Join hands to build a more brilliant tomorrow for China-Thailand relations
By Yang Xin, charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand
On July 1, 1975, Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj signed the joint communique on the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in Beijing, which opened a new chapter in China-Thailand relations. Over the past 45 years, China and Thailand have made remarkable achievements in their respective development paths, and bilateral relations have always maintained sound and stable development.
The leaders of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts, candidly exchanged views on major strategic issues such as bilateral relations and international and regional situations, and provided mutually support on issues involving each country’s core interests. The political foundation of China-Thailand relations is increasingly profound and unbreakable. In recent years, President Xi Jinping has congratulated His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua on his coronation and personally conferred China’s Medal of Friendship to Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn. Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Thailand and attended a series of East Asian Cooperation Leaders’ Meetings. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other Thai leaders have led delegations to China for many times. The exchanges between the two sides on governance, poverty alleviation and poverty reduction are continuously deepening.
China and Thailand have established a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation, jointly issued a long-term plan for the development of bilateral relations, and mapped out a blueprint for the stability of future relations. Friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have covered various fields, providing a steady and solid impetus for the sustained and healthy development of China-Thailand relations. The two countries regularly hold strategic dialogues, and have established cooperation mechanisms in various fields such as the Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation, the consultation on defense and security, the Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, the Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation, and the ministerial level dialogue on digital economic cooperation. Under regional and global cooperation frameworks such as East Asia cooperation and the United Nations, the two sides have maintained close cooperation to jointly promote international and regional stability, prosperity and development.
The bilateral trade volume increased from US$24.62 million at the time of the establishment of diplomatic relations to US$91.7 billion in 2019, an increase of more than 3,700 times. China has become the largest trading partner of Thailand for seven consecutive years and the largest source of foreign investment of Thailand in 2019, and Thailand is the third largest trading partner of China among ASEAN countries. The construction of China-Thailand railway continues to advance, and after the completion, this railway network will benefit the countries and people in the region for a long time. More than 100 Chinese enterprises have settled down in Thailand-China Rayong Industrial Park, which has effectively promoted the local economic development and people’s employment. The two countries have concluded 39 pairs of sister cities, with strong momentum of local exchanges. China has been the largest tourist source country to Thailand for many years, and the number of tourists to Thailand has exceeded 10 million for two consecutive years. In 2019, a total of 36,000 Chinese students were studying in Thailand and 28,000 Thai students went to study in China. Mutual understanding between the younger generations of the two countries will continue to deepen.
Both sides have agreed to strengthen synergy of development strategies, promote the complementary advantages of BRI construction, Thailand 4.0 and Thailand EEC, and constantly strengthen cooperation in new economy and new formats. Huawei, Alibaba, JD and other leading Chinese enterprises have joined forces with Thailand’s leading enterprises to promote the vigorous development of Thailand’s “future industries” such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, modern logistics and 5G communication, adding new momentum to the vigorous development of China-Thailand mutually beneficial cooperation.
This year, the novel coronavirus pandemic is widespread all over the world, which seriously threatens human health and world public health safety. Faced with this unprecedented challenge, China and Thailand worked together and helped each other, which vividly explained the sincere friendship and kinship between both countries and the great spirit of the community of shared future for mankind.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua sent a message to President Xi Jinping, highly appreciating the effective measures taken by China to fight the epidemic. Prime Minister Prayut delivered a video speech to cheer for China and the world to fight the COVID-19. Thailand has provided assistance and donated a large number of medical materials to China in a short time. China adheres to the traditional virtue of “You throw a peach to me, I give you a white jade for friendship.” At the critical moment of Thailand’s epidemic prevention, China fully provided support and assistance to Thailand, timely shared epidemic information, communicated epidemic prevention measures, discussed treatment solutions, and carried out vaccine research and development cooperation. The Chinese government, enterprises and non-governmental organizations have donated medical materials to Thailand to support the country’s epidemic prevention. The Chinese Embassy in Thailand stands firmly with all Thai people and has set up a “Love Closet” to provide daily necessities for the Thai brothers and sisters. Meanwhile, the pragmatic cooperation between China and Thailand bucked the trend under the heavy pressure of the epidemic with the import and export volume increasing by 8.1 percent from January to May. Durian exports from Thailand to China accounted for 66.94 percent of total durian exports of Thailand in the first quarter.
Standing at a new historical starting point, we should not slack off at all. We should cherish the hard-won sound situation of China-Thailand relations, firmly grasp the historical opportunity, and be good relatives, close friends, valuable neighbors, and strong partners who share weal and woe.
We need to highlight the leading effect of high-level exchanges, establish close personnel exchanges at all levels between the two countries, make good use of the existing dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, strengthen the exchange of experience and practice in governance and poverty alleviation, and provide a solid foundation for further enhancing mutual trust and connections. We need to strengthen the synergy of development strategies, deepen and expand pragmatic cooperation, jointly promote high quality BRI construction, actively cultivate innovative growth points of digital economy and create more visible results of pragmatic cooperation. We need to encourage think tanks, media and art groups of the two countries to increase mutual visits, promote exchanges and interactions between the younger generation, tap the potential of tourism cooperation, and further cooperation in science and technology, vocational training, public health and other fields. We should also work together to promote China-ASEAN cooperation and upgrade Lancang-Mekong cooperation, safeguard the current basic norms of international relations and the multilateral trading system, make a firm voice against trade protectionism and bullying, jointly address global challenges such as climate change and terrorism, jointly practice new international relations and build a community of shared future for mankind.
China-Thailand comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation is bound to go further. The fruitful cooperation between China and Thailand will surely better benefit the two peoples and provide strong momentum to the sustained stability and prosperity of the region.