Shinawatra met privately with the pontiff on Sept 12, during a European tour.
â€œHis Holiness replied that he might go to Thailand next year,â€ Thailand’s ambassador to the Holy See, Chalermpol Thanchitt, told ucanews.com. â€œWe would like very much to welcome the Holy Father to Thailand.â€
Francis has said that a trip to Asia is one of his priorities, as his predecessor Benedict XVI never went to East Asia during his pontificate. India and Philippines are likely destinations and it has been strongly suggested that the pope will visit Sri Lanka too.
During their brief meeting at the Vatican, the two leaders also discussed the role of Catholics and Christians in Thailand, who number around 400,000. Shinawatra praised the â€œcontribution they bring to society, in terms of education and human resources.â€
According to a Vatican statement, the two leaders â€œwent on to discuss various matters of current international interest and the political situation in Asia, focusing in particular on the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue for the promotion of human rights, peace and justice throughout the region.â€