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine and international research networking.

A fifth MoU secured cooperation between Rajamangala University of Technology and France’s Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT).

Ms Yingluck said France emphasised trade expansion and more investment opportunities in Thai infrastructure.

Mr Ayrault’s visit to Thailand was the first by a French prime minister in the past 23 years, Ms Yingluck said.

She said she had stressed to Mr Ayrault that Thailand had the potential to be a regional hub in terms of preparing infrastructure to catch up with the growing economies of the country and the region.

Thailand could also become a link connecting countries in South Asia with those in East Asia, Ms Yingluck said.