By Yang Xin, acting ambassador of China to Thailand.
On July 1, 1975, Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj signed the Joint Communique on the establishment of 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. Today, China-Thailand relations have become more comprehensive, pragmatic and dynamic.
Mutual Strategic Cooperation
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 other’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 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 also 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 field, 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.
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, 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 in Thailand for many years, and the number of tourists to Thailand has exceeded 10 million for two consecutive years.
The two sides cooperated to open 16 Confucius Institutes and 11 Confucius Classrooms in Thailand, and nearly 1500 Chinese volunteers taught Chinese language and culture throughout the Thailand. In 2019, a total of 36000 Chinese students were studying in Thailand, 28000 Thai students went to study in China, and mutual understanding between the younger generations of the two countries will continue to deepen.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences Innovation Cooperation Center(Bangkok) was founded. The Nanjing University of the Arts of China and the Kanlayaniwatthana Conservatory of music of Thailand exchanged vividly.
Thai TV series are popular in China and Chinese films, TV series and online literature are also loved by the young in Thailand. The public opinion foundation of China-Thailand relations is increasingly solid.
Both sides agreed to strengthen the development strategies connection, 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 against the epidemic.
Prime Minister Prayut delivered a video speech to cheer for China and the world to fight against the COVID-19. Thailand has made great efforts to help 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 provide support and assistance to Thailand, timely share epidemic information, communicate epidemic prevention measures, and discuss treatment solutions, and carry out vaccine research and development cooperation.
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% from January to May.
Durian exports from Thailand to China accounted for 66.94% of total durian exports of Thailand in the first quarter. Facts have proved that after the epidemic, China-Thailand relations have become more intimate and unbreakable and China-Thailand cooperation, which has been tested by the epidemic will be more resilient and dynamic.
Looking back on the past 45 years, under the guidance of successive leaders of China and Thailand, through the joint efforts of the two peoples, China-Thailand relations have broken the ground, thrived and flourished; and looking forward to the future.
Standing at a new historical starting point, we should not slack off at all. We should cherish the hard won good 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 of the two countries, jointly promote high quality BRI construction, and work together to promote China-ASEAN cooperation and upgrade Lancang-Mekong cooperation.
“Wide part are the shores at the high tide, one full sail is all the boat requires in wind that is just right.” 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.
Let’s ride the wind, cleave the waves, forge ahead and jointly create a more brilliant tomorrow for China-Thailand relations!
About the author
Yang Xin is the charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bangkok. He is also currently serving as the acting Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand.