China Report ASEAN recently sat down for an interview with Korn Dabbaransi, Chairman of the Thailand-China Friendship Association, in regards to the speech Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered to the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress on Oct. 18, 2017.
China Report ASEAN: In his speech, Xi talked at length about “Securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and working towards the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.” What is your opinion of the speech?
Korn Dabbaransi: Xi was speaking about Chinese culture. China has enjoyed success in its efforts to become the world’s most stable developing country and Xi declared his vision to strengthen Chinese society by building a moderately prosperous society across all aspects. This translates as gradual development to secure the great success of the Chinese nation while retaining Chinese characteristics. He continues to focus on unity, honesty, thinking for society-at-large and joint efforts to develop the nation with strength and stability.
China Report ASEAN: Xi emphasized the idea of “following a path of peaceful development and working to build a community with a shared future for all mankind.” What are your thoughts on this sentiment?
Korn Dabbaransi: Xi reiterated his firm belief that any development in China will be successful if it is built on the basis of peace and the participation of the people. In his speech at the congress, he mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative several times, stressing that China should pursue it as a priority. He underlined that China should follow the principle of achieving equitable growth with other countries through discussion and by sharing and supporting one another. China should also continue collaborating to face new challenges, seek new opportunities as well as fresh impetus and new channels to develop global society through win-win cooperation and mutual benefits. Eventually, all parties will succeed together.
China Report ASEAN: What is your opinion of the Belt and Road Initiative?
Korn Dabbaransi: I have been monitoring the Belt and Road since Xi first announced it. From the very start, people all over the world have been trying to decipher the meaning of this policy.
According to Xi’s speech at the 19th CPC National Congress, Belt means that global society — all nations, languages and religions — should have international relations through the Belt of Peace. He is telling the world that peace is a priority for development in any country in the world. Development is impossible without peace.
Peace must come first. If global society agrees with this idea, we should join hands to create peaceful coexistence for the world. When the world is peaceful, nations will be able to develop and enhance the quality of life of their people.
The meaning of “Road” in the context mentioned by Xi might be that when all countries in the world join forces and unite, development will follow. The Chinese government has proved that China is on the road to successful development and is moving forward with dignity. China has made great strides in poverty reduction with the goal of lifting China’s low-income population above the international poverty line by 2020.
In essence, Belt and Road policy means a Belt of Peace and a Road to Prosperity. Moreover, Xi has promoted this policy in the countries he has visited, convincing all nations to care about and create sustainable peace.
China Report ASEAN: What do you envision for the future of Thailand-China Cooperation following the introduction of the Belt and Road Initiative? In what areas can both sides create deeper cooperation?
Korn Dabbaransi: Thailand and China have a close relationship. They are like relatives and are united in a way that’s unlike any other nation.
China Report ASEAN: What changes do you expect from the new Chinese Politburo Standing Committee (the highest ranking officials appointed during the 19th CPC National Congress)? What opportunities can Thailand and China jointly create?
Korn Dabbaransi: Infrastructure development is essential for economic expansion and China and Thailand can jointly develop such projects.
China Report ASEAN: Will the Thailand-China Friendship Association organize any specific events to promote cooperation or initiate a cultural exchange program between the two countries in the near future?
Korn Dabbaransi: The association continues to organize events for both this year and next. As Chairman of the Thailand-China Friendship Association, I often attend events in China and welcome friendship groups from China’s cities, thus strengthening the relations between the two countries.
On behalf of the association, I will give a speech in Beijing on Nov. 13, 2017, on what will be my 140th visit to China over the past 42 years.
Interviewed by Shi Guang