A new page in diplomatic relations between China and Thailand began on July 1, 1975. The ties have been developing in a sound and stable manner over the past 43 years, setting a good example by co-existing in harmony and pursuing common development.
In fact, the recorded exchanges between China and Thailand can be traced to the Western Han Dynasty. Frequent business activities started around the 10th century, and there were Chinese relocating to Thailand, then known as Siam, in the 12th century. Friendly communication for over 2,000 years has made the two countries as close as family.
The past 43 years has been witness to the progress made by the two countries. China launched reforms and opened-up, embarked on the journey of socialism with Chinese characteristics and became the second-largest economy and the largest industrial country in the world. It has successfully lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty, contributed more than 30 per cent to world economic growth for many years in a row, and promoted the cause of peace and development of mankind.
In the meantime, Thailand, one of the “Tiger economies”, is a major member and the second-largest economy of Asean. It takes an active part in the regional grouping, and acts as a strong force upholding peace, development and cooperation of the region.
The China-Thailand all round friendly cooperation, political mutual trust, economic relations as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges are thriving in the process of development.
Today, both China and Thailand are faced with a world undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment.
Unstable and uncertain factors are still on the rise, hegemony and power politics still exist, traditional and non-traditional security threats keep springing up, and unilateralism, trade protectionism and de-globalisation have taken on different forms.
At the same time, economic globalisation, world multipolarisation, society informatisation and cultural diversity are gaining speed. Peace, development and cooperation remain the general trend and the shared aspiration of the people.
President Xi Jinping proposes to build a community of shared future for all mankind with the purpose of upholding world peace and promoting common growth, and foster a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation.
The new type of international relationship championed by China emphasises that countries should respect each other’s independent choices of social systems and development paths, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, follow a new mode of state-to-state relationship featuring dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alignment, so as to achieve win-win and all-win results.
The China-Thailand friendly cooperation is the model for the new type of international relations. The bilateral relationship has harvested abundant fruits as the two countries adhere to the principle of mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation.
Looking into the future, we have every reason to believe that as long as the two sides stick to the principle of developing the new type of international relations, we could always expect new outcomes in bilateral cooperation.
First, we should further increase the complementarity of our development strategies, firmly support each other in choosing the development path that suits respective national conditions, synergise the Belt and Road Initiative with the Thailand 4.0 Strategy and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in terms of policy, law and enforcement, creating favourable conditions for broader and closer cooperation.
Second, we should deepen and expand practical cooperation in trade, increase the use of technology in traditional industrial cooperation; and encourage cooperation in new industries, conduct more cooperation in modern agriculture, digital economy, high-end manufacturing, new energy and other fields, and make sure that the high-speed rail cooperation will deliver benefits to the people.
China will continue to take new measures to enhance its opening up and welcomes Thailand’s participation in the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November this year, and is ready to set up a platform for Thai products and services to tap the Chinese market.
Third, the two countries should strengthen all-round and profound people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Efforts will be made to press ahead with cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, promote knowledge and technology-sharing, talent exchange and training, especially targeted training on railway, digital economy, small-and-medium sized enterprises, increase the exchange of experience in poverty reduction and rural development, and support think tanks, media, and the youth in carrying out cooperation and communication.
Fourth, the two countries should continuously enlarge regional and international cooperation. Thailand will take over the rotating presidency of Asean next year. The Chinese side fully supports Thailand in playing a positive role, and Asean’s centrality in regional cooperation and work together to upgrade China-Asean cooperation, push forward Lancang-Mekong cooperation for new outcomes.
With the wind blowing from the right angle, it is time for us to set sail. China and Thailand are at the new starting point of development. Despite international vicissitudes, their comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation will withstand the test of times.
Lyu Jian is China’s ambassador to Thailand. The article is an excerpt from his speech to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of diplomatic relations.